Now before anyone corrects me, I am aware of the fact that Cornwall is a region and not a specific city, but the locals tend to just refer to this gorgeous place as home. I suppose I have a part in this as well, as I am the first of my family line to return to Cornwall since my great-great grandfather worked here in the slate quarry’s before deciding to pursue a life in America.
The city we stayed in was Penzance, and very first thing you will notice about it here is the gorgeous waterfront that the bus and train station sit right on. The second thing will be the hills behind and around you, which make for excellent views and pictures, but difficult walks.
A place definitely worth a visit if you’re near Penzance is St. Michaels Mount. Just a quick bus ride gets you to this ancient castle that stares down at you from an island in the sea. One fun detail is the walkway to the castle through the water, that if you come during low tide can provide easy access to the castle. And while the history of this place is incredible, it is the views from it that truly stun you.
One of the most breathtaking ways to see the Cornwall countryside is to rent a bike and go for a ride through it (and I REALLY mean breathtaking, it’s a very hard ride). The route we took was from Penzance to Porthcurno, which we later found out is one of the hardest rides in the whole of the Southern UK. 13 miles, four ridiculous hills, and a Cornish Creme Tea later, we found we did not have the strength to make the ride back. We rented through the Penzance Bike Hire, which is run by a truly wonderful man named Steve out of his home. Let me tell you, Steve is a true hero. We called him from the cafe we were sitting at (within the Minack Theatre), and he came to pick us up. Along the way home we mentioned we hadn’t been able to see one of the coves we had wanted to, due to being so tired. Steve is also a tour guide, and went out of his way to take us there and tell us all the history behind it. When we tried to tip him at the end for going out of his way to help us so much, he refused and said “it’s all part of the service, use that money to get a pint instead”. So if you’re ever in Penzance, I highly recommend his business simply for being a person of great character who offers great service. (Also, p.s. he has electric bikes that help you with the hills, as we found out much to late…)
Porthcurno is a place that could amaze anyone. The cliffs give way to soft beaches that meet water so perfectly clear you can see the fish swimming as if they were in a glass tank. The beach we chose to visit was one that we had seen in the TV show ‘Poldark’ and it most definitely did not disappoint.
While we did see a lot of this beautiful region, there was much we missed out on due to time and travel restrictions. But I don’t really mind that, because it simply means we have a valid excuse to return.