There are a lot of things to love about London, the great metropolis of the United Kingdom. When you are done with the night life, the fine dining, the landmarks and the theatre or like me when your bank balance of rapidly deflating Australian dollars is disappearing it is time to head to Cornwall where the best things in life are free. Just three to four hours drive from the capital you can sample the six things I love about Cornwall.
Number 1. The castles.
Jutting out toward the Atlantic and a stones throw from continental Europe, Cornwall has been a stronghold of the British and an entry point for conquerors throughout human history. It is dotted with spectacular landmarks providing a history in stone set against the Cornish hills. Be sure to visit Tintagel Castle, a medieval fortification on the coastal cliff rumoured to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Drive out to Penzance on the western tip of the country and look out to St Michaels Mount an Island with a spectacular castle that can be reached on foot only on low tide via a series of submerged concrete pathways.
Tintagel Castle Ruins. Image by Wade Ranson
Number 2. Quirky village culture.
The Cornish have a slightly oddball reputation in these parts and they seem to embrace it with all manor of wacky festival events that bring townspeople together during the summer season. From ancient dance rituals to a dress up wheelbarrow race down the main street you never know what a night in a small Cornish town might bring.
Village wheelbarrow race. Image by Wade Ranson.
Number 3. The cider
Cornwall is famous for its cider, sorry its spelt “cyder” down here. In every pub you will see taps of the stuff almost matching the options for beer in these parts. Down winding roads you will find brewers in the apple orchards. From a small shed in a paddock to large scale producers with factory tours and cyder “experiences” to try. Try a scrumpy made from all seven local apple varieties or an exotic fruit blend, hell why not try them all. Cloudy or clear, still or sparkling there is a world of delicious cyder to try. My pick the heritage brew from local favourite Healey’s “Cornish Gold”.
Healey’s Cyder. Image by Wade Ranson
Number 4. The Landscape.
From dense forest to rolling green hills and on to the spectacular coastal cliffs Cornwall is full of natures eye candy. Head to Carnewas and the Bedruthen Steps on the north coast to see a wild sea pushing up against giant granite and slate cliffs topped by green pastures and wildflowers.
Bedruthan Steps. Image by Michelle Ranson.
Number 5. The accents.
OK this might not make everyone’s list but nothing makes me happier than sitting in a Cornish pub closing my eyes and imagining my very own Aardman’s “Creature Comforts” episode. The thick and cheery Cornish accent is a thing of beauty to my Australian ears.
Penzance local. Image by Wade Ranson
Number 6. The Cornish Pasties
My travels in Cornwall made me realise I have never had a true Cornish Pastie at home. Here they are full of meat and chunky fresh vegetables. The filling is cooked slow to be tender in the mouth and the pastry is flaky and buttery. Pretty much every town has a bakery that specialises in this most well known of Cornwall’s culinary exports.
Seaside bistro. Image by Wade Ranson
So if you are in the U.K. for a holiday make sure you put the sights of Cornwall on your “to do” list. If you are one of the many working visa expats in London then hit the road, get some much needed fresh air and enjoy the best of Cornwall.
By Wade Ranson www.ransonmedia.com
More images of Cornwall and surrounds. Images by Michelle Ranson