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Curiosities to Explore on Weekend Breaks in Cornwall

… This is a guest post by Joey Holmes of Cool of the Wild …

It may be out on a limb and a little awkward to get to, but five million visitors don’t flock there each year for no reason. No indeed. The county of Cornwall is the UK’s top seaside destination, boasting endless swathes of golden sands, world class surf, and the best Cornish pasties… in the world!

And although most summer visitors are drawn to the aforementioned attractions, there is much, much more to Cornwall than huddling behind windbreaks on blustery beaches.  Here are some top ideas to make your weekend break in Cornwall one to remember.

Cornwall’s rich mining history

A visit to Cornwall isn’t complete without exploring the history of the rich mining industry that was once the backbone of Cornish communities and the source of a thriving economy.

The prominent chimney’s of old mines (wheal’s) are scattered all over the landscape… you can’t miss them. But you’ll want to delve a little deeper than fly-by viewing.

A wonderful exhibition at Heartlands World Heritage Site provides an eye-opening insight into the lives of miners and their families. It tells the story of the rise and fall of the tin mining industry in Cornwall in an informative and interactive way that makes you feel like you were there.

It is free to enter and is suitable for kids, too.

The Tin Coast, out in the ‘wild west’ of Cornwall, is rich with old mines and engine houses. But none is as special as the Levant Mine. There you will find one of the world’s oldest Beam Engines that is in full working order.

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You can also take a walk down the Man Engine tunnel and wander around the remains of the buildings that ensured this thriving mine ran smoothly.

This is free to enter for National Trust members and a guided tour is essential.

Hike the coast

Once you’ve learned all about Cornwall’s mining history, the best possible thing you could do next is to go take a hike!

Hiking is a great way to enjoy a weekend break in Cornwall

The South West Coast Path runs all the way around Cornwall’s rugged coastline and it is an excellent way to explore the wilder side of the county. Along the way you will encounter hidden coves, dramatic cliffs and golden sands in equal measure. You will also find old mine shafts, ruins and wheals aplenty, that all add to the drama of the coast even more.



Dedicated hikers can take on the whole of the Cornish coast over a week or so. But for day trippers, I highly recommend the section of coast between Porthtowan and Perranporth, via St Agnes.

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This hike is around 8.5 miles long and features the iconic Wheal Coates set high up on the cliffs, as well as stunning and dramatic cliffs and scenery.

See Wheal Coates on a hike along the Cornwall Coastline

A stop at Driftwood Spars in St Agnes, to sample their locally brewed ale, is highly recommended. Then finish with dinner at the UK’s only beach bar, The Watering Hole in Perranporth, to complete a big day of hiking.

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There is a bus that goes back to Porthtowan via Truro, or better yet complete your historic experience by staying at the St George’s Hotel.

This gorgeous and friendly boutique hotel is one of a kind in the hustle-bustle of Perranporth. Set high up on the cliffs, away from the crowds, and only a few hundred metres from the coast path, the 180-year-old building was once a mine captain’s home.

If you prefer to have somewhere special all to yourself there are some gorgeous Cornwall cottages as well as cute cabins and glamping options to choose from.

Pootle on the Helford River

Those looking for an action-packed holiday should stay put on the North Coast of Cornwall where the world class surfing is sure to keep you entertained.

However, for something water-based that is a little more gentle, the Helford River should not be missed.

The river edges the north side of the Lizard Peninsula: Cornwall’s quieter and more secluded corner. Here, the calm waters of the estuary lap the pebbly bays, and fishing villages nestle into folds in the rolling coastline.

Exploring the forest-lined inlets and creeks of the Helford River is best done by canoe or paddle board, which enable greater access to hidden spots than can be accessed by sailboat.

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I spent the day paddle boarding on the river with a guide. Not only was this an easy way to explore the unknown area, but he also helped us to forage for our lunch! There are mussels aplenty along the rocky shoreline, which we harvested and then cooked on a beach campfire. Does it get more magical than that? I think not.

It was a superb way to enjoy all that the calm waters of the south coast have to offer in the safe hands of an expert. And a highly child-friendly way to go adventuring, too.

Cornish pasties on the beach

Exploring the wilder, more secluded, and historic sides of Cornwall will most certainly ensure that your experience is varied and highly enjoyable.

Weekend breaks in Cornwall should always include a trip to the beach

But despite the chaos that descends upon the best beaches in the country in the height of summer, a day at the beach munching on a Cornish pasty is an absolute must.

So grab your windbreak, sunnies, suncream, bikini, wooly jumper and rain jacket, and lap up the atmosphere one bite of crusty pastry at a time.



This has been a guest post by Joey Holmes who is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but she’s also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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  1. Very beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!

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