Looe harbour
I've seen most of the UK (too much of many parts of it!), but the one place that I hadn't been to was Cornwall - it always seemed like the place that retired Brits and those with kids went to.

There's also the fact that although England is a small country, Cornwall extends a long, long way to the west of the country - even under good conditions, it's a 7 hour drive from London, and that's to the far eastern part of it.

Also, let's be honest, Cornwall is as far from budget travel as it gets: there's very little budget accommodation as holiday apartments are king, it takes forever and is expensive to get there by both train and coach, and once you're there, you are very limited when you have to rely on public transport. Last weekend, however, the stars aligned, and we managed to book a holiday apartment in Looe with four ladies, and drive to Cornwall by car.

These are the sights we packed into our 4 days (or rather, 2.5, as there were almost 20 hrs of travel time!):

1) St Ives

St Ives is famous for its subsidiary of The Tate and a collection of sculptures by Barabara Hepworth, which I have to admit I bailed out of (I love art, but too recent modern art is not my cup of tea). It's also famous for the painters and artists that came here due to the magnificent light, and that I can understand. There are dozens of art galleries as well as workshops for hands-on experiences scattered throughout town, although it seems you need to book most in advance. If you fancy other museums, £2 gets you into the St Ives History Museum, which is entirely run by volunteers and has a charming (if musty) collection of items from the town's past, which helped me understand what life in Cornwall was like in the past.

2) Lost Gardens of Heligan

I still can't believe how such a giant area of land could symply have been "lost" for decades! Most of it is woodland with sculptures in between, rather than a manicured garden, although there are some lovely vegetable and fruit gardens and orchards, too. It's still an ongoing project to restore the gardens to their former glory - I'd love to visit again in spring or summer one day!




3) Charlestown - The Heritage & Shipwreck Museum

Charlestown used to be major harbour for clay processing, and has since been bought by a company to function as a permanent harbor for old ships. At £5.95, the Shipwreck Museum (the only real sight, apart from the ships in the harbour, which you can only see from a distance, not actually visit) seem a bit pricy, but if you have any interest in history, seafaring and/oder pirates and smuggling, don't miss it! It's charmingly cheesy (complete with speaking plastic puppets) and teaches you about life in Cornwall pre WWII. It also has lots of information and hands-on displays about navigation, lifeboats, diving, and a large collection of treasures found from actual shipwrecks that sunk off the Cornish coast (funnily, with a good part of it dedicated to  the Titanic, which is not really related...).
tempted to upload this to my couchsurfing profile!


There was another sight we managed to squeeze in, but it's not really in Cornwall, plus it deserves its own post ;)

We were extremely lucky as it only rained while we were in the car, and all had a good time despite not expecting too much off Cornwall.

Still, with 3 nights' accomodation and transport from and to London costing close to £150 pp (we could've spent a week in Morocco for that, or a weekend in Paris!), it's an expensive trip, especially considering it was in the country I mostly live in! I'm happy to have been, but don't feel the need to go to again that soon - but if seaside quaintness and relaxed countrside is for you, definitely go and visit!

Have you been to Cornwall? If so, which was your favourite place to visit?


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