The southwest peninsula of England is well known for its astonishing landscape. In this part of the world, the familiar song of seabirds is the theme to everyday life, and the salty air gives visitors a taste of the ocean surrounding it. Blustery clifftops are home to wildlife and their pretty footpaths are a haven for keen hikers. Hidden underneath them are secluded, sandy coves, some of which require satisfying descents in order to reach the beaches below. Away from the coast, wild uplands thrive and lakes speckle the countryside. With over 300 miles of coastline, you won’t be short of fresh air in the beautiful county of Cornwall.
The dinky fishing town of Port Isaac is pretty and unspoilt. Like much of this coastline, jagged cliffs clash with foamy, Celtic tides, and happy houses sit blissfully unaware on the hills above. This delightful village has a few claims to fame: most recently it was the location for the TV series Doc Martin; prior to this it was known for the tiniest thoroughfare, fondly nicknamed Squeezy Belly Alley. Port Isaac is completely isolated. Its harbour is consumed by the ocean, and its land borders surrounded only by acres of green fields.
Nonetheless, there are many other enticing Cornish villages to too far away, such as Polzeath (which has a good surfing beach) and Tintagel (famous for the legend of King Arthur). About 40 minutes away is the popular destination of Newquay. The Bedruthan Steps – an awesome set of stone stacks divided from the mainland due to sea erosion – are also close by.
Larger than Port Isaac, the town of Falmouth has a bit of everything. A clever mix of urban and countryside living, this town is an ever-popular place to not only to visit, but to reside. In 2016, Falmouth was named Britain’s Best Coastal Community and is repeatedly mentioned on the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. This is no surprise, as the town effortlessly combines its crescent-shaped beaches, independent shops and renowned harbour, and it has the Lizard Coast is on its doorstep. With its maritime history at the centre of its disposition, the sailing opportunities here are immense. The sea is often visible across Falmouth’s hilly landscape and the atmosphere is heartwarming- a true gem on the coast of Cornwall.
The granite shorelines of Land’s End form the most southwesterly point of mainland England. Its iconic viewpoint leans out towards the spectacular Isles of Scilly, and the famous signpost awaits mandatory visitor photographs. Around the corner is Porth Nanven – home to the ‘dinosaur egg beach’. The impressive, smooth boulders which occupy Cot Valley Beach present what feels like a prehistoric scene across the horizon. Explore the lower end of the peninsula and you’ll find Porthcurno and its remarkable open-air theatre. Carved into the cliff, this stage has the most dramatic of backdrops. The boisterous sea provides an atmospheric score, and jagged rocks frame the panorama. So, bring a blanket to an outdoor show and learn what it really means to see a performance live.
A historic fishing village, Polperro is still a base for many fishermen today. As the locals catch scallops, crab and a range of fish, not surprisingly, seafood is a speciality here. The tidal harbour is drastically affected by the sea. Boats become beached during certain times of day, and a unique sea pool is created for swimmers during others. It is worth bringing nets to this over-sized rock pool. The Eden Project is near to Polperro, and boat trips to the wildlife hub, Looe Island, are also a popular choice. Souvenir shops, craft exhibitions and narrow streets are all scattered throughout this town with a mysterious smuggling history.