The rise and rise of tourism in Britain’s (almost) subtropical tip

PUBLISHED: 08:53 18 November 2020

Kynance Cove on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula. Photo: Ewen MacDonald

Kynance Cove on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula. Photo: Ewen MacDonald

Ewen MacDonald

Cornwall welcomes four million visitors each year - but there is still room for more

Porthleven is fast becoming Cornwall's new foodie capitalPorthleven is fast becoming Cornwall's new foodie capital

Cornwall welcomes around four million visitors a year – and the vast majority are repeat holidaymakers who have helped create an entire coastal lifestyle on England’s (almost) subtropical tip.

Around one in ten visitors already take their main holiday in Cornwall, which has a very loyal and passionate visitor base, but there is always room for more. With around 160 beaches and coves, even in the height of summer there is space for everyone. Its harbours offer a romantic view on the past – as well as incredible food and drink. Poldark fans should look to Charlestown and Porthcurno, while Doc Martin enthusiasts can head for Port Isaac (stop off for Nathan Outlaw’s for a fish dish with a difference).

Over the last decade, Cornwall has successfully shunned competition from rivaldestinations around the country to hold top awards as Britain’s best holiday spot. This is helped by being home to world-famous attractions, like the Eden Project, National Maritime Museum, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Minnack Theatre. For water-lovers, there are seas, oceans, sea pools, a lido, rivers, reservoirs - and one of the deepest natural harbours in the world to explore.

While there are many loyal visitors to Cornwall who crave the same holiday each year – even down to the same camping spot - many of us are looking for new adventures and each season offers new places to stay, eat and try: from Bodmin Jail’s new interactive experience to coasteering and visiting some of the world’s best gardens and art galleries. If you want to stick to something more traditional – you can learn to surf in two hours (or you can boogie board in two minutes).

Falmouth Harbour is on of the deepest natural harbours in the world. Photo: Ewen MacDonaldFalmouth Harbour is on of the deepest natural harbours in the world. Photo: Ewen MacDonald

Cornwall offers some incredible short break ideas. Regulars make their way across the 300 miles of South West Coast path that offers incomparable views of the Cornish coastline, there are also incredible wildlife watching spots and areas like Bude are becoming more and more popular for people to set up their telescopes for a spot of stargazing thanks to its Dark Skies recognition. Sennen also boasts an unofficial nudist beach – and Mousehole is home to famous harbour Christmas lights.

Cornwall has become a champion at short breaks that bring with them a spot of adventure: surfing, paddleboarding, coasteering and cycling along the Camel Valley - and of course bareback horse riding across the beaches of the Isles of Scilly (which at 49 degrees is official sub-tropical) where dozens of uninhabited islands encircled by white sandy beaches and azure seas await.

Cornwall’s food and drink industry is flourishing despite a difficult year – there are hundreds for great places to enjoy find dining and cream teams - and everything in between. Some of Cornwall’s most famous chefs now offer takeaways and home kits for cooking restaurant meals – ideal for self-caterers. If you like to be a little more hands-on head for one of the many tasting and cooking masterclasses on offer. Gin and seafood schools have popped up all over the county, you can learn something and take home a gift to remember your day.

Top 10 resorts in Cornwall

Porthcurno has become famous for its role in BBC PoldarkPorthcurno has become famous for its role in BBC Poldark

Newquay

Falmouth

Padstow

St Ives

Penzance

Looe

Bude

Falmouth

Perranporth

St Austell

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