Cornwall Bucket List 2021: 21 must-have experiences to tick off this spring and summer
One of the upsides of the Covid-19 pandemic is rediscovering the treasures that are on your doorstep, like staying in a holiday cottage in Cornwall. Yes, we all miss the excitement of zipping off to the airport and flying somewhere new, but Cornwall has to be one of the most stunningly beautiful and culturally rich places in the world – and it really is just down the road. Here, we have rounded up the best things to do, places to go and food to savour – welcome to Cornish Traditional Cottages’ Cornwall Bucket List 2021 – our pick of 21 must-have experiences. Let us know how many you tick off while staying in one of our beautiful holiday cottages!
(Covid-19 measures may mean some venues may not be open – please call ahead before planning your day out.)
1. Get wet and wild while learning to surf
There’s no experience quite like surfing: whether you’re splashing about in the white water on a bodyboard with the kids or perfecting your pop-up technique out in the bigger rollers, being borne along by waves is sublime. Factor in the pleasure of stunning scenery, clear waters and the thrill of seeing a range of sea life, and you are not only learning a new sport and getting a great workout but also practising the art of being present. If you’re worried about being cold, trust us: the latest wetsuits will keep you toasty. You won’t be far from a surf school and board hire if you’re staying in one of our holidays cottages on the Cornish coast: book in for private or group lessons.
2. Soak up myth and mystery at Tintagel
3. Find yourself at the Lost Gardens of Heligan
4. While away a rainy day at Bodmin Jail
5. Have a heavenly day out at Eden
6. Drink in the view at Kynance Cove
Cornwall’s coastal views are guaranteed to blow your socks off even on a wet, windy winter’s day, and the jewel in its crown is the scene that greets you at Kynance Cove on the Lizard. The vantage point from the top of the cliffs is idyllic – the sea is deep azure, turning turquoise in the shallows, with perfect, light golden sand. Scramble down the cliff path and land on the beach, where there is space to set up for the day – but beware of the tides. Marvel at the rock stacks and have a dip in the crystalline waters – you could be in the Caribbean. There are great walks around the cliffs, too.
7. Look for fairies at St Nectan’s Glen
8. Slurp down Cornish oysters in Padstow
Shellfish is a Cornish speciality and no trip to Cornwall is complete without treating yourself to some oysters and a glass of something cold. Porthilly, a little village just down from Rock, is renowned for its sweet, fresh oysters, mussels and clams, grown and purified by Porthilly Shellfish, who supply most of the local eateries. Padstow is literally your oyster when it comes to fish restaurants – Rick Stein reigns supreme, but there are other establishments available. Try Barnaby’s on Duke Street for sharing platters, bold flavours and an intimate, relaxed feel.
9. Forget doughnut rides – take the family on a Super SUP
10. Walk across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount
11. Tuck into a hedgehog ice cream at Chapel Porth
12. Cycle the Camel trail…
13. …then taste some local sparkling wines at Camel Valley
The Lindo family have been making wine at Camel Valley since 1989 and their sparkling wines are the jewel in their crown, winning awards and accolades to rival that of France’s Champagne region. You can tour the vineyards or just sit and simply sip a glass of wine on the terrace and enjoy the wonderful view. Don’t forget to buy a bottle or two to enjoy back at your holiday cottage. If gin is more your thing, check out our blog on tastings here.
14. Catch a show at the Minack Theatre
15. Soak up Cornish history at Men-An-Tol
If you like your Cornwall with a side of ancient history, head to Men-an-Tol on Penwith Moor, near Madron. As soon as you arrive, it’s clear you’re in an ancient landscape – there’s a neolithic enclosure on the hillside, bronze-age barrow burials and the Boskednan Nine Maidens stone circle nearby. The name means ‘stone with a hole’ in Cornish and the site is probably about 4,000 years old. Just think about what these stones have seen: the bronze age, the arrival and departure of the Romans, the rise and fall of local leaders. But it’s the stones’ connection to ordinary people’s lives that make it fascinating. The myths that have hung around say that if you pass your baby through the stone, you’ll protect them from illness.
16. Take a relaxing ferry to Cawsand
17. Discover Poldark country
You can’t mention Cornwall now without bringing up the ‘Poldark effect’. Since the BBC reincarnated its popular 1970s drama series, Cornwall has seen a huge increase in visitors and Penzance, along with the ever popular St Ives, has become a base to explore Poldark country at its best. Your first port of call is Porthgwarra, the cove where actor Aidan Turner took a semi-naked dip in the sea in the first series. There’s a tiny cafe nearby where you can take a break if you find yourself a bit breathless with such goings on. Next, visit Levant Mine, the Unesco world heritage site that poses as Poldark’s fictional Tresiders Rolling Mill. Learn all about how Cornish miners extracted copper by candlelight before treating yourself to a stroll to take in all those views at sunset.
18. Go wild swimming in a sea pool
19. Drink rum cocktails like a Cornish pirate
20. Roam the South West Coast Path
There is no better way to see Cornwall’s stunning coastline than by tramping the UK’s longest and best-loved national trail. Drink in nature, get up close and personal with the elements, relax and switch off from day-to-day life. Whether you’re looking for an easy circular walk with a pub at the end, a long stretch to hike or a place for a simple run, the South West Coast Path has it all.