Cornwall is England's most western county, positioned at the base of the West Country. It has unique and proud traditions and a huge amount of character. Its famous cream teas, stunning beaches, moors and castles and famous places such as St. Ives and Land's End all contribute to make it one of the most popular destinations in the UK.
Nowhere in the county is beyond reach with a car once you're there but it's worth looking for accommodation near the places and activities you're particularly looking forward to. Most Cornwall hotels tend to be locally owned rather than chains, although you will find a growing number of budget chain hotels in the county. There is also a growing number of boutique-style properties and eco-hotels are springing up here and there, so there's a good choice that's certain to fit your preference and budget.
Hotels tend to be centred around the beach resorts and towns, although you can find many great B&Bs in the countryside. There's plenty of self-catering accommodation of all types, from cosy flats to cottages suitable for large families and groups. If it's a beach holiday you're looking for then Cornwall may be the perfect location. You can take your pick from a huge range of Blue Flag beaches to sunbathe, build sand castles or perhaps try your hand at surfing. Falmouth, for instance, is a bustling university town with a great deal of charm. It has some lovely beaches, good surfing, delicious cream teas and plenty to occupy the whole family.
For those planning a surfing holiday, choosing accommodation near one of the popular surf beaches is a great idea. The scenery is particularly lovely in the area and the conditions on many beaches are some of the best in Europe. Whitsand Bay, for example, has four miles of beaches, is suitable for beginners and intermediate-level surfers and the challenges change with the weather, as is often the case. Another good place for surfers to stay might be St Austell. It's near several extremely popular surfing beaches and also has plenty to offer family or group members who prefer not to surf. Located on the Cornish Riviera, this small town is beautiful and charming. The St Austell brewery supplies good local ale to the area and the rest of the country. There's a good range of both standard high-street chains and fascinating independent shops. Don't forget to get out and about and visit the Eden Project and the lost gardens of Heligan while you're nearby. Both are fascinating days out.
St Ives, too, is a good location to consider if you want a beach or fishing holiday. It's perhaps best known for the riddle "As I was going to St. Ives..", but it also contains one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall, dating from around 1312. It was the site of the first National Lifeboat Institution boathouse and is a Mecca for artists. It's a delightful town with plenty to offer. Other good town locations include: Wadebridge, a beautiful 14th-century market town with many historical points of interest; the fishing port of Looe, with its annual carnival and attractive harbour; Fowey, which has some fascinating traditional stories of being visited by St. Joseph and the infant Jesus; and Bude, which offers indoor and outdoor sports, a theme park and isn't far from Lundy Island.
Newquay, about halfway down the west coast of the county, is a prime spot for getting to the rest of Cornwall, so hotels here are a good idea if you'd like to see as much of the county as possible. It's also a lovely location in itself. Good for surfing and other water sports, it also has nine sandy beaches, a boating lake and hosts the popular 'Run to the sun' event each May.
Wherever you stay in Cornwall hotels are certain to offer a good Cornish cream tea, but don't miss out on the opportunity to sample several on your travels! Other musts on the list should include a trip to Tingagel Castle, with its absolutely stunning location and scenery. The castle features heavily in Arthurian legend. It's said to be the birthplace of King Arthur and the nearby Merlin's Cave was made famous by the writings of Tennyson. Or if you're of more scientific a mind then the observatory at Goonhilly has over 60 giant satellite dishes and makes for an educational day out.
For those who love walking holidays Land's End is ideal. It's also a good location from which to explore the old tin mines at Geevor. With lots of pretty harbours, the area is ideal too for bird spotters as well as walkers. Other good starting points for holidays involving lovely walks include Tamar Valley, Bodmin Moor or Helston. Each has its own character but all offer some truly lovely scenery and wildlife.
Cornwall is a lively place to visit all year round but there are certain times of the year that are particularly good, such as during the Golowan Festival that is held each year in Penzance. Golowan is, in the Cornish tongue, the word for the midsummer festival and while these festivals are held across the county, Penzance has been particularly successful at reviving the old traditions of the region. The festival is an experience to be remembered. Hotels in Cornwall will naturally be busy during this period, so do book early to avoid being disappointed.
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