Off the Beaten Path in Cornwall

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Dec 09, 2013 / 0 comments

I know it’s trite, that off the beaten path phrase. But the reason it’s so popular is because people are tired of crowds, noise, overblown “attractions” that don’t live up to the hype, let alone the time to stand in line to see it. So, when we travel, we try to find things off the beaten path, by asking locals, reading local newspapers and books, and allowing for serendipity to find us.


Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall located in the southwesternmost parts of England. Heinz Monument is visible in the centre. It commemorates the purchase of Cape Cornwall for the nation by H. J. Heinz Company. The ruins of St. Helens Oratory also can be seen in the left. The two offshore rocks called Brisons are located approximately one mile southwest of the cape. Wikimedia Commons: judithili


And so, off the beaten path in Cornwall. Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places in England, set on sides by Devon, the English Channel, and the Celtic Sea. It’s a place of history, of literary and musical tradition, of rugged scenery and quiet moments. Here are five ways to explore a new side of Cornwall.


Off the Beaten Path in Cornwall

Seal pup near Gew-graze. Wikimedia Commons: Simon Huguet. Adapted by Wandering Educators


Stay off the beaten path!

Find self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall, which allow you to be on your own schedule, in your own time and place. You can head to the grocery store or local markets to stock up on food (and talk with locals about where to find great things to do, see, and eat). If you’re lucky, you’ll find a place with its own history and romantic past – and great views.


Go Sailing in St Mawes 

This is a global pastime, sailing, and for good reason – it’s incredibly peaceful, while at times (as the sea is), challenging. There are two boatyards in St Mawes, and you can rent out sailboats from Roseland Paddle and Sail.


St Mawes, Cornwall

St Mawes anchorage Mid Summer brings visiting yachts to moor or anchor off St Mawes harbour and enjoy shelter from Easterly winds or make use of the facilities of the village. Wikimedia Commons: Rabbi WP Thinrod


Walk the Roseland Peninsula

You’ve got to be in good shape to walk this hilly coastal path. You can start at Nare Head, and then it’s mostly downhill from there. Many people walk from St Mawes to St Just Church – the bonus is that you can check out the church and the beautiful gardens (it’s a subtropical environment here, so they are special). You can also walk from Portscatho to St Anthony’s head is magnificent – you’ll be able to see the lighthouse, views across the Fal estuary, and even stop for lunch at the Ship Inn at Portloe (yum!).


Nare Head and Gerrans Bay, Cornwall

Nare Head and Gerrans Bay. Gerrans Bay from Nare Head, with Carne Beach and Pendower Beach in the distance. Wikimedia Commons: Robin Lucas


Seals, seals, seals

Gweek is home to the National Seal Sanctuary. While you may see seals cavorting in the sea, you can also see them at the sanctuary, which is a refuge and a seal hospital. Here, you can view 10 outdoor pools – some with underwater viewing areas! Besides seals, you can also see sea lions, penguins, otters, and some land critters (goats, sheep, ponies). I applaud their rescue and healing work.



First Radio Station in Cornwall

If you love radio, this will be a cool place to visit! It has been said that radio was born in Cornwall! Guglielmo Marconi made the very first transatlantic radio transmission in 1901 in Poldhu, Cornwall. Now, you can see the remains of the Poldhu Wireless Station – here’s how. Park at Poldhu Cove, and then walk the coastal path along the cliffs. There is a monument and an information centre on site.


Marconi monument at Poldhu

Monument at Poldhu in Cornwall, commemorating the first Transatlantic radio signal which was transmitted from this site to St John's, Newfoundland in 1901. Wikimedia Commons: Nilfanion



Do you have any recommendations to add? What will you see first?