There’s no doubt that the West end of Cornwall packs a great deal into a relatively small area, making it a highly desirable destination despite its position at the very southwest tip of England. Containing some of the county’s wildest scenery, it also houses some of Cornwall’s most popular and iconic locations.
Although distant from the main hubs of England, West Cornwall is surprisingly accessible, particularly by train (straight from London Paddington into Penzance), and the completion of the A30 main road has only made it easier to access by car. Once there, the visitor quickly forgets the journey, as this area captures one’s soul with its beauty, romance, and beguiling history. Wildness can be sought on the clifftop coastal path, art lovers can lose themselves in the galleries at St. Ives, and historians will be absorbed by the tin mining heritage. The likes of St. Michael’s Mount, the Minack Theatre and of course, Land’s End, mean that this part of Cornwall just cannot be missed.
Penzance possesses the traditional atmosphere of a grand old English seaside town, with its promenade, beautiful Georgian and Regency buildings, and plenty going on for the visitor. It’s also a very convenient base from which to explore this western end of Cornwall, given its location on the mainline railway straight from London, and the wonderful choice of accommodation.
St. Ives is one of the key draws for visitors not just to West Cornwall, but to the county as a whole, and this magnetism is well deserved. The incredible colour of the sea, azure in quality, and the fabulous clean light, has been a draw for artists and visitors alike for over a century, and with plenty here for the tourist to experience, St. Ives makes for a great destination and base.
Being the most westerly point of the English mainland, Land’s End holds an inevitable appeal for many, and indeed the views from there are exactly what the imagination conjures up when one visualises a wild Cornish seascape. It has been commercialised, too much for some, but if one can turn a blind eye to this, it can make for a memorable visit.
The gateway to The Lizard, Helston is the second oldest town in Cornwall, and its long history has left it with character and some architecturally interesting buildings that visitors will appreciate. An unspoilt town to wander around, Helston has plenty of shops, bakeries, and pubs, and if you happen to visit on the 8th May, you can enjoy the town’s annual Flora Dance.
This picturesque and unspoilt peninsula, England’s most southerly piece of land, feels somewhat separate from the rest of Cornwall, jutting as it does into the English Channel. It’s designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is well deserved and The Lizard offers more than enough for a visitor to enjoy during a week’s holiday, or perhaps even longer.
Just over 30 miles off the western tip of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly have their own distinctive flavour that makes them an extremely attractive destination for holiday makers. Fine white sand beaches, palm trees, crystal-clear water, and a temperate climate are all part of the broad appeal of this wonderful cluster of islands, along with a community that’s keen to welcome visitors.