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Cornwall Travel Information

The ceremonial county of Cornwall covers an area of over 3,500 square kilometers in the south of the United Kingdom. The peninsula attracts over a million tourists every year with its rugged cliffs, wide beaches and the Cornish architecture. Get to know more about the country, its culture and infrastructure before you travel to the beautiful Cornwall.

Cornwall's Culture

Please take a browse through this section of the website to familiarise yourself with the Cornish culture before you arrive at your holiday home. People from this part of the world are very proud of their heritage so it could go a long way to start learning about it now. Who knows? You might even find out something interesting about the West Country that you had never known of before.

Cornish

Keep an ear out on your travels around Cornwall and you might have to think twice about what people are saying to each other. If this does happen, don’t worry. You may well have had one too many glasses of wine last night but that’s not the reason you’re struggling to understand the locals’ accent. Far more likely is they are not speaking English at all, but rather Cornish, a near extinct Celtic language almost as old as the land, which has undergone something of a revival in recent years. Although the last true native speakers are thought to have died out at the beginning of the 20th Century, Cornish is once again becoming a presence on England’s South Coast, with the language taught in schools and even some children raised to be bilingual English and Cornish speakers. Even films and books have been produced in Cornish and it certainly seems on its way to becoming an integral part of the region’s culture once again. If you’d like to brush up on your Cornish before you leave, have a look at our beginner’s guide below!

Useful Cornish Phrases: Good morning - Myttin da
Good day - Dydh da
How are you? - Fatla genes?
Well, thank you - Yn poynt da, meur ras
What time is it? - Py eur yw?

Cornish Cuisine

When it comes to food, Cornwall is famous for one thing above all else: pasties. Made traditionally of meat, potatoes and turnips wrapped in pastry and then left to bake until golden brown, these quintessential Cornish delights first became popular among tin miners in the 17th and 18th Century and have slowly but surely become a staple of British gastronomy. These days they are filled with pretty much anything from baked beans to chili con carne and are officially Cornwall’s national dish. Still, that’s not to say that pasties are the only dish hailing from Cornwall.

Owing to its location surrounded by water on the UK’s south west coast, fish have also played a huge part in the history of the region’s cuisine and this is certainly reflected in its restaurant culture. TV Chefs, Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver both own seafood restaurants in Cornwall and it is hard to walk along Falmouth’s waterfront without being enticed by a fish and chips shop or a tapas bar. One dish that is perhaps more often cooked at home, however, is the rather bizarre looking Stargazy Pie, a fish pie in which the fishes’ heads are arranged to poke through the crust as if staring at the stars. This allows oils from the fish to drain into the pie and add full flavour, as well as to keep it moist. The pie is traditionally eaten during the local festival of Tom Bawcock’s Eve in celebration of his daring and heroic catch, which saved the entire village of Mousehole from starvation in a treacherous winter.

Cornwall Sport

Cornwall's sporting culture is unlike that of many places in the UK. There are some very unusual sports played exclusively in these parts, which can boggle the mind of the uninitiated. For that reason, we have prepared some information so that you can gain a better understanding of sport in Cornwall and are fully prepared for your holiday delving into the land of Hurling and Wrasslin’.

Cornish Wrestling
A sport which is unique to Cornwall and can be traced back almost 1000 years is Cornish Wrestling, commonly referred to by Vince McMahon and the locals as ‘Wrasslin’. Despite being a great deal divorced from the Lucha Libré stylings of their Mexican counterparts, these Cornish Camachos still provide an enthralling spectacle for the many people who attend competitions and title fights throughout the year. Each wrestler wears a baggy jacket which is taken hold of by their opponent. They then attempt to throw said opponent to the ground without ever actually touching their body. Points are scored by forcing your opponent onto their back and matches can even be decided instantly if the throw is deemed accurate enough by the three referees, known as "Sticklers". In fact, moments like this may even come as a relief to some because this is a tough sport -and make no mistake - once you put on that jacket, there truly is no way out.       

Cornish Hurling
Along with Cornish Wrestling, Hurling is considered Cornwall’s national sport. Although it is not to be confused with the Irish stick sport of the same name, historians believe it possibly derived from a common ancestor played by Celtic tribes centuries ago. Still, no matter where the game came from, Hurling remains a unique part of the region’s cultural heritage and the biannual event which takes place in the town of St. Columb Major is always hotly anticipated by the locals. The object of the game is for the two competing teams of Town and Country folk to gain possession of a silver ball that is tossed up in the town square and take it to one of two stone goals at particular points in the town or outside of the parish boundary. Despite being a game that usually involves throwing and passing the ball between team members, the first hour is generally spent grappling in a no holds barred contest for possession. There are absolutely no rules during this period, other than that the game can be stopped at any time to allow non-competitors the chance to touch the ball for good luck and it is not uncommon for car windows to be smashed and injuries to be sustained during proceedings. After the conclusion of the game, the winning team parade the ball around the town, taking it to local taverns and drinking from a keg of beer that it has been submerged in. This so-called ‘Silver Beer’ is shared with everyone in the tavern and is said to bring fertility to those who sup from it.



Cornwall Weather

Cornwall is on average the brightest place in Britain with 1805 hours of sunshine in its sunniest place. That does not necessarily mean it is the warmest place all year round but certainly in the summer months it rarely drops below 12°C, with average highs of 19°C. Owing to its position on the East Coast, Cornwall enjoys a mild maritime climate as warm water flows north with the Gulf Stream and onto its shores. This means that it’s always great conditions to go for a swim in the sea and since Newquay’s tides typically rise to around 7 metres, it is also perfect weather for surfing. Nevertheless, while the weather can often make you forget where you are, it is best to try and remember that it is still part of the UK and that can quite often mean rain. Especially since Cornwall is located on the West coast, it is prone to the occasional rainy day and can get quite stormy at times. Because of this it’s worth being prepared and packing some warmer, waterproof clothes particularly if you are planning on spending time outside going on long walks through the countryside. Whatever the weather, a holiday cottage in Cornwall will always make a cosy and warm place to retreat to.



Transport in Cornwall

Here you can view all of the travel information you will need for both getting to Cornwall and making use of its public transport upon your arrival. It can be quite a journey down to the South West Coast, especially if you’re coming from somewhere like Newcastle or Scotland so we want to make sure your journey is as comfortable and short as possible. That’s why we’ve put together some invaluable tips about flying to Newquay or travelling by train or bus for anyone who doesn’t fancy the long drive but don’t forget to take a look at our local transport information as well for tips on how to best explore this wonderful corner of the UK.

Getting to Cornwall


Flying to Cornwall
If you’re thinking about flying to Cornwall, then you will be happy to know that Newquay Airport has a superb amount of domestic and international links which are regularly in operation. This is certainly a great option for holiday makers travelling from the likes of Newcastle, for whom travelling by other means could prove to be a long and arduous journey. All flight information is available to view on their website at newquaycornwallairport.com, however you can see exactly where you can fly from below:
Belfast, Cyprus, Dubrovnik, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isles of Scilly, Madeira, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich

Reaching Newquay’s town centre from the airport is easy enough, with a regular bus service running between the two, which are situated only five miles apart. There is also a taxi rank and three car hire companies available on site, namely Avis, Europcar and Hertz, in the case that you would prefer to make your own way to your holiday home.  

Getting to Cornwall by Train
Cornwall is well connected to train networks across the UK with the possibility to travel directly between London Paddington, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol and if you book ahead on websites such as thetrainline.com and firstgreatwestern.co.uk you can usually get tickets at a fair price. The main railway line runs between Plymouth and Penzance with off-shooting branches that head to St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay, Looe and Gunnislake, making it very easy indeed to get you to your destination both quickly and comfortably. Travelling by train is also a perfect opportunity to see some of Cornwall’s wonderful landscape as you cut through the Cornish countryside, with the routes to Looe and St Ives being particularly scenic. If you’d rather forfeit these spectacular views so you can travel through the night and make the most of your day when you arrive in Cornwall, then why not travel via sleeper train on the Night Riviera, which travels between Penzance and London Paddington.

Getting to Cornwall by Coach
It can take between seven and eight hours to travel from London to Cornwall by coach, which is admittedly longer than it would take by a high speed train, however it is also a much more affordable option. National Express runs coaches to and from Cornwall from 1,200 destinations all over the UK and is the country’s most popular coach service, offering comfortable and pleasant journeys. For travel within the Cornwall and Devon area, you can also take a look at First who offer over 100 coach services from Land's End to Exeter.

Driving to Cornwall
Travelling to Cornwall by road is certainly a great option for anyone who wants to be as flexible as possible during their stay, especially if your holiday home has a drive where you can park your car. If you’re driving down from the North, you should take the M6 from Manchester before switching to the M5 to Exeter. Motorists from London are best advised to travel on the M4 and also connect to the M5. Once you’ve reached Exeter, it’s relatively easy to traverse your way through the region’s road system, with the A30 running right through its heart all the way to Penzance. Although this is a dual carriageway, you should make sure to check for any travel updates at BBC Travel Information before planning your journey, as this road can get very busy during peak hours and this is particularly the case during the summer. You can also take a look at the AA Route Planner to plan your journey to Cornwall.      

Regional Transport in Cornwall

Despite the long beaches and vast land you can traverse Cornwall in a little over two hours. For example there are only 150 kilometers between Kilkhampton in northern Cornwall and Land's End.

Explore Cornwall by Ferry
For a region with such a rich maritime tradition, it is no surprise that you can travel between particular locations in Cornwall via various ferry and boat services. In fact, the King Harry Ferry, which operates on the estuary of the river Fal near Falmouth, was voted as one of the top ten most scenic ferry trips in the world so it might even be worth taking a trip on it purely for your own enjoyment. Over in Padstow on Cornwall’s northern coast, there is also the Black Tor Ferry service running to the picturesque island of Rock which is very popular among visitors. Still, ferries in Cornwall are not just useful for day trippers. In fact, they are perhaps one of the best options for people who don’t want to just spend their entire holiday in one place. For example, the ferry running five times per day between Truro and Falmouth could be the perfect way of getting about, especially if you’ve already had a long drive to Cornwall in the first place and don’t fancy spending any more of your trip sat in the car. Ferries are the perfect way to mix it up a bit. All information about ferries in Cornwall can be found on the Council’s website.

Travel by Bus
The two major bus companies operating in Cornwall are Western Greyhound and First, who both offer affordable and reliable transport in between all of the regions’ major towns. Better still, you can gain unrestricted access to these busses as well as the train for the whole day by purchasing a "Ride Cornwall" ticket for just £10. In addition to this Cornwall Council spends £5 million supporting local bus services each year, which means that not only is it very easy to travel to and fro between each of its major tourist destinations but that it is also comfortable and affordable to get the bus around town once you arrive. Cornwall Public Transport offer an incredibly helpful overview of all current bus services running in Cornwall, including individual town maps with details of the many routes in operation at present.

Travel by Train
Travelling around by train can be both quick and cheap here, especially since it is possible to buy a one-day ‘Ride Cornwall’ ticket that allows you to travel on all Cross Country and First Great Western train services as well as busses. The main train line runs from Penzance to Plymouth in Devon with off-shooting routes to all major coastal towns and there is always the opportunity to buy plus-bus tickets for travel around each particular town that you find yourself in. If you want to travel in style you can also look at Virgin Trains who offer a more premium service that often costs a little more but is much faster and very comfortable indeed. All train information can be found on the National Rail Enquiries website.

You can find Cornwall holiday homes for your stay right here on Travanto.com or go to Forever Cornwall. Here you find unique beach chalets, barns and holiday cottages in Gwithian, Newlyn and Helford - all of which are perfectly situated for weekend excursions or longer stays. They also offer some great tips on finding things to do in Cornwall.