Cornwall – Truro
If you have a few spare days when visiting the UK do try and go to Cornwall. one of the Celtic fringe nations, with its own unique language, culture and history. The River Tamar neatly carves a border between Devon and Cornwall, leaving only a few miles of land to bind Cornwall to her Devonian cousin and the UK mainland. The locals remain staunchly ‘Cornish’ and not ‘English’.
he people, working the land, have framed the scenery over the eons. Stark ruins of Tin mining stand gaunt against the blue skies, the old China Clay tips of the St. Austell area echo the hey days of the clay extraction, tiny fishing harbours nestle in every cove, whilst, like in every other part of the world the small farmer still struggles to make a living.
Tempting as it might seem, don’t just laze away your days on the miles of glorious sandy beaches including St.Ives, Newquay and Perranporth – however appealing– but try and capture the flavour of the county by visiting some of the lovely towns and old villages.
Truro, the capital, is an ancient Stannery town, where tin was bought for testing and stamping, and now the centre of Cornish administration. The city is a blend of old and new – with charming Georgian avenues, cobbled streets, delightful riverside walks and mish-mash of alleys, filled with specialist shops sitting easily along side contemporary buildings including the intriguing Crown Courts, described as modern neo –classical! The shopping is excellent and everything is within easy walking distance of the car parks. For bargains galore visit the two indoor markets open 6 days a week. Don’t forget to eat a Cornish Pasty – for a ‘commercially ‘ made pasty try Warrens in Truro for excellent quality, or visit the twice weekly farmers market for real ‘home’ produce.
Truro is quite sophisticated with wine bars, classy restaurants and not forgetting a vast selection of pubs – do try the local ‘real ales’. The lovely Cathedral dominates the skyline and is only metres away from the small quayside on the Truro River – navigable on certain tides all the way to the open sea. A good place to get a taste of the cultural side of Cornwall is the Royal Cornwall Museum in River Street, Truro. Don’t be put off by the idea of being in a museum – dark and musty, a place for hallowed silence! Truro Museum is different – a vibrant building with ever changing exhibitions, light, airy and definitely not in the stuffy museum mould. Naturally there is a serious side with displays on local history, fine art and artefacts brought back by the Cornish from aboard – all lively, attractive and full of information.
The Victoria Gardens, a few minuites walk from the city centre, is wonderful for relaxingon the shores of the river.
Instead of having lunch in town, drive a mile or so to the Heron Inn at Malpas, on the banks of the Truro River, where, overlooking the lazy river at low tide, the mud flats attract numerous species of birds and the air is full of their raucous cries. Perhaps unwind in the mellow atmosphere and sip a half of the local beer and munch a filling ‘Ploughman’s’ lunch. Another excellent hostelry is the famed ‘Pandora’ at Restronguet, about 20 minutes from Truro reached by driving down high sided twisting narrow Cornish lanes. The drive is worth it as the pub is full of character and right on the waterfront. Local yachtsmen come from miles around and moor up for their lunch or supper.
There are numerous bed and breakfast establishments, self catering properties and hotels in and around Truro offering everything from budget to deluxe accommodation.
Cornwall is easy to reach from London- about 4-5 hours by car; express buses from the capital city; direct trains from London Paddington or flights to the local regional airport, near Newquay.
Visit Cornwall: http://www.visitcornwall.com/
Truro City: http://www.truro.gov.uk/index.aspx