Cornwall has long been a popular holiday destination. With miles upon miles of coastline, dotted with deep harbours, rocky coves and wide expanses of golden beaches, it is little wonder that many of us have such fond memories of childhood holidays spent in this most scenic English county.
For many of us, the thought of retiring to a seaside idyll would be a dream come true. Being able to enjoy the county’s slower pace of life, its unique cuisine and exploring its dramatic landscape at a leisurely pace could be a reality to those considering retiring to Cornwall.
So, before you pack up your bags and make that journey across the Tamar, there are a few facts about Cornwall that are worth considering.
Cornwall is renowned for its long Celtic roots, a fact which is still evident today in its place names and historical heritage. Although the unique Cornish language has all but died out, there are still plenty of reminders evident in the colloquial terms used by many locals.
Traditionally tin-mining and china clay extraction have long been Cornwall’s most important industries. Nowadays both have all but ceased, although there is plenty of evidence of the county’s most important economic activities in its numerous museums and historical landmarks.
2. Places to Visit
Along with fishing and agriculture, tourism is today one of Cornwall’s most important industries. The coastlines around Newquay, Perranporth, Hayle and Bude boast some of the county’s best beaches and biggest attractions, as are the old fishing ports of Padstow, Fowey and Looe. Other popular draws are the Eden Project, Lands End, Tintagel Castle and the wild open spaces of Bodmin Moor.
3. Cornish Towns
Although having a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants, Truro is Cornwall’s only city. Truro is also the county’s administrative headquarters. Despite its relatively compact size, Truro has all the amenities to be expected from a county town, to include museums, galleries, a cinema and a good selection of high street chain stores, speciality shops and markets. The city’s gothic-revival 19th Century cathedral dominates its skyline.
Other large settlements to be found in Cornwall include the coastal town of Newquay – with its lively nightlife and great beaches, St Austell, Camborne, Penzance and Bodmin. Also worth a mention are the ports of Padstow, Falmouth and Bude. Cornwall’s largest centre of population is in fact Saltash. This is mainly due to the town’s location, as a commuter town to the large city of Plymouth, which lies just across the Tamar in Devon.
Due to the county’s long and unique history, Cornwall is proud of its culinary heritage. As a county surrounded on three sides by the sea, it is hardly surprising that freshly caught seafood and fish dishes are at top of the menu in its many first class restaurants. In fact, top chefs including Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and John Torode all proudly own establishments in Cornwall.
Other popular local delicacies include the traditional Cornish pasty, often locally known as ‘oggies’, Cornish fudge and clotted cream, which forms the basis for traditional cream tea and Cornish ice cream.
The first things to come to most people’s mind when they think about the Cornish landscape are the county’s fine beaches and sheltered coves. The northern coastline is generally more exposed, comprising broad beaches with a backdrop of high, foreboding cliffs. The more sheltered southern coastline is dotted with broad estuaries and shingle beaches.
It is, however, easy to forget that there is much more to the landscape of Cornwall than its coastline. The lush, rolling fields of the interior are interspersed by granite outcrops and the wild, untamed beauty of Bodmin Moor.
Cornwall boasts the mildest and sunniest climate in the UK, with over 1500 hours of sunshine every year. As a long peninsular, stretching into the Atlantic, the county is, however, greatly affected by the Gulf Stream. This means that although winter months are mild here, retirees should expect quite a high yearly rainfall of between 40 and 50 inches. It is therefore important to pack plenty of waterproofs and umbrellas with those bathing costumes and summer clothing!