Liskeard has long been an important market centre and was one of the four original Stannary towns. The mining industry played an important part in the town’s growth and in 1828 a canal link enabled ore and stone to be carried down to Looe. The railway which replaced it has become today’s single track branch line along scenic wooded riverbanks, the Looe Valley Line. Monday and Thursday are market days and there is an excellent leisure centre, Lux Park.
This 12th century stannary town remains one of the most vibrant communities in Cornwall. Antiques shops and fairs have made Lostwithiel the antiques capital of Cornwall, but there’s plenty of other great shopping too. Restaurants and pubs abound and Lostwithiel’s calendar is full of highlights such as LostFest, Carrnival week and the Cornish Cider Festival as well as an award winning farmers’ market, vintage fairs and auctions.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Tim Smit’s first project in Cornwall (before the Eden Project) is an exemplar for what regeneration can achieve. At the end of the 19th century its 1,000 acres were at their zenith, but just a few years later bramble and ivy were already taking hold. The award-winning restoration of the estate is now internationally acclaimed and Heligan is a living example of the best of past practice.
Looe (Logh in Cornish, meaning deep water inlet) is an established historic fishing port, now famous for its award winning restaurants and spectacular New Year’s Eve street party. Start your day early and watch the day’s catch being auctioned on the quay and pick up some fresh fish for yourself. From the quayside, the streets snake their way to the beach near the town’s banjo-shaped pier, passing a mix of shops – many of which are located in buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.
You can take a boat on organised mackerel fishing trips close to shore or for big game hunters, head down to meet the Gulf Stream 25 miles out to seek out blue sharks.
We have just returned from four nights here. Villa was lovely, newly refurbished with sea view. Beach is great for exploring and climb the rocks. Five minutes from the beautiful harbour in Looe. Great base to explore Cornwall. Can’t wait to return.
Cheryl, May 2016
Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the town lies on the the west side of the Fowey estuary where the large, deep water harbour is a magnet for yachts. As you walk the narrow streets of the old town where medieval and Georgian buildings sit side by side, a vibrant maritime history comes to life. There are many small, independent shops and Fowey is home to excellent quality cafés and restaurants serving the best in local produce – Fowey River mussels are a highlight.
The Eden Project
Close to St Austell, the Eden Project has been dubbed ‘the world’s largest rainforest in captivity’. Located in a reclaimed Kaolinite pit, the complex is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of geodesic transparent domes that house thousands of plant species; each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The Eden Project is an all weather destination and hosts a year-round calendar of events, including ‘A Time of Gifts’ for the winter months, with an ice rink covering the lake and a Christmas market.
Perched high above the River Tamar, Cotehele, the ancestral home of the Edgcumbe family, is a Tudor house, now owned by the National Trust. Its magnificent interior reflects the house’s history, including tapestries, arms and armour, pewter, brass and old oak furniture.
Outside there are formally planted terraces, a medieval stewpond and dovecote and orchards planted with apples and cherries. From early spring flowers to herbaceous borders in high season, to the orchards in the autumn and snow drops in winter, you’ll find horticultural delights all year round.
The restored sailing barge ‘Shamrock’ is moored at the Cotehele quay where the Discovery Centre tells the story of the Tamar Valley.