Cornwall is steeped in myths, legends and folklore, from ‘piskies’ and faeries to kings and castles. To uncover some of this county’s ancient history, set aside some time on your holiday to visit our historical landmarks.
Set high on the rugged North Cornwall coast, the historic Tintagel castle, famous for being the birthplace of King Arthur, has fascinating ruins and offers amazing views. The castle features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde and has a history stretching back as far as the Romans. It is joined to the mainland by a narrow piece of land and it faces the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. On the mainland itself are the sparse remains of the medieval castle and nearby you will find Merlin’s cave, which fills with sea water at high tide, but has a sandy floor and can be explored when the tide is out.
Lanhydrock House, on the outskirts of Bodmin, is a late Victorian country house and estate. After a devastating fire in 1881, it was refurbished in high Victorian style, with the best in country house design and planning, including all the latest mod cons. As you explore the house, discover what life was like ‘below stairs’ in the kitchens, nurseries and servant’s quarters and how the Agar- Robartes family enjoyed all the comforts of ‘upstairs’ living with luxurious family areas, elegant dining room and spacious bedrooms. With 50 rooms to explore in all, and an extensive garden and estate, make sure you allow plenty of time to visit Lanhydrock.
St Michael’s Mount has over a thousand years of history and is accessible from the old market town of Marazion. At low tide, take a walk across the causeway to the Mount where legend has it, a giant once walked or when the causeway isn’t accessible, hop on a boat which will take you there in just a couple of minutes. The Mount is home to a medieval castle, sub tropical gardens and a close knit island community. Take a guided tour of the castle, scale the fairytale turrets for a panoramic view of Mounts Bay or chill out to live music on the village green. If you fancy a bite to eat, tuck into fresh local produce at the Island Café or Sail Loft restaurant. St Michael’s Mount hosts many events throughout the year so keep an eye on what’s happening there whilst you’re in county.
Chysauster is an Iron Age settlement that was originally occupied almost 2000 years ago. The village consisted of stone-walled homesteads known as ‘courtyard houses’, found only on the Land’s End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly. The houses line a ‘village street’, and each had an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms. There are also the remains of an enigmatic ‘fogou’ underground passage. Chysauster is situated near New Mill, just outside of Penzance.