During my time away, I wanted to make the most of Cornwall and seeing the sights within the fiercely independent county. Falmouth and Penryn were the places I visited most frequently (Penryn is lovely to walk through and it looked amazing all lit up with Christmas lights late last year, but aside from one great café – Earth and Water – there isn’t much to do there). Falmouth is popular for students because of the bars and pubs, and my favourites include The Games Room and The Chain Locker but there are plenty more as well as fantastic places to eat like Harbour Lights fish and chips or The Meat Counter for the best burgers and fries ever. There’s also a lot of small independent shops, which are perfect for buying nice gifts, a lot of nautical themed clothes shops and plenty of vintage stores. There are hardly any high street shops which was great for getting a feel for the town, especially because the owners of the independent stores were always keen for a chat and it made the overall experience so much more unique. Cornish cream tea is also everywhere (not complaining at all) but my favourites include Dolly’s Tea House (for the best cream teas as well as two dogs that hang around the café) and De Wynn’s.
Myself and a friend took a day trip to St. Ives in early October, and it took about an hour by train with a couple of changes but it was very easy to figure out. It’s a beautiful coastal town, with incredible tidal beaches, where you can walk right out across the sand and into the harbour amongst the beached boats when the tide’s out to get into the town. Although it was ridiculously windy, we walked a lot along the rugged coast, getting sprayed by the massive waves and walked up a hill to an old stone church perched right at the top, overlooking the whole town on one side and a wide expanse of ocean on the other. We felt very much like Elizabeth Bennett, if she’d lived in Cornwall. We visited the Tate St Ives, which is right on the coast, so the most beautiful if niche location for a gallery. Walking into town, there is an incredible and ancient history, some buildings having been around for 500 years! Fudge as well as cream teas seemed to be a key feature in the town’s cuisine, so I would recommend investing in that if you ever find yourself there! Cornwall has been made famous because of Daphne du Maurier, and for any other book-lovers out there, Virginia Woolf had a summer home in St Ives as a child, and her novel To The Lighthouse was inspired by that location.
I also took the bus into Truro a couple of times, which is around 25 minutes away from Penryn campus. The buses to Truro and Redruth, as well as some other places come right into campus and you get cheaper fares with your student ID, otherwise the Penryn train station is only a ten-minute walk from campus and you can get pretty much anywhere from there, with a couple of changes. Truro is another lovely small town, with a main square/high street and traditional cobbled roads, with a beautiful and enormous cathedral as one of the main attractions. There are more high street shops there, so there was a little less character than Falmouth but still well worth the visit. Charlotte’s Tea House is a converted Victorian building, refurbished to look like it’s still the 1800s and the view overlooks the beautiful main square. I went a second time with a friend at the end of November to check out the Christmas markets and that was when all the town showed off their independent stalls as well as selling mulled cider and street food, so along with performers out on the street and the whole town glowing with Christmas lights, it felt very very festive!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this (virtual) tour of Cornwall, and that it inspires you to someday visit this beautiful corner of the world.
Until next time,