Cornwall in a campervan
You can’t get much further west than the ancient kingdom of Cornwall (or Kernow, as it’s often referred to around these parts).
With the longest stretch of continuous coastline in Britain, this is a land whose history is intricately bound up with the sea, and all around the county’s shores you’ll discover remnants of its maritime heritage.
There are tiny fishing ports, old smuggler’s inns and sturdy granite breakwaters, not to mention countless beaches and sweeping bays once filled with pilchard boats, gill netters and seagoing schooners. Although fishing is still an important industry, these days tourism is by far the biggest trade, and it’s not hard to see what keeps the visitors coming back year after year.
From the secluded coves and tree-clad creeks along the county’s southern coast to the wild grandeur of the north coast cliffs, Cornwall is one of Britain’s most breathtakingly beautiful counties. It’s also an intriguing mix of old and new, where futuristic greenhouses and world-class galleries meet crumbling mines and ancient market towns.
The North Cornish coast is where the rolling Atlantic smacks hard into the county’s granite cliffs, and for many people it’s the quintessential Cornish landscape a wild mix of grassy headlands, craggy bluffs and pounding surf.
It’s also where you’ll find the county’s best beaches and biggest waves, so in summer the winding cliff top roads. Visit in the off-season when the holidaymakers have left for home, and you might have some of Cornwall’s finest sand all to yourself.
South East Cornwall
Dotted with picturesque fishing villages and patchwork fields, South East Cornwall offers a much gentler side to the county than the stark, sea-pounded granite cliffs along the northern coast. Carpeted with wildflowers and crisscrossed by hedgerows, this is still working dairy country, where much of Cornwall’s famously rich milk and clotted cream is produced.
South West Cornwall
Cornwall’s southwest coastline, dotted with inlets, estuaries and wooded creeks, has long been one of the county’s main maritime areas. The deepwater port at Falmouth has the third-largest natural harbour in the world. It is still a busy seafaring town, and the remote area further to the west around the Lizard was once notorious as a haven for smugglers and wreckers.
These days, history and natural scenery are the main attractions, with long stretches of protected coastline, fine beaches and some of Cornwall’s most impressive subtropical gardens all within easy reach of Falmouth.
West Cornwall contains some of the county’s wildest scenery, a classic landscape of sea-battered cliffs, churning surf, crumbling mine-workings and wheeling gulls. The West Penwith area was one of the oldest Celtic settlements in Cornwall, and the area is littered with prehistoric sites.