Fancy a slice of the Mediterranean without the hefty duty tax on flights? With acres of caramel coastline stretching from Land's End to historic Bude; a temperate Iberian climate and thriving arts culture, it's little wonder Cornwall tops the stay-cation list as England's premier destination of choice. Enticing prolific foodies with its organic and rustic fayre, Cornwall has garnered a strong reputation for culinary excellence, coupled with an exceedingly contemporary arts and crafts culture defined by local traditions. The genial county bears an omnipresent mining heritage, particularly evident within Penzance and Troon, home to Cornwall's World Heritage mining attractions. In truth, there is no shortage of fun, fancy and fantasy attractions in Cornwall, but you may need to extend your stay in Conrwall to explore our pick of the best!
Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen
Discover Cornwall's archaic mining heritage within one of England's best preserved subterranean attractions; a place where underground tours bring to life the fascinating history of Cornish mining, from as early as the 18th Century. Few mine preservations encompass such a wealth of history and heritage as Geevor. Hard Rock Museum exhibits key examples of engineering used during the course of the mine's working life, as well as comparable life stories of the locals whom toiled in dark and cramped conditions for over 200 years. At The Mill, visitors are given the chance to prospect for treasure, using a traditional panning technique to search for valuable mineral deposits. For photo opportunities, don't miss Victory Shaft, where you'll get the chance to peer right into the 480-metre chasm once used to ferry miners into the black depths of the earth. www.geevor.com/
Eden Project, Bodelva
Eco attractions abound within Cornwall county, yet few are as monumental or iconic as the Eden Project, located near the popular weekend holiday hub of St. Austell. Encompassing an area in excess of five acres, the twin biomes at Eden Project constitute the largest single greenhouse, anywhere in the world. At 3.9 acres, the Tropical Biome is the largest, housing an abundance of tropical flora and fauna; a coffee plantation and even the world's largest captive rainforest! Although smaller, the Mediterranean Biome is equally prolific in tropical species, stunning Bacchanalian sculptures and quirky art installations, such as the Liquid Gold Mosaic Path. Don't miss the fascinating educational exhibits on show at The Core, including a giant nutcracker geared to demonstrating the mechanics of energy processing; the Plant Engine and 'Seed', a behemoth 70-tonne sculpture set within a lighted room next to the Spiral Garden. www.edenproject.com/
Port Eliot House, Saltash
Nestled within a leafy enclave of hills mere miles from St. Germans lies a stately, Grade I listed country house concealing over 1,500 years worth of local heritage. Built in the 16th Century, Port Eliot House occupies the former seat of the St. Germans monasteries; itself stood upon the foundations of buildings estimated to be over 800 years old. Surprisingly, a few indications of the site's former uses remain, including an expanse of red tiling within the main halls. Despite the plethora of antiques and history, Port Eliot's true allure lies in its art collection, an eclectic horde of world-class paintings by Van Dyck and Reynolds to name but a few. Designed by the eminent landscape artist Rempton, Port Eliot's gardens and parkland are a joy to explore, with horse riding and guided tours for groups keen to indulge in a fulfilling Cornish country experience. www.porteliot.co.uk/
Crealy Great Adventure Park, Wadebridge
A magical land of thrill rides and adventure trails, Crealy Great Adventure Park holds a cherished memory for nearly every Cornwall native. During summer months, the wet and wacky Thunder Falls log flume is the only way to let off steam and escape the scorching Mediterranean heat. Not for the faint of heart, Raging River Rapids promises a white knuckle ride down turbulent rivers, with a few surprising drops for scream factor. Less adventurous visitors will find Dragon's Lair a welcome distraction from the high octane rides. Set within a themed indoor arena just off the main thoroughfare, Dragon's Lair packs in mini-mazes, sky-walks and gigantic slides ideal for younger kids, alongside a kid-friendly petting zoo full of exotic and farmyard animals. www.crealy.co.uk/
What attractions have you enjoyed in Cornwall?