A bargain break in Cornwall

Truro, Cornwall's Cathedral city

As we all know Cornwall is a great place to come for a walking holiday, an activity that costs nothing, and if you stay in the right place, you can just lace up your boots and open the door and off you go for the day! We have loads of blogs about walking in Cornwall, so we will let you discover those elsewhere.

What we want to do here is pick out some of the attractions or activities dotted around Cornwall that you can visit for free, or by donation.

Let’s start in Truro, our little city. It’s a wonderful place for window shopping, wandering around the maze of lanes or alleyways. There’s places to eat for all budgets, and when you are ready for some culture, head into the Cathedral. Unlike some Cathedrals in other parts of the country, ours is free to enter (donations appreciated) and offers a quiet place for reflection or lots to interest the historians amongst you.

Another place to visit for free in Truro is the Shelterbox Visitor Centre. Here you will find out all about the work this brilliant charity does all over the world, especially in disaster areas.

Shelterbox tent

Moving onto Falmouth, it’s always worth sticking your head into the Falmouth Art Gallery to see what’s on display. The gallery has a vibrant and ambitious exhibitions programme, with three exhibition rooms which are constantly changing, meaning there is always something new and exciting to enjoy. You should also check out The Poly, which is another venue with an ever changing programme of exhibitions.

Falmouth Art Gallery

Falmouth also has a wealth of beaches to explore and hidden away between the town and the coast are the Fox Rosehill Gardens, full of sub-tropical plants, plus there’s the Gyllyngdune Gardens, attached to the Princess Pavilions, with its summer concerts taking place on the Victorian bandstand.

Other larger gardens that can be visited for free in Cornwall include Mount Edgcumbe in the far south east of the county. Here you can explore formal gardens, representing Italy, New Zealand and France amongst others, plus you can stride out around the surrounding parkland, discovering follies, forests of Rhododendrons and stunning views of Plymouth Sound.

In Penzance the Morrab Gardens, like Gyllyngdune, feature a magnificent bandstand where concerts take place during the summer. Being so far south, you will find plants growing there that you will struggle to find elsewhere.

From horticulture to geology, the Lizard Peninsular should be on everybody’s list of things to do if you have even the slightest interest in rocks! From the serpentine caves of Kynance Cove to the pebble strewn beach at Kennack Sands, the Lizard is a fascinating place. Don’t forget to walk down to the most southernmost point of mainland Britain, get the photo and see if you can spot some seals.

The Lizard

If your lucky you may spot seals and dolphins up and down the coast anywhere, but it’s probably easier to go rockpooling and discover starfish and crabs, sea anemones and if your lucky, a squat lobster! The Cornwall Wildlife Trust organise rockpool rambles throughout the year at places like Looe, the Helford and St Agnes.

And if you’re in Looe, check out the Old Sardine Factory where a heritage centre tells the story of Looe as a port and fishing town. Other museums around Cornwall that are free includes Trenance Cottage in Newquay, Helston and Lawrence House in Launceston.

For historians, Cornwall’s countryside is full of free sites to visit, from the countless mining remains to 100s of prehistoric sites dating back 6000 years from stone circles to Neolithic burial tombs. So, if there’s one thing you should spend your hard-earned cash on, it’s a good map. It will open up a wonderful place to explore, a Cornwall far away from the major tourist attractions and crowded beaches.

Whatever you decide to do, however much money you spend, enjoy your holiday.