Along with its neighbour Camborne, Redruth was the centre of Cornwall's industrial landscape in the 18th Century. Today the remains of those times can be seen in the grand buildings spread around the town and countryside.
Steeped in History
From its earliest days as a small market town, Redruth became the centre of Cornwall’s tin and copper mining industry during the 19th century. At the time this was the largest and richest metal mining area in the UK and the landscape around the town would have been a mass of engine houses belching out smoke and fumes.
Being very much part of the industrial revolution, this part of Cornwall fielded inventors and entrepreneurs such as William Murdoch, the pioneer of gas lighting, It also became a radical heartland for Methodism and social change and saw the mass emigration of families taking their mining expertise and Cornish culture right across the world in the late1800s.
The name Redruth is said to be derived from the fact that by the 14th century the stream running along the bottom of Fore Street was so discoloured with iron oxide from tinning activities that it ran red. Hence Redruth, the Cornish for ford is Rhys and red is Ruth.
Reasons to visit Redruth
As you walk around Redruth there are echoes of its prosperous and important past with many grand commercial buildings lining the streets. These include the old Mining Exchange where bidding for copper and tin took place, the Victorian theatre and the Coffee Tavern. Today these buildings are home to many antique, curio and vintage clothing shops.
At the bottom of the town in the old brewery you will find Kresen Kernow, the new purpose built records office for Cornwall's history and archives. Whether you're interest is academic or you just want to know where your grandfather was born, the staff should be able to help.
Towering over Redruth, the long ridge of Carn Brea offers great views across the surrounding countryside with natural rock formations to discover, Bronze age hut circles and the impressive monument to Francis Bassett.
The Tinner's Hounds
These sculptures were made by Cornish artist David Kemp and are called the 'Tinners Hounds'. They were made from the discarded wellington boots of the workers from Geevor Mine in West Penwith, one of the last Cornish tin mines to close in 1991.
To the west of Redruth, South Crofty Mine, which closed in 1999, could be the first mine in Cornwall to reopen if tests for lithium prove positive.
The Cornish Miner
This bronze sculpture of a The Cornish miner stands overlooking the town centre and was made by artist David Annand. The miner is depicted with a string of candles around his neck, a short handled pick axe in his right hand and an ingot of copper in his left hand.
Below Redruth and the surrounding area are miles of underground tunnels, some going as deep as 4000ft. Many of the tunnels were created by hand, working only by candlelight.
There’s so much to discover about Redruth and some of it may surprise you.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to Redruth
Follow the M5 to Exeter, then join the A30 down through Cornwall to Redruth.
The main town car park is called New Cut Car Park.
National Express serves Cornwall from destinations throughout the UK. Connecting services to Cornwall are available from Bristol, Birmingham and London.
The National Express coach stop in Redruth is located at the railway station, which is close to the centre of the town.
Redruth is served by a good selection of local busses.
Great Western Railways operate high speed services from London Paddington, South Wales and the Cotswolds to Cornwall, including sleeper services from London Paddington. Cross Country Trains (Arriva Trains) operate services into Cornwall from the Midlands, the North and Scotland.
Redruth is a mainline train station.
Redruth is a lovely town with some great independent shops, cafes and cinema/theatre. Its former life as one of Cornwall's major industrial towns means there's plenty of heritage to be seen in and around the town.
Positioned just off the A30 makes Redruth a great centrally located base with easy access to the beaches on the north and south coast of Cornwall, and St Ives is only half an hour away by road, or you could jump on the train and avoid the hassle of parking!
Redruth was the centre of mining in Cornwall in the 19th century. From here men went all over the world to dig mines, taking Cornish technology and culture with them, Because of this Cornwall was given World Heritage Status in 2006.
It's about four miles to Portreath, which is the nearest beach to Redruth. St Ives with its choice of beaches is less than half an hour away by car, bus or train.
Discover your Cornwall
Long sandy beaches, hidden coves, rugged moorland, quaint fishing villages, deep wooded valleys, bustling seaside resorts, industrial heritage, rocky headlands, colourful gardens, idyllic rivers and a bijou city, Cornwall has a bit of everything for those who want to explore.
Your weekly dose of Cornish cheer!
When you can’t be in your favourite place all the time, catch up on the latest stories, upcoming events, holiday ideas, and offers with a newsletter straight to your inbox. Terms and Conditions / GDPR compliance: by providing personally identifiable information Visit Cornwall will use it to provide you with ongoing information about their products and services. No one from Visit Cornwall will rent, sell or lease this personally identifiable information to other companies or individuals.
Find us on socials and stay connected with the Cornwall you love.