Three day Poldark tour of the oh-so-beautiful south Cornish coast
A tranquil blend of lush green countryside and pretty coastline, scattered with hidden bays, traditional fishing villages and exotic gardens, the stunning south Cornish coast is as beautiful as it gets. Its harbours have been a haven for ships for millennia, they’re where Cornwall’s maritime history plays out and where your Poldark journey begins…
Step into the 18th Century world of Poldark by starting out in Charlestown near St Austell. This historic port which was built by Sir Charles Rashleigh to service the China Clay industry has largely been untouched for over 200 years. Practically a living film set it has film makers queuing up to feature its Grade II listed harbour complete with tall ships. In Poldark Charlestown plays a number of roles, doubling for both Truro and Falmouth as well as St Mary’s on the Isle of Scilly.
Make like an extra by wandering along the harbourside and pop into the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre to delve into Cornwall’s smuggling past.
Make Truro your next stop and discover the real city that inspired Winston Graham. In its late 18th and early 19th Century heyday, Truro was a major trading port, and although now hard to imagine with its chic shops and bustling city life, the river once flowed right through its centre.
Browse the boutiques and galleries that sit in the shadow of Truro Cathedral, then stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants.
From Truro jump aboard the Enterprise Boats classic river trip along the River Fal to Trelissick Garden. On the leisurely journey keep an eye out for Turnaware Point on the Roseland side of the estuary which Poldark fans will recognise from series three when it stands in for a French location and hosts some covert landings.
At the National Trust estate of Trelissick, once owned by the Daniell family who were influential miners in the time of Poldark, explore the garden and take in the view of the King Harry Ferry, which has been shuttling back and forth across the River Fal since 1888. Winston Graham’s novels often mention Ross visiting Trelissick estate and crossing the Fal estuary in this way to the neighbouring estate of Tregothnan, which is still owned and lived in by the Boscawen family of Lord Falmouth.
Back in Truro pick up the road to the maritime town of Falmouth which boasts the world’s third deepest natural harbour. Soak up the atmosphere and imagine its former prowess as a port for Packet ships such as the one skippered by Captain Blamey.
Visit the National Trust’s Godolphin estate, containing the elegant home of wealthy mineral-lord Francis Godolphin - a real-life Warleggan. The house appears on screen as the exterior of Francis Poldark’s estate, Trenwith, and is heaped with status symbols of fortune, including a deer park and rabbit warrens. It is only open on a selection of days though the garden and wider estate are open 363 days a year.
Pick up a pasty on the beautifully secluded Lizard Peninsula and enjoy it al fresco while watching the drama of the most southerly tip of the UK at Lizard Point. The doomed ship the Queen Charlotte that wrecked in series one is seen foundering on the rocks here by Ross before he wakes the villagers to inform them of the impending “pickings for all”. Climb to the top of the Lizard Lighthouse for magnificent views and explore the Heritage Centre.
Make the next stop in your Poldark adventure the breathtaking Kynance Cove with its bright white sand and dark red and green serpentine rock. It has been used extensively in Poldark for beach scenes, most memorably in series two when Demelza, heavily pregnant, makes the unwise decision to take out a boat to go fishing alone. It is here that Ross has to wade into the water and rescue her. There is a steep 10-15 minute walk down to the cove but at low tide, the beach is more than worth it.
Onwards to the twin beaches of Dollar Cove and Church Cove. These two coves were the site of the night scene from Poldark series one when the ship wrecks on Hendrawna Beach. Nestled between the two beaches is St Winwaloe Church, also romantically known as the Church of the Storms, which features in series three.
Spend the day exploring the far west of the south Cornish coast heading first for exotic looking Porthcurno where many beach scenes have been shot. Stop at the Minack Theatre for a morning coffee with the most incredible views and step onto the stage under the stars to feel the buzz of this world-famous theatre.
Strike out on the South West Coast Path on a 3 mile circular walk towards Pedn Vounder for more familiar beach and sea views. You will also take in the hallowed Poldark ground of tiny Penberth Cove which is famous for many fishing cove scenes, especially from Poldark series two. Here you have seen, Dwight and Caroline, Jud, Rosina Hoblyn and other villagers as well as the treacherous Charlie Kempthorne. It is also at Penberth Cove where Prudie has done the laundry in the stream and it is the site of Pally’s Shop from series three.
Onwards to the fishing cove and beach of Porthgwarra where you can stop for lunch in the petit Porthgwarra Cove Café which fuelled Poldark cast and crew while filming.
It is from Porthgwarra that Demelza watched Ross swimming and where the pilchard catch was joyously brought ashore. Delve into the tunnel on the beach and relive the moment when Mark Daniels made his seaward escape.
It’s time to take on a challenging, up and down mile-long walk to Gwennap Head. Just beyond the headland you can see the rocky outcrops from many of the clifftop scenes of Poldark. This area has also seen its fair share of horse riding sequences, including meetings between Verity and Ross in series one. Look out to sea from the coastguard station and you will see lighthouses that often appear in the distance in Poldark with, it should be noted a little historical artistic license!
Aidan Turner has said this is his favourite location to film and it's not difficult to see why. It is possible to stay on the coast path to walk all the way to Lands End or just half way to see the magnificent hidden gem of Nanjizel beach.
Now try our three-day Poldark tour of the north Cornish coast.
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