The North Coast of Cornwall

This trip is also around 120 miles and much is on minor roads. The coast road is slow and winding, but that is its charm. Make sure you have a good road atlas, and you will be able to explore to byways more easily.

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Bedruthan Steps

Follow the coast road from Newquay. Do remember to stop the car as often as possible and get out to get the full benefit of the beaches and views - otherwise you will carry away an impression of ribbon development.

Get out at the northern edge of Newquay and look back on one of the best views of the town and its bays. If you are interested in Bonsai trees then stop at the Bonsai nursery at St Mawgan (tel 860116)

Turn off the coast road for Bedruthan Steps (its signposted for the NT car park, there is a cafe too) - this is cliff erosion at its finest, great arches and stacks have been hewn by the sea. There are also steep and spectacular steps down to the beach

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Constantine Bay.

Apleasant beach and smart golf club. Only a small car park at the beach, so you may find it worth your while parking back at the cross roads and walking down (lunch or tea at the Treglos Hotel can be recommended). These beaches do take a bit of finding as they are off the main road

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Trevose Head

There is a private toll road out to the lighthouse at Trevose Head. For the curious, you can see Rick Stein's classic art deco white house off to the right of this road. Ample parking at the head, and plenty of space to walk. The walk south from the car park at the head, back towards Padstow, is recommended.

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May Day in Padstow The harbour, Padstow

Padstow

A pretty fishing port, which has not been grotted up in the same way as many have been. The shops are more up market, you can watch the fishing boats unload at the quay, or visit one of Rick Stein's many outlets (the deli can supply you with a bite of lunch)

Just outside is Prideaux Place (open Sun to Thurs, 1.30 to 5, May to Sep inclusive). Still being restored, and has a lot of enthusiasm going for it.

Take one of the regular passenger ferries that run from Padstow Harbour to Rock on the other side of the estuary. From where you land, turn left along the beach, and you will come to St Enodoc Church with its crooked granite spire. Once buried beneath the sand, it has now been restored, and the churchyard contains the grave of the poet John Betjeman

Port Isaac

You will have to drive round the Camel Estuary to get to Rock by car, and from here you wend your way along lanes to Port Isaac . Passing through Polzeath (hit by ugly development - why do they do it) , there is in fact a nice walk along the head to the north of Polzeath - with a spectacular stone age fort. Port Quin was a slate port, but now has charm and (be warned) narrow streets. If feeling energetic you could walk along the coast path to Port Quin - but it is quite arduous as the path plunges down to sea level and back to cliff tops rather too frequently.

Trebarwith Strand

Have a drink at the Port William Pub on the terrace overlooking the surfing beach

Tintagel

The home of the Legend of King Arthur, largely taken over by tourism. The Old Post Office in the main street is owned by the National Trust, or you can brush up on the Arthurian legend at the Arthurian Great Halls (created by a custard manufacturer millionaire in the 1920's!). Tintagel Castle gets you away from the tourist shops and back to grandeur and views of the coast.

Boscastle

A tiny cleft in the cliffs leads to a fjord like harbour, which offered the only safe haven for ships for 40 miles around. It has charm despite the tourism, and is worth a walk to explore the views. From here progress inland to explore Bodmin Moor..

Roughtor

The easiest accessible high point on Bodmin Moor.Turn off the A39 at Camelford, signposted Roughtor, and follow this road for two miles to the car park at the end. The walk up to the boulder strewn summit takes about 30 minutes, to your south is Brown Willy (the highest point in Cornwall), and all round you are (if the sun is shining) wonderful views right down to the coast. Now head further inland (if you take the road via St Breward try the Old Inn for a break)

Launceston

Pronounced "Lanson" by the locals, has a Norman castle, which gives commanding views over the town and countryside. If you want to explore the town, pick up a booklet Launceston Town Trail Walkabout from the Tourist Information Centre in Market Street

Bodmin Moor - Jamaica Inn

Just off the A30, the Jamaica Inn is one of the most famous pubs in Britain. It is the star in the eponymous book by Daphne du Maurier. It was a stop for smugglers carrying contraband across the moor. As well as being a pub, the inn now also exhibits some du Maurier memorabilia.

To the south of Jamaica Inn is Dozmary Pool , the lake into which legend has King Arthur throwing Excalibur, and where the hand from the lake reached up to take the sword

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The hotel to stay at when visiting Cornwall is Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall find out more about it