Cornwall is a land defined by its spectacular coastline which tapers out into the Atlantic Ocean. The dramatic granite cliffs of Land's End, picture postcard harbours, the wide sandy beaches of the north coast have all made Cornwall a holiday favourite for generations. But Cornwall also has a rich cultural heritage and this has left an indelible mark on the landscape. From ancient stones to the ghosts of the mining industry, there are constant reminders that you may not be in England anymore.
Britain’s most southerly point is the Lizard Heritage Coast, dramatic cliffs shaped by the Atlantic. Lizard Point is mainland Britain's most southerly point, infamous as a site of shipwrecks in the past and overlooking what is still one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. A combination of the mild maritime climate and complex and unique geology has produced an area with a distinctive character, well known for its rare and unusual flora and where the famous call of the Cornish chough is never far away. The cliffs and farmland surrounding Lizard Point are incredibly rich in wildlife, depending on the time of year you visit you may see adders basking in the sunshine or bright pink Thrift on the clifftops.
The Lizard peninsula is also renowned as the birthplace of modern communication, where Marconi undertook some of his pioneering radio experiments. These experiments are celebrated at the Marconi Centre at Poldhu and the Lizard Wireless Station at Bass Point, a short walk along the coast path from Lizard Point. This is a truely spectacular place to be on a horse riding holiday.
Things to do and see
For non-riders in the group, there is plenty to do and see:
- St Michaels Mount - is a picturesque island just off the ancient town of Marazion. Accessible by boat or via a causeway that is exposed at low tide, the mount is home to a working community of local people and a spectacular medieval castle, surrounded by stunning, exotic gardens that can be visited separately. The gardens, which were first planted in the 1780s, feature plants growing on an almost vertical rock-face that is gently warmed by the sun, providing the perfect habitat for a number of rare and delicate species. The Sail Loft restaurant offers hearty lunches and snacks.
- Walks around Lizard Point -There are miles of paths and bridleways to explore on The Lizard. Visit the National Trust website to download walks for all abilities. The coves of Kynance and Mullion rank among the best cliff top views in Cornwall.
- Marconi Centre at Poldhu and the Lizard Wireless Station at Bass Point. In 1900 the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi undertook ground breaking wireless experiments on The Lizard. You can visit Marconi’s two stations, and see how, with determination and vision, he developed technology on remote Cornish clifftops that paved the way for today’s instant world-wide communication. Of special interest is Poldhu Cove from where Marconi sent his first transatlantic radio message in 1901. The first signal was received in Newfoundland in December of that year – an event which was to change the world.
- Helston Museum - Set in Helston's historic Market House and Drill Hall is a surprisingly large (and interesting) museum. Formerly known as the Helston Folk Museum it is home to one of the biggest social history collections in the South West. The museum is spread over three floors with five separate display halls containing thousands of objects. The Museum's collections cover both the social and industrial history of Helston and the Lizard Peninsula. Exhibits include objects of interest from mining, farming and fishing along with displays on home life during the 18th to 20th centuries.
- Coverack Harbour Tucked away in the shelter of the Lizard Peninsula is the remote village of Coverack. The small, horseshoe-shaped harbour here has an 18th century stone pier built from the local stone - green serpentine and hornblende. To the other side of the harbour are a clutch of whitewashed cottages. The harbour at Coverack was built at a time when there was a thriving pilchard industry. Although these days are gone there are still a number of small boats working from here in the crystal clear waters off the Lizard.
- Mullion Cove The pretty little harbour in Mullion Cove is both charming and dramatic. Still worked by a few small fishing boats the sturdy granite piers are flanked by the sheer and jagged cliffs of the Lizard Peninsula. This section of coast is exposed to the worst of the Atlantic storms and just to make things a little more dramatic just offshore is the hulking lump of volcanic rock, Mullion Island. Mullion harbour dates back to 1895 when the pilchard industry was at its height. It is also said the remote cove was a popular spot with smugglers. Today Mullion Cove is owned by the National Trust, along with the old pilchard cellar and net store.
- Kynance Cove - snuggled under towering cliffs less than two miles from Lizard point, is one of the most-photographed coves in Cornwall. Sparkling turquoise water, pristine white sand, offshore stacks and islands and numerous interconnected caves to explore have ensured that Kynance has been popular since Victorian times, in spite of its relative remoteness. The National Trust have recently built a toll road and car park, making Kynance more accessible.
- Flambards Theme Park - For a great family fun day out with plenty of great things to do! Brave the sky-high thrill rides or enjoy the undercover soft play area. Discover dinosaurs in the Jurassic Journey and uncover fossils in the Dino Dig. Step back in time in the life-size Victorian Village and experience Britain in the Blitz in the award-winning Indoor Attractions. Flambards, Clodgey Lane, Helston, Cornwall TR13 0QA tel: 01326 573404
Where to eat and drink
- Blue Anchor - in Helston’s town centre is actually home to one of Cornwall’s best known, and most feared ales – Spingo. Brewed round the back this beer ranges from a medium strength IPA up to the super-strength Christmas special. The front bar is for casual drinkers with a back bar for proper locals.
- Witchball Bar & Restaurant . Local fresh fish and seafood restaurant. Our aim is to offer good quality food and drink at reasonable prices. We have worked hard with our suppliers to provide you with local Cornish food and drink to complement the ambience of this 600 year old pub. Witchball Bar & Restaurant, Lighthouse Road, Helston, Cornwall TR12 7NJ tel: 01326 290662
- The Greenhouse - Emphasis on organically grown fruit and vegetables and organic and free range meat. The Greenhouse - St Keverne, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6NN tel: 01326 280800
How to get there
This a rural location and best reached by car. Postcode and directions for your accommodation will be provided on booking.
Travel west on the M5 to the A30 in Devon. Exit M5 at junction 31 onto the A30 to Truro. From Truro follow the A39. At Tremouth take the A394 towards Helston. Follow the A3083 out of Helston to the Lizard Heritage Coast. Journey time from London or Birmingham approx. 5 hours. From Birmingham
Take the train to Redruth or Penzance and then the bus to Lizard Point.
Car hire at Redruth Cornish Rentals 01209 713474
You can take a Bus from Redruth and Penzance to Lizard Point and then a taxi ride. But be warned there are about 60 stops!
Mullion Taxi Company 07415773773
St Michaels Mount
Walking the footpaths on the Lizard point
Flambards Theme Park