Discover Cornwall for your summer staycation

Bodmin Moor

Cornwall has been a popular tourist hotspot for many years, appealing to surfers and foodies alike. Newquay, Padstow and St Ives are the towns that come to mind, but there are many glorious gems belonging to Cornwall to discover.

One such gem is Bodmin Moor, and very much deserves its title of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A granite moorland in the north-eastern part of the county, the nearby villages provide a staycation base with idyllic views without the price tag of their coastline counterparts. The towns of Bodmin and Liskeard are on hand to ensure you stock up on the essentials, particularly if you’re staying in a self-catering property. 

Whether you’re staying for a long weekend or a week, there is plenty to explore in all directions, all of which you can do at a slow and relaxing pace.

Situated on Bodmin Moor is a village called Minions, and the residents have embraced sharing their name with the animated kind. As lovely as the village is (particularly having a cuppa in the sunshine and being joined by several roaming sheep) the real attractions are rock formations that are the Hurlers, the Pipers and the Cheesewring.

You don’t have to be an avid hiker to see the formations, but a good pair of trainers help. A short walk from the car park into the Moor is where you’ll start to see the Hurlers, which are three large stone circles. The Pipers are nearby, which are a pair of standing stones and then finally, the main attraction is the Cheesewring. As you walk deeper into the Moor, going up a few slopes and around a few corners, the natural geological formation of granite slabs on Stowe’s Hill, comes into sight, towering high into the sky.

The closer you walk to the Cheesewring, which legend has it was formed due to a contest between the giants and the saints, you realise how high up you are on the Moor. Minions is the highest village in Cornwall, standing at over 300 metres above sea level, and walking towards Stowe’s Hill it’s hard to take in how much scenery one can see without a building or car in sight.

South of Bodmin Moor and seven miles from Liskeard is the small fishing town of Looe. Situated in a deep valley around a harbour, the town is split into two and connects with a bridge, with each part despite its small size once having their own respective MP. Holiday apartments are built into the valley so if you end up staying a few days, you’ll have amazing views out to sea, watching the fishing boats coming in with that day’s catch, which is likely to be on the menu the next day.

East Looe is the main tourist hub of the town with its beach and winding lanes adorned with cafes, restaurants and shops. The car parks by the port are small, so if you’re driving, make sure you arrive early. There’s a train station servicing the town, making it even easier to travel to on busy, summer days. If you have a dog with you, most of the shops and restaurants permit them to come in as long as they’re well behaved.

If you’re a fan of the TV series Doc Martin, head to Port Isaac for a few hours, the location where the TV show is filmed (the movie Fisherman’s Friend was set there too). It’s worth the visit, not just for its beauty; it’s where you’re guaranteed to have one of the best fish finger sandwiches you’ve ever eaten.

The port itself is at the base of a steep hill, which is easy enough to go down but a bit tougher to come back up again. Opt for the gentler incline of the coastal path to take you back to the car park. The views are much nicer and on a clear day you can just about spot Tintagel Castle Bridge in the distance up the north-eastern part of the coast.

About thirty minutes’ drive from Bodmin and an hour’s drive from Liskeard, Port Isaac is close enough to visit without taking a large chunk of time out of your day.

Don’t forget to stock up on pasties on your way home, you’ll never find one as tasty outside of Cornwall!

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