This week, I had a holiday in Cornwall. It was a great and unique experience which I really enjoyed. Cornwall is a very interesting place with some complex history linking back to the Celts, and I loved learning about it and experiencing Cornish life.
We stayed in a B&B near Par, a small village near the largest town, St Austell. On the first evening, the village seemed pretty lifeless and quite deserted, with no nightlife to speak of. This was probably because it was early evening when we arrived. We never spent much time in Par, as we went to other towns around Cornwall.
On the next day, Tuesday, we went to Truro, the capital city. It was quite big and modern but there wasn’t much there except for shops.
Truro Cathedral was very large and interesting and contained a lot of background information concerning Cornwall’s links to the rest of the UK. The first Bishop of Truro, Edward White Benson, became Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral has launched a sign-a-slate appeal to fund £3.2 million roof repair. Despite the cathedral being great, I felt that the rest of the city was just like any other English city. Thankfully there was pizza to satisfy me. Truro did have a very impressive library though, and I spent about half an hour exploring it.
Truro also had a museum called Royal Cornwall Museum, but I didn’t find it that interesting. It had information about the history of Cornwall, geology, and a section detailing the impact of tourism on Cornwall, which was quite interesting, but I felt the rest of the museum was quite bland. There were many exhibitions in the museum, and one section mentioned monsters. It was very good but there wasn’t enough of the museum dedicated to it.
The following day we went to the Eden Project, Cornwall’s famous nature reserve. I believe it was worth the hype, as the rainforest biome was huge and impressive.
There were many plants and trees from rainforests all over the world, from Southeast Asia to South America. The highlight of the trip was a tall walkway called Rainforest Canopy Walkway, which ended with a platform that had an aerial view of the whole dome, which had spectacular views. While we were walking on the steps, it was very wobbly and the atmosphere was humid. We were warned that some people might be vulnerable to the heat, but I’ve stayed in Singapore and Malaysia before so I was fine.
The other dome was the much smaller Mediterranean dome, which was about plants from the Mediterranean. Both domes were really insightful and raised concerns about the environment. I learnt a lot from the Eden Project.
There is a gigantic WEEE Man at the Eden Project. The WEEE Man waste sculpture “represents the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) the average British household throws away in a lifetime.”
In the evening, we went to Charlestown, where bits of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed. We saw an old fashion boat in the docks and nearly witnessed a crash when the rope snapped and the boat continued drifting along the river. Fortunately they were able to secure the boat. The town itself is very old fashioned and small, with lots of birds. There was a great beach with a cave in it, which we explored. Unfortunately it was incredibly windy the whole time, so luckily there were restaurants and shops to protect us from the cold.
The last day took us all the way to Penzance, the southernmost large town in the country. We walked to St Michael’s Mount near Marazion as the tide was low and we could reach the island by foot. We walked for about an hour to get there from Penzance station and the sea view was spectacular. There were walkers, and also some people riding horses.
The island has a fantastic castle. On the outside, it looks like a place from a fantasy story, but the castle itself is quite modern on the inside with in depth history around it. The Queen and Prince Charles visited the castle before and I can see why.
The gardens looked great, but they weren’t open until next week. The island is the subject of a legend, Jack the Giant Killer. In the 6th century, there was a giant that lived on the island and ate children and cattle. A farmer boy named Jack trapped him in a pit and killed him. The whole experience at St Micheal’s Mount was very interesting and learning the mythology of the place was eye-opening.
There was also a 3D model of the castle made by the butler using champagne corks. I found this pretty cool. What compelled the butler to do this? Was he so bored he just grabbed lots of corks and squashed them together.
After the visit, we had to take the boat back to Marazion because the tide made the walkway flooded. It reminded me of my trip to Ubin Island in Singapore last summer.
Overall, the trip was great. I learnt a lot about Cornish history and had lots of new experiences. The landscapes were fantastic but unfortunately because it was very muddy, we couldn’t walk everywhere. I didn’t know about St Micheal’s Mount or the importance of the Eden Project before visiting. Cornwall is very different from Hampshire, Wales or London, and it made me realise that the UK is huge and varied. I would love to visit again.