CornwallEnglandUnited Kingdom10 beautiful places in Cornwall England

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Come on a virtual tour with an incredibly talented photographer, Graham Custance, who will show you these beautiful places in Cornwall through his eyes, revealing the special moments he has captured with his camera. Let's open the door to this magical tour of Cornwall.

As you go on this journey with Graham, some of these places may be familiar, possibly as they have been used as locations for Poldark.

About this photo:

The magnificent view looking through the gateway at the top of the steps that are built into the side of the cliff face leading to Tintagel Castle on the North Cornwall coast. A more dramatic scene is hard to imagine and I was so pleased with this picture, one that I had wanted to capture for a long time.

Can you imagine if this doorway could talk, all of the tales it could tell of stories down the centuries?

cornwall sights tintagel doorway
cornwall sights tintagel doorway
Where is Cornwall?

Lying on Great Britain's southern coast, is the ancient Celtic kingdom of Kernow, that you and I know as Cornwall! Home to lots of beautiful sandy beaches and picturesque villages, Cornwall sits in the southwestern tip of England, where it forms a peninsula that culminates at Land's End. Its most southerly tip is Lizard Point.

Cornwall's north is distinguished by its towering cliffs and resorts that are world-renowned for surfing, such as Newquay. The Cornish Riviera, as it is fondly known, has a historical mining landscape that has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.

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How was Cornwall formed?

When you visit Cornwall, be sure to respect the rocks! Over the last 400 million years or so, they have travelled about 8,000 miles. The Cornish rocks began this journey south of the equator, in an ancient tropical ocean. They travelled across hot granites, tropical seas, volcanic eruptions and deserts to arrive to where they are today.

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1. Tintagel
About this photo:

English Heritage's statue called Gallos - which is the Cornish equivalent of power - and has been inspired both by King Arthur and other stories from the Castle's history. So large that it had to be airlifted into position with a helicopter.

There have been mixed views regarding the statue making the site too commercialised and although I'm all for keeping a historic site true to its values, I find it a subtle inclusion that enhances the clifftops. It would be really dramatic to come across it with the mist rolling in from the sea.

Tintagel
Gallos Statue - the Cornish word for power.
About Tintagel Cornwall:

A spectacular spot on the northern coast of Cornwall, Tintagel has been an almost endless inspiration to writers and artists, down through the centuries. A mythical, magical place with dramatic views along its breathtakingly beautiful coastal walks, the area is simply oozing history and mystery.

A cliff edge site where legends were conceived, Tintagel Castle, straddles the Cornish mainland and a headland that juts out into the wild waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Thought to be both the conception location and birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel triggers the imagination of very different days gone by. This is a landscape that seems to tempt the adventurous to embark on some mysterious quest.

And to complete the picture, below the castle lies the cave that is believed to be where Merlin lived.

2. St Michael's Mount
About this photo:

Another Cornish location that has that mythological feel to it, the impressive St. Michael's Mount at Marazion. Owned by the National Trust, this rocky island is crowned by a medieval church and castle, with a causeway leading out to it, which can be walked on foot at low tide or boat at high tide.

Always a difficult location to photograph due to the amount of photographers that descend here, the ideal time is just as the tide recedes exposing the stonework of the causeway.

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount
About this photo:

An alternative composition taken from across the beach at Marazion with some of the grasses that can be found here as foreground interest.

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount
About this photo:

A spectacular sunset across the bay. capturing the natural ripples and the pools of water left behind with the outgoing tide. Shooting into the sun has its difficulties but the haziness of the air allowed me to photograph this scene without any flair distorting the image.

Marazion Sunset
Marazion Sunset
About Cornwall's St. Michael's Mount:

A fairytale island where more mystery is waiting to greet you, from a site of legends, giants and more than a thousand years of fascinating history. Under the watchful eye of the magical, medieval castle, modern life carries on as the island's tight-knit community watches visitors like you and I, come and go.

Wander over the granite causeway in the footsteps of a legendary giant. Discover the depths of the island's history by exploring its harbour, priory and fortress, over ancient cobbles that hold onto secrets and stories, captured through time and tides. Be sure not to miss the island's sub-tropical gardens, which creep down gradually to the coast, clambering down over granite slopes.

3. Godrevy & Gwithian
About this photo:

This photo is set at the far end of St.Ives Bay is Godrevy beach which is connected to Gwithian beach at lower tides to create a huge expanse of sand. With stunning clifftop walks towards the lighthouse in one direction and in the other, you can sit and watch the surfers as they skim the Atlantic breakers.

I had spent an hour photographing and videoing the waves as they crashed into the shoreline here and then took the coastal path to the lighthouse in the distance.

Walking to Godrevy
Walking to Godrevy
About this photo:

I had tried to capture the atmosphere of the location with this photograph and as I was composing the image of the wooden slats leading down to the sea amongst the sand dunes, I had a pleasant surprise as a surfer complete with his board duly obliged to walk down the path, which completed the picture perfectly.

Gwithian sand dunes
Gwithian Sand Dunes
About this photo:

Huge skies, wispy clouds and those natural ripples in the sand, a perfect composition for a seascape shot. Godrevy lighthouse is in the distance. You can also find streams of water running down to the sea here, which also makes for a nice feature in your photographs.

Godrevy beach
Godrevy Beach
About this photo:

Godrevy Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1859 marking a dangerous reef off St. Ives called the Stones. The white 26-metre octagonal tower was made famous by Virginia Woolfe in her novel 'To the Lighthouse',

Godrevy
Godrevy
About this photo:

Looking back towards St.Ives, Gwithian beach with the Atlantic breakers, is a favourite destination for surfers as the constant swell coming in from the ocean provides good all year round conditions. If you are fortunate you may well spot a common seal that are regular visitors here.

With the wild flowers in the foreground and the rocks on the beach, it encompassed the ruggedness of the Cornish coast.

Gwithian beach
Gwithian Beach
About this area:

The National Trust-owned Godrevy shapeshifts according to the weather. On a dramatically stormy winter's day, it is the epitome of Cornwall's spectacular, rugged splendour. But on a beautiful bright summer's day, Godrevy is the perfect place for a picnic and family day at the beach.

During low tide it merges with Gwithian beach, making a sandy expanse, but you need to be very watchful of the tides, as high tide means that hundreds of metres of the sandy beach are no longer to be seen. Mostly Godrevy has soft breaking waves which makes it a popular choice with those learning to surf. It is also home to lots of cute seals and is a wonderful spot for birdwatchers.

4. Harlyn Bay
About this photo:

The wide and spacious beach of Harlyn Bay is to be found just west of the fishing village of Padstow. The remains of the largest Iron Age cemetery in Cornwall were discovered here and excavated between 1900 - 1905.

One of the most memorable sunsets that I have photographed, the colours in the sky were amazing.

Harlyn Bay Sunset
Harlyn Bay Sunset
About this photo:

After the sun had started to set on the previous picture, I started to pack my camera and tripod up to return to the carpark. However, I was taught a lesson in photography on this evening, to always wait an extra 10 minutes or so before leaving a location after sunset because as I turned around this was the spectacular display that greeted me.

Quickly, I rushed back to the beach and set up the camera again and managed to capture this delightful picture.

Harlyn Bay Sunset
Harlyn Bay Sunset
About Harlyn Cornwall:

Situated west of Padstow, Harlyn is a popular choice with families as it is one of the area's more sheltered beaches, with lifeguards on duty during the summer months. A spacious, yellow sandy beach, Harlyn has heaps to keep the children entertained with sand dunes, rock pools and a small stream. It is also a good option for those learning to surf, but its north facing aspects means it is a magnet for surfers of all levels.

During the summer the village is a busy spot, and the Higher Harlyn caravan park close by is a good family holiday choice, especially as it is a family run venture for more than fifty years. Enjoy stunning coastal walks going to Treyarnon and Constantine Bay in the west, or Trevone to the east.

5. Porthcurno
About this photo:
Porthcurno
Porthcurno

Turquoise sea, fine white sand and colourful wild flowers growing on the headland in the far west of Cornwall at Porthcurno. A stream also flows down the cliffs to the beach.

I took this photograph after visiting the famous Minack Theatre and climbing down the cliff path to the beach below. I was captivated by the colour of the sea.

About this photo:

Unless you saw it with your own eyes, you would never believe that a theatre could be built into the side of the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Rowena Cade built this internationally renowned theatre with her own hands moving endless granite boulders with her gardener over the winter of 1931 into 1932. Nowadays over 110,000 visitors a year watch a performance from this spectacular location.

Minack Theatre
Minack Theatre
About Porthcurno:

While you could easily mistake Porthcurno for a piece of paradise, this place played an important role during the Second World War, as Britain's centre for international communications. In fact it was deemed so vital, that its telegraph was moved underground a few weeks after the beginning of World War II.

Many decades after, on a sunny 21st century day, looking at the twinkling turquoise bay and the beguilingly beautiful beach, it may be hard to imagine these historical days gone by. However you can learn about them in the Telegraph Museum, which incorporates tunnels that are almost guaranteed to fascinate young, adventurous children.

Another great attraction for families is the stream that flows along by one side of the beach, where kids can paddle to their hearts' content. Up above is the famous Minack Theatre, built back in the 1920s. Sitting on Porthcurno's white sandy paradise beach, one can't help but wonder who planned those vibrant coastal plants, that seem to crown its beauty in special glory?

6. St Agnes
About this photo:

Steeped in mining history on the north Cornish coast you will find the picturesque fishing village of St Agnes. The iconic engine house at Wheal Coates was one location that I really wanted to capture and I was treated to a beautiful sunset on the evening that I visited. This was the inspiration for the Poldark novels and it is thought that tin ore (cassiterite) was mined in Cornwall as early as the Bronze Age.

As you drive around the county, you will see this abandoned engine houses scattered amongst the countryside and coast.

Tin Mine
Tin Mine
About this photo: 

I had walked along this beautiful coastal path adjacent to the tin mine early one morning. My lasting memory of this visit was the silence only broken by the sounds of chatter on a passing fishing boat.

St Agnes Beacon
St Agnes Beacon
About this photo:

The sun sets on another day on the Cornish coast.

Wheal Cates
Wheal Coates
About St. Agnes Cornwall

Before you come to St. Agnes, there's a good chance that you could have seen it before as quite a few films have been shot in the area. Situated on the north coast of Cornwall, St. Agnes is a perfectly charming seaside town with plenty of good facilities for families.

It is an especially good spot to learn about and observe marine life, as there is a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area there. Like other parts of Cornwall, it is a great place for surfing.

7. St Ives
About this photo:

St. Ives is undoubtedly the jewel in Cornwall's crown and one of the most popular resorts to visit. The light here is renowned for being something special. It is bathed in a soft glow, which is the reason that artists have flocked here for hundreds of years.

Home to the seafront Tate St.Ives Gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Porthminster Gallery, the town is an artists' dream.

This photograph was taken at low tide and I was drawn to the lead-in lines that the moored boats on the beach created directing the viewer to the town in the distance.

St Ives
St Ives
About this photo:

Again, the beautiful light and turquoise coloured sea creates a beautiful seascape.

St Ives
St Ives
About St. Ives

Golden beaches, light that attracts artists like a magnet and lush vegetation are just a few of the reasons why visitors flock to St. Ives in Cornwall. Tripadvisor has ranked it in its Top 10 Beach Destinations and Coast magazine considers it to be a best family holiday destination.

And as if that wasn't enough to tempt you, the Telegraph's, Gill Charlton,lures you with the following introduction, "The enduringly quaint appeal of St Ives is bolstered by new gastronomic delights and the Tate gallery.." in a fine piece of writing that you can see here, at St. Ives Cornwall.

Apart from its piercing painters' dreamy light and natural beauty, St. Ives is also home to a wonderful choice of cafes and pubs, great eateries, famous artists, galleries and exhibitions.

8. Looe
About this photo:

Taken on my first visit to Looe in 2018 staying at the delightful Commonwood Manor carved into the hillside overlooking the East Looe River, ideally placed for a short drive down the hill in the early morning to photograph the reflections that were abundant in the water.

Looe
Looe
About this photo:

The best time of the day to be out and about with the camera and on this day I met a local who was giving me all of the history of the town as well as the best places to photograph.

Looe
Looe
About this photo:

Looe is a delightful little fishing port with a safe sandy beach for children to play and plenty of shops and restaurants to cater for all needs. The reflections from the buildings and boats created a picturesque scene.

Looe
Looe
About Looe:

Ever since Victorian times, Looe has been a favourite choice for family holidays. With its safe sandy beach and rock pools, and the choice of crabbing or fishing, Looe is idyllic for family fun.

Famous for its fresh fish which arrive daily at its authentic working port, Looe is a foodie's fantasy with the best of British fish and chips along with a great selection of gourmet offerings.

Among its other amusements are day trips to the island, a monkey sanctuary, the Looe Museum and Marine Conservation Group.

9. Port Isaac
About this photo:

Nowadays renowned for its feature in the television series 'Doc Martin' starring Martin Clunes, with narrow winding streets and whitewashed, traditional granite, slate-fronted Cornish houses. From the Middle Ages until the middle of the 19th century, Port Isaac was a busy port handling various imports and exports, including coal, timber, pottery and slate.

I loved the tranquil setting here when I took this photograph and wanted to include the pretty colours of the flowers in the foreground.

Port Isaac
Port Isaac
About Port Isaac

A few centuries back, Port Isaac was a busy harbour with cargoes like pottery, coal, timber and stone, from medieval times until the 19th century.

Today this small vibrant fishing village is another of Cornwall's popular holiday destinations, situated on a stunning stretch of dramatic coastline. In the village granite slate fronted houses and white-washed cottages adorn the winding, narrow streets.

10. Bude
About this photo:

This was also my first visit to another famous Cornish location on the north coast, Bude. Here we visit Widemouth Bay, just three miles south of Bude, we sat and watched the kite surfers as they skirted along the golden sands.

Bude Sunset
Bude Sunset
About this photo:

As we waited for the sun to set, the sky turned a glorious shade of pink and so off I raced on to the beach with camera and tripod in hand and snapped away before the light disappeared. The pools of water reflected these colours perfectly.

Bude
Bude
About Bude Cornwall:

Named the Best UK Coastal Town at the British Travel Awards, Bude is renowned for its warm, friendly hospitality and its stunningly, beautiful beaches. Blossoming over the years into a superb seaside resort, Bude is brimming over with lovely local food, a wide range of activities and things to do and see, along with some fantastic festivals. What could be better and more important than its success as Britain's best coastal town?  The fact that Bude has managed to achieve this in harmony with its natural environment.

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Graham Custance

Travel Photographer & Blogger

I never really appreciated the beauty of nature until I became a photographer, but now I notice it everywhere. I was born a few miles away in Luton, but have been living in the Chilterns since 1991: an area that is both my home and my muse.

Through my work I try and bring this beauty to the eyes of others, hopefully inspiring them to get out in the Chilterns and appreciate what a beautifully stunning area it is.

Through studying the work of other photographers who have inspired me, I have tried to develop a unique style of my own. An approach that helps me connect with each location I visit and photograph.

I love soft pastel colours, subdued light, sunsets, dramatic skies and unique angles to give a different perspective to the viewer.

Favourite time of day: My favourite time of the day is always sunrise, when the air is fresh and clean, the birds are singing and I am at one with nature.

Motto: My favourite motto is ‘the camera looks both ways’ meaning that my pictures are a reflection of my own thoughts and how I am feeling in that moment.

Website:
www.grahamcustance.com/

   


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10 beautiful places in Cornwall England

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