Difference between revisions of "Cornwall"
Latest revision as of 16:05, 4 December 2019
Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow)  is a Duchy in the extreme southwest of the UK and includes the Isles of Scilly, considered the mystical home of the legendary King Arthur. Lying west of the River Tamar border with its nearest neighbour, Devon, Cornwall is one of the more isolated and distinct parts of the United Kingdom but is one of the most popular with travellers and holiday makers.
Its relatively warm climate, long coastline, amazing scenery, and diverse Celtic heritage (combined with tales of smuggling and pirates) go only part of the way to explaining its appeal. Cornwall is increasingly becoming a popular destination for those interested in cultural tourism because its long association with visual and written arts and its enormous wealth of archaeology. Its mining heritage has recently been recognised by the United Nations (UNESCO).
Cornwall has always been fiercely proud of its Celtic identity. For many residents, their Cornish identity supersedes either their Englishness or their Britishness.
The modern English name of the Duchy is thought to be derived from its old Celtic name, Kernou, or the Horn, from its projecting promontories. It was Latinised to Cornovia or Cornubia. The Saxons gave the name of Wealas (foreigners) to the Britons to distinguish those who had retired into Kernou or Cornubia, whom they gave the name of Cornu-wealas. The country was thus called Cornuwall or Cornwall.
Cornwall is called Kernow in the Cornish language and many signs have Cornish language descriptions on them. However, everybody in Cornwall speaks English as their first language. The Cornish language is recognised internationally and has government funding, a thriving community of speakers and publishers. It is making a successful comeback, with the number of fluent speakers now increasing and being in the thousands.
Recent polls place Cornish identity amongst young people at around 40% regarding themselves as Cornish rather than English, with calls for a Cornish assembley or government by some. Some might take offense to being called English, but most will take it in good jest.
A common, somewhat derogatory term for tourists is emmet, a Cornish dialect word meaning ant (as they tend to swarm everywhere). The Cornish word for ant is actually murrian. Be aware of locals recommending "Porthemmet Beach". This hoax simply means 'tourist beach', and it does not exist.
The Cornish have several patron saints rather than those recognised in other parts of the United Kingdom (Andrew, George, David etc) but the preeminent one is Saint Piran, whose flag, black with a white cross, can be seen all across Cornwall. It is flown from not only private homes but also government and public buildings as well as in most towns. Saint Piran's Day is widely celebrated on March 5 not only in Cornwall but also in the Cornish diaspora across the globe.
The stereotype of the Cornish as 'inbred' and 'backward' is a misconception and, if repeated to a local, is likely to cause embrassement and offence (and perhaps a smack). Cornwall is generally quite ethnically homogenous in comparison to most areas of the UK, and Cornish people tend to hold onto traditional morals and lifestyles. They are also more conservative than the UK and are very patriotic.
Cornwall has a strong Protestant heritage, where Methodism is the main denomination. Nearly every village has at least one Methodist church: some small villages have more than one Methodist church and no church from any other denomination. It iscommon to be driving along a backroad and find a Methodist church in the middle of nowhere, with settlements in the vacinity other than a tiny hamlet witha couple of houses, still holding regular Sunday services with a good attendance.
Cornwall was a contributor to the Industrial Revolution, particularly for its tin mining, and has produced major writers, artists, scientists and musicians to current times. The Cornish are extremely proud of their history and heritage predating the arrival of the English Anglo-Saxons in Britain, and many Cornish people are loyal to Cornwall. You may even see some Cornish people wearing kilts and playing Cornish pipes at cultural and other gatherings, and Cornwall is recognised as a separate nation by many international organisations. One such popular organisation is Gorsedh Kernow and is aimed at promoting Cornish culture and festivals such as Gorsedd.
Rail services to Cornwall run along the Cornish Main Line to Penzance in the far south-west of the county, calling at several Cornish destinations (including Liskeard, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and Hayle) along the way.
There are eight trains per day (operated by Great Western Railway) from London Paddington to Penzance via Reading, Exeter and Plymouth, taking around 5 hours 30 minutes. CrossCountry runs services to Penzance from the Midlands (e.g. Birmingham), the North (Manchester, Newcastle) and Scotland. Great Western Railway runs additional services to Penzance from Plymouth, Newton Abbot, Exeter and Bristol.
Newquay, Falmouth, St Ives and Looe are connected to the Cornish Main Line through local branch lines. On summer weekends, Great Western Railway and CrossCountry operate direct long-distance services to Newquay.
Cornwall can be accessed by road via the A30 which starts at the end of the M5 at Exeter. Cornwall can also be accessed from the A38, crossing the Tamar River at Plymouth via the Tamar Bridge. From London, it is a 5-6 h drive. On Saturdays in July and August and the Easter bank holiday, weekend roads can be busy, but a new 7 mi stretch of dual carriageway at Goss Moor, near Bodmin, has helped to alleviate many of the long tail backs.
Cornwall Airport Newquay (NQY)  (or Newquay airport) is the main airport serving Cornwall. Situated about 5 miles from the seaside town of Newquay, it offers flights to most major UK cities, as well as a selection of European flights:
Destinations marked with an asterisk (*) are operated seasonally.
Newquay airport has a car-hire facility, and is located fairly centrally in Cornwall, with most Cornish destinations under an hour's drive away. The First Kernow A5 bus  between Newquay (town centre) and Padstow stops at the airport.
The town of Newquay has good local bus connections with nearby towns in Cornwall (see the First Kernow website  for more information). In addition, there are a few long-distance National Express  coaches per day that stop in Newquay, and offer connections to other destinations in Cornwall.
The town of Newquay also has a railway station, but it is at the end of a relatively long branch line which operates only a few times per day, connecting with the Cornish Main Line at the town of Par, 20 miles east (see "By train" section for more information). It is therefore usually impractical to complete your journey by train; however, it may be an option worth looking into if your destination is along the branch line, or along the eastern part of the Cornish Main Line.
Airports outside of Cornwall
Airports near to Cornwall include Exeter Airport (EXT)  and Bristol Airport (BRS) . Both offer a wider range of flights than Newquay, with Bristol serving most major destinations in Western Europe. Flights to Exeter and Bristol may also be cheaper than flights to Newquay.
In good traffic, Exeter Airport is within a 2-hour drive of most of Cornwall, Bristol Airport within a 3-hour drive. During the summer and other peak tourist times, however, the drive can take significantly longer, so allow plenty of time.
Both airports are also within practicable reach of Cornwall by public transport. There are buses from Exeter Airport to Exeter St. David's railway station, and from Bristol Airport to Bristol Temple Meads railway station. Both stations offer rail services to Cornwall.
Cornwall is served well by National Express coach services from London Victoria Coach Station (4 a day, taking 9 hours ). National Express  also run 1 daily coach service each from Glasgow via Edinburgh (taking 18 hours), Nottingham via Birmingham, and Eastbourne via Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton ().
Megabus  also run a daily service, taking 8 h from London Victoria Coach Station to Penzance and stopping at a few major towns in Cornwall. With ticket prices from £1, it is a very cheap option. The coaches are relatively comfortable, but expect them to be pretty much full so book early.
Several bus companies operate in Cornwall, the main one being First Bus.
Everybody in Cornwall speaks the English language as their native tongue. Centuries ago people were monolingual in Cornish, a Brythonic language closely related to Breton and Welsh. It survived as a first-language tongue until the 18th century. Dolly Pentreath of Mousehole, who died in 1777, was the last person thought to have been monolingual in Cornish. The publication of Henry Jenner's "Handbook of the Cornish Language" in 1904 caused a resurgence of interest in the Cornish language, and it is now increasingly used.
Several thousand Cornish people speak the language fluently, and several young people have grown up bilingual in both Cornish and English. Increasing areas of Cornwall have bilingual road signs in both English, and Cornish and there is a full-time language staff at Cornwall Council.
Cornwall boasts a large number of attractions for the traveller, many lying outside of cities and towns amidst the Cornish landscape:
National Trust Properties
Cornwall has become recently famous for its Michelin starred seafood resturants, with Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein opening swanky resturants here. There is arguably has the most distinct and finest cuisine of all Britian and a number of regional specialities,:
Vegetarian food is easy to find in Cornwall; even in villages with just one pub, there is frequently a meatless option.
Cornwall has three main breweries whose priducts are available to drink in many pubs in Cornwall:
Cornwall is also known for its production of mead wine (honey wine).
Because of its climate Cornwall has a number of vineyards, which produce decent wine not to be sniffed at.
Note these festivals tend to not be public holidays, and not all are celebrated fully across Cornwall.
Cornwall boast a large range of tourist accommodation, ranging from 5-star luxury hotels to B&Bs, guest houses and hostels. There is also a large number of serviced holiday cottages that can be rented from anything from a long weekend to upwards of a month.
There are Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in most major towns, normally run by the local council and can check latest availability on the day to save having to phone round a number of B&Bs and guest houses. Note that they are unbiased and so express no opinion on accommodations other than giving its tourist board rating and facilities.
Be very alert when driving at night as some roads, especially the A39 in North Cornwall, contain sudden hairpin bends that are deceptively sharp and not illuminated by street lighting. There is also a risk of running over nocturnal wildlife. Use your headlights' full beam where possible, and err on the side of caution.
Crime rates are low in Cornwall; however, Newquay in the summer attracts tens of thousands of tourists, and that comes with increased reporting of petty crime in the months of June, July and August.
Visitors to Cornwall should at all times be aware of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of some of the tides and currents around the Cornish coast and seek advice from local lifeguards before swimming or surfing. It should also be noted that there is a small chance of getting great white or tiger sharks off the south coast, but it is very rare, and there have been no known attacks. Visitors should also be aware of jellyfish on many of the beaches. Even the ones which appear to be dead can still deliver an unpleasant sting.
If you are looking to use a mobile in Cornwall, it might be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card.
The main mobile networks are EE, Vodafone, Three and O2. However there are manyof mobile vitual network operators that use the infrastructure of those networks, often offerring plans tailored towards expatriate communities and tourists wishing to call abroad, the main players being LycaMobile, Lebara and giffgaff. Most SIM cards can be picked up in local shops, but giffgaff post only to the UK.