Cornwall and A Glimpse of Devon - Itinerary
The following proposed itinerary may be subject to change due to weather or local conditions beyond the control of the trip leader. Your trip leader will provide assistance to help you navigate in-country transport options and lodging pre-trip to get you in the right place, at the right time.
Included meals shown by B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner.
Enjoy this short video to learn more.
Day 0 Friday September 8, 2023: Arrive Tavistock
Arrive mid/late afternoon. Get settled into your lodgings.
Day 1 Saturday, September 9: Trip orientation
We meet at 4 pm in the residents lounge at your lodgings in the ancient stannary town of Tavistock, located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park in the county of Devon. From here we walk to our restaurant for dinner, the first meal on the trip. D
Day 2 Sunday, September 10: Dartmoor
Setting off for Dartmoor National Park, we start with a tour of Princetown Visitor Center, once home to Conan Doyle as he wrote the Hound of the Baskervilles and where we’ll learn about the origins of Dartmoor and its occupation over the millennia. We then head deeper onto the moor to the remote village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor best known for its annual fair and song “Widecombe Fair” whose lyrics include Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The 14th century village church goes by the grand name of Cathedral of the Moor and is a particularly fine example of gothic style architecture. After lunch, we progress north towards the center of Dartmoor to tour a late Bronze Age settlement of twenty four hut circles surrounded by a massive perimeter granite stone wall. Dinner tonight will be at a classic English pub which has served travelers since the middle of the 18th. B/L/D
Day 3 Monday September 11: Cornwall
We're off to Cornwall. Along our way, we’ll make time to visit a number of ancient sites including a particularly well-preserved and complete portal dolmen of the early/ middle Neolithic period (3500-2600 BCE), a medieval holy well with wayside cross and a 9th century Celtic stone. Upon arrival we’ll settle into our caravans where we stay for 3 nights. Tonight we [metaphorically!] dive into deepest rural Cornwall to enjoy dinner at a quintessentially old fashioned British freehold pub rescued by a Co-operative Society and highlighted in the Weekend Telegraph newspaper as one of the ten best rescued pubs nationally. B/L/D
Day 4 Tuesday September 12 : The Lizard
Lizard Point is geographically the furthest southern point in Britain - somehow it missed out on securing the world famous epithet. Much of this coastal area is managed by the National Trust meaning it remains un-spoilt and retains a feeling and look of being wild and untamed. After admiring the views from Lizard Point and the disused lifeboat station, our next destination is a cliff top view of acclaimed National Trust property, Kynance Cove. Taking the scenic route, we head for a gem of a museum showcasing artifacts of Cornish life. We enjoy dinner at a charming village pub offering a fresh, seasonal menu coupled with local craft beverages. B/L/D
Day 5 Wednesday September 13: The Loe
The Loe is the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall separated from the sea, Mount Bay, by a bank of shingle known as Loe Bar. The area is a site of Special Scientific Interest and an important overwintering site for migrating birds. We will stroll along the lakeside and attempt to spot waterfowl in the rushes. On our return journey we will visit National Trust property, Gunwalloe beach, and the cove church of St Winwaloe with its detached bell tower, dating from the 14th century. Tonight we dine in the historic village of Porthleven at a multiple award-winning restaurant recognized by the Michelin Guide and the AA (with Three Rosettes), Good Food Guide, and named Restaurant of the Year in the 2019 Cornwall Life Magazine and in Harden's 100 Best UK Restaurants 2022. Local produce with an Asian twist. B/L/D
Day 6 Thursday September 14: Transfer to Penzance and Wild Food Foraging
After breakfast, we transfer to our guest house lodgings in Penzance, a drive of about one hour. Along the way, we will tour an ancient site dating back to the Iron Age (200 BCE) and features a stone-walled underground passage known as a fogou - a type of Iron Age monument found only in the far west of Cornwall. We will drop off our bags (we’ll be too early to check in) and set off to investigate another site which dates from the late Neolithic-early Bronze Age site (approx. 2500-1500 BCE) and consists of a circle of 19 stones where we will enjoy our sack lunch. We then head to Lamorna Cove and our lesson, including tasters, on wild food foraging with Rachel, a forager and award winning author and guide. Rachel has a background in education and health and has been teaching foraging since 2007. One of her foraging and cooking books won a National Gourmand Cookbook Award. We’ll return to our lodgings to freshen up before dinner at a small pub owned and operated by celebrated Michelin Star, multi award winning Cornish Chef, Ben Tunnicliffe. We stay in Penzance for 4 nights. B/L/D
Day 7 Friday September 15: St. Michael's Mount
In 1066, St Michael’s Mount was owned by the monks of its sister isle, Mont St. Michel in Normandy. In the 12th century these same monks built the church and priory at the heart of the castle today. Since the 1650s, the castle has been home to the St Aubyn family and remained their sole home until 1954 when it was gifted to the National Trust and parts of the castle are now open to the public. Access to the castle is via a causeway. Depending on the tide, we may take a boat ride across from the mainland. We will also use this day to visit other nearby ancient sites and megaliths. Returning to our guest house to freshen up, dinner tonight is at an old coaching inn and known for serving the best local ingredients in a relaxed setting. B/L/D
Day 8 Saturday September 16: St Ives
A full day exploring St Ives. From medieval times, the town was an important commercial fishing port exporting pilchards as far as Italy. In Victorian times, the arrival of the railway line helped the local economy change from fishing to tourism. In the 19th and 20th centuries, St Ives became a magnet for art and literature. In 1811 JMW Turner arrived in St Ives. The St Ives School, a "colony of artists" developed after the First World War and included American impressionists. The Father of British Studio Pottery, Bernard Leach, set up a pottery in 1920. Virginia Wolfe vacationed in St Ives and found inspiration for her 1927 novel, To The Lighthouse. British artist and sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, arrived in 1939 and a branch of the Tate Gallery opened in 1993. We'll start at the Leach Pottery and then find a central location near the Tate Museum and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden from which to wander and self explore. Regrouping later in the afternoon, we depart for dinner at another acclaimed gastropub noted in the Michelin Guide, and mentioned in the Sunday Times Travel edition. B/L/D
Day 9 Sunday September 17: The Tin Coast
Today we take an immersion into the tin mining history of Cornwall visiting three adjacent tin mines, Botallack Mine, Levant Mine and Geevor Mine. Starting at the distinctive headland of Cape Cornwall which juts out into the ocean where two great bodies of water meet, this once heavily industrialized landscape is now part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and is oftentimes referenced as the Connoisseur’s Land’s End. Tonight we dine in nearby Mousehole. The first mention of the village of Mousehole is in 1283. Records show that pilchards were exported to France as early as 1302. It remains a fishing village but its glory-days as a principle port for Mounts Bay, ended in the 16th century. We dine at an inn featured in The Good Food Guide, the red Michelin Guide, Hardens and enjoys a 2020 Gold Award from Taste of the West. B/L/D
Day 10 Monday September 18: North coast of Cornwall
We depart our lodgings in Newlyn and head north east, a drive of about 75 minutes, to visit the ruins of Restormel Castle, an 11th century Norman castle with a rare, perfectly circular shape. The early history of Restormel is unclear though some consider it could have been the first castle built by the Norman conquerors. It was, however, once a luxurious residence for the Earl of Cornwall and one of the four chief Norman castles of Cornwall. Since 1925 Restormel has been officially owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and cared for by English Heritage. After lunch, we travel north to the small fishing port of Port Isaac made famous as the film location for the drama series Doc Martin. We'll wander through the narrow streets, spotting locations from the film before enjoying a beverage and supper in the local pub overlooking the harbor. We lodge overnight at the delightful hostel immediately adjacent to the picturesque harbor in Boscastle. B/L/D
Day 11 Tuesday September 19: Tintagel Castle
Today we visit Tintagel Castle, a medieval fortification built half on the mainland and half on a jagged headland. The site has been important since the 5th - 7th as a likely residence for rulers in Cornwall. In the 12th century it was named as the place where King Arthur was conceived and this fame has continued. After enjoying our visit, we set off back to Devon. Dinner tonight is a short walk from our hotel at a distinctive boutique restaurant who source their ingredients from small, local suppliers. B/L/D
Day 12 Wednesday September 20: Relax, regroup and Lydford Castle
After our Cornish exertions, relax and regroup. Perhaps wander around town, enjoy a coffee, consider buying a gift to take home for family and pack your bags for tomorrows homeward journey. Mid afternoon, we visit the remains of Lydford Castle - still an impressive edifice. During the reign of Alfred the Great, CE 871-899, Lydford already ranked alongside Exeter, in importance. Evidence of minting coinage in the form of the solid silver Lydford penny dates back to CE 937 during the reign of Athelstan (grandson of Alfred the Great). Operating for around 100 years, the mints at Lydford produced over 1.5 million silver pennies. A Norman hill-fort was built some time after 1066 - earthworks are still visible today. The Forest of Dartmoor, was a royal hunting ground administered from Lydford and it later also oversaw the administration of four tin-mining stanneries, Tavistock, Ashburton, Chagford and Plympton. The building of a new stonework tower was authorized by King John in 1194, with further work completed in the 13th century. Three hundred years later, Lydford Castle had gained a grisly reputation as a jail for holding offenders of the Stannary Laws. We will enjoy our farewell dinner at a 16th century Devonshire pub and 2022 Gold Award winner hosted by Food Drink Devon. B/D
Day 13 Thursday September 21: Departure
Our adventure ends after breakfast at your B&B. Check out is 10 am. B