Located on the South West Coast of England, Cornwall is one of the most popular British getaways, and it’s not hard to see why. The region is home to beautiful landscapes, small picturesque villages and endless sandy beaches. It’s also full of both natural and man-made wonders, attracting tourists from all over the world.
Cornwall’s 300-mile coast has an impressive history, filled with the adventures of Vikings, Romans and Celts, who helped to form the area’s selection of man-made treasures. From castles to theatres, here at Parkdean Holidays we’ve picked some of the top man-made wonders for you to discover on your next holiday to Cornwall.
Tintagel Castle is a fascinating medieval fortification, which has an impressive history. Just 30 minutes away from St Minver Holiday Park, it’s the alleged birthplace of the legendary King Arthur, and offers spectacular scenic views over the North Cornwall coastline. A place that has inspired writers and artists for years, it’s easy to see why this man-made wonder has become such an iconic attraction.
Richard, Earl of Cornwall built Tintagel Castle in the 1230s. Although it fell into disrepair and ruin, the remains which stand on the site today are fascinating. The steep stone steps and crumbling walls tell of the castle’s impressive history, and you can explore areas such as the great hall, where people will have once gathered for feasts.
One of Tintagel’s best kept secrets is the beautiful beach, which you can find below the ruin. It’s perfect for those who fancy a walk along the shore or a quick paddle. You can even visit Merlin’s Cave when the tide is out. The well-known poet, Tennyson, made this cave famous in Idylls of the King, where he described an infant King Arthur being carried to the shore by the waves, before he was lifted to safety by Merlin.
Video sourced from Tales of Rama
The Minack Theatre
Perched high above the Atlantic Ocean, The Minack is a world famous open air theatre that has been carved into the granite cliff. The theatre is wonderfully authentic, and looks as though it could have been there for thousands of years, however, the very first performance only took place in August 1932.
Less than an hour away from Mullion Holiday Park, the theatre was originally the brainchild of Minack House resident Rowena Cade. Local drama enthusiasts had put on a successful outdoor showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream around a mile away, and were looking for somewhere to perform The Tempest. Rowena decided the cliffs below her house would be the perfect setting, and after moving endless amounts of granite boulders and earth, the lower terraces of the theatre were created.
The Minack Theatre has continued to evolve over the years, and now incorporates the latest sound and lighting technology. However, great efforts have been made to make sure it still bears resemblance to Rowena’s first creation. From the start of April until the end of October the theatre is open daily, with a full programme of performances and events. There’s also a stunning tropical garden to explore, as well as the Rowena Cade Visitor Centre, where you can learn about her remarkable story.
Video sourced from Aerial Cornwall
Located on the dramatic cliff tops between St Agnes and Porthtowan, Wheal Coates is a former tin mine that first opened in 1802. The area has a rich mining heritage due to the high-quality tin which is formed between the granite and rocks around the cliffs. Records suggest there was a mine on the site from as early as 1692.
Now in the care of the National Trust, Wheal Coates is best known for its three engine houses. The iconic Towanroath Shaft Engine House was once responsible for keeping water out of the shaft some 600 feet below, and is now a Grade II listed building. The other two engine houses were used for hoisting and crushing the tin ore.
Just 30 minutes away from Holywell Bay Holiday Park, other structures which still stand at Wheal Coates include a chimney stack and a calciner furnace, which was built to remove impurities from the tin. In 2006, Cornish mining sites including Wheal Coates were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which puts them on par with the likes of Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.
Video sourced from Mark Thomas
The Treffry Viaduct is a historic dual purpose railway viaduct and aqueduct, which was built between 1839 and 1842 by Joseph Thomas Treffry. Standing at 90 feet high and 670 feet long, the viaduct was the first large civil engineering structure of its kind to be built in Cornwall, and is a World Heritage site.
Around 40 minutes away from Looe Bay Holiday Park, Treffry Viaduct crosses the beautiful Luxulyan Valley. After inheriting the estates of his family, Joseph Teffry realised that the valley was a convenient route between the South Coast and the high ground of mid Cornwall. After constructing the viaduct, it was then used for carrying both rails and a water channel to bring more water to Fowey Consols, a group of mines nearby.
Although the Treffry Viaduct fell into disuse during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it’s still open to explore all year round. There are many walks which include views of the viaduct, and it can also be seen from across the valley.
Video sourced from Peter Newbold