The Roseland peninsula is the perfect base from which to explore. Here are our top ten, in no particular order, to inspire your holiday itinerary.
Take the St Mawes Ferry to Falmouth
One of Cornwall’s iconic boat trips, the St Mawes Ferry makes the crossing from Falmouth to St Mawes throughout the year. Taking 20 minutes, passengers can soak in the world-class scenery of the Carrick Roads, including two historic Tudor castles, plus the wealth of marine life often spotted cruising around Falmouth Bay. When you arrive in Falmouth, make the most of this bohemian seaside town’s collection of independent shops, trendy cafés and boutique bars.
Indulge in some retail therapy in Truro
Despite the feeling of far-flung shores that makes the Roseland so popular, it is only a short drive from Cornwall’s cathedral city, Truro. Here, as well as a wealth of superb restaurants and bars, you’ll find a twice-weekly farmers market – perfect for self-caterers – as well as plenty of top high-street retailers and independent boutiques.
Spring at Caerhays Estate
Opening from February through June, the castle and gardens of Caerhays estate are a must-visit during the awakening months of spring. With spectacular magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons in full flower, there are structured walks around the gardens giving views over the estate and grounds, the lake, and out to sea. You can also take a 45-minute tour of the castle’s ground floor, discovering all of the rooms and all of the secrets and stories they have to tell.
Uncovering the Eden Project
Explore Eden’s massive covered biomes: trek through the world’s largest indoor rainforest; immerse yourself in the calm fragrance and comfortable climes of the Mediterranean; explore the extensive outdoor gardens, contemporary artworks, performances and storytelling for which Eden has become renowned the world over. Challenging the way we think about the world around us and championing to each and every visitor a more environmentally kind way of living, a trip to Eden is an absolute must.
Find the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Open daily, Heligan offers 200 acres of history, mystery and romance to explore. Unknown and unseen until 30 years ago – having been lost to the brambles since the outbreak of the First World War – Heligan has since been restored to its rightful position – in pride of place among England’s finest gardens. Friendly to the whole family, including the dog, with the onsite Kitchen & Bakery bringing fresh, local produce to the fore, the Lost Gardens have everything you need for the perfect day out.
Take the King Harry Ferry to Trelissick Gardens
Utterly tranquil with stunning river views, and home to a superb, varied collection of tender and exotic plants, the National Trust’s Trelissick Garden epitomises the sub-tropical landscape that so many visit this area of the coast to experience. And it’s just a short hop on the King Harry Ferry from the Roseland! The garden sits on its own peninsula, with sunny spots and shady retreats aplenty. Find a quiet patch and unpack a picnic, or grab a home-cooked snack or lunch in the on-site café, before hopping back aboard for the journey home.
Explore ‘Du Maurier’ country
For those keen to explore the parts of Cornwall that inspired this much-celebrated author, there are a few key points along the coastline of St Austell Bay that you simply must visit. From Polkerris to Polridmouth Cove: catch sight of Menabilly, the house that she rented from the Rashleigh family and which provided the setting for three novels, including Rebecca; look out for Kilmarth, Du Maurier’s home in her later years, nestled into the landscape between Par and Polkerris; and get a feel for the landscape that so shaped this long-celebrated author’s work.
On two wheels
Make a day of it on two wheels with mid-Cornwall’s excellent network of bike trails. At Cardinham Woods, a part of Forestry England, the off-road cycling is hard to beat, with trails ranging from blue (moderate) to red (difficult). The Bodmin Beast Trail, a blue trail of 12km, aims to set the benchmark for trails in Cornwall, exploring the wooded slopes of Cardinham Valley, with technical climbs, descents, snaking single-track and other features including bermed corners, small step-downs, rollers and table tops.
The National Trust owned Lanhydrock estate also has some exciting woodland trails to offer, with the choice of flat and hillier routes, ranging from green (easy) all the way through to red (difficult). The green ‘Lodge’ trail is perfect for families and beginners, while the Saw Pit – a red trail – offers experienced riders a dual slalom race track, with tightly packed rollers, jumps and banked corners. With two tracks running side by side downhill, it’s perfect for a spot of friendly competition!
A day by the sea at Looe and Polperro
When it comes to experiencing quintessential coastal Cornwall, we can think of few better places to start than Polperro – a sleepy fishing village just along the coast from Looe. Exceptionally pretty, with an intriguing smuggling past (as referenced in Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn), and with a tempting choice of eateries, not to mention the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing, a visit here comes highly recommended.
Head up the coast from Polperro and you’ll eventually find yourself in the popular seaside town of Looe. Split down the middle by a river winding its way down to a harbour and a fabulous beach, there’s plenty of atmosphere to enjoy here throughout the year. And whether your idea of a day by the water is spent sun bathing, swimming and building castles, or watching the world go by from one of the town’s fantastic restaurants, bars and cafés, a day spent in Looe feels like a good old-fashioned trip to the seaside.
Rambling on Bodmin Moor
With countless tors offering challenging walks, plus staggering views out across the vast, rolling moorland and beyond, Bodmin is a walker’s paradise. In fact, the only thing that could make a day here any better, is a trip to the famous Jamaica Inn! Why not park up at the inn, and make the seven-mile round trip to and from Brown Willy? Famed as the highest point in Cornwall, the views from this tor are astounding and, this high up, the fresh air sure to work up a serious appetite. Fortunately, the Jamaica Inn, immortalised by Daphne Du Maurier in her novel of the same name, is open from 7.30am to 9pm, with almost all dishes on the menu coming homemade, plus a superb bar menu to wash it all down with.