Cornwall Tourism Guide

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Truro

Truro is Cornwall’s only city. As such, it seems to pack as much interest into itself as possible to make up for the fact, crowning its achievements with a magnificent cathedral that bears favourable comparison with any other in these castle- and cathedral-infested islands.

The cathedral is unusual in having a green spire, and its gloriously Gothic style with flying buttresses arches and gargoyles make it a top attraction here. There are plenty of places to park and the well-maintained roads around the area will get you to other attractions in no time at all.

Truro was founded more than 800 years ago, when it began life as a market town and thriving port. It was especially important in the tin mining era, located as it is on the River Fal and being well protected as well as close to the sea, giving it the edge in national and international trade.

These days, Truro has a healthy tourist industry, with cruises along the river to places such as St Mawes and Falmouth, although within living memory it was a working port. Like so many other places since the decline of industry and shipbuilding in particular Truro has had to change with the times, but the past seems reflected in the many stories of ghosts along the quayside, and on Phoenix Wharf in particular, at the Radio Cornwall Studios, there have been many reports of supernatural goings-on.

As in many other former industrial and maritime towns and cities, apartments and offices now dominate the old wharfside, although the last remnants of its industrial past can be seen in the cargoes of cement and scrap metal that are still loaded up at the Lighterage Quay.

There are still a few old buildings surviving in the city centre, from its heyday in Georgian and Victorian times, and in Princes Street there are some very fine 18th century houses, such as Mansion House, which are open to the public.

Truro today is still an important market town for the region, with markets selling locally sourced, fresh and seasonal produce and attracting visitors from all around the area. Most of the city centre has been converted to pedestrian usage, but cars can be parked just outside the zone before heading in on foot.

There’s a good geological collection in the Royal Cornwall Museum, as well as interesting displays and interactive exhibits about the history of Cornwall. Most visitors like to be photographed next to ‘Arthur’s Stone’, which is an inscribed lump of rock bearing the name of the legendary (or maybe historical?) king, which was discovered at Tintagel, supposedly the site of his castle of Camelot. It dates to the 6th century, so you never know… The museum is nothing if not eclectic, and there’s even an Egyptian mummy here.

After exploring the narrow, winding cobbled streets and enjoying the range of arts and crafts on offer, head out in the car for day trips to places like Bodmin Moor, Land’s End or St Michael’s Mount. Cornwall has a magnificent coastline and coast roads that take you through some of the most spectacular scenery in England.

 

David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.

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