Cornwall Tourism Guide

The best way to visit the West of England

From John O’Groats as the most northerly point to The Lizard in Cornwall as the most southerly, the choice of destinations in the British Isles take in every kind of attraction you can think of.

Cornwall and Devon are the two most southerly counties of England and as such have many features which distinguish them from the rest of mainland UK. Indeed there is a proud tradition of independence in Cornwall itself with a strong campaign to utilise its own ancient language in official signage in the same way that the Welsh language is recognised and used on a daily basis.

The time it takes to travel to Devon and Cornwall by road has recently been shortened by improvements on the A30 arterial route after Exeter but there are still many bottlenecks and accident blackspots that can make the journey by car a tedious one.

By far the best way to get there is by train, with the services travelling through some of the most dramatic scenery in England and offering unparalleled views of the countryside.

In Devon the ‘English Riviera’ around the large bay that takes in Torquay and Brixham has long been a popular destination for holidaymakers looking to experience one of the best seaside break locations in the country.

When you cross the river Tamar on the train you are literally crossing over from Devon into Cornwall and although the landscape doesn’t betray a vast difference, at least initially, the feeling of separation between the peoples is a long and historic one.

Cornwall is home to a rugged coastline that veers from beautiful stretches of sand through to dangerous inlets that loom large in a history of smuggling and seafaring.

Having been a tourist destination since the times of the Victorians, today towns such as Newquay are destination hotspots for a younger generation of visitors who are also drawn to some of the best surfing beaches in Europe at Bude and Porthtowan.

A more traditional and sedate approach takes in the small towns and villages that offer a classic view of an older England, with the ‘Cornish Cream Tea’ being an institution that relies on the uniqueness of the local clotted cream.

Cornwall and Devon are served by First Great Western Trains, who have largely avoided the recent upheavals suffered by the franchise problems regarding the West Coast mainline, but on the other side of the country things have played out very differently.

East Coast Rail went through drastic changes when the Government had to step in and take control of the service after the contracted provider ran into difficulties and lost the franchise. Today the line operates on a unique semi-nationalised basis, as East Coast is a trading name of a company formed by the Department for Transport.

Rail ticket prices have not been adversely affected in any way and in fact many users of the east Coast line feel that the current set up has brought substantial improvements to the service.

One thing is certain about railways in the UK – when it comes to visiting some of the best tourist destinations such as Devon and Cornwall, it really is the best way to travel.

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