Instant Expert: Cornwall
Cornwall at a Glance
Official language: English (Cornish is also spoken by a few hundred people)
Currency: British pound
Tipping: A 12.5% service charge will often be added to your restaurant bill. It’s not necessary to tip in pubs/bars (unless there’s table service), for taxis or hotel staff
10 Things You Need to Know
1. “Durdatha whye!” That’s Cornish for “Good day to you!” You’re probably better off sticking to the English though – Cornish is only spoken by a few hundred people in the county and the last person to use it as their first language is thought to have died in the late 1700s.
2. Cornwall is renowned for its rich mining heritage – in the 1900s, half of the world’s tin came from here.
3. Cornwall has more coastline (over 400 miles) than any other county in Britain. It’s only bordered by one other county: Devon.
4. Look out for the county flag (Saint Piran’s Flag) on bumper stickers while you’re out and about in Cornwall. It’s black with a white cross.
5. The name Cornwall originates from the words “cornovii” (meaning “hill dwellers”) and “waelas” (strangers).
6. Cornwall’s signature food is, of course, the Cornish pasty. The best one is reckoned by many to be made by Philps of Hayle, but what about the biggest one ever made? That was cooked up by a team of Bodmin bakers in 2010 – it was 15-ft long, weighed 1,900lb, took 11 hours to cook in a specially built oven and would have cost £7,000 to buy.
7. Celebs with homes in Cornwall include Madonna (Falmouth), Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan (Polperro) and Dawn French (Fowey).
8. There is no prison in Cornwall – not since Bodmin Jail was shut down in 1922.
9. If you plan on swimming at one of Cornwall’s many beaches, pay close attention to the red-and-yellow flags and always make sure you swim between them. If you don’t, expect short shrift from the lifeguards.
10. In 2014, the Cornish were granted minority status within the UK, giving them the same status as other Celtic communities such as the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
When to visit Cornwall
Cornwall’s 400-odd miles of coast and beautiful beaches make it a natural draw in the summer. It can get very busy at this time, particularly with families. Although it can get cold in the winter (it is the UK after all) temperatures rarely fall below freezing. For the best deals on Cornwall breaks, we recommend looking at spring or autumn dates. For more info, check out our detailed guide on when to visit Cornwall.
Cornwall is Best For…
Foodies. Seafood in abundance (and some great places to try it), the mighty pasty and, of course, the Cornish cream tea. There’s also a vineyard or two at which you can sample some excellent local wine.
Photographers. Around seemingly every corner there’s a beach, cove or cliffside that’s just begging to be snapped.
Kids. Rockpooling is one of the best ways to get little ones enthused about the wildlife right under their noses, and older kids will love the endless watery pursuits available to them, from swimming and surfing to coasteering and sailing. This is a place to truly let the kids run wild.
Ramblers. The South West Coast Path snakes along 300 miles of Cornwall coastline. Choose a section, put your best boots on, get your camera ready and prepare to be dazzled.