Cornwall is a county that has so much to offer – sea, sand, countryside and a wealth of experiences for those looking for a bit of adventure. If you’re in the mood to try something different on your upcoming trip to Kernow, check out these ultimate bucket list activities for some ideas.
Get Creative at Cornwall’s School of Outdoor Art
The great outdoors has been a source of inspiration for artists and creators since the dawn of time, so it makes sense for those wanting to try their hand at painting or drawing to use a rewilded landscape as a place to learn. That’s exactly the idea behind the School of Outdoor Art, the brainchild of founder and artist Sian Blunt. Located in rural west Cornwall, the school offers a selection of art courses that take place in portable outdoor studios in a dedicated field at The Croft near Camborne. The half-day, one-day and two-day courses lined up for summer 2022 are hosted by leading artists from across the South West, including Sian herself, Louise Bennett, Andrew Barrowman and Flora Arbuthnott. SOOA also works with Immerse Outdoors to combine water-based experiences with an art course, which sounds like a dream to me. All course prices include refreshments and a vegetarian lunch made with ingredients grown in the school’s on-site kitchen garden, as well as a drawing board sketchbook to use the skills you’ve learned at home.
Photos: Richard Squires
Make Your Own Vodka at Colwith Farm Distillery
Love a vodka martini (shaken or stirred)? Do you make a mean Bloody Mary? Imagine making your favourite cocktails with vodka you’ve distilled yourself. Colwith Farm Distillery in Lanlivery have set up the UK’s first plough-to-bottle vodka school, where you can learn the history of the spirit before crafting, blending and hand-filling a bottle of your own flavoured vodka to take home. Colwith, who also run a popular gin school and masterclass, distil their award-winning Aval Dor spirits from potatoes grown on their family farm using sustainable practices. During the two-hour class, you’ll be able to use a blend of botanicals to tailor your vodka to your personal taste, with some of the ingredients picked fresh from Colwith Farm’s on-site kitchen garden. If you’re looking for the ultimate experience, book the masterclass, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery and a vodka tasting, as well as a welcome drink, seasonal cocktail and discount for the gift shop.
Walk to One of Cornwall’s Famous Landmarks
Cornwall is home to some of the UK’s best walking and hiking trails, making it a great place for an active getaway. The dramatic coastline forms part of the South West Coast Path, while further inland you can find paths through rolling fields and picturesque moorlands. If you’re feeling adventurous but want to see as many of the county’s famous sites as possible, there’s a wealth of well-known landmarks conveniently located on some popular walking trails, which have the added benefit of stunning views along the way. Whether you want to see the Bedruthan Steps, snap a picture of St Michael’s Mount from the coast, or take a step back in time at Tintagel Castle (below) or Wheel Coates, our guide to the five best walks to Cornwall’s most Instagrammable sites has something for everyone. Just be sure to pack your boots!
Photos: Tintagel (English Heritage), Tintagel by Gary Perkin, St Michael’s Mount
Go Wild Swimming in a Secluded Location
Visitors to Charlestown can book a super cool Wild Swimming and Sailing Day onboard a 1930s topsail schooner called Anny. The six-hour trip (for which you can book individual tickets or charter the whole boat for up to 12 people) leaves from Charlestown Harbour and will see you spend the day sailing along the Cornish coast. You can even get involved in helping the crew along the way by taking the helm or handling the sails, or just relax and enjoy the ride. You’ll be taken to a secluded spot with the ideal conditions for jumping in the water and enjoying a bit of marine life spotting. When you’re ready to get back on the boat, you’ll be welcomed by a hot shower on deck followed by a freshly cooked lunch and a well-earned glass of prosecco. If sailing is your thing, you can also book entire holidays aboard Anny, with three and six-day excursions available for summer 2022.
Spot Marine Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat
The seas around Cornwall are teeming with marine wildlife, some of which you might be lucky enough to spot from the coast. But if you want to get a closer look, book an excursion with Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing, who offer incredible trips. If you prefer to stay on the boat, you can book the family in for an educational journey with the chance to see seals, birds, dolphins, sharks, huge sunfish and porpoise. There’s also a snorkel safari that allows you to see kelp forests brimming with fish, crustaceans, anemones and mussels. Feeling brave? Newquay Sea Safaris also offer up-close encounters with sharks, including snorkelling with basking sharks and cage diving with blue sharks. And you can rest assured knowing the company takes sustainability to heart – they’re business members of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and have won awards for their wildlife-friendly practices.
Click here to book a sea safari or shark experience
Sleep Under the Stars at a Glamping Site
Thanks to its diverse landscape, Cornwall is host to a huge number of camping and glamping sites. If you’re lucky enough to have a clear night sky above you, you can fall asleep counting stars. Kudhva (featured image) offer unique cabins, tipis and tree tents, and it’s located just a few miles from Tintagel Castle, so you could try one of the walks we mentioned earlier. If you’re attending a course at the School of Outdoor Art, you could stay at the nearby Treehouse on the Lake on Clowance Estate. Looking for something a little more out of the ordinary? Try Mistery 2, a lovingly restored houseboat docked on the River Kennall, which comes complete with a cosy firepit. Cornish Wave run a woodland campsite and you can also book a number of activities to complete your trip, from surfing to wild swimming and even axe throwing. Meanwhile, Botelet is the ultimate place to unwind, offering yurts, massages in the wild and guided meditation sessions.
If you’re thinking of taking a glamping holiday elsewhere in the South West, check out our pick of the best sites in the area.