Cornish attractions close to Polmanter
14th July 2020
One of the many wonderful things about West Cornwall is the amount of quality attractions packed into a small area. When we started to gather suggestions for this guide, we found it really tricky to pin it down to a few places!
However, we don’t want to swamp you with our enthusiasm for West Cornwall; so here are just a few of our favourite places to visit. We’ve chosen ones which you can comfortably drive to within an hour of Polmanter (we look at attractions further afield in another blog), and made sure that they’re all open for the 2020 season. If you have any other recommendations, please let us know!
Art in St Ives
The unique clear light of St Ives has attracted artists for generations, as well as visitors wanting to discover and admire Cornwall’s art heritage.
Tate St Ives, the iconic gallery overlooking Porthmeor Beach, is on most people’s Must Visit list. Recently refurbished, it has a permanent exhibition about St Ives and a programme of temporary displays. Tate St Ives reopens in late July, on a timed ticket basis. Please see the Tate website for booking information; and we recommend booking well ahead of your trip to St Ives.
The Tate’s sister gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a hidden wonder in the middle of town. The renowned sculptor moved to St Ives with her family when World War II broke out, and she transformed the gardens around Trewyn Studios into this beautiful backdrop for her sculptures. They too plan to open in late July with timed ticketing.
If you’d like a painting or a print as a memento if your holiday, St Ives’ winding streets have a plethora of small private galleries covering all styles and media.
Gorgeous Gardens in West Cornwall
There are so many lovely gardens in Cornwall to choose from. The Gulf Stream is kind to us, giving us a generally warm climate all year; and we’re able to grow all sorts of exciting sub-tropical plants. St Ives itself has lot of lovely little hidden gardens scattered around: enjoy a quiet pasty or ten minutes with a book in Trewyn Gardens.
Penzance is just a short drive from Polmanter, and it’s home to two of West Cornwall’s best gardens. Head for Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, just east of Penzance. The 22-acre gardens are in a sheltered valley which creates an ideal environment for spectacular sub-tropical planting. The dramatic flora forms a stunning backdrop for contemporary art installations. It’s a great place to explore with kids and dogs, with the added bonus an excellent café, as well as a nursery shop selling plants by Surreal Succulents. The garden, café and nursery are partially open this summer: please see their website for visiting information.
National Trust-managed Trengwainton Garden is on the other side on Penzance. Follow the winding paths, scamper in the orchards or on the large grassed area (but beware of the ha-ha…), admire the incredible views across Mounts Bay, or wander around the immaculate walled kitchen gardens. There’s a one-way route in place this summer, and you’ll need to book in advance.
The gardens at St Michael’s Mount are open, although the castle remains closed at the moment (it has some extremely tight spaces!). The boats aren’t running, so visiting hours are limited to when the causeway is open. The Mount’s subtropical gardens, planted on terraces up the almost-sheer cliff face, are simply stunning. Here’s a bit more about St Michael’s Mount 2020 opening arrangements, including how to book (it’s advance tickets only).
Way out west in Porthcurno, the gardens of the famous Minack Theatre are open for visitors this summer. Again, you’ll need a pre-booked ticket. The legendary open-air theatre is worth the drive from St Ives, for its remarkable architecture, sub-tropical planting and breath-taking views out across the sea.
On the Tin Trail in West Cornwall
Cornwall was once the world centre for tin and copper. Centuries of mining have transformed our landscape, and West Cornwall is dotted with lone chimney stacks and ruined engine houses. Cornwall’s mining district is now a World Heritage Site, preserving this fascinating history. The new BBC adaptation of Winston Graham’s Cornish Poldark novels has raised a lot of interest in mining (and scything). If you’re a fan of the series and would like to visit some of the filming spots, take a look at our favourite Poldark locations.
With mining museums such as Geevor Tin Mine closed this summer, the best way to experience Cornwall’s mining heritage is by striding out west along the South West Coast Path. You’ll get the real Poldark windswept clifftop experience in areas around Pendeen and St Just. You’ll get a real feel for the Wild West if you take the path from St Ives to Zennor, stopping at Zennor’s Moomaid café for a take-out ice cream or coffee before heading back to St Ives across the fields. This rugged landscape is dotted with the scars of Cornwall’s mining past, and is absolutely beautiful.
There are so many gorgeous places to visit near Polmanter, and these are simply a few of the highlights. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
We’d also like to emphasise how important it is to phone ahead or check an attraction’s website before setting off, as many of Cornwall’s visitor attractions have different opening arrangements for 2020.