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Cornwall has experienced a cultural and gourmet renaissance and is now one of the most vibrant counties in Britain.
One of the most popular of Cornwall’s must see attractions lies on the South East Coast around St Austell; the Eden Project. It’s a place for kids to explore, interact, play and run free, while subliminally teaching them about the growth cycles of fruits, nuts, chocolate and pineapples.
All this is peppered with striking works of art – a giant bee pollinating giant flowers, ancient gods playing on vines, a massive totem pole, a ginormous stone seed and the wondrous monster made-up entirely of rubbish.
The main attraction is the Rainforest Biome, the World’s biggest undercover rainforest. The Biome replicates the World’s richest tropical rainforest environments from Asia, Africa and South America. You’ll see a mix of huge jungle leaves and enormous flowers all from a heady treetop canopy walkway.
Then there’s the Mediterranean Biome, which concentrates on the Med, South Africa and California whilst outside there is a garden covering 20 acres filled with plants, sculptures, play areas, paths and trails for every age to enjoy.
Next on the list is the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno. A world famous open-air theatre carved into granite cliffs high above the intense blue Atlantic Ocean that is surrounded by an exotic subtropical garden. Theatrical favourites, including comedy, drama, musicals, opera and children’s stories, come to life from April to the end of October with Matinee performances starting at 2pm and evening performances at 8pm.
If you don’t manage to book a ticket for a performance in advance then join the day visitors who flock here to explore this magical Greek style monument on their way to the stunning Porthcurno Cove below the theatre. There is a café and a visitor centre that tells the tale of how Rowena Cade, a girl from the Victorian era, came to Porthcurno and built this theatre with her very own hands.
Moving around the north-western tip of Cornwall there is St Ives, an internationally renowned art centre of world importance. Due to a circle of painters from the 20th Century known as the St Ives School this wealth of Cornish art is no side show.
Apparently, these famous artists were drawn to the then fishing town’s extraordinary intensity and clarity of ocean light, which inspired them to produce much coveted modern and abstract works of art. This legacy of world recognised art heritage is celebrated at St Ives Tate Gallery but there are nine other important galleries that should be visited here including Barbara Hepworth’s home and sculpture garden.
Heading north there is the centre of culinary excellence known as Padstow. Here you’ll find the internationally famous restaurants belonging to the celebrity chef, Rick Stein. Due to his star status there is more than one restaurant and there is even a cookery school.
Many refer to Padstow as ‘Padstein’ such is the massive culinary revival that has been kick started in this town (and Cornwall) thanks to Mr Stein.
Last stop is for the adrenaline junkies amongst you with a playground of extreme sports in Watergate Bay near Newquay. Here you will find the Extreme Academy, offering various pursuits including wave skiing, kitesurfing and every other kind of surfing imaginable.
If speed is your thing choose from traction kiting, kite buggying, land boarding or mountain boarding amongst a host of other sports. Lessons and sessions are tailored to your pace, level and age.
So there you go, five things you must try when visiting Cornwall, you’ll be glad you did!