When people think about jetting off to Britain, it’s often accompanied by the idea of sightseeing in London, cramming onto a tube and running between places because everyone is always in a rush. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
You can hop on a plane from London and get to Cornwall within the hour, travel by train for five hours, or tuck yourself onto a coach for 8 and a half hours for around £20 (or even less)!
Once you’re there, it will take your breath away as time begins to slow to the relaxed rhythm of life in the peninsula. With bike trails, rivers, woods, beaches and a real community feel, it seems like a world apart from the rushed and frantic capital where people rarely look up from their phones as they make their commute.
Here’s how to make the most of your stay in Cornwall while sticking to your backpacker budget.
Finding a place to stay will always be the biggest chunk of your budget wherever in the world you are, so try and minimise the cost of your stay in Britain by being sensible. Heading out of London will save you money in every aspect and allow you to explore England for very little. Nowhere is this truer than Cornwall.
The county has a plethora of self-catering accommodation, as well as places you can book long-term throughout the low season (November-March). If you’re used to backpacking then you may also be used to getting out of the airport and being able to look for a hostel. The good news is that in Cornwall you’ll be able to get a lot more for your money than a bunk bed in an 8-person dorm in London, but they do go quickly so you’ll have to book online if you want to ensure you have a place to stay when you arrive.
Newquay is the hub where most people arrive into Cornwall, so find somewhere to stay there. For those wanting to venture a bit further out, head to Perranporth, St Agnes or Porthtowan.
Things To Do
The Cornish coast is a real pleasure, offering a range of activities during your stay. If you’re looking for free things to do, then a walk along the beach and creating some art from driftwood is a great way to pass the time. There are also numerous free cultural activities such as visiting the Falmouth Art Gallery, watching sweet delights being crafted at Trenance Chocolate Factory in Mullion, and sampling traditional food and beverages at Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm near Truro.
For those who are looking to see and do things that leave them with a good story, take a trip to Lizard Point; it’s the most southerly point in Britain and has beautiful views of the sea. Or enjoy a nice cold beer while you’re surrounded by the chill of one of the most haunted places in Britain – the Jamaica Inn.
For the adrenaline junkies, there are a range of things you can do along the coast that will leave your heart pumping! Try wave skiing, land boarding, or kitesurfing.
Where To Eat
Although there’s the option of cooking in self-catering accommodation, it’s always nice to go out to sample the culture and culinary delights.
Wherever you are in Cornwall, there are restaurants tucked away down cobbled streets, on the beach front, and hidden in plain sight. As a general rule of thumb, if you see a place that looks welcoming then it probably is!
During your time in the county, you have to try fish and chips from a seaside restaurant (around £8 to take away), as well as Cornish pasties (around £1), clotted ice cream, and fudge (both around £3). We can’t guarantee that you’ll want to leave after tickling your taste buds with these delicacies!
At different times of the year, there are various celebrations that you should try your hand at. At Halloween for instance, some communities have a festival for Allantide instead and give Allan apples as a good luck token. They also carve jack-o-lanterns from turnips.
If you’re looking for a more traditional and spooky All Hallows’ Eve, then Cornwall has a range of famous haunted buildings and areas. Visit Bodmin Moor, Jamaica Inn, Pengersick Castle (£5 for guided tour) or Prideaux Place (£8.50 for guided tour).
There is also an array of famous places that are worth a visit if you have the budget for it. You could walk around the Eden Project (£22.50 in advance), visit Land’s End (free), or immerse yourself in The Lost Gardens of Heligan (£12.50/adult).
With there being such an abundance of naturally beautiful places in Cornwall, you can spend or save as much money as you like. As with anywhere, a visit during autumn and winter will usually cost less than in the summer months but there are just as many things to enjoy.
If you’d like to find out more and book a budget-friendly trip to Cornwall, visit Duchy Holidays to view their range of self-catering accommodation.
Michelle is one half of the duo behind Duchy Holidays, accommodation providers in Cornwall. Their business has been family run since 1994, so she knows about a lot of hidden gems! She specialises in the North Cornwall Coast, but is passionate about everything the county has on offer for people of all ages and budgets.