Cornwall is often described as the ultimate British seaside resort – the Cornish ice cream, the Cornish beaches… but is there really anything cultural to do there, besides lolling about on a beach? We certainly think so. Here’s a list of the best cultural locations we found when we visited:

  1. St Ives – Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

On your jollies to St Ives, you will find the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. There are infrequent tours throughout the day, though these are best avoided as they serve as lectures on her life, rather than providing insight into the sculptures, which only really function as decorations surrounding the lecturing tour guide. The gallery itself is very small, but well worth a visit as it is situated in Hepworth’s actual studio. The gardens, similarly, are rather compact, but a beautiful floral display surrounds and complements the sculptures perfectly. This arty delight is well worth a visit!

  1. Truro – Truro Cathedral

Most will go to Truro for a day of shopping, and many of the jewellery designs are art in themselves, but don’t forget the very impressive Truro Cathedral. Its architecture is truly something to note and the ceiling is both mesmerising and beautiful. It actually makes your eyes go a little funny if you look at it for too long, but this is a fair price to pay for art!

  1. Falmouth and St Mawes – Pendennis Castle and St Mawes Castle

Castles may not seem the obvious choice for art enthusiasts, but Pendennis in Falmouth and St Mawes Castles are both well worth a visit. The buildings are externally stunning and the views from them arguably even more so. Whether gazing at Pendennis castle from St Mawes (or vice versa), overlooking the bay or admiring the castle structures, these castles should definitely be on your holiday bucket list.

  1. St Ives – The Tate

The Tate in St Ives is currently closed for refurbishment. However, the building itself is very impressive, and its shop offers samples of artwork past and yet to come. It is also the nearest you will come to somewhere reminiscent of London, so if you’re missing the hustle and bustle of a city in quieter and more peaceful Cornwall, the Tate is probably the place for you. Remember to keep an eye on when it will be reopening!

  1. Falmouth – The Maritime Museum

My favourite arty outing in Cornwall has to be the Maritime Museum in Falmouth. From Ben Ainslie’s boat to signatures from the South West of England, “backing the bid” for London 2012, and an Owl and a Pussy Cat in a Pea Green boat, the Maritime Museum has every boat related object you can think of! It even has a Viking World exhibition, perfect for those English and History students missing the world of academia. There are plenty of child friendly exhibits, ideal for those of you with younger siblings, or even just for the child within you (I speak from experience). Plunge down to below sea level (in a lift, not diving gear), or soar up (in a lift, not an aeroplane) to views overlooking the whole of Falmouth, but whatever you do – visit the Maritime Museum!

Isla McLachlan

Image courtesy of Isla McLachlan

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