Cornwall's an incredible part of the country, and the Roseland Peninsula is perhaps its most remarkable area. Small and slightly off to one side, it's something of a hidden gem, teeming with sheltered creeks, pristine beaches, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and lush, exotic, National Trust gardens. It's rich in opportunities to walk, sail, spot dolphins and seals, and explore hidden coves on foot or by boat. There's more than a smattering of history, too, whether it's the beaches from which some of the D-Day landings launched, St Anthony Head and lighthouse or, going back further, the castles ordered by Henry VIII to protect against the Spanish and French …
Henry VIII was concerned that France or Spain might invade. It wasn't fanciful to imagine a Spanish sea captain heading west to east along the south coast and liking the look, to port, of all those sheltered waterways leading inland. So Henry ordered St Mawes Castle be built; Pendennis Castle - on the other side of the Fal estuary - shared the lookout work.
Despite falling into disuse in the 18th and 19th centuries, the castle's a beautiful building in a striking setting and well worth a visit. (See our wedding page, too, for information on its other possible uses … )
St Mawes Castle
Cornwall TR2 5DE
This remarkable building's appeal extends well beyond those who might usually include a church on their must-see list.
The building is getting on for 750 years old (with a Celtic heritage going back to the 6th century), but it also has an incredible, semi-tropical waterside setting. In common with the various impressive National Trust gardens close by, the grounds are home to fuchsias, lilies, rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias, as well as giant gunnera, azaleas, bamboos and bluebells.
St Just in Roseland Church
T: 01326 288111
The castle itself is still lived in by the same family that's nurtured it for generations but, close by, you'll find Grade II listed woodland, secluded beaches, a sheltered valley and gardens full of rare plants; 'Manderley' in Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca' is based on a house called 'Menabilly', a little way up the valley from the cove. The gardens overlook Porthluney Cove: the waters are safe, it's simple to park, and speed-boats and jet-skis are banned all year.
14th February to 5th June seven days a week 10.00 to 5.00
14th March to 30th May weekdays only
While it might be true that in Cornwall there's a more or less amazing beach wherever you look, they're not all like these. Try Pendower: beautiful, south-facing sands, safe bathing, perfect for families and, because of its size, there's space to be found even in high season. Or, for something still more secluded, do what Falmouth's boat owners do; hire a boat and head beyond Portscatho to Porthbear (pronounced - don't ask - 'Polbear'). It's great for snorkelling and beach barbecues (and don't worry, you don't have to use a boat, there's a footpath across fields, too).
We prefer you to leave your car in the car park and use the locally available St Mawes foot passenger ferry to Falmouth, Truro and beyond. How about borrowing a bicycle and explore the Roseland. Take a hired Kayak paddle to hidden creeks and delightful beaches, available from the St Mawes slipway. For late night water transport, book the St Mawes water taxi.
If you want to go to Truro, our local bus service has a scheduled regular timetable into town.
Perhaps be active and take the St Mawes to Place ferry and walk the circular walk to St Anthonys Head, taking in the famous Light House.
01872 862 312
01326 214 928
Click for timetable