5 Places to Visit in Subtropical Britain

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Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the southwest peninsula of Great Britain, Cornwall, enjoys a subtropical climate. There are many beautiful and interesting spots to visit in Cornwall, so I decided to focus on the westernmost part of the county which has a rich history and a remote landscape. Charming fishing villages, subtropical flora and seaside fun draw explorers, artists and adventurers to the area. The rugged coast intertwines with sandy bays making it not only a beautiful place to explore, but also a place where legends are born. The landscape that now attracts many tourists was once remote enough to be an ideal locale for infamous smugglers to bring their wares ashore.

This part of Great Britain is decidedly unique and is well worth a visit. The following 5 spots will most certainly not disappoint visitors:

St. Ives
St. Ives is perched above the sea with picturesque beaches, colorful flowers, cobblestone pathways and decent surf.  St. Ives is easily accessible by rail or car from London. One telling sign of a great place to visit is somewhere that people describe as an artists’ haven. St. Ives is most certainly one of these. Tate St. Ives is a distinguished art gallery where traditional local art meets new ideas and works.

Minack Theatre
Sometimes you go to a theatre to experience a specific production and sometimes you go to experience the theatre itself. The Minack Theatre falls into the latter category. I don’t mean to take anything away from the productions themselves as there are some world class performances staged here. However, the setting of the outdoor theatre is breathtakingly stunning. It sits high above the rugged cliffs of Porthcurno and was built, almost singlehandedly, by an amazing woman named Rowena Cade (1893-1983) who bought the piece of land for 100 GBP! She started the granite project at the age of 38 and carried out physical improvements to the theatre well into her 80s.

The Lizard
The Lizard is the southernmost peninsula in Britain. It is where you’ll find a rugged coastline exposed to the elements of the open sea. In some of the small coves that are protected by the rugged cliffs, small fishing villages with colorful boats and thatched roofed houses exist hand in hand with the sea. Since this is a peninsula, you won’t find passers-by. Visitors need to go out of their way to discover this dramatic piece of land. In fact, history has shown quite a few nautical mishaps and shipwrecks with the Man O’ War Rocks just off its treacherous coast. Of great historical interest, Marconi sent his first transatlantic radio message from Poldhu Cove in 1901. Due to its climate, several types of flora can be found here that are not found anywhere else in Britain.

Flora Day in Helston
If you happen to be in the area around the 8th of May, Helston is the place to be. On Flora Day, Helston hosts an all day parade with dancing and costumes, children and adults, artists and entertainers alike. Loads of visitors celebrate in the streets with a carnival-like atmosphere from morning through evening. Helston is also home to The Blue Anchor which is one of the oldest inns in Britain which has been an operating brewery for 600 years.

Penzance and St. Michaels Mount
Penzance has some brilliant architecture and an illustrious history. It is a market town with great pubs and hidden gems amongst its winding streets that lead to the sea. There is a mysterious feel to the charming village with the tales of smugglers and pirates who once passed through the area.  At low tide, walk the causeway to St. Michael’s Mount where a historic and fairytale-like castle sits upon a green hilltop just waiting to be explored.

IMAGES VIA: Candy Schwartz, Fimb, Karen Roe, Dave Goodman, vidya365, Purely Penzance
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One Response to “5 Places to Visit in Subtropical Britain”

  1. Nomadic Samuel
    September 21, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    I’d love to visit the Lizard more than any of the other suggestions. I’m naturally attracted to rugged scenery.

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