Getting Cultural in Cornwall




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Getting Cultural in Cornwall

Known primarily for its charming villages and magnificent coast, Cornwall has plenty to offer the whole family looking to combine a traditional British seaside escape with a chance to learn a little about the history of one the country's most culturally rich counties.

Take the kids to a holiday park in Looe, Cornwall where they can enjoy the wide sandy beach, while providing the whole family the perfect base to explore the many cultural sites that litter the UKs southwest corner.

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a visit to arguably the area's most famous site, the magnificent St Michaels Mount. St. Michaels Mount comprises a medieval church and castle set on its own rocky islet in Mount's Bay. 'The Mount', as it is known locally, can be accessed from the mainland between mid tide and low water via a man made causeway made of granite setts.

Although the island's early history is vague, there is evidence that suggests human habitation from as early as Neolithic times (circa 4,000-2,500 BC). The Benedictine monks, who built the church and priory, came into possession of the island during the Norman Conquest of 1066. The spectacular medieval castle which crowns the rock dates from the 14th century.

St Michael's Mount had a checkered history over the next two hundred years as both a monastery and a fortress until it came into the hands of the St Aubyn family in 1660. They used it primarily as a summer residence until the 18th century when they established a permanent residence there. The site has some wonderful stained glass windows in its church and the grounds feature magical gardens which were planted by the family. In 1964 the property was handed over to the national trust.

Another Cornwall must see is the Minack Theatre. The theatre is a unique edifice set among fabulous gardens overlooking the stunning vista of Porthcurro Bay. Although it resembles the ancient amphitheatres which proliferate in Greece and Italy, it is in fact the astonishing legacy of the land's owner, Rowena Cade. She and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, built the remarkable space by hand over many years.

This dramatic backdrop was first used to stage a local production of Shakespeare's, "The Tempest" in 1932. Nowadays it is a theatre with an international reputation. Its summer season runs from Easter to September and during this time 20 plays are performed by both national and international theatre companies. During the off season the theatre is still open to visitors.

The history of coastal mining in Cornwall stretches back thousands of years to the beginning of the Bronze Age. Cornwall was in fact one of the world's greatest tin producers.

The Geevor Tin Mine is a monument to this significant part of Cornwall's industrial history. During the period from 1911 to 1990 it produced 50,000 tons of black tin. The mine eventually closed after almost 300 years of continuous mining. Not long after its closure a group of former miners established a museum and heritage centre as an ongoing memorial to this hugely important part of Cornwall's past.

The museum contains photos, personal memorabilia, ore samples and artefacts connected to the day to day working of the mine. It is also possible to take a guided tour of one of the mine shafts and some of the outer buildings. These tours are led by former miners who are happy to share their mining experiences with tour groups.

Couple plenty of beach time with a visit to a handful of the myriad exciting and educational attractions on offer in Cornwall and the result is a family holiday that's overflowing with fun and packed with educational opportunities.

23 PHOTOS OF MELBOURNE