Exploring England #9
On the southern coast of Cornwall there are two unique geographical markers. Land’s End, a barren rocky headland, is the most south-westerly point of mainland Great Britain while Lizard Point with its sheer, stony cliffs is the most southerly. The scenery at each location is wild and rugged; the surging ocean crashes onto rocks below the lookouts.
Like so many travellers through the centuries, we wanted to visit these special locations. Both have a colourful history of shipwrecks and lighthouses and both have cafés in remarkable positions, but that’s where the similarities end.
Land’s End, once part of the land gifted to Robert, Count of Mortain by William the Conqueror in 1066, is now owned by Heritage Attractions.
Along with beautiful views of the Cornish coast, there are several buildings dating from the 19th century to admire. The First and Last Cafe has been serving hungry travellers since 1854. Penwith House, established in 186o as a Temperance Hotel, sits alongside its counterpart, the Land’s End Hotel. The famous Land’s End sign, erected in 1957 and photographed countless times since, stands on the path to the headland.
Modern additions to the site include a family theme park with several attractions: an interactive quest led by King Arthur’s Merlin, a 4D cinema experience featuring a mythical land of dinosaurs and Greeb Farm, complete with cute baby animals.
For us, the highlight is the Shaun the Sheep Experience. We’re fans of Shaun and his fun loving flock, and it’s a thrill to visit Mossy Bottom Farm. In the Aardman exhibition, we learn about the skills and craftsmanship that go into the creation of the much loved show.
Lizard Point, managed by the National Trust, couldn’t be more different. There is a choice of walking tracks, with or without steps, although both follow the edge of the cliff around to the point.
Seals and sea gulls compete for attention in the waters below.
A tiny shop sells quirky beach themed gifts and a National Trust office has maps and brochures about the local flora and fauna.
A passionate staff member is ready and willing to chat with us and answers all our questions. Below the cliff on Polpeor Cove is the 1914 lifeboat station. It was abandoned in 1961 in favour of a new station in a more protected location further along the coast.
Perched on the edge of the point overlooking the cove is Polpeor Café, where the menu includes traditional Cornish food served on an outdoor deck. With the sparkling Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, we order a Cornish Cream Tea – fluffy scones, homemade jam and rich clotted cream with a never ending supply of hot tea.
We enjoyed visiting both Land’s End and Lizard Point, but Lizard was our favourite – it was the scones that made the difference!
Join Jo for Monday Walks