A Student’s Guide to 6 Fabulous Day Trips to Take While Studying in Cornwall
Now that I have finished my second year down in Cornwall I thought it might be nice to share a small list of all the places that I enjoyed exploring so far.
If you are a student considering joining us down at the Penryn Campus and wondering what life down here is like, or if you are a current student and want some inspiration for what do and where to go on free time – then you’ve come to the right place.
I would say it is definitely helpful to have a car (or a friend with a car) to get around, because a lot of these places may not be as easily accessible via public transport and are just too breath-taking to miss!
Here is my definitive guide thus far of the places I recommend visiting while down in Cornwall, I hope you enjoy:
St. Ives is a cute little town filled with soft white sand, breathtaking sunsets, insta-worthy trails and cliffs, and the some of the best views ever!
From the quaint little harbour side all the way to the beach, St. Ives is full of picturesque scenes, cute cafés and bakeries, and peaceful streets. I sometimes like to take my work with me when I head to St. Ives and work on my essays in the café just sitting atop the beach.
There is also the Tate Museum and a wonderful art scene existing in St. Ives. If you walk through the area, there are a number of little art studios and boutiques selling their unique work and little Cornish trinkets that could look cool on display in your accommodation. (I bought a little wooden sailboat that sits on my desk in Falmouth and I absolutely love it!)
The day I took the photos above, I had lectures from 9am to 11am, and then I decided to head over to St. Ives with a few friends. It is about a 50 minute drive from campus and absolutely beautiful! And I have to tell you, the ice cream shop in the harbour has some of the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had. (Just make sure the seagulls don’t get to your treat before you do!! I learned this the hard way LOL)
There is also a little penny arcade in the harbour that we had a lot of fun in – I felt like a little kid again!
I would recommend visiting St. Ives any time between end of March – October when the days start to get a bit longer.
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a great place to go with your parents when they come to visit, or even with your friends! The sanctuary takes in rescued seals, penguins and sea lions and they then nurse them back to health before returning them to their natural habitats. Be sure to check on their website beforehand to find out the feeding times and make the most of your experience!
It is located in Gweek, which is about a 17-18-minute drive from campus and in a more remote area so I would recommend even taking a picnic to have somewhere nearby or eat beforehand out in town.
If you fancy a cute café with some healthy food, maybe stop at Wild Vibes Café overlooking Argal Lake in Penryn- if you know Good Vibes Café in the centre of Falmouth, this is their second location that opened up recently and its fantastic.
Plymouth, South Devon
I had an incredible day trip to Plymouth this year. Originally, I went there because my laptop had broken and the nearest Apple Store to Cornwall is actually out in Plymouth. It was convenient for me to make a fun day out of it however, because one of my friends from school ended up meeting me in Plymouth for the day as it is not too far from where she lives in Taunton. Coming from Los Angeles where public transport is practically non-existent, I was amazed how I could just hop on a train leaving from Falmouth Town and get to Plymouth within the hour!
The train ride was absolutely gorgeous. Especially when you get into Plymouth, the train goes alongside and over the water and you get a beautiful view of all the boats and cute little houses by sand. Although Plymouth is not in Cornwall, it was a really cool place with beautiful weather and coastline!
For all your history buffs reading, you can visit the port that the Pilgrims on the Mayflower departed from to go to North America in the 1600’s. Plymouth also has good high street shops and a mall if that brings in more interest for you.
The Eden Project is a one of the most unique attractions I have visited since moving to Cornwall – I have actually been three or four times now because there is just so much to see!
In fact, if you are planning to join the BSc Business program like I did, you will get to go on an overnight field trip to the Eden project with your course mates about a month into your first year.
Nestled in a crater near St. Austell (roughly 40 minutes by car), this true ‘Garden of Eden’ lives up to its name. It has two “massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.”
Aside from the impressive gardens and exhibitions, there are also fun events that go on throughout the year like ice skating in winter, zip lining above the biomes, light shows, and much more.
I enjoyed walk ing through the biomes as well because 1) it’s beautiful, and 2) there are both rainforest and Mediterranean climates mimicked inside the biomes to keep the plants from those regions happy and healthy. If you are someone like me who comes from a warmer climate and misses it throughout the winter months, then check out the Eden project and hang out in your own green ‘bubble of denial.’
There are also a few really great cafés on site with organic ingredients and menus tailored to the vegetables grown there. The Mediterranean Café sitting in the middle of its respective biome is my personal favourite, and a wonderful place to also bring some work and hang out if you need a peaceful change of scenery.
Land’s End is one of the most famous landmarks in Britain, and is located about 60 minutes by car from campus in Penzance, Cornwall. If coastal walks, incredible views from above, and quintessentially Cornish treats are appealing to you, then head on down to Land’s End.
There is even a photo-opportunity where you can stand in front of the iconic signpost with your name and date of visit posted on it.
I actually came here with my family after attending my Offer-Holder Open Day back in June 2016, and we had the best time! It is a really incredible place to go explore, get in touch with all the nature and wildlife, and see the “most south-westerly point” in the country.
While you are there, check out The Famous First & Last Inn for a taste of history. This place has been open since the 17th century and makes really yummy home cooked food!
The final stop on my list of destinations would be Trevaunce Cove in St. Agnes, which is about a 30 minute drive from campus. I actually found this beach out of spontaneity with my friends after going to one of the CSM Rugby matches in the area.
There were all these little caves and big rocks to climb up onto, and although the weather was a bit more grey than usual, we had the best time exploring!
Just make sure to climb down from the rocks before the tide comes out fully or you’ll end up practically swimming your way back to shore like we did!
Hopefully you liked this blog and all the cool photos from some of my time out here. These places are only a small chunk of destinations you can take little day trips to with your friends and family, hopefully there will be more photos and posts like this coming from me very soon!!
Now get exploring!!
Don’t forget to check out @exeterunilife to see more of what we students get up to each week!