Powerful wizards, noble heroes, a sword trapped in stone… here, there be legends. Whether he was a romantic myth or a real-life mortal, King Arthur has become very much a part of the fabric of Southwest England’s story. A rocky, tidal island topped with an ancient castle and steeped with Cornish folklore, St Michael’s Mount is one of the most famous places to visit in Cornwall. This one sees you seaweed foraging, vineyard visiting, barefoot beach combing, or soaking in an open-air geothermally heated pool.

Also on the south coast, the picturesque fishing village of Polperro, at the mouth of the Pol River, and the fishing port of Looe on the River Looe are both popular with tourists. In 838, the Cornish and their Danish allies were defeated by Egbert in the Battle of Hingston Down at Hengestesdune . Around the 880s, Anglo-Saxons from Wessex had established modest land holdings in the eastern part of Cornwall; notably Alfred the Great who had acquired a few estates. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that in 825 a battle took place between the Wealas and the Defnas at Gafulforda. Today, it’s an interesting dark tourist attraction and museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the British penal system.

Cornwall isn’t just about coastline though – 10% of the UK’s heathland is in the county and 30% of the landscape has ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ status. From its long and interesting history to the geography of its famous landscape, find out all you need to know about this beautiful county. Agriculture, once an important part of the Cornish economy, has declined significantly relative to other industries. However, there is still a strong dairy industry, with products such as Cornish clotted cream. Today, the Cornish economy depends heavily on its tourist industry, which makes up around a quarter of the economy.

Bring the whole family and rent a sprawling apartment complete with all the mod cons and better-than-at-home touches, or pick an intimate fisherman’s cottage perched on the harbourside for the ultimate romantic hideaway. A masterpiece in the making, filled with beaches, clifftops, cities and nature. Hugging the south-west, Devon is a playground for adventurers, explorers and foodie lovers.

In the west, Devon and Cornwall Media held out as the British kingdom of Dumnonia. Pottery and other evidence suggesting the presence of an ironworks have been found at the undisclosed location near St Austell, Cornwall. Experts say the discovery challenges the belief that Romans did not settle in the county and stopped in east Devon where Isca Dumnoniorum became a flourishing provincial capital of the Dumnonii. By the middle of the ninth century, Cornwall had fallen under the control of Wessex, but it kept its own culture. In 1337, the title Duke of Cornwall was created by the English monarchy, to be held by the king’s eldest son and heir.

In 2014, Cornish people were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, giving them recognition as a distinct ethnic group. Supporters of Cornish independence argue that the county has a rich cultural history and distinct identity that sets it apart from the rest of England, and as such, it deserves to have its own government and decision-making powers. Cornish people are recognized as a national minority in the UK, which acts as a homage to their distinct culture, language, and identity. Did you know that there is an open-air theatre set up in the clifftops and looking out over the sea in Cornwall?

(The Isle of Man Government and the Welsh Government also recognise Asturias and Galicia.) Cornwall is represented, as one of the Celtic nations, at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, an annual celebration of Celtic culture held in Brittany. As its population is comparatively small, and largely rural, Cornwall’s contribution to British national sport in the United Kingdom has been limited; the county’s greatest successes have come in fencing. In 2014, half of the men’s GB team fenced for Truro Fencing Club, and 3 Truro fencers appeared at the 2012 Olympics. In 1985, sports journalist Alan Gibson made a direct connection between the love of rugby in Cornwall and the ancient parish games of hurling and wrestling that existed for centuries before rugby officially began.

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