How many facts about Cornwall could you come up with? If you want to know what Cornwall is famous for, then read on for our top Cornwall facts to show off your knowledge.
Here are 25 bits of Cornwall trivia to add to your Cornwall facts collection, although, I’m pretty sure you’ll know number one.
Cornwall is the summer capital of England. Brits flock to enjoy relaxing on the fun and vibrant beaches of Cornwall – the many towns and villages make for great days out for adults in England, and kids too. Hikers love Cornwall, as do cyclists, and it’s a dream destination for surfers with high waves, perfect pits, and the rugged shore.
But behind the stunning landscapes, tasty pasties and cute fishing villages, what do we know about the history and facts about Cornwall that make it the popular destination it is today?
Cornwall is also one of the most fascinating counties in England, with a history dating back for years. There are many, many interesting facts about Cornwall, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 25. If you want some Cornish facts to plan with your trip, impress your friends, or help with your school work, then… enjoy!
25 Interesting & Fun Facts about Cornwall
Looking for interesting Cornwall facts to give some background to your trip?
Everyone loves a bit of trivia, so enjoy these 12 amazing facts about Cornwall.
- 1. Pasties were invented by miners
- 2. Kernewek is the native language of Cornwall
- 3. There's a huge variety of marine life
- 4. Basing sharks exist in Cornwall
- 5. There are over 385 types of plants in Cornwall
- 6. Cornwall's coastline is 433 miles long, with 300 beaches!
- 7. Truro is the only city in Cornwall
- 8. There's a well that's never run dry
- 9. Cornwall's motto is Onen hag oll (One and all)
- 10. There's a headless horse in Penryn
- 11. Newquay is one of the best places to surf in England
- 12. The most extreme west point of England is here
- 13. Jesus visited Looe Island here
- 14. Cornwall is not in England
- 15. Cornish clotted cream is one of the most calorie dense foods around
- 16. Cornwall has one of the coolest festivals in England
- 17. King Arthur was born in Cornwall
- 18. Doc Martin was filmed in Cornwall
- 19. Poldark is mega famous here
- 20. Rick Stein has divided a county
- 21. There's a festival about hobby horses
- 22. Cornish tin has been around for 4000 years
- 23. Over 20% of people in Cornwall work in tourism
- 24. Cornwall is one of the most haunted counties
- 25. Cornwall is famous for smuggling
- Most interesting Cornish facts
1. Pasties were invented by miners
The yummiest memory you’ll have from Cornwall is the simple Cornish pasty. It’s said necessity is the mother of invention and we couldn’t agree more.
One of the Cornish facts I feel most of us could spout, is that pasties were invented by the miners to keep their stomach full and heart happy. They are thick-crusted filled with minced meat; the miners ate the pasty and got rid of the crust to avoid any harmful substances going inside the body. If this is not pure genius than what is!
As time went on the crust went down the gullet too, and flavours evolved. Delicious!
And let me tell you another important fact about Cornish pasties, that I learned off the Great British Bake Off – a true Cornish pasty must have 20 pleats in the crust. I’m going to count them next time I’m there!
If you know your pasty from your pastry, have a go at our England food quiz and see how many your score.
2. Kernewek is the native language of Cornwall
Kernewek was a Celtic language widely spoken in Cornwall in the 70s, its usage was substantially reduced after the demise of Dolly Pentreath, the last known speaker of the language.
Recently, it was discovered that the last traces of Cornish usage was found in the early 90s. Now, it has come into the hands of the Cornish community to save the relics of Kernewek and it’s been made a part of the local schools’ curriculum.
Check out the Cornish Dictionary if you want to learn some for yourself!
3. There’s a huge variety of marine life
Cornwall has a diverse range of marine life from dolphins, sharks, seals, and sunfish. You can often see the Whale Sharks swimming but there is nothing to be scared of, these sharks only feed on plants.
You can go deep-sea diving or snorkelling in Cornwall and enjoy the stunning views of the corals, sponges, and seaweeds or explore rock pools. Or, join one of the many boat trips out to have someone point out the amazing marine life to you.
WANT TO TEST YOUR CORNWALL KNOWLEDGE?
4. Basing sharks exist in Cornwall
We know this relates to our third fact about Cornwall but this Cornwall fact deserves a whole point to itself.
Look at these beautiful creatures: the Basing shark.
Growing as long as a double decker bus, the basking shark is the world’s second largest fish (after the whale shark), weighing up to seven tonnes and living for 50 years. They are also completely harmless, swimming along serenely with their giant toothless mouths open to hoover up plankton and other microscopic organisms which they feed on.
You can go on boat trips to see these fellas, leaving from Penzance. Go between May and September for the best chance!
5. There are over 385 types of plants in Cornwall
Cornwall lies on the south coast of the British Isles and thus is a home for a variety of plants thanks to the relatively balmy weather. Autumn season witnesses the growth of different types of plants, mushrooms, ferns, and stinkhorns and puffballs here.
The majority of flowers like bluebell, cowslip, and mesembryanthemums are found near the Lizard Peninsula because of its fertile soil and geographical location.
6. Cornwall’s coastline is 433 miles long, with 300 beaches!
It’s a paradise for all the beach bums with picturesque shores, riding high waves, and the perfect sunny climate. Stroll down the South West Coast and enjoy some breathtaking views of rugged beaches all along the path.
There are some great opportunities for paddleboarding in Cornwall – click the link to find out more.
7. Truro is the only city in Cornwall
Truro is the smallest city in the United Kingdom and is the third capital of Cornwall after Launceston and Lostwithei. It’s famous for the magnificent cathedral which was formed in 1910.
Truro is the only city in Cornwall and has a great blend of culture and heritage.
Over 220 acres of land in Truro have been declared as an Area of Outstanding Beauty, pretty good for a city hey?!
One of the best things to do in Truro is to visit the Royal Cornwall Museum to see some stunning artefacts and relics, and to learn a whole load of other facts about Cornwall.
Visit Truro in winter and you can witness the annual event, the City of Lights, where thousands of paper lanterns fill up the sky.
8. There’s a well that’s never run dry
The magical Pipewell is located in Liskeard, where it’s believed the well has never run dry since the 15th century. It’s said to have a cure for any ailment. Once known as St Martin’s Well, it’s been an important source of local legends and good fortune for years.
Visit and you can also see Stuart House near here, where King Charles I stayed in the year 1644. It is made up of stones with no windows.
9. Cornwall’s motto is Onen hag oll (One and all)
We love the fact that Cornwall has a motto, and so inclusive too!
10. There’s a headless horse in Penryn
If you’re interested in spooky stuff then Penryn should be in your itinerary, while visiting Cornwall. This small town has a folklore that around Christmas a coach driven by headless horses is seen around Penryn.
Penryn is the oldest town in Cornwall and is known for its local markets. The place is bustling with tourists visiting to enjoy some authentic Cornish flavour.
Maybe not one of the reassuring Cornwall facts for kids, but a popular Cornish fact nonetheless!
11. Newquay is one of the best places to surf in England
Newquay is the hottest summer spot in Cornwall, with the town being packed with tourists from March to October half term. Fistral Beach has something for all surfers whether you’re a beginner or a professional. Waves are high and plentiful, and the beach provides some of the best breakpoints in the country.
You can also get training from some of the best instructors or just chill and relax in a nearby cafe and enjoy the amazing view of the sunset.
Previously the town was called Towan Blystra. Maybe because it’s so blustery? Guaranteed someone will be angry at that assumption…
You can find the best things to do in Newquay here.
12. The most extreme west point of England is here
Land’s End is a popular spot in Cornwall because of its location at the extreme west of England. The town is filled with tourists there to click some pictures with the famous signpost.
You can visit the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum here, or enjoy the picture-perfect view at the Minack Open Air Theatre.
13. Jesus visited Looe Island here
If you want to take a break from the bustling crowd in the main city of Cornwall then Looe Island is the perfect escape for you.
Looe Island is on the east side of Cornwall and gives you a very calm and serene experience. It’s easily accessible by boats, you can roam around the island and witness some wildlife, and relax overlooking a stunning view of Looe Harbour.
Legend has it that Jesus visited here with his uncle, and a small chapel was erected in their honour. It’s since become a popular pilgrimage spot for Christians.
14. Cornwall is not in England
And the most interesting fact about Cornwall of them all, Cornwall is not actually even in England. It’s a controversial subject but Cornwall has its own flag, and is considered a ‘home county’ – like Wales and Scotland. Cornish nationalists would argue they should have greater autonomy, as they did until 1500 when they were very much considered ‘separate’.
15. Cornish clotted cream is one of the most calorie dense foods around
If, for any reason, you wanted to fatten up, it’s a known fact about Cornish clotted cream that it’s absolutely chocka block full of calories. Think, about 200 per tablespoon. Who really cares about that when you have a proper Cornish cream tea in front of you though!
Also, clotted cream ice cream is just THE BEST.
16. Cornwall has one of the coolest festivals in England
One of our favourite Cornwall facts is that they put on one of the coolest festivals in England: Boardmasters. Held in Newquay Boardmasters consistently has one of the coolest line ups out there, and helps to support Surfers Against Sewage too.
17. King Arthur was born in Cornwall
One of the most interesting facts about Cornwall for history lovers is that King Arthur is believed to have been born here, in Tintagel. There are many mysteries and stories surrounding his existence, one of our favourites is that he was believed to have been protected from evil by Merlin the magician who lived below the castle in a cave.
You can go along to the castle in Cornwall to learn more while you’re there.
18. Doc Martin was filmed in Cornwall
Who loves a bit of Martin Clunes? Moving on from his Men Behaving Badly days he became the second star in the TV series Doc Martin. The first being the Cornwall scenery in the show. You can actually even go on a Doc Martin tour while you’re in Port Issac – one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall – if you’re that into it!
19. Poldark is mega famous here
I mean it’s a fact about coasts that they make for beautiful TV and film settings, but TWO major TV shows? You know Cornwall has got to be good. Poldark is the other TV show that’s helped Cornwall’s popularity increase around England. It’s filmed at the beautiful Kynance Cove, if you want to walk in the TV shows steps.
No Poldark TV tour around the county as yet, but it’s a Cornwall fact that if you can make money out of the tourists from something, then someone will do it.
20. Rick Stein has divided a county
Mention Rick Stein in Cornwall and you might hear a few groans. Whether you like him or loathe him, he’s definitely done a huge amount to bring tourism to Cornwall, particularly Padstow. Visiting Padstow and you can enjoy his fish and chips takeaway, or splash the cash and book a table at his restaurant. It’s a fun Cornwall fact that he’s kinda a big deal around these parts!
21. There’s a festival about hobby horses
Speaking of Padstow, the Obby Oss Festival is one of the most important weekends in the harbour town, and I’ve been! Many years ago but I was there watching the May Day folk festival take place.
The Obby Oss Festival in Padstow is all about flowers, parades, music, morris dancing and ‘obby oss’s’. For more facts about the Obby Oss Festival in Cornwall, click this link!
22. Cornish tin has been around for 4000 years
Looking for more information on Cornwall? How about the Cornwall fact that tin mining is what made the county what it is today. Tin mining in Cornwall used to be one of the biggest industries, and still goes on. Although it’s well scaled down!
In 2006, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape achieved World Heritage Status, along with the other 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England. Well worth a look!
READ MORE: The Most Impressive Waterfalls in Cornwall
23. Over 20% of people in Cornwall work in tourism
Life in Cornwall can be difficult because of rising house prices and seasonal work. It’s said that over 20% of people in Cornwall work in the tourism industry – difficult in those winter months.
24. Cornwall is one of the most haunted counties
Cornwall is known for being one of the most haunted places in England FACT. If you want to get spooked on your trip to Cornwall then head to Bodmin Moor – Bodmin Jail and Jamaica Inn specifically – and the Polbreen Mine too. If you want to find all the best haunted places in Cornwall, then this is the Cornwall Live article for you.
25. Cornwall is famous for smuggling
This is my favourite fact about the Cornwall coast: it’s famous for being a smuggling hotspot. You can go in the smuggling caves and imagine the pirates and sailors trying to get their contraband to the mainland. Apparently at its peak over 500,000 gallons of French brand were smuggled into Cornish coves, per year.
Cornwall is proud of its smugglers past, as you’ll see from the restaurants and iconic Cornish pubs that’ve chosen names to reflect the history
Cornwall was a great topography for smuggling as the rocky, virtually uninhabited coast, was too hard to patrol with the hazy fog characteristic in the mornings. Those in the know had plenty of opportunity to profit off tea, brandy, gin, rum and tobacco.
Most interesting Cornish facts
Hope you’ve enjoyed these facts about Cornwall!
Cornwall is a mixture of old-world charm and modernity. It is one of the most popular counties to visit in England, with sunny beaches, exceptional ice creams, and a fascinating coastline. These things make it a perfect holiday spot.
The people of Cornwall instantly make you feel at home; as they are the friendliest and happiest people you will see. We hope that these interesting facts about Cornwall have peeked your desire to come and visit this amazing part of the UK.