Where to visit: Land’s End

Date Posted: 5 May 2024

The Ancient Greeks called it Belerion – the shining land; the Cornish ‘Penn an Wlas’, or ‘end of the land’. Today’s visitors know it best by a variation on its Middle English name: ‘Londeseynde’, or Land’s End.

Whatever you choose to call it, it represents the most south-westerly point of mainland Britain; any further, and you’ll drop off the end and into the briny, next stop the Isles of Scilly.

While the famous white fingerpost was first erected in the 1950s by a local family, on-site discoveries show people have been travelling to and living at Land’s End for 10,000 years or more.

What drew them here was no doubt the same thing that brings half a million global visitors down now: the irresistible mystique of the choppy waters that are shrouded in myth and legend. Could they hide the Lost Land of Lyonesse, a chunk of King Arthur’s realm that was drowned by the sea on a cataclysmically stormy night?

This treacherous stretch has certainly signalled the end of many vessels, with more than 130 recorded shipwrecks and countless more unrecorded. In modern times, however, Longships Lighthouse forms one point of a protective triangle with Wolf Rock and the Lizard, creating one of the best lit waterways in the British Isles.

The coastal landscape here is simply breathtaking, and an absolute dream for wildlife watchers. Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for a multitude of seabirds – you might even spot a Cornish chough. The money from your car park fee goes towards preserving the fragile ecosystem of this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There’s plenty to do here on a family day out. Try an interactive experience featuring Aardman’s beloved animated characters Wallace & Gromit, Morph and Shaun the Sheep; a 4D film which sees Robinson Crusoe fall into the clutches of an evil pirate crew, and plotting a daring escape with his parrot companion Friday; and 15 holes of indoor adventure golf, uncovering mysteries and monsters as you attempt to unlock the treasure of Lyonesse.

During the summer holidays, a thrilling cocktail of pyrotechnic wizardry and vibrant explosions lights up the skies every Tuesday and Thursday evening, set to a thrilling soundtrack created especially for Land’s End.

A short walk along the headland, you’ll find 200-year-old Greeb Farm, a farmstead typical of those that once dotted the Cornish coastline. It’s now home to a collection of small animals – sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, miniature ponies and even ferrets.

When you’re ready to be fed and watered, the refurbished Land’s End Restaurant & Bar will pair your lunch or dinner with a spectacular ocean view. Alternatively head a mile down the road to Sennen and step back in time at the First & Last Inn – once a haven for 17th-century smugglers and wreckers, 19th-century travellers wetting their whistles at the beginning or end of a long journey, and now you. Saturdays often offer live music, while Sundays are all about a gut-busting roast followed by a fun family quiz in aid of local charities.

Stay in style at any time of year; options include the cliff-top Land’s End Hotel (four-legged friends welcome) and the Penwith Studios, originally built as a Temperance Hotel in 1860 to encourage alcohol abstinence among wayward Victorians.


Categories: Arts & Heritage

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