Helston Museum is often described as a ‘hidden gem’. Housed in the former Market buildings and the Drill Hall, the museum was established in 1949. Five display halls on three floors mean that the museum is much bigger than it looks from the outside! The vast collection covers all aspects of life on the Lizard Peninsula. Discover local trades like tin mining, fishing and serpentine turning. Learn more about Helston’s local heroes – Henry Trengrouse the pioneer of safety at sea, and Bob Fitzsimmons, famous champion boxer. Visit the 1950s kitchen, the village shop and the vintage toy display. Glimpse the elegance of past times in the costume gallery, and admire the beauty of local mineral and crystal specimens. Find out about Helston’s famous Flora Day, the ancient tradition of the Hal-an-Tow and the Furry Dance, which once a year winds through the town and the museum itself. Be sure to visit the museum shop for a range of gifts, including a wide selection of Cornish themed books. Helston Museum is a charity, managed by the South Kerrier Heritage Trust. Helston Museum is wheelchair accessible but has some uneven floors. Dogs on leads are welcome. Open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm. FREE ADMISSION – DONATIONS GRATEFULLY RECEIVED Website: www.helstonmuseum.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Angel Hotel in Coinagehall Street is a 16th Century former town house of Sidney Godolphin. It is ideally located in the heart of the main high street of Helston. The Guildhall building, which now houses the Town Council offices, was originally a market house in 1576 and was replaced by the present building in 1839 and includes the Council Chamber, Mayor’s Parlour, Corn Exchange and the Town Clerk’s Office. Blue Anchor Inn with its thatched roof, originally a Monk’s rest house which became a tavern in the 15th century. The inn has a colourful history. The Parish Church of St. Michael was built during the latter half of the 18th Century and can be found part way up Church Street. In Wendron Street you will find the thatched house of Bob Fitzsimmons, Britain’s lightest ever world heavyweight boxing champion.
All the above plus many other interesting places are identified on the Helston Town Trail and this leaflet is available from the Town Council Office in The Guildhall, Isaac House, the Cornwall Council Office in the Coinage Ope, Helston Museum or from the Town Library.
Penrose Walks and Loe Pool is a paradise for the naturalist and walker and many people consider the walks around Loe Pool to be among the best in the West County. Loe Pool itself was created through the formation of the Loe Bar at the mouth of the River Cober and is the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall. It is the property of the National Trust and it provides ramblers and birdwatchers a pleasant 6 mile walk around its border. Recently at Penrose with support from a Community Project, the National Trust has created new routes, improved surfacing on existing routes and formally designated over 12km of permissive routes as Bridleways – improving access for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and mobility scooters. One of the easiest ways to get to the Penrose walks is from the Helston to Porthleven road.
Coronation Park and Boating Lake is situated near the entrance of the Helston to Porthleven Road. It provides a pleasant place for the family to take a picnic and houses children’s play amenities. There are boats to be hired during the summer months and a café which is open year round. Also located within the area are The Old Cattle Market, a new multi-use facility for use by the community and businesses and Helston SK8 Park which is much used by local skateboarding and rollerblading enthusiasts! There is also a car park with over 30 spaces (including a number reserved for disabled visitors).
Flambards has won many awards and is the West Country’s leading family attraction with rides for everyone, family fun and entertainment. Don’t forget to visit the award-winning and unique exhibitions including the Victorian Village, which includes the Chemist Shop Time Capsule, and Britain in the Blitz. These are fascinating exhibitions which all the family will appreciate. The Park is open daily throughout the summer season (March to November) and is open to view the exhibitions and access to the shops and cafeterias at restricted times and days during the winter months. A toddler play area, One2Eleven, is also open all year round. There is so much to do at Flambards, whatever your age, whatever your interest, there is something for everyone.
Godolphin House, one of the most fashionable houses in Cornwall in the 17th century. You can wander around the 16th-century garden, which is one of the most important historic gardens in Europe and has barely changed over the years, or take a leisurely stroll around the lush estate, and you may discover the Leeds engine house and stack, the remains of the Godolphin family mine.The house is open from April through to September and the gardens remain open all year round.
Helston Railway is a fully functional heritage railway that follows the track of the original Victorian railway that ran from the main GWR line just outside Camborne through to Helston. You can take a ride on the 1 mile of track that is operational – it is a great trip out through the glorious Cornish countryside for both families and enthusiasts. The line is open on Thursdays and Sundays from Easter through to November (also Wednesdays during July and August). To take a ride visit their main location at Prospidnick (TR13 0RY in your sat nav). Check out their web site - helstonrailway.co.uk – where you can confirm opening times, prices – and sign-up to be a member.
Trelowarren House on the Lizard Peninsula, which has been the home of the Vyvyan family since 1427, is only a few miles from Helston. The New Yard restaurant is located on the estate along with a pottery craft centre and gallery, gardens, self-catering and timeshare cottages and spa and leisure facilities.
The Lizard Peninsula, stretching southwards from Helston, is a mixture of high moorland, plunging cliffs and golden sands. It has been designated officially as an area of outstanding natural beauty, with the National Trust owning much of the peninsula. Lizard Lighthouse, built in 1753, stands at the southern point of the Lizard and has a 4 million candle capacity. There are numerous beaches around the coastline including Kynance Cove, Housel Bay, Kennack Sands, Poldhu Cove and Polpeor Beach. The Lizard is also known for its unique serpentine rock, a greenish veined rock sculptured by local craftsmen.
RNAS Culdrose, home to the Royal Navy’s Merlins plus a sizable proportion of its Sea Kings, is just outside Helston on the Lizard Peninsula and is the largest helicopter base in Europe with some 75 aircraft and 3,000 personnel. Open to the public, it offers guided coach tours, which include a lecture and film show.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is located 2 miles to the east of Helston in the village of Gweek. It was established in 1958 and is a haven for injured and orphaned seals stranded on the Cornish coastline. The Sanctuary nurtures and nurses them back to health before releasing them to the open sea.
Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station has, since 1962, been a significant landmark on the Lizard Peninsula and those familiar with the word “Telstar” will recall that this satellite was destined to revolutionise world communications. Located within a nature reserve near St. Keverne some six miles from Helston.
Glendurgan House and Gardens lie to the east of Helston near Mawnan Smith, in a small wooded valley leading down to the Helford estuary. Owned by the National Trust, the gardens were established in the 1820’s and 1830’s by Albert Fox who brought plants from around the world to the garden by way of his shipping company. The gardens include a water garden surrounded by primulas and bluebells.
Poldark Mine is located at Wendron and has the largest collection of mining antiques in the West Country, including a 40ft high beam engine. The complex allows the public to experience what life was like underground in the mine shafts and presents an authentic picture of working conditions for 18th Century tin miners.
Porthleven proudly lays claim to being the most southerly working port in the British Isles. It’s a little-known destination with a welcoming community spirit and among the least spoiled places in Cornwall. The harbour, running right up into the heart of the town, is still the focus of life at all times of the year, and on summer mornings, you can watch working boats coming in with their fresh catches of crabs, lobsters etc. Much of the catch goes to supply the many award-winning local restaurants and cafes where you could choose to eat at a different venue every night of the week. Surrounding this historic harbour is a lively village to explore with galleries, gift and craft shops and designer jewellers.
For those who enjoy local colour there is always plenty of summer activity with fetes on the Harbour Head, band concerts on the quayside, the twice-weekly market, gig-racing, body-boarding off the pier end, and even the most spectacular surfing reef in Europe! Now claiming national fame is Porthleven’s Food and Music Festival held every April, and in August, Lifeboat Day is another fun event which attracts hundreds of families and visitors. The Torchlight Procession and Firework display in the evening of August Bank Holiday make a fitting end to the main holiday season.
Porthleveners have a great respect for the sea at all times of the year. Storm-watching is a notable attraction in winter, just to watch the waves breaking over the iconic clock tower beside the pier, a sight which often features on national television news! It’s sometimes hard to believe that this is the same town where small children play in the rock pools left by the ebbing tide on the mile-long sheltered beach in summer, or go crabbing from the ancient steps of the inner harbour. A little further along the coast from the village is Loe Bar with its raging undertow and history of ancient wrecks. The Bar divides Cornwall’s largest freshwater lake from the sea; a haven for photographers, romantics, botanists and walkers who seek out its rare tranquillity and spectacular scenery.
Trebah Gardens are near to Glendurgan and were established by Charles Fox, at approximately the same time as those at Glendurgan, and includes a private beach which may be used by visitors. The gardens are open all year round.