Visit Launceston - The official Launceston Tourist Information Centre website
Visitors return time after time to Launceston; it's a great base from which to discover not only Launceston but the rest of Cornwall as well. Head to sandy beaches, dramatic coastlines and meandering rivers for lazy days or action packed sports. There are plenty of places and trails to walk and cycle off-road.
LauncestonRelax and soak up the atmosphere of this quaint historic town with its surprising array of shops and businesses situated amongst narrow medieval streets that are dominated by an imposing Norman castle. Experience a town steeped in history, surrounded by rolling countryside, ideally situated to explore the beautiful Tamar Valley, and North Cornwall with its dramatic coastline and fascinating heritage.
Launceston offers independent and specialty shops selling locally produced foods through to unique and unusual gifts all situated within the towns narrow streets.The indoor Friday Market at Central Methodist Church Hall offer locally produced food, alongside an assortment of local crafts, gifts and plants.
The bustling Market in the Square is held in the Town Square (on the site of the original Market) on the second Saturday of each month all year round. Here you can browse the varied stalls with their wide variety of goods incuding localy produced food and drink, hand made jewellery, candles, soaps alongside many other interesting and unusual gifts and essentials.
Follow the town trails, winding past St Mary Magdalene Parish Church, famed for its extravagantly carved exterior, visit the award winning Lawrence House Museum sited in a fine example of Georgian architecture. Up to the castle keep where you can enjoy panoramic views stretching far beyond Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor or down to the steam railway and take a ride through the glorious Kensey Valley
Alternatively sit on the castle green on a warm summers day and admire the intricate pattern of the townscape looking down to St. Thomas and Newport, across to St. Stephens and its Church, set high on a hill. At the end of a leisurely walk why not stop at one of Launceston's many cafés, or for something more substantial there are restaurants serving a variety of cuisines during the day and the evening.
Launceston Castle is the starting point for two long distance walks, The Two Castles Trails between Launceston and Okehampton Castle, and the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail between Launceston and Plymouth
Towards Bodmin MoorYou don't have to venture far from Launceston before you notice the lush agricultural pastures are giving way to a wilder landscape with the rocky outcrops of granite tors visible on the skyline. Bodmin Moor is a mixture of farmland and moorland. The further you venture, the more you become aware of the peace and solitude of your surroundings.
On the edges of the moor but still within easy distance of Launceston lie self catering holiday cottages, farm b&b's and guest houses offering superb welcoming accommodation for those who want to walk, relax and explore the ancient villages dotted across the moor.
Whilst Bodmin Moor is an excellent area for walkers, there are many other activities and family attractions in this area of Cornwall. Pencarrow House, The Camel Trail, Sterts Theatre are all nearby as are the attractions in Launceston. Jamaica Inn, immortalised by Daphne du Maurier's famous novel stands near the centre of the moor. Throughout the year there are events held in the local villages and attractions, including art and craft shows and local produce at farmer markets. Visit village pubs for local ales and a hearty home cooked meal after a tramp across the tors.
For those interested in flora and fauna, local heritage, landscapes or myths and legends, a holiday in the Bodmin Moor area offers diversity, seclusion and relaxation.
Towards DevonLaunceston is situated on the border between Cornwall and Devon, the River Tamar divides the counties as it flows through the Tamar Valley and onwards to Plymouth.
Launceston is an ideal place to stay with its holiday cottages, B&B's and family places to stay spread across the Cornwall and Devon border. The historic towns and villages of West Devon are a short distance away and are well worth a visit. Tavistock is an ancient stannary town with an indoor pannier market and famous for its Goose Fair held each October. West Devon has historic houses, great gardens and nurseries, arts and crafts, wildlife and walks, whilst not forgetting family friendly local attractions.
Morwellham Quay, situated on the Devon side of the River Tamar and where the BBC series 'Edwardian Farm' was recently filmed, is an award winning visitor centre which transports you back to the 1860's when the once bustling port was at the heart of the copper trade. Take a train into a copper mine, see the Victorian farm, wander the nature reserve and have an entertaining day out, its not to be missed!
There are many walks and trails in the area, the newly opened Drakes Trail between Tavistock and Plymouth is a network of walking and cycling trails suitalble for all the family. The Tamar Valley Discovery Trail follows the valley between Launceston and Plymouth passing through outstanding countryside and interesting villages on the way. Explore Lydford Gorge; a magical place with its ancient legends and beauty; see theWhitelady Waterfall, walk over the Devils Cauldron and watch the birds and wildlife from the woodland hide.
The Tamar Valley is a continuing source of inspiration to artists in the area. Turner visited during the early ninteenth century, today artist's are still Drawn to the Valley, holding regular exhibitions and Open Studios throughout the year.
Near Launceston is Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, a unique all weather attraction with indoor picnic facilities. Here everyone can enjoy the vintage fairground rides, stalls and shows as well as the large collection of fairground art and memorabilia. Throughout the year Dingles hosts unmissable themed events, check out when the next one is on!
A journey around West Devon is not complete without trying the local produce or stopping for a meal produced by highly regarded chef's. The area has an abundance of places to eat, drink or purchase locally produced goodies to take home with you. Take time out to visit the unique local shops and businesses situated across the river!
The Tamar ValleyThe Tamar Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is definitely an all year round destintation for holidays and short breaks. Visit in spring to see the fascinating flora and fauna emerging, spend a hot summer's day canoeing on the meandering River Tamar, delight in the array of autumnal woodland colours or take a bracing walk on a crsip winter's day before returning to a roaring log fire.
Here in this delightful location between Devon and Cornwall, accommodation is plentiful, there is something to suit every budget. Large family gatherings down to the single guest can find cottages, campsites, hotels and bed and breakfast in historic towns, charming villages and peaceful countryside.
There's so much to see and explore, National Trust properties such as Cotehele, set high above the Tamar, gardens, historic locations, attractions, walking, cycling, arts and crafts, all located within the valley's Cornish and Devon towns, villages and countryside.
Why not try a new activity or simply indulge in doing something you really enjoy? There are mountain bike trails, long distance walks, fishing, horse riding, an indoor climbing wall and not forgetting Tree Surfing; a tree top eco trail which gets you much closer to nature and tests your nerve!
This is an area rich with archeaological and mining heritage. Morwellham Quay provides an fascinating insight into life in a bygone era. Engine houses and chimneys remain from an age when over a hundred mines produced silver, tin, copper and arsenic. The Tamar Trails provides over 25km of brand new routes to help you explore the area either on foot, mountain bike or on horse.
Situated within the region are the four towns of the Tamar Valley. Launceston to the north, Tavistock to the east, Callington to the west and Saltash to the south, from where theTamar winds on towards Plymouth. Each of these ancient towns offers its own unique history and heritage to experience during your stay. Museums, hstoric buildings, town trails and local attractions as well as shops, local foods, arts, crafts and an excellent choice of places to eat are waiting to be discovered.
Enjoy a care free day out and take the train from Gunnislake to Plymouth on The Tamar Valley Line, travel through rolling countryside, alongside the Tamar and over the viaduct at Calstock, past the historic Royal Naval dockyard and on to Plymouth, Devon
Trails from the Track is a free walks pack, available from Launceston Tourist Information Centre, that provides information on circular walks from the stations along the Tamar Valley Line, an excellent way to explore the interesting villages in this scenic area.
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Last updated 22nd September 2021