Welcome to Cornwall: A Guide for Our International Visitors

Welcome to Cornwall! We’re thrilled to have you here. If you’re new to the UK and Cornwall, here’s a helpful guide to get you started.

First-time visitors to the UK will quickly notice that we drive on the left-hand side of the road, but that’s just the beginning! To prepare you for a visit to Cornwall, here are our tips on local traditions, travel, cultural insights, and a bit about the fascinating history of this beautiful region.

Get ready to explore the unique highlights and must-see attractions of the south coast of Cornwall.

Discover Falmouth’s Rich History

Historic Castles and Maritime Heritage

Cornwall is steeped in history, with magnificent ancient sites here in Falmouth. Pendennis Castle, built in 1540 for Henry VIII, played a crucial role during the first and second world wars. Here, you can marvel at Henry VIII’s Keep, and the half-moon gun battery, which saw action against the German Luftwaffe, and was decommissioned in 1956. Nearby, you’ll find Little Dennis Fort at the bottom of Pendennis Headland in Falmouth, which is free to visit.

Maritime Museum in Falmouth

Falmouth boasts the third deepest natural harbour in the world and is a bustling port with a rich maritime heritage. Dive into this history with a visit to the Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

Iconic Falmouth Scenery

Take a leisurely stroll along the stunning Falmouth seafront and take in the magnificent view. Visit the Blue Flag awarded Gyllyngvase Beach (known locally as Gylly). This beach offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, takeaway, watersports hire, and toilets. It’s also adjacent to the beautiful Queen Mary Gardens, which are freely open to the public.

Savour Local Food and Traditions

Cornish Pasties

No trip to Cornwall is complete without sampling a Cornish pasty. Falmouth and Penryn are home to many pasty takeaway shops, including Rowes, Warrens, The Cornish Bakery, and Oggies Falmouth, and more! Enjoy your pasty alfresco at one of the scenic viewpoints in town such as the Prince of Wales Pier, or Custom House Quay.

Cream Tea with ‘jam first’

Another must-try treat is a proper Cornish cream tea – a scone topped with jam and clotted cream, served with a pot of English tea. In Cornwall, it’s traditional to spread your jam first, followed by the clotted cream.

Cornwall’s Beloved Beverage: Cider

When visiting Cornwall, you can’t miss out on trying one of the region’s most popular beverages: cider. Cornwall is known for its rich tradition of cider-making, and among the many brands available, one stands out for its distinct flavour and heritage: Rattler, produced by Healeys.

Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, located near Truro is a popular tourist destination, offering tours, tastings, and a glimpse into cider-making.

British fish and chips

No trip to the UK is complete without indulging in the quintessential British dish: fish and chips. In Falmouth, this classic meal takes on a special charm, thanks to the town’s maritime heritage and access to fresh, local seafood.

Where to find the best Fish and Chips:

  • Harbour Lights, Arwenack Street, Falmouth (eat in/ take-away)
  • Penmere Fish Bar, Falmouth (take-away)
  • Mariners, Penryn (take-away)
  • Penryn Fish and Chips, 4 Saint Thomas Street, Penryn (take-away)
  • Hooked on the Rocks (restaurant by Swanpool beach) Falmouth

a traditional British Pub

Everyone loves a traditional British pub. Short for public house, these drinking places are a bit of a British institution. If you’d like to drop in one for a beer and lunch, try:

  • Thirsty Scholar (West Street, Penryn – within walking distance of Glasney Rooms)
  • Taproom At Verdant Brewing Co, (Kernick industrial estate, Penryn – within walking distance of Glasney Rooms)
  • Trelowarren Arms (Budock Water, Falmouth)
  • Chainlocker (Falmouth)
  • Quayside (Falmouth)
  • Halfway House, Rame Cross (on the way to Helston)

There are lots more!

Gratuity/ Tipping

Tipping is appreciated but not always expected. If you’re going out to dinner, it is a courtesy to tip at least 10%. Sometimes this will automatically be added to your bill, sometimes you leave a cash tip separately.

Cornish phrases/slang

Here in Kernow (the Cornish word for Cornwall) local people have several informal phrases when conversing with one another:

  • Ansom – Ansom is a word that every Cornishman uses to describe something they like on a daily basis
  • Dearovim –  This is actually “dear of him” and “dear of her” rolled into one Cornish slur of H-dropping.
  • Dreckly – At some point in the future; soon, but not immediately. Example: ”I’ll do it dreckly!” (later in a vague way)
  • Gisson – don’t talk rubbish!
  • Proper job  – A job well done. A term of praise that can be applied to all manner of things, including beer!
  • Right on – Okay, be in agreement
  • Teasy as ‘n adder – a grumpy person. Derived from the Cornish word “tesek” meaning “hot-tempered”, teasy
  • Wasson – what is going on right now

Travelling and getting around

There are lots of hills in Cornwall, including on the Penryn Campus (Glasney Rooms). You’ll get fit here! There are regular buses to Falmouth and Truro so you don’t need to drive to get around. If you have hired an electric car or are bringing your own, there are electric vehicle (EV) charging points on the Penryn Campus and free secure parking. This year two stations of 10 e-bikes have been installed on campus for you to hire.

Technology and Connectivity

  • SIM Cards: Consider getting a local SIM card or an international roaming plan for your phone.
  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, cafes, and public places and is free in Glasney Rooms.

Emergency Information

  • Emergency Numbers: The emergency number in the UK is 999 or 112.
  • Embassy Contacts: Know the location and contact information of your country’s embassy or consulate in the UK.

Accommodation and payment methods

  • Booking: Book your summer accommodation with Glasney Rooms in advance, especially as it is a peak tourist season. Our rooms have affordability and availability during July and August.
  • Payment Methods: This is a cashless campus. Credit and debit cards are accepted. Do inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid issues with your cards.

We hope you have a wonderful time exploring Cornwall and immersing yourself in its rich culture and history. Enjoy your stay!


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