Situated at the northern end of the Lizard Peninsula, Helston is around twelve miles to the east of Penzance and nine miles to the south-west of Falmouth. A town that was once popular for its cattle markets and Stannary courts, it is the annual Furry Dance, locally known as Flora Dance, that gives this place a unique identity today. It is believed that this dance had its origin during the medieval ages.
For those interested in delving into the timeline of this town you will find that it stretches back a long way. The Saxons stayed here during the 6th century, and a charter granted by King John in 1201 made this town the second oldest in Cornwall. Like so many major towns in the country, Helston too prospered through the centuries propelled by the tin mining industry. Later, the advent of the railways and a booming tourism sector helped bring the town up to a prominent place on the map of UK.
In the present scenario, the town boasts a friendly, lively atmosphere. There is a busy main street with large number of historical attractions lined up on either side. These attractions help in keeping the heritage of the town alive. Walking past the old pubs, numerous pastry shops, and thick set miner’s cottages brings alive the nice traditional feel of the place. The park and boating lake alongside a café and skate park are great options for family outings.
The fascinating town trail is a walk down memory lane that helps you travel back in time. There are twelve points of interest that illustrate the heritage of this old town, from the centrepiece monument that was erected in honour of the local hero Humphrey Millett Grylls, whose benevolent actions helped keep a local tin mine alive and saved 1200 jobs to the old well where townsfolk would wash their clothes. A free guide leaflet is usually available from museums and libraries.
The road to Porthleven takes you down to the Penrose Estate where a seven-mile circular walk leads you to the Loe Pool that skirts the coast. This is the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall with a long sandbar separating it from the sea. The free car park in the Amenity Area is a good place where you can start your walking trail.
Wondering what to do over the course of your stay in Helston. You could try visiting one of the gorgeous gardens, Godolphin House and Estate or Bosahan Garden one day, or take a trip down to the museum or gallery, Wood and Stone Studio, or perhaps visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, the next day. Or maybe try something a little more active such as cycling, cliff top walking, boat trips, or even learn to surf at one of the many surfing schools.
If you are one of the more heritage or historically aligned individuals, then the World Heritage Sites, historic museums, castles, and houses will definitely catch your interest. The Lizard Lighthouse and Heritage Centre is a one-stop destination that meets all your historical interests. And then there are the iconic attractions that you should not forget, the Eden Project, Tintagel Castle, Minack Theatre, and St. Michael’s Mount, are some destinations you should not miss.
From intimate sheltered coves to iconic sandy beaches, Helston is home to many beaches that are glorious in terms of their collective varied beauty. Friendly towards families and closed to menacing dogs, dog-friendly, pebbly or golden, blissfully empty or bustling, you will find the type of beach that you are looking for.
Take a long stroll through the Penrose Estate and you will discover the Looe Bar which is a singularly stunning layer of shingle separating the sea from Looe Pool Lake. The Lizard is only a short drive away and it is home to sweeping white sandy beaches such as the Poldhu. Kynance Cove is owned by the National Trust and equally striking.
Helston always has something or the other going on round the year. From an adrenaline-pumping sports challenge or annual festival to a vibrant street party, there is always some event taking place in this scenic tourist town.
Come and mingle, get stuck in, or simply soak up the atmosphere that’s loaded with Cornish culture. Your arrival in Helston is awaited!