Positioned at the top of The Lizard Peninsula and surrounded by rolling green fields, Helston is as true a Cornish town as you could wish to see.
HistoryWith 800 years of township under its belt the historically rich and vibrant Helston has a fascinating past.
Dating back to the 6th century the town was well known in the South West for tin mining and cattle trading with many of the original trade buildings in the town still in use. In fact visiting today it’s easy to overlook that the town was once also thriving port, whose direct connection to the sea was blocked long ago by sand at Loe Bar, but clues to its maritime past remain today for those who know where to look.
On May 8th every year Helston celebrates, in true Cornish style the biggest event in its calendar, Helston Flora Day. This ancient festival, one of the oldest British customs still practised today, rings in the spring harvest. Decked out in their Sunday best local couples dance though the streets and even in and out of some shops and houses to chase out the winter and welcome in the spring.
The streets are festooned with colourful bunting and lush local greenery and packed with townspeople and visitors alike who travel from all over the country to witness this truly unmissable event.
To discover more about Helston history and explore a veritable treasure trove of local artefacts why not pay a visit to The Helston Folk Museum, housed in the (1837) century old Market House. You’ll know when you’ve found the right building by a huge canon displayed outside! This came from the HMS Anson, wrecked at Loe Bar.
WalkaboutHelston makes a great place to base yourself while on holiday with so much to explore and discover.
Also a dream for walkers, however near or far you may wish to venture, there’s a trail to suit everyone from leisurely strolls by the river and through sheltered woodland to rambles over hills and across the coastline to the picturesque Gunwalloe and Church Cove.
For a leisurely stroll with a healthy dose of bird life thrown in, Helston Boating Lake at Coronation Park, once the site of Helston’s quay, is a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon. The lake is home to all sorts of feathered fun, from swans, Mallard and Tufted ducks, Canada geese and several species of gull.
If you feel like stretching your legs a little more, take the ever-popular Helston to Loe Bar walk, starting from either Coronation Park or slightly down river at Penrose Estate if you want to cut the distance. The walk guides you through the stunning grounds of Penrose Estate where you’ll find the conveniently placed Stables Café where a slice of homemade cake may be in order.
As you continue along the trail you’ll approach Loe Pool, the largest body of fresh water in Cornwall, and Loe Bar that acts as a sandy barrier between the pool and the sea. If you don’t feel like retracing your steps you can continue the walk by heading west along the cliffs to the picturesque fishing town of Porthleven. Alternatively, journey east across the bar towards Gunwalloe and the Medieval church of St Wynwallow in Church Cove, a gorgeous little bay that producers of the BBC series Poldark chose as a spot to film a dramatic scene of a ship being wrecked.
Food and drinkWith a strong ethos of buying and supporting local food, Helston proudly hosts the biggest farmers’ market in the county.
On the first Saturday of every month The Old Cattle Market building springs to life with butchers, bakers and candlestick makers selling the freshest, tastiest local products. From free range local game to creamy Cornish cheese. This market makes the perfect place to stock up on Cornish treats and goodies to take home as gifts or enjoy back at your holiday cottage when they’re simply too good to share.
For some liquid refreshment with a traditional tale, The Blue Anchor pub in the centre of Helston is a must. One of many historic pubs in Helston and, who at an incredible 600 years old claim to be the oldest brew pub in the country, The Blue Anchor is practically part of the fabric of Helston and a great place to meet the locals and soak up some good old Cornish atmosphere. With four of their own “Spingo” ales brewed on-site, pull up a chair in front of the fireplace and spend an evening enjoying a taste of the town.
A holiday cottage in the unique old market town of Helston makes the perfect hub to explore the sunny south coast of Cornwall with its estuaries, inlets and woodlands framing the water’s edge.
What our guests say …
Helston is a perfect place to stay if you want to explore the south and west of the county. Through staying there we saw everything from Mevagissey to the Minnack!
My family came from Helston so I may be a bit bias but it definitely has a charm that I haven't seen in other Cornish towns. Walking the Cober to Loe Bar is an annual thing for us.
I like to dip into the seaside towns but they get so busy. We can only visit Cornwall during school holidays so Helston gives us some 'undiscovered' peace!!