If you are visiting West Cornwall in the summer months then there is no finer way to absorb the geography of this beautiful western peninsula with such contrasting landscapes than a day out on the open top Atlantic Coaster double decker bus.
It’s a circular route in both directions with an hourly schedule which becomes somewhat erratic with the summer traffic on the narrow twisty roads of West Cornwall, but if you’ve hopped off and are waiting to hop back on then just wait and one will come along at some stage and it can be very pleasant sitting at a bus stop watching the world go by! Given the option I would choose the circular route starting from Penzance bus station travelling along to Newlyn and towards Lands End via Lamorna, St Buryan and Porthcurno, where you stop at The Telegraph Museum and find out the history of the first telecommunications from there, swoop down to Sennen and back up again – my that’s a steep hill and a half! Fabulous scenery of contrasts all the way.
If it’s a fairly quiet place you desire for lunch then try stopping off at quaint old St Just for your lunch and the Dog and Rabbit is a great little café to try, with a visit to the Kurt Jackson Foundation gallery just a few yards away a must. Amazing art in an equally amazing space.
Refreshed suitably, both in body and mind hop back on and prepare yourself for what is probably the most beautiful section of the journey along the North Coast to St Ives. Narrow twisting roads, cars travelling in the opposite direction to contend with but beautiful, beautiful scenery. Vibrant blue seas on your left, moorland on your right and passing through pretty little villages with rows of miners cottages often built to defy the prevailing winds off the sea rather than take in those dramatic views.
Geevor mining museum would be a great place of interest to stop but maybe let’s save that for another day. A world heritage site, West Cornwall’s last working mine where you can go underground in an 18th century mine and wander down to the edge of the cliffs past heaps of spoil from the days when the mine was still active. A lovely café overlooking the Atlantic and a museum too. Wander down and further along the cliff and you’ll happen upon some of the buildings used in Poldark – ‘Tresidders Mill’ – for one.
Now past the tiny hamlet of Morvah with its pretty little church and schoolhouse, more rolling moorland and azure seas and even a tiny container in a field selling moomaid ice cream and cream teas – wish we could stop here.
St Ives is maybe the jewel in the crown and it’s straight to the tiny bus station on the hill for a seven point turn and shuffle and extraordinary views
This could well be a great place to stop off and spend a couple of hours with all those beaches, the Tate St Ives gallery, fabulous cafes, interesting shops and just wonderful views. Then the last leg of the journey is a shorter one, back through Carbis Bay, along a stretch off the A30 but there is really no alternative if the route is a circle but then there is a delightful detour through the ancient town of Marazion with splendid views of the majestic St Michaels Mount as we speed on through, ducking and diving past rooftops and cables!
So our journey ends, back in Penzance where we began and we realise there is much and so close by that we really have to return to see and discover more. Thank goodness though for that warm coat and hat – whatever the weather you will have had the wind in your sails!