Travel writer Chris Moss recently wrote about what he dubs the ‘the Cornwall Conspiracy’ – the fact that upwards of 4 million Britons flock to the southern most tip of our glorious isle each year for their summer holiday, despite his opinion that the county is vastly overrated.
For Telegraph Travel, he wrote: “I will be seeking my light and air, sea and sunshine far from the madding crowds of the oversold and unthinkingly thronged likes of Cornwall.”
To say he sparked a conversation is a bit of an understatement. Telegraph readers took up opposing sides of the battlefield and flocked to the comments to fight their corner. Many were in agreement, citing ‘unreliable, stupid, and dishonest locals’, sky-high prices and overcrowding as key reasons to stay away. Others reflected on fond family holidays camping and exploring off the beaten path, defending its coastlines and celebrating pasties, crab sandwiches and cream teas.
Read on to see what your fellow readers have had to say and then share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
The argument for overrated
‘South and West Wales is just as beautiful without the crowds’
“Had 3 days in January at Newquay and 4 days down near Redruth last October during 2020. Place was rammed. Parking was always a problem, traffic queues everywhere even out of season. Just isn’t worth the hassle. South and West Wales is just as beautiful without the crowds. Cardiganshire in May for us this year!”
‘We swore never to return’
“We had our honeymoon in Cornwall in 1972 and swore never to return and indeed never have. The scenery was as expected but not as picturesque as Filey but the local tradespeople were rude and unhelpful. They clearly resented having to share the county with tourists but grabbed our cash without ever managing even a small smile. If we want a short seaside break we go to the east coast of Yorkshire where we always receive a warm welcome”
‘Unreliable, stupid and dishonest locals’
“On my first trip to Cornwall, once well into the county, I stopped at a petrol station to buy a sandwich. I gave the cashier a £5 note. On examining my change, I noticed that it was a couple of pounds short. I said “Excuse me, I think you may have made a mistake”. She did not even look at the change but simply threw at me over the till. I worked in Cornwall for three years. My only Cornish colleague owned a boat, which he used to take paying tourists on trips. He advertised the boat in the local newsagent but, once he had his tourists on board, he told them that the newsagent owned the boat and paid him a pittance, so he then scrounged further money off the tourists. During my three years in Cornwall I found the locals to be unreliable, stupid and dishonest. I have never been back.”
‘For a third of the price, go abroad and enjoy yourself’
“This guy has nailed. Having lived right next the A38 no more than 4 miles west of Plymouth for almost 40 years it is truly the biggest rip-off in the holiday lexicon. Horrendous road conditions from March through to October and equally bad every Bank Holiday or weekend. Very little of Cornwall is authentic any more as hardly anything is owned by the Cornish. Hugely overpriced hotels and pubs that make you feel they’re doing you a favour. For a third of the price go abroad and enjoy yourself.”
‘Devon is far more beautiful’
“Why go to Cornwall, when you pass through the most beautiful county in the land – Devon”
‘Misery in peninsula form’
“Cornwall is awful. I grew up there and escaped at the age of 18. It rains and rains and rains. And when it doesn’t rain, it drizzles. Spent my childhood watching the weather forecast and with the only exception of 1976, the weather in the South East was always better. Full of rubbish food, eyesore caravan sites, gravelly and crowded beaches, bleak countryside and the sea isn’t even worth attempting until September. No idea why anyone wastes their time and fuel getting there. Worse still, if you actually have to live there, everything shuts in the winter. Just total misery in peninsula form. Don’t even get me started on the horror that is Newquay.”
‘The north is less cult-like’
“Couldn’t agree more. We’ve been holidaying almost every year since 1980. We have taken our children and now our children and grandchildren but the last few years we can see it has become like a zombie paradise- where it seems somewhere everyone has been told to go and it is so commercialised and not at all quaint. Our children still love it but we’ve moved to the north; Morecambe, Northumberland and the Lakes and find it most refreshing and less cult-like. We’re hoping to persuade the children and grandchildren to join us and our 7 year old granddaughter loves Morecambe more than Cornwall she tells us so we’re getting there.”
The argument against
‘Leave Cornwall for the people that really appreciate it’
“Best to stay away then, leave Cornwall and Devon as well for that matter, to the people who appreciate it’s beauty. It’s the people like you who think Cornwall is the English “Benidorm” that should stay, far, far away.”
‘Go off season for deserted beaches and a good pasty at the end of the day’
“I love Cornwall, and spent all my childhood holidays there, getting up at 4am, downing a Quell for the long car journey and my parents have now lived there for 25 yrs. However, depending where you go, it can be a victim of its own marketing success and get horrendously busy in school holidays & Bank holidays (all those second homes). Still, nice to see the local economy boosted tho. Go off season and it is still glorious tho, deserted beaches, windy cliff walks and a good pasty at the end of the day. Slightly unfair article. Go at peak season and you risk spending your holiday with many of your SW London neighbours, although many love just that.”
‘Amazing memories camping and staying off the beaten track’
“I first travelled to Cornwall in the back of a second hand 1935 Austin 7 that had been laid up during the War with it’s wheels off. I remember “helping” my Dad fit a reconditioned engine, borrowing a local agricultural engineer’s hoist to do it. My main job was biking to the corner shop to get smokes for his mate. It took us 8 hours to get there, starting at 2.00am. We stopped to look at Stonehenge in the early hours of a misty morning. Absolutely magical! We spent the holiday exploring the moors, deserted tin mines and tiny fishing ports talking to fishermen. Amazing memories.
“We took our children in their time. Once again camping and staying off the beaten track. Great times, great people.”
‘Crab sandwiches and cream teas’
“Having lived in 3 different countries you realise that there is nowhere like England on a beautiful summer’s day. Sadly for Cornwall, the weather means that this wonderful area is rarely showcased as it should be. 15 years in Helston, I remember the constant mizzle only too well, but also some glorious summer days. The beautiful coastal walks made even better by stopping for lunch at a pub serving fresh Newlyn crab sandwiches and a pudding topped with clotted cream. Both of which can not be replicated overseas!”
‘Even in the height of August I can find places of solitude’
“I have lived in Cornwall nearly 50 years. I came down to go surfing every day and ended up in Penzance. Wild horses would not drag me away. Yes, the weather can be wet, misty and windy a lot of the time but overall it is mild compared to the rest of the UK. How people cope with the cold up north and especially in the North East I have no idea. And yes, the sheer volume of visitors has brought its own problems such as crowded beaches, dense traffic in summer, shortage of parking and consequent high prices. But even in the height of August I can find places of peace and solitude; thankfully the holidaymakers stick mostly to the well-trodden tourist traps where they just crowd each other out rather than the locals.
“As for the rest of the UK, well let’s be honest with ourselves. I have travelled to many parts of the world and for sheer variety of scenery, attractions and entertainments within a relatively small area, from Scotland to Sussex, from Camarthen to Clacton, the UK is hard to beat for a holiday.”
What do you think? Is Cornwall overrated? Tell us in the comments section below