A local

A local's guide to Launceston

Kate W 18 June 2019

The scenic rural countryside of Cornwall is bursting with quaint villages and pretty market towns, and Launceston is a typical example of these charming South West destinations. Set in the centre of North Cornwall, Launceston has great access to some of the best spots in the county, with Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor both within 16 miles as well as the rugged North Cornwall coast just 20 miles away.

For those of you who don’t want to venture too far during your relaxing Cornish holiday, there are plenty of fun attractions in and around town as well as welcoming pubs and eateries to drop by for a bite. Escape to the idyllic country town of Launceston in the heart of Cornwall.


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The coast

The walking


Food and drink

The adventure


About the town:

Launceston town

Once the capital of Cornwall, this historic town has a wonderful high street filled with independent shops and boutiques for you to explore, as well as big name brands. Cafes offer you a welcome place to sit and enjoy a coffee and cake while the historic buildings with stunning architecture provide a beautiful town for you to stroll around.

The attractions:


There’s a whole range of fantastic attractions for families and adult groups to discover. Within the town itself you can visit the 13th-century Launceston Castle then hop aboard Launceston Steam Railway, made up of restored Victorian locomotives that will take you across the beautiful Cornish countryside. You can even get a return ticket for your four-legged friend for just £1, so the whole family can enjoy the adventure.

Further afield, take the kids to the family-friendly Trethorne Leisure Park (4 miles), perfect in rain or shine! The curious Hidden Valley Discovery Park (6 miles) is an intriguing place to take children who will have a great time exploring the Forbidden Mansion where they can test themselves on one of Moriarty’s Missions, and find their way through the maze.

Meet the furry critters over at Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre (6 miles) or enjoy a day out to Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre (9 miles) and have a go on all the vintage rides.

The coast:


Make time to venture across to the dramatic and breathtaking North Cornwall coast and discover the towns and beaches along this part of the South West. The pretty seaside village and fishing port of Boscastle is 19 miles from Launceston and is home to the intriguing Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. You can also take a walk around Boscastle Harbour.

The unspoilt shingle beach of Crackington Haven is 18 miles away and protected by high cliffs. It’s a pretty spot for swimming, surfing or simply soaking up the sunshine. Dogs are allowed during the winter months and there is lifeguard cover in the summer months.

A favourite attraction along this coast is Tintagel Castle (20 miles), rumoured to be the birthplace of King Arthur. While here, climb down the steep staircase to the beach to Merlin’s Cave.

The walking:


Uncover the natural beauty of Bodmin Moor (14 miles) on a walk across the dramatic moorland. Visit Colliford Lake, Golitha Falls or the Stripple Stones on a trip into this vast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For more breathtaking scenery, escape into Dartmoor National Park (16 miles). Attractions here include Castle Drago, Buckfast Abbey and Haytor Rocks, so you can walk through the villages and towns on an exploratory trip of the area or venture out into the wilds of the open moorland. Meet the ponies who make this landscape their home, visit one of three visitor centres in this national park, and dine in a welcoming country pub after a long walk through the wilderness.

The accommodation:

Old Orchard House

We have a wonderful selection of holiday homes in and around Launceston. Stay in the centre of this delightful town or pick out a bolthole hidden in the scenic surrounding countryside. Throughout our cottages in Cornwall, we have a wide choice ranging from romantic getaways for two with hot tubs, to big houses for large groups with games' rooms and cinema rooms to ensure everyone is entertained during the staycation.

These are three of our favourite holiday escapes in Launceston:

  • Long Horn Barn - perfect for a romantic retreat, this converted barn is just a short drive from Tintagel, Bude and Launceston
  • Skiber Coombe – a holiday home for six with an indoor swimming pool and games room.
  • Old Orchard House – a stylish holiday escape for 10 guests with two wood burners and welcoming two dogs.

The food and drink:

Food and drink

For that cosy vibe that can only be found in a warm and welcoming country pub, head to Launceston Arms or The Westgate Inn in the centre of town, or out to Eliot Arms Square and Compass (3 miles) or Archer Arms (7 miles).

Take a trip across to The Springer Spaniel, a delightful gastropub, or visit the stylish restaurant at Lifton Hall, both 5 miles away from Launceston. On your way back, stop by the Lifton Farm Shop and pick out some produce to take back to the holiday cottage.

Book a table at Combeshead Farm (7 miles) one evening during your trip for a cosy atmosphere at this elegant establishment and put aside another evening for the classic holiday staple of fish and chips from Launceston Fryers.

The adventure:

Adventure canoe down the River Tamar

If you are ready to get out and discover the county through adrenaline-fuelled activities, enjoy a canoe trip down the River Tamar – great for big adult groups and families looking to entertain the kids!

Another excellent adrenaline-fuelled family day out is Adrenaline Quarry, whose fantastic tagline is ‘throwing people off cliffs since 2009’. They have an aquapark, go-karting and, of course, there’s the chance to jump off a cliff and fly down the zip line over a flooded quarry.

We have a fantastic selection of holiday homes, cottages and lodges throughout Launceston and the rest of beautiful Cornwall. If you’re feeling inspired to take a trip, then browse our holiday cottages in Launceston.

For a wider choice of holiday escapes, take a look through our cottages in Cornwall

Discover more of Cornwall:

Guide to Cornwall

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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