Launceston, Cornwall, Visitor & Tourism Guide
Nearby National Park: Dartmoor
Nearby AONBs: Cornwall
(including Bodmin Moor
), Tamar Valley
Select Towns & Villages: Boscastle
Cornwall and Devon border
If you're travelling down the A30 into Cornwall
for a holiday or weekend break, we'd strongly recommend stopping at Launceston on the Cornwall
border. With its English Heritage castle and fascinating history, charming narrow streets and wide selection of shops, this ancient town is a real treat. Reminiscent of other English
hilltop towns such as Rye
, it's a joy to explore. Then, once you've made a brief visit, you can come back for a longer stay and take advantage of both the town and its location close to many of South West England's
most popular destinations.
First capital of Cornwall
, Launceston was the only walled town in the county. There was a Royal Mint here in Saxon times and, around Launceston Town Square
, there's architecture spanning a millennium.
English Heritage castle
Dominating this hilltop town, the English Heritage castle
we see today dates back to the Norman invasion. By the middle of the seventeenth century, it was in a state of disrepair. Whilst you have to pay to enter (if you are not a member of English Heritage), the views from the top of the shell keep over large areas of South West England
are truly impressive. To the east, the western rise of Dartmoor National Park
forms the horizon.
From the castle, we'd suggest you cross Launceston Park
and drop down into the beautiful Castle St to visit Lawrence House Museum
. From there, continue down the hill to the area around Launceston Steam Railway
. Explore the remains of Launceston Priory
near Launceston St Thomas Church
and Priors Packhorse Bridge
. There's a small museum at the station for the Launceston Steam Railway
. The train itself takes you to a children's play area about fifteen minutes ride west of the town. Kids love it.
The local area
Take time to explore the local area. Bodmin Moor
is to the south west. Climb Rough Tor (Bodmin)
and Brown Willy
which is Cornwall's
South east of Launnceston is the Tamar Valley AONB
. We think this is one of the most under-visited destinations in England
and a real joy to explore. Visit Cotehele House and Gardens
, see Calstock Viaduct
and discover Morwellham Quay
which is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site
Dartmoor National Park
is to the east and south east of Launceston. The Cornwall
coast is to the west and south west. Read our summary guides to both these destinations to discover more. Highlights, in our opinion, include the high moors of Dartmoor around Yes Tor
and High Willhays
. On the coast, try the South West Coast Path
and the beaches that line the Camel Estuary
. Browse our 'Top 10 Recommended' lists for further ideas. We list places to visit, things to do, beaches and more.
Two Castles Trail
Last, if you're up for something a little different for you holiday or weekend break then why not walk the Two Castle Trail
Top 10 Recommendations
Selected from the best Beaches in Launceston we've listed our top 10.
Approximately 3.2 miles away.
Total Rooms: 21; Rates: £65 - £155 Per Night
The Arundell Arms exudes warmth and comfort and has a restaurant with 2 AA Rosettes It is ideal for keen fishermen and lovers of the countryside In the hotel you will find handmade chocolates in the sitting room, and fre...
What's near here?
Approximately 3.4 miles away.
Rates: £270 - £593 Per Week
In the lovely peaceful hamlet of Lezant and just over 3 miles from the market town of Launceston with its castle and steam railway this comfortable family home enjoys views over the surrounding countryside. Offering an i...
What's near here?