Further Tips for Cornwall Trippers

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Blog, Cornwall | 4 comments



I’ve been looking into some of the practical aspects of getting to and around Cornwall and shared some of what I’ve discovered so far with those of you at the pre-trip lunch. I promised to post these nuggets on our website, so here they are. I encourage those of you who have done your own digging to add your suggestions, too, so we can all benefit from collected wisdom. Also, you may want to coordinate with each other to cross Devon and Cornwall to arrive together.
GETTING TO ST. IVES—It seems the cheapest and best way to get there from London (where I assume all our English journeys will begin) is by train (buses are cheaper, but very slow; planes are pricey; driving? Do you really want to go there?). Of the trains, the best bet seems to be from Paddington Station to Penzance. The actual dates we will be traveling weren’t posted yet, but based on present schedules, it’s likely that a train will leave around 10:00 a.m. and arrive in 5-6 hours. Off-peak hours and/or advance-purchased tickets (I think Saturday qualifies) run from 50-80 pounds; full-fare up to 140 pounds. Check out the particulars on the First Great Western Rail, www.thetrainline.com
Once in Penzance, there is a local line, the St. Ives Bay Line, that, according to the Rough Guide, “constitutes perhaps the most beautiful West Country track.” It takes about a half-hour to St. Ives, runs frequently, even on weekends, and costs about 20 pounds. To find out more, check out www.greatscenicrailways.com
CELL PHONES—Life will be much easier if we can keep in touch with each other, including keeping track of last-minute changes in plans. The first step is to contact your own service provider. Once you know what service you want (U.K. only, international, etc.), check with your provider to find out what it offers, and of course, beware roving fees. If your own plan isn’t reasonable enough, you might consider what I do: use Skype for international calls and get a phone chip to cover calls in the U.K. The trick to this is to make sure your phone is unlocked to allow another chip to be inserted. Most companies lock their phones so you have to use their service only, but will unlock them for a fee. Or, again, like I do, you can find a rogue operator to open your phone for a better price. (Oaklanders, we know a great place in Chinatown). With your phone unlocked, you can purchase a chip in any of the numerous phone stores in England. Or, final alternative, you can buy an inexpensive throw-away phone.
CREDIT CARDS—In addition to the usual precautions about warning your card company that you will be traveling, you might want to ask about getting a card with a chip in it. These are used very commonly in Europe now and I understand many places will refuse cards without them—in other words, American cards. So far as I know, debit cards do not have chips and should be O.K.

Train to St. Ives

Train to St. Ives

Final thought: All these transactions are in English. Does this really count as foreign travel? (Costa Rica, Bali, anyone?)
Good luck and see you there,


  1. Yes, Cornwall counts as “foreign travel”. I’m sure it will take me at least two days to get used to their “accent” and at least three wrong turns because I didn’t quite get what they said.

  2. I’ve just returned from Scotland where I used my ‘traditional’ [no chip] credit card frequently during the last two weeks. No problems encountered whether form small handheld machines in restaurants or in large [or small] grocery stores. On the subject of credit cards, it is worthwhile checking to see if your bank or carrier charges a fee for foreign transactions. Those small fees add up. Capital One does not charge a fee.

  3. Hi, do we have a schedule yet? Can anyone tell me what time on the 4th (of is it the 5th) that the workshop ends? I am trying to figure out how/when to get back to London to meet an old friend. Am reading a terribly written book about Cornwall, a murder mystery titled “In the Blood.” It does offer some interesting local color.

    • Kitty, the schedule has been emailed and hope your questions have been answered. A further note on local transportation: There are no hotel shuttles to town, but taxis are available and there is a nearby local bus.

      See you there.


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