Things To Do In Launceston

Discover the things to do in Launceston that some visitors miss. The must see places to visit for your itinerary!

Launceston is a quiet country town, with an ancient history; it was once the capital of Cornwall. Until the mid 70's all traffic west navigated its narrow winding streets through the South Gate of the Castle Keep.

Amongst the passageways and winding streets are some fantastic Independent Shops

Lots of unique places to choose from! Clothes, galleries, jewellery, crafts, here is a lowdown on just a couple:

Westgate Street Deli run by ‘Aid’, a local boy born and bred!

Aid sells the best local meats, cheeses, lunches, cakes and coffee. There is a little open air courtyard opposite to enjoy his takeaway coffee and the very best of delightful treats – try a Slutty Brownie when you visit. Just up the passageway from here is Launceston Tourist Office with Ruth and the team to help you with your holiday plans.

The Byre, another wonderful small independent shop full of fair trade and plastic free products and curiosities to browse. Sarah can tell you anything about Launceston. Her macramé work is a wonder, sometimes she has pieces to sell. Look her up on IG.

The Bakehouse. A kitchen, cafe and shop specialising in sough dough breads and pastries. You can join a sough dough baking course here.

Lets Get Naked Refill. A brand new shop in Launceston selling spices, potions, herbs, soaps and so much more.

Not all the shops are around the old town - go to Pennygillam Industrial Estate to find these unique and specialist outlets.

Philip Warren:  Butchers & Graziers specialising in native beef breeds. They sell Cornish grass-fed meat to the UK’s most talented chefs and most prestigious kitchens, as well as to the likes of you and me!

As well as the small butchers shop in the Market Square they have an out of town store at Pennygillam which showcases their meats, and is where all the action happens!

Jo Downs is a respected fused glass designer. Her work draws inspiration from the beautiful landscape.

Working from her Launceston studio at Pennygillam, Jo has designed an extensive range of handmade giftware, and statement interior pieces such as wall panels and art frames. Her work includes large architectural and interior projects and commissions for cruise liners, churches, hotels and corporate headquarters. She has also enjoyed hundreds of private commissions, producing windows, mirrors, wall panels and other artworks for a variety of homes.

The Launceston gallery and studio is where all the creative magic happens! And is open Monday to Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm.

There are five other galleries across Cornwall and also in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

Charliebears  is an international collectable teddy bear company based at Pennygillam, founded by Charlotte and William Morris in 2005. Since their launch they of have created a worldwide phenomenon and following.

Exploring Launceston History - a country town with a big history, once the capital of Cornwall.

St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Launceston is a Grade 1 listed building. It is unusual for its carvings; the entire exterior of the original part of the church is built of carved granite blocks, unequalled in England, and is an extraordinary piece of late medieval craftsmanship.

The tower was originally used as a watchtower, with a single bell to warn of attack, not to call worshippers to service. 

On the east wall you can see the carved figure of St Mary Magdalene ‘creeping to the cross’, her ointment pot beside her. A long-standing local tradition says that if you toss a pebble over your shoulder and it comes to rest on her back you will have good luck.

Dominating Launceston, the Castle is managed by English Heritage, the view from the top is spectacular.

Not built on the highest hill; however it can be seen from afar. Its ruins are remarkable and the shell keep remains in its entirety. The circular tower allows impressive views over the surrounding area.

Fascinating Facts:

  1. Noted in the doomsday book, but probably built earlier
  2. Built to dominate the strategically important fording point between Cornwall and England
  3. Was a prison after its military function ceased until 1842
  4. George Fox, founder of the Quakers, was imprisoned here in 1656 for distributing religious leaflets
  5. St Cuthbert Mayne one of the 40 English Martyrs was imprisoned and tried here, and was beheaded in Launceston Market Square.

South Gate Until the mid 70’s the traffic West was all channelled through this south arch – Launceston is still known as the gateway to the West. The A30 dissects Launceston, so many visitors to Cornwall drive straight past without realising its history and unique qualities.

Exploring Launceston - A Little Further Afield

Tre Pol and Pen Farm Shop and Cafe on the A338 just a mile or so out of Launceston. Here you will find a fantastic range of speciality grocery items often sourced locally, from the growers and producers in Cornwall. The kitchen at Tre Pol & Pen is the heart of the farm shop serving warming breakfasts, delicious lunches, cream teas, coffee and cake daily.

 “By Tre Pol and Pen shall Ye Know All Cornishmen” Richard Carew – 1602

OPEN: 7 days a week

Strawberry Fields is a bustling Farm Shop & Restaurant nestled in the Devon & Cornwall border, just off the A30 at Lifton. A family run award-winning working farm shop and restaurant, includes a butchery selling home-produced meat, a bakery open 7-days a week and a well-stocked deli. During the summer months ‘Pick Your Own’ fields are open.

Cowslip Workshops. A haven for Patchwork Quilting fans with workshops, a well stocked shop and delicious cafe as well as exhibitions, events and much more!! Situated on the road to Egloskerry  Newhouse Farm St.Stephens, PL15 8JX Launceston,

Homeleigh Garden Centre is one of the South West’s largest family run Garden Centres with over 40 different departments!  You’ll find an excellent range of plants in the garden centre, as well as many other products for your garden.

The Moors. Launceston is conveniently situated between Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. You don’t have to venture far from Launceston before you notice the lush agricultural pastures are giving way to a wilder landscapes with the rocky outcrops of granite tors visible on the skyline. The further you venture, the more you become aware of the peace and solitude of your surroundings.

In this blog we concentrate on Launceston, our closest town. To explore more amazing locations download our various free guides to the Secrets of North Cornwall. 

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