Truro, Cornwall is the only city in the county. It has a rich history, a fantastic range of independent shops and a thriving food and drink scene. There are plenty of things to get up to in Truro, whether it’s making the most of the Cornish coast or visiting fascinating attractions.
A Brief History of Truro
There has been a settlement in Truro ever since prehistoric times. But the first real town developed when a castle was built by the Normans. By the 14th century, Truro was a bustling port town, and one of Cornwall’s main tin mining locations. Copper and tin were transported by river to the sea, although the trade fell into decline when the Black Death came about. By the 16th century, Truro was flourishing once again. From then on, it became a successful industrial centre working with tin smelting, pottery, tannery and wool making. During the Industrial Revolution, the success of the town increased even more. Tin mine owners built grand townhouses which you can still see today in the Lemon Street area. As the town was seeing an increase in wealthy residents, a theatre was built to accommodate them. A direct rail route to London was opened, which helped make the town even more popular. Two significant events in 1876 was when the Bishopric of Truro was passed, and Truro was granted a city status by Queen Victoria. Towards the beginning of the 20th century, the mining industry declined and the nearby town of Falmouth grew as a port. Truro became a commercial and administrative centre for the region.
Things to Do in Truro
Get Out on the Water
One of the best things to do in Truro is to get out on the water. The Truro River runs through the city, and then joins onto the River Fal before flowing out into the Carrick Roads, the estuary. Carrick Roads is home to many picturesque creeks and inlets, and is a haven for wildlife. Between April and October, Enterprise Boats run cruises between Truro’s harbour and Falmouth. Admire the scenery as you sail through the AONB of the River Fal. The calm, sheltered waters between Truro and Falmouth are the ideal location for watersports. Five miles south of Truro is the Loe Beach watersports centre where you can hire equipment or sign up for lessons. They also hire out dinghies and rowboats to explore the waters.
Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum is the best place to visit to learn about Cornish life and culture. It has engaging exhibitions about Cornwall’s mining and engineering heritage, including a variety of minerals collected around the area. The museum also portrays Cornwall’s link with the rest of the world through Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine artefacts, as well as a ‘World Cultures’ collection. You’ll also find rare books, ceramics, glass, furniture, silver and paintings.
A 20 minute drive from Truro is Tregothnan, a country house and estate which dates back to the 14th century. The historic gardens and arboretum are the largest in Cornwall, and are available to visit by appointment only. It’s home to rare and endangered trees from around the world, as well as the world’s only surviving travelling greenhouse. Tregothnan is also renowned for being the first tea plantation in Britain, with up to 20,000 tea bushes planted every year. The gardens also grow rare produce which aren’t normally grown in the UK, such as rare Kea plums and Manuka honey. You can find these products in the onsite shop.
Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm
Five miles from Truro is Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, a traditional cider brewery where you can take a wide range of guided tours and learn about the process of making cider. Hop on a vintage tractor through the apple orchard, check out the museum of cider history, see the 16th century press, head down into the cellar for a tasting, and pet the friendly farm animals. End your visit with a Cornish cream tea in the tearooms.
Places to Stay in Truro
Dating back to 1830, this former convent is now a luxurious hotel. The characterful bedrooms ooze tradition and comfort, complete with unique features and luxury furnishings. Relax in the private gardens, or enjoy a meal at the award-winning restaurant.
This Georgian townhouse in the centre of Truro has a range of rooms and studio apartments which are modern, bright and spacious. The hotel also has an award-winning restaurant and a cocktail bar.
If you’re after self-catering accommodation in a rural spot outside of Truro, then Chycara is the place to stay. Set in 16 acres of gardens and woodland, Chycara is an ideal place to relax after a long day of exploring. There are four lodges onsite, each sleeping between two to six people, and are decked out with all the amenities you need.
Places to Eat & Drink in Truro
Penrose Kitchen is set within the beautiful surroundings of tranquil lily ponds. Serving modern European food, the restaurant uses the best homegrown and local produce.
Hooked Restaurant & Bar
At Hooked, you’ll find seafood and tapas dishes caught fresh from Cornish waters. Almost everything is made inhouse, from bread to ice cream.
For something a little different, why not head for some South African food at Chorley’s. Try authentic dishes like boerie rolls and Durban bunny chow.