Land’s End, with its rugged wave battered cliffs, is the most westerly point in mainland England and the most visited outdoor tourist attraction in Cornwall
The two sections of the Coastal Footpath meet here at Land’s End, where the north coast meets the south coast and the Atlantic Ocean stretches beyond the horizon until it reaches the shores of America. This route, which covers over 500 miles along the coast from Poole Harbour in Dorset to the Bristol Channel, is the longest continuous footpath in Britain. Close to Land’s End are some of the most dramatic sections of the walkway, for those with a head for heights.
From the spectacular granite cliffs, on a clear day, the Isles of Scilly can be seen lying on that horizon. Much closer is the Longships Lighthouse, whilst about six miles south-west is the Wolf Rock Lighthouse. There is a well-known signpost here, giving distances to far away places. Visitors can have their photographs taken in this famous spot, overlooking the churning sea beneath spectacular cliffs. It is a great spot from which to watch the sunset over the sea. In spring the cliffs are rampant with wild flowers, particularly thrift, a blaze of colour against the grey of the rock. Footpaths are well-maintained and there are great views from the Dollar Cove suspension bridge.
The tourist complex features the history and heritage of Cornwall and Land’s End, with emphasis on ships and the hazards of the sea. The main exhibition is the Lost Labyrinth, an audio-visual experience encompassing everything from the lost land of Lyonesse and the legends of King Arthur to the present day exploits of the air-sea rescue service. There are tales of heroism and adventure, stories of monsters, pirates, smugglers and wreckers, and lots more, all with stunning special effects. The Labyrinth Shop sells souvenirs reflecting the Celtic legends and heritage.
The area encompasses the Land’s End Hotel, various exhibition halls, play areas and craft shops with traditional craftsmen at work. The Land’s End Cornish Sweet Manufactory is a traditional sweet factory where visitors can watch skilled sweet-makers at work and then sample the delicious results. Greeb Farm is a restored 200 year old Cornish farmstead in a spectacular setting where children can meet the animals.
In the thought-provoking Relentless Sea Exhibition, it is possible to hear the heroic tale of mankind’s struggle to earn a living from the treacherous sea. Or visitors can watch the exciting documentary of the Air Sea Rescue Services rushing to the aid of a fisherman in difficulties. This presentation was filmed in the treacherous waters just off Land’s End. There are also the “End to Enders”, tales of people who have travelled on foot and by other modes of transport from Land’s End to John O’Groats in Scotland. This exhibition covers the entire journey at a speed of 6,000 miles per hour. There are also firework displays throughout the season. There is plenty of shopping for those who are that way inclined. The Land’s End & John O'Groats Trading Company offers a wide selection of souvenirs, gifts, books, clothing, silverware and pewter. In the First & Last Toy Shoppe there is plenty on offer for the younger visitor. Penwith House has maritime gifts, paintings, toys and linen. It also houses the gallery Wendy Williams, artist in residence.
Food is readily available at Land’s End too. The Pasty Parlour sells traditional Cornish pasties, whilst the Cornish Pantry is open for hot and cold snacks and sandwiches. The Longships Family Restaurant and Bar serves both lunchtime bar snacks and an evening menu. Wolf Rock Burger Bar specialises in burgers, salads and snacks, whilst traditional ice cream is available at the Roskilly Ice Cream Parlour. Only a mile along the road is one of the oldest inns in Cornwall dating back to the 17th century. The First & Last Inn serves Cornish ales and freshly cooked food.
Access to Land’s End is by road along the A30 from Penzance, or along the north coast road from St Ives. There is plenty of car parking and, for those not wishing to visit the theme park, reduced cost parking is available. There is free pedestrian access to the coastal path and buses run from Penzance throughout the year and from St Ives during the summer season.