What Poldark can teach you about Cornwall

The new and reworked TV show Poldark hit our screens in 2015 with the dashing Aidan Turner playing the hero opposite Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza.

The impressive landscape and cinematography of the programme captured the imagination of over 7 million viewers every week, rocketing Cornwall to the top of holiday wish lists all over the world (and we’re sure Aidan Turner’s physique had absolutely nothing to do with its popularity).

But as well as the gripping storylines, Poldark also provides a rare look back into Cornwall’s history and how it has developed from a traditional mining county to the holiday destination it is today.

The diet
The wealthy families in Poldark enjoy an overflowing dining table of cold meats, sweets and fruits but most were more used to eating a hearty bowl of warmed gruel as an evening meal (ew) or better still, a traditional Cornish pasty.

Cornish pasty by Rae Allen via Flickr
The traditional Cornish pasty – nom nom nom

Cornwall today is more known as a foodie destination, with celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Nathan Outlaw championing the county’s fine dining and fresh produce.

You can still enjoy a traditional Cornish pasty, overflowing with fresh steak and vegetables, but thankfully you’ll be hard-pushed to find a restaurant serving gruel.

The history
Tin-mining runs throughout the central plot of Poldark, with Wheal Leisure providing plenty of opportunity for danger and turmoil.

Botallack Mine Cornwall
Levant Mine and Botallack Mines Cornwall

At one time Cornwall led the way in tin mining, and it’s fantastic to see well-known local landmarks Levant Mine, Botallack Mine near St Just and the engine houses at St Agnes Head playing a starring role in the latest Poldark TV series.

You can still follow in the footsteps of Ross Poldark next time you’re in Cornwall by heading down and following the Botallack Mining Walk near St Just, or visiting Padstow where the view across the Camel Estuary was used as a regular backdrop in the series.

The free time
Reading, embroidery and dancing were popular ways for the higher class ladies of Poldark to relax in the 18th Century while men preferred to indulge in gambling, smoking and hunting.

Lanhydrock, by Matty Ring via Flickr
Magnificent late Victorian country house, Lanhydrock

The social scene in Cornwall is of course quite different today (it really is), but there are plenty of opportunities to see how people spent their days and evenings over the centuries by exploring the county’s many historic houses next time you’re visiting.

The landscape
The beauty of Cornwall’s natural landscape (with or without Aidan Turner in it) is a major part of Poldark’s success.

Tintagel cliffs, Cornwall
Tintagel, North Cornwall

From the rugged cliffs of West Cornwall to the desolate stretches of Bodmin Moor, millions were blown away by the breath-taking locations featured in the BBC one series.

The good news?  Those locations are free to enjoy right now, just waiting for you to go and explore. And they are just as breath-taking in real life as they are on the small screen.

The people
Most of the characters in Poldark would be welcome round ours for a cream tea any day (most, not all – *cough cough* Francis *cough cough*).

Poldark BBC One
BBC One’s Poldark attracted over 7 million viewers

And the Cornish folk today are just as friendly – they will welcome you with open arms, a pasty in one hand and a pint in the other.

Or maybe a cup of tea in one hand and cream tea in the other…. (Just be sure to put the jam on your scone first, or you’ll be open to some heavy criticism from the locals).

Putting clotted cream on first?  In the words of Poldark’s Jud Paynter: “T’int right, t’int fair, t’int fit, t’int proper!”

If Poldark has inspired you to visit Cornwall and its stunning coastline, you’d be welcome at Ocean Blue’s luxury apartments near Padstow, where much of the filming too place.  The properties are right on the beach and are the ideal base from which to explore Cornwall’s Poldark country – view the apartments here and call us on 01841 719090 to book or with any questions.

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