follow us on

   

 

Cornish Links

Towns and Villages


 

 

Return to A - Z of Towns and Villages

 

 

 

 

 

Helston

About Hayle  |  Weather


The bustling market town of Helston lies midway between Falmouth and Penzance at the junction of the A394 and A3083, which serves the Lizard Peninsula to the south. Famous for its Flora Day festival, the ancient market and Stannary town of Helston is perhaps least changed of all Cornwall's main towns. You'll get a sense of bygone times just by wandering the streets and cobbled alleyways of the town. Ideally located for exploring South West Cornwall, Helston has plenty for visitors of all ages. As you explore the town you will see a mixture of Georgian and Victorian architecture, one outstanding feature being The Monument at the end of Coinage hall Street, built in 1834 to the memory of Humphrey Millet Grylls. A Helston banker and solicitor, his actions kept open the local tin mine, Wheal Vor, and saved 1,200 jobs.

 

Strange sounding names like Coinage hall Street are reminders of the town's past when, in the 14th Century, tinners working the area's mines would assemble to have their tin tested and weighed in the coinage hall. Walking up Coinage hall Street, you will pass the Blue Anchor, a thatched building, originally a monk's rest house, which became a tavern in the 15th century. Miners received their wages in the pub, which is possibly the oldest private brewery in the country (beware the local brew, Spingo!). Further up you will find one of the oldest buildings in Helston, the Angel Hotel, the former town house of the celebrated Godolphins who represented Helston in Parliament for many years.

 

A plaque on the wall of one Wendron Street cottage marks the birthplace of Bob Fitzsimmons. Born in 1863, he was the first man to be world middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight boxing champion. He retired in 1914 and died in Chicago three years later.

By the traffic lights is the imposing Guildhall. Over the years this has been a market house and Magistrate's Court; today it is the Town Hall with the Council Chamber on the first floor. The ground floor is still called the Corn Exchange and here you might be tempted inside by coffee mornings, craft markets and jumble sales.

 

Behind the Guildhall you will see a splendid cannon taken from HMS Anson, wrecked at Loe Bar in 1807. This event, with its loss of life, inspired Henry Trengrouse to invent the Breeches Buoy. The cannon stands on guard outside the Helston Folk Museum, housed in the old butter market, where you will be fascinated by the exhibitions of Helston's heritage - and admission is free! Continuing along Church Street, you will arrive at the Parish Church of St Michael, dedicated to the patron saint of Helston. It contains an impressive 24-branch chandelier - a gift from the Earl of Godolphin in 1763 - and some fine Elizabethan brasses.

 

Nowadays, Helston is known the world over for its spring folk festival, held at the beginning of May. The town is decked with bluebells, gorse and laurel leaves as children and adults dance the Furry Dance in and out of the streets, alleyways, houses and shops. Earlier in the day you can cheer on as St George 'slays the Dragon' in the colourful Hal-an-Tow pageant. As you head out of Helston, past the Coronation Park and Boating Lake, towards the fishing village of Porthleven, you will come to the parkland of the Penrose Estate, which offers some beautiful woodland walks. Here you can relax on the banks of the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall, Loe Pool, separated from the sea by a long sand bar. The River Cober on which the town stands was once tidal before it was cut off from the sea by Loe Bar. According to some sources, Helston, with a population then of about 200, was a small port which exported tin and copper.

 

 

       

Information

 

About Us

Contact Us