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  • Writer's pictureGregory Besterman

Cornwall vs West Cork for your next holiday?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Europe is never short on beauty, history, culture, music, food…or anything else a traveller could need to revive the spirits and inspire the next leg of the journey. From Gavdos, Greece, to the Shetland Islands in northernmost Scotland, it’s a stiff, international competition to reach one of the coveted spots at the top of the traveller’s bucket list.

Across the channel in England, high points include historic London (of course!), the ancient peculiarity that is Stonehenge, and Britain’s very own rival to the Riviera: Cornwall. Sunnier, brighter, sandier, and further south than any other part of the country, Cornwall sees around 5 million visitors every single year.

But, if you’re looking to take advantage of southern good weather, unrivalled views over the Atlantic, and avoid the crowds, there’s a fresh rival: West Cork.

Whether your idea of bliss is to rest your heavy bones by a roaring fire as the cold winter sunlight fades over rugged fallow land, or to make a pilgrimage across land and sea to retrace hundreds of years’ worth of family history, Ireland deserves a high spot on your own list. Sure, our own luxury holiday home in West Cork may mean we’re a little biased, but pay us a visit on the Emerald Isle and we’ll prove it all – and some.

Where else will you get the authentic Irish experience?

Every part of the world knows how to roll out the carpet and welcome weary travellers inside but, if you ask us, Irish hospitality is second to none.

From our traditional pubs – which come to life in the evening, particularly when the afternoons grow shorter and the air gets that November bite to it – complete with Guinness on tap, lively and friendly locals, hearty food and live music, to our quaint villages where life is pleasurably slow and tuned-into the landscape, Ireland knows how to make newcomers (or old friends) feel welcome. There are also plenty of

That’s not to say Cornwall can’t put on a show but, if you ask us, West Cork’s got the edge. There are also lots of great things to do and see in West Cork.

You'll avoid those Cornwall holiday crowds

Cornwall has been a hotspot for tourists for generation after generation. The Victorians made a habit of holidaying along the seaside, in idyllic spots like St Ives and Penzance where they could enjoy the sunshine and a (modest) dip in the ocean.

Since then, the area has only grown more popular. It’s getting harder and harder for holidaymakers to beat the crowds and find a spot in Cornwall that ticks all three: good weather, great beaches, and some much-needed peace for R&R.

West Cork has had a quieter life. It’s a little more tucked away, a little more rural, and that much quieter as a result. The area became a lot quieter in the middle of the 19th century when so many young families made the journey across the Atlantic to America. This is why so many families in the US can trace their lineages back to West Cork. Even now, almost 200 years later, the area remains markedly quiet compared with what it once was.

If crowds are something you’d rather do without, then West Cork is your winner. At Gortadrohid, guests have access to a private beach with stunning views over the water, and a private slipway and moorings.

It’s got its own unique history

It’s not really fair to compare the history of Cornwall with the history of West Cork, just as we can’t compare the stories of the Ancient Egyptians with the stories of the Ancient Romans. But West Cork’s fascinating, turbulent, and heart-wrenching history – from the sacking of Baltimore to the Great Famine of 1845 – is always worth a mention, particularly if you can trace members of your own family back to this small but mighty part of the world.

Both areas share some similarities. Cornwall and West Cork saw a great deal of pirate activity, thanks to the easy access provided by the Atlantic. They also both experienced a great deal of conflict over the centuries, with both areas playing host to key battles throughout history.

History buffs will find no shortage of things to study, see, and experience in West Cork. Take a look at our guide to 5 key moments from its history to find out more.

It’s more affordable

Cornwall is a beautiful spot – a real gem in England’s crown that deserves to be loved and appreciated as much as it is. But that popularity comes at a price – literally! It’s one of the most expensive parts of the country to visit, with space and good food coming at a high premium.

That’s not to say it’s not worth the surcharge to see beautiful Cornwall for yourself, but if you’re looking for a holiday that can offer it all and leave you with a healthy buffer, West Cork is definitely the destination for you.

In West Cork, you’ll find plenty of hidden gems and top-notch restaurants to enjoy, whatever your budget. It’s a great place for nourishing the mind and body, with plenty of space to boot.

It’s easy to access

West Cork is serviced by Cork Airport, which happens to be the second largest airport in Ireland. By car, Baltimore is just over an hour and a half from Cork Airport, which is ideal if you’re coming to us from further afield. The drive will also give you an enjoyable tour of the area, from the outskirts of Cork itself to the more rural backroads of West Cork.

Cornwall is a little trickier to get to. The best option is often the train or bus, with no large commercial airports on its doorstep. At the right time of year, it’s worth the extra effort, but it’s not ideal if you’re embarking on a long journey from home to the UK.

So, there you have it: two beautiful spots well worth a visit next time you’re planning a break, but one clear winner in our eyes. West Cork has a little of everything, from rural escapes to busier, culture-fuelled days in the city. Feel free to get in touch with us if you want to know any more about the area local to Gortadrohid before you book. Happy travels!

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