Skip to content

Things to do in Launceston

things to do in launceston

If you are looking for things to do in Launceston, then you have found the right post! I hope you have a great day around this lovely town and if you have suggestions to add to the post, please let us know in the comments below.

Ideas for things to do in Launceston

Launceston, a historic town perched atop a dramatic hill in Cornwall, offers a delightful mix of captivating history, hidden gems, and outdoor adventures. Explore the imposing Launceston Castle, a Norman stronghold offering stunning panoramic views. Delve into the rich tapestry of the past at the Lawrence House Museum or unearth the secrets of local legends at the Jamaica Inn, once a notorious smuggler’s haunt. Beyond the historical sites, Launceston boasts a vibrant town center perfect for exploring independent shops and indulging in delicious Cornish pasties. For nature lovers, scenic walks, cycling trails, and hidden waterfalls await discovery in the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re seeking historical intrigue, charming local culture, or a taste of fresh Cornish air, Launceston promises a captivating and memorable escape.

Immerse Yourself in History: Exploring Launceston Castle

launceston castle from a drone

Launceston Castle, a formidable Norman stronghold perched atop a dramatic hill, dominates the Launceston skyline.Steeped in over 900 years of history, the castle offers a captivating journey through Cornwall’s past. Walk through the imposing stone gatehouse, a testament to Norman engineering, and imagine the bustling activity that once took place within these walls. Explore the well-preserved inner bailey, where the mighty keep stands guard, offering breathtaking panoramic views that stretch across the rolling hills of the Tamar Valley.

For history buffs, Launceston Castle provides a wealth of fascinating stories. Learn about the powerful Norman earls who controlled the castle, using it as a base for their military campaigns and a symbol of their authority. Discover the tales of sieges and battles that the castle endured, each leaving its mark on the structure. Interactive exhibits and displays bring the castle’s history to life, allowing visitors to imagine the daily lives of soldiers, knights, and servants who inhabited the castle grounds.

Climbing the keep, the castle’s central tower, is a must-do for any visitor. The winding stone staircase leads to a rooftop platform, rewarding you with unparalleled panoramic views of Launceston and the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, you can even glimpse the distant peaks of Dartmoor National Park in neighbouring Devon. Guided tours offered by knowledgeable staff offer a deeper understanding of the castle’s fascinating past, providing insights into its strategic significance and architectural details.

Whether you’re fascinated by medieval history or simply enjoy exploring a dramatic landmark, Launceston Castle promises an enriching and unforgettable experience. As you wander through its ancient halls and courtyards, you’ll gain a profound sense of Cornwall’s rich heritage and the enduring legacy of this remarkable fortress.

You can find more local castles here.

Launceston in Old Photographs” by Joan Rendell is a captivating collection showcasing the rich history of Launceston. Featuring vintage photographs, the book offers a visual journey through the town’s past, highlighting its architectural heritage and cultural evolution. A must-read for history enthusiasts and locals alike.

Find out more

launceston from old photographs

Unveiling Local Treasures at the Lawrence House Museum

lawrence house

Nestled below the imposing silhouette of Launceston Castle lies the charming Lawrence House Museum. This elegant Georgian townhouse, built in 1753, offers a captivating glimpse into the social history of Launceston and the surrounding region. Step inside and be transported back in time as you explore the meticulously curated exhibits spread across three floors.

The museum’s diverse collection delves into various aspects of Launceston’s past. Learn about the town’s intriguing association with Australia, a story connected to Philip Gidley King, who sailed on the HMS Sirius, a ship that accompanied the first fleet of convicts sent to establish the penal colony Down Under. Admire the fascinating collection of local artifacts, including everyday objects, tools, and clothing, providing a glimpse into the lives of Launceston’s residents throughout the centuries.

For those interested in science and exploration, the museum boasts a model railway exhibit and a collection of astronomical instruments used by the renowned Launceston astronomer John Couch Adams. A dedicated section showcases the work of local artists and craftspeople, preserving the region’s artistic heritage. Children will be delighted by the interactive exhibits, including a model Victorian kitchen and a costume collection, allowing them to dress up in period clothing and engage with the past in a playful way.

Beyond the permanent collections, Lawrence House Museum frequently hosts temporary exhibitions that delve into specific historical themes or celebrate local artists. The museum also offers a charming tearoom perfect for enjoying a refreshing cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake after your exploration. With its engaging exhibits, friendly atmosphere, and free entry (donations are welcome), the Lawrence House Museum is a delightful way to spend a few hours immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Launceston’s history and culture.

Journey Through Smuggler’s Lore at the Jamaica Inn

jamaica inn

Venture a short distance out of Launceston, and you’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era steeped in tales of smugglers and outlaws. The Jamaica Inn, a 18th-century coaching inn perched on Bodmin Moor, offers a unique blend of history, folklore, and hospitality. This atmospheric establishment, once a notorious haunt for smugglers, has been immortalized in Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel “Rebecca,” adding to its mystique.

Step inside the low-beamed bar, adorned with exposed stone walls and a crackling fireplace, and feel the weight of history settle around you. Imagine the weary travelers, stagecoach drivers, and perhaps even the occasional smuggler who once sought refuge within these very walls. The inn boasts a fascinating collection of smuggling paraphernalia, including secret compartments, hidden passageways, and cleverly disguised containers used to evade tax collectors and authorities.

Embark on a Hidden Valley Adventure

Unleash your inner explorer and delve into the heart of Bodmin Moor at the Hidden Valley Discovery Park. This exciting family-friendly attraction offers a variety of activities and experiences perfect for a fun-filled day trip. Challenge yourself on the high ropes course, navigating through a series of obstacles suspended amongst the trees, offering thrilling panoramic views of the surrounding moorland. For a more leisurely exploration, follow the scenic walking trails that meander through the valley, showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of Bodmin Moor.

Younger adventurers will delight in the extensive play areas, featuring slides, climbing frames, and sandpits, allowing them to burn off energy and unleash their imaginations. The park even boasts a dedicated miniature railway, offering a charming way to explore the valley on a miniaturized steam train.

Beyond the active pursuits, Hidden Valley Discovery Park offers educational exhibits and interactive displays that delve into the geology, wildlife, and history of Bodmin Moor. Learn about the unique granite landscape, the fascinating creatures that call the moor home, and the rich folklore associated with this enigmatic region. For those seeking a touch of history, explore the reconstructed Bronze Age settlement, offering a glimpse into the lives of people who inhabited the moor thousands of years ago.

Whether you’re seeking thrills on the high ropes course, enjoying a gentle family walk, or learning about the natural wonders of Bodmin Moor, Hidden Valley Discovery Park offers something for everyone. With its diverse activities,beautiful surroundings, and educational opportunities, it’s a guaranteed recipe for a memorable day trip for visitors of all ages.

Tee Off with a Scenic View at Launceston Golf Club

launceston golf club

Calling all golf enthusiasts! Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Cornish countryside, Launceston Golf Club offers a challenging and picturesque golfing experience. This well-maintained 18-hole course, established in 1895, provides golfers of all skill levels with a chance to test their abilities while surrounded by stunning scenery.

The course itself winds its way through mature parkland, featuring rolling fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and picturesque water hazards. Several holes offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including glimpses of the imposing Launceston Castle perched atop a distant hill. For those seeking an extra challenge, the course boasts several uphill climbs that will test your stamina and shot placement.

Beyond the golfing experience, Launceston Golf Club offers a welcoming clubhouse, perfect for relaxing after a round and enjoying refreshments with fellow players. The clubhouse boasts a bar with a wide selection of beverages, a restaurant serving delicious meals, and a comfortable lounge area ideal for socializing. The club also offers lessons and clinics for beginners or those looking to improve their game.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer seeking a challenging course with stunning scenery or a casual player looking for a relaxing day out in the Cornish countryside, Launceston Golf Club offers a delightful and memorable experience. With its beautiful setting, well-maintained facilities, and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect destination to combine your love for the game with the charm of Cornwall.

Explore the Natural Beauty of the Tamar Valley


Escape the bustling town center and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Tamar Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This scenic region, characterized by rolling hills, verdant meadows, and the winding River Tamar, offers a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore the network of walking trails that traverse the valley, offering diverse landscapes and stunning panoramic views.Follow the scenic footpath along the River Tamar, enjoying the tranquility of the flowing water and the vibrant birdlife that flourishes in the area. For a more challenging trek, venture onto the higher slopes of Bodmin Moor, where rugged granite outcrops and vast expanses of open moorland await discovery.

The Tamar Valley is also a haven for cyclists, offering designated cycling routes that cater to all levels. Explore charming villages nestled amidst the countryside, discover hidden waterfalls tucked away in secluded corners, or simply enjoy a leisurely cycle ride through the picturesque landscape. For those seeking a more adventurous activity, kayak or canoe down the River Tamar, experiencing the valley from a unique perspective.

Beyond the natural beauty, the Tamar Valley boasts a rich history and cultural heritage. Explore the ruins of medieval castles, visit historic houses and gardens, or delve into the local crafts and traditions at charming villages. With its diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and historical significance, the Tamar Valley offers a perfect escape for anyone seeking a taste of fresh air, stunning scenery, and a connection with nature.

Unwind at the Siblyback Lake Activity Centre

siblyback lake

For a day filled with outdoor fun and aquatic activities, head to the Siblyback Lake Activity Centre, just a short distance from Launceston. This vibrant centre offers a variety of options for all ages and interests, making it a perfect destination for families and groups seeking a dose of adventure.

The centerpiece of the centre is the expansive Siblyback Lake, a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Test your balance on stand-up paddleboards, navigate the calm waters in a kayak, or get your adrenaline pumping with a session of wakeboarding or water skiing. For a more leisurely experience, try your hand at pedal boating, enjoying a scenic cruise around the lake and soaking in the surrounding countryside. The centre provides all necessary equipment and caters to all skill levels, with qualified instructors available to guide and offer lessons for beginners.

Beyond the water activities, Siblyback Lake Activity Centre boasts a range of land-based activities. Challenge yourself on the high ropes course, navigating through a series of obstacles suspended amongst the trees, offering thrilling views of the lake and surrounding landscape. For a more grounded adventure, try your hand at archery, testing your aim and precision in a safe and controlled environment. The centre also features a dedicated orienteering course, perfect for those seeking a navigational challenge as they explore the wooded terrain with a map and compass.

After a day filled with activities, unwind and refuel at the on-site café. Offering a selection of hot and cold food, alongside refreshing beverages, it’s the perfect place to relax, share stories of your adventures, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the lake. With its diverse activities, beautiful surroundings, and friendly atmosphere, Siblyback Lake Activity Centre guarantees a fun-filled day trip for the whole family.

Delve into the Mysterious at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (Boscastle)

museum of witchcraft

Prepare to be spellbound as you journey a short distance from Launceston to Boscastle, a charming harbour village, and explore the fascinating Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Step inside this intriguing museum and delve into the world of folklore, superstition, and the occult, where exhibits explore the history of witchcraft practices from around the globe.

The museum’s collection boasts a diverse range of artifacts, including tools and amulets associated with magic rituals,spell books filled with cryptic symbols, and even a replica of a Victorian witch’s cottage, offering a glimpse into the lives of those historically accused of witchcraft. Explore exhibits that delve into the witch trials that plagued Europe for centuries, uncovering the social and political factors that fueled these persecutions.

However, the museum doesn’t just focus on the negative aspects of witchcraft. It also explores the positive aspects of magic, showcasing the role of herbalism and folk healing traditions in various cultures. Learn about the use of plants and natural remedies throughout history and how they have intertwined with the belief systems of different societies.

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic offers a thought-provoking and entertaining experience for anyone with an interest in the mysterious and unknown. Whether you’re fascinated by folklore, intrigued by the history of witchcraft, or simply enjoy a unique cultural experience, this museum promises to stimulate your curiosity and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the enduring power of these beliefs.

All Aboard for a Nostalgic Journey: The Launceston Steam Railway

engine at launceston steam railway

Take a charming step back in time aboard the Launceston Steam Railway, a delightful narrow gauge railway chugging through the scenic Cornish countryside. Located in Cornwall, England, this 2.5-mile railway offers a unique travel experience for visitors of all ages.

Passengers embark on their adventure from Launceston station, winding their way through the picturesque Kensey Valley towards the terminus at Newmills. The railway boasts a collection of lovingly restored Victorian steam locomotives, with the oldest and most beloved engine, Lillian, dating back to 1883. Watching these magnificent machines puff and chug along the tracks is a sight to behold, and the train journey itself provides a glimpse into Cornwall’s rich railway history.

Newmills offers a delightful stop for families, with a farm park featuring farmyard animals and a chance for a relaxing break amidst the countryside. So, for a dose of nostalgia, stunning scenery, and a touch of engineering marvel, the Launceston Steam Railway is a perfect Cornish adventure.

You shoud also check out Bodmin, the neighbouring town, where there are lots of great things to do too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *