North Cornwall's history is packed with interest and events - and you don't have to delve into history books to get at it. Just visit one of the fine museums and you'll be walking into a showcase of life in times past.


The Bodmin Town Museum will take you on a guided tour of the town from its prehistoric beginnings up to World War II. Along the way you can see what's cooking in the Cornish kitchen.


A short way across town at the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry Regimental Museum, you'll be shouldering arms with one of the most famous regiments of the south west, and inspecting the impressive collection of small arms and machine guns.


At Camelford, you can step into life in old Cornwall in the North Cornwall Museum and Gallery, which also has changing exhibitions of crafts and paintings throughout the season.


At the Bude-Stratton Museum, on Bude's canal side, you can see how you measure up to Anthony Payne, the Cornish giant, and then embark on a voyage through the town's maritime and shipwreck heritage.


Launceston has a fine museum in the splendid Georgian Lawrence House, where, after admiring the costume displays and exploring the Local History Room, you can stroll around the Victorian garden.


There's a strong whiff of sea air in the Padstow Museum. After you've come face-to-face with the famous 'Obby' Oss, you'll be amazed at the heroism of Padstow's lifeboatmen, and the skill of its ship-builders.


One mile north of Camelford on the Boscastle road the British Cycling Museum is located at the old Camelford railway station.


Historic Homes and Gardens


Besides the drama of the coast and moors. North Cornwall has yet another trick up its sleeve - in its great houses and gardens. Here you'll see a different kind of dramatic grandeur, and you'll be stepping into the upstairs-downstairs world of the Cornish gentry.


At Pencarrow, the National Heritage Award winner for the country's best historic house, you'll be the guests of the Molesworth-St Aubyn family, who still live in this Georgian mansion. Amidst beautiful woodland gardens, the house has magnificent collections of pictures, china, furniture, and antique dolls.


You may have already seen Prideaux Place at Padstow, without realising. The Elizabethan house and ancient deerpark, overlooking the Camel Estuary, has been used as a spectacular backdrop for films starring Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley.


Stroll around the Longcross Victorian Gardens near Port Isaac, and you'll see how the Victorians fashioned intriguing floral displays in a superb coastal position. And during the spring Cornwall Gardens Festival, visit North Cornwall's other gardens at Tremeer, Lancarfe, Watergate and Penheale.


If you time things right, you might be able to catch an opera or concert staged at one of the houses, and spend an evening out in serious style.