I finally timed my Falmouth return well enough to justify a lunch stop at Launceston, a place clearly well below Okehampton and even Bodmin on the tourist trail, but highly praised by a family friend who was born there.

The best thing about it is the view above, which you get from the weird multi-storey car park. You can see the castle remains, which are the town’s highlight. There’s plenty of walks around here in perhaps the quietest part of Cornwall.

Launceston is clearly not a thriving town, with the sort of run-down shops you find in the lesser of West Wales coastal towns. Not much independent enterprise either, though it was a shame the beer shop below was closed.


The Beer Cellar was tucked one of a number of small alleys that do provide some character.  The Olde Bell, perhaps the best pub I saw, is nicely placed alongside the fascinating looking church.

I wasn’t looking for a pub stop, which is just as well.  I saw some very sad looking pub shells and old fashioned hotels, and one competent place on Westgate.  A Wetherspoons could do very well here, though I’m not aware of any advanced plans. Café Number Eight was terrific though.


  1. I’ve been to Launceston once to visit the castle, I think in 1991. My impression of the town itself was much the same – rather dour and down-at-heel. Much the same is true of most of the non-touristy towns in the West Country and Wales.

    The cafe you visited is a good example of a bit of alt-entrepreneurialism which hopefully will take root and spread


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