How not to be a dick while visiting Cornwall

Being a tourist can be fun; you’re exploring new places, you get to stay in a nice hotel and eat out a lot, you’re not working and you can let your hair down. Did you ever stop to think about the people that live in these tourist destinations? It’s not always easy for us, and the locals will sometimes resent the tourists for making everyday life so difficult.

That’s life in Cornwall; winter months are ruined by terrible weather, summer months are ruined by emmets. That’s Cornish for ant by the way, which is our word for tourists. We need you, but you don’t make it easy for us. Here are a few things you can do to make your adventures more pleasant for everyone involved.


While at the beach

The main reason people visit Cornwall is for our stunning coastline. We have an insane amount of beaches, with a whole bunch of dramatic cliffs and rolling hills as a backdrop. We love the beach, and we’re glad you love it too but don’t be a dick about it.

Pick up your trash. Honestly, whoever leaves trash behind is a garbage person, and I’ve seen it happen multiple times. Do you do this at home, or on holiday? Why do it in a location as beautiful as Cornwall? Pick it up. Put it in the bin. It’s that simple. Jerk.

Don’t feed the seagulls. Look, I love all most animals (spiders don’t count) but seagulls are the rats of the sky. We don’t want people trying to hurt them because they are just trying to live their best life, but please don’t bloody encourage them. Keep your food to yourself and leave them be.

Have consideration for other people. There’s nothing we love more than a day spent at the beach with music, a disposable BBQ and a few drinks, but we know that not everyone wants to listen to the same tunes or bathe in the meaty smoke of your sizzling burgers. Just be aware of those around you!

While in town

We know our towns are just, like, so cute. All those cobbled streets, little art galleries and cafes, thatched rooves and country pubs, but please, for the love of god, think about others as you go about your day window shopping and eating all the pasties, which are only proper Cornish pasties if they’re made down here, Greggs doesn’t count.

Support local businesses. Sure, we might have a few of your favourite chain restaurants, but local is so much better. They’ll have the freshest, locally grown produce, seafood caught that morning off the coast of whichever town you’re in, and it’s all made with a little extra love.

Seriously, support local businesses! It’s not just the food that you can buy locally, it’s the arts and crafts in galleries and markets, it’s our homegrown cider, our award-winning beers and ales, our Cornish spirits and liqueurs. Try it all! There are so many choices that you’ll never have to try the same thing twice, unless you love it, which you will.

Don’t just stop suddenly in the middle of the street. I mean really, do you know what spatial awareness is? Do you have any? Sure, there are some cute lil mugs in that shop but maybe there’s also a crowd of people behind you who have places to go and they’ll get whiplash or something if y’all keep doing this.

Don’t walk in the middle of the road. Didn’t your parents ever teach you how dangerous this is? Do you do this at home? Sure, our roads aren’t that busy BUT THEY’RE STILL ROADS. Get out of them, please. Use the pavement (that’s sidewalk to you Americans) if there is one. Same goes for wandering aimlessly around the car park.

While driving

Road rage is Cornwall is a real issue. Our roads are so tiny that it can be daunting to a tourist, but we’re so used to them that it’s no big deal that you can only fit one car down the lane with grass growing in the middle and there’s a tractor in front of you trying to squeeze past a bus that’s just overtaken some horses. Just help us out, because we have actual places to be.

Don’t drive in the middle of the road. When the road is only just wide enough for two cars, why the hell would you drive in the middle of it? That means you have to slam your breaks on and swerve out of the way every time you meet another car. Just drive close to the hedge. Except keep in mind that our “Cornish hedges” are actually granite walls disguised by wildflowers.

Learn to reverse. I’m pretty sure anyone who lives in Cornwall could out-reverse even the top stuntmen because we have to do it multiple times on our daily commute. Those passing places are there for a reason, and we know the roads well enough to immediately throw our cars into reverse and back into the closest one. When you meet a tourist who can’t even reverse in a straight line, it’s too frustrating for words. How did you pass your driving test!?

Get out of the way. We know our roads seem tiny to you, but when you’re pootling along at 20 mph and there’s a car up your butt, or a line of cars tailing you, please just do the decent thing and P U L L O V E R . Please. We have to get to work on time, and we can’t be dealing with your slow asses making us late every day. However…

Drive slow when passing horses. It’s quite common to share our narrow lanes with lorries, tractors, buses, caravans, other cars, motorbikes, pushbikes (the worst kind of people), walkers and horseriders. Horses are actual live creatures that do not appreciate someone ripping past at full speed, they can scare quite easily which puts everyone in danger so slow the hell down, or if it’s too narrow to pass then just stop and wait for them to pass you.

Learn how to use a roundabout. Ok, so if you’re from America I know you guys don’t have these, but you Europeans should know better. Do you know where the indicators are on your car? Use them to let other drivers know which direction you wish to go. Do you know which lane you need to be in? If you get it wrong, don’t cut someone else off, just take another trip around, it will only take a few seconds.

Also, and this is the most important part, you give way to the people on your right. That means if there is a car driving at you from the right-hand side, STOP. Don’t pull out in front of them. And especially don’t pull out in front of them and then swear at them because you think they’re in the wrong because you don’t know how to use a bloody roundabout in this country. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen this happen. It’s not just annoying, it’s straight up dangerous.

Kernow peeps, let me know if you have any more suggestions to add! And feel free to share these (sarcastic af) words of wisdom.

Tourists, we love that you love Cornwall so much, we know it’s amazing! Just remember that real people live here too. And no matter how much you love it, if you buy yourself a second home and leave it empty for most of the year just so you can enjoy your two weeks holiday sunburning your pasty white body on the beach you are literally ruing the housing market and making it impossible for anyone under the age of 30 to afford their own house so just piss off.

</end rant>

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