Welcome to Launceston
Although the Tamar’s source is only a few miles from the north Cornwall coast, the river doesn’t reach a town until it passes to the east of Launceston. Launceston is a thriving market town, full of quirky independent shops and cafes as well as regular markets. The town was the capital of the Earldom of Cornwall in Norman times, when the Earls of Cornwall administered Cornwall (or tried to…) from Launceston Castle. The castle still dominates the town and is one of the best examples of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle in Cornwall or England.
As well as the castle and the shops, visitors should take the time to visit the fine Tudor church of St Mary Magdalene and its astonishing granite carvings and the Lawrence House Museum. Launceston was the home of the famous poet Charles Causley. A poetry, arts and music festival is held in his honour every year.
Even though the town is no longer the capital or county town of Cornwall, it was here that Prince Charles was officially proclaimed Duke of Cornwall in 1973.
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