The Cornish town that inspired The Wind in the Willows & is just as enjoyable in winter – dubbed the county's hidden gem | The Sun

CORNWALL is one of the UK's most popular summer holiday destinations, attracting almost four million visitors in peak season.

But the county is home to plenty of quaint towns and villages that are equally enjoyable in the winter months.

One of these is the market town of Lostwithiel, known by many of its 2,700 residents as Cornwall's hidden gem.

In the Middle Ages, Lostwithiel was named the Cornish capital thanks to its busy port on the River Fowey and profitable tin mine.

The Old Duchy Palace, built in 1292, was the hub of Lostwithiel's administration and was used as the courts, treasury, and prison for maritime affairs by Edward the Black Prince.

Today, the Grade I listed building – in the top two per cent of the most important buildings in the UK – houses one of the town's many antiques shops.

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Dubbed the antique capital of Cornwall, vintage stores include Lostwithiel Antique Centre, Uzella Court Antiques, and Stick Antiques & Vintage, selling everything from furniture to books and jewellery.

For those looking for some adventure, Restormel Castle sits on a hill a few miles outside of Lostwithiel and was once used as a hunting lodge for the Black Prince, but visitors can now wander through its ruins for the price of £6.80 a ticket.

Follow a 45-minute walking trail from the castle to the Duchy of Cornwall nursery, now owned by Prince William, which grew to become one of the South West's most-respected nurseries under King Charles's previous ownership.

Guests can explore the gardens, buy plants or enjoy an afternoon tea in the onsite cafe.

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Also nearby is the 16th century Restormel Manor, where King Charles and Queen Camilla use as their official Cornish residence when they visit the county, available to rent among a number of other Duchy of Cornwall holiday cottages in the area.

There are other points of interest too, including the Tudor Bridge, Boconnoc House, and St Bartholomew's Church, as well as the 'wild woods' that are said to have inspired Kenneth Grahame's famous novel The Wind in the Willows.

The woodlands are are three-mile walk downstream from Lostwithiel, and they can only be accessed by crossing the river's stepping stones when the tide is low.

The famous Eden Project is also only a 10-minute drive from Lostwithiel and is perfect for a rainy winter's day, thanks to its indoor rainforest and Mediterranean biomes.

Meanwhile, the Lost Gardens of Heligan host a magical lantern experience, from November 17 until January 2.

A number of holiday let companies rent out properties in the area, but for those looking to rent a room,the Royal Oak Inn has rooms from £89 per night,

Best Western Fowey Valley Hotel also has rooms from £65 a night or the Earl Of Chatham is available to rent from £79 a night.

Lostwithiel isn't the only town in Cornwall that's been overlooked by holidaymakers in recent years.

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One of those that tourists have missed out on is Veryan in Cornwall, which has been described as a "serene idyll".

Meanwhile, you can sip pints while watching dolphins and whales from the pub garden in this UK seaside town.

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