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Whilst Cornwall is commonly associated with certain literary figures – Du Maurier’s Rebecca, Graham’s Poldark – one of the county’s most successful novelists is not even a household name in Britain.

Yet her novels and their antecedents bring in almost a quarter of a million visitors to the county each year.

We’re talking, of course, about Rosamunde Pilcher: the New York Times bestselling novelist of ‘The Shell Seekers’ who died aged 94 a year ago this week.


A Cornish lass, she was born in 1924 in the county’s exposed and exhilarating far south west.

We’d heartily recommend exploring this area – Sennen Cove, Zennor – and stopping off at the cosy pub with strong culinary credentials, The Gurnard’s Head, for something tasty and restorative.

Front View

Pilcher’s career as a novelist didn’t really take off until she was in her sixties, when her 14th novel – ‘The Shell Seekers’, 1987 – spent 49 weeks on the famed book list.

Set between Cornwall and London, the romantic family saga has sold over 10 million copies. Whilst it has been adapted for TV in the UK, it’s in Germany where her star shines brightest.

The Pilcher effect…

Two-thirds of all foreign visitors who come to Cornwall are from Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

Captured for German TV first in 1993 and have become something of required family viewing in Germany ever since. There have been 111 Pilcher film adaptations.

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Whilst the movies are in German, they are filmed on location around Cornwall, spawning a niche tourist market of avid fans seeking a dose of the Pilcher-perfect Cornish vista.

Whether its the rustic, fishing village vibe of St Ives, or the beautiful, storm-beaten cliffs of west Penwith, Cornwall’s landscape is as much of a character in the dramas as the actors themselves.

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Whilst we have always explored and sought inspiration from the coastline on our English with Arts and Culture programme, we’re excited to announce a new course which we hope will fully immerse our students in the wondrous wilderness of the West Country.

English and Exploration

This unique opportunity combines the best English teaching with the opportunity to explore the hidden gems of Cornwall – its dynamic coasts, azure coves and mysterious moorlands.

We will roam further afield – and very much off the beaten track – in our pursuit of memorable experiences, awe-inspiring natural wonders and innovative ways to improve our students’ English.

wilderness photographic intermediate photography workshop writing with light landscape photography course cornwall uk

Photograph by Chris Lucas

Your English teachers will be with you on your adventure…and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Chris Lucas – professional photographer, outdoor specialist, best-selling author and critically-acclaimed film director – who will be our guide.

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Read more about the multi-talented Chris over on:

Some days will have a classroom focus, but we believe a classroom is where learning happens – not necessarily simply four walls and forward-facing desks. Therefore, many lessons will happen on foot, as we walk, talk and share discoveries of the Cornish landscape.

The course will run from 18th-29th of May 2020. 

Please get in touch for prices and further information.

Pilcher’s death last year was a loss to the literary world: yet her legacy endures…come and learn all about it, about Cornwall and ignite your passion for English with Babel Fish.

Alex Trumble

Director, teacher, surfer, food-lover, guitarist.

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