From Como to Cornwall

By David Bryne

Operating out of a home in Como Park, Dacey’s Cornish Tours has been taking small groups to the scenic County of Cornwall, England, for almost a decade.

Dacey is the nickname of British born David Warner who is a one-man tour operator crossing the Atlantic Ocean multiple times in the summer and fall.

David landed in St. Paul after meeting his future wife on a two-year back packing trip in Southeast Asia. They worked in England for a while, but decided the U.S. was a better place to raise a family. Also, his wife had a Minnesota history, spending her teen years in Rochester.

After high school, David worked several jobs in England, but his favorite venue was the scenic County of Cornwall. 

David saw the potential for touring the region using a minimalist approach.  A standard tour bus will not go down many of the narrow roads. Often David’s van will go head to head with oncoming traffic and someone will have to back up.

The first Dacey tours began in 2013. One of the things that makes the tour affordable is that all hotels provide breakfast.

The tour kicks off in London at a hotel that is one block off of Hyde Park with many pubs and restaurants nearby.

One of the tour’s many highlights are stops at movie and TV shooting locations.  A hotel that has been the site of frequent filming is adjacent to ruins advertised as 12th-century construction of King Arthur’s castle.

The hotel is called Camelot. It is an old manor house that has seen the filming of many movies.  A 1953 period piece called  “Knights of the Round Table” was filmed there. Also some “Doc Martin” TV show scenes were filmed there.

Tour stops that get public television viewers excited are towns and locations that were used in two favorite series, “Poldark” and “Doc Martin.” For Poldark fans, they visit Charlestown and a local tin mine. For Doc Martin fans, they visit Port Isaac and the Camelot hotel.

Other tour stops are very eclectic. They include a mini Stonehenge, an ecology campus with three-story domes of which one is a rain forest. There is an outdoor, ocean front theater with seating on a grassy terrace. This is also a tidal island with a scenic hilltop church site.

David Warner is an amateur economist covering the industrial history of Cornwall. He notes Cornwall was once the wealthiest part of Britain with tin and clay mining until the mines became nonviable in the 20th century.

Eventually Cornwall was one of the poorest regions trying to rebound with tourism and the service economy.

David’s family plans have worked out as his daughter is a National Merit Scholar semi-
finalist and is lettering in swimming at Como Park High. Dacey’s Cornish Tours has a website with tour information. 

David Bryne is a Twin Cities freelance writer who has gone on a Dacey’s Cornish Tours vacation.

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