things to do in Cornwall

Cornwall is a county in England that is absolutely teeming with things to do. From its stunning coastline and beaches to centuries-old towns and villages, there’s something for everyone in this perfect little corner of the country. To help you make the most of your time here, we’ve put together an official guide to the best things to see and do in Cornwall.

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an action-packed adventure, read on for our top tips!



Where Is Cornwall

Cornwall is situated in the southwest of England, and is bordered by Devon to the east, the Bristol Channel to the north, and the English Channel to the south. It’s a large county, with a population of over half a million people.

Cornwall is made up of several different regions, each with their own unique character. From the wild and rugged north coast, with its dramatic cliffs and surf beaches, to the more gentle south coast with its sheltered coves and estuaries, there’s sure to be a place that’s perfect for you.

The towns and villages of Cornwall are just as varied as the landscape. From the bustling port town of Falmouth to the picturesque fishing village of Mousehole, there’s something for everyone. And of course, no visit to Cornwall would be complete without a stop in the capital city of Truro.

Cornwall map
Map of Cornwall

The Top 10 Nicest And Most Visited Towns In Cornwall

There are so many great towns and villages in Cornwall, it’s hard to narrow it down to just ten. But here are our picks for the nicest and most visited towns in Cornwall.

1. Falmouth

Falmouth is a town located on the south coast of Cornwall. It’s a popular tourist destination, thanks to its stunning beaches, historic harbour, and lively shops and restaurants.

2. Mousehole

Mousehole is a small fishing village located on the southwest coast of Cornwall. It’s famous for its picturesque harbour, which is said to be one of the most beautiful in Cornwall.

3. Truro

Truro is the capital city of Cornwall, and is located in the center of the county. It’s a historic city, with a medieval cathedral, and is also home to the Royal Cornwall Museum.

4. St Ives

St Ives is a town located on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s famous for its art galleries and museums, as well as its beautiful beaches.

5. Newquay

Newquay is a town located on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s a popular tourist destination, thanks to its surf beaches and lively nightlife.

6. Padstow

Padstow is a town located on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s famous for its picturesque harbour, and is also home to Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant.

7. Polperro

Polperro is a small fishing village located on the south coast of Cornwall. It’s a popular tourist destination, thanks to its quaint streets and traditional pubs.

8. Fowey

Fowey is a town located on the south coast of Cornwall. It’s famous for its medieval harbour, and is also home to the annual Fowey Regatta.

9. Looe

Looe is a town located on the south coast of Cornwall. It’s famous for its pretty beaches and lively fishing port.

10. Penzance

Penzance is a town located on the southwest coast of Cornwall. It’s a popular tourist destination, thanks to its historic buildings, pretty harbour, and sandy beaches.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of places to visit in Cornwall. But now that you’ve got the lay of the land, let’s look at the best things to see and do in Cornwall.


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The Best Things To Do In Cornwall

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a must-visit for any art lover. Located in the picturesque town of St Ives, the museum houses an incredible collection of Hepworth’s work, as well as temporary exhibitions from other world-renowned artists.


Climb Brown Willy

Brown Willy Mountain Cornwall
Brown Willy Mountain Cornwall

For the more adventurous among you, climbing Brown Willy is a must-do when in Cornwall. At just over 400 metres tall, it’s the county’s highest point and offers stunning views of Bodmin Moor. Be sure to wear proper walking gear and follow the marked routes, as the terrain can be quite challenging in places.


Coasteering In Cornwall

Coasteering is an exciting activity that combines elements of climbing, swimming and exploration. It’s the perfect way to experience Cornwall’s stunning coastline, and there are plenty of companies offering guided tours. We recommend checking out Celtic Quest Coasteering, which is based in Falmouth.


Cornish Seal Sanctuary

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, head to Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Located in Gweek, the sanctuary is home to over 30 rescued seals, as well as a variety of other animals such as otters, penguins and meerkats.


Cycle The Camel Trail From Padstow To Bodmin

The Camel Trail In Cornwall
The Camel Trail In Cornwall

One of the best ways to see Cornwall is by bike, and there’s no better place to do it than on the Camel Trail. The 18-mile trail runs along an old railway line from Padstow to Bodmin, passing through some of Cornwall’s most stunning scenery.


Drive From St Ives To Land’s End

For breathtaking views of the Cornish coastline, take a drive from St Ives to Land’s End. The journey takes around an hour, but there are plenty of things to see and do along the way, so you could easily spend a whole day exploring.

Look out for dolphins and seals as you drive along the coast, or stop off at one of the many pretty towns and villages for a spot of lunch.


Eat At A Celebrity Chef’s Cornish Restaurant

Cornwall is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, so be sure to try out one of the celebrity chef’s eateries while you’re here. Rick Stein has several restaurants dotted along the coast, serving up fresh seafood dishes that are sure to tantalise your taste buds.

Or for something truly special, book a table at Paul Ainsworth at No.6.


Eden Project

Of course, no trip to Cornwall would be complete without a visit to the Eden Project. Located in Bodelva, the Eden Project is a unique attraction that features two massive biomes housing thousands of different plant species from all over the world.

There’s also an abundance of things to do outside the biomes, including a zip wire, climbing wall, and a playground. And if you fancy something a bit more relaxed, there are plenty of beautiful gardens to explore. So whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at the Eden Project.


Go Surfing At Newquay’s Fistral Beach

Surf At Fistral Beach In Cornwall
Surf At Fistral Beach In Cornwall

Newquay’s Fistral Beach is one of the best places in Cornwall to go surfing. The waves here are world-renowned, and there’s a surf school on site if you need any help getting started.

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, be sure to head to Fistral Beach for an unforgettable experience.


Have A Cornish Pasty

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without trying a Cornish pasty. These delicious pies are traditionally made with beef, potatoes and onions, but you’ll find all sorts of different fillings these days.

For the best pasties in Cornwall, head to Warrens Bakery in St Just. The family-run business has been making pasties for over 150 years, so they know a thing or two about what makes a good one.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, try the Cornish pasties at Ann’s Pasties in Padstow. These pasties are made with locally-sourced ingredients and are absolutely delicious.


Kayaking In Cornwall

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is go kayaking. If you’re not familiar with kayaking it’s basically like canoeing, but you sit in a double-bladed paddle boat. There are plenty of kayaking routes to explore, and you can even paddle out to sea to see dolphins and seals.

For the best kayaking experience, head to Falmouth. The town is home to a number of different kayaking companies, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you.


King Arthur Tour

Merlin's Cave Cornwall
Merlin’s Cave Cornwall

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is to go on the King Arthur Tour. This tour takes you to all of the places associated with King Arthur, including Tintagel Castle, which is said to be where he was born.

You’ll also visit Merlin’s Cave, Glastonbury Tor and St Michael’s Mount. The tour is led by a knowledgeable guide who will tell you all about the history of King Arthur and the legends associated with him.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to go on the King Arthur Tour. You won’t be disappointed.


Lost Gardens Of Heligan

Another one of the best things to do in Cornwall is visiting the Lost Gardens Of Heligan. The gardens are located in St Austell and were once part of a huge estate.

The gardens were lost for many years, but have since been restored to their former glory. They’re now home to a variety of different plants and flowers, as well as a number of sculptures.

The Lost Gardens Of Heligan is a must-visit for anyone interested in gardening or history. And even if you’re not, it’s still a beautiful place to explore. So be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Cornwall.


Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre
Minack Theatre

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a visit to the Minack Theatre. The theatre is located in Porthcurno and was built in 1932.

It’s an open-air theatre with stunning views of the coast, and it’s perfect for watching plays, musicals and operas. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can also catch one of the many open-air cinema screenings.

The Minack Theatre is a truly unique experience, and it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Cornwall. So be sure to add it to your list.


Pendennis Castle

Pendennis Castle is a 16th-century castle located in Cornwall, England. The castle was built by Henry VIII to protect the coast from invasion. The Castle has been involved in many important events throughout history, and it’s now open to the public as a tourist attraction.

There are plenty of things to see and do at Pendennis Castle, such as exploring the castle grounds, visiting the museum and taking part in the falconry experience.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add Pendennis Castle to your list. You won’t be disappointed.


Poldark Tour

If you’re a fan of the TV show Poldark, then you’ll want to go on the Poldark Tour. The tour takes you to all of the filming locations used in the show, including Bodmin Moor, Charlestown Harbour and Nampara Valley.

You’ll also get to visit some of the real-life places that inspired the fictional setting of Poldark, such as Cornwall’s Mining Heritage Centre and Wheal Coates.

The Poldark Tour is a must for any fan of the show, and it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Cornwall.


Port Isaac

Port Isaac Cornwall
Cornwall Port Isaac

Port Isaac is a small fishing village located on the north coast of Cornwall. The village is best known for its picturesque harbour, which is lined with colourful houses. There’s also a number of good restaurants and cafés, as well as plenty of shops selling local produce.

If you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add Port Isaac to your list. You won’t be disappointed.


See The Sunset At Treyarnon Bay

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is see the sunset at Treyarnon Bay. The bay is located on the north coast of Cornwall and is renowned for its beautiful sunsets. There’s a small car park at the top of the cliffs, from where you can watch the sunset over the sea. It’s a truly magical experience and one that you won’t want to miss.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add seeing the sunset at Treyarnon Bay to your list. You won’t regret it.


St Michael’s Mount At Low Tide

The St Michael's Mount In Cornwall
The St Michael’s Mount In Cornwall

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is visit St Michael’s Mount at low tide. The mount is a small island located off the coast of Cornwall, and it’s accessible via a causeway when the tide is low.

The mount is home to a medieval castle, as well as a number of other historical buildings. There’s also a charming harbour, and plenty of shops and cafés. The best time to visit is at low tide, when you can explore the island and its castle without having to worry about the tide.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add St Michael’s Mount at low tide to your list.


Take A Cooking Class In Cornwall

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is take a cooking class. There are a number of cooking schools located in Cornwall, and they offer classes for all levels of ability. Some of the cooking classes you can look out for are Cornish pasty making, bread making, and fish and chips.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add taking a cooking class to your list. You’ll have a great time, and you’ll learn how to make some delicious Cornish food.


Take The Ferry From Truro to Falmouth

Truro Cornwall
Truro Cornwall

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is take the ferry from Truro to Falmouth. The ferry ride takes just under an hour, and it’s a great way to see some of Cornwall’s stunning coastline.

Once you arrive in Falmouth, there are plenty of things to do, such as exploring the town, visiting the castle, or taking a boat trip out to the nearby islands.


Tate St Ives

The Tate St Ives is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall. The museum is located in the town of St Ives, and it houses a collection of artworks by some of the world’s most famous artists.

Some of the artists whose work is on display at the Tate St Ives include Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Claude Monet.

If you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add the Tate St Ives to your list. You won’t be disappointed.


Trebah Garden

Trebah Garden is a beautiful subtropical garden located in Cornwall. The garden is home to a number of exotic plants and flowers, as well as a stunning waterfall. There’s also a café on site, where you can enjoy views of the gardens while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee.


Visit The Isles Of Scilly

The Isles Of Scilly
The Isles Of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are located just off the coast of Cornwall, but it is a world of difference from the mainland. Just a ferry or plane ride away is an archipelago that’s covered in lush greenery and sandy beaches that are surrounded by the dreamy blue Celtic Sea.

Amongst the countless deserted island, there are 5 inhabited islands that you can visit. These include St. Mary’s, Tresco, St. Martin’s, Bryher and St. Agnes. With so many islands to explore, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy, such as swimming, kayaking, sailing and paddleboarding just to name a few activities.


Visit Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle is a medieval castle located in Cornwall. The castle is situated on a rocky outcrop, and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall.

The castle has a long and rich history, dating back to the 12th century. It’s also said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, which makes it a popular destination for Arthurian fans.

If you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add Tintagel Castle to your bucket list.


Walk Around The Lizard Peninsula

The Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard Peninsula

The Lizard Peninsula is one of the best places to go for a walk in Cornwall. The peninsula is home to a number of picturesque villages, as well as stunning coastal scenery.

There are also plenty of things to see and do on the Lizard Peninsula, such as visiting the lighthouse, exploring the caves, or walking along the South West Coast Path.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Cornwall, be sure to add the Lizard Peninsula to your list. You won’t regret it.


Zip Lining At Adrenalin Quarry

One of the best things to do in Cornwall is zip lining at Adrenalin Quarry. The quarry is located in the town of Liskeard, and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall.

The quarry is home to a number of different zip lines, as well as a bungee jump, go-karting and open water swimming to name a few, so there’s plenty to keep you entertained.


Tours To Enjoy In Cornwall


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The Veiled Explorer’s Conclusion

So there you have it, a guide to the best things to do in Cornwall. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today! And don’t forget to let us know in the comments what your favourite activity is that you’re looking forward to doing.

And if you found this article handy, don’t forget to share it with your family and friends on social media.



The Best Things To Do In Cornwall Official Guide

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