The Ultimate Cornwall Visitor Guide

Local tourism insiders share their favourite 90 things to do in Cornwall

From quaint fishing villages, to jaw-dropping beaches and legends of old, Cornwall is an enchanting place to visit. Here, local tourism insiders share their 90 favourite things to do and places to go - uncovering Cornwall's hidden gems with more than 100 stunning photos to help you plan your visit. Share your own favourites by posting a comment at the bottom.

Must See

1. The Lizard Peninsula

Shaped by the relentless Atlantic ocean, the cliffs of The Lizard Peninsula at the southern-most tip of Cornwall offer a dramatic sight. You'll find hidden coves, turquoise waters and plenty of wildlife, which all help make it such a unique place.

From beautiful beaches to wild walks, The Lizard has more than its fair share of natural charms.

The Lizard Peninsula is a great place to visit. It's away from the crowds and offers dramatic cliffs, hidden bays, and a unique atmosphere.
Annette Eatock
Visit the Lizard to try and spot the famous Cornish Choughs, and support the animals at Wingz bird sanctuary.
Avoid Lands End, and head to Lizard Point instead. The walk around the cliffs from Kynance Cove is one of the best in Cornwall.
Lauren Williams

2. St Michael's Mount

Walking across the causeway to St Michael's Mount at low tide is one of Cornwall's true highlights.

A visit to St Michael's Mount is an absolute must for photographers. I like it best against moody, winter skies!
Fiona Crump
I found St Michael's Mount magical as a child, and it's still stunning as an adult.
Chloe Ciliberto
From Marazion beach, the iconic St Michael's Mount rises dramatically from the bay in the background - beautiful!
Julia Hughes

3. Tintagel Castle

Sitting high on a rugged coastline in North Cornwall, the dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle are one of the South West's most breathtaking sights. Visit yourself to explore the legends of King Arthur and Merlin.

A visit to Tintagel Castle is a must - it's simply stunning. You feel on top of the world standing at the top, and there is just something magical about being there.
Stevie Couch
I highly recommend Tintagel. There are some fabulous coastal walks and the castle ruins have stunning views. You may even catch a glimpse of the seals in the bay.
Melanie Chadd
Tintagel Castle's dramatic scenery is always amazing, with the castle ruins, precarious cliff paths and the sea beyond. It's even more atmospheric in miserable weather!
Cathy Winston

4. Bodmin Moor

Bodmin Moor should be on everyone's list simply because it isn't already! Leave the coast and head inland to the rugged heart.
Mark Camp
Bodmin Moor's wild, open spaces are great on a sunny day away from the crowds and breathtaking in winter too - literally!
Halla Genna
Although close to the biggest 'beaten track' in Cornwall, the A30, the county's highest peaks are often ignored by visitors. Wrap up warm!
Jon Baglow

5. Bedruthan Steps

Whether you look down on it from above, or venture down to sea level, Bedruthan Steps is so pleasing to look at, I'll never tire of visiting.
Paul Johnson
On a clear day, Bedruthan Steps makes for the most stunning clifftop photographs.
Stevie Couch
Budruthan steps is an easy win for even the most amateurish of photographers. Just point, shoot and it'll look amazing.
Martin Dorey

6. Wheal Coates

Nothing beats the view from Wheal Coates. The stunning cliffs, sea views and engine houses give it a truly unique atmosphere.
Anna Clark
The old mining buildings set against the backdrop of the sea at Wheal Coates near St Agnes is simply beautiful.
Stevie Couch

7. The Eden Project

Whilst some people find it a bit busy or pricey, for most visitors to Cornwall the Eden Project is a must-see.

I never ever tire of visiting The Eden Project. The gardens are always perfect and change with the seasons, and the biomes are maturing nicely, year by year.
Stuart Panter
There's nowhere else in the world quite like The Eden Project - you can visit time after time and never get bored. Rock out at the Eden Sessions live gigs in the summer!
Julia Hughes

8. The South West Coast Path

Cornwall has over 300 miles of stunning coastline to explore via the South West Coast Path. With dramatic headlands, intimate coves, and pretty harbour towns, there's something for everyone.

My favourite section is from Nanjizal to Porthgwarra, cave swimming at a beach voted "most beautiful" and watching seals!
Beth Woolway
Any bit of the coast path is great for walking. It's all truly fabulous and deserves at least a day or two every year.
Chris Jones

9. Minack Theatre

Is there a more spectacular theatre setting in the world?

The Minnack Theatre, an amphitheater built into the granite cliff up above Porthcurno beach, is something not to miss!
I love watching shows at the Minack theatre during summer. The open air theatre there sits on the stunning cliffs overlooking Porthcurno.

10. The Isles of Scilly

Mainland Cornwall is jam-packed with raw beauty, but we believe the Isles of Scilly should be top of everyone's list.
Jon Baglow
The Isles of Scilly are an absolute must, either via a 15 minute flight in a tiny 8 seater plane from Land's End, or sailing from Penzance.
The Scillies are unique and so different to the mainland. There's so much to do, including swimming with seals!
Ruth Finlay

Towns and Villages

Cornwall is chock-full of interesting - and stunningly beautiful - places to stay. These towns and villages are some of the real highlights.

11. Looe

Even for Cornwall it doesn't come much prettier than the seaside towns of Looe and neighbouring Polperro, just along the coast. Start your day picking up some fresh fish from the quay - then barbecue it for lunch - or simply kick back on the sandy beach with an ice cream.

I've visited Looe every year for 35 years now. For the best rock pooling, head to the tiny cove just outside of Looe - it's never busy!
Lucinda Barton
Visit Looe Island Nature Reserve by boat and have your own mini adventure on the incredible island.
In September, Looe festival pops up from nowhere to transform the beach and streets. Everybody's welcome to the party!
Carys Barriball

12. Port Isaac

I could never tire of visiting Port Isaac. It's where I spent much of my childhood and still continues to amaze me as an adult. With its wonderful pubs, beautiful little streets and a real Cornish charm I could, and do, go often.
Beth Woolway

13. St Ives

Set on one of the prettiest headlands anywhere in the world, St Ives is a regular tourism award winner. The stunning Porthminster beach attracts surfers and families alike, and the town's two other beaches (Porthmeor and Porthgwidden) are equally gorgeous.

I love St Ives. It's only 7 miles from home, but we don't go very often so it is still a real treat.
Zoe Curnow
St. Ives has lovely beaches, quirky little shops and galleries, and some great places to eat.
Helen Venus
My favorite place to visit is without a doubt, St Ives Harbour.
Linda Taylor

14. St Agnes

In between St Agnes and Perranporth there are caves, caverns and a secluded beach. Kayaking along the coastline is magical.
Hetty Wildblood
There is nothing better than a sunset walk across the coast from Perranporth to St Agnes.
Lauren Williams
St Agnes Beacon has amazing 360 degree views which change minute by minute. Towards Godrevy Lighthouse is the highlight.
Amanda Leonard

15. Mawgan Porth

The stretch of coastline between Mawgan Porth and Treyarnon has astounding views including Bedruthan Steps, and Trescore Islands.
Stuart Panter
Head to Mawgan Porth with its friendly locals and ever changing wonderful natural surroundings.
King Surf School

16. Mevagissey

Every corner of Cornwall is a postcard photograph waiting to be taken but Mevagissey is particularly pretty.
Melanie Chadd

17. Fowey

Readymoney Beach at Fowey is a gem - little known, and a safe bathing beach for families. Plus there are spectacular walks up onto the cliff nearby.
Ruth Finlay
Fowey is such a great town for shopping, eating and generally enjoying. There are fantastic walks out to St Katherine's castle, or you can catch the ferry across to Polruan.
Rupert Wilson

18. Penzance

On the very tip of Cornwall, while driving from Penzance to Sennen and back around the top via Zennor, the light is just beautiful. It's different to anywhere else.
Sam Kirton
Visiting Marazion and Penzance will never get old. It always reminds me of magical childhood trips and tales of the giant who lived at St Michael's Mount.
Anna Clark

19. Rock

Outside of the six weeks of hell when the Hoorah Henrys visit, Rock is so tranquil and peaceful!
Michael Heryet
Bude Walk & Talk

20. St Mawes

The small fishing village of St Mawes is a lovely sheltered sun trap for most of the day. Great for swimming, sailing, lunching and cocktails.
I love taking a trip on the St Mawes Ferry. On a nice sunny day, you'll get lost in time.
Ryan Watts

21. Falmouth

Falmouth has so much to offer: great independent cafes and shops, incredible views from Pendennis Point, Gyllyngvase Beach, tropical gardens - I could go on and on!
Lally Macbeth

22. Porthleven

Porthleven - it's like a fairytale. It's a beautiful place to visit and stay any time of the year.
Ryan Matthews
Padstow and Rock are trendy but I prefer places with real Cornish character like Porthleven and Falmouth.
Caroline Davey
Visitors often think that the only place to surf is on Cornwall's north coast - try Porthleven!
Ruth Finlay

23. St Martin's

The views from the Seven Stones pub in St Martin's on the Isles of Scilly are arguably the best pub garden views in the world.

Best Beaches

Cornwall has a worldwide reputation as a surfing hotspot, but you don't have to take to the water in order to appreciate the charm and beauty of the Cornish coast.

From big, well known beaches that draw the tourist crowds, to stunning and deserted hidden bays, there's no denying that sandy beaches and rock pools are a big part of why Cornwall is such a great choice for your family holiday.

24. Kynance Cove

The Lizard Peninsula is fabulous, especially Kynance Cove!
Louise Harding
Kynance Cove is one of my favourites. It's a beach like no other and the view from the walk down is breathtaking.
Matthew Burtwell

25. Perranporth

There are so many lovely places in Cornwall, it's hard to single out one, but if I had to choose it would be Perranporth. I love driving up to the top of Droskyn Hill and watching the surfers and looking down on that 3 mile beach.
Hetty Wildblood

26. Sennen Cove

Sennen Cove is a beautiful and magical place. I love the coastal walk from Sennen to Land's End.
Kernow Campervan Hire

27. Porthcurno Beach

My favourite beach without doubt is Porthcurno. It takes a bit of getting to, but the turquoise waters and golden sands are more than worth it.
Julia Hughes
The view of Porthcurno Bay from the Minack as it is one of the most classic images of Cornwall.
Zoe Curnow
Sitting on the cliffs above Porthcurno Beach, the waves churn like a washing machine and the sand looks like you could be in the Caribbean!
Lauren Williams

28. Porthchapel Beach

Porthchapel beach is just three miles away from Land's End, and came up time and time again as one of Cornwall's best beaches.

Sitting on the cliffs above Porthchapel Beach near the Minack Theatre, the waves churn like a washing machine and the sand looks like you could be in the Caribbean!
Lauren Williams
You really do feel like you could be abroad as the water is crystal clear. If you are lucky you also may even spot a couple of seals!
Porthchapel Beach is stunning. Perfect for long lazy days on the beach, amazing surf, or evening BBQs complete with the perfect sunset
Fiona Crump

29. Godrevy

Godrevy has stunning coastal scenery, and lots of wildlife, The surf's awesome with a light easterly and a shoulder high west swell.
Matt Corner
Godrevy is a great place to head for a coastal walk. There's a National Trust car park, great cafe and beach and amazing coastal walks.
Kernow Campervan Hire

30. Chapel Porth

A Hedgehog ice cream from the cafe is essential!

On the headland above Chapel Porth, there's a bench next to the footpath where you can sit and look out over the sea. If you're lucky you'll see seals playing below.
Bro Potter

31. Porthcothan

Porthcothan has stunning picturesque views all around it.
Tom Clark

32. Bude

Winner of Best UK Coastal Resort at the 2015 British Travel Awards, Bude is a superb beach destination.

Bude's beaches have miles of golden sand, loads of rock pools, beachside restaurants and cafes - and plenty of parking.
Visit Bude
Visiting Bude is a must. Either head into the sea, or go down to the Victorian seapool for some beautiful views. Widemouth Bay, just outside Bude, is well worth a visit too.
I'll never tire of the area around my home at Widemouth Bay. It has some of the best surfing beaches in the country.

33. Gwithian Beach

Gwithian Beach has great café, beautiful sunsets and brilliant surf.
Hetty Wildblood

34. Fistral Beach

Wondering where to capture one of the best sunsets in Cornwall? As well as some superb surfing, Fistral beach came up time and time again.

The surf at Fistral Beach is incredible, and I'd recommend visitors make time for watching the sunset here too.
Ryan Matthews
We love the headland, you get the most stunning 180 degree views of Fistral Beach and breathtaking sunsets as well!

35. Porthgwarra

I almost don't want to say it - Porthgwarra is a hidden treasure in Cornwall. Most recently used for 'that naked bathing scene' in Poldark, the spot from which Demelza peeks from the cliff provides a fantastic spot to get a photo of the cove and it's aquamarine waters. Who needs the Caribbean when you've got the Cor-ibbean?!
Beth Woolway

36. Trevone Bay

Head to Trevone Bay, which is great for fishing, surfing, swimming in the natural pool, and rock pooling.

37. Gwenvor Beach

Gwenvor is such a special beach. Every time I arrive in the car park at the top and look down to see what's happening with the sea and the tide, I am filled with awe. There are few beaches as welcoming and beautiful as this one.
Caroline Davey
I'll never tire of visiting Gwenvor beach, near Sennen cove. I used to stay with my friend at his grandparents house overlooking the bay when I was a child. The surf is good, the water is crystal clear and the sunsets are amazing.

38. Whipsiderry Beach

Whipsiderry Beach has mind blowing scenery, and is just hard enough to get to keep big crowds away. A world class beach without a doubt, which holds many special memories.
Chris Jones

39. Holywell Bay

Anywhere along the Coastline is stunning, but Holywell Bay is amazing - with two offshore islands!
Hetty Wildblood

40. Polkerris

A watersports hot spot, Polkerris is also perfect for a quiet stroll on the beach, or a walk through the woods towards Menabilly.
Ruth Finlay

41. Porth Joke

Explore the beautiful Porth Joke, where you'll find plenty of little coves. The cliff tops are a great place to watch a spectacular sunset.

Hidden Gems

Away from the main tourist attractions and off the beaten track, you'll find Cornwall's hidden gems. Here are some of the best.

42. The Penrose Estate

Home to the Loe Pool and neighbour to the incredibly stunning Loe Bar, The Penrose Estate is just moments from the historic town of Helston.
Rosita Bunce

43. Fal River

This beautiful river runs through an AONB, past deep-sided wooded valleys, riverside gardens and historic castles.
Ryan Watts
I regularly take my stand up paddle board to Truro, and paddle up the River Fal exploring all the creeks.

44. Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall on a sunny afternoon is an absolute must. The coastline is incredibly dramatic, with craggy rocks and turquoise sea.
Lally Macbeth
Cape Cornwall is wonderful. St Just is full of family memories over three generations for us.
Penbugle Farm

45. Frenchman's Creek and Helford River

Don't miss Frenchman's Creek and all the little coves and inlets on the Helford River.
Gloria Knight
I really like visiting St Anthony-in-Meneage on the Helford. We've been coming here on holiday every May half term, and everyone we meet here seems to come back year after year.
Caroline Davey
I love paddling down the Helford river from Gweek either in a canoe or on an SUP!
Zoe Curnow

46. Dozmary Pool

Beautiful and tranquil Dozmary pool - where the legendary Excalibur was reputedly thrown.
Michelle Harding

47. The Roseland

The Roseland is so amazing, you just can't fit all of the views into your eyeballs, so you need to go back again and again for more!
The Cornwall Camper Company
I love to visit St Anthony in Roseland. The walk around the peninsula is truly spectacular, yet only a short ferry trip from Falmouth.
Ryan Watts

48. Coverack

Coverack in the summer feels like you're on holiday even when you live 10 minutes away.
Matthew Burtwell

49. The Tamar Valley

The Tamar Valley is a national heritage site, and we think a visit there is a must - it's a true hidden gem.
Cornish Welcome Tours

50. Rame Head

Rame Head has theatre all of the time - weather, wildlife, sea and landscape, and all imaginable boating activity.
Matt Corner

51. Talland Bay

Don't just head for the North Cornish towns, explore South East Cornwall too. There are some great little towns and villages, including Talland Bay which was once a well-known landing spot for smugglers.
Talland Bay Beach Café

52. Zennor to St Just

The coast road from St Ives through Zennor down to St Just is one of the classic drives in the county. On a clear day it's Cornwall at its finest.
Bro Potter

53. Trelissick Gardens

I never tire of visiting Trelissick Gardens. Set on its own peninsula, the woodland walk there follows the river - and the changes by season are superb.
Ryan Watts

54. The Gannel Estuary

The Gannel Estuary in Newquay is a genuine hidden gem. Such a beautiful peaceful place in the centre of one of the south west's busiest tourist destinations, it's amazing the amount of people that don't know it's there!
Luke Berkeley

55. The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The best time of year to visit the Lost Gardens is in the late spring, when the gardens and woodlands come alive with colour and wildlife.
Peter McMurdie
Yes the Eden Project is interesting and beautiful but try their sister project, Heligan. It's just as stunning and there's far more room!
Lucinda Barton

56. Polzeath on the Rumps

I love anywhere on the coast, but Polzeath on the Rumps is a favourite.
Clare Davison
We love Polzeath for the amazing surf and excellent coastal walks.
Bro Potter

57. Trevose Head

At Trevose Head you get such an amazing view looking both north and south along the coast. Because of the height, the view looking inland is great as well.

58. Gyllyngvase and Gyllyngdune

It's easy to miss Gyllyngdune Gardens, what with it being right beside Gyllyngvase beach, but it's a real gem. Its rose garden, quarry garden and shell grotto are the perfect place to lose an hour or so.
Lally Macbeth

59. Trebah Gardens

Trebah Gardens has something different every time I go. It leads down to a beach on the Helford Rive and is just beautiful.
Clare Davison

60. Museum of Witchcraft

It's fairly well known, but even so, The Museum of Witchcraft is not something you would expect to find in quaint Boscastle. There are some fascinating exhibits if you enjoy a touch of magic!
Claire Hall

Walks and Trails

The Cornish countryside and coastline are made for exploring - and these trails are some of the best.

61. Rough Tor and Brown Willy

From Rough Tor you have a 360 degree panorama of Cornwall, even taking in distant Dartmoor and the sea on clear days.
Halla Genna
Bodmin Moor's two summits, Rough Tor and Brown Willy, provide a perfect mix of challenging walk with supreme views.
Rosita Bunce
Head to Bodmin Moor and climb Brown Willy (the highest point in Cornwall) - the views are fantastic and you can see for miles!
Bodmin Live

62. The Camel Trail

Running from Padstow to Bodmin, via Wadebridge, the Camel Trail is a spectacular route through Cornwall's pretty towns, tranquil woodland and, of course, the beautiful Camel Estuary.

Head for the Camel Trail and go either walking or cycling. It's largely traffic free, flat and a full 18 miles long - taking you through some beautiful stretches of the Cornish countryside.
Padstow Tourist Information Centre
The Camel Trail has everything that Cornwall has to offer on one route. The beach, great restaurants, lovely scenery and history.
Sam Lindo
The Camel Estuary - there's nowhere prettier on earth! You can walk or cycle along the Camel Trail to Bodmin, Wadebridge, Padstow or explore up to Wenfordbridge!
Bodmin Live

63. The Botallack Coastline

Walking the coastline between Botallack and Levant Geevor provides stunning views and fascinating industrial archaeology with every step. Whilst the coastal walking is fabulous, the hinterland is equally as beautiful and there's so much to discover.
Helen Venus

64. Millook Circular Walk

The Millook Circular is a fantastic walk, taking in rugged of Cornish Coastline, farmland, ancient woodland and wild flower meadows.
Visit Bude

65. The Saints Way

The signed footpath between Padstow and Fowey that takes you across the heart of the county. From the harsh wind ravished Atlantic North Coast to the green lush Channel Coast, a true journey of contrasts.
Mark Joce

66. Kilminorth Woods in Looe

Kilminorth Woods near my home in Looe, is a stunning place to walk through - and even better viewed while canoeing along the west Looe river. If you're lucky, you might even get to see a Kingfisher.
Peter McMurdie

67. The Hall Walk, Fowey

Looking back over the river to the town of Fowey and the ancient turrets of Place House, in summer, the river glints in the sunshine and the only traffic is the boats sailing out to sea.
Ruth Finlay

68. Great Flat Lode

I love walking on the Great Flat Lode. It's rugged and raw, and filled with history, as well as offering the best views in county if the clouds decide to part.
Lauren Williams

69. Trencrom Hill

For superb views, climb Trencrom Hill where you can see both coasts including St Ives bay and St Michaels Mount, as well as Carn Brea.
Chloe Ciliberto

70. Bissoe to Porthtowan

Ride the Bissoe cycle trail from Bissoe to Porthtowan and stop for a beer at the Blue Bar. Be sure to visit both the north and south coast - the difference is amazing!
David Thomas

71. Pentewan

Walk the trail at Pentewan near St Austell. You can follow along the river, through the woods and end up at a beautiful beach at the end. Out of the traditional tourism season it is so peaceful down there - it's where I go to clear my mind.
Stevie Couch

72. Climb Brea Hill at Rock

Wait for a crystal clear day and go and climb Brea Hill at Rock and relish the view across the Camel and out to sea.
Rupert Wilson

73. Portloe

I love walking with the dogs on the cliff tops at Portloe, followed by a well-earned pint at the Ship Inn.
Roger Ryman

74. Lerryn to St Winnow

The round walk from Lerryn to St Winnow around the Fowey estuary is simply stunning. Take your time and a picnic for pure escapism.
Matt Corner

Things to Try

There's so much more to Cornwall that the Eden Project and surfing! We've picked out some of the best ways to spend your time whist on holiday in Cornwall.

75. Paddle to a Secluded Cove

We love to paddle on surf boards around to a secluded beach and have a BBQ there, with the beach all to ourselves.
King Surf School

76. Go Surfing

Go surfing or bodyboarding. The water maybe cold but with good equipment you'll have more fun than you ever imagined.
A surf lesson is a must! It's the ultimate Cornish way to get active and with quality surf schools on almost every beach there's no excuse not to.
Julia Hughes
There are some great opportunities to surf in Cornwall, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro.
Paul Johnson

77. Go Mackerel Fishing

Take a mackerel fishing trip and eat your catch - prepare some ceviche and then cook the rest on the barbeque.

78. Go Beachcombing

St. Mary's is a great spot for beachcombing. Hunt for pottery, shells and treasure, and find your own piece of history!

79. Try Some Cornish Cider

Definitely try a glass - and if you're in town at the right time, visit the Cornwall Cider Festival - great fun guaranteed for all the family.
Cornwall Cider Festival

80. Test Your Photography Skills

The Cornish coastline is like nowhere else in the country and needs to be seen to be believed! Even the most amateur photographer can take a beautiful shot here!
Adele Wordsworth

81. Eat a Proper Cornish Pasty

Try a Pengenna pasty at least once in your life.
Martin Dorey
Try a proper Cornish pasty rather than a Ginsters, then relax, enjoy and do things "dreckly".
Michelle Harding
Everyone should taste a Cornish pasty from Malcolm Barnecutt's!
Sam Lindo

82. Go Dolphin Watching

Keen photographers might snap a dolphin from the coast at Kynance Cove.
Rosita Bunce
If you're lucky there will be a pod of dolphins in the bay at Gwynver Beach next to Sennen.
Helen Venus

83. Try Wild Swimming

Head to Port Gaverne for a spot of cliff jumping and wild swimming

84. Hire a Walking Guide

A walking guide will show you the best spots and be able to explain the historical and natural significance of this beautiful place.
Helen Venus

85. Tour in a Camper Van

A camper gives you freedom for adventure. Get outdoors and see new places!
Base Campers

86. Explore!

There's so much you can do within a short drive! There are beaches for every purpose, plenty of walking and leisure opportunities, amazing places to eat, and a superb community spirit within every town and village!
Bodmin Live

87. Go Foraging

Cornwall is abundant with nature and wild edibles a plenty, making it a great place for foodies and outdoor types. Why not choose a guide and learn some essential foraging skills and recipe tips?
Rachel Lambert

Not for Everyone?

Not everyone likes the same stuff, and your perfect holiday destination won't be the same as everyone else's.

So where in Cornwall isn't for everyone?

88. Newquay

Sorry Newquay, you've got superb surfing and terrific family beaches, but you're just too busy for some.

Arguably it's one of the most popular places to head to, and that's the issue. Some people told us that it just wasn't "Cornish enough."

That said, Towan Beach has quite the stunning backdrop!

Sadly Newquay has lost much its true Cornish character and gets too busy in summer.
Annette Eatock
Unless you're surfing or going to Boardmasters, Newquay hasn't got anything the rest of Cornwall doesn't have. Except 'Lifeguard' jumpers.
Tom Clark

89. Land's End

Land's End was chosen time and time again as somewhere people would skip. It's an iconic spot, but perhaps spoiled by tacky development?

Land's End would be a great attraction but is too tacky. They sell Chicago Town Pizza while you're watching some dinosaurs eating Wallace and Gromit! It's a shame, because Cornwall has a thriving culture and rich heritage.
St Ives Community TV

90. Padstow

Oh Padstow, you're another one that might have become too popular for your own good!

Padstow is over-rated. The fishing harbour, streets and quaint little shops can easily be found in Penzance, St Ives or elsewhere.
Stuart Panter
Padstow is so busy that no one goes there anymore. What are all those shops you find in duty free departures doing there?
Sam Lindo
Padstow in the middle of the summer is one to avoid. There are so many crowd-free spots to enjoy elsewhere.
Hayley Spurway

Your Comments

  • Martin 03/03/2016 12:23

    Cornwall, it's beautiful isn't it.

    My thanks to all of the local bloggers, brands and tourism experts that helped us put this visitor's guide together. It was fascinating to talk to you all about your favourite places in Cornwall, and it's brilliant that your feedback has produced such a variety of options - and uncovered some genuine hidden gems.

    Alongside France and Pembrokeshire, Cornwall was my family's summer holiday destination of choice as a child - as it is for so many Brits. My wife and I were regular visitors while living just across the Devon border in Plymouth for a number of years too.

    Kynance is certainly a favourite of ours, as is St Ives and tiny Mousehole just south of Penzance. There are several new suggestions here that we'll be trying out over the coming years though - and no doubt we'll continue to update the guide as other great ideas come in.

    To everyone reading, please do share your opinions and suggestions by posting a comment using the form below. There must be plenty of other gems still to uncover!

    • Eden Valley Holiday park 17/03/2016 15:55

      Brilliant website, covers a lot of Cornwall! A printed guide would be a very good idea for us to give to our customers.

  • Duncan 07/03/2016 00:02

    I was at Lands End in the year dot. I hadn't had anything to drink it was the middle of the day and I sat there watching the waves crash in and it was awesome!!!!
    • Hannah 14/03/2016 13:21

      I'm a fan of the Land's End coastline too. However, I can see that some people might have preferred it in a more natural state - without Shaun the Sheep or a 4D cinema!

      • Amanda 16/04/2016 05:36

        I think it's important to point out that the tackiness can be avoided. We always park at Sennen and walk the short distance to Land's End.

  • Shell Robshaw-Bryan 08/03/2016 12:12

    What a fabulous article. It's great seeing everyone's comments and tips. Living 'up north' makes Cornwall seem like such a long trek, and I've only managed it once, but I really do think it deserves another visit now, especially as I've got a decent camera now and fancy myself as a bit of a budding landscape photographer.

  • Alan Dowling 08/03/2016 19:09

    Notable for its absence is Charlestown where time seems to have stood still for 200 years.

    Recently made popular as one of the major locations for the current Poldark series, it has been a popular filming location for several decades.

    It is a place to see old sailing ships and granite houses that fit the 18th century setting of many period television programs.

    • Martin 14/03/2016 13:10

      You're right Alan - Charlestown should be on any Cornwall list really.

      • Andrea 25/05/2016 17:06

        Why isnt there many places on the east of Cornwall mentioned? I love Charlestown.. we went fishing off the end of the harbour and caught mackeral. had lovely meals in a couple of restaurants there too. plus the museum.

  • Base Campers 10/03/2016 12:54

    Wow what a great guide! (Esp #85 ;) We will be sharing this for all our happy campers to enjoy! It just shows how diverse and inspiring Cornwall is to so many people. Because of the outdoor nature of Cornwall, camping heightens the rugged Cornish experience.

  • Amy Smith 11/03/2016 11:45

    This is such a beautiful, honest and useful guide to Cornwall!

  • Charlie Snell 11/03/2016 15:13

    In Truro, get plenty of lovely Cornish food from the Cornish Food Box, shop and cafe. Great breakfast ingredients for campers!

  • Matthew Burtwell 14/03/2016 22:43

    Crantock should be on the list - a beautiful sandy beach with a stunning coastal walk around the headland to other beaches. Also has the lovely C-Bay cafe which is a must stop for lunch and a coffee.

    • Martin 15/03/2016 09:34

      I agree Matthew, Crantock is a lovely sandy beach - great for families with the rock pools and caves, and popular with surfers too.

      Of course, we'd already name-checked Porth Joke (aka Polly Joke - no facilities) just across the West Pentire headland - and Holywell Bay just past Kelsey Head beyond that.

      That stretch of the Cornish coastline is incredible!

  • Jo Coumbe 15/03/2016 10:38

    Newquay's turning around now, there are fewer stag and hen groups and the beaches are clean and beautiful - and in winter practically deserted! There are some lovely quieter spots around there too if you know where to look! ;)

    Another fave has got to be Prussia Cove in Rosudgeon. The coastal path meanders all the way to Praa Sands in one direction and St Michael's Mount in the other - true pirate country with hidden caves and deserted beaches. Paradise.

    • Martin 15/03/2016 10:59

      You're not the first to tell us that Newquay has started to turn things around, so maybe contributors have been a bit harsh. I haven't been for a few years myself now.

      I've not been to Prussia Cove at all, but it looks a gorgeous little hideaway. Definitely one to add it to our to-do list! Praa Sands (pronounced "pray" if you'd prefer to sound like a local!) is lovely too.

      Of course, both of these are on the lovely stretch of coastline between Marazion and Porthleven, so it's an area well worth exploring!

    • Andrew 17/03/2016 01:41

      Re 88 Newquay,

      This response is very true and valid. After much campaigning, (since 2009,) we now have fewer Stags&Hens. The ones that we do have are groups of 6/8 and no longer 30/40. Several Surf Lodges, (Doss/Bunk Houses,) have closed and also a few nightclubs. The past two summers have seen more of the "Bucket&Spade-Brigade", (Families,) back here again. As a 'Familly friendly' B&B we are now finally back to 2005 statistics. We hung in with our fingernails at times and are still charging 2005 prices to reward the families coming back. Let's make this a familly friendly fun destination. At the center of the North coast. Ideal for day-trips to evrywhere...!!! :-)

  • 15/03/2016 13:01

    I haven't been to Cornwall since I was a little girl. I have fond memories of the place though! I particularly remember my Mum taking me to some of the locations from Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca.

    • Hannah 15/03/2016 13:15

      Possibly Menabilly, Polridmouth Cove, and Polkerris, Nell?

  • Brigid Bell 15/03/2016 13:04

    Wonderful. Love the Cornwall pics and can't wait for Easter when we will be there again xx

  • Glyn Macey 15/03/2016 16:49

    Beach - Godrevy is my all time favourite beach, great rock pools, surf and sand, and all overlooking the best lighthouse in Cornwall. If you're looking for a Famous Five beach, Godrevy is the one.

    Towns - For me, Penzance is the most interesting Cornish town. Far more genuine and bohemian than it's glitzy, over crowded neighbour St Ives. Great eateries and individual shops can be found in every winding street.

    Hidden Gems - Prussia Cove, off the beaten track but worth every mile.

    Must See - The sunrise over St Michaels Mount from Newlyn. The bustle of Newlyn harbour as the fishermen prepare for the day to a backdrop of the silhouetted mount.

    Walks and Trails - Any footpath over the high West Cornwall moors is a joy to explore. Rare plants and precious wildlife abound.

    Things to try - Local craft brewers, Crown Brewery in Penzance make superb local ales.

    Places to avoid - In the Summer, St Ives can be hideously over crowded, over priced and over hyped.

  • Cliff Bennett 15/03/2016 20:01

    This has to be the best website I have ever seen on Cornwall, to say I am jealous would be an understatement, being what many may call an old fart it makes my pictures of Cornwall look old hat nowadays.

    Like many gutted that some places have missed out including Rame, Cornwalls Forgotton Corner which is were I live, so much to see there? No pictures of Whitsands Bay (my local beach!) either - the beach has won awards.

    Please look at my website nothing like this one but I do try. Again Rame is unspoilt and thankfully it will stay that way.

    All the best everyone, Cliff

    • Martin 16/03/2016 10:05

      You're far too kind Cliff, thank you!

      Whitsand Bay is actually a bit of an old favourite of mine. We spent a fair bit of time there while living in Plymouth - given that it's just a short hop across on the Torpoint ferry.

  • Baby Isabella 15/03/2016 22:28

    What a gorgeous selection of places to visit in Cornwall! We've never been....but we're going to make the effort to visit after reading this guide!

  • Nick 16/03/2016 10:08

    SO many good surfing spots, but on a summers day chilling at Kynance Cove on the Lizard is hard to beat.

  • Fi Cat 16/03/2016 11:25

    This is such a beautiful representation of this wonderful county. I appreciate it is intended to be in digital form but wondered about the changes of it made into a publication. I say this after wandering around the bookshops in St Ives and Truro and scanning the internet for something like this in hard copy form to send overseas to be told that there is nothing available and that these vendors would certainly welcome it as they thought it would be a good seller. Just a thought!

    • Martin 16/03/2016 11:45

      Thanks for your kind comments Fi. If anyone is interested in picking up on the idea of turning this into a printed "things to do" guide, please get in touch.

      Until then, by all means download the PDF ebook using the link above!

  • Shell Grayston 16/03/2016 13:44

    Every year we pack up the bodyboards and head to Sandymouth beach near Bude. The kids always ask to go to this beach as they love the surf. A trip into Bude is a must to get a Cornish pasty, hope to be back this year...

  • Luce 16/03/2016 19:41

    I think you'll find, it's the Isles of Scilly.

    • Martin 16/03/2016 19:53

      You're quite right of course Luce, but for some reason the wording we've used is the one more commonly searched for on Google. That's why we've gone that route. No offence intended!

      • Luce 17/03/2016 09:44

        In your view then Google is more important than the actual residents, history and land of the Isles of Scilly itself. #NotOn

      • Craig Weatherhill 17/03/2016 10:14

        Luce is correct, Martin. "Scilly" or "The Isles of Scilly" (Cornish: Syllan), but NEVER "The Scilly Isles". Google is incorrect and should have asked the locals! It might seem like hair-splitting but would anyone say "The Wight Isle?"

        • Martin 17/03/2016 10:43

          We hadn't appreciated the strength of feeling about this, sorry. I've corrected the wording we use now.

          Always happy to admit it when we're wrong, so thanks for educating us! :-)

          • Luce 17/03/2016 11:06

            It's wrong not because of any 'strength of feeling' but because it willfully disregards the cultural identity of the local population, their land, heritage and history. Full stop. Thanks for changing it.

  • steve 17/03/2016 22:46

    Thanks for your Cornwall guide. I live in Tasmania on the other side of the world from you but ill be there in June, how can I possibly fit all your must see places in? Looks amazing. Thanks

  • Coombe Mill 18/03/2016 12:02

    Some lovely places along the North coast. Polzeath is one of our favourite beaches through Tregardock is a hidden gem for families with older children (age 5 plus). the Camel Trail starts just one mile from us at Coombe Mill and Rough Tor is a lovely cycle ride or drive from us across the moor.

  • Lauren 20/03/2016 13:40

    Wow! What gorgeous photographs! Cornwall has long been on our list and now I remember why. So much to do and see, and loads to keep us outdoorsy types amused. Just need to narrow it down now, it all looks so awesome.

  • McEwan 23/03/2016 10:03

    Pentewan Sands, Falmouth and Porthlevin

  • margaret smith 23/03/2016 13:52

    Plan on visiting Cornwall in September.

    • Hannah 23/03/2016 13:57

      Where are you planning to stay/see Margaret? Have we given you any ideas?

  • CaroleBurns 24/03/2016 01:48

    Sorry, but also quietly glad that you don't have Trebarwith featured. We took our kids & now they take their kids, we still visit at least once a year. It used to be a secluded beach, just us most days but word got round & now many visit.

    Spend all day, between the tides, on the beach then up to the 'donut hatch' for a bag of freshly made donuts, a mug of chocolate & sit & watch the sea reclaim the beach & the rocks. If you're lucky you'll be rewarded with one of the best sunsets in Cornwall, heaven here on earth.

    • Martin 24/03/2016 09:47

      You've let the cat out of the bag now Carole! It's easily combined with a visit to Tintagel castle too of course.

  • Nick Howland 24/03/2016 13:45

    Cornwall is a county of hidden gems and great surprises. This website helps find some of these, a great source of information with beautiful photos.

    • Martin 16/03/2016 11:01

      We certainly enjoyed rooting through hundreds of Cornwall pictures while finding the artwork for all of the places to visit! There aren't many counties in the UK with more beautiful places to explore are there!
  • Lizzy Stroud 30/03/2016 18:32

    Portwrinkle beach has it all. Not as sandy as the coves of Whitsand bay, but it's got great places for rock-pooling, finding shells and the harbour beach is great for swimming as it's very sheltered.

    Kingsands and Cawsands are charming. Cawsands is an excellent wild swimming beach as it is very clean, sheltered and gets deep quickly. The Old Bakery Cafe in Cawsand does proper local apple juice and a bakewell tart to die for.

    St Germans is a charming ancient village on the river Lynher, with ancient Norman church, picturesque quay with the rail viaduct towering above it, and good rail connections for touring the rest of Cornwall.

    Foundry Square in Hayle has a great selection of independent shops, pasty makers and some fabulous places to eat.

    Trevethy Quoit on the foothills of Bodmin Moor is truly impressive and very little known. The area around Trevethy is excellent for exploring on a bicycle; a network of pretty lanes and open moorland.

    • Hannah 31/03/2016 09:24

      Wow Lizzy - these are some great suggestions for places to see, thank you!

  • Lindsey Richards 30/03/2016 18:57

    The Portreath area has such a lot to offer. The village is unpretentious and has a lovely sandy beach with parking conveniently close.. There is a plethora of walks and cycle trails in the area, from the mineral trails going from coast to coast or deep inland, beautiful coastal walks -(the walk for Portreath to Godrevy is stunning, and you are more than likely to see seals on the way) and the nearby Tehidy Country Park offers countless trails through the woods, or around the lake.

    Being less well known than places such as Padstow, St Ives and the like, prices tend to be more reasonable The Bassett Arms offers good pub food in convivial surroundings. (Thursday is steak night - delicious steaks, with all the trimmings, and a bottle of wine £25 for two people). Portreath is very accessible, being only 5 minutes drive from the main A30 and about 3 miles from the mainline station of Redruth, but not over crowded. It is a brilliant base for those who wish to explore further afield, as everywhere is so easy to get to.

    • Hannah 31/03/2016 09:27

      Yes, Portreath is on that superb stretch of coast between St Ives and Newquay again. Good tips, thanks!

  • Active Cornwall 04/04/2016 22:29

    A really informative and useful tourist guide for all those who love Cornwall. What better place to come on holiday where you can experience wonderful scenery, activities, independant shops and places to eat. My favourite is Looe!

  • Pete 06/04/2016 11:03

    You've actually missed out some of my favourite beaches. One is the unnamed beach near Frogmore, just west of Polruan and Lantic Bay, that the Guardian nicknamed Frog Prince Cove.

    Second is Pedn Vounder, just along from Porthcurno. How no one has mentioned that is quite beyond me!

    And finally Daymer Bay, on the River Camel Estuary.

    • Martin 06/04/2016 13:01

      Good suggestions Pete, thanks. Did you notice that we'd used a photo of Pedn Vounder for the Photography suggestion?

      Why 'Frog Prince Cove' I wonder?!

  • Lee Harvey 06/04/2016 17:32

    You can also try kitesurfing!

    West Cornwall is one of the best places in the world to kitesurf with Marazion on the south coast and Gwithian on the north being only 20 minutes apart. This means the wind always blows in the right direction to have maximum fun in the water.

  • John Marshall 11/04/2016 10:55

    A really great product with stunning photos and a good way to attract visitors who don't know where to go to see the best of Cornwall.

    I am disappointed to only see one photo of the lovely Tamar Valley which has so much to offer visitors - what about including Calstock, Cotehele Quay and the Shamrock, Kit Hill? Also a section on some of the lovely houses to visit such as Lanhydrock, Cotehele, Trerice, Caerhays, etc which are great for both adults and children and also ideal for those wet days that we occasionally get in Cornwall !!

    What about a section on where to cycle such as Lanhydrock, The Camel Trail, The Tamar Trails, Bodmin Moor etc.?

  • Ryazan 16/04/2016 20:51

    Fantastic place! The hometown of my husband's family. Nice coast and the Cornish pasties to die for! Would love to come back and see more of Cornwall soon!

  • Steve Dober 02/07/2016 17:44

    One of my favourite places to go in Cornwall is the waterfall at St Nectan's Glen. It's very peaceful and spiritual - and sooo photogenic. I go camping in Cornwall most years and that's one of my favourite beauty spots!

  • Fran Dayes 03/09/2016 12:35

    My choices for the most beautiful places in Cornwall are Kynance Cove and St Ives. Both are just breathtaking. We visited for the first time last month (it's a trek from up north!) and definitely wish we'd had longer.

  • Martin 04/09/2016 09:59

    Couldn't agree with you more Fran - they are two of my absolute favourites. Have you seen the opening scene of this video from VisitCornwall? It's just spectacular!

  • Lee-Ann 03/11/2016 10:35

    Wow amazing site... Living in Cornwall, each day I wake up near the ocean and walk along the gorgeous sandy beaches. Then a 5 minute stroll and I'm in the town enjoying a coffee... you guessed it... I'm in Falmouth.

  • Bowman Sailing Holidays 08/02/2017 17:24

    Sailing up the Helford or around St Mawes is unbeatable.

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