AboutBritain.com Logo

Things to do in Cornwall


Cornwall is England's most south western county, with a mild climate, the sea on three sides and nearly 300 miles of coastline (the largest in England) - it is no surprise that Cornwall attracts visitors all year round.

Wherever you choose to be in Cornwall, you are never far from the sea and a variety of beaches, breathtaking coastal walks, sheltered coves, high cliffs and steep valleys.

Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com.There are many interesting old towns, fishing villages with working harbours, historic buildings, delightful gardens and local festivals to enjoy.

Popular towns East of the county are Fowey, Liskard and Looe. Cornwall is almost an island, as the River Tamar flows along all but five miles of the border to Devon. At Saltash, Brunel's railway bridge (built 1859), and the road bridge opened in 1962 provide the main gateway to the south east coast of Cornwall. Inland east Cornwall is thickly wooded with country lanes, small market towns and tucked away villages.

Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com. In the 19th century the Tamar valley was one of the richest copper-mining centres in Europe, and some of Cornwall's finest houses can be found in the area. The historic fishing villages along the coast are a delight, many still with working harbours and each with its own unique character. Eastern Cornwall has several literary associations, among those are Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch who lived in Fowey and Daphne du Maurier, who set a number of her novels in the area.

Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com. Along the 60 miles of the Atlantic Heritage Coast is some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the county. Walkers can explore the coastline and its variety of wildlife, by following the South West Coast Path. Or take a trip along the old railway line, known as the Camel Trail, an 18 mile cycle and footpath running along the river Camel. Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com. There are safe sandy beaches, many suitable for surfing.

North Cornwall is famously associated with the myths and legends of King Arthur and Camelot. Inland lies Bodmin Moor, with high granite hillsides and moor land, and on the gentler side are green fields, rolling hills, woods and hedgerows.

Cornwall Tourist Information centres are located in the south west at St. Agnes, St. Ives and Penzance. The Penwith Peninsula is an area for outdoor activities, with fine beaches and a sub tropical climate. The area is rich in prehistoric remains, near Penzance there are ruins of mining settlements over 2000 years old. The peninsula was home of the arts and crafts community, which began in St. Ives in the 1920s, and is still home to many galleries and potteries.Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com.

Visit the island castle of St. Michael's Mount in Mounts Bay. At Porthcurno, the romantic Minack Theatre situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, stages open air performances. At the end of the Penwith Peninsula are the famous granite rocks known as Lands End, England's western point.

The Lizard, England's southernmost point is situated on a majestic coast, with soaring cliffs and pinnacles of rock stretching down to Lizard Point, famously associated with shipwrecks. Along the coast there are beaches and coves suitable for water sports. Inland lies the Goonhilly Downs, home to the satellite communications station. Picture courtesy of www.britainonview.com.Helston is famous for its annual spring festival.

On the Cornish Riviera, you'll find the towns of Falmouth, Mevagissey, St. Just, St. Mawes and Truro. This sheltered area, known as the Cornish Riviera, enjoys a sub-tropical climate where palm trees and tropical flowers flourish. This is an area of picturesque historic villages, breathtaking gardens, sandy beaches, country parks and fishing villages and yachting resorts, which retain their quintessential Cornish character.

Days out in Cornwall

  • Antony
    Beautifully situated overlooking the River Lynher, this elegant stately home and estate has been the home of the Carew family for over 600 years. Recently used for the filming of "Alice in Wonderland".
  • Bosvigo
    Beautiful gardens with rare and unusual plants and a small, specialist nursery.
  • Caerhays Castle Gardens
    New plants are being tried out all the time at Caerhays which has now been designated as holders of a National Collection of Magnolias by the NCCPG.
    Caerhays Castle Gardens
  • Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps
    The National Trust is best known for its grand stately homes and estates, but it also manages 709 miles of coastline and 254,000 hectares (627,000 acres) of English countryside.
    Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps
  • Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre
    The Centre tells the history of diving, salvage and shipwrecks from the earliest times to the present day. It also reveals what life was like in the Georgian village and seaport of Charlestown.
    Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre
  • Chysauster Ancient Village
    Chysauster Ancient Village offers a glimpse into the life of Celtic Cornwall. The Original inhabitants of this ancient settlement occupied the site almost 2,000 years ago.
    Chysauster Ancient Village
  • Cotehele House
    Cotehele House has been owned by the Edgcumbe family for over 600 years and is a well-preserved Tudor Manor House which even today does not have electric lighting.
    Cotehele House
  • Eden Project
    This Living Theatre of Plants and People is a vibrant reminder of our place in nature and is a living demonstration of regeneration.
    Eden Project
  • Glendurgan Gardens
    Glendurgan Gardens is one of the great sub-tropical gardens which can be found scattered throughout the mild South West of England.
    Glendurgan Gardens
  • Godolphin
    For those who would like to see the practical side of the National Trust, a visit during the restoration of the Godolphin property near Helston is the ideal opportunity to do so.
  • Lamorran House Gardens
    The gardens at Lamorran House are situated on the Roseland Peninsula with extensive views of St Anthony's Head and the lighthouse. The gardens enjoy a favoured microclimate in an already favoured area.
    Lamorran House Gardens
  • Lanhydrock House
    Lanhydrock House is cleverly laid out as if the family has just stepped out. Buckets are lined up in the housemaids' closets, black boots stand polished by the bed and tobacco pipes lie waiting.
    Lanhydrock House
  • Launceston Castle
    Fantastic views are on offer from the motte of this imposing Norman castle.
    Launceston Castle
  • Launceston Steam Railway
    The Launceston Steam Railway links the historic town with the hamlet of Newmills. Travelling through glorious countryside your train is hauled by veteran locomotives built in Victoria's reign.
    Launceston Steam Railway
  • Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park
    Created in 1971, the park covers over 800 acres and is owned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Councils. Mount Edgcumbe has been famous since the 18th Century for its landscape and gardens.
    Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park
  • National Seal Sanctuary
    Discover the Sanctuary's vital seal rescue work, with more than 40 abandoned pups cared for by the dedicated team of experts in our fully-equipped hospital and spacious outdoor rehabilitation pools.
    National Seal Sanctuary
  • Newquay Zoo
    Get closer to over 130 species at award winning Newquay Zoo! See the penguins relaxing in their pool, visit the creepiest crawlies in the atmospheric tropical house, watch the big cats get their lunch and learn more about conservation.
    Newquay Zoo
  • Old Mill Herbary
    The Old Mill Herbary is located in an idyllic valley setting, with about 5 acres of semi-wild terraced gardens on a steep south-facing bank.
    Old Mill Herbary
  • Pencarrow
    Pencarrow is a private house still owned and lived in by the Molesworth-St.Aubyn family. The present house was built during the 1760's.
  • Pendennis Castle
    Discover Cornwall's greatest fortress, journey through 450 years of history from Tudor times to World War II and discover the wartime secrets of Pendennis Castle.
    Pendennis Castle
  • Penjerrick Garden
    Penjerrick is an uncommercialised 10-acre garden created by the 19th century Fox family.
    Penjerrick Garden
  • Penrhyn Castle
    Built for the wealthy Pennant family on the profits of Welsh slate and Jamaican sugar, Penrhyn Castle is an extravagant example of early 19th century neo-Norman architecture.
    Penrhyn Castle
  • Pinetum Park & Pine Lodge Gardens.
    Growing the largest collection of plants in any garden in the south west.
    Pinetum Park & Pine Lodge Gardens.
  • Restormel Castle
    Restormel Castle was once the romantic stronghold of Edward, the Black Prince. Set high on a motted mound, this splendid castle ruin is one of the former strongholds of the Dukes of Cornwall.
    Restormel Castle
  • Royal Cornwall Museum
    The Royal Cornwall Museum (which also houses the Courtney Library: Cornish History Research Centre) is a wonderful place to find out about Cornwall, its history and its cultural heritage.
    Royal Cornwall Museum
  • St Mawes Castle
    St Mawes is in lovely grounds with a breathtaking setting. It is the most picturesque of Heny VIII's costal fortresses.
    St Mawes Castle
  • St Michael's Mount
    The priory and castle of St Michael's Mount is one of Cornwall's most notable landmarks.
    St Michael's Mount
  • The Flambards Experience
    The Flambards Experience is more than just a Theme Park and has intrigued, entertained and thrilled thirteen million visitors over 35 seasons.
    The Flambards Experience
  • The Lizard and Kynance Cove
    Although most people think of Land's End as being the "end" of the British Isles, nearby Lizard Point is actually the most southerly point in Britain.
    The Lizard and Kynance Cove
  • Tintagel Castle
    In all seasons, Tintagel is truly a magical place. With its spectacular location on Cornwall's most dramatic Atlantic coastline, Tintagel is a place of myths and magic, where the legend of King Arthur was born.
    Tintagel Castle
  • Tintagel Toy Museum
    Cornwalls only Toy Museum where you can view three generations of childhood toys.
    Tintagel Toy Museum
  • Trebah Garden
    Trebah is a uniquely beautiful, 26 acre Cornish ravine garden - the wild and magical result of 160 years of inspired and dedicated creation.
    Trebah Garden
  • Trelissick Garden
    Whether you are visiting Trelissick Garden to see the fantastic collection of plants which thrive in the Cornish climate, or for the splendid harbour views which can be enjoyed.
    Trelissick Garden
  • Trengwainton Garden
    Occupying a sheltered south-facing position at the westernmost toe of Cornwall, Trengwainton Garden has views of Mounts Bay, easily identified by the rocky St Michaels Mount just offshore.
    Trengwainton Garden
  • Trerice
    Visitors will discover the unexpected gem of Trerice hidden behind typical North Cornwall lanes with high hedges covered in wild flowers.
  • Trewithen House, Gardens and Nurseries
    The outstanding Trewithin Gardens, created over a hundred years ago, are internationally famous.
    Trewithen House, Gardens and Nurseries
  • Wayside Folk Museum
    Cornwall's oldest private museum, the collection has over 5,000 items in 16 display areas and includes an extensive collection of photographs and information on people who have lived in the area.
    Wayside Folk Museum
  • Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park
    Wheal Martyn offers a great day out for everyone, set within 26 acres in the heart of Cornwall on the site of two former clay pits, the picturesque site includes nature trails, woodland walks and is home to the UK's only china clay heritage centre.
    Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park

Places to Visit in Cornwall

  • Bodmin
    Bodmin is situated on the western edge of Bodmin Moor, the county town of Cornwall for a century and a half, and mentioned in the Domesday Book. Bodmin is a busy market town, whose history goes back as far as the sixth century.
  • Boscastle
    Boscastle is an entrancing beauty spot, lying between the rivers Jordan and Valency. The riverfront is bordered by pretty thatched and lime-washed houses giving on to the north coast harbour, with its 16th century quay.
  • Bude
    Bude was once notorious for its shipwrecks, between 1824 and1674 more than 80 ships were wrecked on this coast. Today however Bude is best known as a seaside resort with fine sandy beaches, rock pools and tidal swimming pool.
  • Cadgwith
    Cadgwith is a picturesque fishing village nestling on Cornwall's south coast near the Lizard peninsular (England's most southerly point.) It is loved by locals and tourists alike for it's peace, tranquillity and timelessness.
  • Callington
    Callington is a market town nestling between the Tamar and Lynher rivers. The mural project on the walls of the town's buildings displays the area's heritage, landscape and industry.
  • Camborne
    Camborne was once at the heart of the former copper and tin mining industry in Western Cornwall. Today Camborne is a busy town best known for its famous School of Metalliferous Mining, one of the most respected in the world.
  • Camelford
    The historic town of Camelford, is situated between the Atlantic coast and Bodmin moor. The ancient Slaughter Bridge is the legendary site of King Arthur's last battle.
  • Charlestown
    Charlstown is the familiar TV location for Poldark and The Onedin Line. The village was built in 1801 for the import of coal and export of China Clay; it remains an unspoilt port and retains its Georgian character.
  • Coverack
    Coverack is a tiny fishing village with its single, curved harbour wall, built in the early 1700's and now sheltering a couple of dozen small fishing and pleasure craft.
  • Dobwalls
    Dobwalls is a small village three miles west of the market town of Liskeard in south east Cornwall.
  • Duloe
    Duloe is a small village about halfway between Liskeard and Looe. Perhaps its most interesting feature is in a field just across the road from the parish church of St. Cuby, a 5th century Cornish saint.
  • Falmouth
    Falmouth is the leading south coast resort, and has the third largest natural harbour in the world. The setting is superb, with four bathing beaches and a bustling waterfront marina.
  • Fowey
    Fowey (pronounced 'Foy') is a historic seafaring town, with a network of narrow streets climbing up the hills. Once home of the 'Fowey Gallants' the fierce Fowey seamen who raided the coast of France during the Hundred-Year War.
  • Helston
    Helston is the 'quaint old Cornish town' of the Furry Dance, which is held each year, on Flora Day the 8th May. Dancers in costume, dance through the decorated streets, gardens and shops.
  • Ladock
    Ladock is a small, unspolied and charming village in the very centre of Cornwall. It has an outstanding pub, several excellent guesthouses and a superb group accommodation at Woodland Valley Farm.
  • Launceston
    Launceston was the capital of Cornwall until 1838. Situated in the north east of the county, built on a hill and dominated by the ruins of a Norman keep. This is thought to have been the inspiration for Chateau Terrible, in Malory's Morte d' Arthur.
  • Lerryn
    Lerryn is a place that one almost wants to keep secret so that it does not become a popular destination. A beautiful and unspoilt village in a steep sided valley, it lies at the tidal head of a tributary to the River Fowey.
  • Liskeard
    Liskeard is a busy market town on a hill, once linked by canal to Looe. The part Norman Church of St. Martin is the second largest in Cornwall.
  • Lizard
    This is England's most southerly point but it's less commercialised than Lands End. Whether visited on a bright, spring or summer day or in a mid winter mist there's an appealing quality of remoteness about the town.
  • Looe
    East and West Looe are joined by a Victorian seven-arched bridge, a holiday resort of character, with several beaches, a bustling quayside with a unique Banjo Pier. Looe offers good bathing, yachting, river and sea trips and is a shark fishing.
  • Lostwithiel
    Lostwithiel is today a quiet, charming market town, which was the capital of the Duchy of Cornwall in the 13th century.
  • Luxulyan
    The village of Luxulyan like so many in the West Country is often referred to as a "churchtown" in that it consists of houses clustered around the 15th century parish church.
  • Marazion
    Marazion is Cornwall's oldest charter town, it has a cluster of cottages set among winding streets and palm trees, which overlooks Mounts Bay.
  • Mevagissey
    Mevagissey is the largest working fishing port in St. Austell Bay. Cob cottages spill down to the harbour walls from the steep valley a picturesque village and one of Cornwall's most popular tourist resorts.
  • Millbrook
    Sitting in a valley between Whitsand Bay and Kingsand/Cawsand, Millbrook is a historic part of South East Cornwall.
  • Mousehole
    Moushole (pronounced 'Mouzle') the name is thought to derive from a smuggler's cave south of the village. The village was once a major pilchard landing port and retains considerable character.
  • Newlyn
    Newlyn is the largest fishing port in England and Wales and lies south of Penzance. The colony of artists who gathered to paint in Newlyn, became known as The Newlyn School.
  • Newquay
    Newquay is Cornwall's most popular and liveliest resort, with magnificent beaches and a major centre for surfing. Climbing up behind the beaches are high cliffs with exciting caves, the best is at Porth Island, Newquay's original settlement.
  • Padstow
    Padstow is built on a hillside overlooking the Camel Estuary. Padstow was once considered the ecclesiastical capital of Cornwall, from the time St. Petroc arrived here from Ireland in the 6th century, and founded a monastery.
  • Penzance
    Penzance is situated at the northwest corner of mount's Bay facing St. Michael's Mount. Penzance is a bustling town and harbour and has Cornwall's only promenade; the climate here is so mild that palm trees and tropical plants thrive.
  • Perranporth
    Perranporth was a tin mining village in the 19th century; it is now a family resort with a 3-mile long beach, a popular place for surfing and sand yachting. Perranporth also has a golf course and boating lake and there are fine cliff walks.
  • Polperro
    Polperro is a showpiece harbour village. Picturesque and tightly packed cottages tumble down to fish quay on the inner harbour, once packed with pilchard luggers.
  • Polzeath
    Polzeath could be called Betjeman country; Polzeath was a favourite place of the poet the late Sir John Betjeman and extolled in his verse. The poet is buried at the Church of St. Enodoc on the sand dunes.
  • Port Isaac
    Port Isaac has been a fishing port since the Middle Ages. Cottages line the steep narrow twisting streets and geranium filled alleys ('drangs') which run down to the harbour.
    Port Isaac
  • Porthallow
    Porthallow, situated on the south coast near the Helford river and Helston is a small village with a nice pub, a café and a few shops.
  • Porthcurno
    The name Porthcurno, means 'Port Cornwall'. Porthcurno has an exquisite beach strewn with tiny white shells.
  • Porthleven
    Porthleven is a holiday centre and working fishing harbour, with storm booms, a granite pier and small beach. There are waterfront inns, restaurants, and fish centre, galleries and craft shops.
  • Redruth
    Redruth's architecture bears testament to its rich mining history, celebrated each June with Murdoch Day festival. The town centre has a cinema and range of shops.
  • St. Agnes
    The charming village of St. Agnes lies inland north of Truro. A mining village retaining links with its industrial past. Famous for the row of Stippy Stappy sea captain's cottages and surrounded by mine engine houses.
    St. Agnes
  • St. Austell
    St. Austell is a bustling market town, situated at the centre of the Cornish china-clay industry. With the opening of the pits to mine the clay, St. Austel's population and prosperity soon began to grow.
    St. Austell
  • St. Eval
    We have just received a description of St. Eval from one of our readers. This description is currently being prepared for publication and will appear on this page within the next few days.
    St. Eval
  • St. Ives
    St. Ives is magnificently situated, overlooking a spectacular crescent of beaches. St Ives grew up around a small chapel built by St. Ia in the sixth century. The productive waters around St. Ives made it an important fishing port.
    St. Ives
  • St. Just in Penwith
    St. Just in Penwith is the mainland's most westerly town, situated next to Cape Cornwall. The town was once a centre for tin and copper mining, and is rich in antiquities.
  • St. Just in Roseland
    St. Just In Roseland has an exquisite 13th century Church set above the tidal creek of the Percuil River. The beautiful Churchyard, which slopes down steeply from the road, is luxuriantly planted like a sub-tropical garden.
    St. Just in Roseland
  • St. Mawes
    St. Mawes is a fashionable yachting resort beautifully situated, it lies in a sheltered spot on the Roseland Peninsula overlooking Falmouth. The lovely houses, some of them thatched, that lie along the waterfront look east to the bay.
    St. Mawes
  • St. Minver
    St Minver is a tiny parish and village on the Camel river estuary in North Cornwall.
    St. Minver
  • Tintagel
    Tintagel, is the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. An Iron Age castle and settlement preceded the 13th century castle whose ruins can still be seen.
  • Truro
    Truro is Cornwall's commercial and administrative centre. Truro became fashionable during the 1800's with rich merchants whose wealth came from tin mining, at the same time it was the hub of county society.
  • Tywardreath
    Tywardreath is in mid Cornwall on the south coast, not far from St Austell and 3 miles south of Fowey. It has magnificent footpaths along the coast and is only a five minute walk from the beach at Par. The city of Truro is 12 miles to the
  • Veryan
    Veryan is best known for the five 19th century round thatched houses, each with a cross on top; they stand two at either end of the village and one in the centre.
  • Zennor
    Zennor is an enchanting moorland village west of St Ives. The twelfth century church has the famed bench end carving of 'the mermaid of Zennor'.

Copyright © 1999-2024 Excelsior Information Systems Ltd. All rights reserved.
About Us  Press Room  Terms of Use  Privacy  Link to Us  Index  Site Map  Contact Us

Made with Responsive Grid System by Graham Miller