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The Best Places To Visit In Cornwall


Friday, 27 October 2023

The Best Places To Visit In Cornwall

Beautiful beaches, pretty little harbours, world-class visitor attractions…Cornwall really does have it all. Whether you’re looking for a family holiday, a romantic break or an action-packed adventure, you’ll find everything you need in Cornwall. However, with so much to do, how do you know where to start?

Here’s a whistlestop tour through Cornwall’s must-see places.

Mount’s Bay: Home of that Famous Island

The sweep of Mount’s Bay stretches from Lizard Point to Gwennap Head, taking in famous names like Penzance, Marazion and Porthleven. The Bay is dominated by St Michael’s Mount, the tidal island and castle that’s on everyone’s must-visit list. While you’re in the area, enjoy a stroll around pretty Mousehole and a swim in Penzance’s Art Deco lido, Jubilee Pool. There’s also a great choice of beaches in Mount’s Bay and an active wild swimming community.

West Penwith: Wild and Dramatic

The coast west of Penzance is simply breathtaking. From the tin mine-scarred cliffs around St Just to the sandy sweep of Sennen Beach, this is wild Cornish beauty at its best. Explore the moors around Zennor and the mining heritage coast, pausing when you find a cove for a pitstop and a dip. Must-visit places in the wild west include the incredible Minack Theatre, Cape Cornwall and (to say you’ve been there) Land’s End.

St Ives: Art and Beaches

Artists have been attracted to St Ives for generations, drawn by its beautifully clear light and vibrant natural palette. Today’s art lovers come here for Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and are also rewarded with world-class beaches and a bustling town centre. Head east to Mediterranean-esque Carbis Bay and from there to Hayle, with its three miles of golden sands.

St Agnes: Tin Mines and Beaches

St Agnes is situated on a breathtaking stretch of coastline, popular with families, walkers and surfers. Aggie itself is a pretty place, with a vibrant community and some great spots to find food. Head for the cliffs outside the village to catch the old mine ruins silhouetted against the sunset. You’re also just ten miles from Cornwall’s only city, Truro. Come here for the Hall For Cornwall theatre, cinema, shops and restaurants.

Newquay: Sea, Surf and Nightlife

Newquay really does have something for everyone; and although it’s replacing its famous nightclubs with more upscale restaurants, it’s still the place to go for a lively night out. For families, there’s the fantastic Newquay Zoo and Blue Reef Aquarium along with a choice of sandy beaches. If you’re a surfer, a trip to Newquay, especially Fistral Beach, is practically a pilgrimage.

The Lizard: Stunning Scenery

The Lizard is such a pretty part of Cornwall. It has lovely little villages like Cadgwith, Coverack and Mullion, as well as stunning beaches like Kynance Cove. Walk along the coast path to Lizard Point and its lighthouse, remembering to call in at Ann’s Pasties on your way back. Don’t neglect Helston, the gateway town to the Lizard, which has some lovely old streets and fascinating traces of its mining heritage.

Falmouth: Maritime History

The large working harbour and university give Falmouth a busy and rather cosmopolitan feel. Explore the old streets in the town centre before walking up to the viewpoint of Pendennis Point with its Tudor fortress (managed by English Heritage). Learn more about Cornwall’s relationship with the sea at the brilliant National Maritime Museum Cornwall, then delve into the town’s longstanding arty side at Falmouth Art Gallery.

Padstow: Seafood Central

Famous chef Rick Stein chose Padstow for its wonderful seafood. This pretty harbour town is now home to a range of restaurants, bars and pubs, so if you love food, this is the place to come. If you can tear yourself away from your table, explore Padstow’s lovely coastline, catch the Black Tor ferry to Rock and coo over baby lobsters at the National Lobster Hatchery (surprisingly cute).

Port Isaac: The Real Port Wenn

Fans of ITV’s Doc Martin will immediately recognise Port Isaac, which plays the fictional town of Port Wenn. Port Isaac is also famous as the home of the Fisherman’s Friends sea shanty group (now there’s a story). Meander among the narrow streets, enjoying the lively atmosphere, before escaping the bustle at nearby Port Quin, a secluded rocky inlet along the coast. You’re also a short drive from the magnificent ruins of Tintagel Castle, legendary birthplace of King Arthur.

Bodmin: Full of Cornish History

Brooding moors dotted with prehistoric monuments and a town dominated by the old keep and jail: Bodmin doers have rather a Gothic edge. However, it’s also home to plenty of cheerful places to eat, drink and shop, a fabulous heritage railway, and some of the county’s loveliest woodlands. Don’t miss Bodmin Jail and splendid Lanhydrock House (National Trust).

St Austell: From Clay Pits to Eden

St Austell is best-known for the Eden Project and this world-famous attraction is definitely worth a day of anyone’s Cornish holiday. Try to also visit Eden’s sister attraction, the romantic Lost Gardens of Heligan, as well as the Eden team’s latest venture, the Shipwreck Treasure Museum at nearby Charleston. Other St Austell highlights include Wheal Martyn Clay Works, the coast path to Mevagissey and the hub of the town’s best-loved export, St Austell Brewery.

Bude: Seaside Fun

Bude is the perfect place for a proper seaside holiday. Its sandy beaches are beautiful and Bude Sea Pool is just the place for a sheltered dip. Bude’s Atlantic coast also makes it a popular spot for surfing. Never tried it? Bude’s a good place to learn. If you’d rather admire the sea than immerse yourself in it, the coastal walking around Bude is among some of the best in Cornwall.

Fowey: Yachts and Books

Yes, Fowey is rather high-end for a Cornish harbour town, but we love it for that. It has a fabulous range of independent shops, galleries and restaurants in a beautiful waterside setting, where life revolves around the river. Catch a boat across the estuary to explore more of the lush countryside in this part of Cornwall. If you can, book your Cornish holiday cottage well in advance to join in with the famous Fowey Royal Regatta or Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature.

Launceston: Cornwall’s Ancient Capital

This welcoming medieval town makes a great base to explore the north end of Cornwall and it’s also a short trip across the Tamar to Plymouth and Dartmoor National Park in Devon (sssh!). Launceston Castle is a must-visit site and the views from the top of the tower are stunning. If you love pootling around independent shops, Launceston has plenty to choose from.

Find your Perfect Cornwall Holiday Cottage

Here at Handpicked Cottages, we have luxurious holiday cottages across Cornwall. Wherever you stay, you’re guaranteed to be close to Cornwall’s stunning beaches and fantastic visitor attractions.

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