15 Best Things To Do In Cornwall, England

15 Best Things To Do In Cornwall, England

By will

Cornwall, England is a hidden gem that offers a plethora of activities and attractions for every type of traveler.

From stunning beaches and ancient castles to charming villages and traditional Cornish culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this picturesque region.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to hike the South West Coast Path or a thrill-seeker ready to catch some waves in Newquay, Cornwall has it all.

As you explore Cornwall’s stunning beaches, you’ll be captivated by the crystal-clear waters and golden sands that stretch as far as the eye can see.

From the famous St. Ives Bay to the lesser-known Kynance Cove, each beach offers its own unique charm and beauty.

If history is more your style, you’ll be delighted by the ancient castles and historic sites that dot the landscape.

From the imposing Tintagel Castle, said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, to the well-preserved ruins of St. Michael’s Mount, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring sites to explore.

So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Cornwall, England!

Exploring Cornwall’s Stunning Beaches

Fistral Beach
Photo by Derek Harper

You’ll be mesmerized by Cornwall’s stunning beaches, with their golden sands and crystal-clear waters, calling you to dive in and explore their hidden coves and majestic cliffs.

As you walk along the shoreline, you’ll feel the soft sand beneath your toes and the cool breeze on your face, creating a sense of tranquility and peace.

The beaches in Cornwall offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax and soak up the sun or an adventurous day of surfing and water sports.

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall is Fistral Beach, known for its world-class waves and vibrant surf culture. Surrounded by rugged cliffs, Fistral Beach is a haven for surfers and beach lovers alike.

You can watch the skilled surfers ride the waves or take a surf lesson yourself and experience the thrill of catching a wave.

If you prefer a more secluded beach, head to Kynance Cove, a hidden gem with turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs. This picturesque beach is perfect for a romantic picnic or a peaceful stroll along the shoreline.

Cornwall’s beaches are truly a sight to behold, offering natural beauty and endless opportunities for adventure.

Discovering Ancient Castles and Historic Sites

Tintagel Castle
Photo by Lynda Poulter

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Cornwall by exploring its ancient castles and historic sites. Cornwall is home to a wealth of fascinating landmarks that offer a glimpse into the past.

One such site is Tintagel Castle, known for its association with the legendary King Arthur. Perched on a dramatic cliffside, this medieval castle offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. As you wander through its ruins, you can almost feel the echoes of history whispering through the air. From the Great Hall to the ancient chapel, every corner of Tintagel Castle tells a story of its own.

Another must-visit historic site in Cornwall is St. Michael’s Mount. Situated on a small island just off the coast, this castle and monastery have been standing for centuries. Accessible by a causeway at low tide, this enchanting site boasts stunning gardens, a medieval church, and even a village with charming houses. As you stroll along the cobblestone paths and explore the castle’s rooms, you can’t help but be captivated by the sense of history that surrounds you. From the grandeur of the castle to the tranquil beauty of the gardens, St. Michael’s Mount is a true treasure of Cornwall’s past.

In Cornwall, ancient castles and historic sites are waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of old architecture, these landmarks offer a truly immersive experience.

So, grab your walking shoes and embark on a journey through time as you uncover the secrets of Cornwall’s past.

Charming Villages and Traditional Cornish Culture

Port Isaac : Harbour and Village Scene
Photo by Lewis Clarke

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Cornwall, the charming villages and traditional Cornish culture transport you to a world where time seems to stand still.

As I wandered through the narrow streets of these quaint villages, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. Each village had its own unique charm, with colorful cottages, bustling local shops, and friendly locals who greeted me with warm smiles.

One of my favorite villages was Port Isaac, a small fishing village that exudes an old-world charm. As I strolled along the harbor, I watched the fishing boats bobbing in the water and listened to the seagulls overhead. The village seemed frozen in time, with its narrow alleys and whitewashed houses. I couldn’t resist stopping at one of the local cafes to indulge in a traditional Cornish pasty, a savory pastry filled with meat and vegetables. It was the perfect way to immerse myself in the local culture and taste the flavors of Cornwall.

Another village that captured my heart was St. Ives, with its vibrant art scene and stunning beaches. As I wandered through the cobbled streets, I was captivated by the colorful art galleries that lined the alleys. The village has been a haven for artists for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. The natural beauty of the surrounding coastline, with its golden sandy beaches and turquoise waters, provides endless inspiration.

I spent hours exploring the art galleries and admiring the works of local artists, before taking a leisurely stroll along the beach and enjoying the breathtaking views.

In Cornwall’s charming villages, time seems to slow down and you can truly immerse yourself in the traditional Cornish culture. Whether it’s indulging in local delicacies, exploring art galleries, or simply soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings, these villages offer a truly unique and enchanting experience.

Hiking the South West Coast Path

Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as you hike along the breathtaking South West Coast Path, where rugged cliffs meet the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

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This iconic trail stretches for 630 miles, making it the longest waymarked footpath in England.

As you set foot on the path, you’ll be greeted by stunning panoramic views of the Cornish coastline, with its dramatic cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and picturesque fishing villages.

The South West Coast Path offers a diverse range of landscapes, from wild and rugged sections to gentle and serene stretches, ensuring that every step you take is filled with awe-inspiring beauty.

One of the highlights of hiking the South West Coast Path is the opportunity to discover hidden gems along the way.

From secluded coves to ancient ruins, there are countless treasures waiting to be uncovered.

As you traverse the path, you’ll encounter charming fishing villages like Polperro and Mousehole, where you can indulge in fresh seafood and immerse yourself in the traditional Cornish culture.

You’ll also come across historic landmarks such as St Michael’s Mount, a stunning island castle that can be reached by a causeway at low tide.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the South West Coast Path offers something for everyone, providing an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

So lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh sea air, and get ready to be captivated by the natural beauty of Cornwall’s South West Coast Path.

Surfing in Newquay’s Famous Waves

Surfing in Newquay’s famous waves will give you an exhilarating experience that will leave you craving for more. As soon as you hit the water, you can feel the power of the waves beneath your board.

The adrenaline rushes through your veins as you paddle out to catch the perfect wave. The cool ocean breeze on your face and the sound of crashing waves create an atmosphere that is both invigorating and soothing.

Newquay is known as the surf capital of England for a reason. It offers some of the best waves in the country, attracting surfers from all over the world. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are waves suitable for every level.

The consistent swell and the variety of breaks make Newquay a surfer’s paradise. And if you’re new to surfing, don’t worry! There are plenty of surf schools and experienced instructors who can guide you through the basics and help you catch your first wave.

So grab your board and get ready for an unforgettable experience in Newquay. Whether you’re looking to improve your skills, catch some epic waves, or simply enjoy the thrill of riding the ocean, surfing in Newquay will not disappoint.

Get ready to carve through the waves and immerse yourself in the vibrant surf culture of this beautiful coastal town.

Kayaking Adventures in Secret Coves

Take a break from the waves and explore the hidden gems of Newquay’s coastline by embarking on thrilling kayaking adventures in its secret coves.

As an avid kayaker, I can assure you that this is an experience you don’t want to miss. The rugged cliffs and crystal-clear waters make Newquay the perfect destination for kayaking enthusiasts of all levels.

Imagine paddling through narrow caves and winding through secluded coves, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. The calmness of the water allows you to fully immerse yourself in the serenity of the surroundings, giving you a unique perspective of Cornwall’s stunning coastline.

You might even encounter curious seals or playful dolphins along the way, adding an extra touch of magic to your adventure.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there are plenty of options available for you to enjoy. Local tour operators offer guided trips that cater to all skill levels, providing you with the necessary equipment and expertise to navigate the coastline safely.

So grab a paddle and get ready to embark on an unforgettable kayaking journey through the secret coves of Newquay.

Visiting the Iconic St. Michael’s Mount

Explore the enchanting beauty of St. Michael’s Mount, an iconic landmark that will transport you to a world of history and charm.

This majestic island, located just off the coast of Marazion, Cornwall, is home to a medieval castle and a stunning abbey that dates back to the 12th century.

As you approach the island, you’ll be captivated by its dramatic silhouette against the backdrop of the azure sea. The journey to the mount is an adventure in itself, as you can walk across the causeway during low tide or take a short boat ride when the tide is high.

Once you arrive on the mount, you’ll be greeted by a labyrinth of narrow streets, ancient buildings, and beautiful gardens.

Take a leisurely stroll through the village and discover the rich history that permeates every corner. Visit the castle, which has been home to the St. Aubyn family for centuries, and explore its grand rooms and stunning views from the battlements.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the abbey, where you can delve into the island’s spiritual past and admire its magnificent architecture.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique and magical experience, a visit to St. Michael’s Mount is an absolute must when exploring Cornwall.

Exploring the Eden Project’s Botanical Gardens

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Eden Project’s Botanical Gardens, where a world of vibrant flora and captivating displays awaits you.

As I stepped into this enchanting oasis, I was immediately struck by the sheer diversity of plant species that surrounded me.

The gardens are divided into two biomes – the Rainforest Biome and the Mediterranean Biome – each offering a unique and immersive experience.

In the Rainforest Biome, I found myself transported to the lush tropics, with towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and a cacophony of exotic bird calls.

I marveled at the giant Amazonian water lilies, their leaves spanning over six feet in diameter.

The air was thick with humidity, creating the perfect environment for the tropical plants to thrive.

As I wandered through the maze of pathways, I encountered vibrant orchids, towering palms, and even a cocoa tree.

It felt like a true adventure, discovering the hidden treasures of the rainforest.

In contrast, the Mediterranean Biome offered a completely different experience.

Here, I found myself surrounded by fragrant herbs, colorful wildflowers, and gnarled olive trees.

The warm, dry climate was reminiscent of the Mediterranean, and I could almost feel the sun on my skin.

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The gardens showcased the incredible resilience of plants that thrive in arid conditions, such as cacti and succulents.

It was a peaceful and serene setting, perfect for relaxation and reflection.

The Eden Project’s Botanical Gardens truly exceeded my expectations.

Not only did I have the opportunity to see a diverse range of plant species from around the world, but I also gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of conserving our natural environment.

Whether you have a green thumb or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, a visit to the Eden Project is an absolute must when exploring Cornwall.

Sampling Delicious Cornish Cuisine

Indulge your taste buds in the mouthwatering delights of Cornish cuisine, where local ingredients and traditional recipes combine to create unforgettable dining experiences.

Cornwall is famous for its fresh seafood, and one must-try dish is the Cornish pasty. These savory pastries are filled with a delicious mixture of beef, potatoes, onions, and swede, all encased in a flaky pastry crust. The combination of flavors and textures is simply divine, making it the perfect snack to enjoy while exploring the beautiful coastal towns.

Another culinary gem of Cornwall is the Cornish cream tea. This delightful treat consists of freshly baked scones, served warm with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scones are light and fluffy, the clotted cream is thick and creamy, and the sweet jam adds a burst of fruity flavor. It’s a truly indulgent experience that pairs perfectly with a cup of tea.

Cornwall is also home to a variety of artisanal cheeses, such as Cornish Yarg and Cornish Blue. These cheeses are made using traditional methods and local ingredients, resulting in unique and delicious flavors that are a must-try for any cheese lover.

Exploring the culinary delights of Cornwall is an essential part of any visit to this beautiful region. From mouthwatering pasties to indulgent cream teas, there is something to satisfy every palate. So, be sure to treat yourself to a taste of Cornwall’s gastronomic treasures and create unforgettable dining memories.

Immersing Yourself in Cornish History at Tintagel Castle

Step back in time and uncover the rich history of Tintagel Castle, an iconic landmark that transports visitors to a bygone era.

As I walked through the ancient ruins, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the sense of mystery and awe that surrounded me. The castle, perched on a dramatic cliffside overlooking the rugged coastline of Cornwall, has played a significant role in British history and legends. It is believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur, the legendary figure of medieval literature.

Exploring the ruins, I could almost imagine knights in shining armor and noble ladies walking through the grand halls. The castle’s architecture, with its imposing stone walls and crumbling towers, tells a story of power, ambition, and intrigue.

One of the highlights of my visit was the breathtaking view from the castle grounds. Standing on the edge of the cliff, I gazed out at the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, its waves crashing against the rocks below. It was easy to see why Tintagel Castle has inspired countless artists, writers, and poets throughout the centuries. The rugged beauty of the landscape, combined with the castle’s dramatic location, creates a truly unforgettable experience.

I also had the opportunity to learn more about the castle’s history through informative displays and exhibits. From the ancient artifacts to the interactive installations, every corner of the castle seemed to have a story to tell. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, Tintagel Castle is a must-visit destination in Cornwall.

Enjoying Water Sports and Sailing in Falmouth

While exploring Falmouth, you can partake in thrilling water sports and sailing activities to make the most of your visit. Falmouth is a haven for water enthusiasts, offering a wide range of options for all skill levels.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. One of the most popular water sports in Falmouth is surfing. With its picturesque coastline and consistent waves, it’s no wonder why surfers flock to this area. You can rent a surfboard and wetsuit from one of the local surf shops and hit the waves. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you catch a wave and ride it all the way to the shore. If you’re new to surfing, don’t worry! There are also surf schools that offer lessons for beginners, so you can learn the basics and get started in no time.

In addition to surfing, Falmouth is also a great place for sailing. The town is home to one of the largest natural harbors in the world, making it an ideal spot for sailing enthusiasts. Whether you have your own boat or want to rent one, you can explore the stunning coastline and enjoy the freedom of being out on the water. If you’re a beginner, you can even take sailing lessons to learn the ropes and gain confidence in your sailing skills.

So grab your sunscreen, put on your life jacket, and get ready for a day of excitement and adventure on the water in Falmouth!

Relaxing on the Scenic Isles of Scilly

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Scenic Isles of Scilly, where you can unwind and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this remote archipelago. The Isles of Scilly, located off the southwestern tip of Cornwall, offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With their crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and picturesque landscapes, these islands are a paradise for nature lovers and relaxation seekers alike. One of the highlights of the Isles of Scilly is its stunning coastline, dotted with secluded coves and pristine beaches. Whether you prefer to sunbathe on the soft sands, take a dip in the refreshing waters, or explore the hidden caves and rock pools, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The islands are also home to an abundance of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and a variety of bird species, making it a perfect destination for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts. In addition to the natural beauty, the Isles of Scilly offer a range of activities to help you unwind and recharge. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic coastal paths, breathing in the fresh sea air and admiring the panoramic views.

Explore the charming villages, with their quaint cottages and friendly locals, and immerse yourself in the relaxed pace of island life. Indulge in delicious seafood and locally sourced produce at one of the island’s many restaurants and cafes, and treat yourself to a spa treatment or yoga session to truly rejuvenate your mind and body.

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The Scenic Isles of Scilly provide a serene escape where you can embrace the beauty of nature and find inner peace. Whether you choose to simply relax on the beach, explore the islands’ rich history and heritage, or engage in various outdoor activities, a visit to the Isles of Scilly is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. So, pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and embark on a journey to this hidden gem in Cornwall.

Exploring the Lizard Peninsula’s Unique Landscape

As I venture along the rugged coastline of the Lizard Peninsula, I’m immediately captivated by its dramatic cliffs, enchanting heathlands, and hidden coves.

The scenery here is like something out of a fairy tale, with towering cliffs plunging into the crashing waves below.

The Lizard Peninsula is known for its unique landscape, shaped by millions of years of erosion and geological activity. It’s a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of opportunities for exploration and adventure.

One of the highlights of the Lizard Peninsula is its enchanting heathlands. As I walk through these open, windswept landscapes, I’m surrounded by vibrant hues of purple and yellow, as heather and gorse blanket the ground.

The air is filled with the sweet scent of wildflowers, and the calls of birds echo through the air. It’s a truly magical experience, as if stepping into another world entirely.

Hidden amongst the rugged cliffs and heathlands are the Lizard Peninsula’s hidden coves. These secluded, sandy beaches are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

As I stumble upon these secret gems, I can’t help but feel like I’ve discovered a hidden paradise. The crystal-clear turquoise waters beckon me to take a dip, and the soft sand is perfect for lounging and soaking up the sun.

It’s a peaceful retreat, far away from the crowds, where I can truly relax and unwind.

Exploring the Lizard Peninsula’s unique landscape is a must for anyone visiting Cornwall.

From the dramatic cliffs to the enchanting heathlands and hidden coves, this area offers a wealth of natural beauty and tranquility.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid hiker, or simply someone seeking a peaceful escape, the Lizard Peninsula has something to offer everyone.

So, come and venture along the rugged coastline, and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of this magical place.

Wildlife Spotting in Cornwall’s Nature Reserves

Venture into Cornwall’s nature reserves and you’ll be treated to the sight of diverse wildlife in their natural habitats. These reserves are havens for various species, providing them with protected areas to thrive and flourish.

From the majestic red deer roaming freely in the woodlands to the playful seals basking on the shores, Cornwall’s nature reserves offer a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

One of the most popular locations for wildlife spotting in Cornwall is the Looe Island Nature Reserve. This small island is home to a wide array of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and razorbills. As you walk along the coastal paths, you can witness their graceful flight and hear their melodic calls. Keep an eye out for the resident grey seals, lazily lounging on the rocks or swimming in the crystal-clear waters.

The reserve also boasts an impressive variety of plants and flowers, adding to the beauty of the landscape.

Another must-visit nature reserve in Cornwall is the Hayle Estuary RSPB Reserve. This expansive wetland is a haven for both resident and migratory birds, making it a bird watcher’s paradise. As you stroll along the trails, you’ll be captivated by the elegant dance of the avocets, the vibrant plumage of the kingfishers, and the distinctive calls of the curlews.

The reserve is also home to a diverse range of insects, butterflies, and wildflowers, creating a rich tapestry of colors and textures.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking to connect with the great outdoors, Cornwall’s nature reserves offer an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world and let the sights and sounds of wildlife transport you to a place of tranquility and wonder.

Shopping for Local Crafts and Artwork in Cornwall’s Markets

Indulge yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Cornwall’s markets, where you can explore a treasure trove of local crafts and artwork.

From bustling street markets to charming craft fairs, Cornwall offers an array of opportunities to discover unique and handmade treasures.

As you wander through the stalls, you’ll be captivated by the skill and creativity of the local artisans, showcasing their talents in various forms.

In these markets, you’ll find an abundance of beautifully crafted ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and paintings, each reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Cornwall.

Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece to adorn your home or a special gift for a loved one, the markets in Cornwall have something to suit every taste.

Engage in conversations with the artists themselves, and gain insight into their creative process and the inspiration behind their work.

The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of these markets creates a delightful experience as you immerse yourself in the world of local arts and crafts.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to support local artists and take home a piece of Cornwall’s artistic spirit.


In conclusion, Cornwall, England is a truly captivating destination with an abundance of activities and attractions to offer. From its stunning beaches and ancient castles to its charming villages and traditional Cornish culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a nature lover looking to hike the South West Coast Path or a thrill-seeker ready to catch some waves in Newquay, Cornwall has it all.

One of the highlights of Cornwall is its unique and breathtaking landscape, particularly found in the Lizard Peninsula. Exploring this area will leave you in awe of its rugged cliffs, picturesque coves, and wild beauty. And for those who appreciate wildlife, Cornwall’s nature reserves are the perfect places to spot a variety of birds, seals, and other fascinating creatures.

Not only does Cornwall offer incredible natural beauty, but it also has a thriving arts and crafts scene. The local markets are filled with unique and handmade items, ranging from pottery and paintings to jewelry and textiles. Shopping for these local treasures is not only a great way to support local artisans, but also a chance to take home a piece of Cornwall’s rich culture.

In conclusion, a visit to Cornwall is a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on its scenic beaches or adventure on its rugged coastlines, this charming region has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all that Cornwall, England has to offer.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.