Are you planning a trip to Cornwall? If so, you’re probably going to be asking a lot of questions. Maybe you’re wondering how to get to Cornwall, what the best things to do are, or where are the best places to stay in Cornwall?
In this blog post, I’m going to answer the latter question as best I can! My family are from Cornwall, and it’s always been somewhere I’ve loved visiting. There’s the beautiful beaches of St Ives, the fun vibe of Newquay, and the culture of Truro – and many towns and beaches in between. It’s a really magical place.
But I’m sure you know that already, as you’re planning your trip there. Let’s get stuck into the best places to stay in Cornwall!
Where to stay in Cornwall: Run Down
- Best place to stay in Cornwall for surfing: Bude
- Where to stay in Cornwall for nightlife: Newquay
- Where to stay in Cornwall for hiking: Bodmin
- Where to stay in Cornwall with kids: Looe
- Best place to stay in Cornwall for culture: Truro or Penzance
- Where to stay in Cornwall on a budget: Truro
Best Places to Stay in Cornwall
St Ives: the most popular place to stay in Cornwall
Beautiful St Ives is one of the most popular places to stay in Cornwall. It’s a chilled out little beach town, with lots of hiking opportunities around town. It does get very busy during the summer (as does a lot of Cornwall), but in shoulder seasons, it’s a wonderful place to visit. Here are some more tips about the best time to visit Cornwall.
If it’s your first time in Cornwall, you might be interested in visiting St Ives. It’s certainly got that quintessential Cornish life atmosphere, as well as plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants, and is a busy tourist place in the high season (and in the low season, to be honest).
Best things to do in St Ives
- The beaches. The closest ones to the town are Porthmeor Beach (the largest and most surf friendly), Harbour Beach, Porthminster Beach (close to the train and bus station), and Porthgwidden Beach.
- The Tate – yes, St Ives has a branch of the famous London-based art gallery!
- Seal Island, where you can see – you guessed it – a colony of seals.
- Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden, an outdoor art gallery designed by a famous St Ives resident.
- The quaint mishmash of streets and buildings that make up the city centre.
- The seafront eateries and bars of the Harbour – just watch out for the seagulls!
- The views from St Nicholas Chapel back over St Ives Bay.
- Carbis Bay, a quieter version of St Ives just over the water!
- The scenic train from St Erth – one of the best railways in the country.
Where to stay in St Ives
Saltwater is a cosy guesthouse close to Porthmear Beach. The owners are friendly and try to greet all guests, and the bedrooms are decorated beautifully, with a nautical theme. Delicious food is served every day. Click here for rates and to book.
The Queens Hotel and Gastropub is the only one of its kind in the town. The cosy pub offers great value food and drinks on the ground floor, and ten refurbished bedrooms above. All bedrooms have a refurbished, sparkling en-suite bathroom, as well as fresh cotton linen and flat-screen TVs. Click here for more information and to book your spot.
Carbis Bay and Spa Hotel is located in nearby Carbis Bay, offering epic sea views from many of its luxury bedrooms. The rooms are spacious and bright, with incredibly comfortable beds and plasma screen TVs.
All rooms have a luxury en-suite, some with roll top baths. Sands Restaurant serves Cornish seafood and other products, and The Conservatory serves up tapas and beverages. There is also a swimming pool, and of course, the pampering spa. Click here for more information.
Newquay: where to stay in Cornwall for partying
Most famous for partying and surfing, Newquay is a fun place to stay for backpackers, but it’s also a great spot for families and couples, as there are so many things to do in the town.
It’s a fair-sized town, with plenty of restaurants, pubs, and other amenities – you won’t get bored here. It’s also close to my number one place in Cornwall – Bedruthan Steps, which undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the county.
Things to do in Newquay
- Go partying at the many bars and clubs in the town.
- Take a surfing lesson – there are plenty of schools and waves of all sizes.
- Check out the beautiful Fistral Beach, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall. Also be sure to visit Watergate Bay and Towan Beach (pictured above).
- Enjoy the boating lake at Trenance Gardens.
- Visit Bedruthan Steps, beautiful rocky outcrops that would look more in place in the Med.
- Learn about Cornish winemaking at Trevibban Mill Winery.
- Visit the tranquil Japanese Garden.
Hotels in Newquay
St Christopher’s Inn Newquay is a short walk to Towan Beach. Choose from 4, 6, or 10 bed dorms or a private room. There is also a terrace, bar, restaurant and surf school on site. If you’re backpacking around Cornwall, St Christoper’s Inn is an excellent place to stay! Click here for more information.
The Lewinnwick Lodge has spectacular Atlantic vistas, which you can enjoy while dining and drinking at the local restaurant. Every room has a luxury bed, large windows, and most have wonderful views. Bathrooms have a power shower as well as luxury toiletries. Click here for more information.
The Headland Hotel and Spa is one of the best places to stay in Cornwall. Set in a Vicotrian building, the hotel has a spa, sea view terrance, golf course and surf school, as well as three restaurants! It’s the perfect place to enjoy a Cornish cream tea.
The lovely rooms have seating areas, comfy king sized beds, luxurious bathrooms, and many have epic coastal views. Click here for rates and reserve your spot.
Bude: where to stay in Cornwall to chill out
Just over the border from Devon, Bude is a popular seaside resort on the North coast, and is where many people start a road trip around Cornwall. Widemouth Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, whereas surfers can get excellent waves in the wonderfully named Crackington Haven. For those who want to avoid the waves, the open air swimming pool is located near Summerleaze Downs.
If you’re a surfing fan, Bude is one of the best places to stay in Cornwall – especially if you want to avoid the mass crowds of Newquay!
Things to do in Bude
- Check out the town’s biggest beach, Summerleaze Beach.
- Go swimming or stand up paddleboarding at Bude Sea Pool.
- Drive to the epic viewpoint of Widemouth Bay (Google maps location).
- Explore the inventions of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney at Bude Castle.
- Stroll along Bude Canal.
- Visit the nearby National Trust owned village and harbour of Boscastle, as well as its nearby beach Crackington Haven.
- Drive a little way longer and explore the castle ruins of Tintagel.
- Bude is also close to west Devon, notably the beautiful restored fishing village of Clovelly. Here’s a little more about Clovelly.
Where to stay in Bude
Sea Jade Guesthouse is a great value B&B, right in the heart of Bude. The guesthouse owners are incredibly friendly and welcoming, the rooms are spotlessly clean, and a delicious breakfast is served each morning. Click here for more information about the guesthouse.
The Beach is a swanky Bude hotel with stylish rooms and an apartment, which is perfect for bigger groups. The Beach is located right by the sea, so it’s fantastic for swimmers or surfers wanting to get those early morning waves! There is a bar on site. Click here to book your stay.
For longer stays in Bude, how about renting a caravan at a holiday park? Pentire Coastal Holiday Park has spacious caravans and glamping tents, perfect for families and groups. Each caravan has at least 2 bedrooms, a flat screen TV and cooking and dining facilities. The park is located 5 miles from Bude. Click here to book a holiday at Pentire Coastal Holiday Park.
Looe: best place to stay in Cornwall with kids
Looe is a picturesque town in south east Cornwall, not too far from the border of Devon and Plymouth. It’s very laid back, split in half by the River Looe, and doesn’t see as many tourists as other spots in Cornwall (although still gets busy during the school holidays!).
It’s a great place for families with younger kids. They’ll love spending time at the beach, and it’s in a good location for other attractions in South Cornwall.
Things to do in Looe
- See the epic flora and fauna of Looe Island.
- Walk around the Looe Estuary.
- Be charmed at the many beaches of the town.
Where to stay in Looe
Penwyn Bread and Breakfast offers cosy and bright rooms that feel extremely homely, but have all the mod cons that you’d expect in a guesthouse room. There is a sun terrace on site, with epic harbour views. Here is some more information about the B&B.
The Jolly Sailor Inn is a historic 500 year old building in Looe, which has turned into cosy pub downstairs and a hotel upstairs. The Jolly Sailor Inn serving hearty food and drinks, and breakfast is included in the room rate. The pub rooms are cosy yet stylish, and all have an en-suite bathroom. Click here to check it out!
Talland Bay Hotel is a sophisticated beachfront property on the South West Coast Path, one of the best long-distance walks in the UK. There is a bar and a 2 AA Rosette-awarded restaurant on site. Rooms are bright and spacious, with luxurious bed linen and stylish decor. Click here to book your stay.
Penzance: where to stay in Cornwall for day trips
Close to Lands End, Penzance is a larger town on Cornwall’s south coast. There are quite a few accommodation options available in this beachfront town, making it a great place for families. There are also plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops, so it’s a good place for a social stay! Near to Penzance are attractions like St Micheal’s Mount and Pendennis Castle.
Things to do in Penzance
- The seafront, with its Jubilee Lido
- The Grade I Listed Egyptian House, which is Egyptian Revival Architecture from the 1830s.
- The Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, sub-tropical gardens on the edge of the town.
- Minack Theatre, a historic theatre right by the coastline.
- The scenic nearby village of Mousehole.
- The world-famous island, church, and castle St Micheal’s Mount.
Where to stay in Penzance
The Dolphin Tavern is a historic three star inn in Penzance with beautiful sea views and cosy bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Room rates include a full English breakfast! Click here to reserve your stay.
Hotel Penzance is a chic accommodation option in the town’s centre, with stylish rooms with a nautical theme, as well as a restaurant with award-winning food. There is also an on-site swimming pool and Mediterranean gardens. Click here for more information.
Truro: where to stay in Cornwall on a budget
Technically the only city in Cornwall (although not the largest settlement), Truro is a tranquil place in the heart of Cornwall. It’s not necessarily what comes to your mind when you hear the world Cornwall – it’s about as inland as you get in the county (that is, about 20 miles from the sea).
However, there are some great things to do in Truro. It’s an ideal place to soak in some Cornish culture, enjoy some museums, and eat a lot of Cornish pasties. Accommodation is cheaper here than by the coast, making it a great budget accommodation option.
Best things to do in Truro
- Exploring inside and outside Truro Cathedral – the only Cathedral in Cornwall!
- Taking a walking tour to see the rest of the city.
- Explore the Royal Cornwall Museum.
- Taste some cider at the Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm.
- Go cycling on one of the many routes around the city.
- Take a boat tour to Falmouth.
Where to stay in Truro
Located right by Truro Cathedral, The Barley Sheaf Inn a lovely friendly guesthouse. As well as en-suite, sunny rooms, there is a bar and restaurant on site. The owners are reported to be incredibly friendly, and will make you feel right at home! Click here for rates and to reserve your stay.
The County Arms is a traditional Cornish gourmet pub serving up delicious grub and plenty of drinks – perfect following a long day of sightseeing. Above the pub are spacious and modern rooms, some which look over a wooded valley. Despite the seemingly rural setting, central Truro is walking distance. Click here for more information.
The Alverton is Truro’s only four-star hotel. Set in a 19th century property, The Alverton has deluxe rooms with en-suites, a few with roll stop baths. You can take a stroll in the beautiful grounds, or enjoy the restaurant food while staying here – and it’s just a short distance from Truro’s city centre! Click here to book your stay!
Bodmin: the best place in Cornwall for hiking and dark tourism
At an enigmatic location on the moors, and one of the only inland tourist destinations in Cornwall, Bodmin is the perfect place to stay if you are into hiking, or dark tourism attractions!
Bodmin town is small and slightly nondescript, but it does have the excellent Bodmin Jail on its outskirts, as well as the Bodmin Keep which houses the Cornish military museum. You could spend a day seeing the sights of Bodmin, including doing a tour of the jail.
A short drive from Bodmin is Jamaica Inn, a famous hotel that used to operate as a smuggler’s rest. Daphne Du Maurier once stayed here – and wrote her book, Jamaica Inn, after it!
Then there are the moors. Bodmin Moor encompasses a huge swathe of land in Cornwall, so they are perfect for any hiking fanatics. You could spend a day hiking on the moors, or much longer if the mood takes you.
And from Bodmin, it’s only a half hour drive to the coast – so you’re not that far inland, after all!
Things to do in Bodmin
- Hiking on the moors – there are so many hikes here that you could easily spend a few days doing this!
- Bodmin Jail – you can either visit independently, or do one of their many guided tours. I would recommend the guided tours.
- Bodmin Keep, which is now a museum focusing on Cornish military history.
- Jamaica Inn, which features two museums, a restaurant/ bar, a farm shop and a hotel all in a very historic building.
Where to stay in Bodmin
Castle Canyke Farm is a bed and breakfast that is located on the edge of the town. With rustic decor, the rooms are kitted out to be your home away from home. There are huge grounds to wander around in, and it’s a lovely sense of serenity outside of the main touristy parts of Cornwall. Click here for more information.
The Westberry Hotel is located in the heart of Bodmin, a short walk to Bodmin Jail and Bodmin Keep. The hotel has 21 clean, well-appointed rooms, all with an en-suite bathroom. There is a Thai and steak restaurant on site, which is one of the best places to eat in Bodmin! Click here for more information.
Jamaica Inn is set a little way out of Bodmin, but it is an iconic place to stay. The building was built in 1750, first as a coaching inn on the wild Bodmin moor, although it soon gained the reputation of being a smuggler’s hideout. It is the setting of Daphne Du Maurier’s book of the same name, which is one of the best books ever written about Cornwall.
The rooms continue with the historic style, but fuse plenty of modern conveniences, so you’ll have a comfortable and luxurious stay. On site, there is a cosy pub serving traditional food and Cornish beer and wine, a farm shop, a smuggling museum and a Daphne du Maurier museum. Even if you don’t end up staying here, it’s worth visiting for a few hours. Click here to read more about the hotel and book your stay.
St Austell: the best place to stay in Cornwall for local life
St Austell is close to destinations like the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and local wineries. It’s a largely residential town, without much tourism, but is a great place to stay if you’re after experiencing traditional Cornish life, while being in close proximity to some of the county’s best attractions. It would be best suited to adventurous travellers who are keen to explore Cornish culture!
Things to do in St Austell
- The Eden Project is the most famous attraction in St Austell. It’s a large eco-tourism initiative that invites visitors into two biomes, one with a rainforest climate and one with a mediterranean climate.
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan are part garden, part art gallery, with lots of exotic plants and wacky sculptures.
- Knightor Winery is another excellent winery in this part of Cornwall. You can rock up at any time and do a tasting, or book onto one of their tours to learn a little more about the wine.
Where to stay in St Austell
Ivy House Cornwall B&B is located on the edge of St Austell, but is set in peaceful gardens. Rooms are decorated thoughtfully, with thematic furnishings. A delicious breakfast is served every day. Here’s some more information.
The Pier House is a beachfront property located in Charlestown, a small seaside village about 2 km from St Austell. As well as beautiful coastal views, you’ll be able to enjoy the delicious fresh seafood at the restaurant that is served al fresco. All of the rooms are decorated in a modern nautical style, with luxury en-suite bathrooms. Click here for more information.
If you want to stay somewhere luxurious, try The Cornwall Hotel Spa & Lodges. Choose from double or twin rooms, or lodges – some with hot tubs! While staying at The Cornwall Hotel Spa, enjoy an infinity pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. You can also enjoy walks around the beautiful property. The property is only a short distance from St Austell, but there is also a restaurant on site. Click here to read more.
Falmouth: the best place to stay in Cornwall for history
Falmouth is a pretty harbour town close to Penzance and lots of other Cornwall attractions. It’s got a good mix of tourism and local life; there are plenty of places to stay here, but equally it doesn’t feel completely taken over, even in the summer.
It’s a chilled out place, with lots of spots to enjoy pasties or fish and chips. It’s suited to families with older kids, who are keen to get a slice of Cornish life while exploring.
Things to do in Falmouth
- Learn about seafaring history at the National Maritime Museum.
- Take a boat tour up the River Fal.
- See the beautiful Helford area.
- Learn about history at Pendennis Castle.
Where to stay in Falmouth
The Sandy Duck is a guesthouse with rustic yet stylish rooms with big windows and state of the art furnishings. The contemporary bathrooms have deluxe toiletries, and a delicious breakfast is included in room rates. Click here for rates.
The Falmouth Hotel is located just 800 metres from Pendennis Castle, and is very close to the centre of the town. The large period property has a pool, spa and bar, and the rooms are welcoming and well furnished. Click here to read more.
For a slice of luxury in Falmouth, try St Micheal’s Resort. With a stunning indoor pool, spa and well kitted out fitness centre, St Micheal’s Resort is the place to stay in Falmouth if you want to be pampered! The rooms are bright, spacious and modern, with very comfy beds and luxury bedlinen! Click here for more information.
Port Isaac: where to stay in Cornwall for traditional life
Port Isaac is a beautiful little village on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s popular for being the setting of Doc Martin, but it’s also a lovely place to stay to experience traditional Cornish village life. There are a few things to do in Port Isaac, so it’s great for a short trip, but it’s also in a handy location to see other places in Cornwall.
Things to do in Port Isaac
- Do a Doc Martin Tour to see the sets from the popular TV show.
- Walk to nearby Port Gaverne (0.5 km) or Port Quin (3.5 km).
- Go on a boat tour with Wavehunters.
- Listen out for the Fisherman’s Friends.
- Hike up to Portwenn View.
Where to stay in Port Isaac
The Gallery has beautiful panoramic views over the harbour from its tiered garden. The guesthouse has individually decorated rooms that are brilliantly cleaned alnd all have their own en suite bathroom. Click here for more information.
The Slipway is a Grade II listed building that used to be a smuggler’s hideaway around when it was built in 1527. There are cosy and homely bedrooms on site, each with an en suite bathroom. The hotel is right by the sea, and the Harbourside Cafe and Terrace is on site. Click here to read more.
The Old School Hotel is one of the most unique places to stay in Cornwall. It is the setting of Louisa’s school in Doc Martin, and it used to be a school from 1875 until the 1980s. Each room, which are decorated tastefully, is named after a school subject, with an en suite bathroom. Here is some more information.
Where to stay in Cornwall
From Penzance to Port Isaac, north to south coast, the beaches of St Ives to the moors of Bodmin – there are so many amazing places to stay in Cornwall! If you’re planning your trip, click here for all my Cornwall posts.