12 of the Best Cornwall Staycations

This list of 12 Cornwall staycations has all the information that you’ll need to plan a lovely holiday in this region of the UK!

We’re Cornwall experts and have plenty of ideas for your next Cornish holiday – from the popular staycation spot of Newquay to the dramatic wilderness of Bodmin Moor. Whether you want stunning sea views every day or to learn about the distinct culture of this part of the UK, there’s something for everyone in beautiful Cornwall.

This list of destinations and holiday types will help you to plan an epic trip to Cornwall, with plenty of tips on how to get the cheapest price and finding the ideal staycation for your needs and budget!

Cornwall Staycations: for all budgets and tastes!

Cornwall Road Trip

Striking Bedruthan Steps near Newquay

There are so many places to visit in Cornwall, so if you’ve got an adventurous spirit and like to stay on the move, why limit yourself to one or two destinations? You can see them all on a road trip, which is definitely one of the best Cornwall staycations!

You could spend around a week road tripping Cornwall to see a few different attractions, from Tintagel Castle, to Bodmin Gaol, to St Michael’s Mount. This is a fantastic way to enjoy both the stunning coast and authentic Cornish culture. Doing a road trip also enables you to get cheap prices on accommodation, as you can drive to less touristy towns to spend the night- or even camp!

You will obviously need a car for your Cornwall road trip staycation – you could either use your own or rent one from a local company. Or, you could even rent a van! 

I’d recommend spending at least a week road tripping Cornwall – there’s so much to see here!

3 Days Hiking in Bodmin

Golden Glow, The Cheesewring, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

If you like hiking, why not take to the moors? This is a different Cornwall staycation than what most people experience. Bodmin Moor is an amazing hiking destination that’s perfect for adventurous travellers of all ages. There are plenty of hiking trails around the moors, from short walks to full-day or multi-day long hikes.

Be careful on Bodmin Moor – it is infamous for its fog and bad visibility, so I wouldn’t recommend hiking there during bad weather. There are plenty of other things to do in Cornwall in the rain!

Also, make sure that you check out all of the best things to do in Bodmin town too, including the haunting Bodmin Gaol – a historic jail that is now open for tours. You’ll be able to learn all about how the penal system worked through the ages and what Bodmin Gaol did for the modernisation of jails around the country.

Bodmin Jail cell block near Bodmin in Cornwall

Where to stay: If you’re looking for somewhere cosy to stay on the moors, why not check out the eerie but homely Jamaica Inn? This haunt has a long history. Before the roads were properly made and motorcars were popular, it was quite difficult to access. Because of this, smugglers would hide here from the police as they made their journey inland. This history inspired Daphne Du Maurier, a famous novelist who focused on Cornwall, to write her book ‘Jamaica Inn’.

Nowadays, it’s a friendly and comfortable country inn with a bar and restaurant serving hearty food, as well as a small museum about smuggling and Daphne Du Maurier. However, fans of the weird and wonderful will love hearing about all of the stories from this hotel! Click here to read more about Jamaica Inn.

Here’s a list of all of the best hotels in Bodmin (coming soon!).

How to get there: Nowadays, Bodmin Moor is a lot more accessible than the 18th and 19th centuries, and you can reach it by train and bus. Take a train to Exeter (which serves Bristol, London and other cities), and then change to a train to Bodmin Parkway. This takes around one hour 45 minutes. From Bodmin Parkway, you can take the 76 bus all the way to Jamaica Inn, or the 11A to Bodmin Town Centre.

To be able to really explore the moors and see a bit more of Cornwall, it is best if you have a car, but you can do hikes from the town, Jamaica Inn and other bus stops.

Hiking a Segment of the South West Coast Path

Polperro, Cornwall, South West England

Hiking the South West Coast Path is one of the more unique Cornwall staycations, but it’s loved by adventurers and avid hikers! It’s known for its challenging ascents, panoramic views and delightful towns and villages. 

The South West Coast Path is a 630 mile long trail that begins in Minehead in Somerset and ends in Poole in Dorset. It covers the entire 400 mile long Cornish coastline. You can hike the whole thing, or just do a segment. The North Coast is rugged and wild, with iconic views of Cornwall’s many beaches. 

The Cornwall sections of the South West Coast Path are: 

  • Hartland Quay to Padstow (57 miles, 5 days)
  • Padstow to St Ives (66 miles, 6 days)
  • St Ives to The Lizard (69 miles, 6 days)
  • The Lizard to Par (72 miles, 6 days)
  • Par to Plymouth (28 miles, 3 days)

Of course, you can start in any town along the route as well, and hike for however long you have the time for! For more detail about all of these sections, check out this SWCP itinerary

One Week in Newquay

Towan Rock and beach in Newquay, Cornwall

Newquay is potentially the most popular staycation spot in Cornwall. It does see an influx of tourists during the summer months, but it’s still well worth a visit.

Why is Newquay so popular as a Cornish staycation? It’s got a cool surfing atmosphere, amazing beaches, plenty of attractions, and lots of bars, restaurants and even clubs which give it a wonderful summer holiday atmosphere. Basically, if you’re looking for somewhere in Cornwall that will make you feel like you’re on a proper holiday, Newquay is this!

So, what exactly is there to do in Newquay? I’ve wrote a full post detailing all of the highlights, but here are some stand-out things:

  • Fistral Beach, which is potentially the best surfing beach in the country.
  • Hiking from Newquay to Watergate Bay, which is one of the most epic parts of the Cornish coast.
  • Beach hopping to all the other beaches, including Towan Beach, which is known for its famous island and bridge.
  • Hanging out in the high street and visiting all of the laidback surf shops.
  • Enjoying Newquay’s rich dining scene.
  • Eating a proper Cornish pasty!

Newquay is quite popular with people on party holidays, but there are also lots of family attractions too. You’ll easily be able to spend a week in Newquay, especially if you want to do some day trips and spend a day or two just chilling out!

If you are thinking of booking a trip to Newquay for summer dates, I’d recommend booking early. Loads of dates get booked up months in advance – so do bear that in mind! You can see some hotel recommendations below or on my places to stay in Newquay post.

Where to stay in Newquay

How to get there: You can take a train to Newquay from Par, which serves London, Exeter and Bristol. There are also coaches available from various cities throughout the country, and if you are driving it is close to the A30 which connects to the A303 and the M5. You can read my post on how to get to Newquay here.

One Week in St Ives

St Ives is potentially my favourite Cornwall staycation destination. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Cornwall, but for very good reason.

St Ives is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall – and all of the UK. It is famous not only for its stunning beaches – which are even stunning by Cornish standards – but its artistic atmosphere. St Ives has become something of a haven for artists over the years, drawn to the town for its agreeable climate and beautiful sceneries.

Once of these artists was Barbara Hepworth, who loved the town but tragically died in a fire in her studios. Her house has now been revamped to make the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gardens. Plus, you can also visit St Ives’ own TATE, which has artwork from local and international artists.

Aerial view of St Ives in the evening, Cornwall, UK

St Ives also has a reputation for being a bit of a foodie capital, which is another reason why it is such a loved staycation spot! While you’re in town, make sure that you eat plenty of Cornish pasties and fish and chips, as well as Blas Burgerworks which serves the best burgers in St Ives (and maybe all of Cornwall). There’s also the Moomaid of Zennor, who do delicious ice cream, sourdough pizza at West Beach Bakery, and seafood at Porthminster Beach Cafe.

So whether you’re looking for an artist’s retreat, a place for a summer break or somewhere to enjoy Cornwall’s beautiful coast in the off-season, St Ives is a great option!

It does get very busy on your average summer weekend. I’d probably avoid it during July and August when children in the UK are off school. Prices also soar during this time!

I’d recommend spending a whole week in St Ives if you can. It’s quite a long drive from most places in the UK, and there are plenty of things to do in the town and around. If you want to stay somewhere with a similar vibe but a shorter travel time, consider Bude – it’s not quite as scenic as St Ives but it’s got great beaches, and it’s just over the border from Devon.

Where to stay in St Ives: There are plenty of hotels in St Ives that make the most of its stunning views. Here’s my post of places to stay in St Ives.

  • Tregenna Castle Resort Hotel is a family-friendly resort with lots of amenities. Click here to read more.
  • The Western is a historic coaching house converted into a cosy inn. Click here for more information.
  • The Lifeboat Inn is a cosy harbour pub with epic panoramic vistas. Click here to read more.
  • The Balnoon Inn is located a short drive out of St Ives, but is a budget-friendly place to stay. Click here for more information.

How to get there: You can take a train to St Erth, which is on the London Paddington to Penzance line, and take the scenic train or a bus to St Ives. There are also coaches available. If you are driving, follow the A30 all the way down to St Ives – it will be signposted. The A30 connects to the A303 and the M5.

City Break in Truro

Sunset near Truro in Cornwall

If you like going to cities on holiday, but still want to experience a Cornwall staycation, what about Truro? It’s the only city in Cornwall. It’s not as touristy as elsewhere in the county, but it’s a good place for a two or three night staycation. 

There are plenty of things to do in Truro. For starters, visit Truro Cathedral which has a beautiful exterior and a really pleasant interior. There’s also the Museum of Cornwall, the Hall for Cornwall (keep an eye on the listings to see if there are any upcoming concerts when you’re there!) and the Lemon Street Markets. There are also lots of cycle routes running through the city.

If you want to experience the coast too, you can easily take beach day trips from Truro. It’s close to Falmouth, Perranporth and Newquay, and even not that far from St Ives and the Lizard. You can also visit Bodmin Moor!

Where to stay in Truro

Truro also has lots of cheaper hotels, so it’s a great place for a budget staycation in Cornwall. 

How to get there: the London to Penzance line calls at Truro. You can also take a train from other cities to Exeter or Plymouth and chance lines. If you are driving, take the A30, which connects to the M5 and A303, and then drive a short way on the A39 to reach Truro.

Stay in South West Cornwall

St Ives to Sennan, Cornwall

South West Cornwall is a wonderful place. It’s got some of the most striking scenery in the country, with epic places like the Lizard, Lands End, Zennor and Sennen. If you want to enjoy all of the attractions in this part of the region, why not spend your Cornwall holiday here? There are plenty of holiday homes with stunning features, some close to the beach. Alternatively, there are lots of B&Bs and hotels dotted around the region.

This part of Cornwall is known for its jaw-dropping beauty and epic coastal walks, as well as its distinct culture. You can visit attractions like St Micheal’s Mount and the Geevor Tin Mine, beach towns such as St Ives and fishing villages like Mousehole, and learn about one of Cornwall’s most loved animals at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary

Where to stay in West Cornwall

You can browse hotels and holiday cottages in Cornwall on Booking. Here are some of the best.

How to get there: You can take a train as far as Penzance (which has direct connections to London, Exeter and Plymouth) and from there connect to bus services like the A1 Atlantic Coaster. Alternatively, the A30 – the main road running through Cornwall – ends in Lands End.

Take Day Trips from Plymouth

Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall, South West England

This isn’t technically in Cornwall, but you could stay in Plymouth and take day trips to see the best of South East Cornwall. Places like Looe, Fowey, Polperro, St Austell, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project are all accessible from Plymouth on a day trip. 

There are plenty of things to do in Plymouth too – check out my full guide here. This is a great option for those who don’t want to drive too far and still enjoy the city while staycationing in Cornwall.

Where to stay in Plymouth

How to get there: Plymouth is easy to access. Just drive to the end of the M5 and join the A38 which leads to the city. There are also trains from London, Bristol, and many other places, as well as coaches.

Epic Lizard Peninsula

Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall

If you’re looking for a romantic staycation, you’ve got to visit the Lizard! This peninsula has dramatic views virtually everywhere you turn, and it’s the perfect break for people who want to experience epic nature or do some hiking around. Or, if you just want a break by the sea, you can do that in the Lizard too!

There are only a handful of villages on the Lizard, including Lizard Village and St Keverne, which had a lot of historical significance during the Cornish Rebellions. 

Where to stay at the Lizard: You’ll be able to stay at guesthouses in any of these villages and enjoy a cosy Cornwall atmosphere, or enjoy some unique accommodation where you can be right in nature, like this luxury Cornwall Shepherd’s hut or this unique 60s style caravan

How to get there: You can take a train to Redruth – it is on the London to Penzance line – and from there, take buses to places around the Lizard. If you are driving, follow the A30 to Redruth and then take A roads to Helston, and then the Lizard.

Caravan Park Holidays

Spending a week at a holiday park is one of the best ways to enjoy your staycation in Cornwall. There are countless caravan parks all over the county. These parks have a really fun holiday atmosphere, with features like swimming pools, restaurants and bars, and some with private beach access. They’re so fun, you’ll want to spend two or three days of your holiday on-site!

Here are some of the best holiday parks to stay at in Cornwall. Click through on any of them to see more informatoin about the park!

Camping in Cornwall

Camping can be an affordable staycation if you go camping! There are campsites all around Cornwall, and if you like the outdoors, it is one of the most sensational staycations that you can have in the UK.

I recommend using Pitch Up to browse campsites. Simply put in your holiday dates and use their map feature or type in exactly where you want to camp to find vacancies and prices!

Many Cornish campsites are in idyllic locations close to the coastline – some even with their own private beach! Here are a few that I recommend:

  • Beacon Farm Cottage in St Agnes. This campsite has stunning views over the headland.
  • Padstow Holiday Village, which is a 5* holiday park and campsite
  • Tencreek Holiday Park is close to Looe and has amazing views over the countryside
  • Little Trevothan Camping and Caravan Park, the ideal base for exploring the epic Lizard peninsula

If you just stay in campsites, you can get a great staycation deal and still enjoy the best of Cornwall. 

A Subtropical Break in the Isles of Scilly

This list of fab staycations in Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without the spectacular Isles of Scilly. These subtropical islands lay South West of Lands End, and they have their own microclimate, meaning that it is often much warmer here than elsewhere in the UK! It’s a perfect staycation spot to visit with as a couple, with family, or with friends!

The Isles of Scilly comprises five inhabited islands, as well as countless uninhabited spots. As well as the white-sand beaches and sub-tropical weather (it’s the only place in the UK where you’re pretty much guaranteed some winter sun!), you can visit the Tresco Abbey Gardens, sample lots of local food and visit deserted islands.

The Scilly Islands are a little pricier than some other spots in Cornwall, but they are such a unique place that are well worth visiting.

Where to stay on the Isles of Scilly

How to get there: You can fly to the Isles of Scilly from Newquay, Exeter or Lands End airport – or sail from Penzance Harbour.

The Best Cornwall Staycation Ideas!

If you’re planning a staycation in Cornwall, I hope that these ideas have helped! For more information check out my where to stay in Cornwall post, as well as the rest of my Cornwall articles.

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