Cornwall is a British county like no other. Its breathtaking beaches, rugged moors, and tropical-looking islands are reminiscent of lands much further south, and its own unique culture and history are unlike that of anywhere else in England.
(In fact, the Cornish were granted minority status in 2014, and there is growing pressure to recognise the county on the same level as Wales and Scotland).
When you visit Cornwall, you’ll be spoilt for places to see and enjoy. In this post, I’ve collaborated with some other travel bloggers to bring you the best places to visit in Cornwall! Let’s take a look!
The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Cornwall
St Micheal’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount is located on the south coast of Cornwall in Mount’s Bay overlooking Penzance with views from the castle towards Lands End. Once a monastic abbey this small island and castle became a stately home in the 1700s when it was taken on by the St Aubyn family.
The island and castle can be reached from Marazion by a tidal causeway. The causeway is uncovered twice a day at low tide, and the walk across the freshly emerging path is awe-inspiring. At times when the causeway is covered, a boat will take visitors across to the island.
The island has its own village, which is now an information centre with a café and holiday cottages as well as the entrance to the castle grounds.
The castle grounds were landscaped in the 1700s and provide a lush and tropical feel to this rocky island. On the summit of the island is the castle that has developed and evolved over the years. Through every window, you can see the sea and imagine the life that has lived in this ancient building. The whole island feels like a world away from the busy fishing port of nearby Penzance.
By Suzanne from Meandering Wild
St. Ives is one of the prettiest and most popular seaside towns in Cornwall. It is located at the southwestern tip of England, in the district of Penwith. Its vibrant harbour, gorgeous beaches, artistic landmarks steeped in ancient charm, and cobbled streets supporting the town’s centre give its visitors many reasons to fall in love.
The Blue flag-recognised Porthmeor Beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, paddling or to just lounge on the soft sands. If you are looking for a quieter beach and more tropical scenery, you could head to Porthminster beach (another blue flag beach).
Enjoy some mesmerising views of St. Ives from St. Nicholas Chapel. With many cafés, pubs and restaurants, the town will serves your appetite well. Also, do not miss out the bustling picturesque harbour and Carbis Bay for great a sunset viewing point.
St. Ives can be conveniently reached through railways or air travel. A train journey to St. Ives is definitely one of Britain’s most scenic route which takes you through spectacular views of Cornwall’s coastline.
St Ives’s real charm, however, lies in the relaxed atmosphere, which together with its gloriously preserved medieval old centre and lakeside beaches, makes for an unforgettable romantic getaway.
By Anjali from Cheerful Trails
The iconic open-air theatre, The Minack Theatre, is based in Porthcurno on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in 1929 and performing in this idyllic location has been a dream of many.
Built with just basic hand tools, Rowena Cade and Billy Rawlings carved this incredible theatre into the side of the Porthcurno cliff. It was made from just concrete and sand, with the sand being carried up from the bay beneath.
The Tempest was the first play to be performed here, and the amphitheatre is still a working theatre to this day, welcoming thousands of visitors every single year. With such a magnificent backdrop, its no wonder!
Roads in Cornwall can become congested at times, so be sure to leave plenty of time to get here. I advise to ignore your SatNav and just stick to the A30, following the brown tourist signs. The car park is free for your visit.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a show, explore the subtropical gardens or appreciate the architectural masterpiece, The Minack Theatre is a must-visit on a visit to Cornwall.
By Kim from The Adventure To Me
Although Newquay might be synonymous with partying and nightlife in Cornwall, this northern Cornish town boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, with dramatic cliffs and scenery.
When heading out to Newquay, it is more than worth your while to research hidden coves and quiet little spots with great views.
One such beach or little cove is Whipsiderry Beach. Situated right next to the busy Porth Beach, this tiny cove is only accessible when the tide is out. Lined with purple granite rocks in which you can explore caves and rock pools, this little beach seems only to attract locals and hikers. Even when the tide is in, Whipsiderry Beach is a beautiful sight to behold.
As for other quiet or tucked away places in Newquay, you can check out the rowing club. This little harbour offers room to a mixture of large and small boats, sheltered by the cliffs and rocks from the unforgiving Atlantic waves.
Every summer food trucks and stalls set up pitch near the rowing club. You will have the most amazing view onto the harbour from the tables set out next to the water.
By Lieze from Glitter Rebel
If you’re looking for a surfer’s paradise, Perranporth in North Cornwall will tick all of your boxes. With three miles of golden sandy beach, some of the best surfing conditions in the country, and a bar ON the beach, the village of Perranporth is unique.
Aside from surfing, one of the best things to do in Perranporth is the Perranporth to St Agnes coastal walk, a 4.5 mile chunk of the massive South West Coast Path. This walk along the St Agnes Heritage Coast is breathtaking, and a great way to explore Cornish mining heritage.
Of course, what draws many visitors to Perranporth is the Watering Hole, a bar right on the beach. With live music, a laid back vibe and epic food, a visit here is an unmissable Cornwall bucket list experience.
Perranporth, unfortunately, doesn’t have its own train station, but it is just 8 miles away from Newquay, and buses run between the two towns. If you’re planning to stay for a while, you’ll be blown away by the vast variety of accommodation in Perranporth!
By Ella from Many More Maps
Lizard Point and the surrounding area of the Lizard Peninsular have a rugged natural quality that makes them one of the most beautiful places in Cornwall. In fact, the entire area of the Lizard Peninsula has not only been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but a Marine Conservation Zone.
The peninsula sits on a piece of land in southern Cornwall approx. 14 by 14 miles (23 km × 23 km) with Lizard Point at its most southerly tip, making it not only the most southerly point of Cornwall but the most southerly point of the United Kingdom.
The coastline surrounding Lizard Point is wild and rugged with jagged pieces of serpentine rocks jutting out to where the English Channel meets the Celtic Sea; and the cause of many shipwrecks over the centuries. The point is known as one of the best places to watch for seabirds and marine life and also has as a large range of plant and insect species, some of which can only be found on the peninsula.
To get to Lizard Point, drive to Helston then keep heading south till you run out of road!
By Susan from Thrifty after 50
Truro is Cornwall’s county town and only city and a great place to visit. Home to approximately 20,000 people, its residents are known as Truronians, which in itself is reason enough to want to live there!
When visiting Truro, the first stop on your itinerary should be the beautiful Truro Cathedral, the only Cathedral in Cornwall. Inside you can admire the colourful stained-glass windows, the impressive high altar and black ebony statue of Madonna and Child. As this is an active place of worship, please dress and behave respectfully. Visiting the Cathedral is free; however, donations are highly appreciated.
Another highlight in Truro is the Royal Cornwall Museum where you can learn about its mining and engineering heritage as well as admire local art. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 am until 4 pm*; admission is free.
Truro has a lovely city centre with several old buildings, lots of cafes and restaurants, and speciality shops. Take a stroll in the downtown area, buy yourself a souvenir or two or enjoy a high tea at or enjoy an afternoon tea at Charlotte’s Tea House, one of Truro’s lovely Cornish tea rooms.
By Lotte from Beste voor Kids
About 20 minutes drive from Newquay are the delightful Bedruthan Steps, which are a must-visit when touring the northern Cornish coastline. These natural rock stacks and stumps punctuate the sapphire sea; it’s one of those moments where you’ll think “am I really at the British sea side?!”.
There isn’t much around Bedruthan Steps, but it’s easy to take a walk along the clifftop and marvel at the view. There are some steps to the bottom, where there is a small cave, but at the moment these are shut.
Nonetheless, stopping here is a must-do if you’re driving around anywhere near Newquay!
Recommended by me!
Cornwall’s Most Beautiful Places…
I’ll add to this list as I uncover some more beautiful places to visit in Cornwall (despite spending a lot of my childhood there, I haven’t seen all that much in my adult life, but this is going to change soon!). Hopefully this list is enough to get you started on your Cornwall exploration. Check back for more posts!