From stunning beaches and great restaurants, to historic country mansions, these are the best places to visit in Cornwall.
Cornwall is one of England’s top holiday destinations for a reason! It has some of the country’s best beaches, great restaurants and a variety of things to do. Places like Newquay, Padstow and St Ives have been popular for a long time, but the whole county has experienced a boom since the pandemic hit.
All of a sudden, holidays in Spain were swapped for beach breaks in Cornish villages, and many discovered just how amazing this region is for travel.
Whether you’re interested in water sports, food, walking the South West Coast Path or history, there’s something for you in Cornwall. So, it’s time to dive into this pretty region in the south west of England, and share our favourite nine places to visit in Cornwall.
9 Amazing Places To Visit In Cornwall
There are only a few places in England that attract visitors purely for food… Whitstable, Ludlow, perhaps a few spots in the Lake District and Padstow in Cornwall.
This town is renowned for its food scene, with two of the biggest names in England’s culinary world, Paul Ainsworth and Rick Stein, owning restaurants here. It’s one of our favourite places to visit in Cornwall as it will always satisfy our stomachs. Tuck into the freshest fish and chips around at Stein’s chippy by the harbour, or book in for Michelin starred cuisine at Paul Ainsworth At No.6. You won’t be disappointed.
Padstow is filled with charm too, with its pretty harbour, candy-coloured houses and great views from the headland looking out to Rock. Be warned, it gets extremely busy in peak summer so our tip would be to visit in spring or autumn. You’ll still be able to enjoy lovely walks and great food, without the worries of finding parking or getting a reservation.
Read more: 13 Best Places To Eat In Padstow
If you’re looking for a cultural experience on your trip to Cornwall, you simply have to book tickets to a show at the Minack Theatre. This spectacular open-air granite amphitheatre is carved right into the cliffs above Porthcurno Beach. That means the backdrop to every show is the sea! It’s located just four miles from Land’s End and hosts over 200 live performances each year, including operas, plays and musicals.
One of the most popular towns in Cornwall, Newquay boasts some of the best surf in the country. No matter what the season or weather, if you head to Fistral Beach you’ll see some brave surfers catching some waves.
Newquay is a great option for family holidays as there is quite a lot to in the town. You could enjoy some beach time, try your hand at crazy golf, win in the arcades, relax in a cute café or explore the independent shops.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Newquay or the north coast of Cornwall, I’d recommend taking a look at Classic Cottages. From apartments by the beach to large houses with sea views, there’s something to fit every taste and budget.
Lanhydrock House and Garden
If your idea of a great day out is to wander around a spectacular National Trust property or some landscaped gardens, you simply have to book a ticket to Lanhydrock. The country house resembles an impressive castle and is set amongst 1,000 acres of woodland.
Read more: 8 National Trust Properties in Cornwall
Inside you can take a tour of dining rooms, a billiards room, regal bedrooms and kitchens and servants’ quarters. Meanwhile, head outside to see the vast landscaped gardens, which are famous for the herbaceous borders and tulip displays.
Lanhydrock House is located close to Bodmin, so you could combine your visit with a walk around Bodmin Moor (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) or visit the town’s famous jail.
If you’ve ever seen photos of Cornwall with bright blue water and intriguing rock formations, it was probably taken at Kynance Cove. This pretty spot on Cornwall’s south coast is just as beautiful as in the photos!
Time your visit for low tide and you’ll be able to wander along the pristine sand to see the rocks close up, as well as several caves and rock pools. This is another popular spot, so we’d recommend visiting first thing in the morning to beat the crowds.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
One of the best places to visit in Cornwall for those with green fingers, The Lost Gardens of Heligan cover 200 acres and are home to numerous plant species you won’t see elsewhere. The gardens are particularly famous for its collection of camellias, ferns and rhododendrons, and include areas including a sub-tropical jungle, crystal grotto and ancient woodlands.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are located a short drive from one of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages, Mevagissey, which also happens to be home to one of the county’s most famous model railways.
St Ives offers the best of Cornwall in one location. Love food? There are several great restaurants and pubs dotted throughout this quaint town. Enjoy art? Visit the Tate St Ives or the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden for a modern look at the world. Craving beach time? The sand here is some of the whitest in Cornwall.
This north Cornwall town also has plenty of beautiful coastal cottages and apartments to pick from. I’d recommend looking at the Morwenstow apartments – several stylish accommodation options all offering spectacular sea views over Porthminster beach, St Ives harbour and beyond.
This is also one of the prettiest parts of the South West Coast Path, so if you’re an avid walker you’ll be sure to enjoy lots of fresh sea air on your visit!
St Michael’s Mount
Fancy visiting a magical tidal island during your trip? St Michael’s Mount is one of our favourite places to visit in Cornwall as it’s so unique. You can reach the island by walking across the causeway at low tide.
Once there, head to the historic 12th century castle, explore the small village or grab a drink at the pub. There’s nowhere quite like it in England, so it’s one spot you just can’t miss!
This traditional fishing village has a minute centre laced with skinny streets and a small but perfect harbour. You might recognise it from TV series including Doc Martin and Poldark too. It has all the charm you’d expect from a Cornish seaside town, with ice cream stands, pasty stores and gift shops.
Along with Padstow, it’s one of the best places to visit in Cornwall for foodies. Top chef Nathan Outlaw has two restaurants in the village: Outlaw’s New Road and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. Both celebrate Cornwall’s fresh produce, so you know they’ll be worth visiting!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these amazing places to visit in Cornwall. If you’re planning your trip, definitely read our Cornwall road trip itinerary, 21 fun facts about Cornwall, the prettiest National Trust houses in Cornwall and the best places to eat in Padstow. We adore Cornwall so it’s one of the most written about counties on our site!