Cornwall is a land of enchanting landscapes, picturesque villages and stunning coastlines. From rugged cliffs to sandy beaches, there’s something for everyone in this corner of England. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Cornwall will not disappoint! So if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful county but don’t know where to start, fear not! We’ve compiled an ultimate list of things to do in Cornwall that will make your visit one to remember. So be ready for the trip of a lifetime and pack your luggage!
Things to do in Cornwall in the rain
- Visit the Eden Project: A large indoor botanical garden with two biomes that offer shelter from the rain.
- Explore indoor attractions like the Tate St Ives art gallery, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, or the Bodmin Jail.
- Go on a food tour or visit a local brewery or distillery for tastings.
- Take a dip in one of Cornwall’s indoor swimming pools, such as the Jubilee Pool in Penzance.
Things to do in Cornwall in January
- Attend the Padstow Christmas Festival, a popular annual event featuring food, drink, and live music.
- Take a walk along the coast and watch the waves crash against the shore.
- Visit the Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre with stunning views of the sea.
- Explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which are open year-round.
Things to do in Cornwall in March
- Visit the Falmouth Spring Festival, which includes a parade, live music, and a flower show.
- Take a guided walk to see the blooming daffodils and other spring flowers.
- Go on a fishing trip or try your hand at sea fishing from one of Cornwall’s beaches or harbours.
- Visit the St Piran’s Day celebrations, a cultural event that honours the patron saint of Cornwall.
Things to do in Cornwall in April
- Attend the Porthleven Food Festival, a popular event showcasing local food and drink.
- Explore the Cornish countryside on a cycling tour.
- Visit the Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur, and walk along the coastal path.
- Take a dip in one of Cornwall’s outdoor heated swimming pools, such as the Art Deco lido in Penzance.
Things to do in Cornwall in May
- Visit the St Ives Food and Drink Festival, which celebrates local food and drink producers.
- Take a walk along the South West Coast Path and enjoy the spring flowers and sea views.
- Visit the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, which features talks, workshops, and performances.
- Explore the Minack Theatre and see a play in the open air.
Things to do in Cornwall in Winter
- Take a coastal walk and enjoy the dramatic winter scenery.
- Visit the Mousehole Christmas Lights, a festive display of lights and decorations.
- Explore the National Trust properties, such as Lanhydrock House and Gardens or Trelissick Garden.
- Take a dip in one of Cornwall’s hot tubs or spas, such as the Scarlet Hotel’s outdoor wood-fired hot tubs.
Things to do in Cornwall in Summer
- Visit one of Cornwall’s many beaches and enjoy swimming, surfing, or sunbathing.
- Take a boat trip and explore the coastline from the sea.
- Attend one of Cornwall’s many outdoor music festivals, such as the Boardmasters Festival in Newquay.
- Visit the Lostfest, a family-friendly arts and crafts festival in Lostwithiel.
Things to do in Cornwall in Spring
- Visit the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and see the spring flowers and sculptures.
- Go on a cycling tour and explore the Cornish countryside.
- Visit the Porthleven Harbour Festival, which includes food, drink, and live music.
- Take a guided tour of one of Cornwall’s many historic sites, such as St Mawes Castle or Pendennis Castle.
The Best Things to Do in Cornwall – Get Ready to Fall in Love
Best Outdoor Activities Places in Cornwall
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan: These restored gardens near St Austell offer a range of outdoor activities, including woodland walks, a rope bridge, and a wild play area for children. The gardens were once one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cornwall but fell into disrepair after being neglected for many years. However, thanks to a major restoration project which began in the 1990s, the gardens are now back to their former glory and are well worth a visit.
There are plenty of things to see and do at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, making it a great place to spend a day out with the family. Kids will love exploring the wild play area, which is full of natural obstacles for them to clamber over and under. There’s also a rope bridge which spans a small stream – perfect for little adventurers!
For those who prefer to take things at a slower pace, there are plenty of peaceful woodland walks to enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you stroll through the different gardens – you might even spot some rare species of plant life.
Whether you’re looking for an active day out or a relaxed stroll in beautiful surroundings, the Lost Gardens of Heligan are sure to please.
Gyllyngvase Beach is one of Cornwall’s most popular beaches, and it’s easy to see why. The Blue Flag beach is perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking, and there are several cafes and restaurants nearby. Gyllyngvase is also a great place to relax and take in the stunning views of Falmouth Bay.
Camel Valley Vineyard
Camel Valley Vineyard is an award-winning vineyard near Bodmin that offers tours and tastings, as well as stunning views of the countryside. The vineyard produces a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines, and visitors can tour the facilities to learn about the winemaking process. The vineyard also has the best restaurant and shop, and visitors can purchase wine to take home with them.
Mount Edgcumbe Country Park
Mount Edgcumbe Country Park is a historic park located on the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall, England. The park covers 865 acres of land and includes woodland, gardens, and a coastline. There are a variety of outdoor activities available at the park, such as cycling, boating, and archery.
Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum tells the story of how telegraph cables were laid across the ocean floor. The museum has a range of outdoor exhibits and activities for all ages, including a cable-laying simulator and a replica of an early telegraph station.
Historical Sites to Explore in Cornwall
If you’re interested in exploring the dark side of Cornwall’s history, then a visit to Bodmin Jail is a must. This 18th-century prison was once the county’s main jail, and it housed some of the most notorious criminals in Cornwall. Today, the jail has been converted into a museum that showcases the history of crime and punishment in Cornwall. Visitors can explore the different cells and see how prisoners were once treated. There is also an exhibit on famous criminals who were jailed here, such as serial killer John Bodkin Adams.
One of Cornwall’s most visited historical attractions is Tintagel Castle. The castle is steeped in Arthurian legend and is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur. The ruins of the castle date back to the 13th century and offer stunning views of the coastline. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle, which include a great hall, chapel, and towers.
Geevor Tin Mine
Geevor Tin Mine is a former tin mine that has been converted into a museum. The museum offers a glimpse into Cornwall’s industrial past and visitors can take guided tours of the mine. The tours offer an insight into the history of mining in the region and how it has shaped Cornwall.
St. Michael’s Mount
This is a small tidal island located off the coast of Cornwall. The island is home to a medieval castle and church, which can be accessed via a causeway at low tide. Once you cross the causeway, you’ll enter into an enchanting world where time seems to stand still. Stroll around the castle grounds, explore the quaint little church, and take in the stunning views of the Cornish coastline. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some seals basking on the rocks!
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan: These gardens were once abandoned but have since been restored to their former glory. Visitors can explore the gardens and see a variety of rare and exotic plants. The gardens are a must-see for any visitor to Cornwall, and provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Spiritual and Religious Sites to Visit in Cornwall
St. Just in Penwith Church
The church of St. Just in Penwith is a beautiful 15th-century building, located in the town of St. Just. The church is known for its impressive collection of Celtic crosses, many of which date back to the 6th century. The crosses are a testimony to the early Christian presence in Cornwall, and the church itself is a wonderful example of medieval architecture.
St. Piran’s Oratory
The ancient Christian site of St. Piran’s Oratory is located near Perranporth in Cornwall, England. The oratory is said to date back to the 6th century, making it the oldest Christian church in Britain. St. Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and the oratory is a popular destination for pilgrims seeking his blessing. The oratory is a small, simple structure built of stone with a thatched roof. It sits on a hill overlooking the sea, surrounded by beautiful Cornish countryside. Visitors can explore the site and learn about its history, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and stunning views.
Truro Cathedral is a stunning Gothic cathedral located in Cornwall, England. The cathedral was completed in 1910 and is the only cathedral in Cornwall. The cathedral features beautiful Gothic architecture and is home to a thriving choir. The cathedral hosts numerous concerts and events throughout the year.
St. Michael’s Mount
St. Michael’s Mount is a small island off the coast of Cornwall, England. Castle and a mediaeval church are located on the island. Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared on the island, giving it its name. The island is accessible by foot at low tide or by boat at high tide.
The church on St. Michael’s Mount dates back to the 12th century. The castle was built in the 14th century and is now a museum. Visitors can explore the castle, visit the church, and enjoy views of the surrounding coastline from the mountaintop.
The Holy Well and Chapel of St. Nonna
The Holy Well and Chapel of St. Nonna is located near the village of Altarnun in Cornwall, England. The site is dedicated to St. Nonna, the mother of St. David, the patron saint of Wales. The well is said to have healing properties and the chapel dates back to the 12th century.
The holy well is a natural spring that has been used by pilgrims for centuries. The water is said to have healing properties and people often leave offerings at the well. The St. Michael’s Mount church has been there since the 12th century. It is worth visiting just for the architecture alone!
If you are interested in spiritual or religious sites, then the Holy Well and Chapel of St. Nonna are definitely worth a visit. Even if you are not particularly religious, the history and beauty of this site make it worth a trip.
Wildlife and Nature Experiences Places in Cornwall
The Helford River is a beautiful estuary located on the south coast of Cornwall. It is home to many species of wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, and herons. The views of the surrounding countryside are simply stunning, and there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching and nature photography.
If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural setting to explore on foot, look no further than Golitha Falls. This beautiful woodland area is located on the edge of Bodmin Moor and is home to a series of cascading waterfalls. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful walk or picnic with family and friends.
Golitha Falls is well-known for its variety of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of animals as you wander through the woods. In addition to being a lovely spot for a leisurely stroll, Golitha Falls is also popular with photographers and painters who are looking to capture its natural beauty on canvas or in film.
Whether you’re looking to soak up some peace and quiet or get in touch with nature, Golitha Falls is definitely worth a visit.
Tintagel Castle is a historic site located on the rugged coast of North Cornwall. It is believed to be the birthplace of King Arthur and is surrounded by stunning views of the sea and rugged cliffs. The castle has a long and rich history, dating back to the 12th century when it was first built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Over the centuries, the castle has been extended and added to, with many different rulers adding their own unique touches. Today, Tintagel Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall and receives thousands of visitors each year.
The castle itself is situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, with commanding views of the coastline. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle, including the Great Hall, which would have once been used for feasts and celebrations. There are also several interesting artefacts on display, including a model of Tintagel Castle as it would have looked in its heyday.
Outside of the castle ruins, there are plenty of other things to see and do at Tintagel Castle. The surrounding area is full of natural beauty, with cliff-top walks offering stunning views out to sea. There are also several beaches nearby, perfect for a refreshing swim or a spot of sunbathing. With so much to see and do, Tintagel Castle is an ideal day out for all the family.
Festivals and Events in Cornwall
Falmouth Oyster Festival
The Falmouth Oyster Festival is a celebration of the humble oyster and is held every October. The festival features cooking demonstrations, food stalls, and plenty of oysters to try. There is also a competition to find the best-dressed oyster, as well as an oyster eating contest.
St. Piran’s Day
St. Piran’s Day is a celebration of the patron saint of Cornwall, held on March 5th. The day typically involves parades, music, dancing, and plenty of Cornish pasties. This year’s celebrations will be particularly special as they coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Saint’s death.
Royal Cornwall Show
The Royal Cornwall Show is an agricultural show held in June, showcasing the best of Cornwall’s farming and agricultural industries. The show attracts over 130,000 visitors each year, making it one of the largest shows in the UK. Visitors can expect to see a wide range of animals on display, as well as a variety of stalls selling local produce. There is also a large entertainment programme, with live music and demonstrations taking place throughout the three-day event.
The Boardmasters Festival is a music festival held on Fistral Beach in Newquay in August. The festival features a variety of music acts, surfing competitions, and more. The Boardmasters Festival was first held in 1981 and has been held annually since then. The festival is one of the largest surf festivals in the world and attracts over 60,000 people each year.
Newlyn Fish Festival
The Newlyn Fish Festival is a celebration of Cornwall’s fishing industry, held every August in the picturesque fishing village of Newlyn. The festival features cooking demonstrations, fishing displays, and plenty of fresh seafood for visitors to enjoy. There is also a wide range of stalls selling local produce, crafts, and souvenirs. The festival provides a great opportunity to learn about Cornwall’s rich maritime history and culture and to sample some of the delicious seafood that the region has to offer.
Shopping and Markets in Cornwall
Newquay Indoor Market
The Newquay Indoor Market is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs from your trip to Cornwall. Open year-round, the market offers a range of local crafts, clothing, and gifts. You’ll definitely be able to satisfy everyone on your list!
Wadebridge Country Market
If you’re looking for fresh, local produce, then the Wadebridge Country Market is the place to go. Held every Thursday, this market offers a great range of fruit and vegetables, bread, and cakes. You’ll also find a selection of handmade crafts and gifts.
Pannier Market in Bude
The Pannier Market in Bude is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs from your trip to Cornwall. Local artisans and crafters sell everything from handmade jewellery to traditional Cornish clothing. The market is open year-round, so you can always find something new and interesting on your next visit.
Lemon Street Market in Truro
Lemon Street Market is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Truro. The historic building has been transformed into a modern shopping destination, with a mix of independent boutiques, cafes, and art galleries. The market is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, and there is something for everyone to enjoy.
When you first enter Lemon Street Market, you’ll be greeted by the sights and sounds of a bustling marketplace. There are several stalls at the market selling everything from handcrafted jewellery to fresh fruit. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, so you can refuel before exploring the rest of the market.
As you walk through the market, you’ll find that each stall has its own unique style. You can find everything from traditional Cornish goods to contemporary fashion and design. There are also plenty of opportunities to support local businesses, as many of the stallholders are independent traders.
At the end of your visit to Lemon Street Market, make sure to stop by one of the art galleries or cafes. These businesses add an extra layer of charm to the market, and they’re perfect for relaxing after a day of shopping.
If you’re looking for fresh, local produce, arts, and crafts, then you’ll want to check out the Truro Market. This indoor market is open year-round and offers a great selection of goods from Cornwall. You’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade jewelry and pottery. And since it’s indoors, you can shop no matter what the weather is like outside.
Adventure Activity places in Cornwall
Coasteering at St. Ives
Coasteering at St. Ives is an activity that will get your adrenaline pumping. You’ll explore the coastline by swimming, scrambling, and jumping off cliffs. The clear blue waters and rugged coastline make St. Ives a great place to try coasteering.
Kayaking at Fowey
Kayaking at Fowey is an unforgettable experience. Paddle through tranquil waters and take in the stunning scenery, including quaint fishing villages and beautiful beaches. You may even spot some dolphins!
Zip lining at the Eden Project
Soar over the top of the Eden Project’s rainforest and Mediterranean biomes on a zip-wire adventure like no other. The views of the surrounding Cornish countryside are breathtaking, and you’ll get an adrenaline rush like never before.
If you’re looking for an adventure that will really get your heart racing, zip lining at the Eden Project is a must-do. You’ll be securely attached to a harness as you zoom down a steel wire, reaching speeds of up to 40mph. There are two different courses to choose from, each with its own set of challenges.
The Jungle Line takes you on a journey through the rainforest biome, with eight different zip wires to navigate. The longest stretch is over 200m long, so you’ll really get a sense of how high up you are. This course is suitable for ages 10+.
The Skywire is the UK’s longest zip wire, measuring in at over 500m long! This exhilarating ride starts at 60m above ground, so you can expect some seriously stunning views. This course is suitable for ages 16+.
Zip lining at the Eden Project is the perfect activity for thrillseekers looking for an unforgettable experience.
Rock climbing at Bosigran
Bosigran is a great spot for rock climbing in Cornwall, with its granite cliffs and sea views. The challenging and rewarding climbing experience is perfect for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush. There are a variety of routes to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, Bosigran is sure to offer a challenge. So why not give it a go? You might even surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it!
Surfing at Fistral Beach
Fistral Beach in Newquay is one of the best places in Cornwall for surfing. With its consistent waves and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that it’s a popular spot for surfers of all levels. The beach is also great for beginners, as there are plenty of lessons and rentals available.
Food and Drink Experiences in Cornwall
The Hidden Hut
The Hidden Hut is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends or family. This beachside cafe in Portscatho offers delicious wood-fired dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. They offer a communal dining experience with long tables, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with friends or family.
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy fresh seafood while taking in stunning views of the harbour. The menu features a variety of lobster, crab, and mussels dishes that are sure to satisfy your seafood cravings. Whether you’re looking for a light lunch or a hearty dinner, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant has something for everyone.
Camel Valley Vineyard
Camel Valley Vineyard is one of the most popular food and drink experiences in Cornwall. This award-winning vineyard in Bodmin produces some of the best sparkling wines in the UK, and visitors can take a tour of the vineyard to learn about the production process. A tasting of their delicious wines is included in the price of the tour, and Camel Valley also offers a range of wine-based foods and gifts for purchase.
Porthminster Beach Cafe
Porthminster Beach Cafe is a beachfront restaurant in St. Ives that offers modern British cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood. The menu features dishes like Cornish crab linguine and roasted monkfish, and the outdoor terrace provides stunning views of the sea. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list and a selection of local beers.
If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver, then you’ll want to check out his restaurant Fifteen Cornwall. Located in Watergate Bay, this eatery serves up Italian-inspired dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Not only is the food delicious, but a portion of the profits go towards the Fifteen Foundation, which helps disadvantaged young people. So when you dine here, you’re not only treating your taste buds but also doing a good deed.
Hidden Gems and Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions in Cornwall
St. Nectan’s Glen
If you’re looking for a peaceful and beautiful spot to relax in Cornwall, look no further than St. Nectan’s Glen. This hidden gem is located in a wooded valley near Tintagel and is home to a gorgeous waterfall with reputed healing properties. Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life or simply enjoy some time surrounded by nature, the ideal location is St. Nectan’s Glen.
Bodmin Moor is a wild and rugged landscape that is perfect for walking and exploring. It’s home to ancient monuments, standing stones, and abandoned tin mines, as well as plenty of wildlife.
There are plenty of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions in Cornwall, and Bodmin Moor is definitely one of them. This unique landscape is full of history and intrigue, and there’s so much to see and do. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, Bodmin Moor is the perfect place to explore. You might even see some of the local wildlife if you’re lucky!
The Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre is an outdoor theatre carved into the cliffs above Porthcurno Beach. It was built by one woman, Rowena Cade, in the 1930s and is still in use today. The theatre has been used for a variety of performances over the years, including plays, musicals, operas, and even ballets. The unique setting of the theatre, with its stunning views of the ocean, makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
Geevor Tin Mine
Geevor Tin Mine is a former tin mine that has been turned into a museum. Visitors can explore the mine and learn about the history of mining in Cornwall. The museum is located in Penzance, Cornwall, England.
Kynance Cove is a hidden gem in Cornwall that is well worth the effort to get to. The turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs make it a stunning beach that is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea. There are plenty of opportunities for exploring the area, including hiking and rock climbing.
Cornwall is a beautiful and diverse region with plenty to explore. Whether you are looking for stunning beaches, incredible wildlife spots or amazing historical sites, there truly is something for everyone in this part of England. From the Eden Project to the Cornish Coast Path and beyond, Cornwall has an abundance of activities for travellers to enjoy. With so much on offer, it can be quite overwhelming trying to figure out what things to do in Cornwall – but we hope our list has given you some great ideas on ways to make your trip even more unforgettable!