Lizard Peninsula

Things to do in Cornwall

The pull of this sunny South West holiday hotspot is hard to resist. Cornwall is famous for many things from surfing and golden sand beaches to timeless fishing villages and stunning TV filming locations.

Whether you want to tick off iconic landmarks or wander off-the-beaten-track, here are some of our best suggestions for things to do in Cornwall.

You may also enjoy our best places to visit in Cornwall article.

Sunset over the sea at Fistral Beach

Hit the best Cornish beaches

For most people, the number one thing to do on holiday in Cornwall is soak up the sun on the coast. Blessed with beaches galore, those that love the sand or like to surf will not be disappointed.

There are many to choose between, from secluded spots to family-friendly stretches.  The famous Fistral Beach is one of the best seafronts for surfing in Europe and Watergate Bay, with its array of surf schools, is also ideal for chasing those Atlantic waves.

For white sand and turquoise waters, Kynance Cove will steal your heart, and Perranporth Beach is the perfect pitstop for a summer picnic on golden sands.

A sunny beach in St Ives, Cornwall

Get artistic in St Ives

St Ives is a delightful seaside location with its charming book shops and trinket stores, as well as ice cream parlours and pasty shops. The bohemian feel of the town is complemented by a beautiful bay, although the beach can get very busy during peak season in July and August.

The relaxed character of St Ives makes it a haven for artistic types, too. The Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden are must-sees for any culture vultures. It’s easy to understand why painters flock here to depict the scenic shoreline, so if you feel inspired, why not pack a sketchpad or some watercolours and find your inner artist?

walled garden at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Gardens galore

The Cornish climate means that not only is the county an excellent choice for all things beach related, but the conditions are ideal for an array of plants, including rare and tropical species, to thrive.

Pick and choose from a range of stately and botanical gardens. We like the lush, green Lost Gardens of Heligan, which hosts lots of events, including outdoor plays and wildlife walks. Plus, there’s the Eden Project – read on.

the domes at the Eden Project

The Eden Project

One of Cornwall’s most famous attractions is the Eden Project. This eco-friendly and educational centre houses a mix of outdoor gardens, activities, sculptures, a rainforest canopy walkway and the iconic indoor biomes that nurture a huge variety of plants, with different species blooming across the year.

An oasis from the outside world, there’s enough here to keep the whole family occupied for a full day and when it’s time to eat there’s a large dining area with dishes created from seasonal produce and local ingredients.

Minack Theatre overlooking the sea in Cornwall

The Minack Theatre

Enjoy a trip to an outdoor theatre on your summer holiday in Cornwall. The county’s glorious summer weather means that the Minack Theatre is a thriving tourist attraction.

The open-air, clifftop venue is a real treat for both daytime and evening shows. Close to Land’s End, the theatre overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and puts on a show for everyone – whether you want to watch Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, catch a music concert or book a nighttime guided tour.

Lizard Peninsula

Lovely landmarks

Cornwall is vast. So rather than trying to squeeze everything in during one stay, consider basing yourself in an area suited to what you’d like to see.

How about booking your luxury Cornish cottage close to one of the most iconic landmarks? There’s Land’s End, England’s westernmost point, or The Lizard, the most southerly point of the UK. Meanwhile, St Michael’s Mount and its castle and causeway that’s cut off by the tide is a must-see if you like history, or there’s the mythical giant’s Bedruthan Steps too.

Port Isaac

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

If you’re an animal lover, make sure to call in at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Situated on the banks of the Helford River, the charity centre rescues and rehabilitates adorable seal pups from across the Cornwall coastline.

This is perfect for travellers that want to revel in Cornwall’s weather while helping preserve the environment and giving something back. By buying tickets to the seal centre you get the chance to see marine life, such as sea lions, seals and penguins, up close without doing any damage to the local habitat and sea-dwelling residents.

Padstow Harbour

Port Isaac to Padstow

Whether or not you’re a fan of ITV’s TV series Doc Martin, the charming fishing village of Port Isaac is a dreamy place to visit. With its winding streets and white-washed cottages, this is quintessential Cornwall at its finest.

Pair windswept coastal walks and idyllic boat trips with a leisurely drive to nearby Padstow. Roughly half an hour away, the Padstow promenade and harbour offer seasonal opportunities to view puffins, dolphins and basking sharks. You can even see lobsters being reared and prepared for release into the wild at the National Lobster Hatchery.

road bridge to Tintagel Island

Tintagel Castle

A medieval fort on Tintagel Island, this gorgeous location in northern Cornwall is rumoured to have its roots in the Roman era. Visitors stop for the ruins but stay for the mesmerising views. Cliffs, sea and lots of history: this makes for an imagination-stoking addition to your itinerary.

The remains of Bodmin Prison in Cornwall

Bodmin Jail

One for those who enjoy learning about history that’s a little bit darker, Bodmin Jail provides an atmospheric day out. A visit here pairs well with a longer trip to the beautiful and haunting Bodmin Moor, which this former prison sits on the edge of. Built in 1779, you can visit the ruins and if you wish, take a guided tour or a ghost walk.

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If you have any questions about any of our cottages or if you’d like some help with your booking, you are very welcome to get in touch with us.

We are always happy to help and go out of our way to tailor your perfect UK holiday.

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