best area to stay in cornwall

17 Best Area to Stay in Cornwall for 2022 (Personal Experience!)

Planning to visit Cornwall soon and looking for the best area to stay in Cornwall? Cornwall as a county is incredibly scenic that there isn’t any one best area really!

However, depending on your personal preferences and travel inclinations, you and your travel companions may prefer one area over another.

So to make your travels easier, I’m sharing my take on the 17 best area to stay in Cornwall depending on what your likes and travel aims are. 

If you’re still on the fence about booking a trip to Cornwall, here’s hoping this article will help show you that there’s so much out there for you in the beautiful county of Cornwall.

No pressure but the Visit Cornwall tourism body has also reminded visitors to book their holidays early because bookings. are. piling. up.  

Ready to find out more? Here we go! 

1. Bodmin – Best Area In Cornwall To Stay If You Love History

2. Bude – Best Place To Stay In Cornwall As A Base 

3. Falmouth – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Maritime Maniacs 

4. Fowey  – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Enjoy Wildlife 

5. Helston – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For A Coastal Getaway 

6. Launceston – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Play Golf 

7. Looe – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Holidaygoers 

8. Mawgan Porth – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Want A Tranquil Escape 

9. Newquay – Best Area To Stay in Cornwall For Surfers And Paddleboarders 

10. Penzance – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Chasing Views

11. Padstow – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Families

12. Port Issac – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Enjoy Coastal Walks 

13. Marazion – Romantic Place To Stay In Cornwall 

14. St Austell – Best Location To Stay In Cornwall For Old-School Charm

15. St Ives – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For The First Time Tourists 

16. Tintagel –  Best Town To Stay In Cornwall For The History Lovers

17. Truro –   Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For The City Dwellers at Heart 

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17 Best Area To Stay In Cornwall

1. Bodmin – Best Area In Cornwall To Stay If You Love History

There are many amazing places to stay in Cornwall, but Bodmin’s the place to go if you appreciate your history as it’s home to the heritage site of the Carnglaze Slate Caverns and Woodland Garden and houses two museums – the Town Museum and Cornwall’s Regimental Museum. 

Aside from history, Bodmin has a lot of natural beauty and is home to sites such as the Bodmin Moor and the Camel Trail, an 18-mile traffic sparse multi-use trail where one can walk, cycle or ride horses.  

2. Bude – Best Place To Stay In Cornwall As A Base 

best area to stay in cornwall bude
Photo Credit: Friends of Bude Sea Pool 

Bude is an excellent spot to stay if you intend to travel between Devon and Cornwall. The tourist town of Bude has sandy beaches, the Bude Sea Pool, and many amenities that you would expect of a popular seaside town. 

best area to stay in cornwall falmouth

3. Falmouth – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Maritime Maniacs 

If you’re into maritime and naval history then staying in Falmouth is your best bet because Falmouth is home to the National Maritime Museum and also houses the world’s third-largest harbour, the Falmouth Harbour.  

best places to stay in cornwall falmouth harbour
Photo Credit: Falmouth Harbour 

Aside from maritime, Falmouth is also an excellent spot for learning about English castles and heritage starting from the Pendennis Castle

4. Fowey  – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Enjoy Wildlife 

best area to stay in cornwall fowey

Fowey is one of the best places to stay in Cornwall if you love spotting wildlife and long walks by the coast. Home to the River Fowey which was named an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, Fowey is every nature lover’s dream come true. 


If you’re also a fan of medieval buildings and architecture, Fowey is home to two castles – St Catherine’s Castle and the Restormel Castle

5. Helston – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For A Coastal Getaway 

best area to stay in cornwall helston

Stay in Helston if you want to visit coastal locations like Porthleven, The Lizard, and Kynance Cove as these areas are a short drive outside of Helston. Helston is often used as a base to visit the Lizard Peninsula, which is so named because its name comes from the old Cornish word “Lis-ardh” which means “fortress”.

In general, Helston is a small town with friendly vibes and also houses several historical attractions within its traditional setting, and offers both a historical and seaside charm. 

6. Launceston – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Play Golf 

best area to stay in cornwall launceston
Photo Credit: Launceston Castle

Launceston is an ancient capital and is home to many independent shops, cafes, and historical buildings. In Launceston, you can also catch glimpses of traditional architecture all around and also at Launceston Castle

If you play golf, Launceston also has a variety of golf courses for all levels, such as the Launceston Gold Club  – all set against the stunning backdrop of the Cornish countryside. 

7. Looe – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Holidaygoers 

best area to stay in cornwall looe

Surrounded by some of the best beaches like East Looe Beach, Plaidy Beach, and Seaton Beach, and also a river – the River Looe, Looe is an ideal spot to visit for those who want an idyllic waterside retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

8. Mawgan Porth – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Want A Tranquil Escape 

In between the busy Newquay and the fishing village of Padstow lies a hidden gem of a spot called Mawgan Porth. It’s not as popular a spot, but it is one of the best parts of Cornwall to stay as it provides a good go-between of the vastly different places Cornwall has to offer. 

It is surrounded by stunning seaside locations such as Mawgan Porth Beach, Cenewas, and Bedruthan Steps. Those looking to stay in this area can choose to stay in a fancy holiday cottage like Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages or at a beach retreat

9. Newquay – Best Area To Stay in Cornwall For Surfers And Paddleboarders 

Known for its wide range of surfing and paddling spots, Newquay is an extremely popular and one of the best area to stay in Cornwall if you don’t mind the crowd and busy atmosphere that comes with the popularity of the seaside town. 

best area to stayin cornwall newquay

Some of the beaches to definitely check out include Fistral Beach, Watergate Beach, and Western Beach. For more details on paddleboarding in Cornwall, I’ve also talked about it in another entry here! 

10. Penzance – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Chasing Views

Penzance is a curious old town with a mix of winding back streets, coastal locations, and also high-end independent boutiques. Many people use Penzance as a stepping stone to visit the two popular spots of Land’s End and St Michael’s Mount.

11. Padstow – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Families

Most people who visit Cornwall would have heard of or have Padstow at some point in their itinerary as Padstow is one of the best towns to stay in Cornwall. The Padstow Harbour is a charming location and is a must-see – visit some of the cafes and restaurants along the harbour while you’re there. 

best area to stay in cornwall padstow

With its easy harbour access, you can also take the Black Tor Ferry out to the nearby island of Rock where you can try a new watersport or two. 

12. Port Isaac – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For Those Who Enjoy Coastal Walks 

port isaac cornwall

Stay at Port Isaac if you have a thing for harbours, historical buildings, and quaint cobbled streets. Port Isaac is a charming fishing village that is also lined by some of the most scenic coasts and would be an excellent stay of choice if you enjoy being by the waterside or the coast. 

13. Marazion – Romantic Place To Stay In Cornwall 

Marazion is a small Cornish town that is an interesting blend between a city and an old town. Located just 15 miles from the popular tourist spot Land’s End, it houses a very small population of fewer than 2,000 people and has a quiet charm to it. 

Its picturesque cottages that lined its cobbled streets had Daily Mail even naming it one of the prettiest towns in England. It’s little to no wonder that this is one of the best places to stay in Cornwall for couples, away from the likes of families on a weekend getaway and boisterous tourists.

14. St Austell – Best Location To Stay In Cornwall For Old-School Charm

St Austell is an old market town with a vibrant architectural and agricultural charm. Those looking to visit St Austell will find a good mix of historical attractions and trendy new locations. 

st austell the eden project
Photo Credit: The Eden Project 

St Austell is also home to Cornwall’s famous Eden Project, which is the largest indoor rainforest in the world. Another green spot worth a visit in St Austell is the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a sheer 200 acres of garden history, mystery, and romance that was restored after it was ruined in World War I. 

15. St Ives – Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For The First Time Tourists 

st ives cornwall

St Ives is one of the best towns in Cornwall to be at if you’re a first-time visitor if not the best town to be in, with its beginnings as an old Cornish fishing port. In recent years, it’s shed some of its old town charms as more tourists arrived at this fishing town, but it still has an undeniable allure.

St Ives is a good branching point to head to many Cornish attractions such as the Tate St Ives and St Michael’s Mount

16. Tintagel –  Best Town To Stay In Cornwall For The History Lovers

Think Tintagel and Tintagel Castle immediately come to mind. Home to the historic site, Tintagel is known for both its rich history and rugged seaside cliffs. You’ll get your share of scenic land locations as well as sea views should you decide to stay in Tintagel. 

17. Truro –   Best Area To Stay In Cornwall For The City Dwellers at Heart 

Last but most certainly not least, there’s Truro, the UK’s most southerly city which is really for city dwellers at heart who want the countryside and coastal charms of Cornwall, but also want the familiarity of the vibrant city life. 

There’s really never a dull moment in Truro, as you can find a good mix of retail, culture, festivals, and events within the city. 

What Is Cornwall Known For?

Surrounded by the coast, it’s no surprise when you ask the locals what Cornwall is known for, they’ll tell you it’s their world-famous beaches which draw hoards of surfers, paddlers, and tourists every year from the United Kingdom and all over the world. 

Visiting Cornwall For The First Time

When you visit Cornwall for the first time, you’ll realize that the westerly county, which is about 3,500 km² is a lot bigger than you anticipated. Most first-time visitors to Cornwall visit for about a week and move bases throughout their stay to fully enjoy what Cornwall has to offer. 

The other thing to take note of is traveling within and to Cornwall is convenient by train – there are train services that connect major UK cities with Truro. 

Things To Do in Cornwall

You’re in Cornwall for a week and you don’t know where to start when it comes to things to do in Cornwall? I’ve got you covered! 

things to do in cornwall

Here are some top Cornish highlights for your itinerary: 

  • Kayaking or Paddling 

With its many beaches, apart from just sunbathing or visiting a beachside restaurant, why not go on the water and get a glimpse of Cornwall from the sea through paddling or kayaking? 

An open-air theatre carved into a massive rock and opens out into the sea. Performances are still ongoing there. 

As named, it is the endpoint of the county before the Atlantic Ocean. Land’s End promises scenic cliffside views and a stunning sunset, if the clouds hold up that is.

A St Ives outpost of the Tate captures St Ives’ history as a town for artistic souls. 

A standalone rocky island that visitors can walk to from the mainland at low tide. It houses a castle, a chapel, and some gardens. 

Prettiest Place In Cornwall

Cornwall is home to many pretty places and it is hard to pick the prettiest, but in general Land’s End and St Michael’s Mount are popular spots known for their beauty among locals and tourists. 

frequently asked questions cornwall

FAQs

What is the best town to stay in Cornwall?

Our top five favourites are Bodmin, Newquay, Penzance, St Ives, and Truro, but really every town in Cornwall that we’ve featured here are worth a visit! Now you’ve already read the article which tells you what is the best town to stay in Cornwall – all seventeen areas. 

Which is the nicest part of Cornwall?

Cornwall has many nice and beautiful places but if you are pressed for time and want a good pulse on what Cornwall has to offer, the areas of Penzance, St Ives, Helford River, and St. Michael’s Mount provide a good overview of Cornwall. 

Where should I stay in Cornwall for the first time?

If you’re wondering, where should I stay in Cornwall for the first time, the unanimous answer among locals seems to be St Ives. It has a good mix of beaches, sightseeing spots, and art locations, making it an extremely popular spot for those who are visiting for the first time or returning. 

However, if you do want to go to St Ives as your first spot in Cornwall, do try your best to opt for public transport instead as driving around there can be quite a hassle! 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve had a comprehensive look into some of the best area to stay in Cornwall, I hope this better helps you plan for your upcoming trip to the stunning English county!

Cornwall has so much to offer beyond just the scenic seaside it is known for – it is a good mix of countryside, old towns and also has a bit of the hustle and bustle of city life that many of us are familiar with.


Regardless of your choice of where to stay in Cornwall, I have no doubt that your trip there would be an amazing one because of how much the county has to offer.

If you have any questions on Cornwall feel free to leave a comment or let me know what’s your favorite area to be in, in Cornwall! 


Have an amazing trip to this beautiful gem of a location! 

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