If you’re finding it hard to decide which on the best place to stay in Cornwall as a solo traveller, with kids, or as a couple – read on.
Cornwall has something for everyone and you’ll be spoilt for choice for all the best places this county has to offer.
In this article, we’ve highlighted the 11 best places in Cornwall for any interest or purpose to help you make the best of your trip.
Cornwall is part of a peninsula that stretches out south of the English Channel and north into the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area with over 400 miles of coastline; for beach lovers, it’s like paradise.
Nowhere from the county is more than 20 miles from the sea and its rugged, majestic coastline puts many European spots to shame.
It also has a vast history dating back to the 18th century with stories of pirates, smugglers, and revenue men. You will be able to find caves and old smuggler paths that were used to carry items looted from wrecked ships at various places in Cornwall.
There are plenty of attractions, activities, and places to go in Cornwall for any type of interest you might have, and we’re here to help you find the best place in Cornwall for your trip!
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
11 Best Place To Stay in Cornwall
- St. Ives – Best for first-time visitors
- Penzance – Best for budget trips
- Padstow – Best for food enthusiasts
- Looe – Best for families
- Truro – Best for shopping
- Fowey – Best for couples
- Tintagel – Best for history lovers
- Falmouth – Best for family vacations
- Newquay – Best for surfers
- St. Just – Best for art lovers
- Bude – Best for those looking to live by the sea
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11 Best Place To Stay In Cornwall
1. St. Ives – Best for first-time visitors
St. Ives operates over 300 fishing boats, catching, salting, and tinning sardines for export across the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. The town’s income was also supplemented by the local tin mines but not for long as tourism was introduced soon after in the 19th century.
Tourism brings in a lot of artists to this fishing town, many of whom were inspired to capture St. Ives’s beauty – its rugged coastline, picturesque harbour, and crashing waves of this picturesque place.
In recent years, it has been awarded with many prestigious accolades and awarded the European blue flag for its high-quality facilities and cleanliness.
As one of the best towns to stay in Cornwall, the local sand beaches like Porthmeor Beach are a big attraction here but so is the artistic heritage. Locations like the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Tate Gallery are popular among tourists for their art displays and exhibitions.
Some other places you should check out in St. Ives include:
Best places to stay in St. Ives:
- Budget Stay: Primrose House
- Mid-range: The Western
- Luxury Stay: Carbis Bay and Spa Hotel
Best places to eat in St. Ives:
2. Penzance – Best for budget trips
Penzance, one of the cheapest places to stay in Cornwall, is the most westerly town in Cornwall and is located in the heart of Mounts Bay.
Here, you’ll find historic castles, museums, and World Heritage Sites amid this coastal beauty which has morphed into a popular tourist destination.
History buffs will likely fall in love with Penzance – mainly for its beautiful old Cornish granite buildings, narrow streets, and smuggler inns.
This town is also known for the Jubilee Pool by the harbour and seafront, the largest lido in the UK – for those who don’t like getting covered in sand, this is where they head to swim and sunbathe.
The 18th century Chapel Street with its shops, hotels, and restaurants is also a favourite among the locals and tourists.
Some other places you should check out in Penzance include:
- The Exchange Art Gallery
- Penlee House Gallery Museum
- Morrab Gardens
- Trengwainton Gardens
- Minack Theater
- Egyptian House
Best places to stay in Penzance:
- Budget Stay: The Dolphin Tavern
- Mid-range: The Beachfield
- Luxury Stay: Hotel Penzance
Best places to eat in Penzance:
3. Padstow – Best for food enthusiasts
Nestled in the North Cornish Coast is Padstow, a traditional southwestern fishing village with narrow and twisty Medieval streets that take you to its bustling but quaint harbour. It is one of the best areas to stay in Cornwall.
The harbour is busy with lots of gift shops, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and restaurants – perfect for a quick snack or meal while people-watching with a cup of coffee or a pint.
Not far from the harbour, you can take a walk to the golden beaches of St. George’s Cove and Tregirls which are more popular with families.
On the other hand, beaches like Constantine Bay and Polzeath are more popular with surfers. Boat trips are also available where you can do a little seal, shark, or dolphin watching, depending on the time of the year that you will be visiting Penzance.
For those who enjoy cycling, horse-riding, and hiking, the 18-mile Camel Trail is a great way to explore the countryside. The old railway track is easily managed and flat, taking you through to Bodmin Moor and back.
Some other places you should check out in Padstow include:
Best places to stay in Padstow:
- Budget Stay: Drang House
- Luxury Stay: Padstow Harbour Hotel
Best places to eat in Padstow:
4. Looe – Best for families
In the southeast of Cornwall, you’ll find Looe, one of the best place to stay in Cornwall for families and holidaymakers since the arrival of railways in the 1800s.
Divided into two by the River Looe, this busy working fishing harbour is joined by a bridge that spans the river.
Looe is not a place best explored by cars but on foot.
Most commercial activities take place in East Looe where you’ll find boats coming in the quayside and large fish markets with fishermen landing their catch and local markets selling them to the local eateries in town.
It is also on the east side that you will find sandy beaches and its many rock pools that are exposed when the tide goes out.
This will keep little ones occupied with their fishing nets for hours on end as they explore and find unique sea creatures.
Some other places you should check out in Looe include:
- Looe Museum
- The Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary
- Adrenaline Quarry
- Looe Island
- Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol
- Seaton Valley Countryside Park
Best places to stay in Looe:
- Budget Stay: Looe Yurts
- Mid-range: Nancecliff Cottages (Dog-friendly)
- Luxury Stay: Wreckers Retreat 158
Best places to eat in Looe:
5. Truro – Best for shopping
Truro is the only city in Cornwall and it dates back to the 13th century. By the end of the 13th century, a castle was built in Truro by Henry II’s Chief Justice, and by the 14th century, the town was one of the five main tin-producing areas in Cornwall.
For architecture lovers, we think you’ll like the three spired Gothic-style cathedrals that you’ll find in the city which took 30 years to build to its completion in 1910.
The site of the 13th-century castle is now the home of the Courts of Justice and around town, you’ll find various examples of Victorian and Georgian townhouses, and the Royal Cornwall Museum on River Street.
Truro is a nice place to stay in Cornwall and is a haven for those who enjoy shopping and souvenirs.
They have plenty of shops, high-street stores, independent traders, and markets to go to and choose from to keep everyone happy on their trip.
Some other places you should check out in Truro include:
- Healy’s Cornish Cider Farm
- Skinner’s Brewery
- Lemon Street Indoor Market
- Victoria Gardens
- Bosvigo Garden
- Trelissick Estate
Best places to stay in Truro:
- Budget Stay: Donnington Guesthouse
- Mid-range: Zucchini Hotel
- Luxury Stay: Mannings Hotel
Best places to eat in Truro:
6. Fowey – Best for couples
Fowey was once a small harbour on the west side of the River Fowey Estuary between Mevagissey and Looe which has grown to be a busy commercial port and a popular mooring area for private watercraft in the area.
It is also one of the best places to stay in Cornwall for couples.
The town is full of shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants, and you can spend a decent few hours checking out the narrow streets and alleyways after which you can stop and enjoy a Cornish pasty or cream tea.
A deep-water harbor, it houses hundreds of private leisure crafts and cargo ships that arrive regularly to transport local china clay across Europe and beyond.
In recent years, it has become one of the stopovers for cruise ships that bring in new visitors and extra income to the town.
Some other places you should check out in Fowey include:
- Old House of Foye
- Fowey Museum
- Fowey Aquarium
- Daphne du Maurier Literary Centre
- St. Catherine’s Castle
- Village of Polruan
Best places to stay in Fowey:
- Budget Stay: The Ship Inn
- Mid-range: The Old Ferry Inn
- Luxury Stay: Fowey Hall
Best places to eat in Fowey:
7. Tintagel – Best for history lovers
In an isolated area of the north of Cornwall’s coast, between Boscastle and Padstow, lies the pretty village of Tintagel and the remains of its legendary Norman castle.
Famed for its myths and legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, Tintagel is one of the coolest places to stay in Cornwall.
In addition to the stunning scenery that Tintagel has to offer, the village also has various tea rooms, gift shops, restaurants, and cafes as well as interesting potteries and galleries to visit while you’re there.
As expected, a lot of the attractions in Cornwall are related to King Arthur. Pay a visit to King Arthur’s Great Halls where you’ll find the King’s granite throne and the knights’ round table. It is also a very popular venue for weddings!
Some other places you should check out in Tintagel include:
Best places to stay in Tintagel:
- Budget Stay: The Cornishman Inn
- Mid-range: The Olde Malthouse Inn
- Luxury Stay: Camelot Castle Hotel
Best places to eat near the in Tintagel:
8. Falmouth – Best for family vacations
Located on the south of the Cornish coast, Falmouth is also one of the best places to stay in Cornwall for families. It is most known for the Pendennis Castle which has stood the test of time for over 400 years over the River Fal estuary.
Despite being one of the largest towns in Cornwall, Falmouth is best explored on foot, and there is lots of parking available on the outskirts. It also has three railway stations which makes it easy for visitors and goods to reach any area of the UK.
This town also has good beaches for canoeing, kayaking, or surfing – perfect if you’re looking for some activities to do in the water or a little R&R.
Some other places you should check out in Falmouth include:
Best places to stay in Falmouth:
- Budget Stay: The Lerryn
- Mid-range: Greenbank Hotel
Best places to eat near the in Tintagel:
9. Newquay – Best for surfers
If you enjoy watersports and surfing is your thing, it won’t be hard to decide where to stay in Cornwall. Just head straight to the county’s North Coast in Newquay, one of the best place to stay in Cornwall, and you’ll be pleasantly pleased.
In the last 50 years, surfing has become a mainstream sport worldwide, and Newquay is leading the way.
Every year, the town organizes national and international surfing events, making a name for itself in the surfing world for its stunning beaches and surf-worthy waves. One of the top beaches there is Fistral beach, considered to be home to Newquay surfing.
If the sea isn’t your cup of tea, you can explore many other attractions that this town has to offer. Check out The Cornwall Aviation Heritage Center, a popular attraction in Newquay that offers exhibits both indoor and outdoor especially when you’re looking for activities to do when it rains in Cornwall.
Some other places you should check out in Newquay include:
Best places to stay in Newquay:
- Budget Stay: Marina Hotel
- Mid-range: Pine Lodge
- Luxury Stay: The Lewinnick Lodge
Best places to eat in Newquay:
10. St. Just – Best for art lovers
Not too far from Penzance, you’ll find St. Just, in Penwith – a rugged countryside town with a great history of mining in Cornwall and prehistoric artifacts. This is the perfect base for you to explore the area, away from crowded tourist towns.
This granite town has many galleries catered to the arts and local artists such as The Great Atlantic Mapworks Gallery, Smart Tat, and the Nancherrown Studio Gallery.
In addition to this, you can find Cape Cornwall just outside the town which is known for its 140-years old chimney stack.
The stack rises 230 ft above sea level and with a little bit of stamina, you can climb to the top and you’ll be greeted with amazing views!
Some other places you should check out in St. Just include:
Best places to stay in St. Just:
- Budget Stay: YHA Land’s End – Cot Valley
- Mid-range: The Commercial
- Luxury Stay: Cape Cornwall Club
Best places to eat in St. Just:
11. Bude – Best for those looking to live by the sea
If you’re looking for somewhere in Cornwall where you can tour both Cornwall and Devon, Bude is the place for you. It has sandy beaches to the fore and gorgeous countryside to the rear that can make it seem to appear isolated but the opposite is true.
This town has two famous beaches – the main beach has The Bude Sea Pool that comes complete with lifeguards, perfect for adults and children to enjoy and swim regardless of the sea conditions.
This busy coastal town has everything you’d expect – shops, local restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops for a quick snack without compromising the natural beauty that it contains. You’ll find gardens to enjoy, walking trails, and theme parks for kids, perfect for the whole family.
Some other places you should check out in Bude include:
Best places to stay in Bude:
- Budget Stay: Brendon Arms
- Mid-range: Atlantic House
- Luxury Stay: Morwenna Lodge
Best places to eat in Bude:
Is Cornwall Safe?
Yes, it is! It is actually the second safest county in Wales, England, and Northern Island. The overall crime rate in Cornwall was 44 crimes per 1000 people with the most common crimes being sexual offences and violence which happened to approximately 23 out of 1000 residents in Cornwall.
Generally, aside from the busier spots catered to tourists, Cornwall is quiet and it’s easy to find a quiet place to relax and enjoy your surroundings. It has low crime rates but we would advise you to take safety precautions anyway, especially if you’re a woman traveling alone.
Keep the numbers of the local authorities and be sure to let someone know where you’re heading so that somebody is aware of where you are – it can be the hotel, your host, or just a quick message to a friend. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
When Is The Best Time To Go To Cornwall?
The best time to visit Cornwall is in June or September as the weather is generally quite good with fewer crowds. It will also be cheaper in July and August as the average temperature in Cornwall during these months is around 19 ºC (66 ºF) with roughly 7 hours of sunlight a day.
What Is The Nicest Place In Cornwall?
Cornwall is abundant with beautiful beaches and stunning sceneries and it can be hard to pick one place to go to when there are so many to choose from. To help you decide, these are the nicest places in Cornwall:
The Nicest Places In Cornwall
- St. Ives
Where Should I Stay In Cornwall For The First Time?
St. Ives is the best place to stay in Cornwall if you’re visiting this county for the first time. It is located in the south of Cornwall and is known for its sandy white beaches, winding narrow alleys, myriad pubs, and shops as well as the unique and colorful fisherman’s cottages. It is also one of the most romantic places to stay in Cornwall.
Where Is The Prettiest Place In Cornwall?
- Bodmin Moor for the stunning sunrises
- Polperro for enchanting cottages and gorgeous harbor
- Lost Garden of Heligan for beautiful gardens
- St. Nectan’s Glen for a magnificent 60-foot waterfall
- Minions to explore the moors
- Kynance Cove for some quiet time in the sun and gorgeous blue waters
- Tintagel Castle for its legends and scenery
- Marazion for a great view of St. Michael’s Mount
There you have it! All the best place to stay in Cornwall for every interest and everyone! Cornwall has so many different attractions that you will be bored while you’re here. Explore castles, get a tan on the beach, and discover coves and secret caves – there is something to do in every corner of this county.
We hope this article has helped you find the best place to stay in Cornwall, and all the best attractions you should check out while you’re there. Good luck!