As one of England’s sunniest locations, some of the best places in Cornwall have inspired travelers, writers, photographers, and painters for generations.
If you’re heading to this southwestern county anytime soon and are looking for the best places to visit in Cornwall, you’ve come to the right page; we’re here to help!
Best known for its stunning beaches and tales of adventures, smuggling, and boat trips from the days past, Cornwall takes you back to a different time – with village ports sheltered by deep inlets, fishing boats, and idyllic stone cottages that will be sure to mesmerize you.
Famed for its spectacular, world-renowned beaches, Cornwall is a surfing haven and a leading holiday destination in the UK.
With the longest coastline in Great Britain, it is almost an island surrounded by sea on three sides – nowhere on the island is further than 25 miles from the sea!
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have much time to read through this entire article, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our top 3 best places in Cornwall:
- St. Ives – Best for art enthusiasts and idyllic, book-like cottages
- Porthcurno – Best for stunning views and beautiful beach holidays
- Padstow – Best for culinary aficionados and calming harbour views.
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11 Best Places In Cornwall
Penzance is England’s most westerly town and has had many maritime visitors in its time, like the Barbary pirates and the Spanish Armada fleet in 1595.
Often compared to its neighboring towns, Padstow and St. Ives, Penzance has bloomed beautifully over the past few years.
Granite-built regency and stunning Georgian architecture make it a handsome port, ideal for those looking for a little historical adventure on their trip.
A unique open-air public bathing beach, Jubilee Pool Lido is the UK’s biggest and most acclaimed art deco seawater lido in Penzance. It also has a geothermally heated pool and a capacity of up to 600 swimmers.
In addition to this, be sure to watch a production or take a stroll at the Minack Theatre – a beautiful open-air theater cut from granite cliffs and overlooking the sea. Get a couple of scones and enjoy the sunset while you’re there; it’ll be a memorable experience for sure!
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:
- Alverne Restaurant and Lounge (great for breakfast – lunch and dinner too!)
- Fraser’s Fish and Chips (for delicious fish and chips)
- Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar (famous for seafood)
2. St. Ives
St. Ives looks like a town out of a book – idyllic, artsy, and lined with pretty cottages nestled side by side along the cobbled streets leading to the sea making it one of the best places to visit in Cornwall.
It is most known for its galleries and museums, making it a favorite among art enthusiasts. Many local artists were drawn to St. Ives between the wars in the past. Today, it is home to many of the finest sculptors and artists in the world at one time or another.
Boasting one of the prettiest beaches in England, this quaint seaside resort has evolved from a fishing resort to its beauty today. Porthminster and Porthmeor are some of the best beaches with their stunning natural seascape and soft golden sand.
While you’re there, head to a local bakery and grab a Cornish pasty for a snack. A local delicacy eaten by the miners back in the day and now made famous, a Cornish pasty is made of steak, swede, and potatoes in a buttery shortcrust.
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:
- Lakeside Cabin Cafe ( good for breakfast and tea!)
- The Sloop Inn (one of Cornwall’s oldest pubs)
- The Seafood Cafe (great seafood)
3. Land’s End
For a view of the sunset that you won’t forget, head to England’s most westerly point based on the Penwith peninsula, where you’ll find views of the ocean that stretch on infinitely at Land’s End.
Quaint but busy, there is something for everyone in Land’s End. Take a picture at the famous signpost at Land’s End, a tourist attraction for years, or try storm-watching over the Longships Lighthouse.
If shopping tickles your fancy, The West Country Shopping Village, Penwith House, and the First and Last House on this beautiful cliff setting offer great souvenirs, gifts, and tasty treats from this corner of the British Isles.
To end the day at one of the best places to visit in Cornwall, grab a snack and head to the First and Last Point for some breathtaking views of the sea as the sun sets for some quiet time by yourself.
Best places to stay near Land’s End:
- Budget Stay: The Wellington
- Mid-range: The Old Success Inn
- Luxury Stay: The Land’s End Hotel
Best places to eat near Land’s End:
- Land’s End Restaurant (good for lunch and dinner)
- Little Bo Cafe (for tasty tea-time treats and cakes)
- Old Success Inn (great for delicious food and drinks with a view)
4. Helford River
This large estuary nestles comfortably between the eastern side of the Lizard Peninsula and the western edge of Falmouth Bay – famous among tourists for its picturesque beauty and marine ecology, making it one of the nicest places in Cornwall.
Discover the inland creeks as you stroll down the tree-fringed river rich with marine wildlife.
The streams are calm and stunning as the steep sides of the creeks rise from the water and are covered with trees, while the muddy banks are home to a wide range of bird species.
This river is also an excellent spot for water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing – it is mainly sheltered from most winds except for those heading in the east direction.
Some other famous activities around the river include birdwatching, bar hopping, and visiting the local gardens located by the shoreline of the estuary.
You can also plan a picnic by the beach here as both gardens wend their way down to the water’s edge by Helford’s shores.
Best places to stay near Helford River:
- Budget Stay: Treyvalor Vean
- Mid-range: The Five Pilchards Inn
- Luxury Stay: Navas Nook
Best places to eat near Helford River:
- The Ferryboat Inn (delightful for lunch)
- Trebah Kitchen (for a quick bite and coffee)
- Shipwright Arms (great for delicious food and Sunday roasts with a view)
The award-winning Porthcurno Beach is a must-see in Cornwall, often described as paradise on earth and one of the prettiest places in Cornwall.
Its gorgeous white sand that washes by the sea and turns turquoise in the sun and the high cliffs that provide shelter will surely stun you with their natural beauty.
Located in the far west of Cornwall, Porthcurno beach is also a favorite among families, especially the large beach with a stream down on one side which is perfect for children to paddle in. On the other hand, upon the cliffs is the well-known Minack Theatre built by Rowena Wade and her gardener in the 1920s.
While you’re there, visit the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, which tells the story of how Cornwall was the pioneer in global communications back in the day.
As you explore the surroundings of this museum, you will find cables sticking out of the ground – they were buried beneath the beach and were laid on seabeds all around the world. Cool right?
Best places to stay near Porthcurno Beach:
- Budget Stay: The Commercial
- Mid-range: Cape Cornwall Club
- Luxury Stay: The Queens Hotel
Best places to eat near Porthcurno Beach:
- Porthcurno Beach Cafe (best for scones and tasty treats)
- The Logan Rock Inn (for delicious roast dinners)
- Cable Station Inn Cornwall (recommended for breakfasts)
6. St. Michael’s Mount
Not too far away from Cornwall is St. Michael’s Mount, the English twin of the French Monastery, Mont-Saint-Michel. One of the most beautiful places in Cornwall, it is guarded by the National Trust and is linked to the town Marazion via a giant causeway. You can go across and explore the castle and all its gardens.
A dramatic place to see, St. Michael’s Mount is a small slice of Cornish history that is a must-see when you’re in Cornwall.
There is a small village by the harbor that is home to about 30 people and vistas by the Cornish shore that is worth checking out for their galleries and quaint coffee shops for a quick break from your strolls.
When you’re there, make sure to keep an eye out for giants too. Legend has it that a giant called Cormoran used to inhabit the island and resides in the cave so remember to avoid heading into the cave!
Best places to stay near St. Michael’s Mount:
- Budget Stay: The Mount View Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
- Mid-range: Victoria Inn
- Luxury Stay: Crown Inn
Best places to eat near St. Michael’s Mount:
- Cutty Sark Restaurant and Bar (great for delicious seafood and pasta)
- Philps Famous Pasties (best scrumptious Cornish pasties)
- The Kings Arms (recommended for dinner, drinks, and mussels)
7. Roseland Peninsula
This magical place. is one of the best places to visit in Cornwall. This picturesque peninsula has been designated as part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Beauty, specifically for the quality of its coastal scenery and landscape.
In addition to the magnificent coastal views, hidden creeks and coves, and the peaceful beaches in Roseland, be sure also to explore its unique towns and villages.
Take a walk or two in the town and as you stroll, admire the wildflowers, the secret coves, and glistening waters along the way.
The Roseland Peninsula is also known for its excellent beaches – they all offer picturesque views and beautiful coastlines for a brisk walk by the beach in winter or for soaking up some sun in the summer.
Perfect for anyone and any activity you have your mind on – there’s definitely a beach for you in Roseland.
Best places to stay near Roseland Peninsula:
- Budget Stay: Ship and Castle Hotel
- Mid-range: The Rising Sun
- Luxury Stay: The St. Mawes Hotel
Best places to eat near Roseland Peninsula:
- The Boathouse (great food at a reasonable price)
- Plume of Feathers (recommended for traditional Sunday lunches and dinner)
- Tatams (good for delicious coffee)
If you are a food enthusiast, you will like what Padstow offers. Here, you will be able to get your hands on some of the best seafood with supreme quality and freshness as the restaurants are mostly connected to the operational fishing port in Padstow.
With excellent quality and great flavors, Padstow is among the best towns to visit in Cornwall and is a favorite among culinary aficionados.
Celebrity chef Rick Stein opened his seafood restaurant here in 1975 that subsequently put Padstow on the food map. This led to many more eateries in the area blossoming into today’s food paradise.
In addition to food, you should also check out the bustling harbor filled with a mixture of pleasure boats and working fishing boats that bring in the catch for the day.
Best places to stay in Padstow:
- Budget Stay: Drang House
- Mid-range: The Old Custom House
- Luxury Stay: Padstow Harbour Hotel
Best places to eat in Padstow:
- The Seafood Restaurant (Michelin star restaurant that showcases fresh fish and shellfish)
- Berryfields Farm (great for fruit scones and savory and sweet treats)
- Prawn on the Lawn (Michelin star Asian restaurant that serves excellent seafood)
9. Lizard Peninsula
As you drive east, you’ll be heading towards the Lizard Peninsula, Britain’s most southerly point.
And no, it’s not filled with lizards roaming around – don’t worry! It is, however, one of the prettiest places in Cornwall – mossy cliffs covered with pastel-colored wildflowers in the summer and pristine white sand against the turquoise sea.
A special place on the peninsula is Kynance Cove. Kynance Cove has often been the subject of interest for photographers and painters alike from worldwide. At low tide, you can discover the towering stacks of rock and caves with names such as The Drawing Room and The Parlour.
The cove is owned and taken care of by the National Trust which helps care for and conserve areas like this. Because of their team and their support, vast areas of nature have been looked after for everyone’s benefit.
When you’re there, be sure to heed local and official advice on the tides; you won’t want to be stranded when the waves come in.
Best places to stay near Lizard Peninsula:
- Budget Stay: Haelarcher Farmhouse
- Mid-range: Housel Bay Hotel
- Luxury Stay: Mullion Cove Hotel and Spa
Best places to eat near Lizard Peninsula:
- Twisted Currant (for yummy cakes and delicious vegan cream tea)
- Sea Drift Restaurant (for delicious seafood)
- Fat Apple Cafe (for great sandwiches made with fresh ingredients)
10. Port Isaac
Port Isaac is a picturesque Cornish harbor town that resembles a quaint Italian fishing village – and it has been since the fourteenth century. If you love architecture and history, you’ll enjoy your trip here.
Port Isaac has been a busy port handling various goods imported and exported from the Middle Ages until the middle of the 19th century. These items include coal, pottery, timber, and Delabole slate, a much sought-after type of slate that is known for its unique quality and feel.
After the arrival of railways, this port turned into mainly a fishing port.
Another fun fact is that Port Isaac has one of the narrowest thoroughfares in Britain, conveniently named Squeezy Belly Alley! Quite a town, right?
Best places to stay in Port Isaac:
- Mid-range: Port Gaverne Hotel
- Luxury Stay: The Slipway
Best places to eat in Port Isaac:
- Chapel Cafe (for tasty sandwiches and scones)
- Outlaw’s New Road (Michelin star restaurant for delicious seafood and scenic views)
- Nicky B’s Pasty Shop (for great Cornish pasties)
11. Tintagel Castle
If you love history and legends, Tintagel Castle is one of the best places in Cornwall for you to visit.
This historic site is situated on the cliff tops of North Cornwall, a prominent fortress for Cornish chieftains in medieval times. It’s also attached to the Arthurian legend, which suggests that this tower is the birthplace of King Arthur.
The castle sits on the side of a chasm, and there is a cantilever footbridge connecting the castle to the headlands. Across the bridge on Tintagel Island sits the early ruins of a Celtic Monastery and the two tunnels that run beneath the island.
In the town itself, you will find one of National Trust’s most attractive small buildings with a topsy turvy slate roof, the Old Post Office, and not too far away, a Roman milestone in the parish church from approximately 250 AD.
If you’re looking for some local souvenirs, treats, or experiences on top of the stunning scenery, Tintagel will have you covered – it will be worth the visit, and it’s so close to many other beauty spots in the North of Cornwall as well!
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 in Tintagel:
- Charlie’s (for good seafood)
- King Arthur’s Cafe (for fabulous scones and sandwiches)
- Vega (great for vegetarian meals)
When Is The Best Time To Visit Cornwall?
The best time to visit Cornwall is in summer, from July to August, when the weather is excellent, and the temperatures are high. The average temperature in Cornwall in these months is around 19 ºC (66 ºF), with roughly 7 hours of sunlight a day. June and September are also great for smaller crowds and lower prices.
If you’re on a budget or looking to head to Cornwall when it’s not too crowded, winter is the best time to do so.
In winter, the trips are cheaper, and the crowds are fewer, and despite Christmas and New Year’s, the groups in Cornwall are still very manageable between November and February.
How To Get Around Cornwall?
Taking the train is one of the most relaxing and picturesque ways to travel to Cornwall. You can find regular train services from most major cities that are directed to Truro, or connect with the Eurostar in London. If you are getting to Cornwall from London, Cornwall is only a 4.5 hours journey.
Most travelers might consider making a day trip to Cornwall, but we would recommend spending the night as the drive back and forth may be a little long.
If you are flying into Cornwall, you would most likely land at the airport in Newquay, the closest airport to Cornwall. To travel within Cornwall itself, you can hop on a train or rent a car to any destination on the Cornish coastline.
For those on a budget, you can get on the National Express bus that goes as far as Penzance, but this depends on the dates you plan to travel on. During peak times of the year like summer in Cornwall, the tickets may sell out, so be sure to book your tickets ahead.
Once you arrive in Cornwall, it will be much easier to get around with public buses or trains or even on foot! If you stumble upon a town that is small enough, you’ll only need your two feet and or a bike to have a good trip!
What Is The Eden Project And How To Get There?
The Eden Project is a social enterprise and an educational charity whose mission is to create a movement that fosters relationships between nature and people to demonstrate the power of collaborating and working together for the good of all living things.
The area is dominated by two big enclosures that emulate a natural biome for thousands of plant species that are housed there. The biomes consist of hundreds of pentagonal and hexagonal ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) inflated cells supported by geodesic tubular steel domes.
You can find various tropical plants such as banana trees, coffee trees, and sugar canes, as well as reproduction homesteads and a waterfall. You will also find different birds and insects but not any larger animals.
The best way to get there is by car, or you can take the bus or train to the local station at St. Austell and walk to the Eden Project. You are eligible to receive a small discount for your admission fees if you arrive by public transport, so be sure to keep your ticket tab!
If you’d like a more scenic journey on your trip to the Eden Project, you could also take a train to Bugle, par, or Luxulyan and continue your trip by bike or on foot. You can plan your journey and check train timetables via:
Where Is The Best Place To Stay In Cornwall?
The best place to stay in Cornwall is in St. Ives, especially if you are visiting Cornwall for the first time. Set in the south, St. Ives is known for its sandy white beaches, beautiful and colorful fisherman cottages, winding narrow alleys, and many pubs and shops.
It is also home to two notable attractions, the Tate Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, where the local artists display marvelous works of art. In addition to this, St.Ives is also great for good food, especially seafood – fresh from the waters.
This seaside town serves some of the best seafood in the UK, fresh to the table. Dine on some fresh mussels or a plate of fish and chips; your taste buds are sure to be thrilled at the flavors you’ll find.
Is Cornwall Safe?
Cornwall is the second safest county in Wales, England, and Northern Ireland, so if you’re concerned about safety when you’re in Cornwall, we think you’ll need not worry – you are in good hands.
Cornwall is generally quiet, and aside from the busier spots catered to the tourists, it is pretty easy to find a quiet place to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
It is pretty safe with low crime rates, but it is always advisable to be safe – let your hosts or hotel know where you’re heading and keep the numbers of local authorities at hand for any emergency.
Which is The Nicest Part Of Cornwall?
The best places and nicest parts of Cornwall are Penzance, St.Ives, the Helford River, and St. Michael’s Mount. Penzance is a quaint town with fabulous coastal views, whereas St. Ives is known for its galleries and museums that honor the local arts. The Helford River and St. Michael’s Mount will not disappoint for beautiful natural landscapes.
Where Is The Prettiest Place In Cornwall?
- Bodmin Moor for the stunning sunrises
- Kynance Cove for some quiet time in the sun and gorgeous blue waters
- Tintagel Castle for its legends and scenery
- Lost Garden of Heligan for beautiful gardens
- Minions to explore the moors
- St. Nectan’s Glen for a magnificent 60-foot waterfall
- Marazion for a great view of St. Michael’s Mount
- Polperro for enchanting cottages and gorgeous harbor
The best places in Cornwall offer outstanding beauty and a great experience for anyone who is planning to head to this county, and we guarantee you won’t have any regrets that you did!
While you’re there, be sure to check out the amazing places like St. Ives, Tintagel, and Penzance for the scenery, and have great food in Padstow.
We hope this article has helped you find the best places in Cornwall for your next trip and the ones after because once you’re there, you’ll definitely want to go back!