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Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

With its Celtic heritage and rocky granite coastline, Cornwall has as many places as Brittany as England. Village harbors with fishing boats and stone houses from different periods, protected by the deep waters of the coast. See these stories of smugglers, boat trips, and world-class fish and seafood.

These smaller communities share Cornwall with some of the country’s best-loved seaside resorts, such as St Ives with its almost incredible cluster of beaches or Newquay, the UK’s surf capital. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Cornwall and make your trip enjoyable.

10 Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Cornwall:

1. St. Ives

In the 20th century, St Ives has transformed from a fishing port into possibly England’s most beautiful seaside resort. This has to do with the numerous paradise beaches nearby. The selection is almost astonishing, but Porthminster and Porthmeor stand out, with their soft golden sands and scenic ocean views.

St Ives’ fishing heritage makes the resort interesting: you can still see the colorful fishing boats coming in and out of the harbor, and there are two old shops and inns to explore in the city’s winding cobblestone streets. As if that wasn’t enough, you still have the culture since the town became an artists’ colony in the 1930s. There is a fantastic Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and a branch of the Tate Museum, as well as a separate gallery for pottery.

2. St. Austell

Like top towns in Cornwall, St Austell has rolling hills and galloping lanes that invite you to explore. In the 1800s, Chinese clay was the big industry here, and the Eden Project, buried in the old clay pit, was an exciting botanical project opening for the new millennium. There are two exciting geodesic biomes, one feeding the rainforest plants and the other feeding the Mediterranean environment.

If you’re planning ahead, you can come here for the Eden Sessions, a series of summer concerts that have hosted some of the biggest names in rock and pop like Brian Wilson, The Flaming Lips, PJ Harvey and Sigur Rós. Even older is the Lost Heligan Gardens, located around a 17th-century Heligan house and prized for huge rhododendrons and camellia bushes.

3. Penzance

Penzance, England’s westernmost town, has a large number of sea tourists, some friendly, some not so much, like the Barbary pirates or foreign fleets like the Spanish Armada of 1595. A beautiful harbor with many granite-built Regency and Georgian buildings.

Check out Church Street with its 1830s Egyptian houses or the stylish Art Deco Jubilee Pool Lido from 1835. Whether you’re seeing a show or visiting the Minack Theatre, cut from a granite cliff in the 1930s, it’s a sight in itself.

In Penzance’s pleasant climate, Cornish palms line the streets and stunning subtropical gardens to visit. Tanglewood, Trengwainton, and Morrab are a must, but you should also keep the National Dahlia Collection in mind.

4. Bude

In the far north of Cornwall, Bude, like Newquay, faces the Celtic Sea, primarily the Atlantic Ocean. The two main beaches, Crooklets and Summerleaze, are wide, windy and have excellent surf conditions on the right day. Summerleaze has luscious pastel beach huts as well as the Bude Sea Pool, which refills at low tide and lets you swim safely in the water.

There are many other noteworthy beaches along the coast, and the wild landscape will thrill your adventurers. Cornwall’s tallest sea cliffs are virtually inaccessible, and epic sandstone formations like this are a honeypot for climbers, hikers, and even those interested in their unusual geological composition.

5. Truro

Truro is a small town smaller than many market towns, but unaffected by its size. The Georgian and Victorian buildings in the city center date back to a time when tin mining became a way of life, putting Truro on the map as a political powerhouse. The cathedral is currently built in the late 19th century in the Gothic Revival style with its three rather unusual towers.

Besides wandering the beautiful shopping streets like Cathedral Lane and St Mary’s Street, you can visit the Royal Cornwall Museum in the beautiful Palladian Hall. Local activities such as open farms, boat tours, country parks, cider presses and breweries are pretty rural for a city.

6. Bodmin

In the tin mining district of central Cornwall, the streets of Bodmin are lined with bold granite buildings financed by this historic industry. The county courthouse in its neoclassical splendor has served as Bodmin’s for centuries. An eerie attraction you must see is the Bodmin Prison, which dates back to the 1700s and was innovative as it was the first institution to hold inmates in solitary confinement.

Join this tour and it will tell you about World War I, where the crown jewels and the Doomsday Book were removed for hiding, along with the ghosts that claim to haunt these walls. An even better day can be spent at Pencarrow or Lanhydrock House, two beautiful cottages.

7. Polperro

Hidden among the rocky coves of the Polperro Heritage Beach, this beautiful little harbor is famous for its history. Smuggling has flourished here since the formation of Polperro in the 1100s, but activity peaked in the 1700s when Britain fought in the American and Napoleonic Wars. The Waterside Smuggling and Fishing Culture Museum will highlight the craftsmanship of the trade and the characters involved.

Shop at one-off stores and art studios at Polperro window dressing, or take a more purposeful stroll along the rugged coastline as you head to Polruan on the South West Coast Trail. Some of Polperro’s fishing boats will take you out of the harbor for a better view of the coast, sunbathing sharks or fishing.

8. Padstow

Food lovers come to Padstow to find Cornwall’s best seafood restaurants. If you value the source of your food, you’ll be thrilled that these restaurants connect to Padstow’s bustling fishing port, providing quality and freshness.

It’s also beneficial to be here on a sunny day to check out the activity around the harbor and observe an industry that has almost completely disappeared from the UK. You can browse the ongoing conservation work at the National Lobster Farm, follow the coast to pristine beaches, or wander the stunning natural beauty of Camel Estuary.

9. Redruth

We’ve talked about tin mining a few times and if you want to see exactly what this industry has meant for Cornwall over the centuries, Redruth might be the right place for you. Here you can enter the East Pool Mine, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the mining heritage of Cornwall and Devon.

The mine operated from the 1700s to 1945 and the amount of antique machinery, including two beam engines and a full engine room, is eye-opening. In the countryside, Wheal Pinvor is an abandoned mine that is slowly being reclaimed by nature, while Gwennap Pit is an interesting phenomenon, a terraced amphitheater formed by the sinking of mining in the 1700s.

10. Boscastle

Despite being a small seaside village, it’s happy to wander around as it goes a long way alongside the Boscastle natural harbor. It combines the charm of old fishing villages and inns with rocky green hills rising steeply from the water.

On a magnificent promontory at the entrance of the harbor is the Lookout, which was built by local landowners as a summer residence and later used as a watchtower against smugglers. Further back, the harbor is a narrow gateway to the National Trust Café and Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, possibly the largest repository of ritual artifacts in the world.


Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Cornwall. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Cornwall, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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