Every Town And Village In Cornwall To Visit This Summer
As well as its diverse range of beaches and stunning coastline, Cornwall is famed for its endearing fishing villages, charming rural settlements and larger surf towns, such as Falmouth. Any holiday to Cornwall is sure to involve visits to some of these pleasant attractions. Visitors to the county can enjoy a stroll around Padstow harbour or tuck into a freshly-baked pizza on the beach in Polzeath, the choice is yours. In this article, we’ll discuss ten of the best places to visit in Cornwall.
For foodies it doesn’t get better than Padstow – the town is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Cornwall, including Rick Stein’s Café, owned by the celebrity chef. Most of these eateries are located around the small working fishing port, making it a wonderful place to while away a day, watching the small vessels come and go. Other attractions include the National Lobster Hatchery and the nearby River Camel Estuary, recognised in the UK as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
2. St Ives
One of Cornwall’s prettiest towns, the best way to explore St Ives is not to go in with a plan, and just to wander as your heart desires down cobbled streets and along the charming seafront. If you are someone who needs a schedule to get by, then you’ll want to delve into some of the town’s museums and art galleries. The best of these include the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, housing some of the sculptor’s finest work in beautifully decorated gardens.
Penzance holds the distinct accolade of being England’s most westerly town, which has made it something of a target for invasion over the years – the Spanish Armada tried their luck in 1595, for example. The port makes an attractive location for a stroll and other highlights include the 1830s Egyptian House, as well as the outdoor Minack Theatre, cut straight into the rock cliffs of the coast.
Polzeath has long been a popular holiday location, thanks to its laid back atmosphere, gorgeous beach and host of mouth-watering restaurants and independent shops. The holiday villas for rent along the clifftops cost a premium but the beach can be visited for free and makes the perfect place to base yourself for a day exploring the village. The surf school in Polzeath is one of the best in the country if you want to take lessons, while a walk along the coastline is rewarded with some of the best views to be found anywhere in Cornwall.
5. St Mawes
You have to put a bit of effort in to visit the remote village of St Mawes, navigating narrow country lanes to the south coast. But the rewards are worth it – the small village is home to a tiny sandy beach, quirky shops and its very own castle, sitting on a hill above the village. St Mawes Castle is run by English Heritage and is well worth a visit. Travellers can see inside former prison cells, navigate secret tunnels and enjoy incredible coastal views from the hilltop castle keep.
Newquay is the surf capital of England. There are a staggering six beaches in the town, all great surf locations, with reliable swells all year round. Fistral beach is probably the most famous, testing even the most experienced of surfers with its tall waves. Even if you haven’t come to Cornwall to surf, Newquay has lots to offer visitors. There is a steam railway, a zoo, aquarium and even a theme park – Flambards offers a range of attractions to suit the entire family.
Falmouth is one of Cornwall’s largest towns and is home to a range of attractions that make it a great holiday destination. The Fal River Estuary widens into one of the deepest natural harbours on the planet, and there are always plenty of boats and ships to be spotted in the bay. Boat trips operate out of the harbour, taking travellers up and down the coast to some of the prettiest villages in the county – you may even be able to spot dolphins on your trip. History buffs will want to visit Henry VIII’s coastal fortress, Pendennis Castle, as well as the Maritime Museum. This site documents the history of the area – during the Second World War, an American fleet was based in the harbour of Falmouth.
8. Port Isaac
The hit ITV drama Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes, was set in the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac, which is a real place. The village itself is nearly exactly as portrayed on television, with steep, narrow streets, tiny independent shops and a range of cafes. Locations from the show including Doc’s house and his doctor’s surgery can be spotted, and the stetch of coastline here is one of the best in Cornwall.
9. St Michael’s Mount
The English twin of the French monastery Mont Saint Michel, St Michael’s Mount can be found 500 metres out to sea from the Cornish town of Marazion. It is separated from the mainland by a giant causeway and is completely cut off at high tide. If you make it to the island then you’ll find a tiny harbour village, with a population of just 30 residents. There’s also a castle and some ornately decorated gardens, as well as a café where you can enjoy some refreshments. Marazion is a quaint place to explore too, if only for the magical views of St Michael’s Mount from the shoreline.
This tiny port village off the south coast of Cornwall has long been a popular filming location for tv and film. The Three Musketeers, Alice in Wonderland and Poldark are just some of the works that have been recorded in the village. As well as spotting these filming locations, visitors to Charlestown can relax on the small beach or visit the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, where artefacts recovered from countless historic shipwrecks are housed.
Truro is an important town in Cornwall and is classed as Cornwall’s only city too. It is the center for retail and administration in the county but is also a great tourist destination. The Truro River runs through the city and a host of bridges allow easy crossing.
Notable attractions include Truro Cathedral, the Royal Cornwall Museum, and the Hall for Cornwall which is Cornwall’s justice courts. Travelling to Truro is also excellent as it has a main railway station that connects to London Paddington.
12. St Just
If you travel down to the end of Cornwall you will reach St Just. This is a inland town in the district of Penwith and is a great tourist destination. Due to its location, it can serve as a staging point for trips to other areas like Land’s End, and Penzance.
St Just has some excellent traditional English architecture and one of the most notable features is the clock tower which is found in the town center. There is also several hotels, shops, and restaurants. If you visit St Just in July, you may get to enjoy the popular Lafrowda festival which is a fun celebration of the arts.
Fowey is an important port and has been a vital trading port for many centuries. It is still a thriving port today but also a popular tourist location. It is located on the southern coast of Cornwall not far from St Austell and Looe.
The ruins of St. Catherine’s Castle make an interesting walk, and the port area and harbour are also fantastic. One of the best attractions has to be the Fowey Aquarium, but the ferry across to Polruan is also worth a ride.
Looe is located on the south coast of Cornwall and is both a fishing port and vibrant tourist destination. It sits on the estuary of the Looe river and the town spans both sides of the river. The beach on the eastern side of the river is particularly beautiful and is covered by one of the harbour walls.
At Looe you can find a great range of hotels, B&B’s, pubs, and restaurants. Also, this is a great place to try out some fun activities like sailing, fishing, and diving.
Bodmin is a historical town in the south-west of the same-named Bodmin Moor. It is a large town with a population of 14,000+ and has some excellent attractions. Most notable is the Bodmin Jail attraction which is housed within a historic building and provides an interactive experience of what it would be like to be an prisoner in ages past.
There is also the Bodmin Beacon which is a large stone monument, and Bodmin Keep which is a fun historical museum.
Mousehole is a coastal town on the southern coast of Cornwall. It lies 4km south of Penzance and is also within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a fishing port and it has an impressive walled harbour with large traditional stone walls.
From Mousehole, you can also see the small St Clement’s Isle which is approximately 300m from the harbour walls. The harbour and town are interesting to walk round, and this is a great day trip from Penzance.
Mevagissey is one of the larger towns on the south coast of Cornwall and is a fishing port. It is the second largest fishing port in Cornwall and together with tourism, is the town’s main source of economy. The fishing port is one of the main sites in Mevagissey and it is framed by impressive harbour walls.
Aside from the fishing, you can also find a host of pleasure boats that offer coastal boat trips. There is also a good range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs down by the harbour.
18. Boscastle & Tintagel
Boscastle and Tintagel are two popular towns on the north coast of Cornwall. Boscastle is a fishing port and is incredibly picturesque. You can find the unique museum of witchcraft here, and a host of other tourist shops.
The main draw at Tintagel is of course Tintagel Castle. The town and castle are steeped in British mythology and are associated with the legendary King Arthur. The castle offers some excellent views and walks, and is a fun place to explore.
Rock is a town that lies on the River Camel opposite Padstow. It is a fishing town but is great for tourism to with a number of hotels and amenities. You can also take the Black Tor Ferry which takes passengers across to neighbouring Padstow.
Polperro is a popular fishing town on the southern coast of Cornwall. It lies east of Fowey and west of Looe. The harbour here is a fantastic attraction and there is also the interesting Polperro Heritage Museum. There are also fantastic coastal walks that lead to Looe and Polruan.
Marazion is a town on the south-coast of Cornwall and is best-known for St Michael’s Mount. St Michael’s Mount is an island just off the coast of Marazion that can be accessed on foot during low-tide. This is an important historical place and has been occupied since the 12th century.
Mullion is a town on the Lizard Peninsula and is an excellent spot for bird watches and nature lovers. One of the main attractions here is Mullion Island which is an uninhabited island that is home to large colonies of sea birds.
23. Sennen Cove
Sennen Cove is a town on the south-west coast of Cornwall and is not far from Land’s End. It is a great destination in its own right and is a popular location for surfers. Sennen Cove beach stretches for over 400m and offers gorgeous white sands and perfect waves for surfing.
24. Helford Passage
Helford Passage lies on the inlet of the Helford River and is approximately 5m from Falmouth. This is a quiet village, but there is a spa and golf course, and Helford Passage beach is a peaceful place to look out to the river. You can also cross the river using a small passenger ferry.
25. Cawsand and Kingsan
Cawsand and Kingsan are two towns that sit on the southern coast of Cornwall not far from Plymouth on the Rame Head Heritage Coast. The coastlines here are dramatic and you can see Plymouth Sound from both towns. For walkers, the paths along the Rame Heritage Coast are superb.
Bodinnick is a tiny village located on the opposite banks of the River Fowey to another popular town, Fowey. You can use the Fowey Ferry to cross the river and travel between the two towns. Surrounding Bodinnick are some gorgeous walks and you can even reach Polruan further south.
27. St Agnes
St Agnes is a large town located on the north coast of Cornwall. It lies in between Newquay and Redruth. It is a popular location and has a number of tourist attractions. Firstly there is St Agnes Beacon which sits on top of the surrounding hills, and there is also the beautiful Trevaunance Cove and cliff walks.
Altarnun is a beautiful traditional village that is located on the fringes of Bodmin Moor. This is a great stop along the A30 and a good staging point if you want a rest before heading deeper into Cornwall. St Nonna’s Church is one of the main sites here and it has stood since the 12th century in some form.
Coverack lies on the Lizard Peninsula and is approximately 14km from Falmouth. This town has several quality hotels and a hostel. Coverack Cove is a beautiful bay and beach and surfers and divers come here to explore The Manacles which are a well-known rock formation which has caused numerous shipwrecks.
Helford gets its namesake from the Helford River and it sits on the river banks. The closest major town is Falmouth which is 8km away. The town is beautiful, and there is also a small passenger ferry you can take to the other side of Helford River.
31. Cadgwith Cove
Cagdiwth Cove is a small but gorgeous village not far from Lizard Point and Kynance Cove. It is located on the coast and has several small, sheltered bays and a rocky beach where you can see multiple fishing boats. If you want to visit a traditional Cornish coastal village, this is a great choice.
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