Top 21 things to do in Cornwall

The door is wide open as the warmest of welcomes awaits in Cornwall. Trendy, charmingly traditional or something in-between, you can be assured that guest houses in Cornwall come with a large dose of individuality and Cornish charm, be they on the harbourside, tucked away in the countryside or conveniently in town. Our historic four-star hotel in the cathedral city of Truro is just a hop, skip and jump away from Cornwall’s best attractions and most beautiful destinations.

But, far more than just a TV backdrop and fixture on the tourist trail, it’s still a working fishing village, with lobster pots and painted boats on the slipway, and catch destined to grace the plates of local Michelin-starred restauranteur Nathan Outlaw. Though the harbour — known as ‘The Platt’ — is the big draw, don’t miss the sweeping views on the onwards coast path, keeping the sea on your left. Here, ever-changing international exhibitions complement the permanent collections in dazzling white galleries reflecting the luminosity of sea and sky on the beach just outside. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view from Tate St Ives’ cafe, overlooking the town’s rooftops and the evocative island chapel beyond. Torpoint Ferry links Plymouth with Torpoint on the opposite side of the Hamoaze. A rail bridge, the Royal Albert Bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel , provides the other main land transport link.

The south coast is gentler, historic fishing villages, small sheltered coves and green fields running down to the water’s edge. Mix with the locals and taste Cornish culture by staying at a pub or inn. This is where great food meets comfy beds and a hearty Cornish welcome – oh, and a chance to try some of the local good stuff! Wonderfully rural or in a town or village with the hustle and bustle of Cornish life on your doorstep, take your pick. Five Sandy beaches to visit this summerDespite some fantastic inland landscapes, food you can die for, and world beating tourist attractions, we know what many of you come to Cornwall for?

The Common Brittonic spoken at the time eventually developed into several distinct tongues, including Cornish, Welsh, Breton, Cumbric and Pictish. This has to be the place to pique the next generation’s curiosity for geography, ecology and sustainability, with the Mediterranean biome, Rainforest biome, plus the Rainforest Canopy taking you high above the treetops. Our travel journalism is written and edited by independent experts to inform, inspire and advise our readers about the best choices for your holidays. We also feature properties and itineraries from a specially selected list of trusted operators. These buttons and adverts are clearly signposted, and provide direct links through to external sites.

You might even be lucky enough to hear the odd mariner’s melody as this is the home of the shanty-singers, the Fisherman’s Friends. The small and picturesque port of Charlestown — once a place bustling with industry exporting china clay — is just a short drive from the Eden Project. With its harbour walls still retaining the echo of centuries past, you’d be forgiven for keeping an eye out in case Poldark comes swashbuckling along. Cornwall’s mild microclimate – an effect of the Gulf Stream as it skirts the coast – means you’ll find a wealth of exotic gardens, particularly along the south coast. But the romantic history of the gardens at Heligan lends them a touch of intrigue that’s hard to beat. Cornwall’s coastal paths are well-known, but inland there is plenty to entice walkers, too.

And, if a cloud rolls in, don’t overlook the town of Bodmin itself. Head to Bodmin Jail and take a state-of-the-art immersive walk through Cornwall’s most haunting histories with tales of smugglers, miners and the down-at-heel. Or, by contrast, discover the lives of more well-to-do Cornwall Media dwellers at the National Trust’s Lanhydrock, a magnificent Victorian country house and estate. Dotted with the old schoolhouse, the perched whitewashed cottages and the lifeboat station — plus a passageway name as evocative as Squeeze Belly Alley — it’s hardly surprising Port Isaac was chosen as the set for the comedy drama series Doc Martin.

We’re right to be wary of man’s interventions on unspoiled landscapes but here in the far, far west, above Porthcurno beach, mankind and nature came together in perfect harmony. Back in the 1930s, the lone figure of Rowena Cade — trowel in hand — assured her place in Cornish history by building a stage, balconies and amphitheatrical seating right on the clifftop at the end of her garden. Plays have been performed here ever since and the only real danger is that the dramatic sight of a moonlit Logan Rock across the water upstages the cast every time. But, you don’t have to book a show to visit — the theatre is open during the day for visitors. Be sure to head down the steep steps to the beach after you’ve finished — it’s a regular feature in lists of the UK’s top-ten beaches on account of its vivid-blue seas and tropical-looking sands. Take in the subtropical paradise of Trebah Garden or go back in time at Henry VIII’s coastal fort, Pendennis Castle.

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