If you’re planning a break to Cornwall, it's likely that you’re already well aware of the countless places to go and sights to see. In Cornwall, visitors are spoilt for choice, so we’ve tracked down our top 10 places to visit throughout the county, from sleepy seaside towns through to the eerie Bodmin Moor.
There wasn’t really anywhere else to start now was there? After all, Marazion is home to one of the most famous landmarks in the whole of Cornwall: St Michael’s Mount. You’ll doubtless recognise St Michael’s from postcards and TV shows, but experiencing it first-hand is something else altogether. Whether it’s taking a stroll through the beautiful gardens or exploring the castle, any trip to St Michael’s Mount is bound to be enjoyed.
But St Michael’s Mount isn’t all that Marazion has to offer. You’ll also be able to find some of Cornwall’s finest beaches - perfect for all manners of watersports - as well as some of the best wildlife watching spots going, with the chance to clap your eyes on seals, dolphins and basking sharks to name but a few. And if you start to feel a bit peckish you can pop into one of Marazion’s top eateries, serving up everything from the humble Cornish pasty right the way through to some high-end fine dining.
If you’re after a classic seaside town then Mousehole is just the place for you. Actually pronounced “Mowzel” by the locals, it’s everything that you’d expect from a Cornish fishing village, with its granite cottages all clustered around the quaint little harbour.
But Mousehole isn’t just a summer destination; every December the famous Christmas lights get turned on throughout the village and the harbour, drawing in visitors from all over. In fact helicopter trips are run from Penzance, just around the bay, to see the lights from above.
Formerly a major fishing town on the North Coast of Cornwall, Padstow has developed into something of a haven for foodies. With the delicious locally-caught seafood available right on the doorstep, it was only a matter of time before Padstow got the recognition it deserved. TV chef, Rick Stein, has opened several eateries throughout the town, which have all received great acclaim.
You’re also in the perfect place if you feel the need to burn off a few calories after overindulging. With the famous South West Coast Path running right past Padstow, and the Camel Trail leading out towards Wadebridge and on to Bodmin, make sure you pack your walking boots.
One of the most famous seaside resorts in Cornwall, St Ives is a true delight with its sparkling waters and golden sands. Situated down towards the western tip of the county, its sheltered bay and picturesque harbour make it a perfect destination for those seeking a few days at the seaside. In fact, St Ives has won multiple awards over the past few years such as being named the Best Family Holiday Destination by Coast Magazine in 2010, and one of TripAdvisor’s 10 Best European Beach Destinations in 2011.
But it’s not just about the beaches, St Ives is also a thriving art town harking back to the days of JMW Turner and Henry Moore and St Ives is now home to one of the four Tate Art Galleries.
For other great things to do in the local area, check out best things to do in St Ives.
If you’re heading down to Cornwall with surfboard in tow then you’ll want to stop off in Newquay. Often labelled as the premier surfing destination in the whole of the United Kingdom, Newquay welcomes many of the world’s best surfers with the annual Boardmasters festival, a fusion of the classic music festival and surfing competition that has become one of the biggest events in the South West’s calendar. But don’t worry if you’re just starting out on the waves, there are plenty of schools around the town offering a variety of courses, so you’ll be an expert in no time.
And if surfing isn’t your thing there are plenty of alternatives on offer in Newquay. You could simply spend an afternoon relaxing on one of the beautiful beaches, head out for a trip to Newquay Zoo or just take a wander through the famous Trenance Gardens.
Cornwall isn’t just about sweeping, sandy beaches and surfboards. Towards the north east of the county you’ll be able to find the famous Bodmin Moor, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Site of Special Scientific Interest all rolled into one. With around 150 sq. miles of rugged and dramatic moorland, Bodmin Moor provides the perfect contrast to the quaint seaside towns that dot the coastline.
Whether you’re going on a hike up one of Bodmin’s hills, taking a trip down the Jamaica Inn (the inspiration behind Daphne Du Maurier’s famous novel) or visiting one of the mysterious stone circles, you won’t be short of something to do on Bodmin Moor.
As famous spots in Cornwall go, Land’s End is right up there. As the most westerly point in the whole of England, it’s also one of the most photographed points with countless tourists and charity fundraisers stopping for a snap with the famous signpost. You can take a trip out to the edge of the headland and look over the ocean knowing that the next bit of land is the eastern coast of North America, right on the other side of the Atlantic. Or spend a bit of time taking in the multitude of tourist attractions that have popped up in the area, which include the taking part in Arthur’s Quest, and stopping off at Greeb Farm, a throwback to a Cornwall from yesteryear.
Do you want to visit other popular tourist attractions? Click here to read about all the top attactions in Cornwall.
Yf you’re after a little bit of peace and quiet on your trip down to Cornwall, then you should consider heading down to the Lizard Peninsula. Tucked away in the Cornwall AONB, the Lizard offers some of the most picturesque scenery in the whole of the country, let alone just Cornwall. The western edge is made up of sweeping golden beaches created by the unrelenting force of the Atlantic, while the eastern coast is home to quaint little fishing villages and scenic coastal walks.
No trip to the Lizard is complete without a stop off in Kynance Cove, a beautifully secluded group of coves and beaches that remains one of Cornwall’s hidden treasures.
Looe is yet another of those glorious seaside towns that seem to characterise Cornwall. Split in two by the River Looe, the town has been a popular destination for well over 100 years - and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. You can while away an afternoon sat on the pier watching the busy fleet of fishing boats coming and going or, if you fancy, you can head out on the waves yourself. Looe is one of the fishing centres of the south-west with a number of companies offering fishing trips from the harbour.
The final of our top 10 is Porthcurno, a village located in the very west of Cornwall, just around the coastline from Land’s End. The area is perhaps most famous for its Minack Theatre, one of the most unique and striking spots in all of Cornwall. Originally the brainchild of local resident Rowena Cade, who transformed her garden into a place where a local dramatic group could perform their version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it’s now Britain’s most recognisable open air theatre and the perfect place to enjoy a show on a balmy summer’s eve.
So there you have it, Sykes’ Top 10 Places to Visit in Cornwall. When put together they make the perfect itinerary for a Cornish break, so why don’t you take a look through our Cornwall properties and start planning your trip?