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If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall, you’re in for a treat!

This stunning county in the southwest of England is a treasure trove of picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns. 

Cornwall offers something for everyone, from beach lovers and garden enthusiasts to history buffs and foodies. After all, there is a reason why everyone in the UK is crazy about Cornwall!

top things to do in cornwall

⏱️ IN A RUSH? Here are the Top 5 Places To See in Cornwall

1️⃣ St Michael’s Mount

2️⃣ Minack Theatre

3️⃣ The Lost Gardens of Heligan

4️⃣ St Ives

5️⃣ The Eden Project

It’s a part of England I love to explore. It has so much to offer and it’s so unique and different to the rest of the country.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the best places to visit in Cornwall.

1. St Michael’s Mount

st michaels mount in cornwall
ice cream at st michaels mount

St Michael’s Mount is a majestic castle perched on an island near the town of Marazion. It’s a tidal island which means it’s accessible by foot at low tide. 

If by looking at the photo you think it looks like a place abroad, you’d be right! It’s very similar to the Mont Saint Michel in France.

It’s such a beautiful landmark and it will make you feel like you are stepping into a fairytale.

The site is managed by the National Trust and you need to book your ticket online and in advance, especially if you are visiting in summer. If you are NT member, the entrance is free but you still need to get your free ticket online.

This will give you access to the island, the castle as well as the gardens.

2. Minack Theatre

minack theatre in cornwall
minack theatre in cornwall view on the beach

The Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre carved into the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean, in Porthcurno (which is very close to the Land’s End).

This is by far one of the most unique landmarks in the UK.

You can visit it during the day (there is an entrance fee that you can pay on site or book online) but the absolute highlight is to see a play.

While the theatre looks like a Roman or Greek amphitheatre (it reminded me of the one in Tarragona, Spain), it’s actually a fairly recent addition since it was built in the 20s.

It’s important to note that it was entirely designed and hand-built by ​​Rowena Cade which is particularly impressive.

3. The Lost Gardens of Heligan

lost gardens of heligan
statue at the lost gardens of heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are one of the most unique attractions in Cornwall and the perfect place to visit if you want some greenery.

Rediscovered after decades of neglect, these gardens near Mevagissey are now one of the most loved spots in Cornwall. 

With over 200 acres to explore, including a jungle filled with exotic plants, vegetable gardens, and a stunning array of flowers, it’s a paradise for nature lovers.

They are open every day and you can buy your ticket on site or on their website.

PRO TIP: If you are visiting in summer, make sure to book online. I also recommend getting an early slot because you can stay as long as you want in the gardens so the earlier you go, the more you can stay!

4. St Ives

St Ives in Cornwall
St Ives harbour in Cornwall

St Ives is the ultimate seaside town to visit in Cornwall. It’s a popular spot for artists, surfers and beach lovers, thanks to its stunning light and crystal-clear waters. 

You’ll love wandering around the cobbled streets, full of cute shops and local art galleries.

There are also several beautiful beaches as well as the harbour that are worth checking out. Porthminster Beach is particularly lovely for a walk.

If you are into art, the Tate St Ives is a must see.

PRO TIP: I particularly recommend parking at St Erth station and take the train to St Ives from there. It’s one of the most scenic train rides in the UK and it will save you the hassle of parking in St Ives.

5. The Eden Project

Eden Project in Cornwall

The Eden Project is the most famous eco attraction in the UK. Nestled in an old quarry crater, the Eden Project features huge biomes with plants from all around the globe. 

From the rainforests of South America to the Mediterranean’s fragrant landscapes, there is a bit of everything! It’s educational, inspiring and honestly, just a really cool place to explore.

Plus, the outdoor gardens showcase Cornwall’s native flora and fauna.

PRO TIP: The Eden Sessions are live music concerts held in the summer and are an amazing way to experience the site.

6. Truro

Truro Cathedral in Cornwall
Truro city centre in Cornwall

Truro is the only city in Cornwall and while it might be small, it’s mighty charming. The most noticeable landmark is the cathedral. It has tall spires and is a great example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Truro offers a mix of shopping, culture and some great eats. You’ll love wandering around the city centre. There are both independent boutiques and high-street stores.

In terms of food, there are plenty of small cafés and pubs (including some hiding away in the narrow streets) where you can grab lunch or dinner.

7. Newquay

Little fistral beach in Newquay

Newquay is the go-to spot for anyone looking to catch some waves in Cornwall.

Known as the surf capital of the UK, its beaches, like the famous Fistral Beach, offer some of the best surfing opportunities around. But there’s more to Newquay than just surfing.

The town boasts a lively atmosphere with plenty of places to eat, drink, and chill out.

For families, the Blue Reef Aquarium offers a closer look at marine life, making it a fun day out for everyone. Newquay Zoo is also always a winner with kids.

PRO TIP: If you’re new to surfing, book a lesson at one of the local surf schools. It’s an experience you won’t forget! You can also opt for a coasteering adventure or a sea kayaking tour.

8. Land’s End

Lands End in Cornwall

As the name suggests, Land’s End is where the land literally ends and the Atlantic begins. 

It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Cornwall, offering stunning views of the sea and rugged cliffs. The area has a bit of a mythical vibe, with legends of King Arthur floating around.

There’s also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the history and geography of the place.

Make sure to go to the Land’s End sign since it’s a great photo spot! It shows how far away you are from New York City and John O’Groats.

9. Falmouth

Falmouth in Cornwall
Falmouth town centre in Cornwall

Falmouth is a cute coastal town in Cornwall known for its harbour, maritime museum and beautiful beaches.

It’s also a foodie’s paradise, with an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood straight from the ocean.

The town has a buzzing arts scene too, with galleries and events showcasing local talent.

It’s also a great place to go shopping since there are many small boutiques on the main street.

Another interesting landmark to visit in Falmouth is the Pendennis Castle. It’s an artillery fort that was built by Henry VIII and is now managed by the English Heritage. You can easily walk there from the town centre. 

10. St Mawes

st mawes near Falmouth in Cornwall
st mawes in Cornwall

St Mawes is a cute seaside village located just across the estuary compared to Falmouth. You can easily get there by ferry from Falmouth. It’s cheap and very quick.

I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a hidden gem compared to the other Cornwall attractions mentioned in this article but it’s such a cute place!

The village itself is very pretty and has a lot of white houses as well as some with thatched roof ones.

You can also walk to St Mawes Castle which is a beautifully preserved coastal fortress built by Henry VIII. It offers stunning views over the estuary and is a fascinating place to explore for history enthusiasts.

The castle’s design and the stories behind it are quite intriguing. It’s managed by the English Heritage and you can enter for free if you are a member.

11. Penzance

Penzance in Cornwall

Penzance, known for its mild climate and subtropical gardens, is a historic port on Cornwall’s south coast.

The town offers a mix of culture, history, and seaside charm.

Don’t miss a swim in the Jubilee Pool, one of the oldest Art Deco sea pools in the UK, or a stroll along the promenade for some of the best sea views in Cornwall.

Morrab Gardens is also an excellent place to go for a walk. There are many different varieties of plants and flowers.

12. Port Isaac

Port Isaac in Cornwall

Last but not least, Port Isaac. This picturesque fishing village is famous for being the filming location of the TV series “Doc Martin.”

With its narrow winding streets, traditional Cornish cottages, and stunning harbour views, Port Isaac offers a glimpse into Cornwall’s maritime past. It’s also a great spot for fresh seafood.

PRO TIP: Try to visit outside of peak summer months to avoid the crowds and truly enjoy the charm of Port Isaac.

13. Tintagel Castle

tintagel in cornwall

This is one of the most iconic castles in Britain and it will be for sure a highlight of your holidays in Cornwall.

Located in the village of Tintagel, the castle is perched on the cliffs and boasts incredible sea views. It is also very famous for its links with the legend of King Arthur.

When you visit, you’ll get to take a spectacular footbridge as well as access to the beautiful Merlin’s Cave.

Tintagel Castle is managed by the English Heritage which means the entrance is free for members.

Map of the best places to visit in Cornwall

best places to visit in cornwall map

So, are you ready to discover all the best spots in Cornwall? Now that you know everything about them, it’s time to go and explore.

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