Cornwall is one of those areas in England that is just too beautiful to miss. Perched on the western leg of Great Britain, it’s one of the most southerly points in the UK. Best of all, there are so many amazing things to see in Cornwall that you’ll wanna go back again and again.
From the white sandy bays, historic fishing villages and mountains of delicious Cornish pasties that I know you’ll gorge on. What makes Cornwall so special is that it doesn’t just have to be a summer destination, with most of the things to see in Cornwall running year-round.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my totally favourite spots to explore in Cornwall. We’re already planning our next trip down later this month.
Take a look at the amazing things to see in Cornwall on your visit. Have the best time!
1.) Explore St Michael’s Mount
Not to be confused with Mont-Saint-Michel in the French region of Normandy, St Michael’s Mount is actually perched on a tidal island just off the coast of Cornwall.
Resting around 400 metres offshore (from the beach at Marazion), it’s a totally idyllic spot to see and one of the things to see in Cornwall if you like something a little more unique. When the tide is out you can stroll across the causeway just as pilgrims have done for centuries.
You’ll either love or totally scare yourself with the legends and souls that surround the island. Stories of seafarers being lured to their deaths by a mermaid, ghosts roaming the grounds and giants living in caves, it’s a spot that’ll have you totally enthralled or running for the hills. Ha!
2.) Stay at Watergate Bay
Talking of Beaches, Watergate Bay is perched pretty close to New Quay and one of my fav spots to stay in Cornwall. One of the best things about Watergate Bay is its massive sandy beach, which is totally idyllic around sunset (especially so in Summer).
Best of all, the Watergate Bay Hotel is right on the shorefront and has a proper seaside vibe that’s just so infectious that you’ll begin to chill as soon as you enter.
Plus they have an epic spa and one of the best brekkies in all of Cornwall that’s filled with copious amounts of freshly baked pancakes. Yum!
3.) Explore St. Piran’s Oratory
Perched at Penhale Sands (close to Perranporth) St. Piran’s Oratory is the earliest known Christian church in mainland Britain. This alone dates the church to well over 1300 years old.
Now, the name itself (St Piran) comes from the patron saint of the Cornish tin miners with the church discovered in the 1800s and subsequently excavated. Nowadays. There’s a conservation project to restore the church and to preserve this iconic (but often little-known spot) in Cornwall.
It really is one of the more historic things to see in Cornwall and is perfect to explore if you’re looking for a day away from the beach.
4.) Ramble across Bodmin Moor
Okay, so it’s true, Bodmin Moor is one of the wettest of Britain’s moors but don’t let that put you off – it’s totally unspoilt and unique.
Over 12,000 years ago, this whole area of Cornwall was a dense forest… nowadays the landscape is quite the opposite, with vast rolling hills that dominate this region of Cornwall.
Now, Bodmin Moor is one of the best things to see in Cornwall if you love a good ramble and you’ll even get to scale Cornwall’s highest point too. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the “beast of Bodmin” that’s said to roam these lands.
If that’s not your thing, you might wanna skip this and head to some of Cornwall’s beautiful coastal villages.
5.) Chillout at Gwithian Beach
You’ll find no shortage of amazing beaches to visit in Cornwall, with Gwithian Beach being one of the best! Now, if you’ve been to Cornwall before you’ll know all about the love of surfing in this region, with Gwithian Beach having some of the best surfs around.
Once here, try your hand at riding the waves (with a surfing lesson) or head out to spot the seals that you can regularly see in the area. On particularly windy days, you might even get your chance to have a go at kite surfing.
Now, I’ve gotta be honest, I can only just about sit on a surfboard so there’s no chance in me being able to kitesurf, but if your balance is good, give it a shot… it really is one of the amazing things to see in Cornwall.
6.) Find The Great Flat Lode
The Great Flat Lode is possibly one of the most interest things to see in Cornwall if you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, horse ride or cycle around the region. Once home to Neolithic settlements, this seven-mile loop is a great way to explore a little more of Cornwall.
In more recent times, this region was famous for its tin mining and you can still spot some history of mining (as well as an engine house) along the loop trail itself.
7.) Wander Padstow and Prideaux Place
Prideaux Place is one of the most beautiful manor houses located just outside the fishing village of Padstow. It really is one of the amazing things to see in Cornwall on your first visit.
Now, Prideaux Place was initially built in the late 16th Century and has been home to generations of the Prideaux family ever since. Now, that a place I’d like to call home.
Once here, you should make the effort to see the impressive collection of paintings, furniture and porcelain that dates back centuries. Oh, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the staircase in the hall. Its cantilevered design gives the impression it’s floating and looks beautiful.
Afterwards, spend the afternoon wandering around stunning Padstow (with a hearty bag of fish Stein’s Fish & Chips in hand). It really is a gorgeous little town on the north coast.
8.) Spend an evening at the Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre is one of the pretty unique (and totally stunning) things to see in Cornwall… and a spot you won’t wanna miss! Perched on the rugged Cornish cliffs, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean you’d be fooled into thinking you’d arrived in an ancient Roman town.
Often described as one of the world’s best theatres, it’s a gorgeous place you have to see when near Penzance.
Once here, you can wander around until about 6 pm every day (except Tuesday’s, when it closes around noon) to take in the gorgeous spot. That being said, a theatre isn’t a theatre without a good few plays.
If you fancy catching one of them, check out their listings and book in advance – seats fill up very fast!
9.) Visit the Scilly Isles
Around 30-miles, or so, from Land’s End; the Scilly Isles area tropical paradise that’s easily reached by flight from New Quay airport or by boat.
Benefiting from the warm Gulf Stream, the islands are filled with tropical plants and trees, alongside some of the clearest waters in all the UK. It’s an unspoilt paradise that’s well worth a trip.
Once here, make sure to take the boats between all the islands and explore some of the smaller and intimate islands that are too stunning to miss.
10.) Explore Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle is connected by legend to the story of King Arthur and is one of the things to see in Cornwall if you love a little history.
Now, to get to Tintagel Castle you’ll have to follow the steps down a relatively steep cliff face then cross a narrow bridge to the narrow outcrop where the castle stands. It sounds like a quest, right? Well, it was a castle to protect royalty after all.
Built in the early 13th Century, by Henry III’s younger brother, Richard Tintagel Castle is too gorgeous to miss.
11.) Spot The Hurlers
The Hurlers is an example of the best-preserved stone circle in the southwest of England and one of the amazing things to see in Cornwall. Though I’ve gotta be honest, if you don’t like ancient history you might find this spot a little dull.
Dating back from the Bronze Age, each of the three circles contains between 9 and 24 pillars of granite is believed to have been placed there a whopping 1500BC. Now that’s old!
12.) Spend a night in Bodmin Jail
Built in 1779, Bodmin Jail was once Cornwall’s answer to Alcatraz (in San Francisco). Now, this spot is relatively macabre and pretty dark but you can visit Bodmin Jail and actually go on an after-dark experience that beings around 9 pm, this is swiftly followed by a jailhouse dinner and a night within (what is reputed to be) the most haunted spot in the UK.
Once inside, you’ll learn more about Britain’s only ever-constructed execution pit, the souls that haunt the site and the type of criminals that once called these digs home.