Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Cornwall

You only have to visit Cornwall once to fall in love with its ever-changing seascape and the stunning scenery that sweeps from dramatic windswept moors to postcard-pretty villages.

With its evolving gastronomic scene and accommodation that ranges from clifftop caravan sites to luxurious boutique hotels, Cornwall is just as perfect for romantic breaks as it is for family beach holidays. Whatever time of year you visit, you’ll find a wealth of attractions to enjoy. Here’s a list of our top ten favourites.

1. The Eden Project

The Eden Project
The Eden Project

Back in 1995, the site of the Eden Project was a working clay pit and a brutal scar on the landscape but, fresh from his success at restoring the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Tim Smit envisioned something truly dramatic. He imagined an epic showcase for the world’s most important plants.

The Eden Project Biomes went from being a sketch on a pub napkin to completion in just two short years. Since opening in 2001, the Eden Project has fascinated visitors with its stunning displays of plant life, conservation work and exciting activities that include winter ice rinks, robotic installations and an extra-long zip wire. It’s the perfect day out whatever your age!

St Ives

Porthminster beach in St Ives village
Porthminster beach in St Ives

There’s nothing quite like the quality of light at St Ives and this is one of the reasons this north coast town has always attracted its fair share of artists. If you’re an art lover you can browse the town’s galleries that include the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. If not, then simply head to the golden beaches, often nominated some of the best in Europe.

If you arrive by train on the popular branch line which ambles along between St Erth and St Ives the first thing you’ll see is the small harbour with its colourful fishing boats. The harbour area is also a good spot to enjoy the town’s culinary delights. We recommend taking the short boat trip to Seal Island where the local seal colony lives and plays.

St Michael’s Mount

St Michaels Mount near Penzance in Cornwall
St Michaels Mount near Penzance

When you cross the granite causeway to St Michael’s Mount you’re following in the footsteps of a legendary giant. You’re sure to be swept away by this small island’s history, myth and beauty.

Take a tour of the medieval castle and enjoy sub-tropical gardens where specimens of the world’s rare and exotic plants bloom in a riot of colour. Take time to visit the fortress and priory before having lunch at the foot of the castle.

Fistral Beach

Waves at Fistral Beach near Newquay UK
Fistral Beach near Newquay

Surfers the world over recognise the name of Fistral Beach, home to competitions such as the Quiksilver Skins and the Boardmasters. Even if surfing isn’t your sport you’ll love this golden stretch of beach.

The beach curves round between two dramatic headlands which funnel in powerful waves that can reach 8 feet in height. If you’re a beginner you can book lessons at the beach or just simply relax and watch the experts.

Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor

Bodmin Moor in Cornwall UK
Bodmin Moor in Cornwall

Lying in the heart of Bodmin Moor, is Rough Tor the second highest point in Cornwall and a good destination for an invigorating walk that rewards you with breathtaking scenery and the chance to get up close to wild ponies.

As you approach this stark granite outcrop you’ll pass the stone foundations of circular houses dating back to the Bronze Age.

Cornwall’s South West Coastal Path

South West Coast Path at St Agnes Cornwall
South West Coast Path at St Agnes Cornwall

If exploring Bodmin Moor has given you a taste for walking then head to the Cornish section of the South West Coastal Path. With 300 miles of coastal walks, the county boats nearly half of the path’s entire length with a huge variety of scenery that takes you from headlands down into coastal valleys, across sheltered estuaries and sandy beaches and into bustling harbours and hidden coves.

Book accommodation along the route and walk several days or simply dip in and out as the holiday mood takes you.

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps North Cornwall UK
Bedruthan Steps

Getting down to Bedruthan Beach is not for the faint-hearted. Only accessible at low tide it is dotted with rocks thrown around by the Giant of Bedruthan. Access is by the steep and narrow Bedruthan Steps cut into the cliffside. Do take care if you have mobility issues or young children.

If you can’t make the descent to the beach then enjoy a cup of tea in the cafe at the top and cast your imagination back to when smugglers would encourage ships onto the rocks below and hide their spoils in hidden caves.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Before starting work on the Eden Project, Tim Smit brought another part of Cornwall back to vivid life. The Heligan Estate, home to the Tremayne family was productive back in the 18th and 19th-centuries but after being abandoned during the First World War the untended grounds had reverted back to the wild.

The house was eventually converted into flats but the walled gardens were all but forgotten until Smit and his family discovered them by accident. With a very small budget and a lot of hard work, they returned them to their former glory.


Tintagel Island and legendary castle ruins
Tintagel Island and Castle ruins

Whether you believe the legends and stories of King Arthur or not, your first glimpse of Tintagel as it rises out of the sea can’t fail to move you. Climb the steps that wind up and around the cliff to the castle ruins on the headland stopping to enjoy the views as you go.

Once back at ground level look out for seals playing in the bay and visit the quaint Old Post Office in the village with its medieval interiors.

Land’s End

Land's End in Cornwall UK
Land’s End in Cornwall

When you get to Land’s End you can’t go any further, you’ve reached the most southwesterly point of the UK’s mainland – ahead of you are the Isles of Scilly and America.

Use the famous Land’s End signpost as a photo opportunity before enjoying a coastal walk. As well as the stunning natural scenery there’s plenty of fun here for the whole family from shopping and dining to interactive exhibitions, restored farm buildings and things for the children to enjoy.