10 Best Places To Visit In Cornwall

Scilly Isles
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This is a guest post from Victoria Philpott.

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Cornwall this summer? From the legends of King Arthur, to the stories of the Beast on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall is a fascinating place. Add to that the great weather, stunning beaches and unique cuisine and it’s no wonder Cornwall is one of the most popular places in England for holidays.

There’s so much to do in Cornwall it can be confusing to know where to start in planning your trip, so, here’s our tried and tested guide to the best places to visit in Cornwall that you need to include in your itinerary.

1. Tintagel Castle And Saint Nectan’s Glen

Tintagel Castle and Merlin’s Cave are where Cornwall’s whole King Arthur vibe began. This is where it’s believed he was conceived – what a place to celebrate! It’s a well-known fact about Cornwall that King Arthur was protected from evil by Merlin the magician, who lived in a cave beneath the castle.

There’s a cool bridge here, with a plunging drop between the mainland and the outcrop the castle is perched on – good luck walking across that. Entrance to Tintagel Castle is free to English Heritage members.

Nearby you’ll find Saint Nectan’s Glen – one of the most serene places to visit in Cornwall. This relatively small area of woodland is one of Cornwall’s most gorgeous pockets of nature. And the most beautiful spot is St Nectan’s Kieve – a waterfall. You can expect to see ribbons and crystals left as meaningful totems by past visitors. You can even swim here!

2. St Michael’s Mount

Visit St Michael’s Mount while you’re in Cornwall and you’ll be venturing out to a whole different environment. In the right kind of weather the island is seriously majestic. Visiting St Michael’s Mount makes for one of the best days out in Cornwall.

People walking on a causeway across the sea to St Michael's Mount
Walking across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount

With thousands of years of history behind this Cornwall star attraction, St Michael’s Mount has inspired numerous books, myths and legends. Visit via the cobbled causeway that zig zags its way to the island and you can explore the castle and carefully curated gardens too. Just don’t get stuck out there at high tide!

3. Bodmin Moor

Bodmin Moor is a fascinating place to visit in Cornwall. One of the star attractions here is The Hurlers, one of many stone circles in Cornwall. The Hurlers is managed by Cornwall Heritage Trust and dates back to the Bronze Age. Historians have concluded that The Hurlers was part of an important processional route.

Visit to learn more about these fascinating stone formations, and to enjoy the tea rooms nearby. The site is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

4. St Ives

St Ives is a very popular place to visit in Cornwall thanks to the wealth of art galleries and sculptures. Visit the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. However make sure you sit around and admire the harbour too – just watch out for those gulls!

Curved gallery of the Tate St Ives, showing artworks and the town and sea glimpsed through the window
Inside the Tate St Ives

Carbis Bay Beach and Porthminster Beach are absolute stunners here, so be sure to include them in your Cornwall trip itinerary too.

5. Land’s End

If you want to visit the most southerly point in the UK, then head to Land’s End. As the name suggests, this is the tip of the country. It’s a popular endurance test for walkers, cyclists and motorists to travel from here to John O’Groats in Scotland to be able to say they’ve “done” the whole of the UK.

As well as being the end of the UK, Land’s End is a pretty stop for viewpoints and photos. It’s well worth a visit on your Cornwall itinerary. 

6. The Lost Gardens Of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are one of the best places to visit in Cornwall. Visit and you can enjoy stunning diverse wildlife, and a beautiful vivid landscape. Wander round the Pleasure Gardens, the Victorian Productive Gardens, the bamboo tunnels and the ancient woodlands. There’s also a suspended rope way rising above the ferns and rhubarb.

Pathway through the gardens with exotic trees and bushes
The Lost Gardens of Heligan

7. Look Round The Eden Project

The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions. Visit and you’ll love the natural paradise housed in bubble-like conservatories. From South African flora in one, to Mediterranean fruits in another, there’s a lot to see in these amazing rainforest biospheres.

As well as the incredible gardens there are a Rainforest Canopy walkway, different events and activities every day, and a long zipwire for you to travel down to see the Eden Project from above!

8. Cotehele National Trust House

If you like castles and stately homes, you’ll love Cotehele, a Tudor house with medieval origins. Visit and you can look round the courtyard, and see the furniture, armours, draping tapestries and intimate quarters of owners past.

The gardens are one of the highlights here, especially as they run alongside the Tamar river quay. Take a guided walk to learn more about this fascinating pocket of Cornwall. Then end your trip with a visit to the tea rooms and museum, where you can enjoy a Cornish cream tea looking over the vast woodlands.

9. Pinetum Gardens

Just over 40 years ago Pinetum Gardens was set up in St Austell, Cornwall. This makes for a great day out. You can expect themed gardens, craft markets, family activities, some tasty food and plenty of space for kids to burn off some energy too. The Japanese Garden is a definite highlight!

10. Isles Of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are made up of five inhabited islands 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. You can see seals and puffins, and they’re an outdoors type of person’s delight. Head over via the ferry or flights and you’ll land in St Mary’s, the biggest island. From there it’s easy to get to Bryher, St Agnes, St Martin’s and Tresco via the local boat service.

Looking through an old stone archway to the Abbey Garden
The Tresco Abbey Garden

If it’s gardens you like then visit Tresco for the Tresco Abbey Garden. Once a 12th century Benedictine Priory, the building was transformed into a subtropical estate in the 1800s. Now over 20,000 plant species are nestled in the grounds, ranging from crimson flame trees to desert flowers.

The Scilly Isles are one of the most gorgeous places in Cornwall to visit.

Feel like you know more about Cornwall now? Have a go at this fun Cornwall quiz to see how much you’ve learned!

By Victoria Philpott, from DayOutinEngland.com. The essential resource for guides and itineraries to England’s best days out. Searchable by interests, counties, cities, and areas – they’re definitely not just for the kids!

Pinnable image of places to visit in Cornwall - a bay with boats in the Scilly Isles and sculpture in Barbara Hepworth's garden
Pinnable image of the Scilly Isles and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden

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Karen Warren

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I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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