Updated on January 29, 2023 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

When it comes to places in and around England to visit, you’re often spoiled for choice. There are of course massive cosmopolitan centers and historical centers such as London, Manchester, and York.

Or, if you’re someone who loves to be within a stone’s throw of nature, there are the many rolling hills and valleys that you’ll find across the UK’s countryside.

However, one area that has slowly but surely been gaining traction as a must-see is the many beaches and seaside opportunities that encompass the British coastline (see here for more information on UK coastlines).

More specifically, the beautiful water and landscapes in the county of Cornwall.

While the southern English county has historically been an area that is best known for its extensive tin and copper mines, as well as a strong fishing economy, this western tip of England has become very famous in recent years as a gorgeous tourist spot, both by folks from around the UK and even internationally.

And, with a beauty spot like this becoming more and more popular, there is also an increasing list of places to visit in this idyllic seaside county.

If you’re thinking about visiting Cornwall shortly, then you’ll want to check out our list of some of the most awesome spots that you’ll be able to find in this corner of the United Kingdom.

Hartland Heritage Coast

So, of all the places in the county of Cornwall, where should we start? For our money, if you want a good idea of what you can expect from Cornwall’s coastlines, you have to start with Hartland’s Heritage coast!

Sitting on the county border between Cornwall and Devon, the Hartland Heritage coast has everything that any of the best coastlines around Cornwall have, from the rocky cliffs that overlook the Celtic Sea, to the sandy beaches that bridge Devon and Cornwall together, this is a great hiking spot for people that love to get a good workout with their nature trek!

And when you want to take a break, there are also plenty of stops to rest at, like Welcombe and Mead.

(Okay, those places are technically in Devon rather than Cornwall, but it is only like a hundred yards over the border. It’s a hop and a skip away!)

St Ives

Now, if we’re talking about beauty spots that are a must-see in Cornwall, we couldn’t have a list like this and not mention St. Ives!

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the county, St. Ives is a coastal town and port that has become a bustling hive of activity in recent years, thanks to the booking tourist industry that has been becoming more popular across Cornwall.

What was once a sleepy, small village has become a bustling town, complete with golden beaches and warm, sea-green waters in the summer.

Of the many beaches that you’ll find in this nook of north Cornwall, the semi-secluded and sheltered Porthmeor Beach is perhaps one of the most idyllic, with its shallow waters being the perfect place for surfing and swimming, especially in the relative safety of these calm and picturesque shorelines.

This is the perfect locale to spend either a day or even a few at, provided that you book accommodation well in advance!

Port Isaac

Speaking of picturesque, if you’re looking for an ideal port-town stay while in Cornwall, you can’t go wrong with Port Isaac!

This little town that faces the Atlantic and Celtic coast has everything that you could want in an English seaside town. From the strong fishing traditions that have been going strong for generations, to the cozy streets of the town itself.

Throw in some spectacular seafood restaurants and vendors here, and you have yourself the perfect little seaside getaway!


Back to the beachside we go with this next entry.

Like the nearby Hartland heritage coast, Bude is another beach that is located close to the county border between Cornwall and Devon.

This beach however is more of the sandy variety, making it a great place to stop and absorb some rays in the summer with the family!

Not only that, but you’ll find the historic Bude castle near the shoreline as well, making it a great stop for those folks who love to find out about local history.

And, like many great coasts in Cornwall and Devon, it’s a pretty amazing place to surf as well!

Eden Project

Now, if you’re looking for sights and places that are truly unique that you can only find in Cornwall, then we would wholeheartedly recommend giving the Eden project a visit.

While Cornwall is a lot warmer than many other parts of the UK, the Eden Project is truly spectacular in both scope and intricacy that turns that already warmer weather into the perfect place to support all kinds of flora from around the world.

Located just a few miles outside of the town of St. Austell, and created on top of a former clay mine, these two biome spheres emulate ecosystems that you would normally find in much warmer temperatures, one for a Mediterranean climate, and the other a tropical rainforest biome, which is the largest indoor rainforest in the world.

With plenty of other features at this attraction, from the farmyard animals that can be pet and fed, to the botanical garden of the surrounding Cornwall flora and fauna, this is a great attraction that demonstrates the importance of the natural world, and a great place for learning more about the biological sciences.

Michael’s Mount

Going from a modern attraction that shines a light on the natural world, our next entry is a historical one that is very much a part of it.

St. Michael’s mount is located in Mount’s bay and is technically considered a tidal island, as the mound becomes isolated from the mainland once the high tide rolls in from the Atlantic.

With its castle perched at its peak, the sight of this small island at sunrise and sunset as it catches the rising and dying light of the sun is truly a sight to behold, and one that has to be experienced for yourself!

Widemouth Bay

Similar to Bude, Widemouth Bay is another open expanse of the Cornish coastline that is perfect for learning how to surf.

Just a little south of Bude as we covered before, this massive beach allows for plenty of experience to be gained as the warmer waters roll in during the summer, and there are even several accommodations that can be rented out here.

If you’re prepared to bring your accommodation, there is even a caravan park for you to use that is right next to the beach!

Tintagel Castle

Trek a little north to the village and peninsula of Tintagel, and you’ll find perhaps one of the most striking castles remains that you’ll encounter in all of England, Tintagel castle!

Half built on the cliff face that opens up into the Atlantic and Irish Sea and on a rugged slab of land, these ruins are all that remain of the old castle that once stood here in the High Middle Ages, that has since fallen into ruin.

According to Arthurian legend, this is the place where the legendary King himself was conceived. Considering that Cornwall and nearby Wales both have strong ties to Arthurian myth, this might not be a stretch to consider!

And stood on this high rise of rock, it’s hard not to think of images of great heroes of old standing here too!

Watergate Bay

Staying with the majestic sites of coastal Cornwall for a little while longer, Watergate Bay has some of the most beautiful and desktop-background-worthy cliffs faces that you’ll find in the whole county.

They are awe-inspiring in their beauty.

Plus, the beach here gives you plenty of places to relax and even get some great surfing waves too!

Crackington Haven

With only a single pub and a few houses making up the main bulk of the settlement, Crackington Haven barely counts as a hamlet, much less a full village!

And yet, it is that small size, combined with a huge beach that stretches for miles, that makes Crackington Haven one of the most popular places for day visits in Cornwall!

This beach in particular is great for rock pool searching when the tide is out, as the rock formation that lay just below the ocean surface catches tons of interesting sea life for young kids to search for!

Plus, that pub in question, Coombe Barton Inn, is a very popular spot for people who have just finished a good day’s hike to stop by for a drink!

Lost Gardens Of Heligan

While the Eden project that we covered earlier might be the most ambitious natural science project to come out of Cornwall, it is by no means the first.

Enter: the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a little subtropical slice of a gardening style that is several hundred years old in the UK, and one that has slowly been reclaimed as one of the most popular in the country.

First opened in the 18th century by the wealthy Cornish Tremayne family, and contains a massive amount of different plant life, from rustic rhododendron to captivating camellias, alongside ‘the jungle’ the collection of subtropical plants that give this 200-acre plot of land a distinct character, unlike many other gardens in the country.

While this garden was unfortunately abandoned shortly after World War 1, efforts since the 1990s to restore the garden have been incredibly successful.

Land’s End

Of course, how could we have a list of the best places to visit in Cornwall, and not bring up Land’s End?

Located at the most Westerly tip of the county, Land’s End is one of, if not THE most well-known landmarks in Southern England, it is the most western point of the British mainland, making it a very popular tourist destination.

This little landmark on the Penwith peninsula is also the mark of the end of the cross-kingdom from here to John O’Groats in Scotland, a trek that stretches pretty much the entire height of the British Isles, and a length of around 870 miles in total.


Like many of the villages that you’ll find around the county, Bocastle is another classic small seaside town that you find nestled in North Cornwall, complete with its harbor!

Outside of the lovely Southern English countryside and village atmosphere, this town is probably best known for being home to the museum of Witchcraft.

The perfect place to stop by and take a look if you’re into the spookier arts of magic, as well as the history of witchcraft, both for its historical and cultural significance.

And while there may not be a castle here exactly, this is certainly a great little trip for folks who love a good hike and little village architecture!

The Minack Theatre & Porthcurno

This little Cornwall village is probably most famous for being the submarine telegraph endpoint, which used to span across entire continents, a topic which you can learn much more about at the Museum of Global Communications that you can find here.

Outside of this, Porthcurno is probably best known for its white sandy beaches and tall cliff faces.

While here, you may want to consider catching a show at the Minack Theatre, an open-air theater that was first opened in the 1920s, carved from stone and overlooking the seafront from the high cliff it is sat on.

Port Town Truro

Yet another port town that you should visit while you are in Cornwall, Truro is another idyllic little spot that has everything that you could want in a cozy seaside English town, from good seafood, to that classic little English town design where the roads follow around the geography of the inlets, rather than simple town plan.

There’s even a pretty impressive cathedral here for you to check out!

Plus, Truro is home to some of the best jewelers that you can find in Cornwall, so it’s doubly worth a check-in here!

Trebah Gardens

Not to be outdone by the gardens of Heligan, Trebah Gardens are another massive, sprawling garden that is worth a visit from anyone that appreciates a little floral and natural beauty in their life!

These 25-acre gardens have everything, from seasonal exhibits from magnolias in the spring to giant rhubarb that grows in the summer.

Plus, there are a ton of year-round plant exhibits in this botanical marvel, including many subtropical flowers and plants.


Padstow is home to plenty of great sights to enjoy while you are here, from the idyllic seaside harbor to the Elizabethan manor Prideaux Place, and even the Cornish vineyard Trevibban Mill!

And, of course, there are plenty of great restaurants too!


Perhaps one of the biggest and most popular towns in Cornwall, Newquay has everything to offer, from great surfing and relaxing beaches to a great, holiday-friendly hiking trail, as well as great facilities!

Lizard Point & Kynance Cove

Now, if you love exploring caves and seashores as much as we do, then you owe it to yourself to check out Lizard point and the many natural secrets that it holds!

Smuggler’s Harbour of Polperro

If you’d like to visit a place in Cornwall with a little history of scoundrel activity in its past, then you should check out the old smuggler town and harbor of Polperro!

What Makes Cornwall Such An Interesting Place To Visit?

If it wasn’t already clear from our list, we think that Cornwall might just be one of the best places in the Entire UK to visit for yourself, especially if you’re less about the hustle and bustle of a big city visit.

Places To Visit In Cornwall 19 Epic And Beautiful Spots (1)

But what exactly

The Geography

As you’ll no doubt have realized from our entries in this list, perhaps the biggest draw to Cornwall for a visit is the gorgeous scenery that the entire county is surrounded in. 

As many of the travel brochures and our entries to this corner of England will no doubt show you, the beaches that you’ll find in Cornwall are among some of the most beautiful and popular in the UK, with the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream making the waters here clear and warm for most of the year. 

It’s for this reason that many of the pictures of the shallow waters around Cornwall could be mistaken for a Mediterranean coastline, with the currents also making Cornish water arguably THE go-to place for surfers in the UK.

While perhaps not as large or dramatic as the surfing Hotspots that you’ll find in places like Australia, the US, or Portugal, the flatter surf makes the waves perfect for getting to grips with the sport.

However, the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean-facing county isn’t just affected at the coast by these waters.

That coastal windswept geography also means that there are many large forests or woodland areas around Cornwall, leading to some amazing vistas of the British countryside and even Cornish moors that you’ll find here too.

The Climate

All that idyllic coastline wouldn’t mean much if the weather didn’t permit a beautiful day out (as many other coastlines across the UK can attest) however, this is another area where Cornwall has a lot of the rest of the UK beat as well.

Like many other parts of the Southern United Kingdom, the climate is noticeably warmer than in many other places, leading to summers that are generally warmer and sunnier than many other parts of the country.

However, even by the UK’s standards, Cornwall boasts relatively mild winters as well, with the warm ocean currents often stopping snow and frost from forming along the coast, and even further inland.

However, this does also come with a double-edged sword, as Cornwall is also noticeably wetter than many other parts of the United Kingdom.

This means that it’s possible to grow subtropical plants and flora without much outside interference, as the Heligan gardens that we covered demonstrate!

The Culture

Of course, sunny skies, beaches, caves, cliff faces, and sweeping vistas only make up part of the story. Cornwall is as much defined by the people that live here, and the towns and villages that you’ll find peppered across the county.

While Cornwall has been a part of England for hundreds of years at this point, Cornish culture has its own very strong lineage, with a distinct language, tradition, and even religion and folklore to a certain extent.

This is partly thanks to Cornwall being its distinct Celtic tribe and kingdom in the first millennium.

This all lends itself to a part of the UK that will have its own distinct culture that shares as much in common with Welsh, Scottish, and even Irish traditions as it will with the rest of England.

And this isn’t even touching on other aspects like food and sport!

With gentle, warm waters, surfing, sailing, and rowing are some of the most popular sports that are practiced in the area, and a strong fishing tradition makes the seafood in Cornwall to die for!

And if you do visit, and you have a sweet tooth, you have to try a Cornish scone and ice cream!

Final Thoughts On Visiting Cornwall

So, what exactly are our final thoughts on Cornwall as a travel destination?

Well, it’s pretty much got something for every kind of traveler, with good food, plenty of great scenery, a thriving sports community, lots of historical towns and villages to visit, and the amazing landmarks that are also peppered across the county.

About the only kind of traveler that might not get the most out of a visit here are people who prefer dense city getaways to rural country retreats.

So, if you consider yourself something of a city-slicker, and aren’t comfortable with a quieter vacation, this may not be your initial number-one pick.

However, for everyone else, this is a place that you should check out. And for all you urban holiday-goers out there, who knows? You might find yourself falling in love with this part of the UK as much as we have!

The BEST PLACES to Visit in Cornwall | Cornwall Road Trip