From St Ives with its galleries and charming shopping streets, to Padstow’s top restaurant scene, surfing in Newquay and even exploring the Eden Project, there are plenty of unique things to do in Cornwall!
Earlier this year I spent a wonderful few days in Cornwall. We were very lucky with the weather, enjoying blue skies and sunshine while the rest of the country was being battered by wind and rain.
For me, Cornwall is the ultimate English holiday destination. It’s got everything – great beaches, tasty food and lots of fun activities. It works for families, couples and groups of friends.
I also love how many things there are in this region that feel extra special. Surfing in Newquay isn’t like surfing anywhere else in England. The Eden Project is the largest indoor rainforest in the world, you can’t see that anywhere else in the country.
If you haven’t been before, then start planning your trip! Yep, it’s time to show you some of the best days out in Cornwall…
Get Arty In St Ives
If you’re into art, then a trip to St Ives is a must. The Tate St Ives is in a gorgeous spot, overlooking the Atlantic. The gallery has various exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing work by modern British artists with links to the St Ives area. Close by is the Barbara Hepworth Museum And Sculpture Garden, with the artist’s incredible works displayed throughout the grounds.
Explore The Largest Indoor Rainforest In The World
The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most popular attractions. The huge domes are home to exotic plantlife from around the world, along with waterfalls and walkways. It’s a great way to really get to know the life on our planet. Also, it’s perfect for families, with a play area for kids and even a zipline for bigger kids and adults alike!
Learn To Surf In Newquay
One of the top things to do in Newquay is surf! Fistral Beach has some of the best waves in the country, but if that seems intimidating, there are other local beaches to learn the basics on. If you’re looking to see some serious action on the waves, time your holiday to Newquay for mid-august, when stars from the surf world will be taking part in the World Surf League qualifying series at Boardmasters.
READ MORE: Padstow, Cornwall and beyond
Visit Bedruthan Steps
What a view! Legend has it a giant called Bedruthan used the huge rocks as stepping stones – and it’s only when you reach the beach that you’ll take in the sheer scale of them. It’s best to visit around low tide to fully explore the beach areas as they get cut off once the tide comes in. You’ll need to be relatively mobile, as access is via 120 steep steps. However, I’d say the views are even more spectacular from the headland trails above.
If you’re visiting Cornwall as a big group, I’d recommend looking at self-catering options. Usually the properties are owned by locals so you can enjoy an authentic experience and ask for lots of expert tips for the area.
Catch A Show At The Minack Theatre
As locations go, this theatre is in one of the best spots possible! The open-air granite amphitheatre is carved into the cliffs above Porthcurno beach, with the sea as its backdrop. Opened in 1932, it has a busy summer of shows ranging from musicals and plays to operas.
Visit One Of Padstow’s Top Restaurants
From seafood restaurants in the harbour, to Michelin-starred offerings and even gelaterias, Padstow is home to some of Cornwall’s best food options. My favourite restaurant in the small fishing town is Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant. The harbour-front restaurant allows you to eat your way around the world, as the menu reflects Rick’s passion for world cuisines. If you’re celebrating something special, I’d also recommend a trip to Michelin starred Paul Ainsworth At No.6 too.
READ MORE: Padstow Travel Guide
Cross The Causeway To St Michael’s Mount
Accessed via a causeway at low tide, St Michael’s Mount is a beautiful island topped with a historic castle, and one of the most spectacular places to visit in Cornwall. You can wander century-old corridors and find out all about the St Aubyn family, who have lived there since the 17th century. There’s also a very small village to explore, with around 30 people calling the mount home today.
Marvel At A 60ft Waterfall
If you like exploring nature, head to Saint Nectan’s Glen – a peaceful area of woodland near Tintagel. The highlight is St Nectan’s Kieve, a 60ft waterfall which gushes water through the rocks. There are two smaller waterfalls, plus you can rent wellies once you get there so you can paddle through the water for some incredible views.
Where To Stay In Cornwall
One of my favourite things about staycations is being able to pack up a car and take lots of home comforts. Everything from a full wardrobe, to the family pet! There are plenty of great self-catering options in Cornwall.
Along with plenty of country cottages, there are quirky options too, like this wooden house right on the water, which has spectacular views over the water in Whitsand Bay.
There’s also this incredible castle near St Ives – perfect if you fancy something memorable, and have a lot of people to accommodate!
Alternatively, if you think having a sea view is absolutely essential, check out Simply Sea Views. From St Ives and Falmouth, to Carbis Bay and Looe, you’ll find hundreds of holiday homes with breathtaking views of the Cornish coastline.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Cornwall?
England is a country obsessed with weather. Don’t know what to say? Comment on the weather! We talk about it a lot, but contrary to what you may have heard, we don’t have awful weather in England. It’s just a little unpredictable and varies from region to region.
You can expect average lows of around 5 °C in Cornwall in January / February, and highs around 25°C in July / August.
If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Cornwall, I’d suggest planning a trip in May or June. The weather tends to be warm and sunny, rain is at a minimum and it’s out of peak season, so you shouldn’t be battling any big crowds either. The longest day is around 20th June every year, so it’s a time you can enjoy maximum daylight hours exploring!
I’ve never been a fan of November in Cornwall – it gets pretty bleak! It’s the wettest month of the year, and while December can be pretty cold, there’s a Christmas magic around the country which always puts a smile on my face!
If you’re planning a trip to the south west of England, be sure to check out my food guide to Padstow, the best places to visit in Cornwall for couples, my tips on the best places to visit in Devon as well as my top picks for unique things to do in Cornwall.
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