Cornwall is one of the most remote counties of England, sitting toward the bottom of the country along the shoreline.
It’s one of the most popular tourist spots thanks to its collection of fabulous gardens, fascinating museums, and estates filled with a rich history. If you’re planning a trip to this lovely area, read about the 31 best places to visit in Cornwall below!
1. Eden Project
The Eden Project is an awe-inspiring attraction that focuses on bringing humans and the natural world together to benefit all living creatures. The project is in a reclaimed China clay pit, enhancing the cultural and natural significance of the landmark.
It offers an educational experience where visitors can walk through biodiverse domes, to understand the human dependence on plants.
This place is a powerful and memorable attraction in Cornwall that may reshape how you view the world while showing you amazing plants and possibilities. People ages 8 to 80 will enjoy the transcendent outdoor gardens and the informative indoor exhibits.
2. Saint Michael’s Mount
Saint Michael’s Mount is a historic and captivating tidal island with a brilliant castle that folks can visit. The island connects to the town of Marazion via a granite walkway only passable during mid to low tide.
The views are mesmerising, and it’s remarkable how the walkway is easily accessible one morning and then swallowed by the ocean a few hours later.
But no matter what time of day you plan your visit, they have boats and other means of getting you back and forth from the island. The island has much to offer visitors, from the ancient castle to the vast lawns to the bustling gardens.
3. The Lost Gardens Heligan
Near Mevagissey in Cornwall sits the Lost Gardens Heligan. These gardens are considered the most popular in the UK thanks to the 19th-century Gardenesque style featuring many intricately designed areas and surprising accents.
The history behind the 200 acres of lush plants is romantic and mysterious. Today, the gardens are considered a living memorial to a different time and exemplify the possibility of rebirth.
4. Land’s End
To the east of the English Channel, inside the Penwith peninsula, is Land’s End, a tourist complex and headland that offers incredible views and bracing ocean breezes. The area is full of vibrant wildlife both on and offshore.
The coastal scenery and rugged cliffs make for fun adventures with kids, and you can see rare birds and creatures unique to the area. Plus, there are plenty of creature comforts like a luxury inn, bustling shops, and quaint eateries to keep you busy once you’ve soaked in the beauty of the cliffs.
5. Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortress that sits in North Cornwall on the peninsula of Tintagel Island. To reach the area, walk across a dramatic footbridge and traverse rocky land, making for an exhilarating adventure.
The castle has a rich yet mysterious history behind it, with associations with King Arthur and other royal figures.
People often become inspired when visiting the area, venturing from the old castle to the eerie statues to the mystical cave of Merlin. This place combines mystery, history, and impeccable scenery, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this Cornwall excursion.
6. Tate St. Ives
The Tate St Ives is a magnificent art gallery that showcases work from modern British artists with associations with the Cornwall area. The Tate has it all, from beautiful landscapes to captivating portraits and immense sculptures.
There are guided tours, workshops, and exhibitions to explore for hours at a time, and most people never see everything the museum offers before the day is up.
Many exhibits highlight the cultural background of a group of artists or showcase LGBTQIA work that is both moving and matchless. And the architecture of the building itself is a piece of art to behold.
7. Fistral Beach
In Fistral Bay, on the northeast coast of Cornwall, is the handsome Fistral Beach. This lovely shoreline is ideal for people that want to sun themselves while enjoying the ocean views. It’s also a surfer’s paradise, which can be hard to find in England.
With soft white rocks and dazzling sunsets, even people that don’t enjoy the water can have a grand time at Fistral. There are often surfing or beach events you can join in on, or sit back with some fish and chips and enjoy the sand on your toes.
8. The Minack Theatre
This magical open-air theatre is a must-see for Cornwall visitors.
The Minack Theatre was built in 1930 by visionary Rowena Cade, who wanted to create a meaningful venue for open-air theatre where people could breathe fresh air and experience nature while watching live performances.
The Minack hosts more than 200 live performances every year, which you can plan your visit around for a special treat. Or you can visit to meander along with the steps and admire the incredible hand-crafted outdoor theatre.
9. Kynance Cove
On the Lizard Peninsula, you can find the majestic Kynance Cove, with vivid blue water and soft sand beaches. This cove is ideal for beach adventurers that want to climb on the rock piles and explore what the cove offers.
The views are stunning, but there is more to the cove than just scenery. With a rich history of conservation and community, the cove has picturesque seaside trails for a stroll, or you can sit back and admire the bustling wildlife like the birds and butterflies that flit around the area.
10. Gwithian Beach
Gwithian Beach is a popular surfing destination in Cornwall, offering beautiful ocean views and excellent waves. The large ocean pool formed between two massive sets of rocks and cliffs makes it the perfect spot to surf or swim toward shore.
There are small rock caves to explore and moss-covered stones with an ancient feeling. Find hidden tide pools with little creatures like minnows or hermit crabs. Or just lay back and watch the talented surfers do their thing.
11. Great Coastal Railway
Sometimes the journey is the destination! If you’re looking for something exciting to do on your day in Cornwall, you can see a lot by riding the coastal railways between Cornwall and Devon.
These comfortable trains go past the lavish beaches and captivating ocean views, so you can soak it all in at once from the comfort of this locomotive.
Pass through historic sites and quaint villages to see how lovely and diverse the Cornwall area is. There are even train lines that stop at the best pubs in the area so you can enjoy a fine ale.
12. Trebah Garden
Trebah Garden is a 26-acre garden with a subtropical environment and a variety of plants. The garden is full of lush green trees and colourful flowers. It has loads to offer travellers, from fine dining to quaint shops to the charming wildlife that lives amongst the plants.
Plus, it’s dog-friendly, so your pooch can join in on the fun. There’s even a beach to lounge on when your feet need a break. Trebah Garden is geared toward kids and families, so there are live performances and educational stops to enhance your experience.
13. Pendennis Castle
Henry VIII constructed Pendennis Castle in the 1540s as an artillery fortress. Today, it’s a picturesque tourist spot.
You can run up the winding staircases inside or admire the vast green lawns that surround the castle. It played a vital role in defining Cornwall throughout many wars, including both World Wars.
You can learn about its dramatic history on guided tours or via informational signs. It’s easy to envision this place in the 16th century, and you can feel like you’re back in medieval times when you get lost inside this massive structure.
14. Newquay Zoo
Zoo trips are always an unforgettable and educational experience for kids and adults alike. The Newquay Zoo in Cornwall is no exception! You can see ferocious and majestic lions or watch silly lemurs bound around their exhibit.
Kids will be in awe of the electric blue gecko or the tiny otters that can zoom through the water. There are penguins, peacocks, parrots, and so many more animals.
Newquay Zoo focuses on educating guests about the importance of conservation, so these exquisite animals can continue to exist.
15. Flambards Theme Park
If you are a rollercoaster enthusiast and love the thrill of an amusement ride, check out Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall when you visit. There are exhilarating rides as well as lowkey attractions for the younger children.
Walk through immersive indoor attractions that will transport you to another world. Explore the zoo area filled with life-size animal statues or enjoy a snack at a picnic table in the sun. For a dose of good old-fashioned fair fun, you can’t go wrong with a fun-filled day at Flambards.
16. Cornish Seal Sanctuary
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is the perfect place to admire these fabulous and funny creatures while learning how they need to be protected. The sanctuary aims to inspire and inform people about the value of marine creatures and how to conserve the population.
The sanctuary helps to rehabilitate sick or injured seals to release them back into the wild. Plus, you can witness sea lions slink into a pool or penguins waddle around their exhibit.
17. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
Located in the St Ives area, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a Cornwall staple and a must-visit for any tourist that appreciates nature and art.
Here, you can learn about the significance and characteristics of Barbara Hepworth’s renowned artwork and view the immense and complex sculptures for yourself while enjoying the fresh air and surrounding nature.
There are informative audio tours, or you can stroll around the garden and appreciate the artwork without any context. This museum can be a fun place for kids, but it may not be an all-day event if you have small children.
18. Cotehele Mill
Cotehele Mill is a medieval home that will transport you back in time.
With lush, expansive lawns and gorgeous architecture, there’s a lot of beauty in this building. On the banks of River Tamar in the parish of Calstock, this granite and slate building is overwhelming in detail and craftsmanship.
You can wander through the rooms or run around outside pretending you’re back in olden times. The garden has dazzling valley views and is the perfect vantage point to watch a magical sunset. And the on-site mill is still in operation!
19. Cadover Bridge
The Cadovor Bridge is a tranquil bridge that crosses over the River Plym. It’s the perfect starting point for a peaceful walk through ancient woodland past picturesque castles and medieval homes.
But it can also be the beginning of a serious hike for people that want to get their exercise while sightseeing. From the bridge, you can admire Dartmoor and explore stone ruins left behind by medieval civilisations. Moreover, the vast moors the bridge leads to are stupendous.
20. Carnewas at Bedruthan
This magnificent stretch of coastline is ideal for a lovely stroll or an unforgettable beach day. Carnewas at Bedruthan offers an exquisite coast walk that’s easy for kids and older people to do.
There are mammoth-sized rocks that children can climb on, some flat enough to lay down a blanket and enjoy a picnic while watching the waves.
Walk down the winding Bedruthan steps to reach the sandy beach, wonderful for casual swimming and lounging. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby so you can eat and pick up some souvenirs after enjoying the sights.
21. Trelissick Garden
Near Truro, Trelissick Garden is unique because of its watchtowers and other interesting buildings sitting among flora and fauna. The garden overlooks the estuary known as Carrick Roads, so you can enjoy the views while admiring the flowers and trees.
Cows and other livestock freely roam the grounds, grazing and posing for photo ops. While the outstanding maritime views are enough to draw tourists to the estate, the architecture of the old buildings is a whole other attraction within the garden.
It’s easy to enjoy this spot for hours and hours, and worth the drive.
22. Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor is a natural wonderland featuring the highest point in Cornwall called Brown Willy. Many Cornwall rivers begin in the moor and travel in all different directions. The moor is mostly granite land and rocks that offer far-reaching views of neighbouring towns and wildlife.
There are plenty of peaks to check out other than Brown Willy, such as Rough Tor, thought to be the second-highest peak in the area.
Bodmin Moor is the best place to go for a lavish picnic and spend the day enjoying the scenery and fresh air that you can only find on a beautiful moor like this one.
23. Bodmin Jail Attraction
Another intriguing place to visit in the Bodmin area is the Bodmin Jail Attraction. This former prison is now open to tourists where you can learn about the history of the prison and the kind of people held here.
Roaming the dark hallways and walking past the prison cells gives you an eerie feeling, especially as you learn more about the people once imprisoned in these cells.
For families and individuals that love a spooky tourist attraction, the Bodmin Jail is a must-visit. It’s become an award-winning immersive experience, but leave the young kiddos behind as this may be too much for them.
24. Glendurgan Garden
The Glendurgan Garden is special because it has a winding maze of tall, green hedges that you can wander through until you find your way out.
It’s one of the most outstanding and beautiful places to visit in Cornwall because of the massive trees, charming gazebos, and impressive collection of flowers.
This spot is playful and exotic, offering a fun-filled day outdoors in the Cornwall sunshine. Don’t miss out on this phenomenal and enchanting experience.
25. Padstow Fishing Port
If you love to fish or sail around on a boat, there is no better place than Padstow near Watergate Bay. This area is affluent, with fine dining and luxury shopping nearby. But the locals love to fish in the port and welcome tourists to join and reel in some awesome fish.
Even if you aren’t into casting a line, many describe Padstow as a foodie’s dream, thanks to the fresh fish caught right outside restaurant doors. And Watergate Bay itself is a marvellous spot to watch a sunset while enjoying some of the finest food in Cornwall.
26. National Maritime Museum Cornwall
The National Maritime Museum is a staple in Cornwall that tourists love to visit. The museum has an exhibit for everything maritime-related, from sailor tattoos to mysterious creatures of the deep to little marine animals that we’re all familiar with.
Learn the importance of water safety and the consequences of poor maritime planning. From eerie and tragic to playful and lively, the museum offers a wide array of topics, all related to the lovely ocean surrounding Cornwall.
They even discuss folktales about sea monsters like Kraken and help separate fact from fiction.
27. Porthmeor Beach
Porthmeor is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, with super blue water and soft white sand. It almost looks like a tropical location. If you’re all about a serene beach day, it doesn’t get better than Porthmeor Beach.
And it’s right near the Tate St Ives, so you can see both in one day. The beach is beside a sleepy village with inviting locals and charming little restaurants where you can enjoy some authentic Cornish food. It’s also a good place to catch some waves if you enjoy surfing.
28. Geevor Tin Mine
Formerly North Levant Mine, Geevor Tin Mine operated between 1911 and 1990 to produce thousands of tons of black tin.
Today, it’s a tourist attraction that offers information on how the mining industry dominated the Cornwall area for decades and impacted the community and surrounding environment.
Cornish miners have been recognised as the most skilled and successful miners in the world, which you can learn all about inside the former mine. You can explore the mine at your own pace and see where men and boys worked tirelessly decades ago.
29. Lizard Point
Lizard Point is one of the hottest tourist spots in Cornwall, so don’t expect to be alone when you visit this area. There’s a wildlife watchpoint, a cosy beach, and endless wheat fields you can walk through.
Lizard Point is the southernmost point of the UK and also one of the warmest spots if you want to have a peaceful beach day. People fly drones or set up tents and stay the night. So there are many ways to enjoy this breathtaking peninsula while on holiday.
30. Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If you love Harry Potter or Hocus Pocus or love a good bit of witchcraft and magic, don’t miss out on this fascinating museum. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is a playful place, but there is a serious note as the European witch trials are discussed and victims memorialised.
Learn about witch stories, folktales, supposed spells, sorcery books, and everything magic-related. Drink from the cup of forbidden knowledge, and maybe you’ll leave with some magical prowess.
31. Skinner’s Brewery
For some tasty ales and an interesting brewery tour, check out Skinner’s Brewery in Truro. The brewery has an inviting and lively atmosphere, and they put their heart and soul into every beer.
If you love a cold pint, spend the day touring around the facility to learn more about the process and get a few free beers along the way. On the premises, there’s a bar you can sit at, a shop where you can find souvenirs and a cafe where they offer nibbles of food to soak up all the ale.
While it’s hard to cram all of these outstanding places into one visit, the beauty of Cornwall is all of the delightful attractions available.
And some of them are very close to each other. You can squeeze two or more into a single day.
Hopefully, this list has you excited to explore what Cornwall offers visitors!