5 Places to Visit in Cornwall

Places to Visit in Cornwall St Michaels Mount, Penzance
Places to Visit in Cornwall St Michaels Mount, Penzance | Source

5 Places to Visit in Cornwall

Cornwall is a beautiful place to visit, steeped in history, myths and legends. There are stories of giants, mermaids and even the Cornish sea monster Morgawr. If you're visiting an area for its beauty and history, then my list of 5 places to visit in Cornwall will lead you on an enchanted journey through the mists of time.

The 5 places to visit in Cornwall that I've picked are:

  • St Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall - for its majestic and awe-inspiring real castle, that's still lived in today.
  • St Ives, Cornwall - for its beautiful sandy beaches and narrow streets crammed with ancient tiny cottages and art galleries
  • Newquay, Cornwall - for its dramatic cliffs, beautifully sandy beaches, the fabulous surf rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean and the abundance of seafood and beachside restaurants
  • Padstow, Cornwall - to see how one quaint Cornish fishing village has kept its identity, while a TV celebrity chef has nudged his way almost seamlessly into the nooks and crannies around the fishing harbour
  • The Scilly Isles, Cornwall - a sinking archipelago of tiny islands, most uninhabited, where time's stood still and there's a warm welcome.


St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount is on the south coast of Cornwall, just to the East of Penzance at a tiny village called Marazion.

Just offshore there's an island and at the top of the hill on the island is the castle of St Michael's Mount, an English version of Mont St Michel in France.

The Castle has been in the same family for 350 years and they still live there, but some years back they handed the island over to the National Trust, who maintain the harbourside and manage the visitor numbers and tourism. The family themselves retained a 1000 year lease to remain living there.

The Mount is accessible at low tide by a causeway, so you can simply walk across, but once the tide starts to come in again you'll have to rush or you'll quickly find yourself up to your knees in water. There's a small boat that runs a ferry service between Marazion and the Mount so you won't get stranded!

The Mount is home to a few people still, because it used to be a whole village in its own right, a village of sailors as this was a sea-port. In fact, as tiny as the Mount is as a village, there were once 3 pubs serving sailors the all-important bottle of rum!

There is a steep hill to climb - along with a guided tour that will point out the heart of a giant in the cobblestones, so visit St Michael's Mount for a great day out, it's a great place to visit in Cornwall.


Places to Visit in Cornwall   Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall.
Places to Visit in Cornwall Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall. | Source

St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives is a gorgeously quaint and perfect olde worlde Cornish fishing town, that became an artists colony in about 1940 when artists from the Newlyn School set up their own galleries and studios in its tiny cobbled streets.

These days, St Ives is a top tourist hot spot and homes there are mostly holiday homes and second homes.

St Ives has many beaches, as well as probably the largest collection of independent art galleries anywhere. If you're an artist then you'll typically set up a studio and a gallery of your work. There are lots of emerging artists in St Ives, so the holiday purchase you pick up today could turn out to be a shrewd financial investment in 20 years' time!

Great galleries to visit range from the Tate St Ives, built overlooking Porthmeor Beach, the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, Museum and Art Gallery, or if you are looking for a fabulously chic and exciting, but quirky, gallery then I'd suggest you check out Ponckles - famed for her naive art cat paintings.

For lunch you can either grab yourself a hot pasty from one of the dozens of pasty shops lining the streets, enjoy the ambience of a real Cornish pub, or go for a more refined lunch in the Tate Gallery rooftop cafe.

It's best to arrive in St Ives by train, as car parking is tricky to find and at the top of the hill. Taking the train in from St Erth is likely to cost you just £4 return (off peak) and will bring you right into the town.


Places to Visit in Cornwall   Watergate Bay, Newquay.
Places to Visit in Cornwall Watergate Bay, Newquay. | Source

Newquay, Cornwall

Newquay is the jewel in the crown in Cornwall for beautiful sandy beaches and rolling Atlantic surf, with seafood restaurants galore close by.  It's where "Kiss Me Quick" hats meet London chic and a flat with a good view could cost you over £1million.  In fact, there are a lot of flats for sale if you're looking for a lock-up-leave holiday home - and most of those built in the last 2-3 years have large balconies and panoramic sea views.

If you're going to learn to surf for the day, then Newquay will offer you the biggest range of surf schools to choose from, but if you just want to relax and choose lunch at a one of the beachside restaurants in Newquay then there are plenty to choose from.

Newquay town centre's no good for shopping, unless you're after a surfboard or wet-suit, when you'll find it really delivers.  Newquay has more surf shops per square mile than anywhere else in the world.  Top brand names and budget buys are both available.


Places to Visit in Cornwall   Padstow Harbour, Cornwall
Places to Visit in Cornwall Padstow Harbour, Cornwall | Source

Padstow, Cornwall

Padstow's an ancient and typical Cornish fishing village, where the old part is built around a small working harbour. It's mostly famous for Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant and the Padstow May Day Obby Oss celebrations on May 1st.

Take a walk along the headland, overlooking the Estuary, each lunch in one of Rick Stein's eateries, or perhaps enjoy lunch in a typical Cornish pub, shop for local arts and crafts in the collection of small independent trading outlets, or visit the large Prideaux Place at the top of the hill, an Elizabethan Manor House with gardens and a deer park, overlooking the coast.

I'd recommend you check out the fudge shops too! Cornish fudge is deliciously creamy and great to take home for friends, family, neighbours .... and another box for yourself.


Places to Visit in Cornwall   Scilly Isles Aerial View
Places to Visit in Cornwall Scilly Isles Aerial View | Source

5 Places to Visit in Cornwall

show route and directions
A markerSt Michael's Mount -
St Michael's Mt, Marazion, Cornwall TR17 0, UK
[get directions]

B markerSt Ives -
St Ives, Cornwall TR26, UK
[get directions]

C markerHugh Town -
Hugh Town, Isles Of Scilly TR21 0, UK
[get directions]

D markerNewquay -
Newquay, Cornwall, UK
[get directions]

E markerPadstow -
Padstow, Cornwall PL28, UK
[get directions]

Visit The Scilly Isles

The Scilly Isles are a fascinating group of low-lying islands, 26 miles off the coast of Coast of Cornwall. You can visit the Scilly Isles on a day trip either by boat (taking 3 hours and it's a bit bumpy at times), or by helicopter from Penzance Heliport or Newquay Airport.  Choosing to fly to the Scilly Isles does give you more time on the Islands for the day - and a quicker trip. 

Once you arrive, it's like you've been transported to another world.  The sandy beaches have the softest sand you can imagine, the pace of life is virtually at a standstill.  You'll notice an absence of cars.  While locals can have a car on the island, there's really not that far they can go.  Visitors cannot have cars on the Island.  So, with few cars and nowhere to drive them, it's probably the quietest place you'll ever visit.

Check out the old 1950s bus tour round the main island, or take the boat trip across to the Island of Tresco where there's a very large tropical garden.  When I visited, I arrived by boat and simply took the coach trip.  After that I relaxed on the beach and enjoyed a thoroughly good pub lunch.

The largest hotel on the Scilly Isles is the Star Hotel, named because of its shape.  Most accommodation is holiday homes to rent or B&B. 


So there's my list of 5 places to visit in Cornwall.  I hope you'll enjoy your visit, it's a very diverse and beautiful area to relax in, with something for everybody - if you know what there is and where it is!  I hope I've helped you with that.


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Comments 3 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

Oh, I want to visit all these places! Thanks for putting them together- this makes it super easy for anyone planning a visit to make organized plans!


LLambie profile image

LLambie 3 years ago from UK

Padstow is great. I have fond memories of eating crab sandwiches in the sunshine there with a very nice crisp cold white wine!


cornwall_UK profile image

cornwall_UK 3 years ago from Cornwall, UK Author

Fresh Cornish Crab sandwiches are a missed secret. People who haven't eaten fresh crab have no idea what they're missing! They're amazing, a real treat.... but protect it from seagulls!

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