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The Best Places to Visit in Cornwall

Updated on July 17, 2013

The Beautiful Golitha Falls, Cornwall: A Great Place to Visit

Not a beach in sight! - Peace and tranquillity at Golitha Falls near Bodmin Moor
Not a beach in sight! - Peace and tranquillity at Golitha Falls near Bodmin Moor | Source

Great Places to See in Cornwall

Cornwall has built its reputation as a holiday destination on the back of its coastline and with good reason. There are hundreds of miles of beaches, some wide and sandy, some bustling with sunbathing families, others thronged with surfers with a few quiet coves and picturesque harbours thrown in for good measure.

Cornwall's got far more to offer than just sun and sand. Venture away from the sea and there is a whole world of delightful and secluded places to visit; just take a look at the beautiful woodland at Golitha Falls. Some have already been discovered by a new generation of holiday makers, others remain to be exposed to tourism. If you are visiting Cornwall, here are a few of the best places to see in Cornwall; some of them may not be in all the tourist brochures yet, so you may just beat the crowds.

St Nectan's Kieve

The beautiful St Nectan's Kieve
The beautiful St Nectan's Kieve | Source

St Nectan's Glen

St Nectan's Glen, Boscastle: A Picture Perfect Place to Visit

Cornwall has a reputation as a magical place and you can come close to connecting with magic at St Nectan's Glen. The Glen is set in a secluded wooded valley along the banks of the RIver Trevillet near the village of Trethevy, not far from Boscastle. Although the Glen itself makes a beautiful walk, and is actually designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, most people who make the journey to the valley are in search of one thing: St Nectan's Kieve.

The Kieve is a breathtaking 60 foot waterfall and marks what is considered to be one of the UK's most spiritual sites. Whether there was a St Nectan is a subject of debate. The name may refer to the Cornish water god Nechtan or it may be simply a romantic re-branding of the name of a local family, the Nathans!. Whatever the truth, people still leave offerings along the ledges near the Kieve. Piles of stones, coins, brooches and messages are all left for the ancient water god.

St Nectan's Glen can be reached from several directions along marked footpaths. One of the easiest routes to find is behind the Rocky Valley Centre on the road between Boscastle and Tintagel. Entry to the Glen is free but if you want to view the waterfall or enjoy a Cream Tea in the tea gardens there is an entry fee.

Places to Visit Near St Nectan's Glen

Tintagel Castle - reputedly birthplace of King Arthur

Boscastle - includes the Museum of Witchcraft


The fortified Tudor house at Cotehele
The fortified Tudor house at Cotehele | Source
A markerCotehele -
Cotehele Wood, Cornwall, UK
get directions

Visit Cotehele, One of Cornwall's Tudor Mansions

Cotehele is located in the southeast of Cornwall, near the village of St Dominick. This solid grey granite fortified house dates back to the fourteenth century, but was largely rebuilt by the Edgcumbe family during the early Tudor period. It remains one of the country's finest examples of Tudor architecture.

The house contains a fine array of armour, tapestries and furniture. A new exhibition uncovers the lives of the Edgcumbes and their servants, and there are workshops and events throughout the year.

Cotehele isn't just about the main house; there are also fine gardens which slope down to the River Tamar where you can find the quay alongside which is moored a restored Victorian sailing barge. Another highlight of the gardens is a well-preserved stone dovecote. Further into the Estate are the orchards and a working watermill where you can see apples pressed and corn ground.

Cotehele and Cotehele Mill are owned by the National Trust. The sites include parking facilities, shops and refreshments.


Looking down the valley at Trebah toward the River Helford
Looking down the valley at Trebah toward the River Helford | Source
A markerTrebah -
Helford Passage, Trebah Gardens (SW-bound), Falmouth, Cornwall TR11, UK
get directions

Trebah: A Visit to a Cornish Tropical Garden

Cornwall boasts acres of gardens, thanks to its temperate climate. Professional and amateur gardeners have been taking advantage of Cornwall's climate for centuries and we are blessed with an abundant variety of plants and flowers. One of my favourite gardens marries the best sub-tropical plants with the beautiful Cornish coastline: Trebah.

Trebah Gardens tumble down a deep valley, cloaked in bamboos and tree ferns, into a lily-pad covered pond and out onto a private beach. Whatever time of year you choose to visit there are always plants in bloom and often there are events to add interest. Children love the adventure playground and "treasure" trails through the gardens.

The private pebble beach opens out on to the River Helford, with views to the sea beyond. It's a fantastic place to sit with an ice cream, although it wasn't always so peaceful. In 1944 the 29th US Infantry Division left from the beach heading for Omaha Beach during the D-Day Landings.

Trebah is open year round and offers discounted rates to members of the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society. Dogs on a lead are welcome.

The Minack

The Minack Theatre with Porthcurno beyond
The Minack Theatre with Porthcurno beyond | Source

Minack Theatre

A markerMinack Theatre -
Porthcurno, Minack Theatre (S-bound, Unmarked), Penzance, Cornwall TR19, UK
get directions

A Magical Cornish Theatre: The Minack

The Minack is a must-see destination in Cornwall. Not just because it is set in a stunning location nor even because it stages world-class entertainment, but because it is a testament to one woman's amazing vision and determination. Looking at the Minack, it is easy to imagine that it is a vestige of the Roman invasion of Britain. Not so! A remarkable woman, Rowena Cade, began building the theatre in 1931 with the help of her gardener and his mate. She carried on developing the theatre until her death in 1983.

Watching a performance at the Minack is always unforgettable. If you are lucky, the memory etched in your mind is of a beautiful balmy evening with a sparkling azure sea providing the backdrop to a wonderful play. For the unlucky few, they are left with a soggy memory of trying to attend whilst the actors battle against the elements to make themselves heard!

You don't have to book for a performance to visit the Minack. You can visit during the day and learn about Rowena Cade at the Exhibition Centre and look around the site. The views are fabulous and it's well worth the entrance fee.

If you do want to watch a performance, plays run from May to October. It's advisable to take a cushion to sit on (the stone steps get uncomfortable after a while) and take a picnic for the half time interval. Some people take their Minack picnics very seriously; it can be more champagne and salmon than a flask of tea and some sandwiches!

Find out About Penzance and Its Pirates

The Minack Theatre is near Penzance. Daisy Mariposa has written a great hub about Penzance, its pirates and the famous comic opera - who knows, you might get lucky and see a performance at the Minack!

The Levant Mine

Levant Engine House, looking out to Pendeen Point.
Levant Engine House, looking out to Pendeen Point. | Source
A markerLevant Road, Trewellard -
Levant Rd, Pendeen, Trewellard, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7SU, UK
get directions

Cornwall's Heritage: The Levant Mine and Beam Engine

One image that defines Cornwall is the engine house of a mine, particularly when it is framed by the sea. Cornwall now has World Heritage status for its mining past, several sites across the county making up the Heritage site. The site that exemplifies the Cornish mine is, to my mind, the Levant Mine and Beam Engine set on top of a cliff near St Just.

Levant was a tin mine and its workings snaked out under the sea for miles. Nowadays you can explore the engine house and watch the only working steam driven beam engine in the world, moving just as it did in the 1840s. If you are feeling brave you can go down to the tunnel to the main shaft or simply stay above ground and take in the atmosphere amongst the ruined mine buildings.

The National Trust now own the Levant Mine and, as you would expect from a Trust-run property, there are plenty of events and activities, as well as parking. There aren't any refreshments on site, so if you are planning on eating, bring your a picnic.


Submit a Comment

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

    Hi tastiger04 - I hope that you do get the opportunity to visit, it's a beautiful county :)

    Thanks for your kind comments and vote.

  • tastiger04 profile image

    tastiger04 4 years ago

    This is a great hub, lots of info and pictures. I have heard wonderful things about Cornwall....I anticipate being able to go someday, next time I am in the UK :) voted up!

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi theraggededge - I never get over wanting to go "home", which is Bristol, even though I haven't lived there for more than thirty years now and it's nowhere near as picturesque as Cornwall. Hope you had a bit of a trip down memory lane with this hub - some of the photos are lovely!

    Thanks for your comments, always a pleasure to hear from you!

  • theraggededge profile image

    Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

    Makes me want to go home! I have no family left now in Cornwall since my grandparents died but I feel the pull now and then. Lovely hub with some wonderful suggestions for off-the-beaten-path exploration.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Talullah - I was lucky to find some great photos - I like the woodland and the waterfall best. Really must remember to take a camera out with me to take my own photos!

    Thanks for your comments and votes, I appreciate it :-)

  • Talullah profile image

    Talullah 6 years ago from SW France

    This is a wonderful hub full of information and some great photos! Voted up!

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Bill - get on over here, the sun's shining, there's a little bit of surf and the birds are singing - oh, and we have an arts festival this week too! A beautiful day - I'll try to put it on pause until you get here!

    Thanks for your comments, great to hear from you :-)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Thank you for the great tour! When I finally visit your fair land I will carry this with me as a guide! In the meantime I will allow you to show me from 6000 miles away.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi B.Leekley - you have identified a problem with HubPages (in my experience, anyway!) - lots and lots of inspiration for places to visit, but not quite so much money rolling in with which to travel to those places. One day though!

    Great to hear from you again, I appreciate your comments :-)

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

    After reading this article about Cornwall, I hope to visit there someday if my HubPages ship comes in.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi JamaGenee - Oh, I thought we had a tenuous link! Ah, well, still looking forward to your hub :-)

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Found it. In Letters of John Wesley: "Joseph Hoskins (Hosken), of Cubert, was the wealthy farmer with whom John Haime lived for a time in 1766 as his domestic chaplain. Wesley paid him several visits."

    That's why Cubert didn't ring a bell. Rev. John Haime was a great-uncle of Rev. Charles Haime, and therefore not my grandkids' ancestor. It's accepted that John's friendship with Wesley influenced his great-nephew Charles to follow in his footsteps, but John Haime isn't my focus. ;D

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Yes, I have a .pdf of the book by the son. Have gleaned many tidbits about the rest of the family from it.

    Cubert? Doesn't ring a bell. I'll have to look up its connection to Haime. Thanks for the heads up! ;D

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi JamaGenee - I look forward to reading your hub! I see that one of the sons wrote a book about his father and Rev Haime had a connection to Cubert, which is near where I live.

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Judi, I already have a hub in the works about my grandkids' ancestor, the Rev. Charles Haime. Fascinating man! In spite of the fire and brimstone, he was quite a gentle and tolerant soul, loved by all who met him. Two sons followed in his footsteps.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi tireless traveller - I can see why you think of Cornwall and Jane Austen together, as you say, carriages trundling along muddy lanes to house parties. In reality, I don't know if she ever visited - I wrote a hub a few weeks ago about Jane Austen places, and didn't find a Cornwall connection. But who knows!

    Thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated :-)

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

    When I think of Cornwall I think Jane Austin. I feel like I should be touring by carriage. Lovely hub!

    Voted up and interesting awesome and interesting.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Graham - I love Looe and the countryside around it! When I was a child we had a boat and my favourite place to stay overnight was Looe. Fowey and Polperro are very pretty too. Love the north coast though, it's a bit wilder, which I like.

    So glad you enjoyed this hub and thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi JamaGenee - how wonderful, to be able to visit a stately home and have a connection! Cornwall was and, to some extent still is, popular with the non-conformist churches. There were a lot of itinerant preachers and you can still see a few "preaching pits" in some villages. I've half toyed with the idea of writing a hub about them. As for the Minack - can't recommend it enough!

    Thanks so much for your comments, and sharing a little bit of your family history - fascinating! :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi robie2 - it's a beautiful afternoon here too, it would be idyllic! You bring the picnic, I'll find us a cove!

    Thanks so much for your comments, always appreciated :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Beata Stasak - thanks very much, hope to see you soon!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, you are very kind :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Eileen - yes, the Minack is a beautiful place and watching a performance is magical. I particularly envy those people who get a performance with dolphins jumping around in the background!

    Thanks very much for commenting and sharing, it's appreciated :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Snurre - Cornwall is a superb place to visit, hope you make it soon!

    Thanks so much for your comments, much appreciated :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Rufus rambles - you must visit Cornwall, it's such a beautiful and diverse county, always something to see and do.

    Thanks so much for your kind comments, I appreciate them :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi scottsalot - so glad you enjoyed this hub! And you are right, the surfing here is great, in fact there's a dripping wetsuit in my garden right now (my husband's, not mine!) - surf's up, sun's out, it's a perfect day!

    Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 6 years ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hello Judi Bee. Thank you for this gorgeous hub. We go to Cornwall almost every year. We tend to go to the south side: Looe, Polperro, Fowey etc. Last year we did go to the north coast and stayed at Boscastle. We did 'the coast' and countryside but we found that we preferred the south coast. It is an absolute delight to be there, well done for making it your home.

    voted up/awesome and SHARED.


  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Judi, Cotehele was already on my "must see" list since two of my grandkids are distantly related to the Edgcumbes on their father's side. Also, one of their direct ancestors was an itinerant Wesleyan minister who served all over Cornwall. I've been compiling a list of places in Cornwall that have an ancestral connection to them, plus some that have none at all! The Minack sounds delightful! Thanks to you and this hub, the list will have a few additions. No wonder you've been there so long and haven't seen all there is to see yet!

    Voted up, useful and awesome! ;D

  • robie2 profile image

    Roberta Kyle 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

    Ahhh A quiet cove in Cornwall-- sounds wonderful and I would love to go there. Your Hub makes it all sound so tempting.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    I would absolutely love to visit Cornwall after seeing your beautiful pictures and reading the accompanying information. This is an awesome and beautiful hub. Voted up!

  • Beata Stasak profile image

    Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia

    Beautiful hub about beautiful place, I hope I visit once, thank you for sharing:)

  • Eileen Goodall profile image

    Eileen Goodall 6 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

    I haven't been to Cornwall in years but I have always wanted to the Minack Theatre and watch a performance on a warm Summer's night - definitely one of those things you have to do at least once in your lifetime. Great hub, thanks for sharing, voted up and Pinned.

  • Snurre profile image

    Snurre 6 years ago

    I've always wanted to visit Cornwall. It sounds like such a wonderful place! And your Hub is the perfect starting point in research for those who are planning a trip. Thanks for posting!

  • Rufus rambles profile image

    Rufus rambles 6 years ago from Australia

    My family comes from Cornwall but I'm yet to visit. When I do I will definitely use this hub! Thanks and voted up!

  • scottsalot profile image

    scottsalot 6 years ago from Oakland California

    Beautiful! I've always wanted to go, but especially now after this post. Isn't there good surfing in Cornwall as well?

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Imogen - I've been here over 20 years and I am still discovering great places. The Minack is definitely special, although you can't mention it to my daughter - she spent a very, very wet and cold afternoon there and hates it! I've been more lucky, all my visits have been sunny.

    Thanks for the comments, great to hear from you!

  • Imogen French profile image

    Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

    Great hub Judi, there are so many lovely places in Cornwall. I have been to St Nectan's glen and it really is a magical place, the walk down to the waterfall is beautiful, and the fall itself is amazing. Still have to get around to visiting the Minack theatre, so must plan another trip some day soon!

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Keri - if you follow the Minack link on the hub you can find a live webcam. And it is a beautiful day here, which begs the question, why am I sitting at the computer? Will be taking the dog to the beach later though!

  • Keri Summers profile image

    Keri Summers 6 years ago from West of England

    Judi, I just turned you Minack Map to satellite and zoomed in. You can see the waves splashing round the cliffs around the theatre - it's spectacular. Oh, on a lovely day like this in the SW as well ...

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Keri - the Minack is just spectacular and incredible to think that one woman and her two gardeners built it - simply amazing.

    Thanks for your comments, always appreciated :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Simone - I've got the welcome mat ready!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated :-)

  • Keri Summers profile image

    Keri Summers 6 years ago from West of England

    I must get back to Cornwall! Still so much to see. I didn't know about The Minack Theatre; what a special place. Up, beautiful.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    Gaaaah! I really MUST travel through Cornwall someday. These places look amazing!!

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Case1worker - hope you can find some time to visit Cornwall soon then!

    Thanks for your comments, always great to hear from you :-)

  • CASE1WORKER profile image

    CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

    Great hub I thought that I had been everywhere in Cornwall- well this has proven me wrong!

    Voted up and interesting

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Brian - it's so easy to get wrapped up in the beautiful Cornish coastline (I should know, that's why we moved here!) and forget about the other wonderful places we have.

    Thanks for your comments, always appreciated :-)

  • BRIAN SLATER profile image

    Brian Slater 6 years ago from England

    Judi thanks so much for writing this, as an avid lover of Cornwall I know there are some excellent beeches to sun yourself, but didn't know these little treasures existed, voted up :)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

    Hi Deb - I've lived in Cornwall for years and it is so tempting to stay around the coast. Gorgeous though the sea is, it is lovely to go inland sometimes, we have some beautiful scenery.

    Thanks for your comments and support, always appreciated :-)

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

    It's been many years since I visited Cornwall, and I didn't make it to any of these places. I will need to go back. Great hub!


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