Cornwall Destination Guide
Once a robust mining and fishing hub, it’s now Cornwall’s rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs and picture-perfect seaside villages that draw more than 5 million visitors to its shores each year. Nestled in the far corner of the southwest of England, Cornwall is home to the very best British beaches, surf and fishing.
More than 120 kilometres of beautiful British coastline, a bounty of places to explore and a leisurely pace of life make Cornwall a desirable holiday destination. If magnificent scenery, an artistic culture and great dining options are your idea of the perfect holiday, this coastal English gem will not disappoint.
If you can bear to drag yourself away from Cornwall’s spectacular beaches, rest assured there’s plenty to keep you amused away from the water. The Eden Project is a visual feast for any visitor, with its giant artificial biodomes (greenhouses) housing thousands of exotic plant species from around the world. Aside from the breathtaking vegetation, the Project hosts live concerts in summer and a full-sized ice rink in winter, making it a great day out for the whole family in any season.
Keen to explore Cornwall on foot? Don your walking boots and trek the causeway and well-worn medieval paths of St Michael’s Mount. The first abbey of the mount dates back to the 5th century and is brimming with Bronze-era culture and heritage, making it a perfect day out for history buffs.
St Ives is a bustling town that keeps the tourists flocking to its award-winning beaches and restaurants, coupled with its thriving art community and bohemian vibe. For nature lovers, there’s no shortage of mapped walking and hiking trails dotted throughout the peninsula to explore. Learn about Cornwall’s rich heritage of seafaring, smuggling and shipwrecks at the Lizard Lighthouse.
A visit to Cornwall would not be complete without tasting the iconic Cornish pasty. Comprised of fresh, flaky pastry and filled with meat and vegetables, the pasty is a cultural symbol of the region and popular throughout the country. Cornwall is also renowned for its clotted cream and fudge, which are exported around the globe.
The picturesque seaside town of Padstow is home to celebrity chef Rick Stein’s infamous fish and chips restaurant, which is well worth visiting. Eateries spouting fragrant and fresh paddock-to-plate produce abound in the busy hubs of Truro, Falmouth and Penzance, as well as the tourist meccas of Padstow and St Ives.
The tiny village of Mousehole is also home to some quality restaurants and cafés, and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon café-hopping. Newquay is the place to head for vibrant nightlife and to dance the night away.
Where to Stay
Boutique bed and breakfasts, seaside cottages and upscale guesthouses abound in Cornwall, and the idyllic coastline setting doesn’t hurt either. For fantastic beaches and a diverse range of restaurants, head to St Ives or Padstow.
For something a little quieter, Mousehole, St Mawes or Port Isaac are ideal choices. Newquay offers a cheaper range of hotels for the budget conscious.
You won’t find big, glitzy shopping malls and precincts in this part of the country. You will, however, find cute one-of-a-kind boutiques, a plethora of art galleries and gift shops. Cornwall is also teeming with homewares shops, selling charming bespoke furniture and funky art pieces. Foodies should head inland to the abundance of farm shops selling everything from smoked fish to chutneys, jams and marmalade.
Cornwall Like a Local
To experience Cornwall like a local, explore the many secluded coves and beaches that make up this dramatic coastline. Spend the day rock-pooling and beach-combing for little treasures washed up from the sea. Some of the more secluded beaches worth taking a look at are Lantic Bay at Fowey, Porth Joke near Newquay and Watergate Bay just north of Newquay. Keen surfers can test the waves with the locals at Gwenver Beach near Sennen, which is said to have the best breaks in Cornwall.