Home to natural wonders, National Trust sites and man-made marvels, there’s just so much to get up to in Cornwall. Given its cool summers and mild winters, it’s the perfect location to visit and take full advantage of its attractions all year round. Whether you’re looking for a day to discover tales of treason at Tintagel Castle, a romantic day with a loved one at Bude Sea Pool, or action-packed family fun at Flambards Theme Park, Cornwall has it all.
Cornwall attractions: The best things to do
- Eden Project
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan
- Cornish Seal Sanctuary
- Bude Sea Pool
- Fistral Beach
- Port Isaac
- Minack Theatre
- Porthminster Gallery
- National Maritime Museum
- Royal Cornwall Museum
- The Castle Bude
- Dairyland Farm World
- Adrenalin Quarry
- Flambards Theme Park
Best for: Wildlife enthusiasts
Explore the world’s largest indoor rainforest here in Cornwall. Located in a reclaimed china clay pit, environmental conservation, sustainability and inspirational education are the core values of the world-renowned Eden Project.
Developed over a number of years, the project’s domes house a Mediterranean microclimate, boasting plants from many different habitats. Follow walking trails that allow you to discover the secrets of the rainforest and experience the climate that sustains life here.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Best for: Beauty admirers
Photo credit: CLC Trenython Manor
Get lost in the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Masked under years of overgrowth, it wasn’t until 1992 when 200 acres of paradise was rediscovered. World-renowned, this tropical garden is one of the most sought out botanical gardens in the UK and is typical of the 19th-century style that encouraged gardens to be seen as works of art.
After exploring the garden, treat yourself at Heligan Tearoom. Serving creamy Cornish teas and hearty home-cooked meals, the tearoom incorporates fresh seasonal produce from the gardens and estate. If you can’t bare to leave your pooch behind, bring them along as well behaved dogs are welcome to join.
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Best for: Animal lovers
No animal lovers can resist the urge to visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Cornwall’s only seal sanctuary and rescue centre, this haven is home to seals and sea lions, as well as otters, penguins and potty paddock animals.
Located by Helford river, the sanctuary is renowned as a site of scientific interest and outstanding natural beauty. Meet these captivating creatures, discover their stories and find yourself in the heart of marine rescue. This 42-acre centre also boasts a woodland quiz trail for the kids, a cafe if anyone gets peckish and a gift shop to take a souvenir home.
Bude Sea Pool
Best for: Adventure seekers
Discover the part-natural, partially man-made beauty of Bude Sea Pool. Created in the 1930s to provide safe and comfortable swimming, it’s a great community facility that permits free entry for all.
The semi-natural pool was created under the curve of the cliff and provides a lovely spot to swim, giving you the safety of swimming in a swimming pool but the natural wonder of being in the Atlantic Ocean. Now administered by the independent Friends of Bude Sea Pool Charity, it’s definitely to be marvelled.
Best for: Water babies
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall
For a waterscape of a lifetime head to Fistral beach. One of the world’s top surfing destinations, eager surfers flock to Fistral for the big waves and surf scene. Whether you’re a novice or full-blow expert, pull all the stops out here. You’ll also have the opportunity to book surf lessons or hire gear.
For a bite to eat, just a stone’s throw away is Bodhi’s Beach Cafe. Choose between a range of punchy snacks and quenching-thirsting drinks. If you’d rather something more filling, head to Rick Stein’s for some tasty fish and chip.
Best for: Walking enthusiasts
The word ‘picturesque’ could have been coined for Port Isaac. With narrow winding streets that are lined with whitewashed cottages, many of these properties are now listed due to their pretty aesthetic and historical importance.
Wander down to the harbour where you’ll find local fishermen landing their daily catch each morning. Set amidst rugged scenery of Cornwall’s North coast, you can take long walks, run across the sandy terrain of Polzeath Beach or head out on a boat trip across the sea.
Best for: Families looking for entertainment
For an unforgettable day out, choose Minack Theatre. The world-famous open-air theatre is carved into a granite cliff, overlooking the stunning view of Porthcurno Bay.
Running from May to September, it showcases dramas, musicals and opera against this beautiful backdrop. If you’re visiting Cornwall just outside of summer, there’s no need to worry. The theatre is still open to visitors from April to October, with matinee performances and children’s storytelling still on show.
Best for: Art lovers
Photo credit: Porthminster Gallery
If you’re fond of mazes, Porthminster Gallery does the trick. Although an art gallery, its network of interesting exhibition rooms displaying contemporary art, works like a puzzle.
Located in St. Ives, this award-winning gallery showcases over 50 British artists, from up and coming locals to established names. Vibrant and unique works can be found here, as well as a tonne of exciting temporary exhibitions throughout the year. For those on the local art circuit, Porthminster Gallery is a must.
National Maritime Museum
Best for: Boat enthusiasts
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall
Preserving Cornwall’s maritime heritage is the mission of the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Bursting with impressive exhibitions, this includes a collection of boats strung from the ceiling, with smaller models below.
With lots of events on, its tonnes of fun for the kids too. Look out for pirate puppet shows, Viking battle re-enactments and storytelling which brings the history of Cornwall’s maritime heritage to life. Many of the fascinating artefacts chart the development of Cornwall’s maritime history and events, such as the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, are told through them.
Royal Cornwall Museum
Best for: History buffs
Photo credit: Royal Cornwall Museum
Discover 200 years of history at the Royal Cornwall Museum. Showcasing historic artefacts from Cornwall, these antiques tell tales of Cornwall’s magical past, inspiring you to discover more of Cornwall’s ancestry.
The only museum in Cornwall with permanent Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian displays, it’s home to a collection of ceramics you can’t find anywhere else. But don’t just stop here – there are plenty of other exhibitions and guided tours too. Be captivated by fine paintings, local history, and astonishing gems.
The Castle Bude
Best for: Time explorers
Photo credit: Which Museum
Discover the secrets that lie behind the walls of the Castle Bude at this impressive day out for all the family. The castle includes a heritage centre, coffee shop and art gallery. Ideal for amusing the kids on those wet and windy days, the castle acts as a cultural hub for days out.
Built by the inventor of the steam carriage, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney in 1830, The Castle embodies the spirit of Victorian engineering ingenuity and was a pioneering building in its time. The temporary galleries display contemporary art and photography while the café serves a fine cream tea overlooking the beach.
Dairyland Farm World
Best for: Family-friendly fun
Photo credit: Caravan Club
No family day out is complete without visiting Dairyland Farm World. Located on a working dairy farm, there are tonnes to do inside and out, come rain or shine, keeping you and the kids entertained all day.
Little ones can get carried away and spend most of their time in The Bull Pen. Complete with climbing nets, slides and ball pits, it’s one heck of an adventure. For ma’s, pa’s, visit the Cornish Heritage Centre to see how working life on farms once was. For the main attraction of the day, head to the daily milking session extravaganza where cows board a merry-go-round milking machine and are milked to rousing music and a spinning glitter ball.
Best for: Adrenalin junkies
Photo credit: Cornwall Chycor
Known for ‘throwing people off cliffs since 2009’, this outdoor playground for kids and adults is the ideal spot for those looking for a hit of adrenaline.
Located in a quarry in Liskeard, Adrenalin Quarry is a 490-long, 50-meter high zip wire which runs across the lake, reaching speeds of 40mph. Whiz through the depths of the quarry, accompanied by spectacular views of cliffs and woodland either side of you. With visitors ranging from 19 months to 90 years, this is a ride of a lifetime that anyone can enjoy.
Flambards Theme Park
Best for: Ride enthusiasts
From thrill-seekers to those who prefer rides that go at a steady pace, Flambards Theme Park is certainly a place for all. With a range of thrilling rides to try, go in spinning in the Hornet Rollercoaster, see panoramic views of the theme park from SkyRaker and drop, twist and turn in Thunderbolt.
For calmer attractions, Ferdi’s Funland is a great soft play area for kids and Jurassic Journey is a pre-historic landscape to spot life-sized dinosaurs. There’s also daily entertainment including magic acts, resident characters and even a fireworks display at night. With many food stalls dotted around the park, stuff yourselves with fluffy cotton candy and mouth-watering popcorn.