Cornwall is renowned for its beautiful beaches, quaint seaside towns and, of course, its pasties. From surfer-friendly beaches to the world-famous Eden Project, it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular holiday destination.
Cornwall is a big country with loads on offer, so it’s important that you know where you want to stay. To help you out, we’ve put together this breakdown of Cornwall’s best towns to stay in.
Best for: Museums, Culture & History
Penzance is tucked away in the heart of Mounts Bay and is the most westerly town in all of Cornwall. In this coastal beauty of narrow streets you’ll find historic castles, museums and World Heritage Sites, making it the the perfect town for history-buffs.
The town is also surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty and is under 10 minutes’ drive from the famous St Michael’s mount island, so there’s lots to explore just outside of town.
Best for: Surfing & Outdoor Activities
Newquay is the undisputed UK capital of surf, and for good reason too! Here you’ll find some of the best surfing opportunities in Europe with consistently good waves and amazing sandy beaches.
There’s nothing quite like a romantic evening stroll by one Newquay’s iconic harbours during the summer and, if you’re with children, there’s lots to keep them occupied with the popular Newquay Zoo and aquarium.
Being a traditional fishing village on the north coast means that you can get some of the freshest fish in chips in the country here. Plus, you can finish the day off with freshly-made ice cream on the epic Fistral beach.
With a popular outdoor activities available all along the coast, Newquay is perfectly suited for those looking to add some adventure to your UK break.
Best for: Independent Art, Coastal Walks & Galleries
A wonderful Cornish town, St Ives is one of the most beautiful places in the country and is ideal for a last minute cottage break. With its world-class beaches, quaint cobbled streets and vibrant art scene, St Ives is an awesome place to stay.
Enjoy fabulous coastal walks, including the famous South West Coast Path, and you will see why so many have been inspired to depict St Ives in their artwork.
Best for: Shopping & Sightseeing
Complete with countryside, culture and the famed cathedral, Truro is a truly unique town. Holding the title of the most southerly city on mainland Britain, it’s certainly like no other in the country.
Truro is the only city in Cornwall and is the county’s main shopping hub so make sure you seek out the traditional, independent shops hidden away in the backstreets.
Best for: Historic Landmarks, Country Houses & Epic Countryside
Bodmin is one of Cornwall’s oldest towns and has been home to some of the most significant events in the history of the country.
Luckily, today the town is more tranquil than its tumultuous past but the relics remain, leaving several amazing attractions worth visiting. The most famous attraction is the old Bodmin jail, which has been described as one of the most haunted places in the whole of the UK.
Best for: Independent Restaurants & Harbour Views
No guide to Cornwall would be complete without mentioning Padstow. Home to Rick Stein’s legendary restaurants, shops and cookery school, the city has often been dubbed ‘Padestein.’
The harbour in the heart of Padstow is a must-see while you stay here and, given the amazing cafes and restaurants that line its shore, you might not want to leave.
If you want to get properly stuck in with marine life you can also jump on a ferry to the upmarket village of Rock or travel slightly up the cost and visit Port Isaac, one of the smallest and most picturesque fishing villages in the county.
Best for: The Eden Project, Independent Shops & Lively Bars.
St Austell is an old market town with a rich architectural and agricultural past. Now one of Cornwall’s biggest towns, it is home to bustling streets, independent shops and some of the county’s best bars and restaurants.
But there is one attraction in St Austell that is far and away the most popular: The Eden Project. Just 2 miles from the town’s centre, it’s the county’s most famous attraction. It boasts the largest indoor rainforest in the world and is the perfect choice for a truly memorable day out.