We all love a trip to one of Cornwall’s award-winning restaurants or a day soaking up the culture at the incredible royal Cornwall show. But, sometimes, our bank balance can get in the way. Well, fear not, here at Snaptrip we don’t think you should wait until payday to make the most of England’s stunning seaside county.
We’ve scoured the Cornish coasts and come up with the best ways to enjoy every part of Cornwall, without breaking the bank. So if you’re looking to save your pennies for saffron buns and clotted cream ice cream, why not try a few of our picks for the best free things to do in Cornwall.
Best free things to do in north Cornwall
If there’s one thing Cornwall does better than anywhere in the country (other than pasties of course), its beautiful beaches. The Cornish coast has no shortage of stunning stretches of golden sand, and one of the most popular is Fistral beach.
The officially named ‘best beach in Newquay’, it’s one of the top surfing destinations in the world, and home to all of the UK’s biggest surf competitions including Boardmasters, Quicksilver Skins, and the UK Pro Surf Tour. Of course, you don’t have to take to the water to have an incredible time. With three miles of shining sand in front of a dramatic cliff backdrop, it’s the perfect place to lie back and soak up the sun. A real must visit in Cornwall.
Healey’s Cyder Farm
Located just 10 minutes from the beautiful St Agnes Heritage Coast, this family-run cyder farm has been making the most of apples for over 30 years. Home to Rattler cider, one of Cornwall’s world famous exports, there’s no better place to pick up the tricks of the trade than with a wander around the birthplace of countless award-winning ciders, wines, spirits, and preserves. But you don’t have to be a cider lover to have an unforgettable day out here. Why not visit the farm animals, scoat the free-roaming peacocks, or kick back in the picturesque tea room.
If you’re looking for breathtaking views, these cliffs are a must-visit. Named after the mythical giant ‘Bedruthan’, who is said to have used the picturesque rocks as stepping stones, this beautiful area has been a top holiday destination for over a century, and it’s easy to see why.
Now part-owned by the national trust, it offers majestic, wave-swept stacks, whose formation has been changed by the tides in living memory. Standing atop the rocks, looking out on one of earth’s most powerful natural forces, surrounded by the freshest sea air, this area can provide a truly unforgettable connection to nature. But be careful, these historic rocks can be dangerous and the walk down to the beach a tricky one, so watch your step as you enjoy this iconic spot.
Best free things to do in east Cornwall
Leave the stress of the city behind, as you head deep inside some of Cornwall’s most stunning woodland. This picturesque forest is home to a wonderful range of local wildlife, cycling trails, and delicious homemade food and drink in the woodland cafe.
The woods are most famed, however, for their scenic walking routes, from easy trails for beginners to longer, heartier walks for more ambitious adventures, which include steep valley climbs and breathtaking views. You can even soak up some of Cornwall’s rich history as you discover the secrets of the old lead and silver mine of Wheal Glynn.
The Camel Trail
Following a disused railway line, this 18-mile cycle path is one of the best ways to take in the beautiful Cornish countryside. Running from Bodmin to Wadebridge and on to Padstow, it’s almost entirely undisturbed by traffic, surrounded instead by stunning landscapes and natural wildlife.
Along the way, there are plenty of reasons to stop and look around, as the route passes through local shops, pubs, attractions and heritage sites. So hop on your bike and fill your lungs with fresh Cornish air, as this trail shows off the best of North Cornwall.
Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park
Situated in the parish of Maker, overlooking Plymouth Sound, this stunning estate and country park is one of the most decadent in Cornwall. While there is a cost to visit the house and formal gardens, you’re free to explore over eight hundred acres of incredible parkland. Stroll from the Cornish shore, up amongst rare trees and exotic plants. Try and catch a glimpse of the wild fallow deer, or stop for a picnic by one of the beautiful flowing streams.
Best free things to do in south Cornwall
St. Just in Roseland Church
Described by the iconic English poet Sir John Betjeman as ‘the most beautiful churchyard on earth’, this sanctuary and its heavenly gardens have delighted tourists for hundreds of years. The beautiful parish church is a grade 1 listed building and is filled with almost a millennia of incredible Cornish culture.
Explore the winding paths around the church, and wander through the bamboos. Follow the tranquil stream, down to the creek and gaze into the ancient Holy Well. When you’re down soaking up this historic attraction, just down the road is the stunning settlement of St Mawes. A fashionable fishing village curving around a sheltered bay, it’s home to a variety of local shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Falmouth Art Gallery
Home to a vibrant atmosphere and a truly incredible collection of over 2,000 artworks, most from master painters of the 19th and 20th centuries, this award-winning art gallery is home to a variety of events and exhibitions. Its three exhibition rooms host carefully curated, thematic shows featuring works owned by the museum alongside loans from artists and private collectors.
Many of the galleries works are stored in art stores across Cornwall. So if there’s a particular work you’re wanting to see that’s not currently on display, the desk will be happy to arrange a store visit if possible. While admission is free, donations are always welcome.
If you’re in the mood for adventure, this Cornwall wide treasure hunt is the thing for you. Take out your smartphone, download the Geocaching app, and you’ll join the world’s largest hunt for hundreds of hidden gems concealed all over Cornwall.
Have fun tracking down the secret spots, taking in some of Cornwall’s most stunning views and incredible countryside along the way. Once you manage to track down some treasure, feel free to leave your mark by signing the log book, trade knick knacks, or share your find with the Geocaching community.
Best free things to do in west Cornwall
Located between Newquay and St Ives, this incredible free attraction is home to a truly staggering range of activities, entertainment, sites and sounds to keep any age smiling throughout the day. Named as the UK’s first cultural playground, it boasts state-of-the-art exhibitions, climb-on sculptures, beautiful botanical gardens, a giant adventure playground, arts and crafts studios, and an utterly unique cafe nestled inside an old carpenter’s workshop.
St Michael Mount
Located just off Cornwall’s south-west coast path, this tidal island is steeped in history. At low tide, you can walk across the man-made causeway, with the beautiful Cornish seas on either side. At high-tide, why not hop aboard a boat, and reach the island in true naval style.
From treading the medieval pathways, exploring the sub-tropical gardens to climbing atop castle ruins, there’s something for any and all ages to enjoy. Free tours of this stunning spot are available every day of the week except Saturday.
Trenance Chocolate Factory
From saffron buns to clotted cream teas, Cornwall is known for a range of sweet treats, and now we might have to add chocolate to the list. Trenance is home to a small but skilful band of friendly chocolatiers who welcome guests into their factory every day of the week.
So if you’re looking to make your mouth water, why not head down and see their master creators mould a vast range of gourmet bars, soft-centred sweets and indulgent truffles right in front of your eyes. You never know, they might even have a sample to spare.