The Top Must-Visit Attractions in Cornwall, UK

Cornwall has everything from castles propped up by ancient rocks to pretty fishing villages and scenic walks
Cornwall has everything from castles propped up by ancient rocks to pretty fishing villages and scenic walks | © Joana Kruse / Alamy Stock Photo

Freelance Travel Journalist

From golden Fistral Beach to medieval Tintagel Castle and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall has it all. Explore the highlights of this wild, inspirational landscape, tucked away in the southwest corner of England. Read on for the best things to do in Cornwall.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell

Here, you’ll find a Cornish jungle with giants hiding under carpets of moss, mud-maids swimming in the rain and enormous towers of flowers, bursting with colour, at every turn in the path. Wonderful, fantastical and full of whimsy, the Lost Gardens were hidden beneath undergrowth for over 70 years until they were rediscovered in 1990 and restored to their former glory. Discover this real-life Secret Garden between April and October for the best blooms. Kids and dogs are welcome.

St Michael’s Mount, Penzance

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

Watching a show at the Minack Theatre overlooking the Atlantic is a must-do experience for any visitor to Cornwall. This unusual amphitheatre was carved into the cliff face by eccentric owner Rowena Cade as a place for local theatre groups to gather and perform. It’s since attracted performers from all over the country, from Shakespeare acting troupes to comedians and poets. The turquoise sea, dolphins, sunsets and storms all enhance the drama of the theatrical performances set at the Minack.

Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives

Hidden away behind an unassuming door in St Ives is a quiet and shady garden, filled with the greatest works of art by sculptor Barbara Hepworth. The modernist pioneer lived in this Cornish cottage for the last decades of her life; her garden studio is preserved just as she left it, complete with scattered carving tools and clay-spattered aprons. Marvel at the organic metal sculptures, and don’t forget to check out the Tate St Ives just up the road.

Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly

Sub-tropical Abbey Gardens is an exception to all usual British garden rules, with giant succulents and swaying palms not only surviving, but thriving in the path of salt water and strong Atlantic winds. Over 20,000 plants from 80 countries make up the remarkable collection here. The gardens form part of the privately owned Tresco Island, the second-largest of the Scilly Isles, 30mi (48km) off the coast of Cornwall. Look out for the jewel-coloured golden pheasants roaming around the grounds.

Kynance Cove, the Lizard

Turquoise waters meet dramatic cliffs at Kynance Cove, a well-known Cornish beach that has graced many postcards and tourism adverts over the years. Walk barefoot along the golden sand, watch bodyboards ride the pounding surf, or grab an ice cream from the Kynance Cove Cafe. Just make sure you visit at low tide; the entire beach is submerged beneath the waves at high tide. Lizard Point is just 45 minutes from here on foot.

Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth

Legend has it that a giant once used these enormous stepping stones as a shortcut across the bay. Nowadays, it’s a glorious stretch of sand and steep cliffs with dramatic rock formations scattered across the beach. Head here at low tide to snap photos of this beach in all its glory. The cliffside steps down are currently closed after a rockfall, but you can still admire Bedruthan from above.

Tintagel Castle

Perched on a windswept bluff overlooking the north Atlantic, you’ll find the remains of what was supposedly King Arthur’s Cornish retreat. These castle ruins hint at life here in the Middle Ages, when thatched cottages were replaced by the stone fortifications, which were known as Richard’s castle (brother of Henry III). Walk across the 58m-high (190ft) suspension bridge to explore the island; what’s left behind is an epic reminder that nature will always take back what is hers.

Fistral Beach, Newquay

Surfers flock to Newquay, the home of British surfing, to ride waves at this world-famous beach break. Book a beginners surf lesson, where the instructors will help you learn how to pop up and catch your first wave, or just kick back on the sand and watch the pros at work; it’s previously hosted World Surf League events like the Quiksilver Open. Afterwards, refuel with a pizza and a pint of local Skinners ale in the Stable, overlooking the water. It’s also dog-friendly all year round.

Land’s End

Land’s End may be one of the most overrated tourist attractions in Cornwall. However, get through the tacky theme park-style entrance and head straight to the cliffs for crashing waves, the freedom of the sea, and nothing but the Isles of Scilly between you and America. Make sure you get that obligatory photo with the white signpost.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article