Places to visit in Cornwall by Sawday's

Our mini guide to Cornwall is full of our favourite destinations and special experiences.

Our selection of our hotels, B&Bs, inns and self-catering cottages are perfect for exploring the region. Wide sandy beaches, craggy coast paths, innovative outdoor theatre, and bustling foodie towns and villages are yours to discover.

We’ve personally inspected and selected every place to stay that we feature, looking for character, creativity and local knowledge that will introduce you to everything Cornwall has to offer.

Our favourite destinations in Cornwall

There are simply hundreds of interesting places to visit in Cornwall. These are some of our favourites, for the beaches and hikes that Cornwall is justly famous for, or the little surprises that make us want to return again and again.

Not just an art town, with the Tate Modern, the Barbara Hepworth museum and a host of smaller galleries, but a great family destination too. The Blue Flag beach of Porthminster is right on the edge of town and you can walk inland along the Hayle Estuary, then take the train back along one of Britain’s most beautiful rail routes.

In town is the UK’s largest sea water lido and nearby are prehistoric settlements and lovely sub-tropical gardens at Tremenheere, Trewidden or Trengwainton. The pubs and restaurants of neighbouring fishing village Newlyn are worth a visit and the crossing to the island castle of St Michael’s Mount, only possible when the causeway is revealed at low tide, is an unmissable adventure.

Beautiful harbour town with daily boat trips out fishing, down the estuary or over the bay to Rock. The Camel Trail can be biked or walked inland to a delicious stop at Camel Valley Vineyard. Explore the coast path and visit the curious phenomenon of Round Hole, which you can climb down and walk through to the foot of the cliffs, when the tide is out.

A small surf town where the main beach can be crowded but there are plenty of others to escape to – Fistral, Crantock and nearby Mawgan Porth being team favourites. See the Bedruthan Steps, isolated pillars of rock smashed by the waves, and keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, oystercatchers and peregrine falcons as you walk the coast.

A trendy outpost on one of the most deserted sweeps of beautiful coast in Cornwall. Hike off round the cliffs to find the open-air Minack Theatre cut into the rock above Porthcurno, or take foraging walks with Caroline Davey of the Fat Hen. The harbour village has a surprisingly large selection of great places to eat with seafood a speciality of course.

Mainland UK’s most southerly point is far less showy than Land’s End and the whole area is one of Cornwall’s least-explored regions. Kynance Cove is regularly voted among the best beaches in the world and there are numerous other hidden coves to discover as you walk the wilder section of the coastal path and look out all the way to France.

Points of interest in Cornwall

There are some things in Cornwall worth seeking out wherever you’re staying. These are a few of our favourites either for stunning views, incredible history or just sheer bizarre brilliance.

Minack Theatre

It’s hard to explain how striking the open-air Minack Theatre really is. Cut into the cliffs near Mousehole, the open-air amphitheatre has the sea as a dramatic backdrop.

St Michael’s Mount

The old monastery just off the coast of Penzance is a fascinating 14th-century castle now preserved by the National Trust. Explore legend and folklore, pretty terraced gardens and panoramic views back to the mainland.

Tintagel Castle

There are, of course, the Arthurian associations with Tintagel, but it’s a stunning spot to simply walk around, with the ruins seemingly draped over the cliffs and promontory.

Bude Sea Pool

The 88-metre lido is a great alternative to sea swimming if you’re with young ones, in a striking spot surrounded by cliffs, but without any worries about tides.

The Eden Project

The different climate zones in Cornwall’s iconic geodomes near St Austell take you round the world, including a visit to the largest indoor rainforest on the planet.

Tresco Abbey Garden

Tresco Abbey Garden is a surreal, tropical world built around the ruins of a Benedictine Abbey and well worth the ferry ride from Penzance to the Scilly Isles.

Our favourite Cornwall holidays

The miles of coast path and dog-friendly beaches (Watergate Bay, Trebarwith Strand and Harlyn are favourites) make Cornwall a dog’s paradise. Our dog-friendly places welcome your four-legged friends with genuine warmth, not just tolerance.

Not many regions are better than Cornwall for family beach trips, ice cream and adventures. These places to stay are perfect for big sociable meals and slumping in comfy lounges after days exploring secret coves, ruined castles and miles and miles of white sand.

These are some of our favourite places for taking in Cornwall’s finest feature, the sparkling turquoise sea. Watch the water from the bedroom of a quiet coastal cottage, the garden of a colourful B&B or the deck of a luxurious spa hotel. 

Take that special someone and hide yourselves away with the sun, the sea and nothing else. Cosy up in cottage gardens, enjoy long, evenings on sea-view terraces or stroll into quiet fishing villages for romantic meals in characterful pubs serving superb seafood.

Cornwall inspires you to appreciate the environment. Find places where you can pick fruit and veg straight from the garden, and relax in luxurious surroundings built with cutting-edge eco technology and innovative design.

Cornwall can be a place for excitement and adventure, but also one of indulgence and relaxation. Sumptuous spa hotels have massage tables in coastal gardens, hot tubs overlooking the sea and staff always on hand with cocktails and fine food.

More Cornwall inspiration

Our guide to Cornwall: the most searched destination on our site, offering everything from golden sandy beaches and historic coves to coastal walks and delicious food hotspots.

Read about all the best hidden gems in Britain’s favourite coastal destination, as well as family-friendly Blue Flag beaches and beaches that allow dogs.

Our guide to all the best things to do in Cornwall: places to explore, walk, surf and eat. Many of those mentioned have been offered by our Bristol team, who spend many of their summer weekends in the region.

Hotels can be bland and impersonal but all the hotels within our collection are small and boutique with friendly owners who have great local knowledge. These are five of our favourites, including two stylish hotels in Cornwall.

Everyone knows Cornwall for its beautiful beaches and dramatic coastline, but did you know that it’s also become home to a thriving food culture in recent years? We sent Anna Jones, a chef, to discover some of the best hidden gems in the region.

You might not necessarily associate Cornwall with waterfalls, but close to Tintagel you’ll find a beautiful trail that takes you past three waterfalls, meanders through woods and into a thick forest. Read more in our guide here!

More families are now looking to escape to remote locations where wild swimming, kayaking along the river, building dens in trees and generally being outdoors are the main activities of the trip. Discover our top five places to stay, all with a strong connection to the environment.

Spending time on or by the water is good for our mental health and wellbeing: it’s a fact. If you’re looking to slow down and relax on your next trip, check out this guide to six places with great water activities, including surfing in Cornwall.