Things to do in Cornwall

Discover a world of adventure on your next visit to Cornwall. There is something for everyone to enjoy, with fun for all the family. From fast-paced days of exhilirating water sports and outdoor activities, to relaxing days at the seaside; from vibrant arts and culture at our museums and galleries, to hillside fortresses telling the tales of time gone by.

Koru Kayaking

Adventure awaits

When it comes to things to do in Cornwall, we really do have it all.

The thrill seekers can enjoy time at the coast, from coasteering and abseiling, to surfing and paddleboarding, there are a number of exhilirating experiences waiting for you in Cornwall.

For the history enthusiasts, there are several Cornish tales just waiting to be heard. From the legend of King Arthur at Tintagel Castle to the stories of our seas at National Maritime Museum Cornwall, discover it all on your next visit.

For families, the world is your oyster! Our attractions have something for all ages. Little ones can enjoy a train ride at Lappa Valley or a fun-filled day at Camel Creek, whilst the big ones battle it out at Cornwall Football Golf Park or enter a different reality at Xtra Dimension VR.

The outdoor lovers have come to the right place. Think walks along the South West Coast Path, bike rides along the Camel Trail to Padstow, and days exploring gardens such as the Eden Project, Lost Garden's of Heligan, and Trebah Garden to name but a few.

Find your perfect activity and start planning your days out in Cornwall today.

Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle has fired the imaginations of writers, royals and artists for hundreds of years. Now it's your turn to be inspired.

A mystical clifftop castle

Step into the realm of King Arthur at Tintagel – Cornwall’s enchanting medieval castle.

Cross the new bridge to take in unforgettable views of the coast, then walk among the castle ruins that still cling to the cliffs.

Explorers young and old will love searching for Gallos, the life-size statue of an ancient king. Breathe in the fresh sea air on the ‘island’ – a magical setting for legendary stories. Then hunt for Merlin's Cave, tucked away on the sandy beach below.

Best Days Out Cornwall is brought to you by Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions (CATA), a collective of over 30 top tourist attractions in the county.

Discover the best days out in Cornwall

From country houses and castles to mines and museums, gardens and wildlife sanctuaries to theme parks and railways – Cornwall has a wealth of attractions to choose from. Whether you’re visiting for a short break or happy to call this place home, make each day a discovery.

Be curious and explore the best our county has to offer. With over 30 top visitor attractions to visit there is something to entertain everyone.

Great Scenic Railways
Glorious beaches, estuaries, wooded valleys – soak up the views on your way to favourite coastal destinations.

Great Scenic Railways

Make your journey part of the adventure. From St Ives to Looe, visit some of the best of Cornwall on the area's scenic branch lines.

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We told you there was something for everyone in Cornwall! See our things to do guide and start planning your next adventure.

  • The A30 runs down through the centre of Cornwall, leaving the M5 at Exeter. It enters Cornwall at Launceston, crosses Bodmin Moor and passes Bodmin. Once past there roads branch off to St Austell and Newquay and a little further on, Truro.

    At the present time (June 2023) work is still on-going to dual a long stretch of the A30 heading west towards Redruth and Camborne. This will hopefully do away with summer traffic jams as you head towards the far west, St Ives and Penzance.

    The A30 continues past Penzance all the way to Lands's End.

    Leaving Exeter, the other major road into Cornwall is the A38. This crosses the Tamar Bridge at Plymouth and serves the towns and villages of south-east Cornwall before terminating at Bodmin where it joins the A30.

    Coming down the North Coast, the A39 (also known as the Atlantic Highway) is good for access to Bude, Wadebridge and Padstow, and all the lovely north coast beaches. It continues onto Truro and eventually Falmouth.

    The A390 is the main road serving St Austell, running from Tavistock in Devon, across the Tamar at Gunnislake and onto Liskeard. From St Austell it continues down to Truro.

    Running north. and adjacent to the Devon/Cornwall border, the A388 runs from Saltash up to Launceston.

    The A94 runs from Falmouth to Penzance via Helston where the A3083 runs down to Lizard Point.

  • The North coast of Cornwall is a wonderful place to come for a holiday. A very family-friendly area, it has long attracted visitors looking for a traditional “bucket-and-spade” holiday, as well as surfers, walkers and those seeking the more relaxed pace of life.

    From Bude down to Sennen Cove, there are loads of long sandy beaches, including the popular ones at Newquay and St Ives, but there are also sections of high cliffs, great for walking or just watching the summer sunsets.

  • Yes... loads!

    The mild climate caused by the Gulf steam means the south side of Cornwall has some fantatstic gardens to visit. Perhaps the best known are the Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey. Come in the spring and be blown away by the colours...

    Down near Falmouth there's Trebah and Glendurgan, sitting side by side and running down valleys to the Helford Passage, there a must if your in that area.

    Smaller gardens such as Pinetum Park and the Hidden Garden are on the outskirts of St Austell. as is the Eden Project, not technically a garden, more a environmental wonderland!

    And if you're in the far east of Cornwall, a visit to Mt Edgcumbe Country Park should be on your list, and allow a day to do the place justice. The formal gardens are amazing, and then there's the deerpark and all the rest of the surrounding countryside.

  • Spoilt for choice!

    St Ives alone has five wonderful beaches, with both Porthminster and Porthmeor being awarded Blue Flags in 2022. Across the bay you will find three miles of golden sand stretching north from the Hayle Estuary. Then there's Porthtowan and Portreath just up the coast...

    Sennen Cove right down near Land's End is another popular stretch both with surfers and families, whilst Mount's Bay provides endless walking and is often home to kite surfers.

    There's also countless small secret coves, ideal for hiding away in, we would tell you where they are, but they wouldn't be secret then!

  • Yes, and we would recommend it! In fact it's probably the best way to explore the river.

    However, be careful of tides and mudflats. The last 19 miles of the river is tidal, from just below Gunnislake down past Calstock and onwards. Make sure you check the tide timetable before heading out. You should also be aware of weather conditions, especially wind when in the wider sections heading down towards Saltash.

    Upstream from Gunnislake there are several weirs which have to be shot or avoided by carrying your kayak around. This stretch, up to Horsebridge is classed as Grade 2, meaning there may be waves and eddies caused by rocks that will need to be navigated around.

    A popular day out is from Calstock and takes you to Morwhellam Quay and back. Leave Calstock about one and a half to two hours before high tide. This should give you plenty of time to reach the historic port at Morwellham on the rising tide before returning on the ebbing tide.

  • Often, and quite literally, bypassed, mid Cornwall is overlooked by visitors who are understandably seeking coastal charms. Next time, however, pull over, stop for a while and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by the pastoral beauty of this underrated area… There's still plenty of pretty villages, lots of heritage, tucked away attractions and Cornwall's only city, Truro.

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