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Explore Cornwall’s Must See Destinations

Most people come here for the beautiful golden beaches, but there are also picturesque fishing villages, sub-tropical gardens, rugged moorland, soaring cliffs and historic sites of interest. Cornwall is such a large county with loads of wonderful places to visit, that it can be daunting to decide what to see and do during a short holiday in Cornwall.

To help visitors make the most of their stay, we’ve compiled a list of must-see locations in Cornwall. All of these suggestions are within easy reach of Perranporth, where most of our self-catering is located. Perranporth enjoys a central position in Cornwall, with good road connections to the county’s must-see destinations so it’s a great base for days out. Here’s our pick of the highlights to visit during a trip to Cornwall.

St Ives

This beautiful town in West Cornwall is centred around a fishing harbour overlooking Carbis Bay. The sea on two sides creates a beautiful light which has attracted artists for centuries. There is a thriving art scene here with many galleries, including Tate Cornwall and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. Follow a cultural tour with a walk around the narrow, cobbled streets and fish and chips on the quay.

St Ives Cornwall

Eden Project

This environmental visitor attraction is famous the world over for its iconic biomes containing tropical and sub-tropical gardens filled with plants from all over the world. Take a stroll through the Meditteranean garden, and then take the paths deep into the rainforest in the humid biome. Make sure you take the aerial walkway for a bird’s eye view of the lush green canopy.

Mining Heritage Coast

Cornwall was once the centre of the tin mining world. The remnants of this industrial heritage can be seen in parts of the landscape and on the ciffs, where the distinctive shape of old engine houses punctuate the coastline. One of the most scenic heritage locations is just down the road at Wheal Coates near St Agnes and Chapel Porth. Other mining areas to visit include Heartlands in Pool and the cycling trails along the Mineral Tramways between Devoran and Portreath.

St Michael’s Mount

This is another iconic landmark on Cornwall’s south coast, close to Penzance. This is a castle topped island, separated from the mainland by a cobbled causeway which is walkable at low tide. This National Trust property has been lovingly preserved, showing the working life of the castle over the generations. It is backed by a beautiful garden, which you can explore for fantastic views up and down the coast.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

These gardens were only recovered from the weeds a few decades ago, but have quickly become one of Cornwall’s must-see attractions. Located in a wooded valley near Mevagissey, on the South Coast, Heligan delights visitors with its range of productive and decorative gardens featuring favourite local species and plant-life from all over the world. Visitors with kids make a beeline for the jungle area where a long rope bridge spans a ravine over exotic ferns and palms.

Land’s End

Cornwall’s rugged coastline reaches its most south-westerly point at Land’s End, where the cliffs drop off into the swirling Atlantic. Stop for an obligatory photo at the signpost showing distances of key destinations worldwide, then walk along the coast for spectacular views and abundant birdlife. On a clear day it’s possible to see the Isles of Scilly from this spot.


Falmouth is another scenic Cornish town with a long history of fishing and marine endeavours. Located on the shores of one of the world’s largest natural harbours, Falmouth has been a centre of sailing and shipbuilding for many centuries. Today, visitors will enjoy the sea views from the narrow streets, plus exceptional galleries and boutique shops. No trip to Falmouth is complete without a visit to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and its exhibitions of boats detailing the town’s maritime heritage.

Tintagel Castle

Cornwall has its fair share of castles, but Tintagel is the county’s must-see fortification because of its unique blend of myth and magic. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle, which was an important commercial centre on the European trading route. It was also supposedly the home of King Arthur and Merlin the Wizard, whose legends are celebrated throughout this small village on Cornwall’s north coast.

Minack Theatre

A theatre may not spring to mind when thinking about key places to visit, but this one is pretty special. It is an outdoor theatre cut into rocks on top of a cliff, just outside Porthcurno on Cornwall’s south coast. It’s a fantastic place to watch a summer performance while soaking up the stunning coastal scenery.

Minack Theatre Cornwall

Bedruthan Steps

More scenic splendour can be seen at Bedruthan Steps, just north of Newquay. This stretch of coast is characterised by large, rocky outcrops which, according to local legend, were the stepping stones of the giant Bedruthan. It’s a beautiful place to admire the seascape or descend the steep steps down to the quiet beach to walk amid the large rock formations.

Staying in Cornwall

To make the most of a visit to Cornwall, stay in the Perranporth area which is handily located for exploring the county’s must-see destinations. Check out the range of holiday homes in and around Perranporth here.

Photos: Visit Cornwall/Matt Jessop

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