Cornwall breaks have long been a top summer escape for many Brits! After all, its rugged coastline, idyllic beaches, and endless charm make Cornwall one of the most beautiful places in England… I was lucky enough to recently spend a week enjoying the very best of what it has to offer, so here’s my guide to the perfect Cornwall holiday:
Where to stay in Cornwall –
The first challenge to having the perfect Cornwall holiday is finding the very best place to stay! Each town in the county is as appealing as the next, meaning visitors are spoilt for choice.
My family and I decided to stay at the amazing Lugger Hotel, in the picturesque fishing village of Portloe.
Arguably one of the best places to stay in Cornwall, Portloe is tucked away in a tiny cove on the Roseland Peninsula. A true hidden gem, the village feels frozen in time!
Tiny cornish lanes wind down to the sea and are by flank traditional white stone cottages. The crowning jewel, however, is the quaint working fishing harbour, which just so happens to be where the Lugger Hotel is located…
My parents had a room with a stunning sea view and said that waking up right on the beach was really something quite magical. On top of this, all the rooms at the hotel are decorated to a very high standard, and the restaurant serves some of the finest food in Cornwall!
While I couldn’t recommend Portloe enough for your own holiday to Cornwall, larger towns such as St Ives, Falmouth, and Penzance do have more amenities. Making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for somewhere more lively to stay with lots going on!
Best places to visit in Cornwall –
Most of Cornwall’s attractions, and the best places to visit, are within a relatively easy drive of each other. Therefore, wherever you choose to stay, visiting other popular locations couldn’t be easier.
In this way, some of the top things to do in Cornwall (that we were able to do in a week!) Include:
1) Cornwall Breaks (The Eden Project):
The Eden Project is a symbol of Cornwall breaks! It welcomes over a million visitors each year and is no doubt one of the best things to do in Cornwall. The main attraction is its spectacular biomes, which have become some of the most recongisble buildings in Britain.
Built from the rubble of an old clay mining pit, construction of the Eden Project began in 1998, and it opened to the public just three years later in 2001, following an unprecedneant transformation! Today the ‘pit’ is unrecognisable and (of course) full to the brim with lots of colourful plants and foliage.
In the Rainforest Biome for example, I was amazed by the sheer variety of trees and tropical plants on display. Plus, you’d never guess that the harsh British weather was just outside the giant dome bubble… My favourite part was the Rainforest Canopy Walkway, thanks to the unique birds-eye view it provides over the Biome.
However, I found the Mediterranean Biome to be even more impressive! I couldn’t believe how much the styling of the ‘Med Bar’ made it feel just like Greece or Spain, which was perfect considering Cornavirus had stopped us from actually visiting Europe this year.
TOP TIP: To help maintain social distancing, tickets to the Eden Project (and most other Cornwall attractions) are currently staggered. This both limits the number of people who can visit each day, and makes prebooking essential! I’d recommend doing so as early as possible as we found that the tickets sell out very quickly.
2) Hangloose Adventure:
The Hangloose Adventure park is also based on the same site as the Eden Project, meaning there’s even more things to do there!
It’s a great attraction to add to your Cornwall itinerary for a bit of an adrenaline kick. From an epic high wire course, to a dramatic high swing there are lots of different activities available. However, we opted to experience the main attraction: the fastest and longest zipwire in England, which carries you right over the top of the Eden Project and its famous biomes!
Top Tip: Hangloose does offer package deals, but if you just want to do the zipwire it costs £35 per person. We booked spur of the moment on the day, after seeing others hurtle across from below! However, again, it’s best to prebook online in advance to avoid disappointment.
3) Lands End:
Another landmark that can’t be missed on a holiday to Cornwall is Lands End, the most westerly point in mainland England! I loved the natural scenery here, from the wave battered cliffs to the vibrant wildflowers, all you have to do is walk a few meters along the cliff top trails to be treated to breathtaking views!
On our visit, we walked all the way along the coast to the nearby Seenen Cove, which is home to a beautiful large crescent shaped beach and well worth a visit.
However, I was a little confused and underwhelmed by the point that actually marks where the ‘land ends’. I have to admit that the official signpost (that you have to pay to take a picture with) and the adjacent small shopping area gave off major tacky tourist vibes.
This said, once you step away from the commercial side of Lands End it’s hard to be disappointed by the amazing landscape that’s remain unchanged for centuries!
TOP TIP: Parking at Lands End costs £6. At the minute it has to be prebooked to guaranteed entry.
4) St Micheals Mount:
A short drive from Lands End you’ll find the magnificent St Micheals Mount, a tidal island located in the small town of Marazion.
Appearing as an isolated island at high tide, a castle perches on top of the mounts highest point creating a true fairytale appearance. This is made even more magical when the tide goes out, as it reveals a stone causeway, which connects the mainland to the mounts picturesque harbour.
Walking across we soon discovered that St Micheals Mount has its own little community, complete with charming homes, shops and restaurants. The history is also quite astounding, with the first recorded chapel being built on the mount way back in 1044.
The castle you see today was expanded greatly in the 18th century when an impressive new wing and grand Victorian apartments were added! You can usually tour the castle but it was sadly closed on our visit due to coronavirus…
However, we instead got to visit what is perhaps the crowning jewel of St Micheal Mount, its beautiful terraced gardens. Also built by the St Aubyn Family in the Victorian times, but now partly managed by the National Trust, the winding pathways and steep stone terraces are quite unique.
A Mirco climate and the heat absorbant granite rock allows for all sorts of tropical plants to flourish. Meanwhile, the castle looms in the backround, creating the perfect grandiose backdrop!
Overall, St Micheals Mount was probably my favourite place that we visited, and it should definitely be included in any ultimate Cornwall breaks bucke-list!
TOP TIP: While the drives between the best places to visit in Cornwall (such as St Micheals mount and Lands End) may be short, the lanes are very narrow and can be dangerous! The high hedges on either side of the windy roads also creates the perfect conditions for car sickness.
Therefore it’s best to travel with a confident driver, and allow slightly more time to drive to places safely!
4) Visit Costal Villages:
Staying in Portloe inspired us to explore more of Cornwall’s coastal villages and charming hamlets. In fact, we decided to allocate a whole day of our Cornwall Itinerary to exploring some of the prettiest!
One of these was the quaint hamlet of Veryan. The village is famous for its 19th thatched roundhouses. A Vicar built these for his daughters, with the logic that round houses have no corners where the devil could hide.
I also found the old fishing port of Saint Mawes endearing. It’s got an abundences of traditonal cob cottages, and several delicious fish and chip shops. Plus there’s a very good beach where you can enjoy your chips!
In other words, Saint Mawes is the perfect place to visit for a quiet afternoon by the sea. You can also get the ferry to Falmouth from here for a fun day out!
Discovering such villages is no doubt one of the best things to do on a holiday to Cornwall! There’s just something so enjoyable about wandering through their narrow alleyways with the sea and ancient harbours hiding around every corner.
Moreover, there are so many villages to explore! We didn’t even scratch the surface, missing out hotspots such as Port Issac, Charlestown and Boscastle (where you’ll also find the famous Tintagel Castle)…
5) Spend the day at the Beach:
No Cornwall holiday is complete with a visit to the beach! The county is home to some of the clearest water, and softest sand beaches in England. From sheltered coves such as Porthcurno beach, to long exposed stretches of sand, there’s something for everyone… Whatever the unpredictable British weather.
Despite visiting in mid-July, we sadly weren’t treated to sun-bathing weather. However, we made sure to still experience a beach day. Just one with a difference!
As a horse lover, and owner, it’s always been on my bucket-list to go riding on a beach. I, therefore, took the opportunity to book with Reen Manor Stables and galloped along the sand at Perranporth beach.
Perranporth is probably one of the longest beaches I’ve ever seen! The golden sand streches for miles, creating a truly fantastic experience. However, if horses aren’t you thing, other wet weather beach activities to try include surfing and paddle-boarding. So, there’s really no excuse not to ‘hit the waves’.
TOP TIP: Looking for more UK Beach holiday ideas? Brighton and the South East Coast also have alot to offer!
6) Walk the Coast Path:
The final of my top things to do in Cornwall is a simple one, walk a section of the South West Coast Path. The whole path amazingly streches 630 miles, running all the way from Somerset and along the coasts of Cornwall and Dorset.
Completing the whole loop is therefore pretty unlikely on most Cornwall breaks, but the breath-taking scenery and heritage of the coast path makes walking a mile or two well worthwhile! For example, we walked a small strech from our base in Portloe and I was amazed by the spectacular sea views.
Holiday to Cornwall Itinerary –
As you can see there’s an abundance of amazing places to visit in Cornwall. Like I said previously, we were able to fit everything mentioned into our 1 week in Cornwall Itinerary, which was as followed:
Day one: Our first day was mainly spent driving down to Cornwall, especially since we stopped off to explore the amazing villages of the Cotswolds on the way. However, once in Portloe, we made the most of the sunshine by heading out to explore the coast path.
Day Two: Our first full day was all about exploring the Eden Project and the Hangloose adventure park. As discussed, there’s so much to do here that you really want to have a whole day available to see everything it has to offer!
Day Three: Next, we visited St Micheals Mount, after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, before driving to Lands End just before sunset.
Day Four: Was all about enjoy Perranporth Beach! Afterall all it was important to tick a beach day off our Cornwall breaks bucket-list!
Day Five: The last full day of our Cornwall holiday we dedicated to exploring as many coastal villages, as possible. Making sure to enjoy some tasty fish and chips on the beach!
Day Six: We made the most of the beautiful settings in Portloe before starting the drive home! For example, we went for another short walk along the coast path, where the views were so stunning that it became a real struggle to leave!
Our Cornwall holiday really made me realise/remember how beautiful parts of England can be. There’s so many magical places to explore right on our doorstep that can often get overlooked, so I hope this post inspires you to enjoy your own amazing holiday to Cornwall!