It’s a question that often gets asked, especially for people in Cornwall on holiday with limited time. What are Cornwall’s must-see locations? You see, Cornwall offers so much to many people you could spend months exploring this fine county and only really scrape the surface. The rugged coastline conceals all sorts of hidden gems in the form of beaches, coves and quaint little fishing villages. But the interior of Cornwall is not to be sniffed at. From its quietly undulating countryside to thick forests to remote moors laced with rivers, Cornwall is a dramatic country begging to be explored. Here is our list of must-see locations.
St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount is an imposing sight just off the coast from Marazion. This tiny island just appears to spring out of the water and is topped by a castle which has view all around the surrounding seascape. It’s possible to walk to the island at low tide along a cobbled causeway. But at high tide St Michael’s Mount can only be reached on the back of a raised trailer drawn by a tractor. It’s possible to explore the rooms of the castle and wonder around the grounds admiring the gardens and the views. There are loads of great places to stay nearby including hotels and pubs.
The Lizard is the most southerly part of mainland Britain, even further south than better known Land’s End. But unlike its famous cousin, Lizard Point is quiet and natural. The land simply falls off into the Atlantic here and as such is a popular spot for resting sea birds, including the elusive Cornish Chough. Strolling along the coast path around the Lizard the miracle of nature is all around you especially when the sea is pounding the rocks below. Nearby Lizard village has some great pubs, cafes and Cornish pasty shops. It also has some interesting accommodation options, including Henry’s campsite – a laid back camping venue for tents and caravans.
The Fowey River starts as a trickle atop Bodmin Moor and steadily grows as it flows don hill towards the sea. It meets the sea at Fowey, a prate fishing town on the banks of the mighty Fowey estuary. It has been a safe-harbour for sailors and ships for centuries, and was said to be a key trading port for legitimate business as well as the notorious smugglers. This colourful history is reflected in the houses, pubs and upbeat atmosphere of the town. But the main draw here is the scenery across the water, which can be explored by boat, kayak or on foot. This town is a major holiday destination and there are many Fowey cottages to accommodate the many thousands of tourists who flock here in the summer months.
Otherwise known as Carnevas, this North Coast beach is home to the ‘Steps’ which are a series of huge rocks cut adrift from the surrounding cliffs. Legend has it that these were the stepping stones of Cornish giants. The natural splendour of this beauty spot means it is a regularly visited by coach loads of tourists and is one of Cornwall’s photography hotspots. It’s possible to walk down steep steps to the beach to explore the landscape and rock pools of Bedruthan Steps Beach. There are some lovely hotels nearby, including The Scarlet, Bed Steps Hotel and the Bedruthan Inn just across from the National Trust car park. There are is also a great choice of self-catering accommodation in Mawgan Porth and Porthcothan.
One of the most mystical destinations in Cornwall, Rough Tor is the stuff of Arthurian legend. This steep hill topped by granite tors and fantastic rock formations is a great adventure playground for families. Walking around, through or climbing up the rocks offers great views across the whole of Cornwall. In fact it is one of the highest points in the Cornish peninsula, with neighbouring hill Brown Willy taking the title of Cornwall’s highest mountain. There’s not much accommodation here. It’s pretty remote. For places to stay you’ll need to head downhill to Wadebridge, Camelford or Tinagel.