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Top 10 things to do in Cornwall

06 September 2016 ( 03 April 2017 )

If you're planning a trip to Cornwall, don't set off until you've read our top ten guide...

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall
St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful and fascinating counties in the UK. With miles of stunning coastline, vast moors, picturesque towns and a unique heritage, it's little wonder that people head down year after year for a slice of Cornish life.

1. Walk to St. Michael's Mount

Marvel at one of the most photographed locations in the UK. During low tide, visitors can walk across the ancient causeway to St Michael's Mount and its castle, following the path of Bronze Age settlers, monks and pilgrims. When the tide is high, catch a ferry over.

2. Get lost on the moor

As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bodmin Moor is the source of several Cornish rivers and features Cornwall's only natural inland lake. It's also home to a host of wildlife, including birds, cows, horses and ponies.

3. Visit The Eden Project

You can't help but be impressed as you meander the paths leading to the Eden Project and see the huge glass biomes, containing thousands of plant species in a Rainforest and Mediterranean climate. As well as the flora and fauna on display, you'll learn more about the environment and how we can protect it. On top of that, there are excellent dining and shopping facilities to enjoy during your visit.

4. Indulge in a cream tea

A cream tea always goes down well, but the South West does them with particular flair. Find somewhere small and local where the scones are well risen and freshly baked; if in doubt, head to a National Trust café – their scones never disappoint! Remember to prepare your scone the Cornish way with jam first, followed by cream second.

5. Discover The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey, are among the best botanical gardens in the country. Unveiled in 1992 after decades of overgrowth, the 19th-century gardens surrounding Heligan House contain an array of flower and vegetable gardens, subtropical trees, lakes, statues and an Italian garden. Over 65s receive discounted entry.

6. Catch a show at the Minack Theatre

Built into the side of a rock overlooking the sea at Porthnurno Bay, the Minack Theatre is in itself a site to behold. But for the full experience, purchase tickets to a show – the season runs from May-September and productions range from Shakespeare plays to the Proms, and family favourites such as Peter Pan.

7. Dine out in Padstow

Rick Stein has put Padstow on the Cornish culinary map, making it an essential destination for food-lovers. Head to his fish and chip shop - stopping by the National Lobster Hatchery next door - or book a table at his harbour-side Seafood Restaurant. There's also Stein's Patisserie where you'll find delicious cakes, pastries and meringues.


8. Climb the steps of Tintagel

Haunting and atmospheric, Tintagel Castle is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Whether you believe that or not, there is something mystical and mysterious about these ruins, and the views of North Cornwall's jagged coastline make it more than worth a visit. Be prepared to climb some steep steps!

9. Meet some seals

Cornwall's waters are some of the best for seeing marine wildlife. You'll find seal spotting tips throughout the area, but the best places are said to be Mutton Cove, Newquay Harbour, Porthcurno and Looe Island. Of course, you could just visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek for guaranteed seal sighting!

10. Take a coastal walk

Around 258 miles of the South West Coast Path are in Cornwall alone, providing endless opportunities to put on your walking boots. Visit the official website to find a route that suits your capabilities, preferably with a pub or tea room along the way!


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.