What to see and do in Cornwall


28th Oct 2019 Travel

What to see and do in Cornwall

Cornwall has much to offer visitors and has something to offer no matter what you are seeking or what your tastes are. Certainly, the younger crowd are often found in Newquay attempting to top up their tan during the short summer months, whereas Padstow remains ever popular perhaps due to the string of businesses from Rick Stein, the celebrity chef in these parts. You’ll also find the local food, cream teas, small village look and feel, along with a rugged exterior holds appeal to all too. 

Nevertheless, Cornwall also is independent with a flag of its own, and a language too. Kernow, as it’s known to the locals, has a proud history and casts a spell on many a visitor who finds themselves returning year after year. Here are a few things to see and do when visiting Cornwall. 

Getting Transport Sorted

Firstly, to get down to Cornwall, you have a few different ways. While it is possible to get a coach or train down there, the difficulty is that the attractions are in different parts of this picturesque county. This makes it difficult to reach them once there. This might not be immediately obvious to people who’ve never visited this part of England before. 

Large group of people? We recommend hiring a minibus from Nationwide Hire UKthey provide comfortable transportation for a larger group or family and offers greater flexibility to get about to see different sights and participate in various activities. Otherwise, it’s very hard to see what you want while in Cornwall because each town or city is spread out.

Tate St. Ives

When you have transport sorted, then head over to the award-winning Tate St Ives as a first stop. For anyone interested in the art scene, it attracts plenty of creative people who like to enjoy the local area and get inspired to produce their next painting or other piece of artwork. The museum won a national award in 2018 which they’re proud of. It’s a delightful first destination to ease into the county.

Helston Railway

For anyone who’s a train buff, the classic Helston Railway is a must-do activity. This ride takes you back to the age of steam when the railroads first started to be built. The train uses a steam engine originally from the 1940s to ride the tracks through the countryside and now affords visitors the best views at a comfortable pace.

Situated in Prospidnick and running into the months of autumn, it also operates on special holidays like Halloween, Christmas and other days too.

The line was originally the GWR line until it closed in 1960. It’s been brought back to life in as original design and condition as possible to make the ride authentic. Also, on certain dates, there are enactments connected to World War II with vintage cars from the era being driven around too. 

Par Food Hall and Market

For a place that is expansive, varied and interesting, then a visit to the Par Food Hall and Market is an excellent day out or lunchtime destination for anyone in search of tasty treats and more. 

Over in St Austell, it’s one of the biggest indoor food halls of its kind. This makes it a great destination whatever the weather, rather than being stuck indoors on your holiday. The Food Hall is open from Wednesday to Sunday whereas the market is only open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The opening times for both places are 9am to 5pm. 

The Market Stalls are extremely varied, so whether you’re a “Sneaker Head”, looking for some comic collectables, fancy fish ‘n’ chips, or need a new rug for the living room floor, it’s all here. For families, there’s Kids World to keep the children occupied for a little while.

Cardinham Woods

If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track with fewer tourists milling about, then you could do worse that track down to Cardinham Woods, which is up in Bodmin. 

This destination combines the woodlands with various walking or hiking trails to test your endurance. There are also some trails specifically for mountain bikers too. For families, picnic tables and a safe play area are provided. All the trails have markings or directions and are maintained to keep them safe to use while not getting lost. 

Also, there are some excellent spots to take panoramic photos of the scenery. So, you’ll find yourself pausing to grab some snaps until the storage on your smartphone is probably full! 

Padstow Harbour

Padstow Harbour was busy and popular before Rick Stein, the local celebrity chef, put it on the map in a big way. The harbour itself is as pretty as it comes. Any city dwellers will definitely get their fill of a different way of life without the usual skyscraper office buildings dotted about. People who love boats and the water will also enjoy seeing the various boats coming and going too.

Besides the many business entities owned by Rick Stein, there are also several private tours featuring the fictitious Doc Martin character along with the historical King Arthur, which sometimes gets combined into one tour. Anyone who would enjoy seeing shooting locations featured on the TV show Doc Martin or more historical local sites will get a kick out of those. 

Trebah Garden

Garden lovers must make a beeline to Falmouth to check out the Trebah Gardens. These lush and picture-perfect ravine gardens will surely provide fascination in every direction on a visit. They’re replete with vibrant colours, small lakes, quaint bridge crossings, and more. 

For people with green fingers who enjoy seeing exotic flowers and surprises along the way, then this garden offers something very different to an attraction like Kew Gardens in London because its location is unrivalled. 

Beaches Galore

In addition to the attractions above, it almost goes without saying that Cornwall has many beaches along its coastline. It’s possible to drive up and down the coast and pick which beach to visit based on how many tourists are already using it. Some are more sandy than others – a few are a bit more sheltered from the wind too – and so it’s easy to find the beach you prefer. 

Cornwall has many delights to attract visitors. While there are plenty of people who like to come home with pots of clotted cream to sneak away in the fridge for a later time, there’s much to see and do besides just this. Also, go for more than a day trip if you can because it gets busy, making it difficult to fit in several attractions in a single day. 

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.