The county of Cornwall is one of the prettiest in England. With its beautiful coastline and wild moorland, gardens, beaches and quaint villages, you are spoilt for choice with so many wonderful places to visit in Cornwall.
It doesn’t matter when you visit Cornwall, you will be sure to experience some of Britain’s best coastal towns, villages and attractions including The Minack Theatre, St Michael’s Mount, the Eden Project and so much more.
If you’re planning a trip, then enjoy this list of the best places to stay in Cornwall – they’re also great for a day trip whilst on holiday! Whether you’re travelling solo or bringing along the whole family, enjoy these wonderful destinations.
Best for foodies
The pretty fishing town of Padstow is situated on the rugged North Cornwall coast. Made famous by Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw, Padstow is a picturesque working harbour, full of excellent independent eateries and a wonderful selection of shops. Surrounded by glorious beaches including Constantine Bay and Harlyn, Padstow is a great base to explore the Camel Estuary and North Cornwall.
With an abundance of things to discover, including the incredible coastline, walking trails, boat trips and great days out, Padstow makes an ideal holiday destination.
2. St Ives
Best for its art scene
The popular seaside town of St Ives in West Cornwall lies on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Cornwall. Home to the Tate St Ives Gallery and Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives is renowned as the art capital of Cornwall.
With the combination of a mild climate, sparkling turquoise waters, world-class beaches and pretty streets brimming with art and culture, St Ives has plenty going for it. As well as the countless galleries and shops in its maze of streets, seafood restaurants fill the town, and the harbour is a lovely place to watch the fishing boats bring in their catch. Porthmeor Beach, Carbis Bay and Porthgwidden are popular and worth a visit, and the South West Coast Path passes by too.
Best for its charming estuary location
Fowey is an enchanting harbour town in South Cornwall. To get a feel for this pretty town, take a walk along the Esplanade where the Victorian, Georgian, and Edwardian architecture is evident, highlighting the town’s historical heyday as a successful port and maritime town.
Follow narrow streets through the town to discover some charming independent shops. There is also a great collection of bistros, cafes, pubs, and restaurants including Sam’s and Appleton’s which are some of our favourites. The Eden Project, one of Cornwall’s best-known attractions, is only 7 miles away and the popular Lost Gardens of Heligan is 14 miles from Fowey too.
Best for being a hidden gem
Porthleven is a charming seaside village along the West Cornwall coast, near the Lizard Peninsula, and is home to one of the most impressive harbours in Cornwall. There are so many reasons to visit this amazing village, starting with incredible natural beauty. The rugged coastline here offers some of the best views in the area and is renowned for storm watching opportunities in the winter months, whilst the 3-mile, gorgeous, sandy beach offers the perfect photo opportunity.
The beach and traditional fishing harbour mean there's no shortage of things to do in Porthleven. With stunning views out to sea, as well as a great food scene, highlighted by the annual food festival held in the village, Porthleven has plenty on offer to give you a wonderful holiday. Click here to read our ultimate guide to Porthleven.
Best for beaches
Previously voted by TripAdvisor as one of the top ten beach destinations in the UK, Newquay is one of North Cornwall’s most popular tourist towns with 7 miles of sandy beaches to explore which include Fistral Beach, Lusty Glaze Beach, Tolcarne Beach and Towan Beach to name a few!
Renowned for its exciting surf scene, some of the best surfers in the world arrive in Newquay each year for the various championships. Bordered by long sandy beaches and rugged cliff tops, there are both stunning rural scenes and a vibrant, lively town. Read all about the best things to do in Newquay, including visiting the zoo and Blue Reef Aquarium.
Best for families
Looe is a vibrant seaside town with a range of fantastic eateries, it is surrounded by some of Cornwall's most stunning countryside and beaches. Not only are there plenty of lovely restaurants, cafes and tea rooms, nearby you will find some top attractions and scenery to explore including Aderalin Quarry and Wild Futures' Monkey Sanctuary.
This working fishing town huddles around the East Looe River and is a constant hub of activity. Nearby you will also find Rame Head AONB which takes in the 800-acre Mount Edgcumbe Park and the quaint villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. Click here to read our ultimate guide to Looe.
Where to stay
For couples: 1 West Quay – sleeps 2
For families: Trevannion – sleeps 6 and 1 dog
For large groups: Ivydene – sleeps 8 and 2 dogs
Best for couples
Marazion has a front-row seat to one of the most iconic and beautiful views in the West Country, that of St Michael’s Mount. Being at the heart of one of Cornwall’s best-loved beauty spots will make for a memorable holiday. On your holiday in Marazion, visit the castle atop the ancient St Michael’s Mount, learn about the various legends in the area and enjoy dining in one of Marazion’s numerous pubs and restaurants.
Marazion has a lovely beach with shallow waters, perfect for paddling and playing, and other nearby beaches include Praa Sands and Longrock. The villages of Mousehole and Newlyn are close too.
Best for walkers
The charming seaside town of Bude is situated on the northernmost point of the Cornish coast, with an abundance of beautiful beaches dotted with colourful beach huts and rock pools, a Bude holiday will not disappoint.
Bude's great selection of beaches and water sports make it a fun place to visit all year round, and if walking is your passion, the South West Coast Path has incredible scenery to enjoy. Apart from the brilliant beaches and water sports, there are lots of adventure activities on offer, including horse riding and climbing. This area of North Cornwall offers lovely scenic walks all around as well as the top surf spot Widemouth Bay nearby.
Best for city lovers
The cathedral city of Truro is a bustling centre of culture, shopping and fine architecture. Its spectacular cathedral, complete with gothic towers jutting out into the skyline, looks down upon a myriad of little streets full of quirky boutiques, delis, bars and cafes.
Historical buildings and museums fill the city, yet it’s situated under 20 miles away from the beaches of Portmellon and Portscatho, as well as the renowned Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Truro is also home to the Royal Cornwall Museum and popular Hall for Cornwall, with walking tours available around the city and various markets and shops. The Victoria Gardens and Bosvigo Gardens are worth a visit too!
10. Port Isaac
Best for Doc Martin fans
You may recognise the traditional Cornish village of Port Isaac, as its winding streets and pretty fisherman’s cottages play host to the fictional village of Port Wenn in the popular TV series Doc Martin. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and countryside and with an abundance of seafood restaurants, pretty tea rooms and charming shops, Port Isaac gives you a real taste of authentic Cornwall.
With its narrow, cobbled streets, known locally as ‘drangs’, and its colourful fishing boats bobbing about in the harbour, Port Isaac is only 5 miles away from the gorgeous beaches of Polzeath and Daymer Bay.
Map of best places to stay in Cornwall
Stay with us in Cornwall
Have you been inspired to visit Cornwall and some of the region’s prettiest places for yourself?
If you’re yet to pick out your perfect holiday cottage in Cornwall, browse through our collection today – we have a great range of large houses, romantic boltholes and dog-friendly cottages so the whole family can come and enjoy the delights of Cornwall.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.