Cornwall is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. The reason for that is simple, it is too beautiful to miss. I have travelled to Cornwall a number of times and I am planning my next trip there.

Perched on the southwestern tip of England, Cornwall offers so many amazing things to do and places to see for everyone. From gorgeous sandy beaches, historical landscapes, quaint towns and villages, breathtaking coastal trails and wildlife watching opportunities that make you go back again and again.

If you landed here, I guess you are planning a trip and looking for fun things to do in Cornwall. Luckily for you, in this travel guide, I share some of my favourite activities and places to explore in Cornwall.

You can also read: Prettiest towns and villages in Cornwall

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Visit Saint Michael’s Mount

Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall

Situated on a tidal island off the coast, you will find St Michael’s Mount, one of the most iconic places in Cornwall. The island is linked to the shore of Marazion by a cobbled causeway, which can be walked across at low tide, otherwise, it can be reached by boats.

The 12-century hilltop church and castle is a must-see here. You can also stroll around the gardens and visit the 15th-century chapel of St. Michael.

When visiting St Michael’s Mount, you will go through Marazion, one of the oldest and prettiest towns in Cornwall which also has a long sandy beach. This is a fantastic place to swim, have a picnic or walk.

Go on a Legendary Adventure at Tintagel Castle

Sitting on the peninsula of Tintagel Island, the Cornish medieval castle of Tintagel, with links to the stories of King Arthur, is one of the best things to see in Cornwall.

Tintagel Castle

To get to the castle you should cross the new bridge to take in stunning views of the coastline. There are many coastal walking trails around here, if you want to have a great view of the castle, you can take the south path.

Here you not only learn about the history, but you can soak up the natural beauty of Cornwall. You might even spot seals playing in the water or resting on the rocks.

The closest hotel near this attraction is Camelot Castle Hotel which offers you a sense of being the king of the castle. Check the price and availability here.

Explore a Fishing Village in Cornwall

Cornwall is surrounded on three sides by the seas and stunning coastlines, hence fishing has always been a vital part of Cornwall’s economy, which also led to the development of many Cornish towns and villages.

Fishing Village of Moushole in Cornwall

There are many picturesque fishing villages with cute old houses, colourful boats and narrow streets. That is why one of the best things to do in Cornwall is to visit at least one of the fishing villages, or if you want to feel like a local, you can stay a night in one of the Classic Cottages in one of the towns.

These are some of my favourite fishing villages in Cornwall:

Cadgwith is a small typical fishing village located on the South Coast of the Lizard peninsula. You can enjoy the Cadgwith beaches and eat at the local pub: The Cadgwith Cove Inn.

Mousehole, a beautiful town, was one of the main ports in Cornwall until the 16th century. It has a sandy harbour where you can take photos of fishing boats with colourful houses in the background.

Mullion is the largest fishing village on the Lizard Peninsula and it has shops, cafes, inns and restaurants. Here you can take a circular walk along the cliffs and enjoy the sandy beach.

Port Isaac is one of the most popular fishing villages in Cornwall since it has been a filming location for the Doc Martin TV series.

Ride the Waves

Cornwall is known as the surfing capital of the UK and it attracts surfers from all over the UK and abroad all year round. There are a lot of amazing surfing spots around Cornish beaches.

However, surfing in Cornwall is not just for professionals. There are many surfing schools in Cornwall, where you can take lessons to develop your surfing skills. If you are a total beginner, you might want to sign up for the Introduction to Surfing Lesson. In this course, you will learn all you need to catch a wave and you will be able to experience the thrill of riding the waves at a beach in Newquay.

Some of the best places to surf in Cornwall are Fistral Beach in Newquay, Gunwalloe on the west coast of the Lizard peninsula, Watergate Bay and Porthtowan.

Take a boat trip to Seal Island

Cornwall, with its approximately 1086km of coastline, is home to many interesting animals including dolphins, sharks and seals. Perhaps seals are the easiest ones to spot. There are actually two types of seals in the area: the grey seal and the common seal.

On some beaches, you might spot them playing in the water, but if you want to make sure to see seals, you can take a boat tour from St Ives to Seal Island, home to a colony of Atlantic grey seals.

The tour is usually 1.5 hours and you will be able to watch the seals in their natural habitat.

Visit the Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall and they can easily be reached by flight from Land's End, Newquay and Exeter Airports or by ferry.

Scilly with its wild landscapes, white sand beaches and turquoise waters is a must-visit in Cornwall. Scilly islands are a heaven for nature lovers since they are home to a unique range of flora and fauna, puffins, dolphins and sharks. You can take a day trip there or go for a few days to explore the islands.

Go on a Coastal Hike

With rugged coastlines, dramatic cliffs, pretty fishing villages and green pathways, Cornwall’s countryside offer a wealth of outdoor activities. Hence it is not surprising some of the most scenic coastal walks in the UK are here in Cornwall.

There are numerous hiking trails suitable for all levels of fitness in Cornwall. When visiting any of the attractions or towns on the coastline, you can easily join the marked coastal route for a short walk. Of course, if you fancy a longer hike, you can plan a multi-day hike. Some of our stretches to hike include the circle walk between Mousehole to Lamorna Cove, Newlyn to Penzance and Tintagel to Boscastle.

Explore Movie locations in Cornwall

Charlestown, one of the filming locations of Poldark

Cornwall is absolutely charming and there is no surprise that some of the most notable films and TV series such as Doc Martin, Poldark, Alice in Wonderland, The Witches and World War Z, were shot in Cornwall.

To visit the film locations you can take the Doc Martin Tour in Port Isaac, the Private Full-Day Tour of Poldark Filming Locations, or combine them by taking the Private Tour of Doc Martin and Poldark filming locations.

However, you can also check out some of the movie locations by yourself such as the Georgian port of Charlestown, one of the filming locations of Poldark, Port Isaac, the location of Doc Martin, and Falmouth, one of the locations of the Hornblower movie.

Spend Time at the Beach

Cornwall is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. One of the best things to do in Cornwall is to visit Cornwall’s beaches. Seriously, when the sun is out and it feels warm, you can forget about travelling abroad. There are so many gorgeous sandy beaches in Cornwall, not only you can visit them, but you can also stay in Cottages near the beach.

So, to make things a bit easier, here are some of the best beaches in Cornwall.

Gwithian Beach is popular for surfing and windsurfing but it is also one of the best beaches in Cornwall for wild sand dunes.

Pedn Vounder Beach is an amazing tidal beach and certainly one of the most remote spots in Cornwall. The beach is stunning, but you need to climb down cliffs to get there.

Watergate Bay is a two-mile sandy beach just a short drive from Newquay. It is a perfect place to relax and unwind.

Explore Cornwall on a bike

I have already mentioned that Cornwall is an amazing destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, but Cornwall’s countryside is also a great place for cycling. There are various cycling routes for different levels of ability.

One of the most popular cycling paths is the Camel Trail which takes you to some of the most spectacular countrysides in Cornwall. It is an easy path and it is suitable for families.

The other family-friendly cycling path is the Coast to Coast Trail. It is just 11 miles from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south coast, basically, you can cycle across England in a couple of hours.

Watch the Sunset

Nothing is more romantic and calming than sitting at a beach and watching the sun setting down over the sea. I have watched some of the most stunning and unforgettable sunsets in Cornwall. Watching the sunset is one of the things you don’t want to miss.

You can head to Perranporth Beach in the evening and while sitting at a beach bar, you can enjoy the spectacular sunset view. Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, St Michael's Mount and Treyarnon Bay are other spots where you can watch the sunset.

Spend a night at Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail is a historic former prison located on the edge of Bodmin in Cornwall. It was built in 1779 and was operational for 150 years. There are different tours of Bodmin Jail that you can take.

The Heritage Guided tour is only 2 hours and it is suitable for families. However, the scariest tour here is the After Dark Experience, which starts after 9 pm and it is suitable for those seeking ghost hunting tours in Cornwall. This tour is not suitable for children.