Things to do in Cornwall
top banner

When it comes to coastal getaways, few regions can match the dazzling scenery, diverse outdoor activities and fascinating history of Cornwall. This far-flung jewel of the southwest is blessed with spectacular twin coastlines, unmissable wildlife and some of the best surfing spots in the UK. Take a look at our guide to the best things to do in Cornwall to ensure you get the most out of your next British beach break.

Small budget, BIG Adventure

Fancy a weekend in Cornwall but struggling with your budget? Let this video give you all the inspiration you need to get out there with your friends and see this stunning part of the country on a shoestring!

Cornwall's picturesque beaches

  • Perranporth Beach

  • Watergate Bay

  • Treyarnon Bay

  • Bedruthan Steps

Must-see Cornish towns

  • Newquay

  • St. Ives

  • Penzance

  • Falmouth

Insider Tips

Top Attractions

  • Eden Project

  • Tintagel Castle

  • Land's End

  • St. Michael's Mount

YHA Eden Project

We offer on-site accommodation at one of Cornwall's most iconic attractions: The Eden Project. Inspired by the eco-friendly and sustainable surroundings, the hostel's bedrooms are made from recycled shipping containers and the reception is built within a heated marquee. Also, if you purchase your Eden Project tickets early from us, you'll even get a discount off the on the door price!

Book your stay at YHA Eden Project here

Transport

  • By Train

    You can catch a mainline Great Western train to Penzance from London, changing at Plymouth, with a marathon average journey time of five hours and 43 minutes. Branch lines serve Gunnislake, Looe and Falmouth in the south and Newquay and St Ives on the north coast. CrossCountry Trains also run services across the county too so you're sure to have plenty of options.

  • By Bus

    Bus provider First Kernow offer cheap travel with a £10 (adult) and £5 (16 and under) First Day ticket. Tickets for two, three and seven days are even better value while a Ride Cornwall one-day ticket (£10 adult; £7.50 16 and under) allows travel on both First buses and Great Western and CrossCountry trains.

  • By Car

    Improvements to the A30 main Cornish trunk road a few years ago has now enabled faster car journeys as far west as Penzance. A30 aside, journeys by car should not just be judged by their speed (single lanes can be an acquired taste) but for their sheer beauty. A plethora of breathtaking scenic routes await your discovery so don't hesitate to explore the coastline by car.

  • By Bicycle

    While the legendary South West Coast Path is suitable only for walkers, two of the most popular routes on the National Cycle Network, Routes 3 and 32, run through Cornwall from Bude all the way to Land's End. They mostly use minor roads, and can be picked up both in the north and the south.

Weather

In Cornwall, it isn't just the Eden Project's Mediterranean environment biome that can boast weather more often experienced in southern Europe. Average summer temperatures are notably favourable in comparison to those in the rest of England and it's worth noting the bizarre subtropical microclimate which encapsulates certain coastal areas in the far western reaches of the county.

The best of Cornwall's surfing spots

  • Constantine Bay

    Situated only a few miles from Padstow on its sheltered river inlet, Constantine Bay faces directly west into the onrushing Atlantic currents. This is one Cornish beach which is always likely to offer surfing when your local beach is a millpond but most would regard it a spot for experienced surfers only.

    YHA Treyarnon

  • Fistral Beach

    An extremely popular Newquay surf spot, with all the attendant positives and negatives. Can hold a wave and is known for its consistency, offering mostly left-hand waves. There are a lot of surf schools and beginners in the water in summer which makes it a great place for first timers. However, be sure to check out big events such as the iconic Boardmasters if you take your surfing seriously.

    YHA Perranporth

  • Watergate Bay

    A favourite venue for surf exhibitions and competitions such as the English National Surfing Championships which are held every May. Watergate Bay is quite exposed and the breakers keep on coming in whether it's high or low tide (unusual for the north coast). Most of the surf emanates from groundswells which are best from the northwest - just beware of riptides.

    YHA Perranporth

  • Sennen Cove

    Situated way out west in the same parish as Land's End, Sennen is a highly exposed spot and among the most consistent bays for surf. There's a back-of-beyond vibe this far from the towns, with a cool beach cafe, changing rooms and places to eat and drink close by the beach.

    YHA Land's End

Surfs Up

Cornwall's stunning Penwith Peninsula is ideal for a multi-hostel surfing adventure. Find out how travel writer, Niko Cionek, tackled the waves and walked the cliffs on Cornwall's famous coastal region.

Read more

Adventures & activities

  • Hiking

  • Watersports

  • Cycling

  • Fishing

  • The best budget accommodation in Cornwall

    From refurbished mansions to recycled shipping containers at the Eden Project, our unique hostels scatter the Cornish coastlines and give visitors unrivalled access to some of the best beaches, towns and attractions. Whether you want to be close to Land's End or a stone's throw from Treyarnon Bay, you're sure to find unique accommodation for the best prices with YHA.

    Book a stay at one of our amazing Cornwall hostels

Close

Share this

Close

Interested in