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The Best Things to do in Cornwall

20 of the best days out in Cornwall

Parkdean Resorts by Parkdean Resorts on 01/10/2021
lost gardens of heligan

Cornwall is a beautiful place to spend a UK holiday, with plenty of things to do and lots of places to explore, from breathtaking beaches to fantastic family days out. We’ve put together a guide outlining some of our favourite things to do in Cornwall to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the region’s must-see attractions.

At Parkdean Resorts, you’ll have 8 fantastic holiday parks in Cornwall to choose from, offering brilliant facilities and accommodation - from luxury lodges and static caravans to glamping and camping. All of our holiday parks are situated in spectacular locations, making them an ideal base for getting out and about in the local area. Read on to discover some of the best days out in Cornwall and get planning!

1. Land’s End

  • Address: Sennen, Penzance, TR19 7AA
  • Parking Price: Car £7, Motorhome £10
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3/5

lands end sign post

Visit the westernmost point of mainland UK and witness the panoramic views of one of the most famous landmarks in the country – Land’s End. Definitely one to check off your bucket list if you’re holidaying in Cornwall, you can enjoy impressive firework displays on certain evenings in the summer, followed by a drink in the famous First and Last Inn. Don’t forget to snap a selfie by the iconic Land’s End sign too, which people have been travelling to see for hundreds of years.

2. St Ives Harbour

  • Address: Wharf Road, St Ives, TR26 1LH
  • Price: Free

St Ives harbour, Cornwall

Next on our list of the best things to do in Cornwall is soaking up all that St Ives harbour has to offer. One of the most picturesque places in the UK and known for its white sandy beaches and azure blue waters, it’s Cornwall’s very own tropical paradise – and a lovely place to take a day trip. Still a working port, you’ll see fishermen returning with their daily catches, and you can even take a boat trip directly from the harbour to spot some nearby wildlife. Dotted with award-winning bakeries and restaurants, you can sample local delicacies like the Cornish pasty, then retire to the beach for swimming, sunbathing or surfing.

St Ives is one of our favourite places to stay in Cornwall, with plenty of hotels, B&Bs and three of our Cornwall holiday parks within driving distance.

3. St Michael's Mount

  • Address: Marazion, TR17 0EQ
  • Price: Adults £14-24, Children £7-13, depending on whether you visit just the castle or the gardens too
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

St Michaels Mount Cornwall

Indisputably one of the best days out in Cornwall, venture across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount and get lost in the history and legends that surround this fascinating island. At low tide, you can visit the island on foot, but at high tide you’ll have to journey across by boat – which costs a little extra. Explore the ancient rooms and hallways of the castle before venturing outside to the beautiful gardens, which will be newly refurbished for 2022. We’d recommend the nearby beach at low tide for a family picnic too.

4. Newquay Zoo

  • Address: Trenance Gardens, Newquay, TR7 2NL
  • Price: Adults £16.35, Children £12.30
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

A red panda on a branch

Newquay Zoo is one of our favourite wildlife attractions in Cornwall and one of the best things to do in Cornwall for families. Housing a wide variety of animals including monkeys, lions, penguins and more, it’s a fun day out for all ages. Young children will love the petting area where they can cuddle up to fluffy rabbits and guinea pigs and there’s plenty of outside space for them to blow off steam, including an adventure playground. Newquay Zoo is also a charity, relying on visitors’ support to fund their conservation projects – if you needed even more reasons to enjoy a day out there!

For luxury lodge and caravan holidays, book a stay at the nearby Newquay Holiday Park, just a 10 minute drive from the zoo.

5. Eden Project

  • Address: Bodelva, Par, PL24 2SG
  • Price: Adults £32.50, Children £10
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5
Video courtesy of edenprojecttv

Perhaps the most popular attraction in Cornwall, the Eden Project provides a unique family day out that’s not only enjoyable, but educational too. This tropical garden is located in a massive crater – the size of 30 football pitches – and is home to an impressive environment where you can find out more about the relationship between plants and people. The Project educates visitors on the importance of working towards a sustainable future and you’ll get to experience this stunning rainforest right in the centre of Cornwall.

This attraction is also dog-friendly, meaning your four-legged friend can join in on all the fun!

6. Crantock Beach

  • Address: Crantock, TR8 5RN
  • Parking Price: £8
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

Crantock Beach

It wouldn’t be a holiday to Cornwall without a few day trips to the beach, and Crantock is one of our favourite beaches on the North Cornwall coast. Nestled just outside of Newquay, on the doorstep of Crantock Beach Holiday Park, it’s a paradise for all things sun, sea and sand – and features a river cutting through its shore, the Gannel Estuary. Visit the caves at low tide where you’ll find the outline of a figure, carved into the wall in the 1900s, or head up the dunes and enjoy a picnic whilst admiring the spectacular views of the Cornish coast.

Parking can get busy during peak season, so we’d recommend getting there nice and early and checking out the nearby National Trust car park.

7. Lost Gardens of Heligan

  • Address: B3273, Pentewan, St Austell, PL26 6EN
  • Price: Adults £17.50, Children £8.50
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

lost gardens of heligan

Get ready to delve into 200 acres of mystery when you visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan - packed full of fascinating history dating back to the 18th century. Follow the winding narrow paths edged with tropical plants and discover the Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady along the woodland trail. If all the walking has tired you out, make a pit stop at the Heligan Tearoom for a Cornish cream tea or a tasty home-cooked meal. With free parking on site and just over half an hour’s drive from White Acres Holiday Park, it’s an unmissable day out if you’re looking for the best things to do in Cornwall.

8. Minack Theatre

  • Address: Porthcurno, Penzance, TR19 6JU
  • Price: Adults £7.50, Children £3.75
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

Minack Theatre Cornwall

Sit back, relax and delight in a unique, open-air performance at the Minack Theatre, perched on the cliffs which overlook the breathtaking Porthcurno Bay. With shows dating as far back as 1932, this iconic attraction puts on performances for more than 80,000 people per year and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for exciting days out in Cornwall. Whilst there, you’ll learn more about how the theatre was created, as well as taking in the exotic gardens surrounding the site on which it’s built.

9. Isles of Scilly

  • Address: St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0PW
  • Price: Adults £30, Children £15, which includes your return journey
Video courtesy of Visit Isles of Scilly

Hop aboard one of the most scenic boat trips in the region and spend a family day out sightseeing on the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands just off Cornwall’s coast. Launching from Penzance, sit back and take in the outstanding, unspoilt views on your journey and arrive to all sorts of fun activities to fill your day. The gateway to the islands is St Mary’s and you’ll find white, sandy beaches and a cluster of shops, cafes and galleries to get lost in. If you’d prefer something more action-packed, there’s always swimming, cycling or why not try your hand at horse-riding on the beach?

10. Cornish Seal Sanctuary

  • Address: Gweek, TR12 6UG
  • Price: Adults £15.50, Children £12.50
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

Seals on a beach

If you’re planning things to do in Cornwall with kids, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a fantastic option for an excursion, plus it’s only 15 minutes away from Lizard Point Holiday Park. The sanctuary is a charity that rescues and rehabilitates seal pups, offering both an entertaining and informative day out for adults and kids alike. In addition to learning all about how the seals are rescued, you’ll see penguins, sea lions and beavers during your visit. The little ones will just love getting up close and personal with their favourite animals via the viewing windows.

11. Flambards Theme Park

  • Address: Clodgey Lane, Helston, TR13 0QA
  • Price: Adults £17.95, Children £13.45
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5/5
Video courtesy of Flambards Theme Park

No family holiday would be complete without an exhilarating day spent at a theme park and Flambards certainly delivers the goods. The wide selection of rides and amusements provides something for all ages, from adrenaline-inducing rollercoasters for the thrill-seekers, to toddler-friendly rides like the teacups and Dino Express. There’s even a Victorian village to explore, as well as live music, shows and fireworks in the evenings during the summer holidays. Parking is free all day too!

12. The Lizard & Kynance Cove

  • Address: Lizard, Helston, TR12 7NT
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

Kynance Cove

One of our favourite free things to do in Cornwall has got to be taking a trip to the Lizard Peninsula – one of the many famous beauty spots on the Cornish coastline. With its dazzling turquoise waters and pristine sandy beaches, you could almost mistake it for somewhere in the Mediterranean! There’ll be photo opportunities galore and you can easily spend a full day here, with plenty of caves, walking trails, beaches and more.

Find out more about the Lizard Peninsula’s superb beaches by reading our guide to the top beaches in South Cornwall.

13. Tintagel Castle

  • Address: Castle Road, Tintagel, PL34 0HE
  • Price: Adults £15.70, Children £9.40, or free if you're a member of English Heritage
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5
Video courtesy of English Heritage

Boasting a dramatic position on North Cornwall’s rugged cliffs, Tintagel Castle blends together both history and legend, as it’s renowned for its links to King Arthur. Begin your adventure by crossing the footbridge over to the island, before discovering the impressive remains of this 13th century castle, rich in medieval heritage. Roam the walled garden and keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife from the clifftop, then drop down to the beach below which is perfect for rock pooling and paddling. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s also a beach café, serving up light bites and homemade cakes to indulge in.

14. Newquay Activity Centre

  • Address: 60, Fore Street, Newquay, TR7 1LW
  • Price: Varies depending on activity and group size
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5
Video courtesy of Newquay Activity Centre

Whether you’re a family, group of friends or a solo traveller, Cornwall’s water sports scene is world famous and there’s something for everyone to take part in at Newquay Activity Centre. Led by qualified instructors, there’s an extensive range of activities to choose from with great value packages available for group sessions. Appreciate Cornwall’s coastline from a different perspective with some coasteering, or take things a little easier with paddle boarding or kayaking. Not to mention what Newquay is widely celebrated for – its surfing – where you can learn the basics and safely build up to riding some waves.

15. The Camel Trail

  • Address: Varies depending on starting point, find out more information here
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Following a surfaced trail from Wenfordbridge to Padstow, Cornwall’s Camel Trail is an 18 mile stretch of disused railway line which is popular with walkers and cyclists alike. Even wheelchair users can enjoy the route, given that it’s largely flat terrain and traffic-free. Attracting around 350,000 visitors a year, wind your away along the Camel Estuary and absorb some of Cornwall’s finest countryside landscapes. If you fancy navigating the trail by bike, there are plenty of cycle hire services to take advantage of nearby.

16. Poldark Mine

  • Address: Trenear, Helston, TR13 0ES
  • Price: Prices vary depending on how much of the attraction you visit, find out more information here
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5
Video courtesy of Paul Dinning

You may recognise this next attraction from the television series, Poldark, but that’s not the only thing that makes this historic mine one of the best things to do in Cornwall. Delve deep underground into Poldark Mine and experience a fascinating guided tour where you’ll learn all about the origins of tin mining during the 18th century. There’s also a museum showcasing The Cornish Heritage Collection, a display of interesting equipment and machinery dating back hundreds of years.

Cornwall isn’t short of mining attractions and you can discover even more places to visit here.

17. Lappa Valley Steam Railway

  • Address: St Newlyn East, Newquay, TR8 5LX
  • Price: Adults £13.95, Children £11.95
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5
Video courtesy of Soundview

Just a short drive from our holiday parks in Newquay, hop aboard the miniature steam train at Lappa Valley and enjoy a nostalgic journey through Cornwall’s beautiful woodland and countryside. Lappa Valley Steam Railway is definitely one of our favourite things to do in Cornwall with kids, as alongside the train rides, you can take part in a variety of fun activities like sailing on the boating lake, playing crazy golf or running wild on the indoor and outdoor play areas. It ticks all the boxes for a family day out!

18. Walking the South West Coast Path

  • Address: Varies depending on starting point, find out more information here
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5
Video courtesy of South West Coast Path

Looking for more free things to do in Cornwall? You can’t go wrong with a walk along the famous South West Coast Path, the UK’s longest trail stretching along 630 miles of magnificent coastal views. It goes without saying that the path offers some of the best walks in Cornwall and given the distance it covers, you’ll be able to access it whether you’re staying in North, West or South Cornwall – and you can complete as much or as little of it as you like. You’ll find lovely beaches, familiar landmarks and plenty of opportunities to stop for refreshments along the way, making it a fantastic day out for all to enjoy.

19. Bodmin Jail

  • Address: Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin, PL31 2NR
  • Price: Adults £15, Children £12.50, for a self-guided tour
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

A cell within Bodmin Jail

A Cornwall day out not for the faint-hearted, pay a visit to the chilling Bodmin Jail and immerse yourself in the history that surrounds what’s believed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK. Built in the 18th century, the jail has been the location for a number of executions and was one of the first prisons in the country to have individual cells. You’re free to guide yourself around the jail, or at extra cost you can enjoy a full tour from one of the knowledgeable guides.

Please note, due to the spooky nature of this attraction, it may not be suitable for children under 8.

20. Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm

  • Address: Penhallow, Truro, TR4 9LW
  • Price: Adults £10, Children £8 - book online in advance and receive a 20% discount on tickets
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Apples and a glass of apple cider

Nestled within the very heart of Cornwall’s countryside, Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm is a family-run business which has been concocting award-winning cyders, preserves and more for the last 40 years. Sign up for a guided tour of the cellars and orchard and quench your thirst by taking part in a tasting session. Kids will love Healey’s too, with a variety of farm animals to see, as well as a vintage tractor ride! Holywell Bay Holiday Park is only 15 minutes away from the farm by car and is the perfect place to set up base for your Cornwall holiday.

We’d love to see your best photos of your days out in Cornwall, so don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @parkdeanresorts! If you’re still looking for things to do, head to our Cornwall local attractions page for even more to explore.