By Parkdean Resorts on 20/01/2023

Cornwall is a beautiful place to spend a UK holiday, with plenty of cheap breaks and free things to do and lots of places to explore while you’re there, from breathtaking beaches to fantastic family days out. We’ve put together a guide outlining some of our favourite free and cheap 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 cheap days out in Cornwall and get planning!

Free things to do in Cornwall

Cornwall is the perfect destination to indulge in breathtaking scenery and magnificent beaches. What’s more, it offers a whole host of free activities you can enjoy on a budget. Here are some of our favourites:

The Lizard & Kynance Cove

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

Kynance Cove's beach and rock formations in Cornwall

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.

St Ives Harbour

  • Address: Wharf Road, St Ives, TR26 1LH
  • Price: Free
  • Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

A view over St Ives Harbour in 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.

The Museum of Cornish Life

  • Address: Market Pl, Helston TR13 8TH
  • Price: Free
  • Trip Advisor Rating: 5/5

If you’re a history lover, a trip to the Museum of Cornish Life is well worth a visit. Explore displays and artefacts that showcase the very best of Cornish culture and its treasure trove of curiosities. It in fact houses one of the largest history collections in England.

Falmouth Art Gallery

  • Address: Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth TR11 2RT
  • Price: Free
  • Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Completely free to enter, the Falmouth Art Gallery is the perfect destination for art lovers. Savour its award-winning collection including Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist paintings, contemporary prints and more. After a slow meander around the gallery take a tour around the trendy Moore area of Falmouth.

St Ives Farmers’ Market

  • Address: Market Hill, St. Ives PE27 5AP
  • Price: Free
  • Trip Advisor Rating: 4.5/5

Held every Thursday, St Ives Farmers’ Market is a must have addition to your mid-week stroll. Here you’ll find the best produce from local farmers including; fresh dairy products, scrumptious cakes and stunning crafts. It’s a great place to pick up some local ingredients to take back to your caravan and cook up.

Truro Cathedral

  • Address: St Mary's St, Truro TR1 2AF
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Truro Cathedral at sunset

Truro Cathedral is known to be the only cathedral in Cornwall and the first to be built in Britain for 800 years. The cathedral's stunning gothic style of architecture dominates the Cornish skyline.

Walk the South West Coast Path

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

Looking for more free things to do in Cornwall? Savour some of the finest sites in Cornwall on 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.


  • Address: Robinson's Shaft, Dudnance Ln, Pool, Redruth TR15 3QY
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

With over 19 acres of parkland to explore, the Heartlands, otherwise known as the UK’s first cultural playground, is a must-visit for families. Whatever the weather, here your little ones can run around the playground, climb sculptures or attend one of the craft studios.

Roskilly’s Organic Farm

  • Address: Barton Farm, Tregellast Cl, St Keverne, Helston TR12 6NX
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

A dairy cow looking at the camera

During your trip to Roskilly’s farm, you can see a working dairy farm in action - as part of your visit, you can take a guided tour or have a slow meader around the gorgeous countryside it's situated within. If you feel like a treat, why not grab an ice cream or a couple of pieces of fudge while you’re there.

The Camel Trail

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

If you enjoy walking or cycling, the perfect place to do so is the Cornish countryside and The Camel Trail is one of our favourite trails along the Cornish coast. This is a great affordable and free day out for the whole family. 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.

Visit at Least One of the Amazing Beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall is without a doubt home to some of the best beaches in the UK. Here are some of the must-visit beach spots to enjoy when in Cornwall:

  • Polzeath Beach
  • Hayle Beach
  • Holywell Bay
  • Fistral Beach
  • Lusty Glaze Beach
  • Costananine Beach
  • Pedn Vounder Beach


A view over the sand and water at Lusty Glaze Beach in Cornwall

Cheap things to do in Cornwall

Of course, not all activities on the Cornish coast are free, however there’s still plenty to do in Cornwall on a budget.

Minack Theatre

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

An open air theatre perched on top of a cliff overlooking the sea at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall

Malcolm, a local resident, highlights Minack Theatre as one of Cornwall's hidden gems, “You must on one of your trips to Cornwall go to the Minack Theatre, which is an open-air theatre on the cliffs, quite close to Land's End, which is absolutely stunning.” Known to be one of the most attractive open-air theatres in the UK and for good reason, the Minack Theatre is carved into a lump of rock right by the sea. The theatre first opened in the ‘30s after Rowena Cade believed the cliff would make for an ideal backdrop for people to perform ‘The Tempest’ and of course it remains just that today. Book your slot, 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.

Bodmin Jail

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

A spooky old 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.

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

A glass of cider and some apples

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.

The Tate St Ives

  • Address: Porthmeor Beach, Saint Ives TR26 1TG
  • Price: Entry is £10.50 for adults and £9.50 for concessions
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3/5

The Cornish coast has been forever known as a cool hangout for budding, upcoming and renowned artists - when visiting St Ives, be sure to check out the award-winning brand of the Tate. Savour the architecture of the building, as you admire art from artists all around the world. Tickets are limited so we recommend booking to avoid disappointment.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

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

A pond surrounded by lush greenery at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall

The majestic botanic gardens were once lost and now found. There is plenty to explore here including the magnificent story of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, as well as the amazing plants all worth admiring here. 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 Tea Room 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. The lost gardens are open for daily enjoyment, until 5pm.

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

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.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway

  • Address: St Newlyn East, Newquay, TR8 5LX
  • Price: Adults £15.95, Children £13.95
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Families riding a miniature steam train at Lappa Valley in Cornwall

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!

Pendennis Castle

  • Address: Castle Dr, Falmouth TR11 4LP
  • Price: Entry prices vary by time of year, you can check ticket prices here
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

A stone castle flying a flag

Located near Falmouth is the Pendennis Castle - a Tudor fort constructed for Henry VIII and was still being used for military operations in World War II. Since its inception, it has played its part in battle after battle. A walk around this historical beauty is well worth a visit, after a browse, you can head into charming Falmouth for a bite to eat.

St. Nectan’s Glen

  • Address: Trethevy, Tintagel PL34 0BE
  • Price: Entry is £7.45 for adults and £4.95 for a child, or you can buy a family ticket for £13.95 for one adult and two children, or £19.45 for two adults and two children
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

A stream flowing through the woodland at St Nectan's Glen in Cornwall

Situated near Tintagel on the North Cornwall Coast, you can almost expect to see fairies at St. Nectan’s Glen. Head out on the woodland walk amongst ancient ivy clad trees and ferns. Here you can find a beautiful valley with a captivating 60 foot waterfall. Once you’re finished exploring the beautiful gardens, swing by the tree of life cafe, and indulge in some tasty treats.

Tintagel Castle

  • Address: Castle Road, Tintagel, PL34 0HE
  • Price: Entry prices vary by time of year, you can check ticket prices here
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

The ruins of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall

Located on the coastline between Padstow and Bude, you will find Tintagel Castle. 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 mediaeval 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.

Land’s End

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

A view over the sea and cliffs at Lands End in Cornwall

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.

Crantock Beach

  • Address: Crantock, TR8 5RN
  • Parking Price: £8 for all day parking
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

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 to the National Trust car park early. However, if you’re staying at Crantock Beach Holiday Park, it’s just a short stroll away..

Newquay Activity Centre

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

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.

Things to do in Cornwall on a Bigger Budget

If you’re wanting to splash out on a few activities during your visit to Cornwall, look no further than these following attractions.

Visit the Eden Project

  • Address: Bodelva, Par, PL24 2SG
  • Price: Adults £32.50, Children £11
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

The bio domes of Eden Project

One of Cornwall’s most popular attractions - and for good reason - is the the Eden Project, home to one of the biggest indoor rainforests in the world. 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.

When visiting, thrill seekers should take a ride on the zipline across the whole of the Eden Project. Eden Sessions are also hosted at the Eden Project, where you can experience amazing music. This attraction is also dog-friendly, meaning your four-legged friend can join in on all the fun!

St Michael’s Mount

  • Address: Marazion, TR17 0EQ
  • Price: Prices vary by time of year, you can check ticket prices here
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

St Michaels Mount in Cornwall at sunset, showing a castle on an island hill

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.

Newquay Zoo

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

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 need 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.

Isles of Scilly

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

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?

Cornish Seal Sanctuary

  • Address: Gweek, TR12 6UG
  • Price: Adults £16.19, Children £13.49 when booked online in advance
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

Seals snoozing by the pool at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary

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.

Flambards Theme Park

  • Address: Clodgey Lane, Helston, TR13 0QA
  • Price: Adults £17.95, Children £13.45
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5/5

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!

If you’re planning a budget friendly cheap holiday in Cornwall, don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list, to be first in line to hear about our latest offers and exclusive discounts. If you’re still looking for things to do, head to our Cornwall local attractions page for even more to explore.