04/22/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/22/2021 11:19
When you visit Cornwall on holiday, you'll be captivated by the mesmerising scenery and enthralled by the local history. The great news is that not only is Cornwall a beautiful place to visit, but it's also somewhere you can enjoy on a budget. With this in mind, here's our guide to 30 of the best free things to do in Cornwall.
The Museum of Cornish Lifedisplays artefacts and objects that show the best of Cornish culture. The museum has been described as 'a treasure trove of memories and curiosities' and it's a great way to learn about the region's recent history. The museum houses one of the largest social history collections in England and includes a collection dedicated to famous inventor Henry Trengrouse.
Falmouth Art Galleryis completely free to visit. The gallery is situated in the trendy Moor area of Falmouth and sits in an impressive building that contains a grand staircase. The artwork here is just as impressive as its surroundings, which is why it has won multiple awards. The collection includes everything from Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist paintings to contemporary prints and works submitted by children.
Relive your youth at the Tintagel Toy Museum, which is home to a great selection of toys from history, including items from The Magic Roundabout and Noddy. The museum is incredibly popular with families and many of the toys are also for sale. It's a real Aladdin's Cave of collectibles and you'll love taking a stroll down memory lane.
Penryn Museumis housed in the Town Hall. Although the museum is only small, it's packed with curiosities. Plus, the staff that work here are incredibly knowledgeable and can tell you everything you need to know about the history of each artefact. The museum specialises in Cornish history and contains exhibits on the 900-year history of Penryn.
The New Craftsmen Galleryshowcases creative works of art from Cornwall-based artists. The gallery was founded in the 1960s and now it represents more than 100 artists and presents eight curated exhibitions a year. There's a focus on contemporary art here, so expect to see works by up-and-coming painters, potters and sculptors.
The farmers' market in St. Iveshas won multiple awards for showcasing the best produce from local Cornish farmers. The market is held every Thursday and is incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike. Although it's a farmers' market, you'll find all sorts of products here, from fresh dairy to impressive cakes and beautiful crafts.
The Helston Country Market is held at The Guildhall every Friday morning from 8am to 12pm. This is the oldest traditional market in Helston and it's also one of the friendliest. In fact, many visitors simply stop by for a cuppa and a chat with the stallholders. Expect to find fresh produce, hand-made crafts and tasty treats. There may even be the odd sample or two.
Truro Cathedralis the only cathedral in Cornwall. It was also the first cathedral to be built in Britain for 800 years. No matter where you are in Truro, you'll see the cathedral because its three spires dominate the skyline. When you arrive, you'll immediately fall in love with the Gothic Revival style architecture. You're also welcome to stay for a service or visit the restaurant.
The church of St Senarain Zennor is said to have been named after a Bretton princess. Although every aspect of the church is beautiful and intricately carved, most people visit in order to learn more about the legend of the mermaid of Zennor. She's carved into 'the mermaid chair' in the church and locals believe she was so beautiful that she lured a local choirboy to live in the sea with her.
The church of St Winwalloein Gunwalloe is a church with a difference. It sits directly next to the beach, which is known affectionately as 'church cove'. As well as its unusual location, the church has another interesting feature: the church tower is separate to the main church. It's interesting, unique and well worth a visit.
Walk along the South West Coast Pathand you'll be treated to some of the finest sights in Britain. The path runs from the centre of Minehead to the edge of Exmoor National Park, measuring a whopping 630 miles. Thankfully, the trail is split into sections. The one from Padstow to Newquay is great if you fancy a challenge. Just remember to take your camera.
The Camel Trailfollows the route of a disused rail track. It's largely flat, which makes it popular with walkers and cyclists alike. The full route spans for 18 miles through the Camel Valley, but there are shorter routes if you have kids with you, such as the section from Wadebridge to Padstow.
St Michael's Mountis an iconic destination. If you look out to sea at high tide, it looks like an island. But, as the tide retreats, a causeway appears and you can walk across to the harbour. Most of St Michael's Mount is free to explore, but you'll need to pay a small fee if you want to look around the magnificent castle and its pretty gardens.
The cycling trailsaround the National Trust property of Lanhydrock are free to explore. The trails are signposted and labelled to show their difficulty and there's even one that's been specifically designed for trailers and tagalongs. The green trail is great for little legs, while the blue and red trails are more of a test. There's also a skills area.
If you're looking for a short and child-friendly walk, then try the Perranporth to St Agnes Clifftop Walk. The walk only measures 3.5 miles and it's fairly flat. Plus, the views over the Atlantic Ocean are sensational and you'll come across lots of the local wildlife. It can get windy on the hilltops, but there are plenty of great picnic spots where you can dine with a view.
Most of Cornwall's great walks hug the coastline. But, if you'd rather head inland and get away from the crowds, then try the Bude canal walk. This circular walk starts by the canal and then winds through the fields to Widemouth Bay, which is simply stunning. Then, it's just a short trip back along the coastline into Bude, where you can stop for lunch.
At Heartlands, there's over 19 acres of parkland to explore. The park was named as the UK's first cultural playground and it's really popular with families because it contains something to keep everyone happy. There's a playground for the little ones, sculptures to climb on, craft studios and bio-diverse gardens. Whether it's raining or sunny, Heartlands is a great place to be.
Mount Edgcumbe Country Parkwas once home to the Earls of Cornwall. Although there's a cost to enter their house and see where they once lived, you can explore the surrounding 865 acres of parkland for free. The Tree Trail and the Landscape Walk are both particularly popular with families and they'll take you to some of the best viewpoints around the grounds.
Cornwall is known for its beautiful gardens, but attractions like the Eden Project and Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens are expensive to visit. So, if you'd like to visit free gardens instead, then try Trenance Gardens and Leisure Park. There's something for the whole family here. Adults can relax in the beautiful grounds while little ones can burn off energy in the playground or on the skate park.
Coronation Park is a great place for the whole family to spend a relaxing afternoon. The park is run by the community and it includes a boating lake, a play park for children, a skate park and a café. It's a popular picnic spot and it's easy to enjoy an afternoon in the sunshine here away from the crowds.
Roskilly's Organic Farmis a working organic farm that makes fresh produce the whole family will enjoy. During your visit, you can see a working dairy farm in action, take a guided tour or just enjoy a walk in the countryside. If you have a couple of pounds to spend, you can also purchase some of the farm's ice cream and fudge.
Rough Tor is Cornwall's highest hill. The climb up here is steep at times, but the view from the top is well worth the effort. When you reach the summit of Rough Tor, you're treated to one of the finest views in the country, as the site looks over the Fernacre Stone Circle. Due to its position, it's the perfect place to watch the sunset.
The Golitha Fallsare a series of waterfalls along a section of the River Fowey near Draynes Wood. Over the course of the falls, the river descends by around 90 metres and passes through wooded glades and craggy gorges. Woodland flowers like bluebells will form the perfect backdrop for any photos you take of this beautiful site.
The Bude Sea Poolis incredibly popular with families because it provides kids with a safe space to swim away from the tides. The pool is large and children are also welcome to bring inflatables, snorkels and surfboards. However, serious swimmers do use the pool for training, so you have to watch where you're paddling. Changing facilities are also available.
Treyarnon Bay between Newquay and Padstow has some large but shallow rock pools that are great for kids. As you scour the rock pools, be on the lookout for pipefish, transparent prawns and cushioned stars. If you get a chance, join one of the rockpool safaris that are run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
Cornwall is home to some of the country's best beaches, but Fistral Beach is arguably its most iconic. The water here is perfect for surfers, so sit back and watch people take on the waves. If you fancy trying yourself, there are plenty of surf schools on the shoreline.
Tintagel is known for its history and the castle here has links to the birth of King Arthur. However, you don't need to pay a fortune for castle access to get close to the action. This is because, at low tide, you can explore Merlin's cave. The cave is accessible via a footpath but it does fill at high tide, so check the tide times before you travel.
The St Ives Food and Drink Festivalis the highlight of Cornwall's culinary calendar. Every year, Porthminster Beach is transformed into a culinary hotspot where chefs host demos, do live cooking and serve up delicious treats. There's also lots of entertainment and music, although some performances are ticketed. The food and drink is top notch, so bring some change for your dinner.
The St Ives September Festival is a music and arts festival that takes place at various venues across St Ives. The festival is incredibly popular and includes live music performances, talks, art exhibitions, theatre performances and street entertainment. Although you need to pay to see some of the headliners, many of the events in this two-week festival are free to attend.
The Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair is one of Cornwall's most popular seasonal attractions. The fair lasts for three weeks between November and December and, during this period, the streets of Truro's Lemon Quay are transformed into a winter wonderland that's full of street vendors and local crafters. It's the perfect place to see Santa and grab a gift.
Whether you fancy lounging on the beach, reconnecting with nature or enjoying some family-friendly fun, Cornwall is the place to be. If you're thinking of visiting the area, then check out our great range of hotels in Cornwallbefore you book your trip