Wherever you go in Cornwall, you’re never far from sandy beaches, rugged coastline and charming seaside towns.
It is no wonder that the county is one of the most popular regions in the UK for holiday makers. Whether you are looking for an active adventure or a relaxing retreat, there is something for everyone in our list of the top 20 places to stay in Cornwall.
Padstow is a quaint harbour town with a reputation for excellent food. Rick Stein’s influence is felt throughout the town and the cobbled streets and harbour surrounds are bursting with cafes and restaurants serving fresh, locally sourced fish and seafood. It overlooks the beautiful Camel Estuary, which is flanked by the Camel Cycle Trail – a great way to explore the countryside.
Guide: Checkout our guide for things to do in Padstow.
For the art enthusiast, this picturesque harbour town on the North coast is full of character and charm. With a rich artistic heritage, St Ives is home to Tate St Ives as well as many other art galleries and local artists. It is also boasts beautiful beaches and a thriving restaurant scene.
Guide: Checkout our guide for things to do in St Ives.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in St Ives
If you are looking for an action packed holiday, Newquay is the perfect destination for water sports and outdoor pursuits. With a host of fantastic beaches to choose from and consistently excellent surf conditions, it attracts surfers from around the world. Newquay also remains popular for stag and hen groups.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Newquay
Falmouth is a vibrant town with a busy port and plenty going on. It is home to the award-winning National Maritime Museum, detailing stories of great seafarers and explorers through the ages. Thanks in part to its university, the town has some busy pubs and bars, as well as lots of cafés, shops and restaurants. Enjoy water sports on one of the sandy beaches close by or take a boat trip from the quay.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Falmouth
A historic harbour-town that has been inspiring literature for generations. Daphne De Maurier spent many years here, and Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows took much inspiration from the area. Browse the bookshops, take a cruise down the river, or walk downstream to the ruins of St Catherine’s Castle, dating back to Henry VIII.
Guide: Checkout our guide for things to do in Fowey.
Penzance is one of the region’s larger towns and is a commercial hub for the peninsula. It is blessed with a mild climate and plenty of shops, galleries and restaurants to browse as well as charming old pubs.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Penzance
This ancient town, one of the oldest chartered towns in Britain, is best known for the iconic St Michael’s Mount, an island just off the coast. The striking island, topped with a castle, can be accessed on foot via a causeway or by boat, and provides a unique, photo-worthy backdrop to the coast.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Marazion
Isles of Scilly
What better way to truly escape from the trappings of everyday life than a trip to the Isles of Scilly, linked to the county of Cornwall but with a separate local authority. Known for their breath-taking rugged beauty, this group of islands is a haven from the crowds. Many islands remain uninhabited and can be visited by boat. Discover the peace of undisturbed wildlife and quiet island living.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Isles of Scilly
St Austell is a market town near the South Cornish coast with a rich mining history, and is home to Cornwall’s biggest brewery, St Austell Brewery. The famous Eden Project is also only two miles away from the town and is one of Cornwall’s top attractions. Its two climate controlled greenhouses house plants from around the world in temperate and tropical conditions.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in St Austell
It is hard not to feel a sense of achievement at reaching Britain’s most south-westerly point. Land’s End offers magnificent clifftop scenery and rolling ocean waves, which also form a spectacular backdrop to the Shakespeare plays performed at the open air cliff top Minack Theatre.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Land’s End
A familiar site to any Doc Martin fan, Port Isaac was the filming destination of the popular TV series and is a quaint, peaceful town nestled into the rugged Cornish coastline. Spot familiar sights as you walk around the town, or wander further afield to soak in the beautiful scenery that surrounds the town.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Port Isaac
Bude is found at the northernmost point of the Cornish coast, close to Devon, so is a great base for exploring both these popular counties. The town offers plenty of entertainment with shops, cafes and restaurants and there are several great beaches to choose from.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Bude
This small fishing town is a found on the south coast of Cornwall in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Aside from being a pretty town to explore with shops, restaurants, a small museum and an aquarium, Mevagissey is close to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. These restored gardens were rediscovered in 1990 after being left to ruin during the First World War, and today are some of the finest gardens in England.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Mevagissey
Unlike the many coastal hotspots the county boasts, Bodmin is the only one of our top 20 places to stay in Cornwall that lies inland. It is flanked by the wild and hauntingly beautiful Bodmin moor, with its impressive tors and panoramic views. As one of Cornwall’s oldest towns, Bodmin has a many historic buildings and the famous Bodmin Jail, built in 1778, is now open to the public as a museum.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Bodmin
Located on the South Coast of Cornwall, not far from Plymouth, this quaint fishing village spans the River Looe. Its historic centre dates back to medieval times and still has some medieval buildings including the Old Guildhall.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Looe
For surfers and beach lovers alike, Polzeath makes an excellent family friendly destination. A small village hugs the beach and there is a beautiful coastal path to explore as well as a spacious sandy beach to play on, with excellent surf conditions. If you are lucky you may even spot some of the seals or dolphins which frequent the area.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Polzeath
As Cornwall’s only city, Truro makes a great base for visiting the county and has a busy city centre. It is well stocked with shops for those who enjoy some retail therapy, whilst a range of pubs and entertainment venues provide ample evening entertainment.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Truro
As an old tin mining area, the landscape around St Agnes features many abandoned mines that leave a striking impression against their coastal surroundings. The windswept clifftops, particularly around Chapelporth, will be familiar to Poldark fans, as it was used for filming scenes of the reckless hero galloping across the clifftops.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in St Agnes
A peaceful fishing village with a swashbuckling past, Polperro was once home to a thriving smuggling trade forbrandy, tobacco and other contraband goods. The village is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the ideal destination if you enjoy exploring the outdoors.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Polperro
The last of our top 20 places to stay in Cornwall is less well known. Perranporth is a small village built by a stunning sand beach that stretches for three miles. It has great surf and a beautiful coastal path, with plenty of campsites nearby if you are looking for a cheaper holiday. You can book surf lessons or even go horse-riding along the golden sands.
Accomodation: Checkout the best accomodation offers in Perranporth
Cornwall has a charm and beauty that keeps visitors returning year after year. Whether it is your first trip or you have been holidaying here for years, we hope we have given you some fresh ideas of where to stay in Cornwall.