Discover Cornwall

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Your Guide to Cornwall

Located in the most South-Western part of the UK, Cornwall is known for its impressive cliff faces and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Britain. Popular among visitors for its extensive range of outdoor activities and known for its young surfing culture and good weather, Cornwall is an extremely popular holiday destination, especially during the summer months. Cornwall is, of course, also known for the famous Cornish Pasty and locally brewed ciders, drawing visitors from around the world to try the cuisine.


Best Way to Travel | Getting to Cornwall | How to Get Around Cornwall | Activities in Cornwall


The Best way to Travel to Cornwall

At Omio we want travellers to get the best deals at the best times. That's why we've complied our data to find out the most popular cities in the region, as well as the cheapest time to go with average prices.



Ranking City
1 Newquay
2 St. Ives
3 Penzance
4 Truro
5 Falmouth
6 Saint Austell
7 Bodmin
8 Saltash


Newquay, The Most Popular City in Cornwall

A coastal town 12 miles from Truro, Newquay pulls in tourists from around the globe to experience the picturesque beaches, surfing schools and cute cafes. Check out the best surfing spots in the area here.


Time Average Price
1 Day of Travel £84
2 Day Before Travel £70
3 Within one Week £75
4 Within two Weeks £73
5 Earlier than 2 Weeks £66
6 More than a Month £54


Book More than a Month in Advance

It's not surprising that the further in advance you book your journey from London to Cornwall, generally the more money you save, but planning ahead can save you up to £30 when going to Cornwall.

Top Tip: If travelling by train use a railcard to get a third off your journey and keep even more cash in your pocket.

 

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Getting to Cornwall

Train

The Great Western Railway service offers several daily services from London Paddington with just one change. Journey time is between 4-5 hours. For visitors travelling from northern England services frequently run direct from Bath and Bristol which is well connected to the west and north. Aside from the high speed train that departs during the day, there is also the Night Riviera also departing from Paddington every night at 23:45, except Saturdays, and takes around seven hours to Penzance. Our data shows that train is the post popular choice for visitors, although this mode of transport is almost twice as expensive as getting the bus.

Bus

The National Express service runs around three services per day from London Victoria to Newquay which takes around 7 hours. Services also run from London and Birmingham to Truro, with some direct and some requiring 1-2 changes. This journey takes between 7-8 hours.

Flights

Flights from London City Airport operate around twice daily and go into Exeter and Newquay airports mostly operated by FlyBe. Flights also depart from London Southend and Manchester airport. There are significantly more flights during the peak summer season, these services are significantly reduced during the winter months.

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How to Get Around Cornwall

Train

Most of the seaside towns are linked by rail. Most routes are scenic and run all through Cornwall connecting Looe, Falmouth, St Ives and Newquay.

Car

Car is most convenient way to move around Cornwall and there is a scheme to help tourists get around by car called Carshare Cornwall.Weekly parking permits are available for 35 pounds and can be used in up to 90 car parks. There is also a park and ride scheme and a park and ride/float scheme.

Bus

Cornwall has an extensive bus network. Most are run by First Devon and Cornwall and Western Greyhound. Cornwall council offers a weekly coach ticket and is available for all car parks where coaches are permitted.This costs 50 pound for 7 days, or 30 pounds for 4 days.

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Places to Visit

The Eden Project

The Lost Garden's of Heligan

One of the most famous attractions in Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan are full of 19th century garden designs and is full of small but impressive attractions. Two of the most famous attractions being the Sleeping Lady, and the Grey Lady.

Land's End

Lands End is the most westerly point in the UK and boasts impressive views of the sea and 200 foot cliffs that rise out of the water.Still one of the most famous points in Cornwall, it has sparked interest from people since the ancient Greek times, when it was referred to as 'belerion', place of the sun.

Minack Theatre

Spending a warm night watching players perform on this Atlantic coast stage is a unique experience which both locals and tourists adore. Shows run until late October.

Lanhydrock House

Located near the town of Lostwithiel, the vast gardens, lavish decor and 1,000 acres of the woodland surroundings of Lanhydrock House have long been a popular attraction among those who visit Cornwall. Apart from its beauty, it is the accessibility of this mansion and gardens which make this attraction a good-for-all place to visit in Cornwall.

Bedruthan Steps

Taking a trip down these 148 steps embedded into Cornwall’s coastline offers visitors a quiet moment to absorb the swooshing waves and echoes of the sound of the sea bouncing off the cliff face. An experience not found on Cornwall’s busier beaches.

Trebah Gardens, Falmouth

This subtropical paradise makes for a perfect day out no matter what the season; from the exotic residents blooming all summer long, to the towering bamboo trees standing tall throughout the winter. Ranked 80th in the top 100 gardens in the world, the Trebah Gardens certainly is a must-see place to visit in Cornwall.

St. Micheal’s Mount

An exploration across the causeway to uncover the history behind the castle walls of St. Michael’s Mount is a must! Hear the islander’s tales of smugglers, legends and life on the mount.

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Activities

Surfing

Cornwall is known for its great beaches and surfing is the most popular watersport activity in the region. Visitors can take advantage of some of the best beaches in the UK< and hire surf boards from many different companies usually located on or near the beach. All of these companies will also offer lessons, or just surfboard hire.

Cycling

The countryside in Cornwall has many different cycle trails to explore. From flat, quiet trails that go along the coast, to more difficult trips that explore the hilly countryside, there’s a perfect pathway for each adventurous visitor.

Hiking

One of the most popular walking paths in the region is the scenic five mile walk which runs from the popular attraction Tintagel Church on the cliffs, following a track around the coast before descending to the cove of Trebarwith Strand.

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Events

There are many different events that take place throughout the year in Cornwall. Most of them make the most of the landscape and are based outdoors, or by the sea and are usually sports based. During the summer months there are also food and music festivals to attend.

Boardmasters Surf, Skate and Music Festival

One of the biggest festivals in the region, the music festival attracts visitors from around the country.Best known not just for popular artists and music, but its great location; right next to the beach. Surfing, BMX, and skating competitions take place throughout the weekend, and visitors can camp at Watergate Bay. 2016 dates are from 10th - 14th August.

St. Ives Summer Festival

St. Ives September Festival has been taking place annually since 1978 and combines a range of events such as music, poetry, literature, film, and guided walks. The festival takes place over two weeks and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Fowey Royal Regatta

Visitors from around the world visit Cornwall during the third week of August to take part in many of the activities that take place over the week. As well as being one of Britain's premier sailing events there is also displays from the Red Arrows, raft races, eating competitions and activities for children.

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Cornwall in a Week: How to See it All

Cornwall is synonymous with having some of the best beaches in the UK and being located in the most south westerly point in the country gives this special county an air of privacy and seclusion that is often missing from the densely populated British Isles. Ideal for the perfect all-natural getaway, we put together a week itinerary so you can focus on the fun and less on the stress of planning.

Looe

Not only is Looe one of the furthest easterly points of Cornwall, making it an ideal location to begin your Cornish adventure, it is also just 20 miles from Plymouth, opening up the rest of UK to this great route.

Looe is a small fishing port, with the namesake river running directly through the centre; making a clear division between the two town centres with the backdrop of the steep-sided valleys. With a population of just over 5,000, you’ll feel like you have this coastal gem all to yourself to enjoy its diverse beaches, which all have an emphasis on conserving the untouched wildlife.

Must-see Attractions: Looe Island which has a varied history dating back to Roman times, the Monkey Sanctuary and visit The Coddy Shack for the best no thrills, but deliciously fresh, seafood Looe has to offer.

St. Austell

St. Austell is one of the biggest towns in Cornwall, which granted, doesn’t say too much for such a small county. But it is definitely reflected in the sheer amount of things to do in this quaint town which is even referred to as the Cornish Riviera! From castles, beaches and unique gardens in the depths of the woods, to ancient pilgrimage trails and fishing.

Must-see attractions: The Eden Project, though not technically located in St Austell, is just a short bus ride from the town. This eco-centre mimics the conditions found in the Mediterranean and in the Rainforest creating a hospitable environment for foreign species and plants. Another highlight of St Austell The Lost Gardens of Heligan; one of the more famous botanical gardens in the UK with ancient sculptures littered around the wild woods that were created by a local artist at the end of the 19th century.

Newquay

Newquay is famous for being a surfer’s haven, so come summer, surfers from all over the UK flock to this small seaside town in their masses and as a consequence there are many bars and clubs catering for that demographic. Though there is, admittedly, a great deal of attractions for young people, Newquay is full of gardens, zoos and luxury spas; making the town enjoyable for all.

Must-see Attractions: Of the many beaches in Newquay, one of the finest is Fistral Beach; there, you can surf – novices and experts alike, relax, swim or even take advantage of the plethora of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the beach.

Truro

Said to be the place of inspiration for the aforementioned hit BBC drama, Poldark, Truro is Cornwall’s only city. Though, it may not be the cosmopolitan centre you might expect from a capital, the Georgian architecture that can be seen on every corner more than makeup for this, particularly on Lemon St and Walsingham Place.

Must-see Attractions: The Gothic Cathedral, which was revived at the beginning of the 20th century, is definitely one of the highlights of the city. Recommended stay: The main attractions can be frequented in one day.

Falmouth

Falmouth is the personification of charming, with hardly a chain in sight and littered with delightful independent stores and cafes. Additionally, it is home to one of the best-known liberal arts universities in the country and therefore, has an extremely laid back but intellectual atmosphere.

Must-see Attractions: A walk down any of the hidden cobbled streets of Falmouth will present you with an array of fine places to eat; best of which is a small walk out of the centre towards the Penryn campus of the University. Provedore offers everything from hearty breakfasts, delicious tapas to home blended espresso.

St Ives

St Ives, located on the coast of the Celtic sea, was at the forefront of Cornwall’s art scene on the 1920s and 30s and this artistic flair can still be felt today with its numerous galleries, including one of 4 Tate museums in the UK, and craft shops sprawled around the small town.

The combination of quirky slate roofs and never-ending little streets with the beach within spitting distance makes St Ives a real gem on the Cornish coast. And for the adrenaline junkies out there, St Ives offers some great spots for surfing and coasteering. With it’s rugged and dramatic coastline, Cornwall is one the best place in the country to try the exciting sport of coasteering. We recommend one of the county’s top providers Kernow Coasteering.

Must-see Attractions: A short journey from St Ives is Minacks Theatre, a world-famous open-air theatre where the minimalist set consists of the backdrop to the ocean and is surrounded by sub-tropical gardens. The productions consist of dramas, musicals and operas and the summer season is currently well underway!

Men an Tol

Penzance, located in the far west of Cornwall and facing the English Channel, is a small market town just 9 miles from Land’s End; referred to as the “Place of the Sun”. Land’s End has long since been a place of inspiration due to, arguably, some of the most spectacular views the UK has to offer. Penzance is full to the brim with art galleries, unique gardens, with particular reference to Morrab Gardens and a boat trip to the Scilly Isles is only 2 hours away and is not only extremely beautiful but home to, possibly, the wittiest police department in the UK.

Must-see Attractions: Penzance is littered with ancient relics including Lanyon Quoit, located just north-west of Penzance, which is a collection of megalithic tombs that date back to the early Neolithic period. Similarly, Men an Tol which, according to folklore, is home to a fairy guardian who can make miraculous cures.

Best Beaches in Cornwall?

Kynance & Lizard Cove, Lizard Peninsula
Located on the west side of the Lizard peninsula, Kynance & Lizard Cove always comes out on top as the best beach in Cornwall. It is truly beautiful, with clean white sand contrasting dark red and green serpentine rock which surrounds the cove.

Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
Highly regarded as one of the best beaches in Cornwall, with its remarkable size, stunning golden sand and gnarly waves, Perranporth is a haven for activities. From early morning horseback trips, to water sports and just relaxing, Perranporth beach has something for everyone.

Fistral Beach, Newquay
Not only is Fistral beach a favourite surf spot among world-renowned surfers, but with British holidaymakers too. Its own International Surfing Centre and a huge selection of scrumptious cafes and facilities, it’s no wonder that Fistral Beach is not only the third best beach in the region but the number one thing to do Newquay!

Porthminster, St.Ives
When we think of the UK, we do not imagine big blue skies, or crystal clear water gently washing up on a sandy shore with some occasional sunshine. Yet at Porthminster beach this is a reality, at least some of the time. How could Porthminster not make it into the top 5 beaches in Cornwall? This blue flag beach of excellence boasts endless beauty and a hearty range of facilities that have us booking our next getaway!

Porthmeor Beach, St.Ives
The sandy shoreline of Porthmeor beach is considered the ‘jewel of the South West’. This expansive area of clean, golden sand welcomes families, while the exciting waves attract surfers from each corner of the globe.

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