Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Cornwall located in South-West England is like visiting the Caribbean without getting on a plane. This beautiful Celtic heritage is surrounded by towering rocky cliffs, quaint fishing villages, sandy beaches, and many stunning places to visit. Easily accessible by car, train or even bus, it is a great place for all ages to visit.
The local people are very welcoming, with warm hearts and a great love for the Cornish pasty, a pastry filled with meat and vegetables which you must try! Do not worry there are veggie options too! For the sweeter-tooth, Cornish fudge, and Cornish clotted cream are delicious and make great gifts to take home to your family and friends.
After exploring and living in Cornwall for many years, here are my top five destinations you must include on your trip to the South-West!
St Michaels’s Mount, Mount’s Bay
This enchanted looking castle set on an island is only accessible by foot at low tide via a cobbled causeway. However, if you choose to visit during high tide, a boat can take you to the other side. With a garden terrace, historic chartered town, and castle, it has a little something for everyone.
The house itself is a national trust site, but also an island community and family home. Slip through ancient doorways to capture and unravel the memories that once was lived within the walls. Learn about the St Aubyn Family that have lived within the castle since the 17th century. If you have young children, do not forget to take part in the castle quiz.
Within the town, there are many pubs, cafes, and art galleries you can visit, so you can make it a whole day out!
Even if you do not make it across the causeway, the castle can be enjoyed from Penzance where it is lit up at night. Enjoy a drink in the Godolphin restaurant overlooking the island and beach. They offer affordable rooms and an amazing breakfast before you set off up the island’s summit.
Eden Project, Par
This ‘bubble’ style architecture contains different biomes from around the world, explore different climates and environments in this reclaimed china clay pit. It boasts the largest indoor rainforest in the world reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius and featuring over 1000 plant species inside. This contributes to the two million plants found inside the zones and around the Eden Project.
The projects aim is to promote sustainability with the use of plants. It is also a great educational centre, and many local schools throughout the year visit and participates in workshops. In the summer you can enjoy live music from top artists.
The cafes accommodate everyone. If you are vegan, vegetarian, dairy or gluten-free, it is well worth visiting for some yummy food! If you want to save money, you can also bring your picnic. Just find a picnic area, put your blanket down and enjoy a tranquil setting to enjoy your sandwiches.
You can also bring your furry friends, yes, dogs are allowed into the Eden Project too. Water bowls and shaded areas are available for them to enjoy their day out as well.
Tintagel Castle, Tintagel
This medieval castle was built on Tintagel Island in 1233 by Earl Richard, and originally home to many Cornish kings. Learn about the importing of exotic goods and the trading of tin where Cornish rulers lived and traded.
Walk up the 140 steps and around the remaining grounds to discover why King Arthur had the castle built. If you do not fancy walking up the steps to the top, you can enjoy Tintagel Castle Beach and Merlin’s Cave. The beach is great for rock pooling or to dip your feet when it is a warmer day. Before you walk down to the beach, do not forget to look to your left at the waterfall.
Once on the island, explore the 13th-century castle and the ruins of the Great Hall. Imagine life back in time as you walk around the remains and discover the engraved steppingstones to retell their stories.
If you make it to the top, do not forget to take a photo in the King Arthur statue overlooking the spectacular cliff-top views.
On your way out, stop at the Beach Café, full of delicious treats locally sourced, including the popular Cornish Yarg cheese.
The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno
This beautiful open-air theatre was handcrafted by Rowena Cade and two local craftsmen. It only took them six months to create this masterpiece! Minack in Cornish means rocky place (meynek).
While enjoying different plays such as Shakespeare you can also enjoy the stunning view of the cliffs and the surrounding subtropical landscape. If you are lucky you may even see a basking shark swimming on the surface when looking out into the Atlantic Ocean.
During the performance local food and beverages are available inside the theatre, just be sure to dispose of your rubbish correctly as they take sustainability seriously, which I just LOVE!
If you have spare cash, be sure to have a look inside the souvenirs shop. You can find local artwork, jewellery, clothing, and many other unique gifts. They also sell plants from the cuttings you see around the theatre.
After visiting the theatre, you can explore the local area, Porthcurno is one of my favourite beaches with soft golden sand and a little less crowded.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, Saint Austell
Set in 200 acres, this enchanted botanical garden is great for all ages and you can bring your four-legged friends all year round to discover the different pathways. On a sunny day bring your picnic and enjoy the gardens and peaceful spots before exploring this magical place.
The productive gardens have an array of crops where you can go and learn about horticulture practices. Due to Cornwall’s mild climate, it allows exotic plants to thrive. New Zealand Maori-carved tree ferns can be seen towering above you as you walk along the boardwalk and around the ponds. If you have not got a fear of falling, take a walk 100 feet above the jungle across the rope bridge. Here you will find Australian Wollemi pines and New Zealand Yew trees.
If you are more of an animal lover, a visit to the farm will warm your hearts. If you prefer smaller critters, the insect hotel and black honeybee hive can be found in the woodland along the path.
Hidden within the gardens, you will see many statues and animals, so do not forget to look out for them!
The Heligan Kitchen incorporates heritage flowers, welcomes dogs and provides a warm atmosphere with home-cooked meals. Do not forget the traditional Cornish cream teas before you head home.
Written by Darby Bonner