Over 100+ ideas to add to your Cornish bucket list of things to do and places to try!
Each year I’ve written myself a mini bucket list of things I want to do in Cornwall, but this year I thought why not write a MEGA list of all the best things to do here, to help those visiting the county (and Cornish locals) get ideas throughout the year.
There is honestly SO MUCH to do here, so this list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, I plan to keep adding to this as I go on more adventures to share, or find new things to recommend. Some of the things on this bucket list I have already done myself (through over 22 years of living here in Cornwall!), but there are many on this list I’m yet to do myself…
(Also don’t judge the way I’ve categorised the areas of Cornwall 😂 This is just to help keep things organised and less overwhelming but I know everyone categorises towns slightly differently…)
In this list, I’m classing North Cornwall as everything from Padstow up to Bude.
Take a dip in the Bude sea pool
This man-made tidal pool is huge, and lots of fun to swim in!
Learn how to surf on a Surf retreat at Widemouth Bay
I spent a weekend learning to surf with the amazing Freewave Surf Academy and had the best time meeting new people and doing yoga too.
Go to the most epic house party in a field at Leopallooza Festival
Potentially my favourite festival in Cornwall, Leopallooza is based just outside of Bude at ‘The Wyldes’ and was so much fun. I can’t wait for this year!
Visit the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is based in the harbour town of Boscastle and costs just £5 per adult for entry.
Learn about King Arthur at Tintagel Castle
Cycle the Camel Trail
Hire a bike for the day and cycle all the way along the Camel estuary to Padstow.
Swim around Trescore Islands off Porth Mear, Porthcothan Bay
This collection of little islands seriously looks like the mermaid lagoons from Peter Pan! The coastline around Treyarnon Bay and Porthcothan is truly epic too (though not suitable for dogs off lead!).
Bodmin & East Cornwall
In this list, I’m including the Bodmin area, as well as from Fowey to Saltash.
Walk around Colliford lake
This 900acre lake is Cornwall’s biggest in-land body of water, and is a popular spot for fishing, but you can walk around it too.
Eat at the Jamaica Inn
This is Cornwall’s most famous smuggling inn, based on Bodmin moor just off the A30. Rumour has it it could be haunted too!
Jump into Goldiggins Quarry
This spring-fed quarry is perfect for a wild swim or an exciting afternoon jumping in from the rocks!
Visit Lanhydrock House & Garden
This beautiful estate is owned by the National Trust, including maintained gardens and walks around the outside too.
Hike ‘Brown Willy’ & camp under the stars
Bodmin moor is famous for its hikes; why not try this circular tor walk around Brown Willy?
See Golitha Falls
The Golitha Falls Nature Reserve is a picturesque area of Bodmin moor to discover, and you can pair it with a walk around Siblyback lake too.
Visit the haunted Bodmin Jail
One of Cornwall’s most popular historic attractions, Bodmin Jail is famed to be haunted – so watch out!
Experience the acoustics of Carnglaze Caverns
The beautiful gardens aren’t the only draw here; you can also experience the magical atmosphere of the canverns with a live music event or concert, to hear the perfect acoustics.
Kayak down Looe river
Hire a kayak with Adventure Fit Southwest and paddle down the charming West Looe River.
Visit Looe Island
Not many people know about this stunning little nature reserve! Book a boat to ferry you across to explore this island out to sea.
Explore hidden coves around Dodman’s Point
Dodman’s Point is Cornwall’s highest headlands, but is nearby to some stunning little coves to explore as well, such as Hemmick Beach and Vault Beach.
Walk to from Fowey to the beautiful Lantic Bay
The Roseland Peninsula & St. Austell
In this list, I’m including the Roseland Peninsula, plus the area around St. Austell.
Ice skating and jungle adventures at the Eden Project
I couldn’t write a list of things to do in Cornwall without mentioning the Eden Project, could I?
Try the cycle paths at Pentewen
Hire a bike and cycle along the paths around Pentewen; why not finish off with a burger at Hubbox on the beach? (Please note, Pentewen is not dog friendly 🙁)
Visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Cornwall’s most popular botanical gardens also have a light installation event over the month of December too!
Head to an outdoor cinema at Caerhays Beach
Learn to cook at Philleigh Way
Philleigh Way Cookery School teach a large range of courses from baking to sushi making.
Take the ferry from Falmouth over to St. Mawes
One of our favourite things to do in summer is take the ferry from Falmouth to St. Mawes to explore this quaint Roseland town, hunting for seaglass. There are some amazing coves and beaches around St. Anthony’s Head too.
In this list, I’m including the ‘ankle’ area of Cornwall, including Newquay down to Gwithian, plus Redruth, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth areas.
See Bedruthan Steps at sunset
These rock formations by the coast near Newquay are truly spectacular!
Have a spa day at The Scarlet
Relax in totally luxury at Cornwall’s best spa day.
Visit The Japanese Garden at St. Mawgan
Nestled in the valley of St. Mawgan, is a beautiful, tranquil zen garden to explore.
Try an indoor or outdoor waterpark
Whether you’re looking for family fun at the Hendra Oasis pools or Waterworld, or want a day of laughs with your friends at the Retallack outdoor Aqua Park, there’s loads of water activities to do around Newquay.
Have a wild weekend surfing, coasteering & camping
We had the best time learning how to surf with Cornish Wave, combined with coasteering along Newquay’s coastline, and a stay in a yurt while wild camping too!
Go sand-sledding at Holywell Bay
We used to do this every summer when we were kids! Pack a sled of some kind in the car, and speed down the huge sand dunes at this fun beach.
Dance to your fave bands on the beach or on the cliffs
Explore Cornish mining heritage at Wheal Coates
One of my favourite bits of coastline, don’t forget to drop a pebble down the mine shaft at Wheal Coates to hear how far down it goes!
Experience Bolster day in St. Agnes
Watch the Giant Bolster procession through the village and up the cliffs to the east of Chapel Porth, then settle down to watch the play on the cliffs…
Try a ‘hedgehog’ ice cream at Chapel Porth
The original ‘hedgehog’ ice cream involves Cornish Clotted Cream Ice Cream, smothered in Cornish Clotted Cream and rolled lazily in hazelnuts 😍
Silent disco in the woods at Great Estate Festival
The whackiest little festival in Cornwall, Great Estate always has the most epic silent disco in the woodlands at Scorrier House!
Eat in an ancient castle at the top of Carn Brea
Carn Brea castle is a 14th century Grade II listed castle with incredible views across Redruth, Illogan and out to sea. And yes, you can book a table to eat here!
Find a secret cove & see the seals on the Godrevy Heritage coast
Whilst I can’t disclose its exact location, I can say hand-on-heart there are some truly magical locations if you look a little off the beaten track 😍
Have a BBQ on Gwithian beach
One of my favourite things to do with friends in the summer is get the BBQ going watching the sun set over St. Ives Bay!
Get the prettiest train ride along from Hayle, Lelant, Carbis Bay & St. Ives
The train route from Hayle to St. Ives is absolutely stunning, but you could also do the coast walk along from Lelant to St. Ives too.
Walk around Godolphin House
Explore the real Poldark mine
Visit an ancient Cornish tin mine and even explore the old caverns and gardens too.
Try windsurfing on Stithians lake
Stithians reservoir is a large lake between Redruth and Falmouth, and has its own watersports centre!
Walk from Malpas to the Heron Inn
Once you’re done shopping in Cornwall’s capital of Truro, head slightly out of town and walk along the river at Malpas to the Heron Inn for a drink or bite to eat.
Explore Trelissick Garden
I go here most weeks with the dogs as they LOVE the surrounding fields and woodland walks, but the inside gardens are very beautiful too.
Cycle the Bissoe Cycle & Mining Trail
Again I often walk this with the dogs, but I’m yet to cycle it! You can hire bikes from Bike Chain Bissoe and go all the way to Portreath if you wanted to.
Moor up for dinner at Pandora Inn
This creekside pub dates back to the 13th century and even has its own pontoon!
View Falmouth harbour from Pendennis Castle
Falmouth is my favourite Cornish town, with tonnes of restaurants and cute shops to explore. But you can also admire the famous harbour (the third deepest natural harbour in the world) from Pendennis Castle‘s grounds too.
Go rockpooling on Gylly beach
Gylly is Falmouth’s most popular beach, which is great for swimming and paddleboarding. However at low tide, it’s also great for rockpooling too!
Skinny dip near Swanpool / Maenporth beaches
If you hop on a kayak, or know which hole in the hedge to slip down on the coast path, you can find some local nudist coves to relax on and go skinny dipping – or just topless sunbathing if you prefer!
The Lizard and Helford River
In this list, I’m including The Lizard Peninsula and the areas around Helford river/passage on the other side as well.
Wild swim at Grebe beach
Also sometimes referred to as Durgan beach, this happens to be my favourite spot in the whole of Cornwall. This quiet, pebble beach is the best place for wild swimming!
Visit sub-tropical gardens
Walk from Durgan to the Ferry Boat Inn
This is the perfect length walk for a Sunday afternoon with the dogs; park at Bosveal cark park and walk along the coast path for lunch at the Ferry Boat Inn, and then back again.
See the seals at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
The Sea Life Trust’s Seal Sanctuary is based just outside of Constantine and rehabilitates over 70 seal pups each season. You can visit the seal tanks, or take a walk around the estate (dogs allowed!).
Camp under the stars on The Lizard
Visit Helford village & eat at the Shipwright Arms
The Shipwright Arms looks out over the mouth of Helford river and is the perfect idyllic setting to make you feel like a pirate!
Kayak down Frenchman’s Creek
This creek inspired a famous novel, and you can explore from the water with the brilliant Koru Kayaking on one of their Helford river tours.
See the spectacular Kynance Cove
I’m yet to actually see Kynance Cove in the sunshine (both times I’ve been have been miserable weather…) but it’s one of Cornwall’s most iconic views.
Walk from Mullion Cove to Poldhu Beach for a hot chocolate
Explore Penrose estate & see Loe Bar
This makes for the perfect long weekend walk with the dogs, and Loe Bar is a pretty epic beach to see from the coast at the end of the Penrose walk too.
Eat mussels at The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven
The Mussel Shoal is a kiosk on the quay at Porthleven, known for its delicious moules-frites!
West Cornwall (Penwith / Penzance)
In this list, I’m including the whole ‘foot’ of Cornwall, from Hayle, all the way around Land’s end and back around to Penzance and Rinsey head.
Explore the dramatic coastline between Prussia Cove & Rinsey Head
SUP around St. Michael’s Mount (and/or walk across the causeway to the castle, of course!)
The famous St. Michael’s Mount is potentially Cornwall’s most iconic landmark, and is definitely worth exploring either by foot on the Giant’s Causeway, or via SUP (which I’m yet to do and it’s high on my list this year – I did kayak around it though!).
Take a dip in the Penzance Jubilee Pool
The Jubilee Pool is Penzance’s Art Deco lido, the perfect refreshment in summer heat!
Go on a sea life tour with Marine Discovery Cornwall
Try a wildlife watching tour from Penzance harbour, to spot seabird and maybe even a dolphin or two!
Get the Scillonian (or fly) to the Isles of Scilly!
The Isles of Scilly are a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Cornwall, accessible via boat or flight – there are so many reasons to visit and they really need their own bucket list!
Buy fresh fish from Newlyn
Newlyn is Cornwall’s best-known fishing harbour town, with a large fish market and even its own Fish Festival!
See the Mousehole lights in December
Mousehole is known for three things: the Mousehole cat, Stargazey pie, and the Mousehole lights which illuminate the harbour over Christmas time!
Go foraging for Cornish produce with Fat Hen Cookery School
Going on a foraging course with Fat Hen is one of the best experiences you can have in Cornwall; truly unique and delicious!
Discover Lamorna cove through Chygurno Gardens
Notoriously difficult to get to, Lamorna cove is said to be incredibly beautiful, but can also be accessed by the Chygurno private gardens too.
Climb the cliffs at Porthcurno to find Pedn Vounder
Porthcurno is one of Cornwall’s most popular beaches, and while it does get extremely busy in summer, it’s worth a visit due to the stunning turquoise waters and of course the amazing Pedn Vounder cove just around the corner.
Watch a performance at the Minack Theatre
Next to Porthcurno is Cornwall’s famous stone theatre built into the cliffs. Imagine watching a play with the ocean as the backdrop – it’s truly epic!
Walk from Land’s End to Nanzijal to see the ‘Song of the Sea’ cave
This little cove is accessible via the coast path, and is famous for its uniquely shaped sea cave and crystal clear waters known as ‘Song of the Sea’.
Go shipwreck hunting at Sennen
The RMS Mulheim is one of Cornwall’s many shipwrecks, but probably the biggest and most exciting to explore! It’s worth the climb…
Explore Botallack & Levant mines along the coast
This piece of coastline is well known for its epic Cornish engine houses built into the cliffs.
Go looking for the Mermaid of Zennor (+ eat at the Gurnard’s Head)
The mermaid of Zennor is a famous Cornish legend, and exploring the Penwith coastline will definitely get you feeling in the spirit. Finish your day of exploring with a meal at the wonderful Gurnard’s Head.
What would you add to this Cornish bucket list? Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you can come back to it for inspiration too!
*Some of the experiences/things mentioned have been part of sponsored or free press trips I’ve had the opportunity to go on. However, I wouldn’t list them here if I didn’t think them worthy of your Cornwall bucket list too!