The past year has been so tough for everyone, the pandemic has stopped so many of us from going on our planned trips. We have certainly noticed the impact of this on our own business, here in Newquay, Cornwall. We are dreaming of the days that we can safely open our doors to guests and welcome them back to stay with us. In what we are hoping will be a somewhat normal summer we have decided to put together a list of 21 things you can do in Cornwall. . . Only when it is safe to do so.
1. Try a Pasty in Cornwall
First thing is first, even if you are only spending a day in Cornwall, you definitely need to try a pasty. The traditional Cornish pasties are filled with beef, potato, swedes, onions, salt and pepper, and these are the only ingredients allowed. The pasties must also be sealed in the traditional Cornish fashion. They do come in a variety of different flavours so we are sure you will find something you like. We promise you it won’t be hard to find one, they are a popular addition to any Cornish Town. Many also offer you the chance to take a box of frozen pasties home with you, some even deliver them straight to your house!
2. Surfing and Water sports
If you are coming to Cornwall and especially Newquay, you are going to want to give surfing a go. There are so many places in Cornwall with great spots to catch a wave. If you are in Newquay, we can highly recommend Newquay Activity Centre. We have been recommending them for a while now and were thrilled when they moved in over the road from us.
The team are wonderful and super friendly, if you are nervous in anyway we are sure that these guys will ease your nerves. Not only do they offer surfing, paddle board and body boarding lessons, they also provide so much more. Try coasteering, kayaking or their super stand up paddle boards. Whichever option you go with, you will definitely be pleased you gave it a go.
3. Learn about St Michaels Mount
St Michaels Mount in Marazion is famous worldwide and a popular day out for many visitors to Cornwall. When the tide is out you can walk across the manmade causeway of granite setts. Explore the castle and find out the history of the St Aubyn family, who have lived there since the 17th century.
If it is high tide, you can catch the amphicraft across for a small fee. The Mount’s amphibious vehicle was built 12 years ago after being commissioned by Lord St Levan to transport his family and the islanders to and from the island. St Michaels Mount is the Cornish counterpart of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy. Though St Michaels is much smaller they share the same tidal island characteristics and the same conical shape.
4. Ride your bike at Lanhydrock House
For any cyclist’s that are missing their fix whilst on holiday, head over to Lanhydrock. Lanhydrock is a magnificent late Victorian country house, with gardens and woodlands owned by the National Trust. They offer all the usual things you would find at a National Trust Venue with a lovely little cafe and gift shop. They also have a brilliant plant centre, that sells everything you need to pack your own garden full of beautiful flowers.
But back to those that enjoy cycling, Lanhydrock hires out bikes but you can bring your own if you have it with you. They have a variety of different trails to suit all abilities, so don’t panic if you aren’t completely confident. In 2020 they also introduced a skills area and balance bike track, making this the perfect place to start your off-road adventure. For those riding on smaller wheels, the balance bike tracks small loop and gentle bumps is a great starting point for all little ones learning something new.
5. Spot the Seals at Godrevy
The seals near Godrevy head can often be seen at Mutton Cove. The large colony of grey seals can often be spotted year round, though numbers begin to rise in Autumn and by January it will be packed. One thing to note here is to please be sensible. Although not possible at Mutton Cove, we often see visitors trying to approach seals to get a better photo or a photo with them. This is not ok. Younger pups may be afraid and may not be ready to enter the waters yet as their adult coat will not have fully formed. So, if you do come across any on the coves near by that are accessible, please give them space.
To get the best chance at spotting them, keep noise to a minimum as they can be sensitive to it. If you have a pair of binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens, don’t forget to take them with you. There is parking available at the National Trust Car Park.
6. A day out at The Eden Project
The Eden Project in Cornwall is a popular day out for many and is actually located only 30 minutes away from us. You can check out our more detailed blog post on the by following the link at the bottom of the page. The Eden Project offers plenty to do and is always expanding. Visit the three biomes and see a wide selection of different plants or try some ice skating on the rink.
The Rainforest Biome has the canopy walkway high above the grounds. Walk along feeling as if you really are in the clouds and see what you can spot. If you are daring enough try the zip line that goes the whole way across the Eden Project. There’s a cafe, two restaurants and an ice cream parlour. They have also just opened up a new drinks terrace in the Mediterranean Biome.
7. Watch a play at The Minack Theatre
The Minack Theatre is an open air theatre that overlooks breathtaking sea views in Porthcurno, just 4 miles from Lands End. Nestled on the edge of a granite cliffside, this is a theatre production with a difference. The Minack’s first performance was back in 1932. Rowena Cade and two local craftsmen spent six months building a simple stage.
Watch the drama unfold as the sun sets behind, or enjoy a picnic whilst watching the lunchtime matinee. Just like many Theatre’s in the hard times the Minack has had to close and it will be a magical day when people are finally back on the stage. To give you an idea of the gorgeous views you can expect to see head over to there website. The link to the live webcam can be found at the bottom of the blog..
8. Visit Land's End in Cornwall
Following on from the beautiful Minack and as you are already so close, it would be a shame to miss out on Land’s End. As mentioned above, it is only 4 miles further along the coast. Land’s End is mainland Britain’s most south-westerly point and is home to one of the countries most famous landmarks. In ancient Greek times, Lands End was often referred to as ‘Belerion’, which translates as place of the sun. The views from here, as expected, are phenomenal and infinite. If you can time it right to catch the sunset here, you are in for a real treat as the colours are stunning. While you are there, don’t forget to get your photo with the iconic signpost.
9. Learn the History of Tintagel Castle
It’s association with King Arthur make this one of the more well known castles in the UK. Tintagel Castle has stood proudly on the Cornish Coast since around 1233 when it was thought to be used as an important stronghold. Since then it has been rebuilt and revived with suggestions that it was a likely residence of past rulers of Cornwall. In August 2019, the most recent addition was added to this magnificent place. Tintagel’s divided landscape was finally reconnected by the new bridge.
Back in the Middle Ages, the residents of Tintagel would have used a much narrower land bridge that was as high as the clifftops. It is thought that around the 14th century the crossing was destroyed. The new bridge gives you the chance to walk the original route and allows you to enjoy the castle the same way its medieval residents once did.
10. Enjoy the Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are situated near Mevagissey and are arguably one of the more well known and popular gardens in the UK. Heligan has belonged to the Tremayne family for over 400 years. We’ll be going into more detail shortly about the history in our A-Z of Cornwall, so keep an eye out for that!
Only thirty years ago, Heligan’s history was unknown and hidden by brambles that had been taking over since the outbreak of WW1. In 1990 Tim Smit and John Willis (John is a descendant of the Tremayne family) discovered a door that led to the wildly overgrown gardens. Since then, alongside a large team of incredible people, they have brought the 200 acres of gardens back to its former glory.
11. Admire The Bedruthan Steps
The Bedruthan Steps, also known as Carnewas is one of the county’s most striking beaches. Carnewas get’s its name from the large slate outcrops that are dispersed along the beach. The word Carnewas is Cornish and it translates roughly as a ‘rock-pile of summer dwelling’. If you want to access the beach, you need to time your visit with low tide. At low tide the beach stretches for over a mile with plenty of caves to explore. If you are visiting, please do be careful as the many signs point out. It is possible to get cut off by the tide, so be extra vigilant if you do decide to descend the steps.
You can still see breathtaking views without actually accessing the beach. The National trust have a tea room there and once that’s allowed to open again there is a lovely selection of snacks and lunches. If it is a sunny day then why not take your own picnic? We have a much more detailed blog post on the Bedruthan Steps, so if you would like to find out more you can find the link at the bottom of the blog.
12. Explore St Nectan's Glenn in Cornwall
For those that prefer easier walks and love exploring new areas this one is for you. St Nectan’s Glen is an area of woodland in Trethevy. As it is close to Tintagel it is a perfect addition to your day out after visiting the castle. The woodland stretches for around one mile along the banks of the Trevillet River. The hidden gem that makes this spot, is the fascinating 60ft waterfall known as St Nectan’s Kieve. Watch as it tumbles down through a hole in the rocks.
Many people flock to this spot as it is often said to be one of the UK’s most spiritual sites. Just before you descend to the waterfall there is a wonderful little cafe and a gift shop. They offer a great selection of food and drinks and the ice cream from the ice cream parlour is delicious! If you plan on crossing the stream and don’t want to get your feet wet, remember to pack appropriate shoes!
13. Tour Healeys Cyder Farm
Healeys Cyder Farm makes a great day out for those that enjoy a tipple or two, but we do recommend arranging a taxi or having a designated driver to allow you to enjoy the full experience. They offer a variety of different tours; the Full Guided Tour, the Tractor Ride, Cydermater Private tour and Guided Orchard Walks just to name a few. If you aren’t a big fan of cyder then worry not, they also offer a tour of their distillery. They have been making single estate Cornish brandy and Cornwalls oldest whisky for over 300 years! They have a wonderful restaurant called the Old Bottlery. Before you leave visit the lovely farm shop that sells their delicious cyder jams alongside much more.
14. Discover Kynance Cove
A once lesser known spot that is situated on the Lizard peninsula, Kynance Cove is beautiful. The last few years it has become much more well known and is often photographed for those idillic instagram images you may have seen. There are no words to describe how truly perfect this little spot is. Think white sand beach, crystal clear water and infinite spots to snorkel. If you get the chance, head over for a day out. If you have the choice, it is even better if you can visit out of the usual high season.
Grab lunch at the Kynance Cove cafe, which is the first National Trust property to use photovoltaic tiles on the roof. These generate more that five thousand kilowatt hours of electricity a year. They offer a wide variety of simple lunches; burgers, hot dogs and filled jacket potatoes that will hopefully satisfy you. But if not, follow it up with a delicious ice cream from Roskilly Ice Cream. Our favourite is a tasty pasty made fresh from Anne’s Pasties.
15. Walk on Bodmin Moor
For avid walkers that want to spend the whole day out exploring, Bodmin Moor is for you. The granite moorland is roughly 208 square kilometres in size and is home to the highest point in Cornwall. The moorland has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic era as farmers began to clear trees and farm the land. Sadly by the Medieval and modern times the majority of the woodlands had already been cleared to make way for more farming.
The history of those that used the Moors over time is still so strong. Look out for megalithic monuments, hut circles and cairns left by the original farmers. See if you can spot the stones circles and stone rows left from the Bronze Age. The name Bodmin Moor actually came much more recently, around 1812. It was originally known as Fowey Moor after the river Fowey, which rises within it.
16. Watch the sun set at Fistral
Moving back closer to us, Fistral Beach is one of the most famous surfing beaches in the UK. Depending on the time of the year, the Cribbar becomes more active with waves reaching heights of around 25ft. It’s home to many popular events such as the world famous Boardmasters surf festival, the UK pro surf Night Surf contest and the ThunderCat Racing National Championships. It’s also a beautiful beach to just spend the day sunbathing and building sand castles.
There’s a selection of different restaurants and shops available, offering delicious food that will be sure to satisfy the whole group. Fistral is well known for its stunning sunsets and fun filled sundowners. If you are there at the right time, grab a drink and find yourself a spot to relax. As the vivid colours of the sunset begin to show, watch as the sun drops into the horizon.
17. Walk the Camel Trail
The Camel Trail is an 18 mile surfaced pathway that runs along a disused railway line. It links Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin and Wenfordbridge together offering an easy and direct walking or cycling route. The trail is split into three main sections, Padstow to Wadebridge (5.5 miles), Wadebridge to Bodmin (5.75 miles) and Bodmin to Wenfordbridge (6.25miles). Bikes can be easily hired in Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin if you would prefer to cycle.
There are plenty of places to stop off for a bite to eat if you work up an appetite. First we have the Atlantic Coastal Express. It is a vintage train carriage that has been converted into a custom-made open air cafe. Situated between Padstow and Wadebridge it is the perfect spot for a cup of coffee or a slice of cake. Further down the trail towards Bodmin, there is a lovely pub called the Borough Arms. It’s the perfect place to stop off for a hearty lunch. For More information on cycle hire, check the bottom of the blog.
18. Discover Carnglaze Caverns
Carnglaze Caverns is a highly recommended tourist attraction, located near the village of St Neot, which is on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor. Part of Cornwall’s mining heritage, three man-made caverns were formed as part of the original slate quarry. The three huge caverns, make the perfect day out whatever the weather. Naturally the caverns keep at a constant temperature of 10°C, perfect on both the coldest and warmest of days. The three caverns are all stunning in their own way and the lowest of the three caverns has a lake.
Once you have explored the caverns, lose yourself in the 6.5 acres of magical woodland with an Enchanted Dell filled with faeries. Spot the loyal dragons and the homes of the hobbits and other woodland creatures. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic and there are plenty of quiet spots to set up your blanket.
19. An Adventure Park with a Difference
For all the thrill seekers out there, we have you covered. Adrenalin Quarry has made an adventure park out of an old flooded quarry. They have been running since Easter 2009 and since then have been improving and expanding. Because of this it is the perfect place for an adrenaline filled day out. There are three main rides, The Zip, The Giant Swing and Coasteering AKA The Blob. Alongside these they have an 800m all weather go karting track, with adult, youth and junior karts so the whole family can get involved.
After the year we have had, what better way to remove all your built up frustrations than by hurling axes at targets in front of you. Oh yes, Adrenaline Quarry has you covered. It’s time to release your inner viking and learn how to throw an axe. Feel free to take a picnic with you or enjoy the pasties, cakes and ice creams that are sold on site.
20. Complete part of the Coastal Path
The South West Coast Path is a big part of Cornwall, and no don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to do the whole thing. But wherever you decide to stay, why not walk some of the 630 miles of coastal paths. You can find out more details of the closest route to you in the links at the bottom of the blog.
The coastal path begins at Minehead in Somerset and runs along the coastline of Exmoor. It then goes down the coast of North Devon before reaching Cornwall. It follows the entire coastline of Cornwall, crossing over the mouth of the river before continuing back up the south coast of Devon. Lastly it bends around the Dorset coastline before finally coming to an end at Poole Harbour. Given that description, I think its safe to say you are never too far away from some part of South West Coastal Path when you are on holiday down here.
21. Visit the Isles of Scilly
The last thing we are going to suggest is for those that are spending a good few days down here. By the time you have made your way over and explored you will need the full day. The Isles of Scilly are just a short flight away from us, so technically they aren’t in Cornwall but we think they deserve a mention because they are beautiful. They are easy to get to, fly from either Newquay or Land’s End, or catch the ferry from Penzance. The Isles of Scilly is an archipelago (an extensive group of islands) off of the southern tip of Cornwall. It is made up of five inhabited islands and numerous rocky islets, thought to be around 140 in total.
While on the islands fill your time with amazing food, beautiful beaches and boat tours that allow you to go island hopping. Soak up the history and learn about the heritage that made the Isles of Scilly how they are today. Enjoy the slower pace of life and explore the beautiful wildlife that has thrived and flourished around all of the islands.
That brings us to the end of our suggestions of 21 things to do in Cornwall in 2021. When visiting these venues and places, please do remember that they may not be running fully as they usually would due to covid restrictions. At the time of writing this blog a lot of them will have been closed for a long time. They will be eager to welcome you to revive their seaside towns.
Have we missed anything?
If we have missed something that you think people must do while they are here, please do let us know! Cornwall is full of hidden gems and beautiful spots! We have been here for four years now and are still finding out about new ones from other locals everyday. And because of this we think it is the perfect county to explore. It is packed with history, full of beautiful beaches and home to some of the best restaurants in the UK, what more could you really want?
Links Mentioned Above
We have done our best to include as many links of things to do in Cornwall as possible because we feel everyone can use a bit more support at this time.