Which is the best part of Cornwall to stay in?
The dilemma with Cornwall is that it isn’t just one beautiful place – but many – each with their own distinct scene, feel and location, making you spoilt for choice when it comes to picking your holiday destination.
Waterside idyll or beach retreat? Picturesque harbour or historic town?
Allow us to help you narrow down your favourites with our top ten places to stay...
For coastal charm and culture...
The stunning seaside town needs little introduction, so if a sand-between-the-toes stay is what you seek, then you’re guaranteed a memorable one here. You’ll find beaches of the family-friendly, surf and secluded variety alongside world-renowned art and culture by way of Tate St Ives, Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens and smattering of galleries dotted throughout the cobbled streets that also present top notch dining, whatever your palate prefers.
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For beachside bliss...
Cornwall’s famous surf capital boasts a bevy of beaches for everything from sun worship to water sports, while the town itself is home to an assortment of shops, cafes and restaurants. The outskirts offer a more away-from-it-all vibe, allowing visitors to escape to picturesque coves like Polly Joke and Bedruthan Steps for the most breath-takingly unspoilt sands.
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For food lovers...
Synonymous with Rick Stein, the foodie’s favourite of Padstow ensures a lip-smacking stay, with Paul Ainsworth at No.6 and his Mahé Cookery School and Chef’s Table, Caffè Rojano, and Prawn on the Lawn all adding to the epicurean experience. Meanwhile the working port and its surrounds present pleasure-seekers with other delights, from cycling the nearby Camel Trail to adrenaline-charged water sports and open sea fishing excursions.
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For a wild escape...
Located near Land’s End in the far west of Penwith, Sennen fuses world-class surf, sweeping Atlantic views and rugged coastal path with a wonderfully inviting village. So whether you wish to soak up the sun at the impossibly beautiful beach (or its neighbouring stretch of Gwenver), hike to edge of the world, dine at a sea-gazing restaurant or hit the waves, Sennen is the place to be.
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For exploring near and not-too-far...
Situated on Cornwall’s subtropical south coast, the diminutive fishing port is as well placed as it is oh-so pretty. Offering a palpable sense of seclusion, the village is also conveniently close to attractions such as Lost Gardens of Heligan, Eden Project, Caerhays Castle and Charlestown, while along the harbour and throughout the winding streets you’ll find a museum, aquarium and plethora of shops, cafes and restaurants.
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For a magnificent mix of must-sees...
West Cornwall’s sprawling bay is not only home to the iconic St Michael’s Mount, but is fringed with places of beauty and interest; from the fishing port of Newlyn and gorgeous harbour village of Mousehole to the ancient market town of Penzance and beachside charm of Marazion. Art lovers should head to The Exchange, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, and Newlyn Art Gallery, while the art deco seawater lido, Jubilee Pool, makes for a cool summer’s day out – or hot prospect during cooler months courtesy of the recent addition of a geothermal pool. Packed with places to eat, drink and shop, Mount’s Bay presents a plethora of scenes, whatever your whims.
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For laidback living...
The literary inspiration for the likes of Daphne Du Maurier and Kenenth Graeme, Fowey’s allure is instantly tangible as you roam the riverside and explore the area’s picturesque sights. Take a river trip, stroll along the South West Coast Path, dine in a waterside eatery (treat yourself at Appleton’s Bar & Restaurant), or lounge on the shores of Polruan, Polkerris, Polridmouth, Lantic Bay and Readymoney Cove for a sense-spoiling sojourn.
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For fun and discovery...
Cornwall’s maritime hub is abundant with scenic sights, attractions, year-round events schedule, and top-notch dining, ensuring a mesmerising mix of things to see and do. Visit Pendennis and St Mawes Castles, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, and explore the River Fal at your leisure. Relish some top beach time at Gyllyngvase, Castle, Maenporth and Swanpool, where you can swim, snorkel, SUP and sunbathe, while the town boasts the biggest concentration of independent outlets for shopping and dining.
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For family frolics...
North Cornwall’s captivating (and award winning) coastal town is chock with family-friendliness. If it’s a beach holiday you seek, you’ll achieve it in easy style with the likes of Summerleaze (also home to the fantastic, Bude Sea Pool) and Crooklets, while a host of other attractions such as Bude Castle and Heritage Centre, Bude Canal and nearby host of adventure parks will provide further entertainment for all ages.
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For a sensory feast...
Nestled between the Lizard and Mount’s Bay near Helston, Porthleven’s harbourside town is a laidback locale to savour. Dine in inimitable style at Amelie’s or the acclaimed Kota Restaurant, relish some beach time, amble the South West Coast Path toward Loe Bar and the county’s largest fresh water lake, or head away from the water for a taste of Cornwall’s great gardens such as Trebah, Trevarno and Glendurgan: the area is awash with eye candy of the most awe-inspiring kind.
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For more holiday inspiration, see our guide to 10 of the prettiest villages in Cornwall or Ten unbelievably beautiful places to visit in Cornwall.