Picking a top ten of south Cornwall’s leading attractions is no mean feat.
From museums and historical landmarks to world-famous gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, country houses and World Heritage Mining Sites, the stunning south is choc with things to see and do.
Every visitor will find something to delight here, from family-fun favourites to fascinating venues dedicated to exploring Cornwall’s rich and diverse heritage and culture.
So here’s the lowdown on a select few of the many must-sees in south Cornwall…
Eden Project is a visually striking piece of post-modern architecture and ecological innovation. In short, it’s the world’s largest greenhouse, and is located near St Austell – housing a hugely diverse range of plantlife alongside artworks, sculptures, living theatre and events arena.
Pendennis Castle and St Mawes Castles are two of Falmouth’s most famous features, situated opposite each other on the headlands of the estuary and offering a wonderfully interactive and ultra memorable day out.
World Heritage Mining Sites are scattered throughout Cornwall, but the south specifically boasts the historic landscapes at Luxulyan Valley and Charlestown. View displays and artefacts at the centre at Wheal Martyn, explore the Treffry Viaduct, canals, leats and tramways, and roam 26 acres of scenic woodland walks.
Porfell Wildlife Park & Animal Sanctuary is nestled five miles inland from Looe and is Cornwall’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary with over 250 inhabitants ranging from zebras to raccoons. Try owl flying, embark upon the woodland walk, roam the Children’s Farm and relax at the Peacock Tea Rooms.
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall brilliantly marries education and entertainment including the opportunity to steer a boat with a tiller, view the harbour underwater, climb a 100foot tower and sail a radio-controlled boat.
Port Eliot is probably most associated with its popular literary festival, but is also a fabulous day out destination due to its gorgeous house and grounds, where you’ll find an estuary walk, award-winning picnic spot and Sir Humphrey Repton-designed gardens surrounding the stunning historic house.
Natural Trust Houses are omnipresent in Cornwall, but the south boasts a particularly lovely trio: Lanhydrock – a glorious late Victorian estate near Bodmin, Antony House (star of Tim Burton’s cinematic gem, Alice in Wonderland) outside of Torpoint, and the Tudor mansion of Cotehele on the banks of the Tamar river in Saltash.
Lost Gardens of Heligan is a 200-acre botanical phenomenon in bloom. The Gardenesque restored productive gardens and pleasure grounds present plantlife, wildlife and playgrounds aplenty, allowing everyone to relish the outdoors in truly magical style.
St Austell Brewery has over 150 years’ experience in the brewing industry, whose Visitor Centre features an interactive museum, Victorian Brewery, Hicks Bar and licensed Brewery Shop and Warehouse to help you stock up on some of those lip-smacking real ales.
Carnglaze Caverns is another vestige of Cornwall’s industrial heritage near Liskeard. A former slate mine – it now hosts everything from an underground lake to woodland walk, terrace garden, quarry wood and walled garden.
Tamar Valley Donkey Park
Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing
Looe Gaol and Guildhall Museum
Cornwall’s Bamboo Garden
Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary
Polperro Model Village and Land of Legend
Ships and Castles Leisure Centre
Lanreath Folk and Farm Museum
Seaton Valley Countryside Park