Things To Do in Cornwall for Free
While it might be best known for its excellent beach life, Cornwall has much more to offer than just summer sun and world famous surf. This lovely coastal county boasts a wide variety of scenic areas, amazing historical sites and charming country parks.
Many of this charming county’s best attractions are completely free to access. From art galleries to some of the country’s best coastal walking trails, discover seven free activities that are perfect for hotel breaks in Cornwall.
1. Swim, walk or sunbathe on the beach
Cornwall is well known for its beaches, which range from sheltered summer family swimming destinations to wild and thrilling surf beaches. In winter, the beaches of Cornwall are excellent walking destinations, particularly for visitors seeking a mix of natural beauty and calm, relaxing winter weather.
In summer, the beaches quickly attract crowds seeking fun and sun in England’s top coastal destination. Great beaches for swimming, walking and sunbathing include Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Kynance Cove close to Lizard Point, and Harlyn Bay, a beautiful sandy beach to the north of Padstow.
2. Walk the South West Coast Path
Cornwall is home to several of the South West Coast Path’s most beautiful sections, and walkers will love covering some of the county’s coastline on foot. The coastal walking trail around the Lizard is widely regarded as the most beautiful in the UK.
From picturesque farmland to rugged coastal cliffs, the scenery you’ll see while you walk through Cornwall’s section of the South West Coast Path truly showcases the best of the region.
3. Travel to England’s most southerly point
Cornwall is home to two geographical landmarks: Britain’s most southerly point – a beautiful coastal region called Lizard Point – and its most southwesterly point at the Land’s End peninsula.
Both are worth visiting, although Land’s End’s modest car parking fee disqualifies it from being a strictly free activity. Enjoy amazing coastal views as you drive to Land’s End and onwards to The Lizard from Newquay, Truro, or elsewhere in Cornwall.
4. Visit the amazing St. Michael’s Mount
In Cornish, St Michael’s Mount is known as Karrek Loos yn Koos – roughly translated as “grey rock in the woods.” This incredible island castle is one of the most beautiful sights in Cornwall – a stunning coastal highlight that’s been featured in feature films and local artwork alike.
During most of the day, the island is separated from the mainland by a small bay. At low tide, however, an amazing footway is revealed, allowing visitors to walk all the way to the island and explore it on foot. The island is particularly spectacular as the sun sets, making it a fantastic destination for photographers.
5. Explore Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park
Free to the public, the stately home at Mount Edgcumbe House is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful buildings. Build between 1547 and 1553, this impressive property was gutted by bombing during WWII and carefully restored from 1958 onwards.
Today, it’s open to visitors interested in exploring Cornwall’s historical sites. The house is home to several other interesting attractions such as Earl’s Gardens, the Barn Pool, and 17th century stables, some of which are only open during summer.
6. Travel to Bodmin Moor’s amazing historical sites
There’s more to Cornwall than just stunning beaches. Bodmin Moor is one of the largest areas of granite moorland in South West England. Home to churches and Neolithic structures, the area is a must-see attraction for visitors to Cornwall with an interest in Neolithic and Medieval history.
From King Arthur’s Hall – a megalithic monument build from 56 separate stones – to the thousands of stones that make up Kilmar Tor, Bodmin Moor is home to some of South West England’s most impressive natural scenery and intriguing prehistorical monuments.
7. Visit the Tate St Ives Art Gallery and Museum
Enjoy the best of British modern art at the Tate St Ives art gallery and museum. This three-storey art museum opened in 1993 and has grown into one of the largest art galleries in South West England dedicated to modern art and local Cornish artists.
The Tate St Ives hosts three special exhibitions per year, each one dedicated to its own era of modern art. From symbolism and impressionism to cubism and avant-garde, the Tate St Ives is one of the best places in Britain to learn the story behind some of the 19th and 20th century’s most important art movements.
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