Cornwall is the ultimate destination for outdoor activities. With its sparkling turquoise coastline and beautiful countryside, you won’t run out of things to do in nature. Keep reading for some of the best things to do outdoors in Cornwall.

Watersports in Cornwall

Having a go at watersports is a must-do when in Cornwall. With its mild climate and impressive swells, it’s widely considered to be the UK’s surf capital. For beginners, there are tons of surf schools that offer a variety of lessons. Head to Fistral Beach, Porthtowan Beach and Gwithian Beach for some of the best waves. Other watersports like windsurfing, kayaking and standup paddleboarding are also very popular. Some great kayaking and standup paddleboarding spots are Towan Beach, the Gannel Estuary and Porthcurno.

Whether you want to explore Cornwall’s coasts or glide down its many rivers and creeks, you’re bound to come across some stunning views.

Marine Wildlife Watching

Cornwall is rich in wildlife and is one of the best places in the UK to spot some sea life. Lizard Point is the most southerly point in Britain, and offers wide stretching views as far as the eye can reach. It’s also a great place to spot dolphins, porpoises, sharks, seals and seabirds. If you head to Land’s End, you may even spot a minke whale and killer whale off the shore. Some other locations which are fantastic viewing points for sea life are Trevose Head, Godrevy Point, Pendeen Watch, Sennen, Porthgwarra and Gwennap Head. If you’d like to see the wildlife up close, there are plenty of boat trips that offer wildlife watching tours which leave from the coastal towns. Some of the most popular are Padstow Sealife Safaris, AK Wildlife Cruises and Marine Discovery Penzance.

Snorkelling in Cornwall

Why not take it a step further and swim alongside these great sea creatures? Snorkelling is a popular activity in Cornwall, with plenty of sea life to discover. Backways Cove is a great spot, with a fascinating underwater landscape. If you head to Castle Beach, you’ll find tons of wrasse swimming around kelp beds, as well as crabs and lobsters hiding in the coral. Prussia Cove is another fantastic snorkelling site. You’ll find kelp forests, gorges covered with anemones, and you may even find yourself swimming with seals. At Port William and Hole Beach there are large numbers of bass, as well as the occasional basking shark in the summer.

Visit beaches in Cornwall

If you’re not so keen on getting in the water, perhaps relaxing on the sand is more your thing. Cornwall is home to some of the best beaches in the country, so whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach or a quieter, more rugged beach, you’re bound to be blown away by the beauty of the Cornish coast. Kynance Cove is one the must-see beaches. With its turquoise water, mossy rocks and white sands, it looks like something out of a fairytale. Another stunning beach is Pendower Beach. With a wide stretch of sand and panoramic views of Gerrans Bay, the beach is great for swimming, sunbathing and rockpooling. For a more buzzing atmosphere, visit Summerleaze Beach, Fistral Beach, Kingsand Beach and Porthpean Beach.

Read our guide to dog friendly beaches in Cornwall.

Horse riding in Cornwall

Whether you want to ride alongside the waves, trot over moorland or discover quaint villages, horse riding is one of the best ways to discover the beauty of Cornwall. There are plenty of quiet lanes and open countryside with a host of trails and bridleways, some of them even dating back to the days when pack horses were still used in the mining industry. The best-known trails are the Camel Trail and the Mineral Tramways. The Kernow Horse Trail is the longest and most established trail, going from Lands End to the Devon border. The Clay Trails are a variety of trails which go through spectacular rural scenery created by the 250 year old clay pits. Wherever you choose to ride, there are a great choice of stables throughout Cornwall that provide lessons with qualified instructors.

Walking & Exploring

Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible outdoor activities in Cornwall. From going along the coastal cliffs and fishing villages, to roaming through wooded valleys and farmland, there are a wealth of walks to take. A popular walk is the Tintagel to Boscastle route which offers some of the best coastal scenery in the country. Starting at Tintagel Castle, you’ll pass rocky islets, through an Iron Age settlement and see views of an old slate quarry before finishing at the quaint town of Boscastle. The Whitsand Bay circular is another great walk. Stroll along ancient routes through woodland and heathland, past wetlands and a reservoir teeming with wildlife. For a good mix of coast and countryside, the Zennor Head circular walk goes through farmland and woodland before reaching the dramatic granite cliffs of the north-west coast of Cornwall.

Use our Cornwall Trails for inspiration.

Cycling

Cornwall has something for everyone when it comes to cycling. For beginners through to professionals, there are so many cycling trails that allow you explore the best of Cornwall’s outdoors. One of the best known trails is the Camel Trail which stretches along a disused railway line from Padstow to Bodmin. Nature lovers will love the Goss Moor trail. This 12km circular trail goes through the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve which has tons of rare plants and animals. For heritage hunters, try the 12km circular Great Flat Lode trail. Part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, the landscape is full of remains of engine houses and mining relics. If you’re up for a challenge, why not have a go at the Cornish Way. Cycle all the way from Land’s End to Bude in this 288km trail.