Cornwall is notable for its geological formations and the county includes a large part of the Cornubian batholith, a large mass of granite rock formed 280 million years ago. Large exposed masses are visible at Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor, St. Austell, Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly.
With nearly 200 beaches getting close to the sea isn’t a problem in Cornwall, though the two coasts are very different. The northern coastline is more exposed, facing the Celtic Sea and has a more rugged, wilder feel to it. Between St. Gennys and Boscastle you can find the appropriately named High Cliff, with a 223m sheer drop. The coast also has a string of beaches and towns including Bude, Waterbay, Porthtowan, and the cobbled streets and fishermen’s cottages at St Ives.
The South West Coast Path runs through Newquay, a magnet for surfing with many surf stores and hire shops in town. Waterbay hosts an annual music festival whilst Firstal Beach is home to the annual Boardmasters Festival a four-day event of surfing and skateboarding competitions, usually held in August.
The highest point in Cornwall is Bodmin Moor in the north east of the county. The source of several Cornish rivers the land is dominated by granite tors and historic stone monuments. The area is also home to the legend of The Beast of Bodmin Moor – dare you venture out?
The southern coast of Cornwall, affectionately known as the Cornish Riviera, is more sheltered hosting safe harbours at locations such as Falmouth and Fowey. The picturesque fishing villages of Looe and Polperro are great places to explore and relax. In addition, you can visit Lanhydrock the National Trust property near Bodmin.
The mild climate means that some exceptional gardens contain many tender and exotic plants that won’t grow in many parts of the UK. Good places to visit include the National Trust gardens at Trelissik, or the Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevigissey
If you are into clambering over castles, then Henry VIII’s castles at Pendennis and St Mawes guarding the entrance to Falmouth are well worth a visit. For a magical day out take the family to Tintagel Castle, steeped in legend and mystery; said to be the birthplace of King Arthur and you can still visit nearby Merlin’s Cave.
No trip to South Cornwall would be complete without a trip to see St Michael’s Mount at Marazion and you could spend days just exploring the Lizard peninsular with Mullion Cover, the Marconi Centre at Poldhu Cove where transatlantic communications first started and Goonhilly Earth Station bringing communications up to date, which is why visitors to Cornwall come back year after year
Mainland Britain’s most south-westerly point can be found at Land’s End – next stop North America! You can explore the area and take in the views from First and Last Point, gaze out towards the Longships Lighthouse and take a photo at the famous Land’s End signpost – how far are you from home now?
The Isles of Scilly, not the Scilly Isles please! lie off the Cornish coast and are well worth a visit. Accessible by boat as part of a cruise, passenger ferry or air the archipelago is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with 2,200 residents. How you spend your time is up to you – peace and tranquillity provide a great chill out opportunity. Or if get up and go is more your style, then walking and water sports abound including windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and power boating.
Many new visitors to Cornwall will already be aware of some of the fantastic scenery as it acted as a backdrop to the BBC Poldark series.
Want to find out more? Click here to our guide on things to do in Cornwall. Read our latest guides:
What’s on in Cornwall
Car Boot Sales in Cornwall
Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall