If your idea of the perfect holiday is just the right mix of slow-paced relaxation and adventure-fuelled fun, the south coast of Cornwall with its beautiful beaches, maritime towns, coastal scenery and fabulous attractions is the place.

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A local’s guide to South Cornwall holidays…


Things to do in South Cornwall

Pretty maritime villages and towns dot the coastline, while sheltered bays and calm estuaries invite you to take to the water to swim, sail, kayak and snorkel. The mild climate of South Cornwall also means lush gardens and parks, such as the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and Trebah Garden, known for their exotic plants and stunning landscapes. The region is awash with historic landmarks too so you’ll have lots to do on those non-beach days like visit Wheal Martyn Clay Works in St Austell which is the UK’s only China clay museum, and Pendennis Castle, a medieval coastal fortress with stunning views over Falmouth.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Situated in Falmouth, Cornwall, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall is a fascinating attraction dedicated to Cornwall’s maritime history and heritage. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, get up close to artifacts, and be immersed in multimedia presentations. There are also workshops on offer, and educational programs for all ages, making this a wonderful destination for visitors of all ages.

Hangloose Adventure at the Eden Project

Hangloose at The Eden Project in Cornwall offers exciting experiences in the beautiful setting of one of the world’s famous botanical gardens. Visitors can enjoy activities like the Skywire, England’s longest zip wire, and the Gravity Giant Swing, which gives the feeling of freefall before swinging over the Eden Project’s landscape. There’s also the Vertigo 360 swing for a unique view. Hangloose at The Eden Project promises thrilling moments and stunning views for adventurers.

Lost Gardens At Heligan

Roughly half an hour’s drive from Fowey in Mevagissey, The Lost Gardens at Heligan is a fantastic day out with the kids. Lost under brambles until about 30 years ago, this once prominent estate with its historic garden is steeped in mysticism, romance and wonder. A chance discovery of a door, led to the uncovering of what is now considered to be one of the finest gardens in England, and is a worthwhile destination for anyone visiting the area.

Over 200 acres now abound with wildlife, plants and gardens and all can be discovered and explored along winding paths that were laid out over two centuries ago, along with its iconic Heligan sculptures including The Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady. There’s a real life jungle that journeys through bamboo tunnels where majestic tree ferns, giant rhubarb and bananas abound, whilst the estate reveals a lost world of traditional and rare breeds, wildlife and ancient woodlands.

Antony Woodland Garden

Located in Torpoint just opposite the 18-th Century Antony House which belongs to the National Trust, the 100 acre Antony Woodland Garden & Woodland Walks provide a tranquil and relaxing day out for all the family at any time of the year. Unspoiled woodland sweeps down to the Lynher estuary where you will discover secluded coves and stunning views across the water.

Springtime is a joy here, with sprays of colour from all of beautiful flowers and the garden is home to over six hundred different varieties of camellias and fifty different types of magnolias, all growing in an idyllic setting. There’s also a lovely tearoom and plenty of picnic spots to take in the scenes of bird and wildlife.

The Rame Peninsula

Few places are more tranquil and naturally beautiful than the Rame Peninsula. Just across the border from Devon and is bordered on three sides by water – the Rivers Lynher, Tamar and Plymouth Sound. One of the best ways to take in the spectacular views and scenery of the peninsula is by walking the six mile circular route along the South West Coast path.

Highlights of the walk include panoramic views across Whitsand Bay and Plymouth Sound, the Medieval chapel on Rame Head and a stroll through the quaint streets of Cawsand. A lovely walk to do with your dog but they should be kept on a lead at all times due to the numerous cliffs and steep drops along the way.

Attractions in South Cornwall


With its uniquely shaped harbour and pretty, Georgian architecture, Charlestown looks much the same now as it did 100 years ago, so a sense of ‘authentic Cornwall’ permeates the atmosphere and explains why the village been used as the backdrop to scenes from so many movies and tv programs including Pirates of the Caribbean, Poldark, and Hornblower. Standing on the quay and overlooking the harbour with its historic tall ships, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d time travelled back to an era that shaped this county, when tin and copper exports were big business and pirates ruled the seas.


Less than 8 miles from Charlestown lies the pretty town of Lostwithiel which is situated in a beautiful, wooded valley at the head of the Fowey Estuary. The town is informally known as the antiques capital of Cornwall and is lined with galleries to explore as well as quirky shops, pubs and riverside parks. For grown-up guests there’s Colwith Farm Distillery with its ‘produced from scratch’ gins, which offers tasting sessions and workshops where you’ll be able to create your own customised tipple. Off-road cycle trails and great local walks abound in the surrounding area and include one to the historic Restormel Castle, so for a day out with all the family this is perfect!

The Eden Project

The Eden Project is a must-visit attraction and a chance to discover some seriously cool modern-day developments in technology used to regenerate local and international landscapes as well as bring awareness to our impact on the planet’s wellbeing.

But along with education there’s oodles of fun to be had for both grown-ups and children alike with two biomes (boasting two completely different habitats) to explore, outdoor gardens, exhibitions, adventure activities, a play area for kids, a tropical-style bar inside one of the biomes, a restaurant in the Mediterranean Biome and guided tours. Thirty acres of outdoor garden means visitors young and old can run free or roam for hours on end, and for the adventurous there is of course the fantastic zipwire experience at Hangloose.

Mount Edgcumbe House

Located on the stunning Rame Peninsula, Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park offers a great day out for families near Plymouth. Situated atop a hill, the estate spans 865 acres and was once the residence of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. The gardens, listed as Grade I, are mostly free to explore, with the exception of the Earl’s Garden. Admission fees apply during peak times or for access to the house.

Don’t miss the chance to admire the National Camellia Collection in full bloom during spring. Additionally, the park provides various outdoor activities such as an alpaca trail and Segway adventures, along with delightful tea rooms and cafes to enjoy.


Situated near the River Tamar and owned by the National Trust, Cotehele spans 1,300 acres and miles of footpaths, and has a beautiful 15th Century Tudor house with incredibly well-preserved interiors including its Great Hall and Chapel. Visitors are invited to explore the various rooms which are filled with original furnishings, tapestries, and artwork, offering a fascinating glimpse into Tudor life.

Cotehele also has stunning gardens and grounds as well as a historic quay to explore. The formal terraced gardens feature colorful flower beds, while the Valley Garden offers tranquil walks along the riverbank. The estate also includes miles of woodland trails, providing opportunities for scenic walks and wildlife spotting.

Beaches in South Cornwall

Whitsand Bay
A stunning 3-mile sandy beach known for its rugged beauty. It’s backed by cliffs which does make access rather steep, however it’s worth the trek as once you’re on the sand, the scenery is out of this world. It’s a popular destination for surfers and beach lovers, with seasonal lifeguards on duty during peak holiday months. Having said that though, the beach is known for rip tides so caution is always advised before swimming or taking to the waves. Dogs are allowed all year round!

Readymoney cove

A beautiful beach near the historic town of Fowey, it’s a perfect spot for family days of swimming, building sandcastles, sunbathing and water sports. To get to the beach, it’s a 5 minute walk from the car park along the wooded footpath named St Catherine’s Parade down to the sand. There’s a lovely little shop and café right on the beach where you can enjoy a freshly brewed hot drink, ice cream cone, warm pasty, cakes and light bites. The shop also sells beach essentials like buckets, spades, balls, fishing nets, wetsuits and more.

Gyllyngvase Beach

Falmouth’s best-known beach and an absolute must-visit if you’re in the area. The beach has a real buzz about it during the holiday months with activities taking place throughout the school holidays. Perfect for families with children of all ages, if you’re in search of a beach-infused holiday then this is the spot. Beach-based Blu Paddle Co. offers SUP lessons for visitors of all abilities and ages, and Gylly Adventures hires out paddle boards and kayaks as well as offers guided tours of the coastline, allowing you to take in hidden coves, sea caves and wonderful scenery.

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