That feeling as you’re heading home from your coastal getaway is mixed.
On one hand you’re relaxed and content but on the other you feel regret. You’re not 100% sure you saw all the best bits of Cornwall during your stay. What little gems did you miss? What will you wish you’d done when you get home? Could you have fitted more in and still enjoyed everything?
Well, wonder no more.
Here’s our list of the top 25 things to do on holiday in Cornwall:
Have an ice-cream
Find a bench near the sea, choose your favourite flavour, or be adventurous and go for something a little different. How about hedgehog ice-cream? It’s completely spike-free (and no animals were harmed in its production), made from a Cornish recipe combining rich ice-cream covered in clotted cream and rolled in crushed hazelnuts.
See the Mousehole Lights
Famous for its stargazy pie and the story of the Mousehole Cat (also known as the Storm Cat), this pretty little village is home to one of the best Christmas light shows in the country.
With colourful displays dotted around the streets, the harbour and even in the sea during the festive season, it will bring out the Christmas spirit in even the meanest Scrooge.
Experience the drama of a performance at the Minack Theatre
Perched on the cliffs over the Atlantic Ocean, this breath-taking amphitheatre has been host to thousands of theatrical performances over the years, including The Tempest, Tristan & Isolt, and The Mousehole Cat.
In more recent years it has also hosted musical performances from stars such as Fisherman’s Friends, Seth Lakeman and many tribute acts. The performances run from May to September, but even outside of the peak season it’s still a wonderful place to visit just to look around.
Visit Poldark’s home
See where Ross and Demelza gallop across the clifftops to visit Elizabeth, visit the tin mines where poor Francis met his end (spoiler alert….) and walk along the sands of the beach that Master Geoffrey Charles tells Morwenna is “the best in Cornwall”.
If you’re a fan of the BBC drama starring Aidan Turner, you’ll instantly connect with the Cornish landscape. Take a tour of the Poldark filming locations here and recreate those dramatic scenes for yourself.
Take the ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes
These two are popular tourist destinations, but are miles apart by car, so why not kill two birds with one stone and visit them both in one day? Once you’ve sampled the delicious food in Falmouth and shopped in the quaint independent stores, take the short ferry ride across the estuary to the beautiful little village of St Mawes. With its sandy beach, many restaurants and gift shops, you’ll not want to leave.
Experience the desolate wilderness of Bodmin Moor
Daphne Du Maurier brought the loneliness of Bodmin Moor to life in her novel, Jamaica Inn, where the heroine Mary Yellan runs across the moors to escape her cruel Uncle Joss. Despite the terror felt by DuMaurier’s heroine, the moors are beautiful and offer a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of busy towns and seaside resorts.
Cycle the Camel Trail
It’s not all about sitting, eating and drinking – getting active is somehow even more fun on holiday, and the old railway line from Padstow to Wadebridge provides the perfect setting. Maintained all year-round, it’s a smooth and level route, ideal for cycling or walking, attracting thousands of people every year to its 5-mile route. Along the way, you’ll pass the pretty Camel Estuary and views of the harbour along the way. Plus it’s a great way to see Wadebridge and Padstow in one day.
Walk the causeway to St Michael’s Mount
You’ll need to make sure you arrive at low tide to make the journey on foot, but it will be worth it.
Follow in the footsteps of giants and take the cobbled path from the stunning beach at Marazion across to the medieval church and historic castle on the island. See the tropical gardens, learn about its history, and if the tide has come in during your visit, take the short ferry ride back to the mainland.
Tuck into a fresh fish dish, prepared by one of the region’s top chefs
Cornwall is well known as a foodie-paradise, with Michelin-starred chefs opening restaurants in the county and award-winning food and drink served all year round. Many eateries serve fresh fish, caught locally that very day and prepared, cooked and served to maximise the flavours. You can even try catching and cooking a fish yourself with a boat trip from Padstow.
See the modern art exhibition at Tate St Ives
The younger sister of the Tate in London, this impressive seaside gallery was refurbished and extended in 2017. It is now home to many rare pieces of art, including pieces by Virginia Woolf, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Paule Vézelay. St Ives has always attracted artists, who flock to the area to take advantage of the famous unique natural light – see for yourself what makes it so special.
Book a surfing lesson
You don’t have to be an experienced water baby to try your hand at surfing. Many of the beaches are home to surf schools, offering lessons to first-timers and more extreme adventures for experienced watersports enthusiasts.
Cornwall is home to world-class international surf competitions, so what better place to dip your toe in the water? You’ll have support from an expert every step of the way and it’s an awesome story to tell when you get home.
Walk the coastpath
Cornwall has almost 300 miles of beautiful coastline to explore, starting with the sandy path right outside your door at Ocean Blue.
From here, head North towards the white sands of Constantine Bay and the iconic lighthouse at Trevose head, or head South towards Porthcothan. Check out our Treyarnon Bay walking guide here for more information on and photos of the local walks.
Try the fudge in Padstow
Clotted cream flavour is our personal favourite, but you’ll have plenty of choice as you wander around the bustling harbour town of Padstow, browsing the fudge shops.
Ginger, whiskey, white chocolate, hazelnut, chocolate, honeycomb, strawberry, liquorice – the expert makers are bound to have a taste that suits yours.
Watch the sun set over the sea
There’s something magical about the very end of a day, as the sun drops below the horizon and the stars take over. If that scene takes place against the backdrop of the ocean, you’ll remember it forever.
The Ocean Blue apartments look right out across the white sands of Treyarnon Bay and the blue waters of the Atlantic, giving you the ideal front-row seat.
Take a selfie with the Gallos sculpture at Tintagel
Myth and legend surround the seaside town of Tintagel, with tales of King Arthur, Merlin and Excalibur attracting visitors for decades. In recent years, the small beach in the shadow of the castle and its ancient village ruins has become home to a unique and contemporary sculpture. A trip to the area is an essential part of any visit to Cornwall, but taking a selfie with the new statue will make for a further talking point when you get home.
Build a sandcastle
Do you wanna build a snowman? Maybe not, but you’ll always want to build a sandcastle.
Whether you go for a simple tower or a more elaborate structure, working together with your family, using sand, seashells and pebbles salvaged from the shores is a memory you’ll treasure.
Swim in the sea
Dip your toe in and the refreshing sensation of the waves lapping around your toes will take your breath away. But give it a minute, and your toes will sink into the sand and the healing properties of the Cornish sea will take over.
September is the perfect time to take the plunge and go deeper for a swim, as the sea is at its warmest after months of Cornish Summer sunshine.
Take the train ride along the coast from St Erth to St Ives
It’s thought to be one of the most beautiful stretches of railway anywhere in the UK, and when you jump aboard the little train to St Ives you’ll see why.
The 30 minute journey passes the golden sands of Hayle beach and Carbis Bay, before arriving in the popular little town where you can sunbathe, dine out in one of the many restaurants, shop in the many little gift shops or simply tuck into a cream tea while watching the world go by.
Try a Cornish pasty
Traditionally eaten by miners in the 19th Century, the Cornish pasty is a wholesome meal in one. Although normally made with succulent diced beef, sliced potatoes and vegetables with seasoning wrapped in pastry, many local producers now serve more unusual flavours.
Try something a little different and instead choose chicken tikka, lamb and mint, bacon and leek, or pork and apple. Cornish pasties are freshly baked and served in cafes, shops and bakeries throughout Cornwall.
Travel back in time and explore the old tin mines in West Cornwall
Cornwall was the main supplier of tin to the UK until the early 20th Century, with thousands of men, women and children working in the industry. The dramatic Cornish landscape still shows signs of this heritage, with remains of the historic tin mines dotted throughout the region.
Learn more about the fascinating story of mining by taking a tour of Poldark Mine (yes, that Poldark) or Geevor Tin Mine in West Cornwall.
Visit Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England
It’s 3,260 miles from New York, 603 miles from John O’Groats and 58 miles from the Ocean Blue apartments at Treyarnon Bay. As well as being an iconic landmark, Land’s End is also breathtakingly beautiful. Take the path from the (expensive) carpark and head down to the heritage trail where you’ll discover an Iron Age hill fort, Bronze Age burial mounds and a Stone Age cemetery.
Book an appointment at Doc Martin’s surgery in Port Isaac
Martin Clunes and the rest of the Doc Martin team have put the tiny village of Port Isaac on the map. If you’ve seen the programme, you’ll instantly be transported to the fictional port of Portwenn, passing the doctor’s surgery and climing the path to St Nonna’s Church, where Louisa and Doc Martin tied the knot. You may even be lucky enough to catch the actors filming the next series.
Sample some local Cornish ales
As well as being known for its award winning food, Cornwall is also home to some of the country’s finest producers of real ale, wine, cider, tea and coffee.
Many of the companies offer tours of their production facilities, where you can see how the raw ingredients are grown and taste many of the flavours on offer. Visit the breweries, the vineyards, even the tea plantations of Tregothnan, and take a little taste of Cornwall home with you.
Paddle in the cold waters of St Nectan’s Glen waterfall
The magical woodland, which is home to St Nectan’s Glen, winds between the ancient cliffs and trees on the north coast, between Bostcastle and Tintagel. The 60 foot waterfall at the bottom of the valley tumbles into an icy pool, where you can kick your shoes off and paddle bare-foot on the smooth pebbles. Read our full guide to St Nectan’s Glen and see for yourself why it’s a must-see destination.
Indulge in a Cornish cream tea
After all that excitement of travelling the county to experience all its treasures, you’ll be ready for a scrumptious Cornish cream tea.
The biggest decision to make is where to enjoy your freshly-baked scones, served with clotted cream, chunky strawberry jam and a pot of freshly brewed tea (or coffee…).
However you choose to spend your time in Cornwall, you’ll take away some wonderful memories and hopefully an eagerness to return.
We’d be thrilled to welcome you to the Ocean Blue apartments at Treyarnon Bay – give us a call on 01841 to book your next visit, or browse the accommodation and book online.