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Things to Do in Cornwall

photo courtesy of The Bay Restaurant, Penzance

Cornwall has been a popular choice for the British holiday maker since the advent of the railway. The mild climate, wealth of beautiful beaches and the sheer diversity of landscape from fishing villages nestling around their harbours to the deserted mine buildings on the moors and cliff tops. Today these are still the things that make Cornwall special but much progress has been made with increasing the range of attractions and with undercover activities for the occasional day when the sun is not shining. For 101 ideas of what to do in Cornwall in the rain, follow our link 'if it rains...' You can look forward to a wonderful time, whatever the weather.

Why not let someone else do the donkey work in organising your holiday activities? Active8 is a Cornwall based company that organises a whole range of outdoor activities to suit your needs, from horse riding or rock climbing to hot air ballooning and deep sea fishing.

Holiday in Cornwall for less this spring

On this page you will find a selection of what the county has to offer. Click the buttons below to go to each page. Because our two carriage sites are at either end of the county we’ve made this page a fairly general overview of what Cornwall has to offer. However we recommend that you look at our local pages to plan your holiday excursions - there’s lots to do locally at both Hayle and St Germans.

Coming by train? Cornwall Garden Tours and Walk it Cornwall offer station pick ups for Railholiday guests.

photo courtesy of G Stroud Beaches - Cornwall boasts a great variety of beaches from sweeping expanses of dune backed sand miles long to small sheltered coves. Most coastal towns and villages have their own beach too. Many can be reached by public transport while in some places you can park on the beach. Rock pools and surf hire shops make beaches the perfect place for toddlers and teenagers alike while dad may prefer just enjoying the scenery! And a day at the beach needn't cost a penny.
Eden Project - The Eden Project is an unforgettable experience in a breathtaking location. 50m deep in a former China Clay pit the size of 30 football pitches sit the biggest greenhouses ever built. Eden has transformed the site into a unique global garden reminding us of how we are dependant on plants for our very existence. The world wide acclaim is well justified. In the winter a ice skating rink is erected and in the summer big bands come down to play in the Eden Sessions. During school holidays there are always plenty of activities for children too.
Industrial Heritage - The granite backbone of Cornwall created areas rich in minerals, especially tin. Consequently hard rock mining was a way of life for centuries and Cornish miners and the associated industries led the world with their skills and technology. The deserted engine houses are an evocative feature of the County and most can be freely visited. A few have been restored to working order whilst at Geevor, South Crofty and Poldark you can descend into the mines themselves.
The Arts - Cornwall is a thriving arts centre, with an abundance of quirky theatre groups, literature festivals and art galleries. Watch a show at the wonderful Minack Theatre, visit the Tate St Ives, or just enjoy the extraordinary landscape that has drawn artists to Cornwall for so many years.
Land's End and The Lizard Point - Two wonderful but different landmarks. Enjoy the beautiful wildness of The Lizard Point, the most southerly point in Britain, with its striking serpentine rock, or follow the coastal footpath to Lands End, (you can even visit its own special theme park!)
Historic Houses and Beautiful Gardens - Cornwall has more than 20 historic houses and gardens open to the public including the stunning, National Trust owned, Lanhydrock (pictured). The counties climate is mild due to the sea never being far away and this allows many tropical species to be grown outdoors. Check out the "Houses and Gardens" page for more details.
Antiquities - Neolithic monuments, iron age hill forts and mighty fortresses abound in Cornwall. Many are easy to get to, free to enter and most are in spectacular locations.
Fishing Villages - Nestling in sheltered inlets in the rocky coasts, fishing is still an important part of life in these coastal communities. Enjoy an ice cream while watching the nets being mended and the boats coming and going - and why not buy some fish straight from the boat to put on the barbecue when you get home?
The Railways 1 - The main line through Cornwall - Brunels Great Western from London to Penzance - crosses valley after valley on a series of spectacular viaducts. This makes for great views from and of, the trains. Why not leave the car at home and take a branch line train to Looe, St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay or Gunnislake and relax.
The Railways 2 - If steam or heritage diesel is your thing then we'd definitely recommend the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, which offers some steep gradients on route from the main line connection in the Glynn Valley up to Bodmin and then down to Wenford Bridge. Also accessible by train is the lovely South Devon Railway that runs beside the river Dart from Totnes. A drive away is the narrow gauge Launceston Railway, another super attraction.
Legends and Folklore - Visit the old fishing villages of Looe and Polperro, famous for their smuggling pasts. Visit the Hurlers, or Trevethy quoit, fashioned by giants, or walk the ancient path of the early saints - The Saints Way.
Walking - The coastal footpath has to be one of the best walking experiences - 260 miles of vistas almost entirely off road but with enough tea rooms and pubs to keep even the most energetic refreshed. And for a change from the sea there are plenty of way marked trails through lush farmland and up onto the moors. For the cyclist, the quiet lanes make for some idyllic trips whilst the national cycle network is well developed and has many traffic free sections.
Attractions and Theme Parks - From Jumping off cliffs, wakeboarding and cycling, the Raging River Watercoaster to rescued seals, a satellite earth station to an Elizabethan manor, King Arthurs birthplace to model railways, a cider farm to a pilchard works and of course some rather large greenhouses - Cornwall really does have it all. There is so much to do for all ages whatever the weather.
Food and Drink - Cornwalls best known export is probably not the china clay that makes our paper smooth and white but rather the Cornish Pasty. Whether or not you are a fan of these you really should try a pasty from a small producer - washed down perhaps by some local real ale or a glass of cider. And what could be pleasanter on a sunny afternoon than a clotted cream tea in the dappled shade of a pretty garden?
National Maritime Museum Cornwall - Charting the evolution of the boat. Changing exhibitions include the Vende Globe attempt by Pete Goss and the winning boats from the Sydney Olympics. Explore the sea in one of only three underwater viewing galleries in the world, enjoy the views from the 29m lookout tower or experience being in a virtual storm at sea.

For some very pretty photography and more ideas you may like to visit Ultimate Cornwall

We advise that for a relaxed experience you aim to keep travelling by road to a minimum, there are lots of places to explore very close to each site. For ideas local to each place, please visit our St Germans Area, St Germans Village, Hayle Town and Hayle Area pages. For Day Trips by Train, go to our Day Trips By Train page, or download our Daytrips by Train PDF book.

More ideas for holiday planning can be found on The St Germans Local Area Page and The Hayle Local Area Page
Take a look at things to do in Cornwall on our Railholiday Pinterest page.

Bodmin & Wenford Railway

Discover Cornwall gardens - offering a pick up service from train stations in Cornwall.

Discover Cornwall gardens - offering a pick up service from train stations in Cornwall.

Contact Railholiday by email at office@railholiday.co.uk or by phone on (+44) 01503 230783. © Copyright 2018