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Now, there are many places I dream of visiting once we can eventually leave Australia. One of those destinations is the United Kingdom. I’d love to spend more time exploring different parts of the UK I haven’t been to yet and you know, living the life in Edinburgh! Today we’re talking about Cornwall in southwest England, an area I’ve only briefly visited in the past. This blog post features not only 10 of the best places to stay in Cornwall on a short break, but some of the most amazing Cornwall holiday cottages from Classic Cottages too. A girl can dream, right?
10 great places to stay in Cornwall
St Ives has to be one of Cornwall’s most beloved destinations. It’s easy to see why, though, with its sandy beaches, idyllic harbour and quaint cottage-lined cobblestone streets. While you could spend your entire short break in St Ives alternating between the beaches and beachfront eateries, other things to do in St Ives include visiting the Tate St Ives, seeing the seals on Seal Island and hiking to Zennor.
My cottage pick: 4 Bowling Green had me at mini library! But seriously, this terraced cottage has a prime location in the centre of St Ives, with multiple beaches within walking distance.
Dating back to medieval times and found on the Cornwall coast, Mevagissey is known for its picturesque twin harbours. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars lining the village’s pretty streets, but you can’t visit Mevagissey without indulging in a seafood feast. Top nearby attractions include Caerhays Castle and Gardens and The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
My cottage pick: Ever wanted to stay in a former marine officer’s house, because you can totally do just that in Mevagissey at the Harbour Master’s House. Once you see the view, you won’t be disappointed.
Way back in 2007, I stayed with family in Saltash and took the train down to Penzance for the day. One of the best places to stay in Cornwall, if visiting in summer, you could easily spend a day at Jubilee Pool, which is actually the UK’s largest art deco seawater swimming pool. But other things to do in Penzance include window shopping down Chapel Street and visiting The Exchange (a contemporary art gallery). While in Penzance, you can’t leave without seeing St Michael’s Mount in nearby Marazion either.
My cottage pick: I cannot resist a place called The Chocolate House and wow, it looks like the quintessential Cornish cottage. The renovated 18th-century cottage features the most amazing ornamental entrance sign and inside you’re greeted with its original charm. Penzance is also on your doorstep, so what more could you want?
Widemouth Bay is a small village in North Cornwall. It’s primarily known for its large family-friendly beach, which has hundreds of rock pools to explore once the tide recedes. Fortunately, it’s also located only three miles from Bude, which has all the amenities you need for a Cornwall short break.
My cottage pick: The Granary is a converted farmhouse with a sunny conservatory, large arched windows in the sitting room, multiple bedrooms and, you know, a large outdoor hot tub. Sign me up!
A small but picturesque medieval fishing village, Port Isaac is the former home of Doc Martin. When my parents visited Cornwall in 2008, my dad fell in love with Port Isaac, with its Mediterranean-inspired waters and narrow cobblestone streets. Nearby, you’ll find sandy beaches, a coastal path for cliff top walks and more fishing villages, if one isn’t enough!
My cottage pick: When they say go big or go home, I think they were referring to Silver Spray. I mean, look at this 7-bedroom holiday home’s scenic location. Fortunately, you can take in the views from nearly every room or the spacious patio and terrace. With Port Isaac on your doorstep, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Boscastle is one of the lesser-known spots in Cornwall, but what a cute little Cornish village! It’s known as Britain’s answer to Salem, thanks to being home to The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. But we also can’t overlook medieval-era Boscastle Harbour, the view from Willapark and Cornish cream tea from the Harbour Light Tea Garden. Nearby you’ll also find Tintagel Castle, St Nectan’s Glen and the village of Crackington Haven.
My cottage pick: Harbour Light is the definition of charming. With river views, a bright interior and a Greek-inspired courtyard, Harbour Light ticks all the boxes.
Another one of the most popular places to stay in Cornwall on a short break is undoubtedly the seaside town of Newquay. Home to nearly seven miles of sandy beaches, popular destinations include Crantock, Westgate Bay and Fistral Beaches. Newquay is overflowing with family-friend attractions too, including Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay Zoo and Lappa Valley Steam Railway.
My cottage pick: Okay, I love both the exterior and colourful interior at Fourshore. Plus, you’ll find it in the centre of Newquay and less than a minute’s walk from the South West Coast Path, which sounds like my kind of place.
Just down the coast from Penzance, Mousehole is definitely one of the most underrated places to stay in Cornwall. You’ll find rows of cottages overlooking picturesque Mousehole Harbour, as well as plenty of seafood establishments. Just don’t miss visiting The Mousehole Gift Shop! If you visit Mousehole before Christmas, you can also enjoy seeing the village aglow, thanks to thousands of Christmas lights. It’s a sight to see and one this Christmas enthusiast is adding to her bucket list!
My cottage pick: Thimble Cottage is like my Cornwall cottage dream come true. From the original features to the sea views from every room to that terrace, I’m sold. Plus, it’s located in the heart of Mousehole.
One of Cornwall’s biggest towns, it’s fortunately still easy to navigate Falmouth on foot. Top attractions include Pendennis Castle, Fox Rosehill Gardens, Helford River Cruises and the National Maritime Museum. Like many Cornwall destinations, Falmouth is home to popular beaches and there are plenty of water activities available. This includes yacht charters, paddle boarding and kayak tours, and wildlife cruises. Falmouth is definitely one of the best places to stay in Cornwall this summer.
My cottage pick: The Old School House is a part of a converted Victorian school building and I’m here to tell you the interior is just as charming as the exterior. Set above the town centre, this Cornish holiday cottage features sweeping ocean views and you’re only a few minutes’ walk from all-important amenities like shops, pubs and restaurants.
The Lizard Peninsula
The most southerly point of mainland Britain, The Lizard is home to breathtaking hidden coves, rolling hills, wooded valleys and sandy beaches. Basically, it’s a must-visit destination in Cornwall. You won’t want to miss seeing Kynance Cove’s mesmerising turquoise water, the charming village of Coverack and Mullion Cove. Other things to do around The Lizard Peninsula include indulging in an ice cream sundae from Roskilly’s Farm, spending the day at Flambards Theme Park and diving.
My cottage pick: You have to check out the views towards Kynance Cove from The Lookout House. I mean, the interior also looks beautifully styled, but I’m here for those ocean views and rolling hills.
I hope this post has helped you decide on your next Cornish holiday! If you need more English inspiration, check out my London solo travel guide, Oxford day trip guide, my one-day itinerary and free things to do in York posts, and my guide to the best Bristol day trips.
Thank you to Classic Cottages for partnering with me on this post and supplying the images.