The Cornish stretch of coastline is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. If there was ever a place in the UK where we would like to settle down, we would choose Cornwall in a heartbeat. Cornwall’s coastal towns and villages are picture perfect with whitewashed fishermen’s cottages, sandy beaches and picturesque harbours with bobbing fishing boats. Cornwall’s villages are bursting with history, majestic ruins, scenic walks, incredible local cuisine and quaint seaside holiday cottages. Each town and village has their own unique character, beauty and reasons to stay, and so here is our guide to some of the most charming and picturesque villages in Cornwall.
Visitors to Cornwall can fly into Newquay Airport which is the gateway to exploring all Cornwall has to offer. We recommend Londoners and those travelling through London stay at the Park Grand Heathrow Montcalm hotel prior to their flight in order to get into that perfect holiday mode!
St Ives is one of the most popular staycation destinations in England. This charming town is a mixture of fishermen’s cottages, winding streets with shops, cafes, boutiques and museums, a picturesque working harbour and beautiful sandy beaches lined with striped deck chairs. St Ives is bustling with activity during the summer months, and peaceful during winter. Whatever the season, you will enjoy a quintessential British vacation by the sea in this pretty town with stunning views.
The tiny port of Boscatle, with its natural harbour is located along a stunning section of coastline, just five miles north of Tintagel, where you’ll find mysterious ruins along the rugged landscape and stories of Arthurian knights and battles at Tintagel Castle! The whole area has been labelled an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and you can join boat trips from the harbour and if you’re lucky you might spot Razorbills, Guillemots and Puffins! Boscatle is shrouded in romance and mystery with plenty of medieval myths and a museum dedicated to all things Witchcraft and Magic!
Rock is actually nothing like its name, with its iconic mile long white, sandy beach which is bordered by unspoiled sand dunes. Rock’s beautiful blue waters are sheltered, making it an ideal place for watersports and a relaxing holiday by the sea. Rock is tiny and has a cute village shop which stocks local produce, but for anything else you’ll need to jump on the ferry which carries passengers to the nearby larger town of Padstow.
Padstow is a charming harbourside town that is known world-wide for its incredible seafood restaurants, particularly thanks to chef Rick Stein who helped put it on the culinary map! Padstow is picture perfect with beautiful fishermen cottages that overlook the harbour and sailing boats which bob in the harbour when they aren’t out catching fish for that night’s dinner. Padstow is a favourite spot with holiday makers and has seven golden sandy beaches within five minutes of the town.
A visit to Mousehole will leave you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time with its narrow cobbled streets, tiny cottages, fishing boats and picturesque harbour. Mousehole also has a lovely beautiful open-air theatre which overlooks the coast, an aquarium and is world famous for its Christmas lights!
Port Isaac, on the north coast not far from Padstow, has been a working fishing village since the early 14th century! It is a quintessential Cornish fishing village that seems almost frozen in time. Port Isaac has been put on the map by being the main location for the TV show Doc Martin. You’ll love the spectacular views over the harbour and whilst the local beach is a shingle beach, there are several sandy beaches nearby including Polzeath, with is very popular with surfers.
Fowey is a small port town that dates back to 1300 and has a fascinating maritime history with charming medieval and Georgian buildings. Fowey is also located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and this colourful harbour is a gem on the Cornish coast for enjoying local seafood, architecture, history and of course breathtaking views!
Mevagissey is a colourful fishing village whose ancient port dates back to at least 1313. There have also been findings in the area from the Bronze Age, leaving people to believe there may have been a settlement prior to 1313! Mevagissey is picture-perfect and is said to have some of Cornwall’s best seafood restaurants.
Looe has been a favourite seaside destination since Victorian times. Looe boasts a busy fishing port with miles and miles of soft, sandy beaches and beautiful rock pools that are alive with wildlife, perfect for a family beach day. Looe also has a charming town with plenty of independent shops, restaurants and charming cafes. Locals recommend a boat trip to Looe island which has incredible views that stretch as far as Devon!
Lying south of Looe is the much smaller Polperro, which has been dubbed by many to be one of Cornwall’s prettiest places. During summer, Polperro’s narrow streets are banned to cars, making this Cornish village even more enchanting. Visitors will love the bright white fishermen cottages, winding cobbled streets and picturesque harbour. The village also has a notorious smuggling history which is well-documented by the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing. Polperro is also an artists dream with spectacular land and sea views and there are a number of galleries dotted around the village selling work by local artists. During high tide, natural rock pools form which offer safe places for swimming.
Cadgwith is a pretty fishing village located on the rugged coastline between Lizard and Coverack. Life in Cadgwith began in the medieval times and it still has some original stone and thatch houses from the sixteenth century! Cadgwith has two beautiuful beaches that are separated at high tide by a small headland. Cadgwith is also popular with deep-sea divers who flock there to dive offshore wrecks.
Sennen Cove is known for is spectacular sunsets and thanks to its beautiful sandy beach, it is loved by surfers and beachgoers alike. Despite its popularity, it has still managed to retain its authenticity as a fishing village and visitors will love the long stretches of white sand, charming thatched holiday cottages and the spectacular coastal walk to Land’s End.
Marazion is a popular destination for beach vacations and water sports, and is said to be one of the oldest in Britain! The town is most famous because of the castle and island of St Michael’s Mount and Mount’s Bay is arguably one of the most beautiful bays in the UK, with sandy beaches that offer stunning views towards Lizard Peninsula and Land’s End.
The harbour town of Falmouth is home to the third largest deep water harbour in the world! Falmouth has something for everyone with festivals all year round, watersports, waterfront restaurants serving locally sourced seafood and four world-class beaches nearby! History Buffs will love Pendennis Castle, which is a well-preserved 16th century fortress built by Henry VIII.
Our opinions are as always, our own.