There are so many great places to visit in South Cornwall, planning your trip can be confusing. Let me help you with some of my favourite spots, to add to your itinerary.
In May I went to Devon and Cornwall for a few weeks, before the big rush. As a child I think I visited every year from about 10 to 18, at least once. It was our holiday place. Since then though, I hadn’t been back. I wanted to but exotic, abroad locations just took over.
I’m so glad I made the time to visit somewhere I had so many happy memories from as a child. I did a road trip around Cornwall (and a Devon road trip too) and visited the places in south Cornwall I knew as a child, and a few I’d never even heard before.
I wanted to share the knowledge, so here are the best places to visit in South Cornwall according to me, and my May trip.
Best Places to Visit in South Cornwall
If you’re wondering where to go in South Cornwall, let me show you around…
1. Walk the Roseland Heritage Coast
The Roseland Heritage Coast is a really beautiful place to visit in Cornwall. I found it to be a bit quieter than the rest, and the scenery as you walk the coast was just incredible. So many beautiful views to enjoy along those paths.
There are a few popular places to visit along the Roseland Heritage Coast – St Mawes, Portscatho and Carne Beach to name just a few. It’s a popular route for walkers, with good reason.
Personally, I loved the little fishing village of St Mawes – had a lovely crab sandwich from a stand on the pier there.
Where to stay on the Roseland Heritage Coast
If you book a nice holiday cottage on the Roseland Heritage Coast, you could spend a few days exploring around.
This 3-person Grade II Listed cottage in Portscatho looks fab. ‘Byways’ is just off the village square and is a traditional fisherman’s cottage with two bedrooms, a shower room and a kitchen with a fireplace and original inglenook bread oven. It’s well located to explore the rest of the coast.
2. Visit Charlestown, St Austell
Charlestown in St Austell has a super cool Shipwreck Museum that’s well worth a look around. It’s also very pretty, with some great craft shops and arty boutiques.
We ate at The Longstore here and the food was FAB. Great cocktails too. There are quite a few restaurants dotted around the harbour so take your pick, although you’ll definitely have to book during the holidays.
Alternatively, pick up some fish and chips and enjoy on a bench!
You’re very close to the Eden Project here, so check out their line up for any special events or Cornwall festivals.
For more on this area known as the Cornish Riviera, check out this guide to South Cornwall by Classic Cottages.
3. Relax in Polperro for the day
Polperro is beautiful. Honestly, I don’t think I was prepared for how cute it was before I visited! We popped in after hearing it was a ‘top place to see in South Cornwall’ and definitely weren’t disappointed. Well, actually, the only disappointment was that we’d already eaten as there were some super cute places there.
Keep walking round till you reach the end, then double back, then commit to a restaurant, would be my recommendation. I was happy just wandering the streets here, but you can do watersports, hire a boat or visit some of the lovely museums.
There’s a lovely spot for some Cornwall glamping near here.
4. Shop in the city of Truro
I was a lot more impressed by Truro than I expected! I thought it was a great city – the perfect size, scenic, and everything you need from city life. I loved how higgledy piggledy the city is, and how the buildings were so different from each other and uniquely decorated.
Highlights of Truro for me would be the Lemon Street Market – some great shops in there – and the Cornish Food Hall at Waitrose. I thought this was a great idea and collaboration. As part of the big Waitrose store they’d given a section to local producers to sell their products, making it all the more interesting for everyone.
Give yourself a least a day or two in Truro to check out some of the great restaurants, and to wander the shops too. Oh, the Truro Tourist Information Centre is actually really great too – some great artwork and gifts in there!
Where to stay near Truro
Just two miles from Truro, you’ll find The Pavilion holiday cottage. The striking design pays tribute to the building and area’s agricultural past, with rough timber-clad walls combined with a modern design. Stay and you can expect comfy sofas, a woodburner, bi fold doors and a sheltered deck. The bedroom is fabulous.
You’ll be in a great location here, with great surfing beaches nearby, dramatic clifftop footpaths and beachside bars close by. Also, the wonders of Truro are just up the road!
5. Walk round Fowey
When I visited Fowey it was in the (gossipy) news thanks to Dawn French selling her home there, and oh my days I wish I’d had the money to buy it. She had an incredible location, just to the right of this photo. Promise I didn’t go looking for it, I just spotted it from what I’d seen on the photos.
Anyway, Dawn French HQ or not, Fowey is FAB. We walked around the main area (be prepared for hills) and had a crab sandwich on the harbour (another one, yes). We’d planned to visit the English Heritage site, St Catherine’s Castle, but got halfway there and realised it’d be pretty far and we definitely didn’t have time. Nice to stop at this beach though, which seemed pretty popular with families.
I’d definitely recommend visiting Fowey as one of the best places to visit in South Cornwall.
Where to stay in Fowey
Just two miles from Fowey you’ll find The Sheiling. This beautiful cottage sleeps 5 and is just a two-minute walk from a little harbour. The chalet bungalow is spacious inside, making it the perfect cottage for families and small groups of friends. It’s a place to relax with a cute pond and a tiny stream on the grounds.
The cottage is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with pretty footpaths and riverbanks just a stone’s throw away. Also, Fowey a two mile walk (or drive!).
Read more on the best places to stay in Cornwall!
6. Hang out in Falmouth
I know I’m saying this about everywhere, but I thought Falmouth was great. We had two days there and had a good look around the town. The National Maritime Museum was pretty cool. Visit and you’ll get a good view under the water, and from the sky too. Everything you could ever want to know about Falmouth’s maritime history was contained in these walls.
The area around the National Maritime Museum was lovely if you wanted to eat too. You can just see the museum to the right of the photo above, with the paddleboarders floating on by.
The high street had some great homewares shops, clothes shops, and wonderful ice cream shops too. Falmouth is great!
Where to stay in Falmouth
The Lookout in Falmouth is a great cottage if you want Falmouth to be the centre of your trip to South Cornwall. From here you can enjoy incredible panoramic views over Falmouth Harbour from the bungalow, and enjoy the views from the spacious terrace too. If you can appreciate a well pruned garden, you’ll love it here.
Inside it’s just as impressive with a contemporary style and space for 4. It’s just a two-minute stroll to Falmouth centre and all of its wonderful shops, bars, pubs and restaurants. Sandy Gyllyngvase beach and the popular Gylly Beach Cafe are less than a mile away and Swanpool beach and nature reserve slightly further
7. Relax in Mevagissey
Mevagissey was actually one of my favourite places in all of Cornwall, never mind just the south coast. I had THE best meal here at The Sharksfin, fish tacos and a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Oh, it was fabulous. Looking out over the harbour as well. Check out my guide for what to do in Mevagissey, if you’re planning on visiting anytime soon.
Once you’ve eaten all you can, or maybe before if you’re drinking, you can walk along the pier and up the steps for an amazing view over Mevagissey Harbour. Don’t leave till you’ve done this!
And then there are some great little shops here, more ice cream, and some great spots for photos too.
Where to stay in Mevagissey
Trelowth Chapel in Mevagissey sleeps 4 and makes for a great base to explore the surrounding area. You’ll be in the picturesque fishing harbour and be close to beautiful Heligan Gardens.
The cottage is a semi-detached chapel conversion with high attention to detail. Picture high hallways, stunning soaring arched windows and an ensuite master bedroom. You’ll also have your own little paved courtyard too – magical!
Places to visit in South Cornwall
As you can see from the list, there are some great places to visit in South Cornwall. All you need is a sunny week and it’s one of the best places in England!
This post was sponsored by Classic Cottages, check out their website for all your South Cornwall holiday cottage needs!