Cornwall is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in England. I’m not sure whether it’s the quiet little fishing villages to visit in Cornwall, the gorgeous cottages lined up along the seafronts or the beautiful stretches of coastline that turn turquoise when the sun peaks from behind the clouds. There’s something very warm and welcoming about Cornwall and it’s the most beautiful place to kick back in the summer or snuggle up in during the winter months.
If you’re heading to the UK and you’re looking for some gorgeous beaches, a place to catch some swell or somewhere to soak up the ocean or countryside vibes, Cornwall, located in the South West of England, caters for all of the above… in abundance.
Cornwall is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK and it’s not hard to see why. There are endless coves and stunning beaches to explore in Cornwall and enough activities to keep even the more adventurous traveller out there occupied. See my bucket list of 20 epic adventures to go in in Cornwall here.
In this blog post, I am going to share with you 10 beautiful little villages you must visit in Cornwall but again, these are just a handful of my favourites. On a road trip through Cornwall, you can expect to meet many a quaint and colourful village as you venture through the lush countryside, along the rugged coastlines. Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world and I’ve just spent 6 weeks exploring it in my campervan so prepare yourself to add it to your bucket list by the end of this post…
Other travel guides and blog posts that you may like:
- The best things to do and see in Padstow, Cornwall
- 10 beautiful little villages you must visit in Cornwall
- The best and most beautiful beaches to visit in Cornwall
- The best things to do in Cornwall, England
- A 4-day Cornwall road trip itinerary: Padstow, Lands End and Eden Project
- A guide to exploring Dartmoor National Park, Devon
- 18 unique things to do in England
- The ultimate guide to planning a UK road trip
10 beautiful little villages you must visit in Cornwall
1. St. Ives
St. Ives is one of the most popular locations in Cornwall and attracts an incredible amount of tourists during the summer months. So many, I’d recommend not expecting to find a parking space! A great option is to park at St.Erth or Hayle and grab the short scenic coastal train into the centre.
St. Ives is a gorgeous working harbour with a number of beautiful beaches, art galleries and restaurants to enjoy. My favourite beach is Porthmeor beach. I’ve spent many an afternoon reading a book at Portmeor Beach Cafe.
2 miles east of Penzance is the ancient market town of Marazion and the gateway to the famous national trust managed St. Michaels Mount. At low tide you can walk across the causeway to access the fairytale castle and gardens and otherwise, small ferry boats operate for a small fee. The beach here is beautiful and boasts views across St. Michaels Mount. It’s a gorgeous day out!
If you fancy Marazion being your base whilst exploring Cornwall (I wouldn’t blame you), my mum actually has a stunning cottage here that she rents out on Airbnb.
This charming fishing port is a world-class destination for the seafood lovers of you out there and one of the prettiest villages to visit in Cornwall. Namely Rick Stein’s restaurant. We chose to dine at the Seafood Bar which is a casual, come as you like, dining experience perfect for a snack or a full-blown feed as we did. The crevettes, lobster and beetroot cured salmon were my favourite dishes here. If you’re a massive seafood lover consider booking onto one of Rick Stein’s cooking classes here.
Top tip: Grab the best pasty of your life at The Chough Bakery.
Padstow features in my 3-day Cornwall itinerary and my 4-day Cornwall road trip itinerary.
4. St. Just in Roseland
I passed through this gorgeous little village on the Roseland Peninsula for the first time last week after spending the morning in St. Mawes a village 2 miles south. St Just in Roseland is a village and civil parish in Cornwall just 6 miles south of Truro and is home to the most beautiful churchyard I’ve ever set eyes on.
The 13th Century church is set above the tidal creek of St Just Pool and has a beautifully kept churchyard filled with luxury sub-tropical species. It’s worth a stop off if you’re in the area. There’s a lovely tea room beside it to enjoy tea and a slice of cake afterwards.
Just south of Looe is the smaller port of Polperro. I’m yet to visit but I’m due to pass through next week so stay tuned for the images!
I’ve heard the narrow streets and pretty cottages remain undeniably attractive despite the number of tourist shops that have filled the streets. Many of the cottages that Polperro is home to are covered with rainbows of flowers in summer and because the streets are so narrow, cars are banned which makes Polperro an ideal place to explore on foot.
St Mawes is a small village opposite and with views across Falmouth also on the Roseland Peninsula on the south coast of Cornwall. I arrived here in the morning last week and was welcomed by sights of friendly locals walking to the village shop to get their morning paper and a group of young adventurers heading out for their morning sailing lesson. It’s has a beautiful sailing vibe and has a little row of village shops where you can grab something fresh from the bakery should you time your visit in the morning too.
If you stay for longer than the morning, be sure to check out Hotel Tresanton rooftop for a drink, St. Mawes Castle and perhaps you could even take the ferry across to Falmouth for an afternoon of shopping!
7. St. Agnes
Sitting in both a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a World Heritage Site, St.Agnes is just a 30-minute drive south of Newquay and is one of the smallest most gorgeous villages I’ve ever set eyes on. There are moments you question whether your car will actually fit through the narrow streets but what’s a Cornish village if you aren’t breathing in a little as you pass through.
I can highly recommend the coffee at The Sorting Office coffee (they do oat milk!), the acai bowls at Genki, the village bakery and the St Agnes Beacon and Wheal Coates circular walk. Some of the most stunning panoramic views I’ve found in Cornwall, particularly at sunset!
8. St Just-in-Penwith
St Just-in-Penwith is the nearest town to Land’s End. It’s the perfect village in Cornwall to stay in if you’re exploring the south. St Just-in-Penwith was originally the centre of the tin mining industry in this part of Cornwall. The town’s history is reflected in the nature of the streets of granite cottages.
Make sure you check out Cape Cornwall whilst you’re in the area, Sennen Cove for surfing and it goes without saying, Pedn Vounder beach.
9. Port Issac
Port Issac has a magical feeling about it. There’s something about it that doesn’t feel real. It feels like you’re walking onto a film set… Oh wait, you are! But it’s real-life and really lived in quintessentially fishing village. Port Issac is where ITV’s Television Show, Doc Martin was filmed so if you’re a fan… make sure you go on a walking tour whilst you’re here!
Nestled in a small bay on the jagged Northern coastline of Cornwall, the small village of Port Isaac is postcard-perfect. The cobbled streets feel like a gorgeous walk through history and rumour has it, the fish finger sandwich from Chapel Cafe is to die for! It’s one of the cutest villages to visit in Cornwall, so add it to your Cornwall bucket list now!
Portscatho lies in the South-westerly corner of Gerrans Bay on the Roseland peninsula and is a small fishing village. Though Portscatho features under number 10, you could say I’ve saved the best til last. There were so many things I loved about my day here, notably the coastal walk stopping by The Hidden Hut for lunch, the sunset ritual I witnessed where locals and holidaymakers filled the atmosphere with laughter and adventure as they jumped off the pier and the chocolate brownie from Tatam’s in the heart of the village.
I’ll definitely be back for more!
What’s your favourite village or town in Cornwall?
I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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