10 of the best places to stay in Cornwall

Beaches, Coastal

Heading to Cornwall but not sure where to stay? It quite often depends on what you’re planning to do on your holiday so we’ve highlighted some of the most popular places to stay in Cornwall to help you out. This introduction to the Duchy also includes links to other handy info-blogs and print offs that could inspire your plans even further. From forests, to miles of craggy granite coasts, sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages, unique architecture, open moors and much much more, Cornwall is as diverse as anywhere else, but uniquely so.

Introducing Cornwall best towns and villages:


If you’re a bit of a foodie, then Padstow will be a great choice for you. While Rick Stein has left his footprint throughout much of Cornwall, in Padstow you will find four of his restaurants to tempt your taste buds. If you’re a keen cyclist, Padstow is also a great place to stay as it is the start and end of the popular Camel Cycle Trail.


One of the most popular holiday destinations in Cornwall, Newquay is where to head if you enjoy a lively atmosphere, busy bars and water sports. It’s a great place to celebrate a special occasion with a group of friends, like a hen or stag do or even a birthday. Newquay also attracts surfers from around the world for the consistent waves and stunning beaches, hosting surfing events and competitions such as the annual Boardmasters Festival. This October, Newquay welcomes back the BSUPA Kite Surfing National Championships.

St Ives

Home to The Tate, St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth museum and sculpture garden and several smaller galleries, St Ives is the art centre of Cornwall. For art-enthusiasts, St Ives attracts well-known artists, events and exhibitions throughout the year, so you can’t go wrong if you're looking for Cornwall's art scene. Likewise, St Ives is a vibrant and busy seaside town with numerous popular beaches in the area, so if it’s a traditional bucket and spade holiday with your little ones that you are looking for, then St Ives will certainly tick that box. 


For those who enjoy literary history and like to discover the inspiration behind the works of much-loved authors then Fowey is the place to be. Here you can discover Kenneth Graeme’s inspiration behind his famous tale on the delightful Wind in the Willows River Cruise along the Fowey Estuary. Not only that, but you can follow in the footsteps of the well-loved literary name, Daphne Du Maurier, visit her favourite haunts and see where much of her inspiration came from for her writing. With the medieval and Georgian buildings as a romantic backdrop and the winding streets and natural harbour to explore, Fowey is a wonder choice for couples.

Port Isaac

Any idea where that popular TV series about bad-tempered Doc Martin is filmed? Well, if you stay in Port Isaac you might recognise some of the town and maybe even some of the places in the area – see if you can find the house that’s used as the outside of Doc Martin’s house and the surgery! Port Isaac is a great holiday destination if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle. Set along beautiful rugged coastline it’s the perfect spot for walkers, with easy access to the South West Coast Path.


If shopping is a staple of your holiday, then stay near Truro. On top of your usual high street stores, the bustling town offers a popular farmers’ market on Lemon Quay every Wednesday and Saturday, a pannier market and a fantastic array of independent gifts and jewellery stores. Explore the quaint streets and later relax in one of the many bars, restaurants or coffee shops.


If you want an all-round holiday for the whole family then why not try Looe, there is simply loads to do. Active-8 provide all kinds of outdoor activities from horse riding to rock climbing, kayaking and clay pigeon shooting – to name just a few. They have everything to suit families, children, beginners and are a great idea if you’re organising a hen or stag do or perhaps just want to get all your friends together for something a bit different. Check out their website to see the full range of activities they have on offer throughout the year.


For a little bit of an insight into Cornwall’s rich naval history, in Falmouth you will find the National Maritime Museum which, over time, has been the start and finishing points for many historic voyages. Even if history isn’t your thing, Falmouth is a vibrant, creative and exciting town, often hosting big events such as Falmouth Oyster festival. It’s a great one for families because there are so many children’s attractions nearby, boat trips and National Trust properties and houses and gardens with packed event schedules to accommodate the little ones.


The great thing about Bude is that it is located right on the Cornwall and Devon border so you will have the best of both worlds during your holiday. You can choose to explore further into Cornwall or pop over the border and explore the rugged North Devon coastline. If you're holidaying with the family, from the little ones right through to Grandma and Grandad, then Bude is a fantastic choice. Packed with shops, restaurants, cafes, family attractions, things to do and sandy beaches, it doesn't get much better than that. We've also put together an illustrated guide to Bude, which you might find useful.


While much of Cornwall is perfect for a romantic holiday, residing in the shadow of St Michael’s Mount puts Penzance is right up there as one of the first choices for us. St Michael’s Mount is a curious and beautiful island, with a striking castle, stunning views and beautiful scenery. Accessed either by the causeway or by boat, it offers the perfect romantic day together.

Need more information?

If you take your pooch on holiday to Cornwall then check out our Dog-Friendly Days Out in Cornwall blog and if you're a fan of Poldark, you can find the filming locations with our useful blog. If you just want to view our cottages in Cornwall, or find out where else in the county to can stay, view our guide.

Posted by Ed on 15th July 2017