8 Best Cornwall Seaside Towns You Have To See

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful parts of England. Expect endless coastline to explore, amazing hiking and walking routes, and plenty of picturesque Cornwall seaside towns to discover – here are the top ones for your list.

8 of the Best Cornwall Seaside Towns You Have To See

There are so many cute seaside towns around England, but if you want to give yourself the very best chance of getting that holiday weather we all strive for, Cornwall is one of the best places to go in the UK.

Think plush palm trees that you won’t believe have sprouted in England, tiny islands off the coast, and lots of holiday memories to make whether you’re visiting with your other half, friends, or the whole family with kids in tow.

There’s so much to learn about Cornwall (check out our blog on 25 interesting facts about Cornwall!) and so many unique days out in Cornwall to try out. But if seaside towns are your idea of a great day out, then we’ve rounded up 8 of the very best places to visit to get your fix of beachfront vibes, ice cream, water sports, coastal walks, great seafood, and… baby lobsters? Keep reading to find out where to see these, and discover our best Cornwall seaside towns…

Top Cornwall seaside towns

The best seaside towns in Cornwall to explore.

1. Falmouth

Routinely voted one of the best places to live in Cornwall by the sea, Falmouth is a busy town on the coast that continues to attract many visitors throughout the year. With a bustling harbour, great beaches within easy reach, and a station that connects to cities like London, it’s a popular destination for anyone seeking some sun in the south.

Falmouth, Cornwall, England

A walk around the harbour is a lovely afternoon, but you can also visit Falmouth Art Gallery or the National Maritime Museum Cornwall if you want to add some culture and learning to your day. This is a nice place to come with friends or family, as you can walk around the beautiful Trebah Garden, stop off at Star Glazers Pottery Painting Cafe to do some arts and crafts, and enjoy a bite to eat at Beerwolf Books, where you can browse their bookshelves for your next great read.

Take the 20-ish minute walk to Pendennis Castle, a 16th-century fortress apparently built by Henry VIII, or if you’d like to cuddle something cute, you can drive out to the Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary to see the adorable donkeys.

This is definitely one of the best Cornwall seaside towns, and with Gyllyngvase Beach and stunning Swanpool Beach nearby for some sunbathing and swimming, you could easily spend a whole weekend there if you fancy it.

2. Marazion

Marazion is one of the best towns in Cornwall to visit for a day out. For such a small town, there are lots of things to do to entertain all interests. Plus it’s postcard-perfect so don’t forget your camera for this one.

Marazion, Cornwall, England

Take a walk around Marazion Marsh nature reserve to see the fascinating marshland and spot some wildlife. You can also spend time on beautiful sandy Marazion Beach, which doesn’t get quite as busy as the bigger Cornwall town beaches in summer.

Paddleboarding in Marazion is always a fun time, and it’s one of our 8 best spots for paddleboarding in Cornwall. Ocean High Cornwall is the place to go for any stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, kite surfing and other water sports, whether you’re a total beginner in need of instruction or you want to rent equipment to do it yourself.

This is definitely one of the best Cornwall seaside towns, but while you’re in Marazion you must walk across the causeway to the tiny island of St Michael’s Mount for amazing views of the coastline and to see the castle there. You can also enjoy afternoon tea at the Harbour Loft on St Michael’s Mount, which is a really special activity if you’re celebrating something.

3. Polzeath

If you’re looking at a Cornwall map, you may struggle to find Polzeath hidden beneath the famous Pentire Point, but you won’t want to miss this beautiful spot.

Polzeath is one of the best Cornwall seaside towns if you love walking and surfing, but if you’re looking for something a bit different than the other seaside towns, it also has a few weird and wonderful activities that you won’t find anywhere else…

Polzeath, Cornwall, England

Don your hiking boots and walk out to Pentire Point and The Rumps for epic views, as it’s one of the most famous things to see in the area. When you come back, treat yourself to a lie out on Polzeath Beach to catch some rays, and if you’re into wellness, you can book with Saunas By The Sea who operate on the beach there.

One of the most unique things to do in the area is about a 30-minute drive from Polzeath, but we promise it’s worth it. Visit the National Lobster Hatchery to find out how they’re enhancing the lobster population in our oceans, and say hello to the teeny weeny lobster babies. Whether you’re into sealife or not, you won’t leave here without learning something about these nippy creatures.

4. Newquay

Newquay is easily one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the country, so it had to be on our list of the best Cornwall seaside towns to visit, especially when the weather’s nice. It’s a great family-friendly destination too, so load the kids into the car and drive to this fun spot.

Newquay, Cornwall, England

No family holiday to Newquay would be complete without a trip to the beach, and luckily here you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to sandy places to lie out, with Newquay Beach, Porth Beach and Great Western Beach all super close and perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

There’s also a long stretch of coast called Fistral Beach, which just happens to be one of our 8 beaches to visit for the best surfing in England. If you love to be out on the waves, check out what’s going on there as you can rent boards and get lessons at the surf school. Newquay is also brilliant for other watersports, plus lots of health and wellness activities like a breathwork school and spas.

If you want even more exercise, strap on your walking boots and walk out to Headland where you can marvel at the vast expanse of sea. And if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ll love the Newquay Coasteering Adventure.

When the kids need a little more entertainment, Newquay Zoo is a great spot to visit, or you can take a drive to the The Cornish Birds of Prey Centre.


Arggg! Pirate enthusiasts will love the most westerly major town in Cornwall… Penzance. Well know for being the setting of the fictional pirates in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance, this beautiful town is well worth a visit (even if you’re not into pirates…)

Penzance, Cornwall, England

A walk along Chapel Street will offer enough things to do when in Penzance, such as the Egyptian House, and The Admiral Benbow public house, which was apparently the inspiration for Treasure Island’s ‘Admiral Benbow Inn’. Literary lovers may also be interested to see Branwell House, which has connections to the famous Brontë sisters.

Check out Penlee House Gallery & Museum, take a drive to the National Trust site, Trengwainton Garden, walk around Tanglewood Wild Garden which is simply beautiful, or visit nearby Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens.

You can finish your day with some wine tasting at Polgoon Vineyard… how could Penzance not be one of the best Cornwall seaside towns?!


If you’re looking at a Cornwall coastal towns map, Porthcurno is almost as far down as you can go. This stunning part of the country just had to be on our list of the best Cornwall seaside towns, as it’s situated close to one of the most iconic English landmarks.

Porthcurno, Cornwall, England

Many people visit Porthcurno to take the 10-minute drive to Land’s End, which is known as the most westerly point of mainland England. This is a great activity for the whole family, where you can get your picture taken next to the famous signpost, and visit some of the shops and restaurants nearby.

Back in Porthcurno, the beach is beautiful for a day out, but if you’re into surfing, Sennen Cove is an absolute must-visit as it’s famed for its waves and one of the 8 best beaches for surfing in England.

If we could recommed one thing to do near Porthcurno, it has to be the amazing Minack Theatre. Even if you’re not interested in going to the theatre, we promise this is an incredible experience no matter what show you end up seeing. The unique, open-air theatre venue is built into the side of a cliff, and it remains both a working theatre and tourist attraction. Definitely visit this brilliant, quirky theatre, but if you’re staying for a show be sure to bring sunscreen if it’s hot, as in many of the seats you’ll have no cover.


Looe is on our list of the best Cornwall seaside towns, but the waterfront is technically on the East Looe River where you’ll find the picturesque harbour. East Looe Beach does face the ocean, however, and is lovely to sit out on if you’re in the mood for a beach day.

Looe, Cornwall, England

When you’re on East Looe Beach, the rock pools are particularly fascinating. They appear only twice a day of course, but if you time your visit right the kids will absolutely love discovering lots of odd-looking, curious creatures hiding inside.

Looe offers a great range of attractions for the whole family. You can take a hike along the South West Coast Path and see if you can spot Pen Rocks and Limmicks Rocks for some photos, plus walk around the harbour to look at the boats. Grab some tasty fish and chips from Catch, or have a sit-down dinner at The Sardine Factory. After dinner, why not stop into Riverside Amusements for some games with the family.

8St Ives

One of the places you’ve probably heard of in Cornwall is one you just have to see at one point in life. It is, of course, the beautiful St Ives. This is one of the best Cornwall seaside towns as it attracts so many tourists every year due to its postcard-perfect look.

St Ives, Cornwall, England

With cute pastel-coloured houses and plenty to do in town and by the waterside, St Ives is a great spot to visit. Check out the modern art museum Tate St Ives to get your fix of culture if you’re staying in the town, or head down to Carbis Bay for amazing views and a beach you’ll swear is abroad.

If you want to stay closer to St Ives, you can sit out on Porthminster Beach (which is one of our 4 best beaches in the whole of Cornwall), or head to Harbour Sand, Porthmeor Beach, or Porthgwidden Beach, all of which are gorgeous — you’ll struggle to pick a beach with so many options! There’s lots of surfing in the area too, and if you fancy a walk you can take the trek to see Man’s Head or St Ives Head.

In the evening, take a walk around St Ives Harbour and stop into the Rum and Crab Shack for dinner, as it has a quirky atmosphere and the most amazing seafood.

Best Cornwall seaside towns

If you’re looking for Cornwall towns with seaside vibes and plenty to do, this list has your holiday or day out covered, and then some.

Why not book to visit more than one on your trip to Cornwall? Though they all have a similar atmosphere, each town on this list is unique in its own way with lots of attractions that make it stand out from the rest.

Whether you’re into surfing, walking, sunbathing, paddleboarding, eating seafood or one of the many other activities you can get up to in Cornwall, this list of the best Cornwall seaside towns is bursting with things to do that you’ll absolutely love.

Quick List: Cornwall Seaside Towns

  1. Falmouth
  2. Marazion
  3. Polzeath
  4. Newquay
  5. Penzance
  6. Porthcurno
  7. Looe
  8. St Ives
Carol Burns

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