Free things to do in Cornwall

Monday 15 May 2023

Planning your Cornish getaway? It needn’t cost the earth. Here, we share our ideas for the best ways to spend your days – without spending anything at all.

There’s so much to see and do in Cornwall, but with prices rising and everyone counting their pennies, we’re all on the lookout for ways to save money. The good news is that many of the things we love most about our corner of the county are completely free.

Cornwall is famed for its rugged coastline, tucked-away coves and idyllic countryside. So, while you’re here, make the most of its natural bounty. After all, who can put a price on a warm sea breeze or time spent in the sun?


We’re lucky to have Polurrian Cove at the bottom of our garden, meaning the joy of a beach day is right on our doorstep. At low tide, the sea goes out to reveal a wide stretch of golden sand, perfect for embracing your inner child, grabbing sticks or stones, and making some sand art. It’s completely free, surprisingly fun, and if you’re not happy with what you create, it doesn’t matter – the rising tide will take care of it for you.


As beautifully distinctive as it is dramatic, Lizard Point is the British mainland’s most southerly spot. Its cliffs and countryside are teeming with rare wildlife, especially during the summer months. Standing on the rocky outcrop overlooking Ogo Dour Cove, you might spot the most sought-after Cornish bird: the chough (recognisable by its bright red legs and beak). Other winged wonders to look for at Lizard Point include puffins, terns, gannets, skuas and shearwaters.


Prussia Cove (actually four beaches, rather than one) represents the quintessential Cornish fishing coastline, with historic fishing huts, deep-rutted cart tracks in the rocks, and a good slice of smuggling history. If you’re a film fan, you might even recognise the landscape from the 2013 hit Summer in February. As a secluded spot, it’s also an ideal place for a relaxed picnic. The car park is free, but it’s a five-minute walk down to the main beach, Bessy’s Cove, with some clambering over rocks required.


Among Cornwall’s many attractions, there are several that are completely free to visit. The Museum of Cornish Life in Helston provides a snapshot of local life throughout time, as well as activity sheets, dressing up, and a younger children’s play area. Other free-entry sites include Falmouth Art GalleryHeartlands in Redruth, and the Roskilly’s farm in Helston (though you may not be able to resist buying some ice cream!).


All you need is a bit of bait and a fishing line with a small net, and you’ve got a family friendly way to while away an afternoon. Mullion Cove is a good spot to go crabbing; turn up and find yourselves a warm perch on the harbour wall. Visit Cornwall has created a handy guide to crabbing, with all you’ll need to know. Just remember to pop your crabs back in the water when you’ve taken a look at them.


Throughout the year, Cornwall Wildlife Trust hosts a number of wildlife-themed events, many of which are free to join. During the summer, wildlife experts will be hosting marine watch sessions – spotting wildlife such as whales and dolphins – at locations including Rosemullion Head, Penzance and Lizard Point. To find out more, and see what’s on during your visit, check the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s event pages.


And of course, if you’re keen to really capture the sights, sounds and experiences of Cornwall, there’s over a hundred miles of the South West Coast Path to explore. Save yourself the trouble of driving (and the expense of parking) by going on foot and picking up the path from just below the hotel. From there, you can head left towards Mullion Cove and Falmouth or right towards Gunwalloe and Porthleven.


If you’re planning your visit, check our range of packages and special offers. From midweek stays to specially designed breaks, there are so many ways to enjoy the best of Cornwall, right at the heart of one of its most beautiful areas.

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