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For other places with the same name, see Cornwall (disambiguation).
The biomes that house the Eden Project, near St. Austell, Mid-Cornwall.

Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow) is a county in the southwest of the United Kingdom. Lying west of Devon from which it is separated by the River Tamar, Cornwall is one of the more isolated and distinctive parts of the United Kingdom but is also one of its most popular with holidaymakers. Its relatively warm climate, long coastline, amazing scenery, and diverse Celtic heritage (combined with tales of smuggling, pirates and King Arthur!) go only part of the way to explaining its appeal.

Cornwall is a popular destination for those interested in cultural tourism, due to its long association with visual and written arts and its wealth of archaeology. Its mining heritage has been recognised by the United Nations (UNESCO). Over 30% of the county is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), giving it national status and protection. Cornwall has always been fiercely proud of its Celtic heritage, and for many residents, their Cornish identity supersedes their Englishness or Britishness.


Wikivoyage divides Cornwall into three regions. The Isles of Scilly are covered in a separate article.

  North Cornwall
the more windswept northern coast along the Celtic Sea and some top surfing areas together with Bodmin Moor and the associated hinterland
  South Cornwall
includes much of Cornwall's stunning English Channel coast from Falmouth to the Devon Border together with Truro
  West Cornwall
the Atlantic tip of the South West Peninsula, leading out to the celebrated Land's End

Towns and cities[edit]

  • 1 Truro — Cornwall's County Town and only city. It has a cathedral and hosts the Royal Cornwall Museum
  • 2 Newquay — former fishing village, now surf capital of the UK and home to Cornwall's international airport
  • 3 Port Isaac — seaside village, often used as a filming location
  • 4 Tintagel — legendary birthplace of King Arthur and seat of the Kings of Cornwall
  • 5 Falmouth — famous for its beaches, it is home to the world's third largest natural harbour
  • 6 St Austell — largest town in the county and home to the Eden Project, the world's largest greenhouse
  • 7 Penzance — pirate central, Penzance is a town long-associated with the arts
  • 8 St Ives — artists' "colony" and home to a branch of the Tate Gallery
  • 9 Mousehole — a charming fishing village, known for its picturesque harbour

Other destinations[edit]

  • The Isles of Scilly, 40 km west of Land's End, are often considered part of Cornwall, but are covered in a separate article due to more involved travel arrangements needed to get in and around them.
  • 1 Land's End — the most westerly point in England, beyond lies the Atlantic Ocean
  • 2 Lizard Lizard (village) on Wikipedia — the most southerly point in Britain
  • 3 Bodmin Moor Bodmin Moor on Wikipedia — a bleak moor to the east of Bodmin made famous by Daphne du Maurier's book Jamaica Inn


Cornish Flag
St. Piran – Cornish patron saint of tin miners
Cornish National Tartan – a popular patriotic design

Cornwall is a county within the United Kingdom. Prince William, by virtue of being heir to the throne, holds the title Duke of Cornwall, and his wife Catherine is the Duchess. The "Duchy of Cornwall" is a crown body that owns land in Cornwall, Devon and other parts of the UK.

The modern English name of the county is thought to come from its old Celtic name, Kernou, meaning "the Horn", referring to its shape. The Celtic name was Latinised to Cornovia or Cornubia. When the Saxons gave the name of Wealas (foreigners) to the Britons, they singled out those who lived in Kernou or Cornubia by the name of Cornu-wealas; their country was thus called Cornuwall or Cornwall. Cornwall is called Kernow in Cornish, a Celtic language related to Welsh and Breton. Many street signs are both in Cornish and English.

Opinion polls place Cornish identity amongst young people at around 40% regarding themselves as Cornish rather than English, with calls for a Cornish assembly or government by some nationalists. Some might take offence to being called English, so avoid using the term and consider using "British" instead.

A common term for tourists is emmet, a Cornish dialect word meaning "ant". The correct Cornish word for ant is actually murrian. Be aware of locals recommending "Porthemmet Beach": it simply means 'tourist beach', and it doesn't exist. Signposts, guides and directions to Porthemmet Beach will direct you out of the county into Devon.

The Cornish have many significant saints. The pre-eminent patron saint is Saint Piran, whose flag, black with a white cross, is widely regarded as the national emblem of Cornwall and can be seen all across the county. It is flown from private homes and Government and public buildings. Saint Piran's Day is widely celebrated on March 5 in Cornwall and amongst the Cornish diaspora around the globe.

Cornwall was a contributor to the Industrial Revolution, being famous particularly for its copper and tin mining. Cornish miners have emigrated to many parts of the world to the extent that the Cornish claim that a mine is defined as being a hole in the ground with a Cornishman at its bottom. The Cornish mines pioneered the use of stationary steam engines to power the mines. The Cornish are extremely proud of their history and heritage, which pre-date the arrival of the Romans or Anglo-Saxons in Britain, and many Cornish people are loyal to their county. You may even see some Cornish people wearing kilts and playing Cornish pipes at cultural and other gatherings. Do not confuse the kilts with Scottish kilts. Cornwall is recognised as a separate nation by many international organisations, including the EU. One such popular organisation is Gorsedh Kernow, aimed at promoting Cornish culture and festivals such as the Gorsedd.

Cornwall has a small but developing lesbian and gay community. Flamboyancy in men may raise some eyebrows (or frowns) but for the most part, is accepted. There is an annual Pride event in Newquay.

Cornwall is home to Poldark, a series of historical novels by Winston Graham. Two TV adaptations of Poldark have been filmed in Cornwall, along with Treasure Island and other classics.

Visitor information[edit]


Everybody in Cornwall speaks English, while a very small minority also speak Cornish. More people speak mainland European languages, notably Polish, than speak Cornish.


The English dialect of Cornwall is distinctive; while to outsiders it sounds similar to other West Country accents, it is thought to have been influenced by Cornish in its phonology and intonation.


Cornish (Kernowek) is a language belonging to the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages, and closely related to Breton and Welsh. It was traditionally the dominant language of Cornwall, though the number of speakers had diminished by the 17th century and it subsequently became extinct in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Cornish was revived in the early 20th century and since then now has government funding with the number of fluent speakers is increasing, being possibly now over 1000, while several thousand more can at least hold a basic conversation in Cornish. Some young people have grown up bilingual in Cornish and English. Bilingual road signs are now more common, and there are full-time language staff at Cornwall Council.

Why not try a few words out while you are there? You might get lucky and get a response in Cornish too.

Bilingual welcome sign in Penzance station
Dydh da (didh dah), literally good day
Good morning
Myttin da (MIT-in dah)
Good afternoon
Gorthuger da (gor-THEW-uhr dah)
Good evening
Nos da (nos dah)
Good bye
Duw genes (dyoo GEH-nehs) if addressing one person
Good bye
Duw genowgh (dyoo GUH-noh-gh) to more than one person
See you!
Dha weles! (dha WEH-lehs)
Mar pleg (mar pleg)
Thank you
Meur ras (muh rass)
Ya (ya)
Na (na)
Cheers! (making a toast)
Yeghes da! (yeckee da)
Cornwall forever!
Kernow bys vyken!

If you want to go deeper, Go Cornish organise regular meetups and other events around the county and also provide many free online resources. You could also tune in to BBC Radio Cornwall on Sunday at 1:55PM for An Nowodhow - the news in Cornish - or check out Radyo an Gernewegva's audio and video programmes.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Regular trains run on the main line from London Paddington (12 daily to Plymouth, 3 hours, 8 daily all the way through Cornwall to Penzance, 5 hours) Bristol, Birmingham etc. to Plymouth, Truro and Penzance. There are also a few branch lines, the most useful linking St Ives to the main line at St Erth, from Truro to Falmouth via Perranwell and Penryn, and from Newquay to Par. There is also an overnight sleeper train which runs Su-F nights to/from London Paddington and Penzance.

Trains from London take about 3 hr 20 min to Plymouth, and 5 hr 30 min to Penzance.

By car[edit]

Cornwall can be accessed by road via the A30 which runs from the end of the M5 at Exeter, all the way through the heart of Devon and Cornwall down to Land's End. It is a grade-separated expressway as far as Carland Cross near Truro (The expressway is expected to be open as far as Camborne (between Redruth and Hayle) by March 2024). You can also get to Cornwall via the A38, crossing the River Tamar at Plymouth via the Tamar Bridge, which levies a toll on eastbound vehicles. On summer Saturdays and during bank holiday weekends roads to Cornwall are usually busy.

By plane[edit]

Cornwall Airport (NQY IATA) in Newquay is the main airport for the county, with year-round flights only from Aberdeen, Alicante, Dublin, London Gatwick, and Manchester. During the summer season, more flights arrive from a wider range of UK and EU airports.

There is also Land's End Airport near Penzance, which has a helipad and runway for general aviation. The only scheduled flights shuttle to and from the Isles of Scilly.

For more flexibility, consider flying into Exeter, Bristol, Bournemouth, Southampton, or one of the London airports.

By coach[edit]

Cornwall is served well by National Express coach services from London Victoria coach station through to Penzance (8-10 hours, £20-25, several times a day as of Jan 2024), and other parts of the UK.

Megabus has frequent service from Bristol to Plymouth for £20 (3.5 hours, Jan 2024).

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Thanks to Transport for Cornwall, all bus tickets are interchangeable across the different companies. The Cornwall All Day ticket allows unlimited travel for a calendar day. As of 2023, fares are £5 for adults and £4 for under-19s. Payment is by cash or contactless. The two main bus companies are:

  • Go Cornwall Bus covers all parts of Cornwall and connects with Plymouth (in Devon).
  • Kernow (part of First Bus) covers western and central Cornwall.

Buses only serve designated stops when in towns; otherwise, you can flag them down anywhere that's safe for them to stop.

By train[edit]

CrossCountry Trains and Great Western Railway operate regular train services between the main centres of population, the latter company also serving a number of other towns on branch lines. For train times and fares visit National Rail Enquiries.

The Cornwall Ranger ticket allows unlimited train travel in Cornwall and Plymouth for a calendar day. As of 2023, this costs £14 for adults and £7 for under-16s.


The Cheesewring at Minions, Bodmin Moor.
St. Michael's Mount lies offshore close to Penzance.

Cornwall boasts many attractions for the traveller, many lying outside of cities and towns amidst the Cornish landscape:

  • Within the 208 m² of the Bodmin Moor, is King Arthur's Hall, a megalithic monument and Brown Willy, the highest point in Cornwall at 417 m (1,368 ft). Dozmary Pool is a small beautiful lake where, according to legend, King Arthur was entrusted with the sword Excalibur. There is also a reputed Beast of the Moor, a large wild-cat that haunts and stalks at night, but is similar in fantasy to the Loch Ness Monster, in that no one can prove it exists, though sightings, theories and track-marks abound.
  • The Eden Project, near St Austell, a fabulous collection of flora from all over the planet housed in two 'space age' transparent domes.
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan - near Mevagissey, 80 acres (32 hectares) of stunning landscaped scenery with a huge complex of walled flower and vegetable gardens
  • Tintagel Castle legendary birthplace of the famous King Arthur and seat of the kings of Cornwall. Earl Richard of Cornwall and King of the Romans built the present medieval castle at the site. Ongoing excavations are revealing a Cornish royal seat of the period 400 to 700 AD.
  • Minack Theatre is an outdoor theatre built by hand into the side of cliff over looking the ocean; between the villages of Porthcurno and St Levan, the theatre includes a museum and offers tours when there are no performances.
  • The Tate St Ives, one of the four Tate galleries in the UK - Modern Art
  • The National Maritime Museum Falmouth. Home of the National Maritime Museum's small boat collection and other exhibits.
  • Mining heritage is evident across the county in the remnants of former tin and copper mines as featured in the 1975 and 2015 TV adaptations of Winston Graham's Poldark. A large selection of Industrial Heritage attractions includes: Geevor Tin Mine, Poldark Mine, King Edward Mine and Crown Hill Mines, Botallack.
  • Communication heritage: due to its geographical location, the county formed the backdrop to major advancements in communication. Visitor sites are The Marconi Centre and the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno. Rising above the Lizard Peninsula can also be seen the large dishes that form part of the Goonhilly Satellite Earth station.

National Trust properties[edit]

  • Antony House near Torpoint: an 18th-century house set within a magnificent landscape garden, still home to the Carew Pole family.
  • St Michael's Mount, Marazion, near Penzance: a rocky island crowned by medieval church and castle, home to a living community.
  • Cotehele - St Dominick, near Saltash: an atmospheric Tudor house with Medieval roots, a mill on a historic quay, a glorious garden with valley views and an expansive estate to explore.
  • Godrevy - Gwithian, near Hayle: stunning mix of long sandy beaches, high cliffs, and smugglers coves.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine, National Trust property at Pendeen
  • Lanhydrock near Bodmin: a magnificent late Victorian country house with garden and wooded estate.
  • Trerice - Kestle Mill, near Newquay: an Elizabethan manor house with fine interiors and delightful garden.
  • East Pool Mine, Pool near Redruth: an impressive Cornish beam engine and industrial heritage at the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
  • Levant Mine and Beam Engine Pendeen : high-up on the exposed cliffs of the 'Tin Coast' and part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. At its heart, the restored 1840s beam engine running on steam.
  • Tintagel Old Post Office: one of the Trust's most delightful medieval buildings, enhanced by a cottage garden.
  • Hawker's Hut: the smallest National Trust property in the country in Morwenstow north of Bude.
  • The Hurlers (Cornish: Hr Carwynnen): a group of three stone circles similar to but smaller than Stonehenge, on the eastern flank of Bodmin Moor. Each stellar alignment was given with tabulated declinations at a date in the range of 2100 to 1500 BC!

National Trust gardens[edit]

  • Trelissick, Feock, near Truro, is a welcoming house and garden set in an estate with stunning maritime views and lovely woodland walks.
  • Glendurgan, Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth, is a historic and exotic wooded valley garden leading down to the River Helford.
  • Trengwainton, Madron is a sheltered garden bursting with exotic trees and shrubs.
Kynance Cove offers great views towards the Lizard.


The South West Coast Path runs along the coastline of Britain’s south-west peninsula. The Cornish section is supposed to be the most scenic (unless you talk to someone in Devon, in which case the Devon part is most scenic). It is particularly scenic around Penwith and the Lizard. The trail takes walkers to busy towns, remote cliffs, beaches, heaths, farms and fishing villages. Walking along it is a great way to experience the region in all its variety. (Walking the entire path takes several weeks, walking on a choice part of it is easier.)

The Camel Trail is an 18-mile (29 km) off-road cycle-track following the scenic estuary of the river Camel from Padstow to Wenford Bridge via Wadebridge and Bodmin.

The Cornish Film Festival is held annually each November around Newquay.

Cornwall, in particular Newquay, is the UK's surfing capital, with equipment hire and surf schools present on many of the county's beaches, and events like the UK championships or Boardmasters festival.


Cornwall has become famous for its Michelin-starred seafood restaurants, with Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein opening swanky restaurants in the county/country. Cornwall may have the most distinct and finest cuisine of all Britain, and a number of regional specialities, such as:


Cornish Pasty
  • Cornish Caudle Chicken Pie.
  • Cornish Pasty. A semi-circular pocket of soft or flakey pastry, usually filled with meat, turnip, onion and potatoes with a crimped crust to hold whilst munching. Traditionally, the pasty was held by the crust due to the miner's dirty hands and then discarded to avoid ingesting poisonous materials such as lead. pasty (Q126777) on Wikidata Cornish Pasty on Wikipedia
  • Gevrik cheese. A soft, full-fat goat's milk cheese. Its name means Little Goat in Cornish. Gevrik (Q5554939) on Wikidata Gevrik on Wikipedia
  • Hog's pudding. A spicy thick white sausage which is sliced then grilled or fried. hog's pudding (Q9004417) on Wikidata Hog's pudding on Wikipedia
  • Seafood. Cornwall has a long tradition of seafood specialties including crowled pilchards, salmon cake and fish cream stew. hog's pudding (Q9004417) on Wikidata Hog's pudding on Wikipedia
  • Squab pie. A mutton pie with a shortcrust pastry lid. It should be made with at least one layer of onions, followed by alternating layers of sliced apples and mutton chops. squab pie (Q7581885) on Wikidata Squab pie on Wikipedia
  • Star Gazey pie. A mixed fish, potato and egg dish with fish heads 'escaping'. The pie is cooked as part of traditional celebrations for Tom Bawcock's Eve, but is not generally eaten at any other time. Stargazy pie (Q7601887) on Wikidata Stargazy pie on Wikipedia
  • Yarg cheese. A semi-hard cow's milk cheese made in Cornwall. It is covered around the outside with nettles. A alternative variety is covered with wild garlic leaves. Yarg (Q377020) on Wikidata Cornish Yarg on Wikipedia
  • Vegetarian food. Easy to find in Cornwall - even in tiny towns with just one pub there is frequently a meatless option.


Cornish cream tea – scones with jam and clotted cream
  • Cornish Cream Tea. Plain scones with clotted cream and jam or treacle washed down by a pot of tea, traditional in Cornwall to put the jam on first then the clotted cream, unlike Devon who put cream first then jam. cream tea (Q1139315) on Wikidata Cream tea on Wikipedia
  • Cornish Ice Cream. Distinctly yellowish in colour, and rich in flavour, on account of high buttermilk content. Kelly's in particular is a popular brand of Cornish ice-cream, that often uses Cornish words in their marketing. Cornish ice cream (Q5985409) on Wikidata Cornish ice cream on Wikipedia
  • Cornish Clotted Cream. Clotted cream is a very thick cream that is required to make cream tea scones. Rodda's of Redruth are Cornwall's largest producer. clotted cream (Q1373885) on Wikidata Clotted cream on Wikipedia
  • Cornish fudge. Locally produced fudge.
  • Cornish rock candy. Locally produced rock candy.
  • Cornish Gilliflower. A unique cultivar of apple, that was found in a cottage garden in Truro in early 19th century. Cornish Gilliflower (Q5171812) on Wikidata Cornish Gilliflower on Wikipedia
  • Cornish fairings biscuits. Traditional ginger biscuits made with cinnamon and other spices. Cornish fairing (Q5171851) on Wikidata Cornish fairings on Wikipedia
  • Figgy 'obbin. Type of raisin cake.
  • Heavy Cake (Hevva Cake). Lardy cake made with fruit. heavy cake (Q5695228) on Wikidata Heavy cake on Wikipedia
  • Saffron Cake (Saffron Bun). Fruit loaf flavoured with saffron, saffron being historically popular in Cornwall. St. Lucia bun (Q260929) on Wikidata Saffron bun on Wikipedia


Ale & beer[edit]

Main article: Beer

Cornwall has three main breweries which are available to drink in most pubs in Cornwall:

  • Skinners is based in Truro. Tours of the brewery are available for details.
  • Sharps in Rock produce Doom Bar beer. They have a shop at the brewery for details.
  • St Austell Brewery, in St Austell, have a museum and shop.

Swanky beer is an Australian-Cornish bottle-conditioned beer that has been reintroduced from South Australia's Copper Triangle (which has one of the largest Cornish communities abroad) back to the homeland.


Cider is also popular in the region.

  • Cornish Cyder Farm in Truro produces Rattlers Cyder.
  • Haywood Farm Cider in Bodmin.


Cornwall is also well known for its production of mead wine (Honey Wine).

Because of its climate Cornwall also has a number of vineyards, and produces decent wine not to be sniffed at. Camel Valley Vineyard northwest of Bodmin offers guided tours.

Gin and rum are also produced in Cornwall.


These festivals tend to not be public holidays and not all are celebrated fully across the county.

AberFest. A Celtic cultural festival celebrating “All things” Cornish and Breton that takes place biennially (every two years) in Cornwall at Easter. The AberFest Festival alternates with the Breizh – Kernow Festival that is held in Brandivy and Bignan (in Breizh/Bretagne – France) on the alternate years. AberFest (Q4666756) on Wikidata AberFest on Wikipedia

Golowan, sometimes also Goluan or Gol-Jowan is the Cornish word for the Midsummer celebrations, most popular in the Penwith area and in particular Penzance and Newlyn. The celebrations are conducted from the 23rd of June (St John's Eve) to the 28th of June (St Peter's Eve) each year, St Peter's Eve being the more popular in Cornish fishing communities. The celebrations are centred around the lighting of bonfires and fireworks and the performance of associated rituals. Some towns have a street-parade during this period.

Guldize is an ancient harvest festival in Autumn, which involved the "crying of the neck" ritual of chanting in the corn field. A revived Guldize celebration is held in Penzance, and in several other locations across Cornwall.

Nickanan Night is traditionally held on the Monday before Lent. This event is an excuse for local youths to undertake acts of minor vandalism and play practical jokes on neighbours and family. The name Nickanan may come from the practice of knocking on doors and running away, known as 'Nick Nack' in some parts of the English-speaking world. The eating of pea soup and salt bacon is also associated with this date.

Noze looan is a style of Cornish-Celtic dance, and associated music and events similar to the Breton Fest, Noz. Noze Looan is late Cornish for "happy night"

Picrous Day is celebrated by the tin miners of Cornwall on the 2nd Thursday before Christmas. Luxulyan, 4 miles NE of St Austell, hosts a particular big party.

Shrove Tuesday Hurling: "Cornish hurling" or "silverball" (Cornish: Hyrlîan) is a medieval game once common throughout Cornwall but now only played in St Columb (Major) and St Ives. The St Columb's game takes place first on Pancake Day (moves around in February) and then again on the Saturday eleven days later. The game involves two teams of several hundred people (the 'townsmen' and the 'countrymen') who endeavour to carry a silver ball made of apple wood to goals set roughly two miles (3 km) apart, making the parish the largest pitch for a ball game anywhere in the world. The annual St. Ives hurling match happens on Feast Monday each February (the feast is on the Sunday nearest to February 3).

St Piran's Day (Cornish: Gool Peran) is the national day of Cornwall, held on 5 March every year. There is large parties widespread across the whole of Cornwall, with people dressing in the black, white and silver national colours.

Tom Bawcock's Eve: on 23rd December, stargazey pies are traditionally consumed. In mythology, pies were seen bizarrely as the reason the devil stayed out of Cornwall.


Cornwall has a large range of tourist accommodation, ranging from 5 star luxury hotels to B&Bs, guest houses and hostels. There is also a large number of serviced holiday cottages that can be rented from anything from a long weekend to upwards of a month.

There are Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in most major towns. Theses are normally run by the local council and can check latest availability on the day to save having to phone round a number of B&Bs and guest houses. They are unbiased and won't express an opinion on accommodations, more than giving its tourist board rating and facilities.

Stay safe[edit]

Visitors to Cornwall should at all times be aware of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of some of the tides and currents around the Cornish coast and seek advice from local lifeguards before swimming or surfing. There is a small chance of getting great white or tiger sharks off the south coast, but don't let this worry you as they are very very rarely seen, and there have been no known attacks.

Cornwall's roads become very dangerous in summer due to the influx of tourists to the region. The local infrastructure is very poor and often cannot cope with the traffic. Drive sensibly and with caution.

Be very alert when driving at night as some roads, especially the A39 in North Cornwall, contain sudden hairpin bends that are deceptively sharp and are not illuminated by street lighting. There is also a risk of running over nocturnal wildlife. Use your headlights' full beam where possible and err on the side of caution.

Newquay in the summer attracts tens of thousands of tourists, and with that inevitably comes increased crime during the months of June, July and August. Assaults and muggings are particularly common, usually at night and often down on some of Newquay's many beaches.

Crime rates are mostly low in Cornwall, but there are some impoverished areas of some towns where crime is more common. Occasionally, outsiders can attract attention in local pubs, but this is no worse than in other areas of the country.

This region travel guide to Cornwall is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!