10 Things to Do in Cornwall For Free
Cornwall is renowned for its heritage, beautiful beaches, countryside, Poldark and a unique way of life. There are many hidden treasures from a quirky museum to a special event that are free to enjoy in this part of Britain, even on a rainy day. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do for free in Cornwall.
Walk Along Carn Brea
Dominating the landscape in Camborne and Redruth, Carn Brea is a hill top site 738 feet above sea level. There are hillfort sites on the top, interesting rock formations, and a memorial to the Basset family who were local landowners. The castle was a hunting lodge and is now a cafe. The views from the top are amazing and worth the walk. Strong footwear is needed.
Visit Perranzabuloe Museum
This small museum near Perranporth has a wealth of local history. Visitors can learn about the role of the area in World War Two, see a Cornish oven, and learn about some of the local personalities. There is also a display to Poldark’s creator Winston Graham, who lived in the area.
Head to a Beach
Most beaches in Cornwall are free to visit. Old favourites include Porthminster beach at St Ives, Portreath, Sennen, and Marazion. They can be visited year round- nothing like a bracing winter walk on the shoreline and some fresh air. Kids will love rock pooling or even identifying the wide range of seaweeds and creatures within them.
Watch a Beautiful Sunset
Cornwall has some magnificent sunsets, especially on the coast. For a sci fi sunset scene, one of the best places to go is Goonhilly, on the Lizard Peninsula. This is a major satellite communications teleport and is famed for lots of things including receiving the first TransAtlantic satellite TV images in 1962. The Goonhilly Earth Station has distinctive satellite dishes on Goonhilly Downs that dominate the landscape. Driving on the 3293 from Helston at twilight is a surreal experience.
Go to Golowan
Golowan is “The Feast of St John the Baptist,” in Cornish and is celebrated in Penzance with an arts festival and carnival atmosphere. There are stalls in the streets, music and other processions. This is a Midsummer festival held in June and is worth a visit to Penzance to see their version of the Obby Oss and other traditional fun in the streets. Whilst the street entertainment is free there are charges for some of the concerts held during the event.
Get into the Heart of Mining Heritage
The newly developed Heartlands Project at Pool has some fascinating displays of mining as it was traditionally done before the tin and copper mines closed in this part of West Cornwall. There are tours of an engine house and many more interesting things to see and do.
With a social history soundscape and geological exhibits, not to mention displays of mining equipment, this is a very interesting place to learn about the industrial history of Cornwall.
There is a diaspora garden displaying plants from countries where Cornish miners emigrated and a children’s play area on this 19 acre site. Although the attraction is free there is a charge for parking.
Walk the South West Coastal Footpath
Trailing along the Cornish coastline, the South West Coastal Footpath is full of unforgettable views, circular and linear routes, and is well signposted. From the spectacular St Just to Zennor section to a well- deserved break on Perranporth Beach, there is something for everyone.
Some people do sections at a time, whilst others plan the entire length of the coastline over several weeks. For anyone visiting Cornwall, this is a wonderful way to see some of Cornwall’s finest scenery. If you are still looking for some inspiration to put your hiking boots on, read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, which documents her journey along this coastal footpath.
And if you are planning just one short walk, be aware that most people find it addictive and keep coming back to discover even more of the trail.
Go to Minions
Close to the village of Minions stand three large stone circles that are thought to date from 1500BC. These are believed to be groups of people turned to stone for playing the local game of hurling on the Sabbath and close to them is a pair of standing stones, which are thought to be the pipers.
The stones date from the early Bronze Age and are in alignment to several of the nearby tors and Rillaton Barrow. There are suggestions that this may have once been a ceremonial route for processions. People come from all over the world to feel the energy said to emanate from these mysterious stones.
The Cheesewring, an ancient stone, is also close to this site. Today people also come to Minions to get their selfies done by the road sign in recognition of the famous cartoon characters.
One of the most important collections of art in Cornwall, this museum has work by Charles Napier, Sir Edward Coley Burne Jones, Dame Laura Knight, Henry Scott Tuke, Sir Alfred Munnings, and more. There are seasonal exhibits as well as the permanent collection and a shop.
Visit a Wild Bird Hospital
Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital was founded in 1928 by Dorothy and Phyllis Yglesias. It grew in popularity over the years and shot to fame when hundreds of birds were treated following the Torrey Canyon disaster. Over 8000 birds were treated here following the oil leak from this stricken vessel. Today birds from all over Cornwall are cared for at this very special hospital before being released into the wild.
Cornwall has many wonderful places that can be visited for free. Many places are unusual and located in a beautiful setting. Take time to see the best of this very special region by choosing a few of the free attractions on your visit.