Cornwall is one of the best destinations for activity holidays in the UK. With its mixed terrain of beach, cliff, forest, rugged moor and surrounded by sea, it is the ultimate adventure playground for visitors who want to get active during their time away.
But where do you start when planning your adventure in Cornwall? We would advise choosing your destination first and then choosing which activities you want to do. Cornwall is relatively small and most places can be accessed easily within a day wherever you stay, so there is no need to fear missing out on your outdoor fix of adventure and adrenalin, whether your preference is for water, land, air or motor activities.
Top Destinations for Activity Holidays
Newquay is a natural choice for activity holidays in Cornwall. It’s central location, means it is a great base for exploring the far reaches of the county and enjoying all manner of outdoor activities. As the UK’s surfing capital, wave riding takes precedence but it is also Cornwall’s adventure capital with a wide selection of activities to choose from including go karting, kitesurfing, coasteering and sea fishing. There is also plenty of choice of accommodation in the area including hotels, surf lodges and self catering cottages near Newquay.
Fowey sits on an estuary with an amazing away of waterways and tributaries to explore. Sea kayaking is the number one activity in the area for activity holiday visitors. Sailing is also very popular. Mountain bikers will love the hilly terrain and nearby forests, while walkers can take in the spectacular views from the South West Coast Path. Fowey is a lovely place to stay, with many fine hotels, guest houses and campsites to choose from.
The West Cornwall Landscape was Made for Adventure
St Ives is another great base for Cornwall activity holidays. There are some fantastic hotels and campsites in or near the town centre, which give speedy access to the beach, cliffs, harbour and sea. Surfing is also popular in St Ives, as is kayaking along its protected coastline towards Carbis Bay. The Penwith landscape is stunning with many high moors and crags to explore by foot, bike or horse.
Sennen may be extremely remote, situated on the very tip of the UK near Land’s End, but this small village packs a punch when it comes to activities. The rock climbing here is world class and nearby walking trails reveal some of the best scenery Cornwall has to offer. Kayaking, surfing and are also popular here. Just over the hill in penzance, sailing and kitsesurfing are big draws, plus there are sheltered bays for wild swimming. People coming here for activity holidays can stay in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and holiday parks.
Cornwall’s South Coast is an Action and Watersports Paradise
Porthleven is a pretty town with a historic fishing harbour and famous surf reef, which produces some of the very best waves in the UK. As well as surfing, visitors can experience sea kayaking trips which leave from the safe haven of the harbour. Nearby Loe Bar and Loe Pool is a walker’s wonderland and the nearby crags offer plenty of challenges for rock climbing. People visiting the area for activity holidays can stay in some awesome Porthleven cottages, plus local inns, B&Bs and campsites.
Falmouth is a world class sailing destination and a regular venue for sailing events including a starting point for the Tall Ships Race and Round the World Yacht Race. There is a rich maritime history here and plenty of opportunities to learn to sail in dinghies, catamarans and yachts. Sea kayaking is also a natural choice for active visitors. There is also a great indoor rock climbing centre in the town, plus plenty of fine walks along the coast and creeks.
Experience the Rugged Moors and Tamar Valley
Bodmin is slap bang in the middle of Cornwall. It offers a very different perspective for visitors who normally visit the coast. Nearby are the high moors with fantastic opportunities for walking, biking and rock climbing. Rough Tor and Brown Willy are the most famous peaks. Keen mountain bikers should head to Cardinham Woods which has a fantastic new network of single track rides for all abilities. Although holiday accommodation is not as abundant as coastal areas, there is still plenty of options to camp or stay in comfort at a nearby hotel, B&B or holiday cottage rental.
Liskeard is often overlooked as a holiday destination but its location is ideal for visiting the natural attractions of South East Cornwall or venturing into the Tamar Valley. There is a great go-karting track nearby and one of Europe’s longest zip wires. Saltash and Looe can be easily reached for sailing and fishing adventures. But for an adrenalin filled adventure, we would recommend venturing into the steep sided hills and forests surrounding the Tamar Valley. It is here that you can discover some steep and exciting mountain biking trails, or challenge yourself on Cornwall’s premier high ropes course. There is also kayaking, canoeing and rowing on the river deep down in the Tamar Valley.
We hope that has whetted your appetite for adventure and the possibilities to an exciting activity holiday in Cornwall. Please browse our activity and accommodation directory for other ideas and inspiration.