It’s safe to say that the Eden Project ranks first place for Cornwall tourist attractions. This vast, global garden is housed within huge domed conservatories called biomes. Built on the site of a huge dis-used china clay pit, the biomes recreate rainforest and Meditieranean habitats; it’s an eco-friendly paradise. The lush Rainforest biome is filled with all sorts of exotic plants, including chocolate, bananas, cola and sugar. Head onto the Mediterranean biome, where you’ll see plants such as olive trees, vines, citruses and cork trees. It’s not all undercover, though; there are sprawling gardens outside, where you can see bamboo, tea and hemp plantations.
Down in Pentewan lies the greenest of all Cornwall attractions, the Lost Gardens of Heligan. These awesome “lost” Victorian gardens were a popular place to wander through in the 19th century, but they eventually became neglected and weren’t rediscovered until the early 1990s. And what a fab job they’ve done of restoring the place - the Italian garden, kitchen garden, walled garden and “jungle” area have all been returned to their former glory. Take a slower pace along the boardwalk to appreciate the interconnecting ponds and canopy of bamboo, ferns and palms, which leads you onto the Lost Valley with wildflower meadows and plenty more - nirvana awaits.
St Ives is undoubtedly one of the most arty spots in Cornwall, long associated with the art set. So, if you’re looking for ultimate Cornwall sightseeing spots, the Tate St Ives should make your list, its airy white art gallery displaying the works of artists who are connected with the region. These are housed in a small permanent collection, and there’s also temporary exhibitions of modern art.
Not far from Tate St Ives is the Barbara Hepworth Museum, set in an attractive fishing village on Barnoon Hill. You can view the English artist and sculptor’s work on display at her studio, where she lived and worked between 1949 until her death in 1975. Renowned for her modern art pieces - paintings, drawings and sculptures - this is a fascinating insight into one of Britain’s most remarkable 20th-century artists. Afterwards, head out to the Sculpture Garden, where you can view even more bronze, stone and wood works on display. If you’re looking at Cornwall holidays, it can be difficult to suss out the best places to stay - because there’s just so much choice. St Ives should be a stop-off on every itinerary; and it won’t be one that you regret.
Remote Caerhays Castle, in St Austell is surrounded by a woodland garden and from a distance, looks like it’s been plonked there from a model village. But get up close and personal with this beautiful old building and you’ll instantly understand why it’s such a popular wedding venue, overlooking the sea and leading down to a secluded beach. You can take tours of the house and visit the gardens separately, or buy a combined ticket to take in both.
Down in Penzance you’ll find Land’s End, the westernmost point of Cornwall. There’s an abundance of natural beauty and charming history here; it’s not hard to understand why it’s been a tourist hotspot for centuries. While you’re here, catch a performance at the open-air Minack Theatre which overlooks the sea, take a cliff-top trail or hunker down at a pub and admire sweeping views of the Atlantic.