Cornwall is just effortlessly “cool” by nature. The laid-back surfy lifestyle, independent businesses, sunkissed cool kids and creative hipsters doing their thing all combine to create a cool artsy vibe which wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a lifestyle magazine. If you’re keen on discovering ‘cool Cornwall’ you’ve come to the right place. Here we uncover a wealth of cool things to do in Cornwall so that you can tread the lesser-known tourist paths and discover all the cool things to do in the jewel of the Westcountry…
Uncovering Cool Things to Do in Cornwall…
Cool Places to Cycle in Cornwall
Cycling is so cool these days that artisan coffee shops which celebrate the sport of cycling are popping up all over the place – cycle cafes in Cornwall such as The Hub in Portreath and the vegan-friendly Snail’s Pace cafe near Bodmin are more popular than ever and have cyclists meeting up over brunch to discuss the cool places in Cornwall to ride their bikes.
So we’ve supped the coconut flat white whilst chatting cogs and crank sets, but what about jumping on a bike and actually exploring Cornwall on two wheels?
If you want to enjoy a guided cycle tour of Cornwall complete with accommodation, luggage transfers and detailed maps then get in touch with the team over at Cornish Cycle Tours who will arrange everything for you from start to finish. If you fancy doing a charity bike ride in Cornwall, then the annual Hilly Hundred starts and finishes at the Eden Project every September, taking in epic scenery, breathtaking coastal roads, quaint fishing villages and not to mention the incredible Eden Project itself, all in aid of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-induced bike trail, nothing beats The Bodmin Beast. Setting the bar for single track bike trails in Cornwall, the Bodmin Beast is hairy enough to challenge keen mountain bikers and experienced off-roaders with its exhilarating descents, epic climbs and snaking trails. For those not quite so keen on a challenging bike trail, then idyllic Cardinham Woods and nearby Lanhydrock also have a network of trails suitable for all levels (even balance bikers!).
Probably the most famous of all bike tracks in Cornwall is the Camel Trail – 18miles of flat bike track which wends its way along a disused railway line between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. Don’t forget to stop at the Atlantic Coast Express; a renovated vintage railway carriage serving up delicious homemade cakes and ice creams providing the perfect resting place halfway between Padstow and Wadebridge.
Stand Up Paddleboarding in Cornwall
Yes there’s the timeless water sports like surfing and kayaking, but if you’re looking for a really cool watersport to do in Cornwall then SUPing is where it’s at. Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUPing as it’s been dubbed) has become a really popular pursuit for all those wanting to experience the joy of being on the water in a chilled out cool way.
SUP on the Sea
When there’s no surf you’ll see surfers out on their SUPs, enjoying their beloved ocean from atop their paddle boards. Surf schools like Harlyn Surf School near Padstow and Breakers in St Agnes offer SUP tuition and tours to help you enjoy the heritage and natural beauty of the Cornish coastline from the unique perspective of a stand up paddle board tour.
Explore the Rivers on Paddleboard
And it’s not just the sea which makes a good place to SUP. The many rivers and estuaries in Cornwall are a wonderful way to explore the local area. Try Malpas near Truro or the Helford Passage for best places to paddle in Cornwall where you can explore the wildlife and waterways of our beautiful county.
Cool Festivals in Cornwall
With music festivals, art festivals and celebrations of food, Cornwall is fast becoming a melting pot for some of the best art and culture festivals in the country. With world-class headliners drawing big crowds from all across the UK, Cornish music festivals such as Port Eliot in July, Boardmasters in August and Leopallooza are already on the hit list for cool things to do in Cornwall. But what about the others?
Music Festivals in Cornwall
The Great Estate Festival at Scorrier House near Redruth is only in its second year, but already growing a loyal following thanks to being “the most rambunctious Garden Féte” (!) with awesome live music, a vintage fairground, woodland silent disco and secret gin garden.
Set on a beautiful and contained 42 acre organic Eco Park, overlooking the sea at Porthtowan on the north Cornish coast, the Tropical Pressure Festival is 1000% vegetarian festival which celebrates Latin American, Caribbean and African cultures with its toe-tapping lineup.
The Rock Oyster Festival has a bohemian artsy vibe, with food, arts and music all joining together alongside the Camel estuary near Wadebridge – a great way to experience Cornwall’s bountiful talents.
We can’t mention music festivals in Cornwall without giving a nod to Perranporth’s Tunes in the Dunes… although perhaps not strictly a festival in the traditional sense of the word, this beach festival in Cornwall attracts huge headliners and is a party and a half with great acts to boot!
The Little Orchard Festival at Healey’s Cyder Farm near Penhallow is in its sixth year and boasts big live bands, a groovy silent disco, BBC Introducing stage and camping and glamping over the weekend of 14-16 September. Expect a merry old time, with lashings of cider too of course…
Cornish Food Festivals
What with its generous selection of famous chefs and bountiful local produce, Cornwall is a firm fixture on any food-lover’s tourist map. At Christmas the Padstow Christmas Market on the harbour draws big crowds from all around, with chef demonstrations and a huge marquee filled with artisans and producers from all across Cornwall. Falmouth’s Oyster Festival is held every October to herald the start of oyster dredging season and with oysters, seafood, wine and local ales, rousing sea shanties and a gripping oyster-shucking competition the festival is a must for all oyster, seafood and maritime heritage enthusiasts.
Cool Places to Eat in Cornwall
Cornwall is of course well-known for its abundance of seafood restaurants, but there are all manner of cool places to eat in Cornwall which you may not have discovered yet. From pop-up restaurants to roadside cafes and many more, why not try somewhere a bit more different next time you’re looking for a unique place to eat in Cornwall?
Pop Up Restaurants
For gastronomic adventures where you can enjoy delicious wine and food pairings in beautiful (sometimes unexpected) locations around Cornwall, keep your eye out for where the Wild Wine Club will pop up next.
Fitting in beautifully with the ‘cool Cornwall’ theme, Craftworks Kitchen humbly began its journey from the back of a 1966 American Airstream trailer back in 2014. With a permanent fixture in Truro and now a brand new pop up in Padstow, Craftworks is championing creative dining with awe-inspiring views to accompany.
Fusing their love of Cornwall, cake and coffee inside a 70s van called Beyonce is a set of twins called Maren and Kris who pop up all over Cornwall with their mouth-watering treats. Whether at farmers markets, the Camel Trail or the beach, Kern of Kernow have sustainability at their core and give a nod to their German roots by baking bundts boasting all manner of tantalising flavour combinations.
The Hidden Hut is nestled in a special spot on the coastal path near Portscatho and St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula, and is perhaps no longer “Cornwall’s Best-Kept Secret” thanks to serving up delicious rustic locally-sourced feast nights with menus such as lobster and chips or longbone-in sirloin cooked over wood fire. Their feast nights book up at astronomic speeds so get in quick if you want to sample fine fodder with a relaxed vibe.
Cool Places to Shop in Cornwall
Cornwall’s bustling towns and villages are seeing independent boutiques popping up to meet the demand for local, homegrown businesses. Some of the coolest places to shop in Cornwall can be found in the most unlikely places, like the Hawksfield hot spot for shopping, art and events. Here you can find vintage cars, artisan foods, luxury interiors, a florist and so much more.
Magpie and Fox is an aspirational award-winning womenswear boutique in Truro showcasing beautiful non-mainstream quality brands appealing to the local chic seeker. Truro is also a great place to go charity shop shopping and you can find a treasure trove of pre-loved delights with designer labels (and rock bottom prices!) if you look hard enough.
If vintage and urban apparel is more your thing then gallop on over to Wild Pony in Falmouth where you’ll find a large range of vintage Levi 501s and denim jackets, vintage trainers and seriously cool threads to augment your wardrobe.
Fishboy in Penzance is a Cornish clothing company who champion the Cornish traditions of farming, mining and fishing to create an ever-evolving collection of men’s and women’s clothing that is eye-catching, comfortable and affordable. The store also has a gallery that showcases local artists and photographers.
Nomads in Launceston creates clothes for women who love colour and adventure. Their textiles come from India, and their passion is born from travel with soft, colourful and flatteringly feminine clothing with a unique style.
Over to You…
So there you have it, our run down of our favourite cool things to do in Cornwall. Have we missed any? Are there any cool places in Cornwall we’ve missed and should have included? Let us know by commenting below or by sharing your top cool things to do in Cornwall over on Instagram. We’ll look forward to hearing from you!