Best views in Cornwall: 12 Instagrammable spots

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In partnership with Aspects Holidays

From the birthplace of King Arthur to the westernmost point of mainland England, these are the best views in Cornwall

It’s easy to see why Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. This historic county has over 300 miles of jaw-dropping coastline with rugged cliffs and golden beaches, quaint fishing villages and bustling ports, while inland it boasts ancient forests and dramatic moors.

Cornwall is also home to 12 National Landscapes as well as the world’s largest greenhouses and a UNESCO-listed landscape scattered with the remnants of the region’s Poldark-era tin and copper mines.

With so much on offer, it’s difficult to know where to start – and stay. With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of the very best views and asked the experts at Aspects Holidays to pair them with charming holiday cottages in Cornwall

Best views in Cornwall

Whether it’s dramatic natural wonders or awe-inspiring manmade sights, these are the most Instagrammable spots in Cornwall.

1. St Michael’s Mount

#stmichaelsmount: 152k posts
Where to stay:
Lowarth Mor, Marazion

St Michael’s Mount is a rocky tidal island in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall. The picturesque Mount is home to a medieval church and castle as well as a small community of 35 people. It is linked to the town of Marazion by a cobbled causeway which can be crossed between mid-tide and low water.

St Michael's Mount is one of the best views in Cornwall
Valery Egorov/Shutterstock St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount was historically linked to Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, when it was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. Both islands share the same characteristics, although the Cornish site is much smaller; 57 acres compared with 247 acres.

St Michael’s Mount is one of 43 unbridged tidal islands that you can walk to from mainland Britain. Needless to say, it’s one of the most iconic sights in Cornwall.

2. Kynance Cove

#kynancecove: 63k posts
Where to stay:
Drop Anchor Cottage, Mullion

The iconic Kynance Cove with its powdery white sand, ultramarine waters and dramatic rock stacks is one of Cornwall’s most-photographed locations. The Lizard Coastal Walk has striking clifftop views of the cove but there are also countless photo opportunities down at sea level.

Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula
Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock Kynance Cove is one of the best views in Cornwall

At low tide, you can explore the wild caves hollowed by the elements into the dark green and red serpentinite rock, meander along the soft sand or swim in the turquoise water. The rock pools are home to a host of marine creatures including anemones, crabs, limpets, snails, starfish and shrimp.

3. St Ives Harbour

#stivesharbour: 33k posts
Where to stay: Sunnyside Apartment 4, The Wharf

The Cornish coast is England at its quintessential best, and one of the county’s prettiest ports is St Ives, a photogenic town of narrow cobbled streets, independent shops, fisherman’s cottages and quirky art galleries – including the celebrated Tate St Ives.

A view over St Ives in Cornwall
Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock Picturesque St Ives

The town boasts four beaches including one of Europe’s 10 best according to TripAdvisor. Needless to say, every summer it receives its fair share of Cornwall’s five million annual visitors. Nearly all will visit the harbour with its three piers, two lighthouses, colourful fishing boats and historic buildings all skirted by glorious aquamarine water. To top it off, when the tide goes out, a soft sandy beach is revealed.

4. wheal Coates

#whealcoates: 16k posts
Where to stay:
Offshore Cottage, St Agnes

I passed the impressive landmark of Wheal Coates near St Agnes Head when I hiked a section of the South West Coast Path a few years ago. The tin mine opened in 1802 and operated until 1889. Today, the crumbling remains of the Towanroath Shaft engine house are one of Cornwall’s most iconic images of its mining past.

Wheal Coates at sunset – one of the best views in Cornwall
chris276644/Shutterstock Wheal Coates tin mine perched on the edge of the cliffs

The moody ruins are perched atop cliffs carpeted with heather and gorse and make for a sensational photo at any time of day. That said, sunset and sunrise are the best times to capture the scene in soft light. If you wait until after dark on a clear night, the stars make for a supernatural shot.

The nearby National Trust car park has been identified as one of the UK’s most accessible locations for stargazing based on low levels of light pollution.

5. Minack Theatre

#minacktheatre: 43k posts
Where to stay:
Logan’s Reach, Porthcurno

The Minack Theatre has been named one of the world’s most spectacular theatres. Carved into the crags overlooking the Atlantic, this dramatic site welcomes 110,000 people to its shows annually. A further 170,000 people visit for the extraordinary views.

Minack Theatre is one of the best sights in Cornwall
Tomasz Wozniak/Shutterstock The dramatic Minack Theatre

The Minack was created in 1931-32 when Rowena Cade, a resident who lived in Minack House on the clifftop, decided to create a place for local drama enthusiasts to perform The Tempest. She and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, created the stage and the theatre’s lower terraces, and the first performance took place in August 1932.

The theatre evolved over the ensuing decades and is now a professionally-equipped venue staging both amateur and professional theatre.

6. Lands End

#landsendcornwall: 8k posts*
Where to stay:
Far West, Sennen

No list of the best views in Cornwall would be complete without Lands End, where the country – and the nation – come to a watery end. Here, gnarly granite cliffs plunge into the thundering sea at the westernmost point of mainland England. Out to sea, expansive views stretch towards Longships Lighthouse and the Isles of Scilly.

Sunset at Land's End, Cornwall
Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock Sunset at Land’s End in Cornwall

Naturally, the immediate area has plenty of tourist trappings but if you hike along the coast path in either direction, even for just a few minutes, you’ll see that Land’s End remains as wild, stunning and Instagrammable as anywhere in Cornwall.

* There are over 455k #landsend posts on Instagram but this also covers Land’s End in San Franciso and a clothing brand.

7. Tintagel Castle

#tintagelcastle: 54k posts on Instagram
Where to stay: Hendra Mowhay, Tintagel

Tintagel Castle straddles the mainland and a jagged headland that projects into the Cornish Sea, making for one of the best views in Cornwall. Said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel’s epic clifftop castle was occupied from Roman times until the Middle Ages.

Tintagel offers one of the best sea views in England
Rolf E. Staerk/Shutterstock Tintagel has one of the best views in Cornwall

There are several Instagrammable spots including the sweeping coastal cliffs framed by an ancient doorway, the brooding figure of Gallos – a life-sized bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur – and the achingly atmospheric sea cave in the coastal cliffs beneath the castle. According to legend, it was here that Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend once lived.

8. Porthcurno Beach

#porthcurnobeach: 15k posts
Where to stay:
Ocean View 2, Porthcurno

Cornwall has a wealth of pretty beaches, so it’s hard to say which is the finest. Just below the Minack Theatre is Porthcurno, widely regarded as the frontrunner for the title of Cornwall’s best beach. It’s also one of the most popular so catch it early in the morning for the ultimate shot.

Porthcurno beach with waves crashing in the background - where to stay in cornwall
Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock The golden sands of Porthcurno

Porthcurno has Caribbean-esque fine white sand, sparkling translucent waters and a ring of rugged cliffs that shelter it from the elements. Unsurprisingly, the striking strand is consistently named among the best beaches in the UK.

9. Lizard Point

#lizardpoint: 38k posts
Where to stay:
Rose Cottage, Ruan Minor, The Lizard

The Lizard Peninsula is the southernmost tip of mainland Britain and the coast is accordingly rugged, hewn by the wild Atlantic Ocean. Clifftop walks abound, suitable for all abilities and boasting spectacularly Instagrammable vistas.

Looking across Lizard Point and Polpeor Cove
Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock Lizard Point and Polpeor Cove

We recommend hiking the Lizard Coastal Walk, an 11km loop that takes in some of the peninsula’s most dramatic landscapes, from the far-reaching views at Lizard Point above Polpeor Cove to the coastal idyll of Kynance Cove further along the promontory. 

10. Lost Gardens of Heligan

#lostgardensofheligan: 38.5k posts
Where to stay:
Corner House Loft, Mevagissey

The Lost Gardens of Heligan were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The exquisite gardens fell into disrepair after the First World War but have been lovingly restored by an army of dedicated gardeners and volunteers.

Heligan is one of the most unusual sights in Cornwall
4kclips/Shutterstock The Mud Maid sculpture at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Today, the gardens are a horticultural wonderland of lawns, lakes, vegetable nurseries, fruit-filled greenhouses and ‘The Jungle’, a lush area filled with subtropical tree ferns. Heligan is also home to two distinct figurines made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant’s Head. What’s more, it has Europe’s only remaining pineapple pit – warmed by rotting manure!


#edenprojectcornwall: 14k posts
Where to stay:
Wisdom Lodge, Mid Cornwall

Constructed in a crater the size of 30 football pitches, the giant biomes of the Eden Project – the world’s largest greenhouses – are considered one of Britain’s modern architectural marvels.

The giant biomes of the Eden Project
Anna Jastrzebska/Shutterstock The giant biomes of the Eden Project

The miniature ecosystems in the bubble-shaped biomes allow the cultivation of diverse plants, from rafflesia flowers and banana trees in the Rainforest Biome to lemon trees and olive groves in the Mediterranean Biome.

However, Eden is more than just a giant Insta-garden. It offers a unique insight into the relationship between plants and people and our dependence on nature.

12. Bodmin Jail

#bodminjail: 9k posts
Where to stay:
Waverley Cottage, Wadebridge

Bodmin Jail is one of Cornwall’s most unusual attractions. Recently repurposed as a visitor attraction and boutique hotel, the 18th-century prison is now an Instagram hotspot despite it once housing over 35,000 inmates. Fifty-five people were also hanged within its walls.

A symmetrical view of Bodmin Jail, one of the best views in Cornwall
JANUSZ KONARSKI/Shutterstock Inside the transformed Bodmin Jail

Day visitors can wander the former cells and inspect artefacts found in excavations of the prison including bunches of rusty keys, prisoners’ possessions and what may even be the skull of the fabled Beast of Bodmin. The tour also recounts gruesome tales of crime and punishment in Cornwall from the 1700s to the early 20th century.

If you fancy staying overnight, each room at the Bodmin Jail Hotel makes use of three former cells: one for the bedroom, one for the living area and the third for the bathroom.

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Lead image: CHRIS276644/SHUTTERSTOCK

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