Places to visit Cornish Riviera

In this section of Things to do in Cornwall, we are reviewing the wide range of visitor attractions and the wealth of historic sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty on the Riviera Coast that await your discovery .
There is an excellent range of Places to Visit on the Riviera Coast which are suitable for all the family and many of which are all weather attractions. We have categorised the attractions to help you find what you are looking for and in all cases where a specific website is available, we have provided you with a link * so that you can find out everything you need to know about the particular attraction, its opening times, prices and accessibility information.
So whether your passion is for history, the arts and heritage or you would rather sample some Cornish Cyder and then take a white knuckle ride at a theme park, the Riviera Coast has so much to offer you. Enjoy the ride!
If you know of an attraction that we have not included please feel free to contact us by email.
Try our new Interactive Map - it shows the location of all the Places to Visit in Cornwall including links to their websites
Scroll down for a list of the Places to Visit on the Cornish Riviera, there is a brief description and a link to the attractions website.
* When you use our link to visit a particular website, please be aware that the information provided on those sites is outside of our control and we take no responsibility whatsoever for its content or accuracy.


Museums and Art Galleries

Tayt Morden Gallery
Nr. Cotehele

Tayt Morden Gallery features contemporary art and crafts from The Tamar Valley and beyond. Located at the side of Morden Stream, Near Cotehele its exhibits include ceramics, textiles, glass, paintings, photography, iron work, wood carving and artisan jewellery.

In addition to the exhibits there are many smaller works of art and hand-crafted items for sale. 

Open daily please visit their website for more information and details of current events:

Falmouth Art Gallery

Falmouth Art Gallery features one of the leading Art collections in Cornwall, including work by old masters, Victorian artists, British Impressionists, contemporary painters, printmakers and maritime artists. The collection dates from 1923 and includes many donations from private collections and grants from a variety or sources including the The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Art Fund.

The Gallery is open daily from Monday to Saturday and admission is free, there is wheelchair access and full details of opening times and current and seasonal exhibitions can be found on their website:

Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum

China Clay Country Park is set in 26 acres of woodland near St. Austell, it boasts a plenitful supply of nature trails, woodlands walks and a large aray of wildlife. In the heart of the park is the China Clay Museum and Discovery Centre, this is home to the largest working water wheel, and displays and exhibitons covering geological specimens, ceramics, photographs, documents, film archives and collections of tools and machinery.

Open daily from April to October, please check their website for opeing times, prices and current events:

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Located perfectly on the water at Falmouth harbour this award winning museum is dedicated to all things maritime in Cornwall with 15 galleries showcasing the past, present and future. As well as guided tours visitors can enjoy lectures, talks, a variety of exhibitons and workshops.

Open from 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day and Boxing day, it is an ideal attraction whatever the weather or time of year.

Winner of the Cornish Tourism 'Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award 2012' 

Please check their website for prices and details of current events:

Gardens & Historic Houses

Caerhays Castle
Caerhays, Gorran

Caerhays is located in a secluded valley overlooking Porthluney Beach, it covers 100 acres and is the finest example of a Spring woodland garden in Cornwall. Home to a superb collection of magnolias and holders of the NCCPG National Magnolia Collection it is open from the middle of February to early June, reflecting the period at which the gardens are at their very best. Still home to many original plants collected in China in the early 1900's by E H Wilson and George Forrest it is also home to the world famous x williamsii Camellias. Guided tours are available with the head gardener by pre-booking and structured walks give stunning views over the Estate, the lake and out to sea.

Dogs are welcome in the gardens (on leads only).

Guided tours of the castle are available from March to May and full details of all admission prices, opening times and tours can be found on their website:

St. Dominick, Saltash

A National Trust property, Cotehele is a medieval house built between 1485 and 1627. Home of the Edgcumbe family for centuries, it is crammed with historical features and was the setting for the filming of ‘Twelfth Night’ in 1996. There are an abundance of tapestries and a large collection of oak furniture and a very impressive display of arms and armour in the Great Hall as you enter the property. The house is set in extensive grounds with formal gardens, a heavily planted valley below, a medieval dovecote, a stewpond and Victorian summer house. For opening times, prices (NT members free) and details of events please visit:

Lanhydrock House
Near Bodmin

Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a wealthy but unpretentious family home.

After a devastating fire in 1881 the house was refurbished in the high-Victorian style, with the best in country-house design and planning, and the latest mod cons.

The kitchens, nurseries and servants' quarters offer a thrilling glimpse into life 'below stairs', while the luxurious family areas, elegant dining room and spacious bedrooms reveal the comforts of ‘upstairs’ living.

Experience the heyday of the Agar-Robartes family, who made Lanhydrock their home, and discover how their fortunes changed during the First World War.

For details of admission prices (National Trust members free), opening times and for the latest news and events please visit the website:

Pinetum Park St. Austell
Holmbush, St. Austell

Created by Ray and Shirley Clemo, Pinetum Park is a testament to their dedication and enthusiasm with over 6,000 labelled plants on display. Having travelled the world collecting seeds and plants they have now established a beautiful floral paradise with unique environs at every turn. Ranging from the seclusion and intimacy of the Japenese Garden to the open amphitheatre arrangements of the Pinetum Park. 

A fascinating day out now matter how 'green fingered' you are with a Nursery selling plants onsite and a welcome Tea Room serving hot and cold food and beverages.

Open all year round and well behaved dogs are welcome. Located at Holmbush, St. Austell PL25 3RQ- Tel: 01726 73500

For more information please visit


Antony is a superb early 18th-century mansion, home to the Carew family for 600 years and set in parkland and fine gardens laid out by the Georgian garden designer, Humphrey Repton. Visit the National Collection of Daylilies or take a walk in the surrounding woods. Antony was used as a film set for Walt Disney's version of 'Alice in Wonderland' directed by Tim Burton. Please check the website for opening times and prices (NT Members free) and current events:

Eden Project
Bodelva, St Austell

The Eden Project is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the World and is an internationally renowned attraction. Based around two vast Biomes in a large crater created by china clay mine workings, the Eden Project is a ‘must visit’ – not once, but every year!  For winter visitors there is an ice skating rink and there are regular live music concerts and a variety of other features throughout the year. Large car park facilities and a cafe serving hot and cold food. Click the link to visit the Eden Project website for more information and opening times.

Lost Gardens of Heligan
Heligan, Mevagissey

The Lost Gardens of Heligan can now be found ! They are near Mevagissey and consist of 80 acres of grounds with walled gardens. The gardens were created in the 19th century complete with follies and temples and have been the site of the largest garden restoration project in Europe. A definite must visit so check out the website for a comprehensive virtual tour, opening times and prices.

Lamorran Gardens
St Mawes, Falmouth

Situated on the Roseland Peninsula with extensive views of St Anthony's Head and the lighthouse, the gardens enjoy a favoured microclimate.  With a large collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas, the design for the garden has blended English, Japanese and Mediterranean ideas and concepts.

Trebah, Falmouth

A 'sub-tropical' Garden of rare and exotic plants, trees and shrubs winding down to a private and secluded beach on the Helford River and rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world.

Trelissick Gardens
Feock, Truro

Beautifully positioned at the head of the Fal estuary, the estate commands panoramic views over the area and has extensive park and woodland walks beside the river. At its heart is the garden, which has year-round colour, with the display of spring blossom being particularly delightful. The house is not open, but there is an art and craft gallery, shop, plants for sale, restaurant, café, a fine Georgian stable block and a Water Tower.

Glendurgan Maze
Mawnan Smith Falmouth

This valley garden of great beauty was created in the 1820s and developed over many years by the Fox family. Running down to the tiny village of Durgan and its beach, the garden has many fine trees and rare and exotic plants, with outstanding spring displays of magnolias and camellias. In their season glorious displays of wild flowers carpet the valley slopes. The laurel maze, dating from 1833, puzzles young and old. An original cob and thatch schoolroom has been reconstructed. The house is privately occupied and the gardens are maintained by The National Trust.

Trewithen Gardens

Elegant 18th Century house set in extensive landscaped gardens renowned for their horticultural importance.

Many of the flowering trees and shrubs were grown from seed sent from Asia and are now bigger than their parent plants, having flourished in the mild Cornish climate. 24 of them are ‘UK champions’ being either the tallest or widest of their species in the UK.

The garden has level gravel paths making them accessible for push chairs and wheel chairs and also features a Magnolia Fountain constructed of granite and bronze and considered a real 'work of art'. There is a peaceful woodland walk where exercising dogs is permitted.

Places to Visit

Mevagissey to Fowey Ferry
Mevagissey to Fowey Ferry
The Fowey to Mevagissey ferry runs from May through September and offers a really good day out, connecting these two ancient and picturesque ports with a fast, fun and scenic 35 minute boat ride.  The trip is across open sea - so can be weather dependent - but it also provides an opportunity, if you are lucky, to see dolphins, basking sharks and diving gannets. For more information on fares and timetable please visit or call  07977 203394
Polperro Harbour

Advertise your business with us and this advert could be yours for just £20.00 plus VAT per year - or run a trial ad for 6 months for £10.00 plus VAT. You get up to 100 words of text, a photo and a link to your own website and or email address. Whether you own an amusement park, a country house, an animal park or any other place to visit it's a great deal - for more information email . Discounts are available for multiple entries if you have more than one establishment, cover more than one area of Cornwall or just want maximum exposure.

Farms, Wildlife & Animal Sanctuaries

The Tamar Valley Donkey Park
   The Tamar Valley Donkey Park
Gunnislake, Near Callington

The Tamar Valley Donkey Park  has loads of donkeys and lots of other animals such as guinea pigs, chipmunks, rabbits, goats, pigs and an aviary. There is a large children’s indoor play area, a gift shop and a café serving hot and cold food and Cornish cream teas. Please check their website for opening days and times.

Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary
  Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary

Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary with it’s children’s farm is also an animal sanctuary and zoo. It is home to zebras, ostriches, snakes, porcupines, wallabies, lemurs, meerkats as well as rabbits, guinea-pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys, and many more of your favourite animals. 2010 saw the opening of 'African Plains and Maasai Village' where you can experience Africa in the heart of Cornwall.

The Monkey Sanctuary

The Monkey Sanctuary is situated in beautiful woodlands overlooking Looe Bay and for over 40 years the Victorian House & Gardens have been home to a colony of woolly monkeys. There is also a Bat Cave and Wildlife Room, a childrens play area and a cafe serving food and drinks. The sanctuary is open from April to October and holds regular events like Exotic Pet Dat and Moth Day so there is plenty to see and get involved with in addition to the monkeys which are sure to keep you entertained.

If you fall in love with them you can Sponsor a Monkey from as little a £2 per month and you can become a Keeper for a Day - a real life time experience and a perfect gift for a special birthday or occassion - full details of all that is on offer and opening times and charges can be found on the The Monkey Sanctuary website.

Industrial, Mining & Railways

Blue Hills Tin Stream
St Agnes, Truro

Blue Hills is a commercial concern engaged in tin streaming and the production of tin jewellery and tinware on the site of a group of old tin mines that closed in the late 19th century. Blue Hills tin streaming works is located in the Trevellas Valley on the north coast of Cornwall. The valley has produced tin for over 4000 years with both tin streamers extracting tin from alluvial sands and gravel and miners tunnelling underground for ore. Visitors to Blue Hills can take a guided tour around the tin streaming works and the website has a fascinating virtual tour of the tin streaming processes and tin smelting processes. Well worth a visit you can contact them on 01872 553341.

Looe Valley Railway

The Looe Valley line links the market town of Liskeard with the town of Looe, a working fishing port and ancient harbour. This is an opportunity to visit one of the Great Scenic Railways of Devon & Cornwall as the line travels along the wooded Looe river valley offering fantastic scenery throughout the journey. We have provided a link to the Looe Valley Line 'Rail Ale Trail' site which we hope you find interesting ! Certainly it is an opportunity to experience the beauty of the Looe Valley and savour the delights of traditional real ales and fine rural pubs along the way !

Landscapes & Heritage

King Doniert’s Stone
St Cleer Liskeard

Situated on Bodmin Moor, near St Cleer, is King Doniert’s Stone which is now in the care of English Heritage. It is the remains of two decorated pieces of a 9th-century cross, with a Latin inscription "Doniert Rogavit pro anima" meaning "Doniert asks for prayers for his soul." This is a monument to King Doniert who drowned in the River Fower in the 9th century.

Polperro Harbour

Polperro is a 13th century Conservation fishing village situated on the south east coast of Cornwall. Unspoilt by progress, there are countless historic houses and buildings of interest in the village. Couch's House for example dates from 1595 and in the 19th century was lived in by Dr. Jonathan Couch, physician, naturalist and collector of fossils. Visit the Polperro Heritage Museum which is open every day from March to October and packed with interesting artefacts and displays of the life and customs of Polperro through the centuries including the exploits of the many smugglers that used the harbour to land their contraband. The Shell House is a uniquely decorated cottage and is one of the many memorable sights which make Polperro so popular with artists and photographers alike. There is a Model Village and a wide variety of charming pubs and restaurants, and the cliff top walks to Looe and Polruan offer stunning sea and coastal views.

Restormel Castle

Surrounded by a deep moat and perched on a high mound, the huge circular keep of this castle, built at the turn of the 14th century, survives in good condition. Built as a symbol of wealth and status and once home to Edward, the Black Prince, it offers splendid views over the surrounding countryside. It's also a marvellous picnic spot and is the care of English Heritage.

St Anthony Head
St Mawes, Falmouth

At the southernmost tip of the Roseland peninsula, St Anthony Head overlooks the spectacular entrance to one of the world's largest natural harbours - Carrick Roads and the Fal estuary. The starting point for a number of excellent coastal and sheltered creekside walks, the Head also bears newly revealed remains of a century of defensive fortifications

Truro Cathedral

Truro Cathedral was completed in 1880 and Edward White Benson was the first Bishop of Truro until 1883 when he became the Archbishop of Canterbury.  A Bill establishing the Diocese of Truro was passed by Parliament in 1876.  Cornwall had its own Bishop at St Germans, near Saltash, until towards the end of the 10th Century after which the Cornish Diocese was then held jointly with Devon at which point the Cornish Diocese ceased to be a separate entity. It took over 800 years for the Cornish Diocese to be re-established at Truro. The Diocese of Truro covers the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the site chosen in Truro was where the Parish Church of St Mary’s stood.

Pendennis Castle
Pendennis Head, Falmouth

Pendennis and its sister, St Mawes Castle, face each other across the mouth of the River Fal. Constructed between 1540-45, they are the Cornish end of a chain of castles built by Henry VIII on the south coast. In 1598, during Elizabeth I's reign, a new type of defensive wall was added around the original fort. Strengthened again prior to the Civil War, Pendennis was host to the future Charles II in 1646. It was re-armed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, seeing action during World War II and you can experience the interactive exhibition which allows you to witness the sights and sounds of battle and relive an enemy attack on a Second World War observation post. Visit the World War II Half Moon Battery, the Guardhouse, the  Discovery Centre and the underground tunnels. Pendennis is in the care of English Heritage and has regular events throughout the season from music, to ghost tours and also carols at Christmas.

St Mawes Castle
St Mawes

This, the most perfectly preserved of Henry VIII's coastal fortresses, was built to counter the invasion threat from Europe in partnership with its twin, Pendennis, on the other side of the Fal Estuary. It was designed to house 'ship-sinking guns' and is still bedecked with carved Latin inscriptions in praise of King Henry VIII and his son Edward VII. It fell to landward attack from Parliamentarian forces in 1646 and was not properly refortified until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now in the care of English Heritage.

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