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

The Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum located in Truro is Cornwall’s oldest and most prestigious museum, famed for its internationally important displays including a wealth of minerals, an unwrapped mummy, Cornwall culture and a collection of Newlyn School paintings in the Fine and Decorative Arts gallery. The museum presents an exciting range of changing exhibitions throughout the year together with an extensive educational programme for all the family.
Fowey Museum

Fowey with it’s natural sheltered harbour has been an important port since Roman times and dates back to the Iron Age. The Fowey Museum, set in an historic part of the town, is well worth a visit for anyone interested in history and archaeology. The local history includes attacks by the Spanish in the 14th century and by the French in the 15th century and there are important 14th century defensive ‘Blockhouses’ at the entrance to the harbour structures between which hung a chain that prevented attacking ships entering the harbour. The museum presents visitors with an array of important artefacts which bring alive the Town’s seafaring history and tell of the visits by Cook, Drake, Raleigh and Frobisher, all important figures in the naval history of England. The museum is open from Easter until mid-October during Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 5.00pm. For more details visit:

Mevagissey Museum

Mevagissey is an ancient fishing village and the name is formed by the combination of St Meva and St Issey, first recorded as a hamlet in 1313 although there were much earlier settlements nearby as evidenced by the discovery two Bronze Age Burial Urns at Portmellon. There is an impressive array of historical artefacts in Mevagissey Museum is housed in an 18th century, 3 storey building by the harbour, originally used for shipbuilding and is itself an historical gem.  There is wheelchair access to the ground floor and a stair lift to the first floor. Mevagissey Museum will show you all about life in the village through the ages and is well worth a visit, and is open daily between Easter and the end of October - admission is free (donations gladly received).

Polperro Smuggling Museum

The Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing is located right by the side of Polperro Harbour, housed in a building that was once a Pilchard Factory, one of three that existed in Polperro for the processing and barrelling of pilchards for export. The museum, which is open every day between March and October has a remarkable array of exhibits depicting life from the 18th & 19th centuries when smuggling and pilchard fishing thrived in Polperro, itself a Conservation village oozing with history.

Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre
Charlestown, St Austell

With such an important maritime history, it is no surprise that Cornwall has got some excellent Maritime museums, not least the Charlestown Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, near St Austell. The Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre has the largest private collection of shipwreck and historical artefacts on public display in Europe. The centre is located in a historic china clay building on the waterfront and houses many varied exhibitions which reflect village life in Charlestown, shipwrecks and the China Clay industry. As well as showing maritime exhibits dating back to 1715, the centre also has a large collection of underwater diving equipment used for seeking treasure.

Theatre & Cinema

Princess Pavilion

The Princess Pavilion offers an all year round venue for theatre and live music. A multi-purpose hall, Princess Pavilion provides formal theatre seating for 370 and a standing capacity of up to 600 for concerts. The nature and style of events on offer varies tremendously and in April 2006, the programme included rock, folk, a wind orchestra and The Army Presentation Team ! Check out the website to see What’s On when you are in Cornwall. Princess Pavilion has a café and bar for 150 people with entertainment in the bar throughout the summer. Also in the summer, you can enjoy band concerts in the gardens. For tickets and event information, you can call the Box Office on Monday – Friday, 9am-1pm (and during the evenings of events) on 01326 211222 or email

  Helford Theatre and    Stage Company Trucco

In 2002, Truro gained a new theatre, the Helford Theatre, a brand new 300-seated venue situated on the Truro College site. The theatre has its own resident theatre company, ‘Stage Company Trucco’,  made up of final year students on the BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts course. The Box Office can be reached by calling 01872 262466 and the website shows current and future productions.

Sterts Theatre

Sterts Theatre is an outdoor moorland venue with a 400 seat open air amphitheatre (with canvas roof !) situated at Upton Cross between Liskeard and Launceston on the edge of Bodmin Moor. In addition to enjoying live theatre and music at Sterts, you can enjoy a family picnic or a meal at the Sterts Bistro and Bar.  Since it started in 1982, Sterts has developed into a significant rural arts centre, renowned for promoting the very best in drama, music and dance as well as painting, sculpture and crafts at the Sterts Gallery. Sterts is a non-profit making charity. Tickets for Sterts performances can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 01579 362382 or by emailing

Hall For Cornwall

Hall for Cornwall was built in 1846 to house the Town Hall, magistrates and stannary courts, police offices (and cells) and the fire brigade. In 1991 the Hall, which was in a state of advanced decay, was leased to a group to create a professional theatre. The redevelopment of the Hall was completed in 1997 and today Hall for Cornwall in Truro attracts around 150,000 theatre-goers each year.  Rambert Dance Company and The Royal Shakespeare Company are amongst those companies that have graced the stage of the Hall for Cornwall and 2006 appearances include The Zutons and The English Touring Opera. Tickets can be purchased by calling 01872 262466 between 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

 Falmouth Arts Centre

Falmouth Arts Centre presents a lively and diverse programme embracing both the performing and the visual arts.  Its cinema programme attracts significant audiences, as do a range of live events including theatre, music, dance and a variety of talks and lectures. In addition the Society owns a large, diverse collection of photographs, maps and other articles associated with the history of Falmouth and surrounding areas over the past 250 years. Please use our website link to find out more about the Falmouth Arts Centre or for tickets and events information, call the Box Office on 01326 212300 between 10 am and 2 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and from half an hour before each evening performance.

Other Attractions

Paul Corin’s Magnificent Music Machines

Paul Corin’s Magnificent Music Machines is a delightfully eccentric museum created on the back of one man's love for music boxes. Located in a peaceful setting by the Looe Valley Line near the village St Keyne, Paul Corin’s Magnificent Music Machines is a unique exhibition of mechanical organs from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The many working exhibits include Belgian Café Organs, a Mortier 84 key Orchestrion, a DeCap 92 key Jazz Organ and a Wurlitzer pipe organ to name but a few. Whether you want to take a wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane or find out for the first time how dance music was made and enjoyed in the Victorian era, this exhibition has something for both young and old to enjoy. There is a lovely picnic area by the river and dogs on leads with well behaved owners are welcome !

The World of Model Railways

The World of Model Railways in Mevagissey is a great place to visit. There are a number of model railway exhibitions and an excellent model shop. The main exhibition has over thirty 00 gauge trains which travel through a wide range of landscapes and the childrens' 'Junior Junction' exhibition has Thomas The Tank engine and friends! The Garden Railway (indoors !)gives you a chance to operate the trains yourself and to dream about transforming your garden into a large scale model railway. For full details of opening times throughout the year, visit their website by clicking the link provided.

St Austell Brewery
St Austell

St Austell Brewery has been brewing beer in Cornwall for over 150 years and today remain a significant independent family brewery. Their wide range of real ales are renowned and you will undoubtedly come across their beers when you visit a Cornish pub or two anywhere in Cornwall. If you visit the St Austell Brewery you can take a guided brewery tour, indulge in sampling sessions and have a wander around the Visitor Centre and Licensed Shop . Tours available twice daily at 11.00am and 2.30pm and it is advisable to book by calling 01726 66022. Visit the St Austell Brewery website for lots of relevant information and if you wish, take a virtual tour before you visit the brewery itself

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