Sunset over the cliffs and coastline of Cornwall in the South-West of England

🇬🇧 Cornwall, UK | The Locals Guide

Alex & Harmony, UK Travel Bloggers

Meet Alex & Harmony, intrepid adventurers and mindful travellers from By The Compass. COVID-19 has disrupted so many of your Summer travel plans but with lockdown easing, it's expected that the UK staycation will become the essential getaway in 2020.

When it comes to planning your itinerary, the best place to start is with those top tips from locals on the best things to do and places visit. We're excited to share the first of our guest blogs from Alex & Harmony (@bythecompassuk on Instagram) with their locals guide to Cornwall.

Being one of England’s worst kept secrets, Cornwall is no stranger to mass tourism throughout the busy summer months. So, here’s everything you need to know about how to have the best visit possible from a local’s point of view.


Because of the abundance of natural beauty, stunning beaches and coastal views almost everywhere you go in Cornwall, it can be quite the challenge when you’re deciding where to base yourself when visiting! Your average accommodation booking site will present you with a range of options from affordable hotels and campsites to quaint cottages and B&Bs. But, perhaps a more important decision would be choosing between what we consider three main areas of Cornwall… The South Coast, the North Coast and West Cornwall.

On the South Coast, you have what’s often referred to as “The Forgotten Corner Of Cornwall” - home to the stretching sands of Whitsand Bay and a number of picturesque fishing villages all the way down to the almost untouched landscapes of the Roseland Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The North Coast (quite possibly our personal favourite!) is where you’ll find the surf capital of the UK, Newquay! But, you’ll most likely have a more relaxing time out of the town with one of the many beautiful beaches right there on your doorstep! One such beach would be Mawgan Porth, which is home to one of the most eco-friendly options for accommodation in the county, The Scarlet Hotel. Another option for the more adventurous would be the off-grid tree top hideouts at Kudhva, located near Tintagel.

So, then that leaves West Cornwall, which would be a great choice if you think you’ll be looking do some sightseeing and exploring! St Ives is one of the more popular places to stay in this area, but you may be better off out of the town again or staying in the shoulder months as it can get overwhelmingly busy and the surrounding area in the bay is incredibly stunning too! A couple of other amazing options would be along Mount’s Bay or the mildly more remote Lizard Peninsula!


Starting again with the South Coast, something that’s not to be missed is a visit to the Eden Project near St Austell. It’s one of many impressive gardens on the South Coast, but it’s their particular focus on promoting sustainable practises that makes it so special. Alternatively on the North Coast, we really recommend a cycle ride along the Camel Trail from Padstow, diving into the rich history and mystery of Tintagel Castle (the supposed home of King Arthur), and of course some surfing, stand up paddle boarding or even beach cleaning at one of the many beautiful beaches along the coastline. 

It may be important to note that some beaches and towns (such as Padstow) can have limited car parking, so it pays to arrive early, use park and ride services and have a back up plan already in mind. As for fun activities in West Cornwall, we would have to suggest watching the sun go down at Land’s End (the most westerly point of mainland Britain), crossing the causeway at low tide to St Michael’s Mount, and walking literally any section of the never ending coastal path!


It’s probably safe to say that there really is one stand out foodie destination in Cornwall… Padstow! Here you’ll find lots of award winning restaurants, most notably a number of Rick Stein restaurants. It’s also home to our favourites vegan pasties at The Cornish Bakery, who also have a number of shops in other locations such as Tintagel and Bude. And you can’t come to Cornwall without having a cream tea either, with the jam going first of course!


Most would agree that Newquay is a particularly popular party destination, but it’s also still home to a few spots for some sundowner drinks if that’s more your kind of thing! Fistral Beach Bar and Lusty Glaze both offer views out across The Atlantic and organise events and live music. Not too far from Newquay at Perranporth Beach is the UK’s only bar on a beach, The Watering Hole, which is always a great night with music events too!


When it comes to great photo spots, we do have our favourites - although you’re definitely spoilt for choice! Number one of our list would have to be Bedruthan Steps, with it’s cliff top view points and breathtaking sea stacks! Also on our list would be the Wheal Coates tin mine near St Agnes, Trevose Lighthouse and Boscastle Harbour… I guess we really are biased about the North Coast!