Cornwall is the county of England located in the far southwestern corner of the country. Getting there from London will take you 4-5 hours if you drive, and train travel can take anywhere from 4-9 hours. The climate in Cornwall is mild, with average high temperatures ranging from 48 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit year round, and average lows ranging from 42 to 57 degrees.
Cornwall is a fantastic weekend getaway destination or a day trip when visiting the UK, and there are many great free things to do in Cornwall England when you visit.
1. Falmouth Art Gallery
The Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall changes its exhibitions regularly and hangs works from their permanent collection alongside major museum loans, work from local artists, community groups, school children, and students. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy at Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall.
2. Mousehole Bird Hospital and Sanctuary
The MouseHole Bird Hospital accepts any bird in need of care, to heal and return them to the wild. If this not possible and the birds take kindly to captivity, they are given sanctuary for the rest of their lives. Each year, approximately 1,500 birds are treated at the Hospital, and the sanctuary averages 100 permanent residents. The hospital and sanctuary welcomes visitors and does not charge an admission fee, but would certainly appreciate donations if you felt led to give. The Red-Billed Chough, also called the Cornish Chough, is one type of bird you will see at the Mousehole Bird Hospital.
3. Marconi Center
Many people have heard of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel prize winner and pioneer in telegram technology. Few people, however, know that he sent his first trans-Atlantic signal from Poldhu, Cornwall to Newfoundland, Canada – a distance of over 2200 miles. The Marconi Center is one of the best free Cornwall attractions and stands just a few yards away from the original transmission site and contains information and exhibits on Marconi’s breakthrough technology.
4. Roskilly’s Farm
Children especially will love visiting this organic dairy farm in the Cornish countryside. The site allows visitors to meet the animals, stroll around the meadows, and enjoy the tranquility by the ponds. After exploring, be sure to check out their restaurant and ice cream shop, where you can choose from over 30 flavors of homemade ice cream.
5. Heartlands Center
Heartlands is a free 19 acre visitor attraction and World Heritage Site Gateway near Redruth. It features state-of-the-art exhibitions, climb-on sculptures, gardens of real diversity, a giant adventure playscape for kids, arts and crafts studios and a unique café in the old carpenter’s workshop. Heartlands has entertainment for anyone and everyone. Go see, go play, go explore.
6. The Southwest Coast Path
This hiking trail covers the entire Cornish coastline, as well as parts of neighboring English counties. It is England’s longest footpath (630 miles) and regularly is mentioned as one of the best hiking routes in the world because of the spectacular views and diverse landscapes you will see. Be sure to evaluate your skill level and the terrain in the area. Parts of the path are flat and coastal (very easy), while other areas include rugged cliffs over 700 feet high (much more difficult).
7. Cornwall Wildlife Trust Reserves
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust operates 57 reserves in the county. Depending on your interests, you can visit reserves that have great birdwatching opportunities, beautiful wildflowers, historical significance, butterflies, or geological interest. All of them are free to visit.
8. Visit TV Show Settings
Two popular television shows, Doc Martin and Poldark, are set and filmed in Cornwall. If you have seen either, you may want to visit them in real life. The setting for Doc Martin is the town of Port Isaac, on the northern coast. It is a great village to stroll through, with a picturesque harbor and adorable cottages. The settings for Poldark vary, but most notable (and free to visit) are Charlestown, Porthgwarra, St Agnes Head, and Chapel Porth, Botallack, Padstow, Gunwalloe, Portcothan, Holywell beach, Porthcurnow, Kynance Cove, and a few others.
Have you visited Cornwall or is it on your travel wish list? Please add your tips and suggestions for other free things to do in Cornwall England. Happy travels!
Article by Julie Peters. A native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Julie Peters is a woman with a passion to travel as much as she possibly can for as long as she possibly can. She has a particular interest in the historical significance of her destinations, and enjoys finding off-the-beaten-path attractions and activities when she travels.