The 9 best places to stay in Cornwall

25 November 2019

child on a cornwall family holiday

From luxury family holidays in Cornwall to all-inclusive holiday parks; cheaper Airbnbs to quaint Cornish cottages, Mumsnetters have done the legwork when it comes to finding the best places to stay in Cornwall. So if you're dreaming of surf, sand and seafood, fret no longer - this is the guide you've been looking for.

1. Newquay

newquay beach cornwall

One of the best places to stay in Cornwall for families, Newquay has beautiful beaches in buckets and spades. From the iconic Fistral Beach to the stunning Lusty Glaze Beach (winner of the 2017 Beach of the Year), you'll find white sands and surfing opportunities aplenty. For Daphne du Maurier fans, the real-life Jamaica Inn is a must-see, as is the Smugglers Museum (where entrance for adults is only £3.95, and £2.95 for children). The town also features a zoo and an aquarium, as well as an adventure park and an immersive, pirate-themed experience. What more could you ask for?

The aquarium at Newquay is fantastic for a rainy day.

If you head to Newquay, the food at The Red Lion is lovely. It's great at The Fort Inn too, which gives amazing views across the sea. Sit and have an ice cream and look at the house on the hill that you can only get to along a bridge – gorgeous.

newquay beach huts cornwall

Best places to stay in Newquay

If you're looking for some well earned R&R, the Bedruthan Hotel & Spa offers luxury spa treatments, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, a thermal suite, and breathtaking views. It's well set up for families, too – offering family suites, kids clubs, indoor and outdoor play areas, and one evening of babysitting if you have a baby or toddler. That's in addition to complimentary use of all their baby and toddler hire equipment – you just need to tell them what you'll need when you book. Book your stay now.

Bedruthen Hotel has a lovely spa where childcare is provided. You can have your treatment in peace, then lunch or dinner in their baby-friendly restaurant.

Sands Resort Hotel also comes highly recommended. Complete with picturesque sea views, it's a five-minute walk from the beach, and a 10-minute drive away from Newquay Zoo, Blue Reef Aquarium and Dairyland Farmworld. The Eden Project, meanwhile, is just 35 minutes away by car. On top of that, the hotel offers lots of family fun such as kids clubs, two swimming pools, free activities like tennis and mini-golf, buffet breakfast and children's menu, and – just for you – an on-site spa. Book your stay now.

I'd absolutely recommend Sands Resort. We stayed there after someone suggested it on Mumsnet and it was heaven. The whole place is geared up towards families – in fact, it's hands down one of the best family hotels I've been to. It has the feel of a small hotel, but all the facilities of a larger one. There are kids clubs, swimming pools, a small soft play, an outdoor bouncy castle, and games rooms. On top of that, almost everything is included in the cost and you can borrow all sorts of equipment for free. It also has great views of the sea and free parking.

What should I take to Newquay?

Wellies, if the weather's not quite co-operating with your beach plans. These Dunlop Ladies Black Wellington Boots (£10.25) are just over a tenner, and, as one Mumsnetter put it: “are now on their second winter and still intact, and warm and comfortable with a couple pairs of socks inside.”

2. Padstow

padstow cornwall

This quaint little port is a foodie's heaven, and the famous Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant is its crowning jewel. (Honestly, you've never had fish and chips like it). Beyond the pretty harbour and golden beaches, you'll find peaceful coves and beautiful walks, and plenty of outdoorsy activities for the more adventurous. Spend an afternoon learning to surf, taking the kids rockpooling, or – during the summer months – day-tripping in a local fisherman's boat.

We stayed in Padstow last year with our four-year-old and 16-week-old baby. Lots of beaches are in easy reach, and it's a convenient distance to places like the Eden Project. There are fantastic restaurants and pubs, too, and it's lovely for evening walks.

Best places to stay in Padstow

Excitingly, you can also stay at Rick Stein's Café. The hotel welcomes children and pets, providing cots and children's beds on request. It's located right in the heart of Padstow too, and provides a 24-hour room drinks service, a 10% discount at all Rick Stein establishments, priority booking at his restaurants, and – of course – some of the best food Cornwall has to offer. Sweet added touches, like the homemade cookies and hamper you'll find in your room, make the experience extra special. Book your stay now.

For a proper escape to the country and a whole place to yourself, Penpoll Cottage ticks all the boxes. Located alongside a tidal creek, it boasts lush views you can enjoy from the decked terrace or first-floor balcony. The local shop and pub are situated within one mile, and (tide permitting) you can walk along the towpath by the creek all the way to Padstow. Book your stay now, and save 7% by using the code PART07.

3. Fowey

fowey cornwall

Pretty as a picture, in Fowey you'll find a picturesque harbour, historic, 14-century blockhouses, and vistas so beautiful the area has been declared one of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You'll see kayaks and cruise ships pass by, in between enjoying the town's quaint shops and eateries.

I love Fowey. You've got the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens Heligan within easy reach, Mevagissey a boat ride away, and Polkerris, Charlestown and loads of pretty beaches nearby.

Fowey is beautiful, even in the rain!

Best places to stay in Fowey

If you're after a luxury family holiday in Cornwall, one hotel that delivers is Fowey Hall. A listed building, it's set on a hill high above the port – and, fun fact, is said to have inspired Toad Hall. Deliciously opulent, it's a mere 15 minutes from the beach, where you can take buckets, spades, nets and crabbing lines, all provided by the hotel. It also provides a lot in the way of children's entertainment – offering a two-hour complimentary session per day in the (Ofsted-registered) crèche. The gourmet cuisine and spa, meanwhile, are the cherries on top. Book your stay now.

Fowey Hall is the most wonderful hotel, we absolutely adored it. It's like being in a country house hotel, as you relax with your paper by the open fire. I'd definitely recommend it.

For a cheaper Cornwall family holiday, snap up a stay in the Iva Cottage. Recently renovated, its design is bright, clean and airy, and the location can't be beat. Nestled in the heart of Fowey, all the shops, restaurants and pubs are right on your doorstep. Book your stay now.

4. St Ives

St Ives Cornwall

Ah, St Ives. A maze of cobbled streets and fisherman's homes, it was voted the best family holiday destination by Coast magazine. For good reason, too – there's lots to do and see, including the Tate Gallery, the award-winning Porthgwidden Beach, the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, and animal sanctuary Paradise Park a 15-minute drive away. You can also whisk the family away on a boat ride to Seal Island, where you can see – you guessed it – seals.

Definitely head for St Ives, it's a beautiful place.

It's a good idea to park at St Erth and take the train to St Ives. It goes down the coast and the views are beautiful. You can easily spend a few days there as there's a lot to do, even in the winter.

Best places to stay in St Ives

If ocean views are what you're after, ocean views are what you'll get at the Pedn Olva Hotel. Perched on St Ives Harbour Beach, the hotel offers some of the most glorious vistas Cornwall has to offer, and is just a 10-minute walk from the town centre. Stylish and contemporary, Pedn Olva has four family rooms available, as well as cots and highchairs on request. There's a children's menu too, and breakfast is included. Book your stay now.

Related: the best suitcases on the market, according to Mumsnetters.

Or why not stay in an actual castle? Overlooking St Ives, Tregenna Castle Resort is rated highly by families. Set in 72 acres of private grounds, the impressive hotel is surrounded by woodland walks and picture-perfect gardens, just waiting to be explored. All the food is made using local ingredients, and there are both indoor and outdoor pools on the premises, as well as an outdoor play area, family rooms, soundproof rooms if you have a baby in tow, and a babysitting service, too. Book your stay now.

I'd definitely say the Tregenna Castle Resort is good value for money. The staff was helpful, the food was good and the grounds were absolutely lovely.

5. St Agnes

St Agnes Cornwall

Hoping for more of a rural affair? Situated on Cornwall's north coast, St Agnes (or Aggie as it's otherwise known), is a picture-perfect village rich in history. There are plenty of family- and dog-friendly beaches to enjoy nearby, as well as spectacular coastal views, independent shops to dip in and out of, and mouthwatering, locally-sourced cuisine.

Staying in St Agnes makes things easy, and Chapel Porth is my favourite beach! A brisk coastal jaunt heads down to the beach, taking you past some Poldark filming sites and breathtaking views along the coastline. The sunsets are pretty incredible, too.

Best places to stay in St Agnes

A holiday park is a good shout if the whole family is coming along, and Towan Valley – just a short walk from Porthtowan Beach – has everything you need. With a rustic, eco-style exterior and relaxed country vibe inside, its timber cottages are spacious, bright, and built with families in mind. Most cottages are pet-friendly, and several include a hot tub to relax in after a day in the sand. Book your stay now, and get an exclusive 5% off with the code MUM05.

Wrens Nook is another cottage you'll want to consider. A Grade II-listed property just a mile from the beach, the village's shops, restaurants and bars are also within easy reach. With access to your own garden, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the cottage's verdant surroundings. Book your stay now.

What should I take to St Agnes?

A good camera, so you can capture those oh-so-scenic views and the kids waist-deep in sand. Mumsnetters frequently recommend the Fujifilm X-E2 (£250), an award-winning 16.3-megapixel camera. One Mumsnetter shared: “I've had a Fuji XE-2 for a couple of years and love it. I recommend it to everyone. You can get different lenses (zoom lenses, prime lenses) but I use the 35mm most of the time and it's fantastic. Even if you just use the automatic settings, it takes gorgeous, professional-looking photos. It also has a pleasingly retro look, if you're into that sort of thing – like an old-school film camera.”

6. Mousehole

mousehole cornwall

Famous the world over (we knew it from The Mousehole Cat), Dylan Thomas called this village the loveliest in England. History and myth swirl around the port – telling tales of giants, hermits, a Spanish sacking, and a name no one knows the origins of. Huddled cottages and rocky coastal paths mark it as Mousehole, as do the little shops, bright galleries, and windy harbour. And before you go, don't forget to look up how to pronounce the place – not as easy as it might seem, as the Mumsnet Pedants can attest (FYI: it's 'mowzel').

Mousehole is lovely. It's a very picturesque, small village/hamlet popular with tourists. It has a lovely tea room/deli, a couple of small gift shops, plenty of ice cream, a nice chippy, and a few art galleries. In my opinion, it would probably suit very young families best.

Mousehole is gorgeous and not far from Penzance.

Best places to stay in Mousehole

Just 'moments from Mousehole's beautiful harbour', The Loft House is set over three floors, and is full of clean, rustic features. We're talking exposed beams, stained glass and restored furniture begging for a spot on Pinterest. Book your stay now.

Another lovely cottage just yards from the harbour and beach, Oaken Cottage comes with a cosy electric burner, travel cot, a highchair, and all the mod-cons to make you feel right at home. Book your stay now, saving 7% by using the code PART07.

7. Falmouth

falmouth cornwall

Did you know that Falmouth was one of the Sunday Times Great Places to Live in 2018? That tells you a lot about this pretty port town. Partly because of its university presence, there's plenty going on, and lots to see and do. Explore the Pendennis Castle or the National Maritime Museum on a cloudy day, or head to the award-winning Gyllngvase beach when the sun's out and about.

Falmouth is great for a wet day. The Maritime Museum is good and there’s a decent selection of places to eat in and shops to mooch about in.

Best places to stay in Falmouth

All warm interiors and brightly-lit rooms, The Sandy Duck offers stunning sea views if you're angled the right way. Child-friendly, this bed and breakfast is just shy of two miles from the castle, and provides a flat-screen TV, free wifi and parking, and an extremely tasty continental breakfast. Book your stay now.

Little Dennis is another fantastic alternative. A sweet harbourside apartment, it's essentially a home away from home – complete with Freeview TV, electric storage heaters, a washing machine, garage parking, a large garden with furniture, and the nearest pubs and shops within 200 yards. Book your stay now, and get 7% off by using the code PART07.

What should I take to Falmouth?

If you've got a long journey ahead of you – be it by car, train, or plane – 'I spy' will only entertain the kids for so long. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition 32 GB Tablet (£129.99) won a coveted Mumsnet Rated badge. “It's been great for our five-year-old,” one Mumsnetter said. “It includes turning on and off times, maximum screen time, a minimum amount of 'learning time' before they can play games etc, and you can restrict it as much as you want.”

8. Truro

truro cornwall

If cobbled streets and impressive cathedrals are your thing, Truro could be the Cornish destination for you. A real cultural hub, it's brimming with art galleries and live music. There's the Royal Cornwall Museum too, as well as sailing tours on the river Fal, plenty of walks and cycle routes, and the stunning Enys Gardens to explore.

A real unsung gem is the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, which has a great art supplies shop and an excellent café attached.

Best places to stay in Truro

Rated five stars by previous families, this loft apartment in Truro is surrounded by peaceful, lush green surroundings. It's within walking distance of the city centre too, and has free parking. Book your stay now.

If you'd like an even more rural escape, Moonrakers cottage is situated in the quiet village of Ruan Lanihorne, which just so happens to be an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It comes with breathtaking views, superfast broadband, a highchair available on request, and a decked terrace complete with garden furniture and barbecue. Book your stay now, and get 7% off by using the code PART07.

9. Tintagel

tintagel cornwall

Last but certainly not least, the air in Tintagel buzzes with myths and folklore of generations past. For King Arthur fans, Tintagel Castle is a must-see. Rumoured to be the place where the king was conceived (with Merlin's help, which is a bit weird), Tintagel's legendary associations drew the Earl of Cornwall to build the castle in the 1230s. Standing in ruins, it's accessible via a rather spectacular footbridge and provides some of the most incredible sea views Cornwall has to offer.

Stay in Tintagel. From there you can go to Port Issac, Crackington Haven, Boscastle, and Trebarwith Strand, and every outlook is stunning.

Another vote for Tintagel – it's magic there.

Related: In need of some comfy boots? We've rounded up Mumsnetters' favourite boots for 2019.

Best places to stay in Tintagel

Fancy yourself a luxury getaway? For the stay of a lifetime, it doesn't get much better than the famous Camelot Castle Hotel. You'll be transported straight to the mythical land with the help of plush, four-poster beds, grand fireplaces, and – of course – fantastic sea views. Book your stay now.

For a more stripped-back experience, this Country Lodge still offers plenty in the way of luxury. Featuring an outdoor hot tub and a flat-screen TV, there are also cots and highchairs available, and pets are welcome too. Book your stay now, getting *5% off with the code MUM05*.

What should I take to Tintagel?

A board game is always a good shout for when it's chucking it down, or for when you just want five minutes of peace. Wonderfully compact, Dobble (£10.97) can be played on the go or inside your accommodation. A fast-paced race to find two matching images, it'll keep them focused for a precious few minutes at least. “A super simple concept but brilliant for all ages,” one Mumsnetter said.

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