There are so many outdoor activities in Cornwall for you to enjoy whether you are a holidaymaker or resident of Cornwall.
Some of the most popular outdoor pursuits include:
Surfing, walking along the stunning South West Coast path, cycling along beautiful country lanes, swimming, snorkelling and diving in the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Cornwall has some of the most popular surf spots in the UK including Fistral Beach in Newquay, North Cornwall and Gwithian/Godrevy in West Cornwall and everything in between. For more experienced surfers there are some excellent breaks all around the coast of Cornwall and for beginners, there are numerous surf schools where you can pay for surfing lessons under the watchful eye of experienced surf coaches.
I can highly recommend downloading apps such as Magicseaweed and Surfline so you can find out in advance what the surf conditions are like, These apps also include webcams so you can see for yourself what the conditions are like before making the effort to head to the beach.
Some of the best surfing beaches include:
- Fistral Beach, Newquay
- Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
- Polzeath Beach, Padstow
- Gwithian/Godrevy Near Hayle
I’m a surfer myself. My local beach is Godrevy. I absolutely love going there and if you are a member of the National Trust you can park for free. In fact at time of writing; in about an hours time I’ll be surfing at Godrevy. The sun is shining, the Summer is here and I’m itching to hit the waves again.
Find out more about surfing in Cornwall.
Another one of my favourite outdoor activities to do in Cornwall is cycling.
I live in a beautiful part of Cornwall and within minutes I can be off cycling for miles and miles through leafy country lanes and coastal cycle paths.
When I go out cycling I tend to ride on a mixture of road, coastal, woodland and countryside routes. I have a mountain bike and a hybrid but I tend to go out on my mountain bike more often than not as I like to throw the bike around a bit especially if I go on a trail through the woods.
There are so many fantastic cycle routes you can take in Cornwall such as the famous Camel Trail from Bodmin Moor to Padstow or the circular cycle route from St Ives to Lands End.
The Cornish Way Cycle Route is a 180 mile (288km) cycle route which is part of the National Cycle Network. It’s two routes run from Lands End all the way up to Bude on the border with Devon.
There are six individual trails that make up the Cornish Way
- The First and Last Trail from Lands End to Hayle
- The Engine House Trail from Hayle to Truro
- The Coast and Clay Trail from Bodmin to St Austell
- The North Cornwall Trail from Bodmin to Bude
- The St Piran Trail from Truro to Bodmin via Newquay
- The Camel Trail from Bodmin to Padstow
You also have the Mineral Tramway Trails
- Coast to Coast Trail from Portreath to Devoran
- Great Flat Lode Trail
- Tresavean Trail
- Portreath Branchline Trail
- Tehidy Trail
- Tolgus Trail
- Redruth & CHasewater Railway Trail
You can find out more about cycling in Cornwall here at wearecycling.org
My virtual bike ride videos
In the early days of the Coronavirus lockdown as part of my daily exercise, I went out on my mountain bike and filmed my journeys around West Cornwall.
This video takes you around a deserted Marazion, Penzance and Newlyn.
This video takes you around Trencrom and the small villages of Nancledra and Ludgvan.
There are loads of excellent mountain bike trails you can go and have fun on throughout Cornwall.
Some of the most popular mountain bike trails can be found in:
If you are into mountain biking like me there’s are great website called trailforks.com where you can find full details of all of the best mountain bike routes in Cornwall.
Find out more about cycling in Cornwall.
There really are some breathtaking places to walk in Cornwall (see photo above). This is the unique, open-air Minack Theatre with Porthcurno Beach in the background. The South West Coast Path runs right along this beautiful stretch of Cornish coastline.
If you plan on walking around Cornwall why not check out my Instagram and YouTube channels for some inspiration. My wife and I have walked hundreds of miles all over Cornwall and I’ve filmed many of these walks. You’ll get 60-second videos on Instagram and full-length videos like the virtual bike ride videos above on YouTube. You can also check out my other website JVsCornwall.co.uk for more info about our walks around Cornwall, Cornish History, Art and Folklore.
- Cornwall boasts a 300 mile stretch of the spectacular South West Coast Path. Why not try walking the whole section while camping along the way?
- iwalkcornwall is a great site where you can download 256 walks onto your smartphone.
- Here’s a great article from Countryfile about some of the best walks you can do around Cornwall
I absolutely love spending a lot of time in the sea. It’s such a big part of the Cornish lifestyle.
When I’m not hitting the surf I like to wild swim and snorkel. On a sunny day in some of the more sheltered coves like the stunningly beautiful Kynance Cove, you can enjoy crystal clear waters which are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. I love checking out the fishes and other sea life. It’s a very relaxing past-time and its a great way to keep fit.
Some of the best places to go swimming and snorkelling in Cornwall
- Carbis Bay
- Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
- Kynance Cove
- Penzance – Battery Rock (see below)
- Pedn Vounder
- Porthtowan Tidal Pool, St Agnes
- Summerleaze Tidal Pool, Bude
Penzance has the UK’s largest outdoor swimming and seawater lido – The Jubilee Pool. If you’re not too confident about swimming in open water then this can be a great way to enjoy swimming outdoors right next to the open ocean.
Penzance is also home to the Penzance Battery Belles and Buoy’s wild swimming group. Every day at 11 am they gather for a wild swim off Battery Rock in Penzance.
Here’s a great website about wild swimming in Cornwall – wildswimming.co.uk.
If you fancy taking things a bit further in the ocean you can pull on your wetsuit and learn to dive in Cornwall.
From complete beginner to Dive Master there are loads of accredited dive centres all over Cornwall where you can learn how to dive or develop your diving skills.
One of the most established dive centres is ‘The Cornish Diving Centre in Falmouth.
You can study for:
- PADI Open Water
- Advanced Open Water
- Rescue Diver
- PADI Divemaster
- And loads more specialist courses
For the more, adventurous divers amongst you can also go wreck diving at sites all along the Cornish coast.
Find out more about diving in Cornwall.
Caving & Coasteering
Due to its mining past Cornwall has numerous cave systems that are just waiting for you to explore.
You should be very careful when entering caves along the Cornish coast on your own as there is always a danger that you could be cut off by the tide. Make sure you know the tide times before exploring too far into cave system!
- Cornwall Underground Adventures offer underground and overground mine tours in Cornwall. They have a very nice website that you should check out.
- If you are generally interested in finding out more about caving check out this brilliant website – startcaving.co.uk
Coasteering is a lot of fun. If you like climbing, jumping off rocks and cliffs, exploring sea caves, wild swimming and generally having a great time in the great Cornish outdoors then coasteering is definitely something you should try.
It’s perfectly safe and experienced guides will ensure you have a fun, safe time,
- Coasteering in North Cornwall is a great website where you can find out all about coasteering in Cornwall
Cornwall has over 300 miles of stunningly beautiful coastline for you to explore and exploring it in a kayak is a great way to get a different perspective of this wonderful part of the UK.
On a calm, sunny day there’s nothing better than jumping into a kayak and heading out onto the ocean.
There are many places where you can learn to kayak and hire gear if you need to.
You can find out more about sea kayaking here at Sea Kayaking Cornwall.
Find out more about kayaking in Cornwall.
You’ll never be short of outdoor activities to do in Cornwall. There really is something for everyone of all ages and backgrounds so good luck in planning your next action-packed adventure in Cornwall!