Best Places to Visit in Cornwall for Photography

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Cornwall? 

This guide attempts to show you the most beautiful places in the Cornwall region. So, whether you’re planning your next holiday or a local looking for the prettiest places to visit or activities to do in Cornwall you should find something insta-worthy to add to the gram on this list. 

There is something for everyone, whether you are an experienced landscape photographer, a smartphone snap enthusiast, or simply want to appreciate the scenery!

Do you want to improve your photography skills before your trip? Take a look at these best photography courses to learn some new skills.

Cornwall has a variety of places to visit and activities for you to enjoy, including gorgeous tranquil bays, coastlines with epic surf, quaint villages, and charming cafés.

Here is what this guide will cover. Click a link to jump ahead.

Firstly, when is the best time to visit Cornwall?

Cornwall, like most other tourist hotspots, has the greatest number of tourists during the summer school holidays, which last from July to August.

The Cornwall region is a great place to visit any time of year. However, if you want the best chance of good weather and less people, go to Cornwall in May or September. Good weather is never guaranteed though!

Don’t worry if it rains! Cornwall still has some of the prettiest places to visit and plenty of activities to do whatever the weather.

best photography places in cornwall
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Where should you stay in Cornwall?

There is a lot to see, but it is a small region, so for a more leisurely break, stay in one spot. Then you can take day trips to the best things to do and prettiest places to visit in the Cornwall region.

Two of the best places to stay in Cornwall are Newquay and St Ives.

Both are coastal towns, yet they are quite different. St Ives boasts a picturesque harbour and a vibrant centre, whilst Newquay is famous for its beaches, which lure surfers from throughout the country.

Best places to stay in or near Newquay, Cornwall include:

The Minerva is a warm and cheerful guesthouse in the centre of Newquay. One of the best locations for places to stay in Newquay, with stunning views of the sea and Towan Beach. The Minerva really is a home away from home, with a calm and welcoming ambiance that has drawn tourists back repeatedly.

A bed & breakfast for adults exclusively with a focus on extravagance, luxury, and timeless elegance. A mix of contemporary and traditional furnishings is offset with great artwork hanging on the walls. Creating a tranquil and elegant sanctuary for guests to rest and unwind from the minute they arrive.

The Colonial Rooms are the newest and most opulent addition to Tolcarne Beach Village’s quiet setting. Each of the 15 rooms has been separately decorated using furnishings from all around the world. All have huge rooms, a giant king double bed, roll-top bathtubs, and breath taking views of the ever-shifting Atlantic Ocean.

Best places to stay in or near St Ives, Cornwall include:

Modern, comfortable bedrooms decorated with artwork created locally in Cornwall. Bathrooms are also contemporary, bright, and light. It also has a gastropub that serves award-winning food and is less than 2 minutes’ walk from the harbour. Food is prepared using fresh, seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced, and on Sundays, a classic British roast is served.

A one-of-a-kind guesthouse with an onsite coffee bar and stunning views of St Ives. Recently named Best Boutique Stay in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2022. All of the rooms are well designed. Some rooms provide beautiful sights of the harbour and the sea. Guests regularly comment on how the staff went above and beyond to make them feel at home.

Standing proudly over the award-winning Porthminster Beach, with an abundance of sea view guest rooms. This Cornish coastal hotel and spa is a completely tropical getaway, set against a never ending turquoise sea and just a short palm tree lined walk to the golden sands below.

If you choose to stay inland, Redruth is a wonderful tiny town in the Cornwall area. It has a lot to offer right on your doorstep and is conveniently placed between Newquay and St Ives. Plus, some of Cornwall’s best beaches are just a short drive away.

Best place to stay in Redruth, Cornwall: 

Located in a Georgian grand home amid a private park. All guests have free access to the leisure facility, which features a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, and a variety of spa services that may be reserved in advance. Pets are welcome in some Superior rooms, which also have access to the hotel’s grounds and an outdoor terrace. These must be ordered ahead of time and are subject to availability.

Now that you know the best time to visit and the best places to stay, the next part of this post will guide you on the best things to do and places to visit in the Cornwall region! 

At a glance, here are the most photogenic places to visit in Cornwall. Click a link to skip ahead
  1. Fistral Beach
  2. Bedruthan Steps
  3. Holywell Bay
  4. St Ives
  5. Kynance Cove
  6. Land’s End
  7. St Michaels Mount
  8. Wheal Coates
  9. Botallack Mine
  10. Godrevy

fistral beach surfing photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Fistral Beach

Fistral beach has long expanses of golden sand which overlook the bay’s turquoise waters. Arguably one of the must see places in the Cornwall region.

This spot is regarded as one of the top surfing locations in the UK and Europe. So, sport and action photographers will enjoy capturing the surfers taking to the waves. Check out this article for some surf photography tips.

Year-round, the views from here are truly breath taking. The beach is typically packed with enthusiastic surfers and tourists during the Boardmasters Festival in August, which might result in some fantastic, distinctive photos.

bedruthan steps places in cornwall for photos
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Bedruthan Steps

Just north of Newquay, Bedruthan Steps’ rugged shoreline is one of the major gems of the north Cornish coastline. This has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall.

Throughout the year, the vistas are breath taking from the southwest coastal path. Massive waves will crash against the towering sea stacks on the beach below during stormy weather. At low tide, a vast and attractive sandy beach emerges. 

The cliff top views offer panoramic views of the Cornish coast to the north and southwest. 

Evening light is ideal for photography, and sunsets at Bedruthan are pretty special. This location is especially photogenic in the spring, when thrift and sea pinks decorate the cliff tops.

Facilities:  There is a National Trust car park here with a café and toilets

visit holywell bay in cornwall for sunset photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Holywell Bay 

A few miles southwest of Newquay, Holywell Bay has become more well-known as a result of its many appearances in the television series Poldark. It’s definitely one of the prettiest places in Cornwall. 

This broad, open bay is surrounded by huge sand dunes that reach heights of 20 metres. Carter’s Rocks, a small, unique island off the coast, is a wonderful focus point for seascapes.

Facilities:  There is a National Trust car park here with toilets

places to visit in St Ives photography ideas
© Sean Michael Pritchard

St Ives

St. Ives is the ideal location for taking some great photos in Cornwall. For many years, this town has been a source of inspiration for artists like Barbara Hepworth. 

It has to be on the list of must see places in Cornwall, and well worth a day trip if it isn’t where your accommodation is based.

The gorgeous harbour, white sand beaches, and cobblestone walkways lure large crowds from across the country. 

There is usually a bustling atmosphere wherever you are in St Ives, which provides photographers the chance to capture some amazing images.

kynance cove clear water photos

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove, one of Cornwall’s most visited locations, is a stunning beach and one of the county’s most frequently photographed views. Therefore this location undoubtedly makes the list of most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall.

Fantastic imagery can be created by contrasting the cove’s white sand beaches with the steep cliffs that are covered with lush green vegetation. 

During the summer, the sea here is a vibrant blue. Sometimes, this place looks more like a beach scene from the Tropics than Britain!

lands end photo location inspiration
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Land’s End

Land’s End is a must see for everyone visiting Cornwall. If you’re in the area, you’d be crazy not to cross this off your bucket list. The tourist attractions here are pretty unappealing and disappointing. 

However, if you move away from the shops and hotel, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of this wonderful stretch of Cornish coastline. 

A walk to Pordennack Point is worth it to capture the stunning coastline. 

Few photographers, however, will be able to resist capturing the iconic Land’s End panorama, which includes Longships Lighthouse, The Armed Knight, and Enys Dodnan rock arch. 

Keep an eye out for rare wildlife photos as well. Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Shags, Razorbills, and even the once-extinct Cornish Chough are making a welcome comeback. If you’re lucky, you might also see grey seals, basking sharks and dolphins out to sea.

landscape photography of st michaels mount
© Sean Michael Pritchard

St Michaels Mount

A Cornwall must see. Perhaps, Cornwall’s most recognisable landmark and well worth a visit. A tiny island with a quaint harbour, shops, beautiful gardens, and a spectacular castle. What’s not to love? 

It is certainly one of the prettiest places in the Cornwall region.

You can stroll to St Michael’s Mount at low tide, by an historic, elegant stone causeway which connects the island to the mainland. 

When composing photos of the Mount, this causeway gives a beautiful leading line. However, numerous photographers have now duplicated this photo. So, why not try something new? 

There are several opportunities here to apply framing techniques to create one-of-a-kind compositions.

Wheal Coates Cornish photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Wheal Coates

Situated high on the craggy cliffs above Chapel Porth beach at St Agnes, with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. The Towanroath mineshaft at Wheal Coates is a popular location for photographers in Cornwall. 

This is arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall. The scenery here is one of Cornwall’s most spectacular, as it combines the region’s natural beauty with its historic mines. 

The region around Wheal Coates has been exploited since the Middle Ages, although the majority of the current remains date around 1870.

There are some stunning landscape and seascape opportunities along this rocky St Agnes Heritage coastline gazing out to the North Atlantic Ocean. 

The cliffs are coloured with wildflowers in the early summer, while the sea adds drama to your photos throughout the winter.

Botallack Mine Cornwall photo
© Sean Michael Pritchard

Botallack Mine

Botallack is perhaps one of Cornwall’s most iconic and prettiest places to visit. So, it should be on your Cornwall must see list!

Dramatically placed at the base of the cliffs, just above the water, are the Crowns Engine Houses. You’ll usually find at least one or two Landscape photographers here trying to get a shot of this unique landscape. 

The ideal times to go are at high tide and in the evening. Climb down the hill facing the Engine Houses, to get a better perspective. Be careful as the footpaths are unstable in some locations.

Facilities:  There is a National Trust car park here with a café and toilets

godrevy lighthouse photography
© Sean Michael Pritchard


Gwithian Towans and Godrevy Lighthouse are only a short drive from Hayle. This is again one of the most beautiful places in the Cornwall region. Yet, again another location to add to the Cornwall must see list.

Godrevy lighthouse is unique in that it is positioned on a little island a few kilometres out at sea. It makes a fantastic focal point for photos shot from the beach. 

Crashing waves at mid to high tide may add drama to your photographs. Seals are regularly seen bobbing in the sea, and a large number of surfers riding the waves.

Facilities:  There is a National Trust car park here with a café and toilets

Final thoughts

There is so much to see and do, it was hard to narrow down the best places to visit in Cornwall.

While this post mainly focuses on the must see locations and prettiest places to explore in Cornwall, you can’t forget you have the whole of North Devon on your doorstep too. 

And if you’re looking for a quieter coastal escape check out the Best Places to Visit in Pembrokeshire for Photography.

Don’t forget to take your camera and take lots of photos to remember your visit.

Want to buy a print to remember your time on the Cornwall coast?

Check out my online store to find some perfect photography wall art of Cornwall to remind you of your holiday!

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

scenic view of the beach

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