Cornwall is one of the most unique parts of the UK. It boasts stunning beaches, charming villages, exquisite views, and a relatively warm climate. It is, without a doubt, an unmissable destination for travellers visiting England.

But Cornwall is packed with towns and villages, which can make it overwhelming to figure out which is right for you. That’s exactly why we put together this article for booking the right place to stay in Cornwall for you!

This guide was written by travellers for travellers. It lists the best towns and villages in Cornwall and organizes them by your travel need, location and what it has to offer. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or a family on holiday, there’s the right place for you.

So no matter what you’re looking to do, you’ll be able to find the town or village of your dreams in those where to stay in Cornwall, England guide.

Without wasting any more time, let’s get right to it!

Quick Tips – Best Areas in Cornwall to Stay

  • Where to Stay When Visiting Cornwall for the First Time – St Ives
  • Best Place to Stay in Cornwall on a Budget – Penzance
  • Best Area to Stay in Cornwall for Nightlife – Newquay
  • Coolest Town to Stay in Cornwall – Bude
  • Top Place to Stay in Cornwall for Family Holidays – Looe

In a hurry? Here’s my top town for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN CORNWALL

St Ives

St Ives is our pick for the best place in Cornwall to stay if you’re visiting for the first time. It is set in the south of Cornwall and is known for its white-sand beaches, winding narrow alleys, colourful fisherman’s cottages

PLACES TO VISIT:
  • Explore the Cornwall Coastal Path and prepare for breathtaking views
  • Relax on the golden sands of Porthminster Beach
  • Surf or lounge at spectacular Porthmeor Beach

Where to Stay in Cornwall

Cornwall might not be on top of the list when you’re backpacking around England, but it’s definitely worth the stopover. Located on the Southwest tip of England, you’ll get the rough but charming coast mixed with beautiful scenic views and cute little beaches. Since this coast region offers quite a few awesome spots, there are also a lot very popular road trip routes in Cornwall.

You accommodation can make or break your Cornwall adventure, so make sure you choose carefully. These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Cornwall.

Best Airbnb in Cornwall: Amazing apartment with bay views!

Enjoy the picturesque views of St Ives harbour that you’ve come to enjoy from the comfort of your own home with this ideally situated apartment. You’ll be mere minutes from the city centre, the beach and the surf. There’s plenty of activities supplied for rainy days as well ( come on, this is England).

Best Hostel in Cornwall: easyPZ Backpackers Penzance

This is our pick for the best hostel in Cornwall thanks to its great location, comfortable accommodations and its affordable pricing. Guests of the hostel can enjoy a large kitchen, a relaxing social room, and plenty of board games and books. They’ll also have access to a delicious and free continental breakfast.

Best Hotel in Cornwall: Sea Jade Guest House

Located in the northern village of Bude, this guest house boasts a fantastic location. It is close to a variety of restaurants and cafes, as well as the town centre. Comprised of seven rooms, this guest house is outfitted with charming and modern necessities. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast each morning.

Looking for something sexier and more romantic? There are plenty of good accommodation options around the county, but why not consider booking into one of the best lodges in Cornwall instead?

Cornwall Town and Village Guide

FIRST TIME IN CORNWALL
St Ives, Cornwall
FIRST TIME IN CORNWALL

St Ives

St Ives is our pick for the best place in Cornwall to stay if you’re visiting for the first time. It is set in the south of Cornwall and is known for its white-sand beaches, winding narrow alleys, colourful fisherman’s cottages

ON A BUDGET
Penzance, Cornwall
ON A BUDGET

Penzance

Set on the south coast of Cornwall, Penzance is a tropical paradise. Boasting one of the mildest climates in the UK, here you can enjoy warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and even naturally occurring palm trees.

NIGHTLIFE
Newquay, Cornwall
NIGHTLIFE

Newquay

Newquay is a village located in northern Cornwall known for its gorgeous beaches and striking coastal views. A popular resort destination, Newquay attracts tens of thousands of travellers every year to enjoy its stretches of golden sand

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Bude, Cornwall
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Bude

Bude is the northernmost town in Cornwall, sitting right on the border with Devon. A haven for outdoor adventurers, Bude boasts beautiful beaches, exquisite wildlife, great water quality, and fantastic conditions for surfing.

FOR FAMILIES
Looe, Cornwall
FOR FAMILIES

Looe

Looe is a small and picturesque town located on the southern coast of Cornwall. Divided into by the River Looe, this town boasts a pretty harbour, pretty sand beaches and an absolutely stunning coastline.

Cornwall is a massive and spectacular county located in southern England. It is one of the most isolated and unique parts of the country and is a popular holiday destination for domestic and international travellers. Cornwall’s coolest places to go are scattered all around the county.

Cornwall covers an area of more than 3,560 square kilometres. It is comprised of hundreds of colourful towns and charming villages that each offer distinct character and diverse beauty.

To help you plan your holiday to Cornwall, this guide will take a look at the five best towns and villages organized by interest.

Where to Stay in Cornwall
1. St Ives; 2. Penzance; 3. Newquay; 4. Bude; 5. Looe

St Ives is a popular tourist town that’s located in southern Cornwall. It has a number of high profile attractions and white-sand beaches, and it also boasts a good selection of shops, restaurants and cafes.

Travel southwest from here and you’ll arrive in Penzance. It’s where you can enjoy a vast array of shops, historic pubs, stunning views and a relaxed way of life.

Travel north along the coast to Newquay. The surfing capital of the UK, Newquay is a lively and vibrant town known for its beautiful beaches and stunning coastal scenery. It’s also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Cornwall.

Head north from here to Bude. The northernmost village in Cornwall, Bude offers the best of both worlds. Here you can enjoy great food, drinks and sightseeing, as well as unique nature and unparalleled views.

And finally, travel back to the southern coast to Looe. A town split into two parts, Looe has a fantastic selection of activities and attractions perfect for a family day out. From basking on the beach to animal encounters, Looe is a village that has it all!

Still not sure of the best area to stay in Cornwall for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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Cornwall’s 5 Best Towns and Villages to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best towns and villages to stay in Cornwall. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to pick the one that’s right for you!

1. St Ives – Where to Stay When Visiting Cornwall for the First Time

St Ives is our pick for the best place in Cornwall to stay if you’re visiting for the first time. It is set in the south of Cornwall and is known for its white-sand beaches, winding narrow alleys, colourful fisherman’s cottages and its myriad of shops and pubs.

Its also home to two high-profile attractions, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Tate Gallery, where you can see incredible works of art by local artists.

This vibrant and busy seaside town is also where you can excite your sense and dine on some of the best seafood in the UK. Whether it’s a plate of fish and chips or a bowl of fresh mussels, St Ives is a town where you can eat very well! It’s also home to some of the best cottages in Cornwall so you don’t have to look too hard to find an epic place to stay.

St Ives, Cornwall

Things to See and Do in St Ives

– Choose from a wide selection of beers at Pilchard Press Alehouse Micropub.

– Dig into a hearty Sunday roast at The Castle Inn.

– Eat delicious seafood at The Ocean Grill.

– Explore the Cornwall Coastal Path and prepare for breathtaking views.

– Go coasteering and explore the stunning cliffs around St Ives.

– Grab a pint at The Sloop Inn, the oldest pub in St Ives.

– Relax on the golden sands of Porthminster Beach.

– See an incredible display of artwork at the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

– Surf or lounge at spectacular Porthmeor Beach.

– View an incredible collection of iconic 20th-century art at the Tate Gallery St Ives.

Harbour Apartment in St Ives: Amazing home with bay views!

Enjoy the picturesque views of St Ives harbour that you’ve come to enjoy from the comfort of your own home with this ideally situated apartment. You’ll be mere minutes from the city centre, the beach and the surf. There’s plenty of activities supplied for rainy days as well ( come on, this is England).

Luxury Apartment in St Ives: Enjoy a 5-star Home for a Great Price

This stunning luxury apartment is a little paradise for everyone visiting St Ives. With a top location close to the water, you can enjoy the glorious views of the golden sands at Gwithian and Godrevy Head. For a very affordable nightly rate, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck here. 

Best Hostel in St Ives: Cohort Hostel, St Ives

This recently renovated hostel is located in the centre of St Ives. It’s close to the beach, great shops and lots of cafes and pubs. Rooms come complete with pod bunk beds, each with its own light, socket, USB plug, and storage locker. There’s also an in-house bar, lounge and laundry facilities.

Best Hotel in St Ives: The Queens Hotel St Ives

A fantastic bar and a great location – it’s no wonder we love this hotel! Set in central St Ives, this hotel is within walking distance of popular attractions. Rooms are relaxed and clean, and each is well outfitted for a comfortable stay.

2. Penzance – Best Place to Stay in Cornwall on a Budget

Set on the south coast of Cornwall, Penzance is a tropical paradise. Boasting one of the mildest climates in the UK, here you can enjoy warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and even naturally occurring palm trees. Who says you need to leave Great Britain to enjoy a little fun in the sun!

Penzance is also our pick for finding cheap places to stay in Cornwall if you’re travelling on a budget. Not only is this village home to our favourite hostel, but it’s where you can find a good selection of good value and cost-conscious accommodation options.

Love to shop? Well, Penzance is for you. This village is the commercial centre for the Land’s End peninsula and has everything from high street stores to independent boutiques.

Penzance, Cornwall

Things to See and Do in Penzance

– Admire the architecture and detail of the Egyptian House.

– Dine on tasty British fare at Harbourside Café.

– Enjoy the food, drinks and atmosphere at Admiral Benbow.

– Explore the shops of Chapel Street

– Go for a swim at Jubilee Pool, the UK’s biggest art deco seawater lido.

– Marvel at the luxurious sub-tropical plantings at Morrab Gardens.

– Stroll along the lengthy 1840s-style promenade.

– Take a day trip to nearby magical and mysterious St Michael’s Mount.

– Tuck into a splendid plate of fish and chips at Market Place Fish Bar.

– Wander around the Tanglewood Wild Garden.

Charming Studio in Penzance: Self-contained place for a small group

Property prices can run a little high in Penzance, but this property packs in a lot of value whilst still managing to keep the price point down. Find 2 friends to share with and you’ll be getting an absolute bargain with this Georgian townhouse.

Stunning Treehouse in Penzance: Secluded and Romantic Luxury Treehouse

Okay, this might not be one of the most affordable homes in Penzance, but the location and uniqueness of this stunning treehouse make up for it – we just had to put it on the list. Designed with a good eye for detail, you’ll be snuggling into bed on top of the forest and wake up to a beautiful sunrise view. The light-flooded living room is great for having a lazy day inside (no judgement!).

Best Hostel in Penzance: easyPZ Backpackers Penzance

This is our pick for the top place to stay in Penzance on a budget thanks to its great location, comfortable accommodations, and its affordable pricing. Guests of the hostel can enjoy a large kitchen, a relaxing social room, and plenty of board games and books. It’s a great choice for backpackers as it’s not just a good place to stay in Cornwall, but one of the nicest hostels in the UK too!

Best Hotel in Penzance: Hotel Penzance

Thanks to its excellent location, this is our favourite hotel in Penzance. It’s within walking distance of top tourist attractions, as well as great eateries, pubs, cafes and shops. You’ll enjoy comfortable and well-appointed rooms with a range of excellent amenities.

Klook.com

3. Newquay – Best Area to Stay in Cornwall for Nightlife

Newquay is a village located in northern Cornwall known for its gorgeous beaches and striking coastal views. A popular resort destination, Newquay attracts tens of thousands of travellers every year to enjoy its stretches of golden sand and its fantastic conditions for surfing. As the UK’s premier destination for surfers, Newquay hosts a variety of world-class events all throughout the year.

But, there’s more to this coastal community than hanging ten. Newquay is also where you’ll find a vibrant and lively nightlife scene; it’s home to everything from rustic pubs to fun dance clubs. Between its poppin’ nights and lazy surf days, it’s perfect area for backpackers visiting the UK and is our pick for Cornwall’s best place to stay for nightlife.

Newquay, Cornwall

Things to See and Do in Newquay

– Bask in the sunshine and enjoy the views at Lusty Glaze beach.

– Dance until dawn at Berties Nightclub.

– Drink beers at the Cribbar.

– Eat a delicious Sunday lunch at Merrymoor Inn Pub by the Beach.

– Eat amazing seafood at The Fish House.

– Enjoy a quirky night out at Whiskers.

– Go for a stroll along Towan Beach.

– Learn to surf at Fistral Beach.

– Party the night away at Basement Bar.

– See more than 1,000 rare and exciting creatures at the Newquay Zoo.

– Sip urbane cocktails at Tom Thumb Bar.

– View colourful fish, sea creatures and aquatic animals at the Blue Reef Aquarium.

Top Located Cottage in Newquay: A private house close to town

Perfect for a group heading down to Newquay for a weekend of beach days and pub nights, you’ll never be too far from a refreshing pint with this self-contained cottage. The cool garden courtyard combo looks great for a night in. It could be a great spot to enjoy the illusive English barbeque if you’re lucky.

Modern Apartment in Newquay: Brand-new Residence With a Stunning View

Overlooking the beach, you’ll get rid of your hangover in no time! The luxury apartment is equipped with the best amenities, making it possible to cook yourself – less money for food means more money for drinks at the bar. Located in a very central but quiet area, you’ll be able to have a very peaceful sleep too. It’s truly the perfect place for nightlife enthusiasts. 

Best Hostel in Newquay: Newquay International Backpackers

This homey place is one of the best hostels in Newquay. It’s the perfect home away from home for surfers and party animals as its just steps from both the beach and great bars. This hostel has a sauna, a kitchen, a comfortable lounge and a garden with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Best Hotel in Newquay: Priory Lodge Hotel

The Priory Lodge Hotel is in a fantastic location for walking to the best bars, pubs and restaurants in Newquay. They offer comfortable and spacious rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a stunning pool, tennis courts and a sauna on site. All of this combined makes this our recommendation for where to stay in Newquay.

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4. Bude – Coolest Town to Stay in Cornwall

Bude is the northernmost town in Cornwall, sitting right on the border with Devon. A haven for outdoor adventurers, Bude boasts beautiful beaches, exquisite wildlife, great water quality, and fantastic conditions for surfing. It’s where you can enjoy everything from climbing epic sandstone cliffs and hanging ten, to lounging on the beach and basking in the sun.

Our pick for the coolest village in Cornwall, Bude is where you can enjoy the best of both worlds. As well as its spectacular scenery, Bude offers amazing restaurants, fun shops, cosy cafes and plenty of things to see and do. You definitely won’t be bored by making your base in charming Bude.

Bude, Cornwall

Things to See and Do in Bude

– Dine on fresh seafood at Life’s A Beach.

– Eat a delightful tapas at Te Bank Tapas and Grill Restaurant.

– Explore the grounds of The Castle Bude.

– Kickstart your day with a hearty breakfast at Temple.

– Listen to great live music at Bar 35.

– Sip a glass of Cornwall wine at The Barrel.

– Soak up some rays at Crooklets Beach.

– Surf or swim at spectacular Summerleaze Beach.

– Swim in Bude Sea Pool, a man-made saltwater tidal pool.

– Unleash your inner archer with lessons at Red Elk Archery.

– Wander out to Compass Point.

Historic Cottage in Bude: Charming Conversion in an Old Hayloft

Soak in all of Cornwall’s historic charm from this cool little hayloft-come-cottage. It’s perfectly situated if you’re looking to enjoy dramatic coastal walks and charming local cafe culture. Set on a massive 22-acre property, it’s dog-friendly too if you’ve got a furry best friend!

Unique Cabin in Bude: Cute Lakefront Fishermen Hut

Looking for peace and quiet? You’ve found the perfect spot. This unique fishermen cabin is located right on a lakefront with almost no neighbours around. Wake up to the sound of nature and enjoy your morning coffee while looking over the mirror-like water. The Bude city centre is only 5min by car in case you want to go back to normal civilization or want to stock up the fridge. 

Best Guesthouse in Bude: The Edgcumbe

This guesthouse is in the perfect location for exploring Bude with sweeping sea views of Summerleaze Beach and plenty of shops and eateries nearby. Family owned and run, this guesthouse provides a clean and comfortable accommodation complemented by a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Breakfast may just be the star of the show here, but those who miss out can still enjoy a brew at the cafe-style bar!

Best Hotel in Bude: Sea Jade Guest House

Thanks to its fantastic location, this is our pick for where to stay in Bude. It is close to a variety of restaurants and cafes, as well as the town centre. Comprised of seven rooms, this guesthouse is outfitted with charming and modern necessities. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast each morning.

5. Looe – Top Place to Stay in Cornwall for Family Holidays

Looe is a small and picturesque town located on the southern coast of Cornwall. Divided into by the River Looe, this town boasts a pretty harbour, pretty sand beaches and an absolutely stunning coastline. It’s where you can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions, as well as good shopping and delicious restaurants. That’s why Looe is our pick for where to stay in Cornwall for families.

An All-around holiday destination, there are plenty of things to see and do in Looe that will enchant travellers of all ages. From coastal hikes and days at the beach to animal encounters and historical landmarks, this small Cornwall town is bursting with opportunities for family fun.

Looe, Cornwall
source: David Merrett (Flickr)

Things to See and Do in Looe

– Dine on savoury dishes at Chennai Indian Fusion.

– Dive deep into local history at the Old Guildhall Museum & Gaol.

– Eat excellent fish and chips at The Coddy Shack.

– Enjoy a filling and delicious full English breakfast at Daisy’s Café.

– Learn about the fishing industry at The Old Sardine Factory Heritage Centre.

– Spend a day relaxing at Millendreath Beach

– Run, jump, laugh and plat on the sands of East Looe Beach.

– Take a day trip to the Porfell Wildlife Park & Sanctuary.

– Take a tour of The Monkey Sanctuary and learn all about these fascinating creatures.

– Visit nearby Looe Island.

Spacious House in Looe: Rural sanctuary for a peaceful family retreat

This charming property gives you and your family your own piece of real British countryside to enjoy. The garden and pond are teeming with life, backed by the rolling cornish hills. There’s pub-grub & fish and chippy’s within walking distance for hearty British meals to suit all ages. Great place to savour some peace and quiet.

Family Apartment in Looe: Stunning Riverview Home 

Accommodating up to 4 people, this Riverview apartment is perfect for small families. The luxurious but comfy design makes everyone feel welcome at an instant – it’s like a home far away from home. The best part: Enjoying your morning coffee on your private balcony while looking down on the harbour. A truly priceless view! 

Best Guest House in Looe: Bridgeside Guest House Looe

This charming guesthouse has a great location in Looe. It is close to restaurants and shops, as well as popular tourist attractions. You and your family can enjoy a variety of amenities, including a sun deck, and free wifi. There’s also a delicious restaurant and cosy lounge bar on-site.

Best Hotel in Looe: Meneglaze B&B

The Meneglaze B&B provides four-star luxury in the heart of Looe. Located north of central Looe, this B&B offers a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere and stunning views. The property is comprised of 4 cosy rooms with free wifi and a range of amenities. You’ll also enjoy a varied breakfast each morning.

Final Thoughts on Choosing a Place to Stay in Cornwall

Cornwall is a little slice of paradise in the UK. It has stunning beaches, scenic views, world-class surfing and plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife options. A relaxing holiday destination, there’s something for everyone in Cornwall, UK.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the five best towns and villages to stay in Cornwall. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here’s a quick summary of our favourite accommodations.

Check out easyPZ Backpackers Penzance – our number one choice for the best hostel in Cornwall thanks to its great location, comfortable rooms, and is a great value for travellers!

Our recommendation for the best hotel is the Sea Jade Guest House. Located in Bude, this charming property is well equipped and centrally located. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy a satisfying breakfast each morning!

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