Holidays to Cornwall during the summer is normally synonymous with crowds of tourists in towns and beaches. This is very true if you book a holiday cottage in St Ives where the town thrives between Easter and October. Here we offer some recommendations of where to visit if you prefer quieter, less stressful places to explore while on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall.
Roche Rock Photo Credit: Helen Hotson
Roche Rock in Cornwall is a hidden gem for those seeking tranquility and a break from the crowds. Perched on top of grassy hill with granite rocks, this enchanting site offers a serene escape with its captivating natural beauty and historical significance.
Roche Rock’s remote location guarantees a peaceful experience. Away from the hustle and bustle, you can connect with nature and immerse yourself in being ‘in the moment’. Its historical charm adds to the draw to visit Roche Rock with its striking 15th century chapel ruins nestled among the rocks creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Dedicated to Saint Michael, the chapel has had various roles over the past 5 centuries. There numerous reports of it being used as shelter by a local hermit – giving it its alter ego name of Roche Rock Hermitage. Others suggest it was used in medieval times by the Tregarnick family, local landowners, the father from which had contracted leprosy and wanted to protect his loved ones from the disease. The sense of history and mystery surrounding Roche Rock invites you to explore its past and imagine the lives of those who once inhabited this remarkable place.
The views from Roche Rock are breathtaking. As you stand at the top of the rocks, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside and distant sea, providing a sense of expansiveness that can be truly rejuvenating. My visit to the rock included ropes, grippy rock shoes, a chalk bag and clips for climbing up the large rocks surrounding the chapel ruin but you don’t have to be a mountain goat or rock climber to get to the top as there is a ladder fixed into the rock for those wanting to reach the top.
Roche Rock lacks the crowds found in towns like St Ives or on beaches around the North coast so a visit here promises a quiet and reflective time, making it an excellent choice for those who seek a tranquil retreat in Cornwall. You can find it just outside St Austell near the china clay mines. Come off the A30 at Cornwall Services and follow the signs for Roche. There is a footpath to the Rock just past Roche Primary School but you won’t have any problems spotting it!
Botallack Mine, near St. Just – Photo Credit: David Noton
St Just is on the West coast of Cornwall and is a community village that offers a delightful blend of culture and history. Here’s a glimpse of what you can find in terms of shops, eateries, cafes, galleries, and its proximity to Botallack Mine:
St Just has a variety of independent shops where you’ll find quaint boutiques selling locally-made crafts, artworks, and clothing as well as well-stocked local bakeries, green grocers, florists and butchers selling locally reared and grazed meat.
Eateries and Cafes
The village is a haven for food enthusiasts from traditional Cornish pasties to hearty breakfasts at our favourite place, the Cafe Dog and Rabbit. For a super salad, hearty helpings of quiche or vegan sausage rolls, and a great coffee, try The Square which is (funnily enough) on the square next door to The Wellington Hotel. You can eat in for fish and chips or take away and there is order traditional pub grub either at the King’s Arms or The Wellington overlooking the square.
Art lovers will find much to appreciate in St Just. The village is home to numerous galleries that showcase the work of local artists as well as pieces inspired by the breathtaking Cornish landscape. These galleries offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s artistic scene and perhaps take home a unique piece of art as a souvenir. We highly recommend going to The Jackson Foundation Gallery where you can see not only the incredible pieces of art by Kurt Jackson but also supporting charities such as Zoological Living Conservation, Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage, Survival International and more through artwork and photography.
St Just to Botallack Mine
St Just is conveniently located near the historic Botallack Mine, which is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. This iconic mine, perched dramatically on the rugged coastline, offers a fascinating glimpse into Cornwall’s mining heritage. Visitors can explore the preserved ruins and learn about the industry that once shaped the region.
Overall, St Just’s blend of shops, eateries, cafes, galleries, and its proximity to Botallack Mine make it a wonderfully peaceful place to visit where you can indulge in the local culture, history and community.
Poldark, Porthgwarra, Cornwall. Photo Credit: Matt Jessop
Porthgwarra in Cornwall is a picturesque coastal haven that boasts a rich connection to the popular TV series “Poldark,” as well as its own inherent rural beauty and secluded charm.
Porthgwarra gained fame as one of the filming locations for the beloved TV series “Poldark.” Fans of the show will recognise this tranquil cove as the setting for iconic scenes. The natural beauty of Porthgwarra served as a stunning backdrop for dramatic moments that unfolded in the show, making it a must-visit spot for enthusiasts of both the series and Cornwall’s captivating landscapes. One of my very good friends was an extra at one of the scenes being filmed at Porthgwarra, she matched their pre-requisite of having natural hair colour!
Nestled between rugged headlands and a lush green valley, Porthgwarra exudes a rustic beauty that’s characteristic of Cornwall’s coastal scene. The untouched beauty of the area is a testament to its untouched charm. Visitors can wander along the coastal paths, taking in the breathtaking views of the sea crashing against the rocky shores while enjoying the fresh sea breeze. If you love watching TV shows on Cornwall, you will have also be introduced to the father and son fishing team that launched their boat from Porthgwarra with Rick Stein onboard too.
Porthgwarra’s secluded position is one of its most inviting features. Far from the bustling crowds, this hidden gem provides an oasis of tranquility. The quietness of the cove allows visitors to escape from the modern world, offering a chance to connect with nature and find solace in the sound of the waves.
Whether you’re a “Poldark” fan eager to step into the show’s world or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in the embrace of nature, Porthgwarra in Cornwall promises an experience that marries its TV fame with the serene allure of its rural beauty and secluded position.
Porthcurnick Beach, Portscatho. Photo Credit: Matt Jessop
Portscatho is a charming and tranquil holiday destination that offers a perfect escape for those seeking peace and relaxation away from the more packed out holiday destinations like St Ives, Mousehole, Fowey or Padstow. Having beed to Portscatho to escape the crowds, here’s why we believe it’s a great choice for a peaceful getaway:
Idyllic Coastal Retreat
Nestled along Cornwall’s stunning coastline, Portscatho will envelope you in a sense of calm and serenity. The village’s small size and lack of commercialisation contribute to its peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those who want to unwind and recharge with minimum fuss.
Quaint Village Charm
Portscatho’s quaint and traditional village charm is a major draw. Its narrow streets, white-washed cottages, and picturesque harbour create a timeless ambiance that transports visitors to a simpler way of life. Strolling through the village and taking in the unhurried pace of daily life is a soothing experience whether with a dog on a lead or with a child in hand.
The village is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coves that are often less crowded compared to larger tourist destinations. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim, or explore the rock pools, the quiet beaches of Portscatho provide a peaceful environment to enjoy the sea. Our photo above shows Porthcurnik beach which is a 15-minute walk along the coastal path and is dog-friendly all year round. Sat above this beach is The Hidden Hut which host feast events as well as super delicious, nutritious food with the sea and beach as its incredible backdrop.
The calm waters of the bay are perfect for leisurely activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply enjoying a peaceful boat ride. The gentle lapping of the water against the shore creates a soothing soundtrack to your relaxation.
For those who enjoy nature walks, Portscatho offers scenic coastal paths with breathtaking views of the ocean. Exploring the rugged coastline on foot allows you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area while enjoying the tranquility that comes with it.
Portscatho has long been a haven for artists, drawn by its captivating landscapes and tranquil ambiance. The village hosts galleries and studios showcasing local artwork, allowing you to appreciate the creative energy that the surroundings inspire.
In essence, Portscatho’s unspoiled beauty, laid-back vibe, and its emphasis on embracing the simple pleasures of life make it an excellent choice for a peaceful holiday destination. Whether you’re seeking a quiet retreat by the sea or an opportunity to connect with the artistic spirit of Cornwall, Portscatho has much to offer.
National Trust Trengwainton. Photo Credit: Matt Jessop
This is one of my favourite places to come and escape the chaos of other tourist hotspots in Cornwall. It is a couple of miles outside Penzance in a little village called Madron, West Cornwall.
Trengwainton is part of National Trust’s collection of historic houses and gardens and offers a captivating blend of stunning plant collections and rich historical significance. The estate’s diverse range of plants, cultivated over centuries, create a lush and vibrant tapestry that you can mooch around at your own pace.
Trengwainton boasts a remarkable collection of exotic plants, many of which thrive due to the Cornwall’s mild (and wet!) climate. Wander through magnificent rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias that burst into bloom during the spring months. The famous walled garden (in the photo above), known for its unique microclimate, houses tender plants from around the world, including towering tree ferns, vibrant hydrangeas, and striking agapanthus.
Trengwainton’s history dates back to the 16th century when it was originally a modest Elizabethan house. Over the years, various owners expanded and improved the property, transforming it into the elegant mansion we see today. In the 19th century, the Bolitho family acquired Trengwainton and played a pivotal role in shaping the estate. It is still in the Bolitho family’s hands and, thanks to them and the National Trust, the gardens flourish, with plant collectors from around the world contributing to the impressive array of flora.
You can have a peaceful meander around the acres of the gardens and estate followed by a mooch around their small plant nursery and a lunch at their cafe that has outside picnic benches within a sheltered walled garden as well as seating indoors. Dogs are welcome on leads around the estate and at the cafe’s outdoor tables.
Kingsand and Cawsand
Kingsand and Cawsand. Photo Credit: Adam Gibbard
Kingsand and Cawsand: Twin Villages by the Sea
Perched along the scenic coastline of Cornwall, the picturesque villages of Kingsand and Cawsand exude charm and tranquility. With their colourful cottages, breathtaking views, and rich maritime history, these twin villages offer a more peaceful escape for visitors seeking a glimpse into Cornwall’s coastal beauty.
Kingsand and Cawsand are renowned for their stunning beaches and the crystal-clear, calm sea. When we stayed there in November 2019, we would see locals arrive first thing in the morning for their morning sea swim. As former fishing and smuggling hubs, the two villages still bear the mark of their maritime heritage. Stroll along the narrow streets lined with quaint cottages once housing the local fishermen and their families, and you will discover remnants of old boathouses and historic inns that tell tales of seafaring adventures. The lanes are quiet and uncrowded allowing you to relax fully and enjoy the coastal experience stress-free.
The villages are known for their colorful cottages, which create a delightful contrast against the blue of the sea and sky. Each cottage seems to have its own character, some adorned with flower-filled gardens and others boasting unique architectural details. This harmonious blend of colours and architecture adds to the overall charm of the area. If you choose to visit Kingsand and Cawsand for the day, you will most certainly enjoy a range of activities, from relaxing on the sandy beaches to exploring the rock pools and hidden coves. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding, while keen walkers can explore the scenic coastal paths that offer panoramic views of the sea. One footpath leads along the coast path through wooded walks and pathways to Mount Edgecombe estate where a small collection of independent shops and a cafe are there to greet you for some rest and retail therapy.
Bodmin moor. Photo Credit: Adam Gibbard
Bodmin Moor, a rugged expanse in Cornwall, offers a wealth of reasons why it’s the best spot to visit for peace and tranquility, natural beauty and historical intrigue. Here are some of the reasons why we know it’s a go-to place to enjoy being free from the crowds of tourists that head to coastal towns making the beaches and towns busy and almost impossible to move.
1. Natural Beauty and Scenic Landscapes
Bodmin Moor boasts an unspoiled landscape characterised by rolling hills, granite tors, and vast open spaces. The moor’s dramatic scenery provides ample opportunities for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers to explore and capture its awe-inspiring vistas.
2. Historic Sites and Archaeological Wonders
Rich in history, Bodmin Moor is dotted with ancient relics and archaeological sites. Explore ancient stone circles, burial mounds, and remnants of prehistoric settlements. One notable site is the Hurlers Stone Circle, shrouded in myth and legend, making it a fascinating spot for history buffs.
3. Granite Tors and Rock Formations
The moor’s granite tors—natural rock formations—create a striking contrast against the open landscape. Climb to the top of tors like Brown Willy and Rough Tor for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These tors provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering as well if you are that way inclined! Word of advice, beware of ticks if you sit down on the grass verges of the tors.
4. Outdoor Activities
Bodmin Moor offers a playground for outdoor enthusiasts if that is your favourite way to destress in peace. The walking is simply amazing so be sure to be armed with iwalkcornwall or an OS Map (it’s vast!), cycling, horseback riding, and birdwatching. The moor’s diverse ecosystem is home to various bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers.
5. Tranquility and Escape
For those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the chaos of popular holiday towns or attractions in Cornwall, Bodmin Moor provides a serene environment. The moor’s vast expanse and remote location allows you to disconnect and find peace in nature.
6. Dark Skies for Stargazing
Bodmin Moor’s remote location away from city lights makes it an ideal spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the moor’s dark skies offer breathtaking views of celestial wonders, including stars, planets, and even meteor showers.
7. Flora and Fauna
Bodmin Moor is home to a unique range of plant and animal species that have adapted to its challenging environment. From hardy moorland plants to elusive wildlife like ponies and birds of prey, the moor provides opportunities to observe and appreciate nature’s resilience against all the seasons.
8. Literary and Cultural Connections
The moor has inspired numerous authors and artists throughout history. It’s said to have influenced the works of writers like Daphne du Maurier, adding a cultural dimension to the moor’s allure. Jamaica Inn being the book she wrote about her eerie experience on Bodmin Moor, stop off at the actual Inn for refreshments and a place to soak in the history and intrigue of time gone by.