Beautiful South West: Best Views in Cornwall

Written by: Eliot Prince

Beautiful Cornwall: known for some of the best views around, with sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, and a fascinating history.

In fact, Cornwall is so popular with visitors, it sees around 5 million visitors each year!

In this guide we’ll cover:

  • Where to find the best views in Cornwall
  • What you’ll find there
  • Any notable features

Let’s get into it and perhaps you’ll even find YOUR most beautiful view in Cornwall!

St Michael’s Mount

St Michaels Mount at Sunset

Imagine a storybook castle settled on an island: that’s St Michael’s Mount. Nothing short of fairy-tale standards, the Mount has been featured in many successful films and TV shows. 

From ‘Johnny English’ to ‘House of the Dragon’ (the popular ‘Games of Thrones’ prequel), the Mount has been a location in some very successful media.

If you want to film something for your own project, you’ll need to make sure that you obtain permission beforehand. This also applies to flying your drone over the area — you’ll need written consent for that. 

Access to the Mount depends on the state of the tide. When it’s out, you can walk across the flats to reach the island. However, when it’s in, you’ll need to take a boat! 

On the Mount itself, you’ll find a small village as well as St Michael’s Church. 

When approaching the island, whether on foot or by boat, you’ll still share the view of the island that its first inhabitants did! That’s pretty special, and makes the Mount a must-visit.

Bedruthan Steps

bedruthan steps

The Bedruthan Steps or “sea stacks” are enormous rock formations dotted along a stretch of Cornwall’s coastline. 

They were supposedly used as stepping stones by a giant named Bedruthan, who didn’t want to get his feet wet as he crossed the water – though it’s said that this myth was invented to attract tourists! 

Whatever you believe, it’s still fun to imagine a giant tip-toeing across the coast! 

You can view the Steps from the cliff tops above, which in the right season will be blanketed with wildflowers. Sit in the grass, inhale the salty air, and watch the waves lap at the shore. 

The beach is no longer accessible by the very steep stairs which have been closed due to rock falls, so don’t attempt to take them.

Botallack Crowns Mine

The Botallack Mine, Cornwall

When minerals like tin, arsenic, and copper were in peak demand, Cornwall was a world leader in mining. 

You’ll find Botallack Crowns Mine located on the so-called “Tin Coast”, named for all the riches hidden beneath it. 

The “Crowns” are 19th Century engine houses perched on the cliff’s edge. These houses are just a few of the many, many mining remnants across Cornwall. 

This mining site is a part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, for good reason. As well as the engine houses there are underground shafts, which were dug either vertically down or diagonally below the sea. 

The view of the Crowns and from the Crowns are both remarkable, and you can still see the old track the miners took to work.

If you’re keen on immersing yourself in a bit of history, be sure to put Botallack Crowns Mine on your list.

Kynance Cove

kynance cove paddleboarding spot

Famous for its turquoise blue waters, Kynance Cove is the place to be in hot weather. The secluded cove is located on the Lizard Peninsula, where many great beaches reside. 

There are not many views better than white sand and jelly-blue water enclosed by colourful craggy rocks. It’s the peak of relaxation: warm sand, cool water, and minimal wind. 

You can access the Cove by steps or the gradually descending path (which will take about 15 minutes) in order to explore the rock stacks and caves at low tide.

If you fancy a bite to eat and a cup of tea, check out the eco-friendly Kynance Cove Beach Café, located just above the beach.

For more great views, try the looping Lizard coastal walk. It both begins and ends at Kynance Cove, with guaranteed scenery along the way!


porthcurno view from the cliffs

Porthcurno is a small village with a picturesque golden sand beach. Photographers and vacationers flock to the beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Cornwall — if not the entire world!

The valley is where the very first undersea telegraph cable was installed. By 1920, 50 years on, Porthcurno was considered the biggest and best telegraph station in the world. 

Atop the granite cliffs sits the open-air Minack Theatre, opened in 1932 by Rowena Cade. 

You can explore the Minack Theatre during the day, or catch a play here in the evening as the stars begin to come out.

You may even be treated to some of Cornwall’s other sights while at the Minack! One visitor recalled:

“Saw a play there once and had a moment where everyone in the audience stopped watching as a pod of dolphins swam past in the sunset.”

Wheal Coates Mine

Chapel Porth Sunset at Wheal Coates Mine

Another famous mining spot, Wheal Coates mine, is a must-see. Perched on the hills near St Agnes overlooking the ocean, it’s a moving view. 

Tin and copper were officially mined there from 1802 to 1914, though it’s very likely minerals were harvested a lot earlier. 

There were three engine buildings, including the still-standing Towanroath Engine House. Though it’s missing a roof, the house and its recognisable chimney are still intact. 

Follow the coastal path, where you’ll have an incredible view of the mining infrastructure, as well as the sea and fields covered in heather. It’s described it as

“…one of my favourite views in the world.” 

The hills are often shrouded in mist, which — accompanied by the swishing sounds of the ocean — give way to ghosts of the miners who used to work there. 

Fear not — by all accounts they seem to be harmless! 

St Ives Harbour

st ives drone shot

This one’s for you, boat enthusiasts! 

There are three piers at St Ives Harbour: Smeaton’s Pier, West Pier and New Pier. 

The harbour has always been a huge spot for fishing and weekly markets. It was also historically where you could catch a boat in order to travel to Ireland. 

Today, while you can’t quite get as far as Ireland, you can hire a boat or ride a passenger boat to access the best views of the harbour. 

Highlights include the two lighthouses, both built in the 19th Century.

There are also plenty of shops, pubs, cafés, and galleries to explore around the harbour, so you won’t be at a loss for things to do!

Bodmin Moor

bomin moor

Not for the faint-hearted, our next spot is the highest point in Cornwall: Brown Willy at Bodmin Moor. 

Bodmin Moor is a moorland in Cornwall, with many ancient stone monuments from the Carboniferous period — a few hundred million years ago. Every stone found in the Moor has meaning, and archeologists are still trying to find out what they all are. 

Within Bodmin Moor you’ll find the Hurlers, three giant circles marked out in boulders. Legend has it that they were formed when, as punishment for playing on a Sunday, a group of Hurling players were turned to stone!

Other monuments include The Cheesewring and Stowes Hill, Nine Stones of Altarnun, the Stripple Stones, the Trippet Stones, the East Moor Enclosure, and many more. 

Bodmin Moor was once bustling with activity, so there are many stone formations left behind. 

The big finale is Brown Willy, a hill whose summit is the highest point in Cornwall. There is even a cairn (stack of flat rocks) at the top, rumoured to be the tomb of an old Cornish King. 

The view from Brown Willy is breathtaking and well worth the walk. You don’t want to miss the hill and Bodmin Moor’s many rock formations, especially as one tips over every now and then!

Porthleven During a Storm

Porthleven storm watching during winter in Cornwall

When it storms at Porthleven, the harbour town is absolutely thrashed, making it quite the sight to behold! 

The same waves that wrecked ancient sailboats smash against the barriers, creating a harrowing scene. Fortunately, the waterfront buildings are well used to this and are very sturdy. 

Porthleven is the southernmost port in all of Great Britain and if rip-roaring storms are your thing, the port during a storm is the place to be!

For those of us who’d rather hide under the covers when there’s a storm, you can watch a Porthleven storm here:

A comment on the video reads:

“Porthleven is a perfect spot for storm chasers, the harbour and rugged cliffs give [the] perfect opportunity for photographers to catch those dramatic shots!!” 

Truro River at Sunset

The Truro River begins where the Kenwyn and Allen rivers converge. You can take a boat down the river, or follow the course of the river on foot!

And, watching the sunset or sunrise at the river is one of those once-in-a-lifetime views you’ll never forget!

Bring along a picnic or a flask of tea, sit back, and take it all in. To make sure you don’t miss it, check the sunrise/sunset times here!

Land’s End

land's end park run views along the route
Views along the Land’s End Parkrun route!

Land’s End is an absolute classic spot to visit when in Cornwall and the most southerly point of England. 

While some might say that it’s a little over-hyped, you’ll be blown away by the granite cliffs that were formed 270 million years ago if you’ve never experienced it.

For an absolutely stunning view, head to the top of the cliffs — it’s well worth the walk! Just be careful as it can get a little windy, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean beneath you.

To see more of Land’s End, try going for a stroll along the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile-long walk around the coast.

While we aren’t suggesting that you try to tackle the whole walk (!), you could try ‘Land’s End and Nanjizal’, which begins and ends at the Land’s End car park. 

You’ll see caves and coves, a glittering Diamond Horse, and the views that inspired famous artist Joseph Turner!

Don’t forget to take an obligatory photo with the Land’s End signpost, the ultimate proof you’ve been to Land’s End!

P.s. runners will love the views along the Land’s End Park Run on Saturday mornings!

In Summary 

For a holiday chock-full of stunning views, Cornwall is the place to be!

Everywhere you turn there are enormous cliffs, beaches that look like paradise, caves to explore, and remnants of history.

Whether you’re after more of a city tour, historic exploration, or long walks around Cornish country: you’ll find it all here.

Remember to bring water, sun cream, and a couple of extra layers if you’re headed out on a big day as the Cornish weather can turn very suddenly – and you certainly don’t want to get caught out!

Hopefully, this article will help guide you toward some of the most scenic spots in Cornwall. And who knows: maybe one of them will even take the title of your top most beautiful place in the country!