Spending time amongst intensely beautiful nature is a lovely way to spend your holiday not just in Cornwall, but anywhere really.
Since Cornwall is known for its historical castles, rivers, haunted houses, and numerous other incredible sightseeing spots, waterfalls may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of this iconic English county.
Still, you really shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity!
Immersing yourself amongst the woodland and waterways won’t just blow you away, it’s also a great free activity that helps to keep overall costs down during your trip. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you pick the best waterfalls in Cornwall to visit!
In this article, we’ll explore:
- Seven locations with the best waterfalls in Cornwall
- The details about these waterfalls, such as viewing fees, parking information, and more
- Other activities to do or places to visit near these waterfalls.
Bring your camera (and perhaps even a picnic) and feel yourself getting lost in the magic of these Cornish waterfalls!
St Nectan’s Kieve, near Tintagel
There’s so much to say about the whimsical St Nectan’s Glen and its cascading waterfall.
Among its accolades, the area has been designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the number of rare plant species in St Nectan’s Glen is enough to have it dubbed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest as well!
That aside, the location is also considered one of the most spiritual sites in the entire United Kingdom.
All of this should be enough to pique your interest without even hearing about the falls themselves!
The St Nectan’s Kieve is a waterfall formed by the Trevillet River passing over Late Devonian Slate and gushes over 60 feet to the bottom of the valley.
The contrast between the rushing water and the intense greenery laying over the rocks is simply breathtaking.
When you visit the area, you can park in a designated area that’s conveniently located roughly one mile away from the falls. Keep in mind that parking within this space is limited, especially during the peak hours from lunchtime to around 3 pm.
Alternatively, there’s a field car park run by a local farmer who charges three pounds a day, and this location place has more parking availability than the one closer to the falls. You can find this field parking at PL34 0BD.
It’s also important to be aware that there’s a fee for viewing the waterfall, with an adult price of £7.45 and a child price of £4.95. You can see ticket information on the location’s official website.
P.s. If you’re doggo is tired of beaches then this is a great woodland walk on two legs of four!
Golitha Falls, Bodmin Moor
Golitha Falls cascades over multiple different rocky faces along the Fowey River, glistening the entire way.
The easiest way to get to these falls is by parking at Draynes Bridge, leaving you with a short walk of around half a mile from your car.
Multiple viewpoints are set up for you to gaze out at the river along the way, with pathways making the walk easier and more accessible.
And if you get peckish, you can grab a bite to eat at Inkie’s Smokehouse & BBQ that’s located right on Draynes Bridge!
This waterfall is highly regarded on social media, with a visitor describing it as a highly scenic walk that’s an excellent alternative to the beach.
You should know, however, that if you’re expecting a large, adrenaline-filled display of thundering waters, these falls are likely to disappoint. Plus you can even pop your swimmers on and go for a wild swimming dip in the pools along the the falls and stream
While the scenery is gorgeous and it’s a lovely walk, these cascades are smaller than some others on this list. This doesn’t take away from how beautiful they are, as long as you go in knowing what to expect.
The closest town to Golitha Falls is Liskeard, which is full of shops, cafes, and heritage trails for you to explore while you’re in the area. This market town emits vibrant energy that’s hard to let go of once you’ve experienced it!
Speke’s Mill Mouth
The Culm Coast waterfalls are a fantastically dramatic option if you’re a fan of pebble beaches! Here, the waters flow down from the river and right onto the coast.
The most popular waterfall in this stretch of coast between Bude, Cornwall, and Hartland, Devon is Speke’s Mill Mouth.
Visit these falls after a period of rainfall for the best display of the water plummeting 50 feet over three separate tiers from the top of the craggy coastal cliffs!
The walk to the falls is a great option if you have a dog as all the Hartland coastal tracks are dog-friendly.
The trail is roughly one mile each way between the falls and the car park and is rated moderate to easy. You’ll be able to park behind the museum for free before it opens or for three pounds during the museum’s open hours.
It’s a good idea to wear a lot of sunblock during your visit to Speke’s Mill Mouth falls.
The trail follows a coastal track that winds through grassy farmland without any trees to keep you out of the sun, but it’s all worth it to see one of the biggest waterfalls near Cornwall.
Once you arrive at the falls, you’ll have an abundance of space to have a picnic, sit on the shore, soak in the sounds of the water, or run around with your pooch.
Wade around in the base of the waterfall to cool your feet and legs off after your sunny walk if you’re feeling brave enough — you won’t regret it!
Eden Project Waterfall, St Austell
The story of the Eden Project in St Austell is an inspiring tale of how humans have the capability to restore the Earth in a sustainable way.
The Eden Project transformed a “steep-sided clay pit 60 metres deep” into a giant conservatory filled with a huge diversity of plants and nature-inspired buildings!
Within the Rainforest Biome, you will be able to walk amongst the treetops on a wobbly wooden bridge (fully safe, don’t worry!), enjoy the company of the roul-roul partridge birds wandering freely around the biome, and witness the indoor waterfall gushing through the indoor forest.
Not only are you witnessing a waterfall within these gardens, but you’re also experiencing firsthand a revolutionary sustainability project. There aren’t many places like it on the planet!
Unfortunately, nowhere is safe from natural disasters, and Mother Earth is known for getting what it wants.
Several landslips occurred in the Eden Project over the winter of 2020, which could have threatened the beauty of the project completely. Luckily, the designers had a different plan for the landslip — to turn it into a magnificent waterfall!
If you want to get into the Eden Project, you’ll need to purchase a ticket. Ticket prices vary according to the season, so be sure to check that before you go!
If you’re somebody with full mobility and are up for an adventure, the Tregardock Beach Waterfall may be for you! The walk will take you roughly 20 minutes each way from your car to the beach, but the trek is certainly worth it.
One way to describe this waterfall is that it’s secluded. The reason for this is the slight difficulty people have getting to it due to the required rock climbing needed to reach the beach.
You’ll also need to plan your adventure to suit the tide as the beach itself disappears when the tides are high. If you don’t, you might find yourself cut off by the incoming ocean!
After walking along a coastal path over farmland, you’ll make your way carefully down the rocks towards the sand at the bottom of the coastal cliffs. This route isn’t the simplest, but the beach at low tide is well worth the effort.
At low tide, the falls cascade down onto the sand below and guard the entrance to a rocky cave in the cliffside. Tidal rockpools coated in mussels lay in wait for you to explore and play in.
Once you’re in the area, be sure to soak in the tranquillity of an almost empty beach – especially as this doesn’t happen often along the coast of Cornwall!
Parking availability here is known to be poor as there’s no designated car parking area. The closest thing to a suitable space is down a narrow road with the signpost “Treligga”, just a little west of Delabole.
Pentargon Waterfall, Boscastle
The Pentargon Waterfall is absolutely stunning as it cascades over what is known as a “hanging valley”.
You’ll be able to witness the powerful water plummeting down over 120 feet into the ocean below – you wouldn’t want to forget your camera for this one!
Additionally, you may get to see seals within the “Seals’ Hole” at the base of the falls. There have been up to 100 seals spotted at one time within this particular spot, so keep your eyes on the lookout for those sea puppies.
Going on a windy day may not sound appealing to you, but if you make it there, you’ll witness spray from the falls being carried up into the air in a brilliant display! This adds another element of excitement to this natural sight.
There is a paid parking area in Boscastle which leaves you with a roughly 1.7-mile walk to the waterfall.
A circular walk option is available if you want to explore an alternative route back, or you can always use the same track you initially trekked on.
Many circular tracks are also available around the Pentargon Waterfall area if you want a longer excursion.
An option you may be interested in is the five-mile Boscastle – Pentargon Waterfall Circular walk, which will take you through forests, hills, and gorgeous sea views. Expect that it will take around 2.5 hours to complete, so why not dedicate your afternoon?
This piece of woodland is a gorgeous place to escape to if you’re looking for a spot of peace and quiet during your holiday in Cornwall.
To get there, you’ll need to follow a two-mile stretch of woodland which follows the River Par between Luxulyan and St Blazey.
Along the route, you’ll come across multiple stunning waterfalls such as the retired waterwheel waterfall found at the top of the valley. While walking through the multiple trails to choose from, you’ll also likely stumble upon different waterfalls along the way!
A large range of flora and fauna can be spotted within the Luxulyan Valley, making the forest feel so mystical and peaceful. The old tramways, industrial buildings, and other historical sites within the valley are also a joy to explore.
It has been said that the best time to visit the Luxulyan Valley is during the spring and summer months, as this is when the fragrance of wildflowers fills the air with a sweet scent.
For more powerful waterfalls, visit the valley in the winter months and enjoy the mysterious forest for yourself.
The Bottom Line
There are a few closing thoughts to keep in mind when viewing the waterfalls on this list.
Firstly, take as much time as possible to view, appreciate, and immerse yourself in the experience. The locations on this list are incredible and deserve to be appreciated for the beauty that they possess!
More importantly, it’s crucial that you leave these areas as they were (or, in some cases, even better) when you got there.
Please pick up your litter and any other trash you see laying around. The better treated these waterfalls are, the longer they will be around and enjoyed.
And lastly, while many of these waterfalls are free to access and view, keep in mind that a few of these options do require a ticket or a fee to visit. Notably, the falls in St Nectan’s Glen and the man-made ones in the Eden Project will require admission.
Make sure to do your research before you visit to find out ticket prices, open hours, and other essential information!
Have a wonderful time making the most of the waterfalls in Cornwall, and be sure to take plenty of pictures to look back on.
There will come a time when you’ll be thinking fondly about these fantastic falls and feel immensely grateful that you were able to see them in person.
With that out of the way, we wish you happy travels!
Introducing Eliot, the Editor here and Cornwall local with a wanderlust spirit and an insatiable appetite for adventure. With a passion for the great outdoors, he can often be found catching waves on his surfboard, scaling peaks on a hiking trail, or discovering hidden gems in his exploration of Cornwall.