Things to Do and Places to Visit in Cornwall for Free 2024

April 01st, 2024

With some of the nation’s best beaches, unique museum exhibits and annual fairs, Cornwall boasts a brilliant range of attractions, many of which you won’t have to spend a penny on.

Here are a few of our favourite free days out that you can enjoy with all the family!

The Best Free Family Days Out in Mid/South Cornwall

Our luxury family holiday park in Cornwall is ideally situated between Falmouth and Truro, so when you stay with us, you’ll have plenty to do right on your doorstep.

  • Gyllyngvase Beach
  • Swanpool Beach
  • South West Coast Path
  • Pendennis Point
  • Falmouth Art Gallery
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Truro Cathedral
  • Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary

1. Gyllyngvase Beach

A trip to Cornwall just wouldn’t be complete without visiting a couple of the county’s picture-perfect, family-friendly beaches. Gyllyngvase is Falmouth’s most popular beach, with the stretch of golden sand and crystal waters providing fun for families throughout the year. From splashing in the waves to building sandcastles to exploring rock pools, there’s plenty to keep you and the kids busy.

Once you’ve had your fill of beach activities, you could also take a walk around Queen Mary Gardens, which are located directly behind the beach. Here you can peruse subtropical plants and take in the surrounding views from a peaceful vantage point.

 Gyllyngvase Beach

Gyllyngvase Beach by Nilfanion. CC BY-SA 4.0

2. Swanpool Beach

Just along from Gyllyngvase, on the outskirts of Falmouth, lies Swanpool Beach. This sheltered bay is ideal for water sports and offers a fantastic, calm swimming spot. The beach is only 20 minutes from the town centre, making for the perfect little side adventure after you’ve spent some time exploring the town and docks.

Swanpool is backed by Swanpool Lake Nature Reserve, which is a haven for wildlife and a lovely place to wander around. The walk around the reserve is flat, and only around a mile, so it’s ideal for the whole family.

Swanpool Beach

Swanpool Beach, Falmouth by Tim Green. CC BY 2.0

3. South West Coast Path

Both beaches are linked by the South West Coast Path, a 630 mile route going from Minehead in Somerset, round the Southwest peninsula across Devon and Cornwall, along to Poole in Dorset. Cornwall makes up over 300 miles of the coast path so there are plenty of stretches along the way where you can amble at your own pace, taking in the coastal views and hidden gems on the journey.

Whether you’re up for a whole day of walking or a relaxing afternoon stroll, there are loads of opportunities to stop for a picnic or some seaside fun.

South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path by N Chadwick. CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Pendennis Point

Pendennis Castle is a beloved Falmouth landmark perched atop the scenic headland. While you do have to pay for entry to the Tudor fort itself, if you’re after a totally free day out, head along to Pendennis Point which is a scenic spot with opportunities for walking and catching sight of occasional dolphins and seals.

For those who want to explore the rocks, you’ll also find a smaller fort known as Little Dennis, which was built in 1539 and is likely one of the oldest buildings in Falmouth.

Pendennis Point

Falmouth: Blockhouse, Pendennis Point by Chris Downer. CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Falmouth Art Gallery

Falmouth Art Gallery is an award-winning, family-friendly gallery with a vibrant, ever-changing roster of exhibitions. The gallery is home to over 2,700 artworks from across the centuries, including local Cornish-based artists, museum loans and community group pieces.

The collection also includes a children’s illustration archive and has plenty that little ones will love exploring.

Falmouth Art Gallery and Library

Falmouth Art Gallery and Library by N Chadwick. CC BY-SA 2.0

6. National Maritime Museum Cornwall

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is another must if you’re interested in local heritage. Learn about Cornwall’s maritime history and the issues relevant to the modern day through a range of intriguing, interactive exhibits.

With tales of pirates and what lies beneath, there’s a lot to get the whole family thinking about the sea and the people who live off it.

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall by Rod Allday. CC BY-SA 2.0

7. Truro Cathedral

If your Cornish break takes you to Cornwall’s only city, you can’t miss the cathedral in the heart of the bustling central hub. Admire the Gothic Revival architecture and stained glass windows. For those with a head for heights, you can also take roof tours for a unique perspective and to learn more about the architecture on display.

The cathedral is home to a number of events throughout the year, including various concerts, markets and fairs.

Truro Cathedra

View from the Train – Truro Cathedral by Tim Green. CC BY-SA 2.0

8. Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary

For the animal lovers among us, the Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary is a must-visit. The sanctuary does important work rescuing donkeys and other animals and provides a chance for you to get up close with these gentle creatures. You can see the donkeys roaming their paddock and go and say hello via the visitor walkways.

Entry to the sanctuary is free, but there are also ticketed experiences to get closer and help take care of the donkeys.

Two donkeys in a field

Your holiday itinerary doesn’t have to be packed with big, expensive events! With free entry and just a short distance from us at The Valley, these attractions are perfect for families looking for a cheap but memorable day out. For more Cornish fun, check out some of our favourite woodland walks.

The best family friendly woodland walks in Cornwall