Best things to do in Serene South Cornwall


Falmouth. Fowey. Truro. Looe. Mevagissey. Polperro. St Austell. Liskeard. These towns, villages and city are among the most popular hotspots in Cornwall’s Serene South alongside its wonderful attractions and beaches. But what are the best things to do in South Cornwall, which is made up of sleepy seaside harbours, lush rolling countryside and some of the most picturesque scenery in the county? Well, we at Proper Cornwall have loads of recommendations for you as you look to spend your time in the ‘Serene South’. Here’s our pick of the greatest attractions (and beaches too!) in the South Cornwall region in 2022…

Antony House

Type: Historical house and garden attraction
Suitable for: All the family
Location: Ferry Lane, Torpoint, between Looe and Plymouth

Cornwall’s ‘Serene South’ is all about the landscape, the atmosphere, the scenery and the sea. Okay, you don’t get any sea at Antony House in Torpoint, near Looe (although you do get a picturesque river), but there’s much in the way of landscape, atmosphere and scenery, with plenty of history to boot. Relics from the English Civil War are on show at this 18th century National Trust property that’s set within a lush garden. There’s also kids trails, a National Collection of Daylilies and some beautiful topiary to enjoy. This is the ‘Serene South’ at its best.

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Cornwall Football Golf

Type: Sports attraction
Suitable for: All the family
Location: Trenowah Road, St Austell

Why didn’t Harry Kane do well on the pitch last weekend? Because he didn’t go to Cornwall Football Golf in the county’s ‘Serene South’ to practice, that’s why! Probably. It really is worth hitting this place in St Austell up, though, whatever your age or footy skill set may be. It’s just a load of fun for all the family. It’s basically a combination of crazy golf and football where you kick a ball across the course before chipping it into a hole and, well, hopefully winning. It’s not easy but it is damn unique and loads of fun. Score!

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Eden Project

Type: Major biome attraction
Suitable for: All the family
Location: Bodelva, Par (5km from St Austell)

Nestled in a huge crater, the Eden Project is about as ‘Serene South’ as you can get in Cornwall without standing in a quaint fishing village staring at the sea. The attraction, which is about five kilometres to the north-east of St Austell, is home to two iconic biomes – each consisting of several domes joined together – housing the largest rainforest in captivity, fully equipped with incredible plants from all over the world. You can spend hours inside the biomes, learning about countless exotic plants. Serene, tranquil and natural. Eden rules them all.

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Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary

Type: Animal attraction
Suitable for: Donkey lovers!
Address: Penty Noweth Farm, Trenoweth Lane, Penryn, near Falmouth

Flicka’s sanctuary in Penryn, near Falmouth, is home to more than 100 donkeys, ponies and horses who have been rescued from abuse, neglect or abandonment. For more than 25 years, it’s been welcoming visitors who don’t just want to meet these beasts but also want to help support the attraction’s rescue mission. There’s a lovely café on site, a gift shop sporting plenty of donkey-themed souvenirs and there are a number of ‘donkey experiences’ which can be booked ahead of your visit. This is a star ‘Serene South’ attraction for all animal lovers.

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Lost Gardens of Heligan

Type: Garden attraction
Suitable for: Nature lovers
Location: Pentewan, St Austell

Looking for things to do in South Cornwall? Get lost! No, seriously, get lost in the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This attraction near St Austell stretches out over 200 acres and is just a magical place to explore, with Victorian gardens, winding paths and so many ancient plants you’ll lose your mind. The gardens were actually ‘lost to the brambles of time since the outbreak of the First World War’ until just over 30 years ago when a door in some ruins was discovered by chance. Now you can enjoy this kinda hidden gem in the ‘Serene South’ whenever you want.

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National Maritime Museum

Type: Museum of all things maritime
Suitable for: All the family
Location: Discovery Quay, Falmouth

The ‘Serene South’ of Cornwall is littered with fishing villages and harbours that have a plethora of boats moored up in them. Luxury yachts, fishing trawlers, rowing boats – you name it, they are all here across the county’s southern coastline. So it’s fitting then that in Falmouth, there’s a museum devoted to the history of these seafaring vessels. The National Maritime Museum, Cornwall is home to five floors containing no less than 15 galleries dedicated to the county’s maritime history with plenty of famous crafts on show. If that floats your boat…

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Pendennis Castle

Type: Historical attraction
Suitable for: History buffs and kings of the castle
Location: Castle Drive, Falmouth

There are a good few castles in Cornwall’s ‘Serene South’ region but our pick is mighty Pendennis in Falmouth. This iconic structure on the edge of the town was built by King Henry VIII as an artillery fort between 1540 and 1542 with the purpose of defending against any invasions from Catholic France and Spain. There’s a ton of history here, including English Civil War and World War history, and plenty of interactive exhibits in the castle show this off. The views across the bay are also breathtaking. Definitely worth attacking on a trip to Falmouth.

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Royal Cornwall Museum

Type: Major museum attraction
Suitable for: History lovers and culture vultures
Location: River Street, Truro

If you like city museums, then hit up the RCM in Truro. This is the largest museum in the county, clocking in at more than 200 years old. Mining is a key feature within this Cornish institution’s hallowed walls, as is local art and geology, not to mention plenty of stories and legends from the county over hundreds of years. But there’s also plenty of artefacts and stories from across the world and even outer space at the RCM. Whatever your age, background or interest, this big museum in Cornwall’s ‘Serene South’ begs to be explored.

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Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Type: Historical storytelling and fun attraction
Suitable for: All landlubbers, especially kids
Location: Quay Road, Charlestown, near St Austell

Oooo-arrrr wouldn’t mind going to the Shipwreck Treasure Museum next time I’m in Charlestown, me hearties! Yes, enough of that – but if you do love tales of treasure and pirates then this ultra-popular museum in Cornwall’s ‘Serene South’ is just for you. Especially if you’re a kid or even a big kid. There are more than 8,000 treasures from more than 150 wrecks on display here, including gold bullion bars, copper ingots, cannon balls and the only intact barrel of coins that’s ever been recovered from a shipwreck site. Avast ye, me hearties!

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Wheal Martyn

Type: Historical china clay attraction
Suitable for: History buffs and china clay enthusiasts
Location: Carthew, near St Austell

Think Cornwall industry and you probably think of tin mining. But think of the county’s ‘Serene South’ and you may conjure up images of china clay production. This industry that once boomed in the region shaped the county’s southern reaches over many years – and it’s celebrated in spades at Wheal Martyn, a museum and attraction for all ages near St Austell. Tools, artefacts, machines and stories abound here, including a virtual tour into a clay pit and Cornwall’s biggest waterwheel that’s still in action. Well worth visiting this place. It’s white hot!

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Looking for things to do in South Cornwall? Here are four beaches to check out in the ‘Serene South’…

Carne Beach

Suitable for: Nature lovers and dog walkers
Location: Off Pendower Road, Carne, between Mevagissey and Falmouth, near Truro
Parking: A National Trust car park is here which charges a fee for non-members
Dog friendly?: Dogs are welcome all-year-round

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Par Sands

Suitable for: Families, walkers and kitesurfers
Location: Par, next to St Blazey and between St Austell and Fowey
Parking: Plenty of parking next to the beach
Dog friendly?: Dogs welcome all-year-round

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Swanpool Beach

Suitable for: Families and sunset watchers
Location: About a 20-minute walk from Falmouth town centre
Parking: Ample, next to beach
Dog friendly?: Yes, apart from the summer months

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Talland Bay Beach

Suitable for: Families, snorkellers and swimmers
Location: Off Bridals Lane at Porthallow, between Looe and Polperro
Parking: Parking at both the east and west sides of the bay
Dog friendly?: Yes, dogs are allowed all year

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