Cornwall Towns - A-Z of Cornish towns and villages

Cornish Towns, Villages and City

As well as having some of the most beautiful coastal scenery to be found anywhere, Cornwall is home to some fascinating towns and idyllic villages. The list below includes all the major towns and villages in Cornwall. For a full list of places in Cornwall, large and small, check out the gazetteer.

  • Altarnun

    Altarnun
    Altarnun is named in the Domesday Book as Penpont but takes its present name from the 6th century church of St Nonna , where St Nonna’s altar was originally preserved. Several legends of early Celtic saints describes how they used to carry a portable stone altar with them. The modern... more
  • Bodmin

    Bodmin church, St Petroc's
    Bodmin is the former county town of Cornwall. It was the only Cornish town to be recorded in the Domesday Book, which was actually lodged in the town’s prison during the First World War. The name is derived from Bod-minachau, meaning the home of monks, suggesting that it was originally a religious... more
  • Boscastle

    Boscastle
    Boscastle is a tiny port with a natural harbour, set in a narrow ravine, and boasts some very attractive thatches and white-washed cottages. Before the railways, Boscastle was a thriving port, serving much of North Cornwall. It has come to prominence recently as a result of the terrible floods of... more
  • Bude

    Bude
    Widemouth Bay Bude is Cornwall's most northern town and has been a popular seaside resort from Victorian times. In the l9th Century, the town was notorious for wreckers who plundered ship wrecked off the coast - over 80 vessels in the fifty year up to 1874. Bude has some good... more
  • Callington

    Kit Hill Chimney, Callington
    Callington is a small town with a population of around 4,500 situated in the beautiful area of south east Cornwall. It is 6 miles from the lovely Tamar valley and 14 miles from Plymouth. Once a busy mining area, its main industries are now farming and tourism. Callington Church... more
  • Camborne

    Commercial Square - Camborne
    Camborne is a comparatively recent town. Much of its growth was associated with the mining boom in the early 19th century. Before this, Camborne Churchtown was a small hamlet surrounded by moorland. It was only one small place among a cluster of other villages, most of which were larger. The... more
  • Camelford

    Camelford
    Camelford is an attractive, ancient town straddling the A39, which runs between Bude and Wadebridge. As implied by the name, the town is situated on the River Camel. This name was believed to have been a contraction of Camalanford, from cam, meaning crooked, alan, meaning beautiful, and ford. The... more
  • Delabole

    Delabole slate quarry
    Delabole village is situated about a mile from the North Coast of Cornwall. It is close to Camelford, Tintagel, Boscastle and Port Isaac and is thus in the heart of King Arthur Country. The area abounds with castles and battle sites. Delabole is the third highest village in Cornwall, almost as high... more
  • Falmouth

    Falmouth quay
    Until the middle of the 16th century, the only building in Falmouth was Arwennack , the home of the Killigrew family. However, Henry VIII recognised the value of one of the world’s finest natural harbours and built Pendennis Castle on the headland. After this, the Killigrews developed the... more
  • Fowey

    Fowey Rooftops to Polruan
    Fowey is a bustling small port which still has a busy commercial life in addition to providing attractive moorings for leisure boats. Its harbour is flanked by fourteenth century blockhouses, one in Fowey and one on the opposite side of the river in Polruan, from which chains were once suspended to... more
  • Hayle

    Hayle Harbour
    Hayle Harbour Entrance Situated on the opposite side of St Ives Bay, Hayle is famed for its three miles of golden sand. The beaches start at the mouth of the estuary, which is regarded as an international quality bird-watching spot. Sightings include avocets, ospreys and a... more
  • Helford

    Gillan Creek - Morning Light
    Helford Swans Long ago, Helford Village was quite an important port. This is difficult to believe today as one approaches the sleepy little place on the banks of the Helford River. Trading ships once brought French rum, tobacco and lace from the continent and the duty was... more
  • Helston

    Meneage Street - Helston
    Coinagehall Street - Helston Helston is perhaps most famous for the 'Furry' or Floral Dance held on the 8th May, unless this falls on a Sunday or Monday when it takes place on the preceding Saturday). On Flora Day the streets are thronged with thousands of visitors and there’... more
  • Isles of Scilly

    Porthcressa beach - St Mary's
    The Isles of Scilly is an archipelago of five inhabited islands, St. Mary's, Tresco, St. Martin's, Bryher and St Agnes, and some 150 islands and rocks. The islands lie 28 miles off Land's End, the most South-Westerly point of the UK, and have a total population of just over two thousand. The... more
  • Launceston

    Launceston Castle
    Launceston is the ancient capital of Cornwall and still boasts a medieval south gate and the ruins of a castle. In the 11th century Domesday Book it is described as the property of Count Robert of Mortain. At that time it had 2 mills, 40 acres of pasture, 3 slaves, 1 villager and 13 smallholders in... more
  • Liskeard

    Liskeard Town Centre
    The ancient stannary and market town of Liskeard is situated in South East Cornwall, close to the popular resorts of Looe and Polperro. The town lies above the Looe river valley, about 14 miles west of the River Tamar. The main London to Penzance railway and the A38 road make Liskeard particularly... more
  • Looe

    Looe River - Dusk Panorama
    Looe is situated on both sides of the River Looe. The two towns are joined together by a bridge across the river. In medieval times East Looe and West Looe were separate towns. East Looe includes the harbour and the main shopping centre. West Looe is quieter but also has shops, restaurants and... more
  • Lostwithiel

    Lostwithiel Riverside
    Lostwithiel is situated in a beautiful wooded valley at the tidal reach of the River Fowey. Located in central Cornwall, it is within easy reach of both coasts and the moors and is well placed for exploring the county. The name comes from two Cornish words meaning the place at the end of the... more
  • Marazion

    St Michael's Mount - Best View
    Corner Cafe in Marazion The attractive old town of Marazion is a popular destination for beach holidays and water sports, including windsurfing, kite-surfing and sailing. The name Marazion has erroneously been referred to as Market Jew but is believed to be derived from the... more
  • Mevagissey

    Mevagissey Harbour
    Mevagissey is an attractive old town which was once the centre of Cornwall’s pilchard fishery and which still boasts a working harbour, with a few dozen small fishing boats. It has a tradition of boat building dating back to 1745. Many of the old buildings, constructed of cob and slate, bear... more
  • Minions

    Bodmin Moor View
    Minions is the highest village in Cornwall, high up on Bodmin moor in South East Cornwall, not far from Liskeard. Most of the village is over 300m above sea level. The name derives from Minions Mound a barrow to the west of the village. The village has a pub, a restaurant and cafés in addition to... more
  • Mousehole

    Mousehole from the pier
    Mousehole is a picturesque fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall between Penzance and Land’s End. It was sacked by the Spaniards in July 1595 when the entire village, apart from one house, was burnt to the ground. That house still stands today. A hundred years ago Mousehole was a bustling... more
  • Mullion

    Mullion Harbour cottage
    Mullion Cove Harbour Mullion is the largest village on the Lizard and has shops, inns, cafes and restaurants, craft shops and art galleries. There is a golf course close to Mullion. This area has plenty of holiday accommodation, ranging from self-catering to hotels. In the... more
  • Newlyn

    Olde Newlyn Scene
    Newlyn Fishing Boats Newlyn is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the United Kingdom, with over 40 acres of harbour. The industry is one of the most important in the county, contributing millions of pounds to the Cornish economy each year. All sorts of fishing... more
  • Newquay

    Towan Beach - Newquay
    Newquay was originally the fishing port of Towan Blistra before the new quay was built in the fifteenth century. Among other things, the quay was used for the import of coal and the export of mined ore during the heyday of the tin and copper mining industries. For many years, the main industry was... more
  • Padstow

    Padstow Quayside
    Padstow Harbour Padstow was already a bustling little port of fishermen and boat-builders in the time of Elizabeth 1st. Nowadays the local fisherman supply the many fish restaurants which have recently become a major feature of the town. Looking at a map it is not hard to... more
  • Penryn

    Penryn Market Street and Town Hall
    Penryn Town Hall The Borough of Penryn was enfranchised by the Bishop of Exeter in 1236 and in 1259 Henry III granted a weekly market in the town. Around the same time, Penryn was granted a Charter Fair to be held yearly on the Feast of St. Thomas the Martyr (after whom a... more
  • Penzance

    Penzance Dock
    The name Penzance is derived from the Cornish Pen Sans, meaning holy headland, as a chapel once stood on the point to the west of the harbour more than a millennium ago. The town received various Royal Charters from 1512 onwards and has long been the commercial centre for the Land’s End Peninsula... more
  • Perranporth

    Path to Perranporth
    In the 19th century Perranporth was a tin mining village. It is now a family resort with miles of golden sands, attracting surfers, sunbathers and sand yachters. It also has a golf course and boating lake and there are fine cliff walks in the area. For those who are a little more adventurous, there... more
  • Polperro

    Polperro Harbour View
    Just south of Looe is the smaller port of Polperro. A surfeit of touristy gift shops do not quite manage to spoil this quaint old Cornish fishing village whose narrow streets and pretty cottages remain undeniably attractive. Many of the cottages are covered with a profusion of flowers in summer and... more
  • Polzeath

    Polzeath
    Polzeath is a small village on the headland opposite Padstow. It was a favourite haunt place of the late poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman and is celebrated in some of his verse. There are many local shops, providing everything required for the holidaymaker. Within the village are a number of pubs,... more
  • Port Isaac

    Port Isaac Harbour - Winter afternoon
    Port Isaac has been an attractive fishing village since the early fourteenth century. Its narrow, winding streets are lined with old white-washed cottages and traditional granite, slate-fronted Cornish houses, many of which are listed as of architectural or historic importance. From the Middle Ages... more
  • Porthcurno

    Porthcurno Cove - High tide
    Porthcurno was once an important place on the map. It was the centre of world telecommunication and, until recently, there was a training school for that industry to which people came from all over the world. The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum remains as a testament to the past. It incorporates... more
  • Porthleven

    Porthleven
    Porthleven is the most southerly working port in the United Kingdom and boasts a picturesque harbour, with some interesting old buildings. The harbour faces south west into the prevailing wind and consequently the harbour construction and sea walls are massive. During winter storms, people visit... more
  • Porthtowan

    Porthtowan Beach
    Set in narrow winding valley flanked by impressive granite cliffs is the seaside village of Porthtowan. The village itself is not by any stretch of the imagination picturesque but nevertheless it has a great beach and a wealth of heritage. false A little over a century ago the scene was very... more
  • Portreath

    Portreath Beach from West Hill
    Portreath is a small resort with a very narrow harbour located about 5 miles north of Redruth. It was once a busy port, importing coal and exporting copper but now only sheltering the occasional fishing boat. The original loading ramp can still be seen in the village. Copper ore was transported... more
  • Redruth

    Fore Street - Redruth
    The village of Redruth began to take shape in the 12th century. It developed around the ford, some distance away from the parish church. This was typical of many Cornish parishes. The church with its surrounding cottages, is overlooked by Carn Brea across the parish boundary. The oldest part of the... more
  • Rock

    View across the Camel to Rock
    The town of Rock is located across the Camel estuary from the fishing port of Padstow. For somewhere so sandy Rock might not seem like the most appropriate name. However, it comes from the local quarry where the rocks were used as ballast by sailing ships which had unloaded their cargo across the... more
  • Roseland

    Gorran Haven Beach
    The Roseland Peninsula is an attractive area of quiet beaches, impressive coastal and river scenery and picturesque villages, within easy access of Truro, Falmouth and St Austell. What is often thought of as the capital, St Mawes, can be visited by passenger ferry from Falmouth. One of the most... more
  • Saltash

    Royal Albert Bridge - Saltash
    Saltash is known as the Gateway to Cornwall, as it lies just across the River Tamar from Plymouth. Travellers arriving in the county by train will cross the Royal Albert Bridge, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous railway bridge across the river completed in 1859. One of the first sites as you cross... more
  • Sennen

    Whitesand Bay - Sennen Beach
    Sennen Cove boasts one of the loveliest stretches of sand in Cornwall, Whitesands Beach, and still retains much of the atmosphere of an old fishing village. It is a popular spot with surfers and hosts the local surfing club. The Old Success Inn is a 17th century building with views across the bay.... more
  • St Agnes

    Stippy Stappy - St Agnes
    St Agnes was yet another centre of the tin and copper mining industries in Cornwall. Many of the old engine houses can be seen around the area. The town church is worth a visit to see its unusual poor box. St Agnes boasts many cafés, restaurants, craft shops and galleries. Free car parking makes it... more
  • St Austell

    St Austell
    The old market town of St Austell is just a few miles from the coast and is one of Cornwall's biggest towns. It was for centuries an important mining town but it was a discovery in the mid 18th century that really put the town on the map.William Cookworthy, a chemist from Devon, discovered massive... more
  • St Breward

    St Breward Church
    The village of St Breward boasts the highest church in Cornwall at a height of about 700ft. The local feast day is on the Sunday closest to 22nd February. Special buns are baked, blessed and distributed amongst the local parishioners. Next door to the church is the only remaining pub, the Old Inn,... more
  • St Buryan

    St Buryan Church
    St Buryan, named for the Irish Saint Buriana, is an attractive village located at the heart of the West Penwith peninsula. Granite cottages cluster around its central 14th century church, which acts as a distinctive landmark for miles around, and its circular graveyard. The church is a grade 1... more
  • St Germans

    Port Eliot - St Germans
    After the Conquest of Cornwall, the local church at St Germans became Cornwall’s cathedral from AD926, when King Athelstan made Conan the first Cornish bishop. In 1030, this was joined with the bishopric of Crediton in Devon and in 1050 the seat of the diocese was transferred to Exeter. The parish... more
  • St Ives

    Saint Ives Harbour
    Perhaps the nicest approach to St Ives is by way of the train from St Erth along the coastline through Lelant and Carbis Bay . The train station is just above Porthminster beach from where you can make your way to the town centre via the jumble of cottage lined streets known as 'the Warren... more
  • St Just

    Bank Square - St Just
    St Just Plain-an-Gwarry Sunset St Just-in-Penwith is the nearest town to Land’s End. It has an ideal situation for visitors to the far west of Cornwall as it is situated on the edge of the moors and close to the beautiful north coast, about 8 miles west of Penzance.... more
  • St Keverne

    St Keverne parish church
    St Keverne Church St Keverne is the largest village in the Helford area and somewhat unusual (for Cornwall) in that it is clustered around a central square. This attractive square contains a number of shops, 2 pubs (the White Hart and the Three Tuns), a handful of cottages... more
  • St Mawes

    St Mawes from the Waterside
    The pretty village of St.Mawes looks out over the River Fal towards Falmouth. The old fishing port boasts steep and narrow streets rising from the harbour. Today it is a popular place for retirement and holiday homes and boasts an abundance of smart houses in addition to the traditional cob... more
  • The Lizard

    View to Bumble Rock - The Lizard
    Lizard Point with its lighthouse is the most southerly point in Great Britain. It is famous for the local serpentine stone, a unique metamorphic rock which is dark green veined with red and white. Serpentine ornaments were particularly fashionable in Victorian times but the village still has... more
  • Tintagel

    Tintagel from the coast path
    The name of Tintagel immediately conjures images of King Arthur and the legends associated with him. The blackened ruins of Tintagel Castle brood over the coast, but no-one can say for sure whether this was really the place where Uther Pendragon seduced the Queen of Cornwall. The ruined Norman... more
  • Torpoint

    Torpoint Ferry
    Torpoint could be described as the gateway to Cornwall. It is situated on a peninsula in East Cornwall, across the River Tamar from Plymouth. A ferry connects Cornwall with Devon across the river these days, but there were always small boats ferrying people and goods across from Cornwall to England... more
  • Truro

    Truro Cathedral
    The only city in Cornwall, although Bodmin is still nominally the county town. Truro’s most striking feature is the Cathedral, with its green spire and gothic appearance. Built at the turn of the century it dominates the Truro skyline with its 250 foot high towers and has some interesting Victorian... more
  • Wadebridge

    Wadebridge Bridge
    One of the earliest recorded references to the town of Wadebridge was in 1313 when a market and two fairs were granted to Wade, within the manor of Pawton. At this time the town was in two parishes, Egloshayle and St Breock, on opposite sides of the River Camel. At this time, there were also two... more
  • Zennor

    Pendour Cove - Zennor
    The village of Zennor lies between St Ives and St Just, on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall. It lies above the high, rocky cliffs of the coast and the rugged, boulder-strewn, granite hills and moors. There used to be a stone quarry on Zennor Hill, and local granite was used to build much of St Ives... more