Looking for the most Instagrammable places in Cornwall? I’ve selected a handful of the most photogenic spots on the Cornish coast and beyond to light up your feed.
Given that Cornwall is well-known for packing in the beauty spots it shouldn’t be too difficult to list some great photo opportunities. It’s actually more of an issue cutting the list down to a manageable number!
Of course you need to do a bit of planning for when you snap your shot – some of these places are best at sunset, whilst others light up at sunrise. Some even work best when the sun is straight overhead, or even when there is no sun at all.
You could spend a lifetime looking for the ideal Instagram spots in Cornwall, in fact some of us have – that’s why I’ve put together this quick list to help you out and give some inspiration for your IG feed.
If you are need of a few more ideas check out the Cornwall Guide on Instagram...
Pedn Vounder beach is quite possibly the most beautiful in Cornwall, or even the world. Located just around the corner from Porthcurno this used to be something of a secret with only a few hardy naturists bothering to make the hazardous scrabble down the cliff.
How things have changed. Pedn Vounder became something of a victim of its own charms after it was used as a location in the Poldark TV series. Once the general public had seen this stunning stretch of sand with their own eyes they headed here en-masse.
Things have calmed down a little over the last few years and it is possible to see the beach at its best without the crowds if you time it right. On that subject, make sure you're here at low tide - otherwise you will be photographing sea and cliffs!
There are few backdrops as iconic as Marazion's St Michael's Mount. A mediaeval fairytale castle perched atop a wooded island in a wide bay - you really couldn't invent a better place for taking photos!
The great thing about the Mount is there are so many options of where and when to shoot it. The classic shot is looking across the cobbled causeway as it just surfaces above the tide. This takes planning and is best done at first light. Sunsets are easier with plenty of vantage points along the coast just east of Marazion.
There are plenty of good photo ops on the island itself too. The little harbour, the twisting paths and the castle itself all lend themselves to some feed-worthy photographs.
Not the last of our beaches to snap, but probably the most photographed in Cornwall. People have been capturing Kynance Cove in one form or another since Victorian times when it was a popular spot for artists - and no wonder.
Located near to Lizard Point, this is definitely one of the most stunning of Cornwall's coves and is also highly photogenic. The turquoise waters, light sand and plethora of weird and wonderful rock formations make this beach an Instagram winner.
As if Kynance Cove's natural features weren't enough to draw a crowd it also featured as a Poldark location. Given its popularity it is requires some planning when to photograph - midday is great for the water colour, but there are also some fine sunsets to be snapped here.
Perhaps the biggest problem (if you can call it that) with photographing St Ives is being spoilt for choice. It's almost as if this town was built with photographers and artists in mind such is its visual allure.
If you want near white sand beaches with clear blue seas, St Ives has it. You want cobbled streets and the quaintest of whitewashed fisherman's cottages, St Ives again. You want boats bobbing in aquamarine waters with a charming backdrop - you guessed it - St Ives.
A few of my favourite spots are the Malakoff bus station (see above), the harbour and Fore Street of an evening. But basically you can't go wrong here whatever the time of day and subject.
Nanjizal beach is one of those places I never used to mention online. It was a well kept secret for many years. Then again, set at the end of a mile-long walk and not particularly easy to find not too many people knew about it. Anyway, that is all history now, as some "explorer" decided they had "discovered" the place and that was the end of that secret... I digress.
There is a reason Nanjizal keeps popping up in "Secret Cornwall" guides and Sunday supplements - it is a lovely place. But the main reason is "The Song of the Sea", or to give it its less appealing Cornish name "Zawn Pyg"! This is a large rock arch, or more of an open ended cave, through which the sea rushes as the tide comes in. Time it right and you will even catch the sunset through it.
So, a mystical cave, with crystal clear water and the setting sun flooding through it - sounds like Instagram gold.
When I first saw a photo of Boscastle I couldn't believe it was Cornwall. I mean it obviously was with the deep blue of the Atlantic and the high, rugged cliffs - but the deep snaking inlet carved into the cliffs looked more like something in Norway or the Scottish lochs. Suffice to say it is quite a dramatic spot.
Whilst the village here is very charming in itself, the photography is all about the twin headlands and the steep valley. Whether you choose to shoot back up the valley towards the village, or from a little further down and out through the harbour mouth is your choice.
If the list ended here I would happily declare that the Wheal Coates engine house was the most iconic in Cornwall. Perched on the cliff tops above Chapel Porth beach these old mine workings have a backdrop of some of the most dramatic coastal scenery around. This wasn't lost on the Poldark location managers and Wheal Coates featured in the TV series as "Wheal Grace".
The cliffs here are a place of moods and lend themselves to a variety of shots. In the early summer the cliffs are coloured with wildflowers, whilst throughout the winter the sea will provide some added drama. Sunsets are also an option.
To be fair, most of Cornwall's beaches are pretty instagrammable - but some more so than others. This is particularly true of Bedruthan Steps beach between Padstow and Newquay.
Bedruthan Steps is similar to many of the beaches along the North Cornish coast; a vast swathe of golden sand sandwiched between rugged cliffs and the bright blues of the Atlantic Ocean. But this beach has a n extra selling point - the sands are punctuated by towering rocks - the "steps".
Marketing Bedruthan as a spot to see goes back as far as Victorian times. In fact they even invented the myth that the rocks were the stepping stones used by a giant named Bedruthan.
As you can imagine the beach offers a number of great perspectives to snap from - whether that be the wide shop from the cliffs or down on the beach among the huge sea stacks.
Competing (and possibly winning) with Wheal Coates for most dramatically situated mine workings in Cornwall are the Crowns Engine Houses. Clinging to the foot of the cliffs at Botallack are not one but a pair of well preserved engine houses.
In case you are wondering why anyone would build these so close to the sea, the reason is they sit at the head of a mine shaft which runs over a mile out under the sea. At the time they probably weren't even thinking how good this would look on film. The Poldark team were though, and they picked the Crowns to stand in as "Wheal Gambler", with a little help from CGI.
If it's good enough for Poldark it's probably good enough for Instagram. Whatever the weather or time of year this has to be one of the most photogenic spots in Cornwall.
For a lot of people a visit to Land's End is something of a disappointment - and that isn't even because it's not the most westerly point in mainland Britain. If you drive here, park up and walk through the complex to the signpost you may well leave feeling you could have saved yourself a few quid and driven to any of the cliffs along Cornwall's coast.
However, if you walk a little way along the coast path and look back you will see what the fuss is about. If you walk towards Sennen there is a great view back to Land's End across Gamper Bay with the Irish Lady rocks in the foreground. But, for the very best shots head in the opposite direction. Walk far enough and when you look back you'll see the Armed Knight, a large rock arch, and the Seven Stones Lighthouse in the distance. This is a great spot for sunsets.
St Nectan's Glen
While some people may tell you Tintagel Castle is a great place to take photos I'm not so sure. Personally I'd head a couple of miles out of the village to St Nectan's Glen.
The glen is beautiful wooded valley that has been carved into the slate by the river Trevillet as it cascades down towards the ocean. It is near the head of the valley that you will find the photographers though, at St Nectan's Kieve.
The word kieve means a cup and it describes the shallow pool that sits at the foot of a series of waterfalls. After falling 60 feet the force of the water has carved a circular hole in the moss-covered rocks which it then pours out of. This provides the perfect scene for some slow-water photography.
It isn't just the Cornish coast that is wild, head inland from Tintagel or Looe and you will find Bodmin Moor. This ancient and rugged landscape is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its sweeping moorland panoramas punctuated by craggy granite tors.
Far from being a bleak, featureless expanse the moor contains a multitude of points of interest. There are numerous stone circles and other ancient sites all of which retain their millennia old airs of mystery. There are beauty spots like the wooded river valley at Golitha Falls. And there are oddities, both natural and man-made; chief among the former is the Cheesewring, an improbable stack of weather-worn granite that has to be seen to believe.
Locally known as "dinosaur eggs" the shoreline of Porth Nanven, at the foot of Cot Valley, is strewn with these large round granite rocks. I'm no geologist so I won't try to explain why these smooth round boulders occur here and not at adjacent coves. What I can tell you though is they make a great subject for a photo.
In the shot above I've gone for the slow shutter sunset shot. The sunset is a little underwhelming but the rocks are doing their thing, glistening in the evening light. Believe it or not the cove here gets quite sandy from time to time. Even then Porth Nanven is stunning place and there are still plenty of weather worn rocks on show.
The south coast harbour town of Fowey manages to mix an air of well-to-do elegance with olde-worlde fishing village charm. Clinging to the western slopes of a steep river valley whitewashed cottages spill down towards the riverside. But unlike neighbouring fishing villages these are punctuated with some fairly grand 18th and 19th century buildings. And as you make your way down towards the quayside there are any number of instagrammable glimpses over rooftops to the bright blues of the River Fowey.