Historic Cornwall

Discovering Cornwall and Scilly's archaeology and history

Welcome to Historic Cornwall, the website that has information about projects undertaken by Cornwall’s Historic Environment Service.

The Cornwall & Scilly Historic Environment Record contains details of over 56,000 archaeological and historical sites, monuments, buildings, artefacts, landscapes and industrial settlements.

It can now be searched online via the Heritage Gateway.

The HER can also be accessed through Cornwall Council’s mapping site.

I am a happy member of this community. There is a lot to learn about our history than I thought as a kid. The community is also friendly and supportive at all times.
Helen J. Moody

Local & Regional Information

Historic Cornwall

Cornwall & Scilly Urban Survey

Cornwall Industrial Settlements

Access to Monuments (A2M) website

Cornwall & Scilly Mapping Project

Historic Environment Data sheets

Cornwall Record Office

Cornish Studies Library

Conservation Areas in Cornwall

Take a tour around Cornwall to explore its heritage and learn from the experts about its history and contribution to the world.

Heritage Gateway

Our programs offer complete tours around Cornwall with an expert guide assistance.

Regeneration Schemes

Take part in our heritage conservation programs to support our causes.

National Heritage

Learn about the national heritage of Cornwall from the generations of storytellers.

Heritage Help

Connect with us anytime to learn about bookings, volunteering, programs, and schemes.

Energy Conservation in Historic Buildings

Our projects for the conservation of heritage monuments and places around Cornwall are driving the best facilities in the city. With the support of the legislation and tourism management, Cornwall receives the support to protect our national heritage. You can find the latest news about Cornwall here.

Heritage Protection Reform

Meet our community members and learn about the methods we use to protect our properties.

HELM training events

Join our workshops to take a tour around our heritage sites and also learn about our programs.

Heritage publications

Subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on our upcoming events and volunteer programs.

Latest Updates

Top 10 Things to do in Cornwall

St Ives, Cornwall, England

Dive into the Cornish landscape featuring dramatic coastlines and wild open moors against the striking blue horizon backdrop. Whether you are a hiker, surfer, or beach bummer, Cornwall is the place you should visit at least once in your lifetime!

Did you know that Cornwall beaches are rated among the best in the world? Yes! And that includes all of the 300+ beaches! Also, let’s not forget the shopping scene in Cornwall. Cornwall’s eclectic and unique shopping experience will let you buy ungewöhnliche Geschenke für einen 4 Jahre Alten Jungen even!

Here is a curated list of some of the top 10 best things to do in Cornwall to make things easier for you.

1. St. Michael’s Mount

What is it? It is a cobbled causeway that connects the mainland to the middle of Mount’s bay. What initially was a Benedictine monastery is now owned by the St Aubyn family. The Mount has beautiful clifftop gardens with exotic flowers and a castle.

Why go? The Mount exhibits the rich heritage of Cornwall. The St Aubyn family inhabits the 12th-century castle to date. The causeway is accessible during low tides, so visitors can walk across the sea as the pilgrims did years ago. There is also a chapel, quaint eateries, and a bustling village you can explore.

St. Michael's Mount

2. Bodim

What is it? Bodim is a county in Cornwall steeped in history, boasting of two museums, a 15th-century church, and many stately homes. The Bodim & Wenford railway is Cornwall’s only steam train that allows you to enjoy the beautiful countryside during the journey.

Why go? Bodim satisfies both historical and nature enthusiasts. The Bodim Moor spans miles of walking trails covered dotted with ancient oak trees, granite boulders, and interesting stone circles. It is designated as an Area of Natural Beauty. Apart from this, Bodim has the famous Lanhydrock castle that feels like a living museum from the life of Victorian England.

3. Eden project

What is it? Two giant biomes that pop up like bubbled domes, the Eden Project is considered one of Britain’s modern architectural wonders. The two biomes house major climate systems indoors.

Why go? A project that truly marks the country’s efforts towards the environment to conservation, it is a must-visit for anybody. One of the microcosms will have the lush Amazon rain forest, while the other will host colorful flowers and citrus groves from the Mediterranean.

4. Tate St. Ives

What is it? An illustrious art gallery that showcases the work of famous artists such as Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, and many others. It is known to be the hangout place of experimental artists after WWII.

Why go? The gallery explores the role of St Ives in the development of modern art. The museum added a new exhibition space that annually hosts exhibitions of one contemporary artist. Art enthusiasts will be awed by the splendid collection of artworks along with the glass-front building.

5. Kynance Cove

What is it? Located on the west side of The Lizard peninsula, the Kynance Cove is an inlet studded with rocky offshore islands rising out of the blue seas. The cove is surrounded by the reds and greens of the serpentine rock stacks against the pristine white sands.

Why go? Tourists can fully explore the cove when the tide is low. It is an excellent spot for a wild swim since the seas aren’t very rough. It is one of the most photographed places in Cornwall.

6. Eat a Pasty

What is it? Cornish Pasty is a traditionally baked pastry filled with meat and vegetables. The dish became a staple among miners in the 19th century when the wives made this ” all in one meal” for their husbands.

Why try? They say that you cannot come to Cornwell without trying a pasty. There are Cornish Pasties Championships that take place every year. The Cornish Pasty Association gives guidelines on how an actual Cornish must be from the ingredients used to the size!

7. Lost Gardens of Heligan

What is it? Spread over 200 acres, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a horticultural wonderland. The garden comprises kitchen gardens, lawns, 25m high rhododendron, and the magnificent living structure of the Mud Maid.

Why go? The gardens are called so because it was left to despair and lost in brambles after the WWII. Considered Europe’s largest garden restoration project, the gardens were restored by Tim Smith and many gardeners and volunteers.

8. Port Isaac

What is it? The 14th-century fishing village of Port Isaac is typical of the traditional Cornish village with narrow winding streets lined with white-washed cottages.

Why go? The port is famous since it is the setting of the popular UK TV show “Doc Martin.” It recently gained more popularity after the famous Cornish Chef Nathan Outlaw opened his restaurant here.

Port Isaac, Cornwall, England

9. Tintagel Castle

What is it? The clifftop castle is the birthplace of King Arthur, located on the rugged Northwest Cornwall coast.

Why go? There are two parts of the castle, with one part standing on a rock tower called the “island.” The two castles are connected via a wooden bridge and multiple cliff steps. It gives you a chance to experience medieval times and enjoy the view.

10. Minack Theatre

What is it? A breathtakingly beautiful clifftop amphitheatre carved into a giant lump of rock overlooking the azure-Atlantic Ocean.

Why go? The theatre was the vision of theatre-lovers Rowena Cade in the 1930s. The place is now popular for its staged plays between mid-May to September. You will experience the open-air dramas against the blue sea!

Discover 10 Tips to Be a Responsible Tourist in Cornwall

Looe - Cornwall - UK

Many times when we travel we take into account many variables, such as interesting places, weather, accommodation, or the social life of the destination. But rarely, we reflect on the impact of our vacations.

Now we are going to leave you a series of keys to be a responsible tourist in Cornwall:

Choose responsibly

Whenever possible, choose tour operators, airlines, and hotels that respect the environment.

Be informed about the destination

Every place has its own history, culture, and natural values, and we should inform ourselves about them in order to know how to behave without harming them. In addition to investigating the current legislation to avoid any mishap.

Consume resources responsibly

Use natural resources such as water, electricity, or gas responsibly, only consume what you need.

Reduce our waste

Do not throw garbage. Keep them with us until we find a suitable place to dispose of them (garbage cans, containers, etc.).

It is advisable to bring reusable containers, such as bags or bottles, so you will generate less waste.

Use public and/or non-motorized means of transport

Use local or collective public transport whenever possible, as this will help to protect the environment. If possible, use non-motorized means of transport, such as bicycles.

Sometimes it’s not even possible to bring your own bicycle or even your daughters houten poppenwagen in public transport, so be aware of that.

Do not alter the natural environment

Observe wildlife from a distance without disturbing it, do not pluck flowers or plants, and do not buy souvenirs or products made from endangered species. In natural areas, and especially in protected areas, always try to follow the trails.

There are areas where silence is very important, even in natural parks, keep the wildlife quiet and we will be able to enjoy the sound of nature.

Carry out actions that respect the environment

Do not take “souvenirs” from natural and archaeological sites. Do not damage the environment with graffiti or unsustainable activities, such as 4×4.

Respect the local culture

Establish correct and cordial relations with local populations, without prejudice. When you arrive at your destination, always try to adapt to local customs and habits, without imposing your own habits and lifestyles.

People are not part of the landscape, it is advisable to ask their permission before taking pictures of them.

Consume local products

Support cultural manifestations and local craftsmanship.

Reflect on the trip

When you return home reflect on what you have seen and met. If you have made commitments to local people (sending postcards, photos, or other small favors), try to keep them.

If you have witnessed serious and intolerable situations, report them to your travel agent or tour operator, or to the appropriate authorities.

We hope these tips will help you to be a more responsible tourist.