Cornwall’s glorious coastline and fishing villages straight off a postcard are no secret – but everyone’s favourite seaside holiday destination is also a fantastic place to plan active adventures. Cycle old railway lines, explore Cornwall’s wild moorland side, learn to surf where the pros ride the waves or even swim around a sub-tropical island.
Cycle the Camel Trail
Like a car-free cycle? Cornwall’s delightful 18 mile Camel Trail cycle path makes for the perfect lazy day bike ride. The route follows a flat disused railway line and is ideal for cycling with kids. The trail starts in Padstow, a great place to sample local Cornish seafood, then wind through shady woodland and past old railway stations and finishes on Bodmin Moor, where you can keep exploring or just grab a well-deserved pint in Blisland’s pretty pub, the Blisland Inn.
Book it: Camel Trail Cycle Hire in Wadebridge rent out adult bikes from £13 and children’s bikes from £8 per day.
Hike on Bodmin Moor
Rugged Bodmin Moor is nothing like Cornwall’s bucket-and-space beaches – this wild moorland is topped with jagged granite tors and is the perfect place to stretch your legs. Climb up Brown Willy, Cornwall’s highest point at 420 metres tall, walk up Rough Tor to find eerie Bronze Age stone circles or wander in the beautiful bluebell woods that skirt the moors.
I Walk Cornwall list great circular day walks of different lengths.
Learn to surf on Fistral Beach
If you learn to surf anywhere in Britain make it Cornwall’s gorgeous turquoise waters, where steady waves suitable for all abilities lap the shore year-round. There are great surf spots all along the coast, but Newquay is a surf hub where you’ll find plenty of surf schools if you fancy learning how to conquer the waves. Fistral Beach is one of the best surfing spots in Britain and hosts surf competitions including Boardmasters, the UK Pro Surf Tour and the BUSA surf championships, but when the pros aren’t showing off their skills, Fistral Beach Surf School will have you following in their footsteps on smaller waves.
Book it: Fistral Beach Surf School are based on Fistral and offer lessons for all ages from £35 per person and surf hire from £5.
Zip wire at Adrenalin Quarry near Liskeard
Thrill-seekers, look no further – Adrenalin Quarry, near Liskeard, is here to scare you silly. Everything from axe throwing to a giant swing is on offer at this flooded quarry-turned adventure centre, but the most hair-raising of all is The Zip, a 490 metre-long , screamingly fast zip wire suspended 50 metres above the water, with sheer cliffs on either side. Are you brave enough?
Book it: A ride on The Zip at Adrenaline Quarry costs £12.50.
Swim and run around the Isles of Scilly
Arriving on the magical Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast, is like stepping into Neverland. This archipelago is straight out of a storybook, and on the five inhabited islands you’ll find white sand beaches and sub-tropical gardens but few cars and a very relaxed way of life. The best way to explore here is to walk or run on land and swim in the cold but crystal-clear waters. Once a year in June the Otillo SwimRun event sees adventurers run and swim 40km between the islands, and the rest of the year you can go on a more relaxed guided sea swim with Adventure Scilly.