Sunkissed Cornwall is the choice destination for Brits seeking a Mediterranean-esque staycation without leaving the United Kingdom. The windswept coastline and wild hinterland of England’s southwesternmost county have kindled the imagination of writers, poets, and artists for centuries. Ancient hamlets harbor smugglers’ tales and Celtic folklore.
North Cornwall is where you’ll find surf hotspots and artsy resorts. South Cornwall is home to historic fishing ports, hidden coves, lush gardens, and family-friendly attractions. The spine of the peninsula is consumed by moors, tors, and woodlands while forts edge the shoreline. Whether you hole up in one place or take a road trip, these Airbnbs in Cornwall’s seaside villages and moorlands fit the bill for surfers, hikers, and history buffs.
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Wetsuits at the ready: this vacation rental is a stone’s throw from Cornwall’s top surf beaches. The interiors are cheerful and bright, accented by shiplap walls and maritime touches. A freestanding tub in the master suite adds a boutique hotel finish. The round kitchen island overlooks the vast terrace with a sweeping view of the bay and headland trails accessible from the doorstep.
This gorgeous cabin sits at the base of Bodmin Moor, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The black exterior strikes a contrast with the light-filled interiors. The bed is divided from the kitchen via a wooden partition and overlooks the rolling hills and wood-fired hot tub. The Camel Valley Vineyard is a walkable or cyclable trip from the property while both the north and south coasts of Cornwall are half an hour by car.
Perhaps the most famous Airbnb in Cornwall and a relic of the county’s mining heritage, the Engine House has made a cameo on multiple British property shows. The lower level contains the kitchen while the second-floor lounge gives you the choice of dozing in the hammock or curling up with a book in the window nook. Porthtowan Beach is awesome for catching a wave and the walkable Blue Bar is a popular spot for après-surf.
Eight guests, three bedrooms Price: $231 per night
A short drive from Newquay and Padstow, this adults-only Airbnb with a hot tub is the perfect romantic escape in North Cornwall. The shepherd’s hut stars a bed with a moonroof and a fully-equipped kitchenette while the backyard has a barbecue. Chuck a log on the fire before jumping into the spa for an evening under the stars. You’ll wake up to fresh eggs from the orchard and a friendly flock of Ryeland sheep.
Once used to store fish, this seaside shack has been spruced up into a deluxe Cornwall vacation pad with a hot tub and terrace angled for dolphin watching. Indoors, you can sink into a bubble bath with a sea view before settling around the fire or watching ships from the garden lookout cubby. The village of Charlestown contains the last standing 18th-century Georgian harbor and has served as a filming location for Poldark.
Dylan Thomas considered Mousehole the “loveliest village in England” and you’ll struggle to disagree. This petite cottage for two mingles original driftwood and local stone with a high-tech kitchen and rainfall shower. Make the most of the harborfront setting by cuddling up in bed beneath the fishing net as boats bob offshore. Dogs are welcome subject to a pet fee and you’ll find traditional pubs within a five-minute radius.
Cast yourself away to this chalet crafted from Cornish slate and timber overlooking the Celtic Sea. The sandy beach is steps from the deck while hiking trails take you up over the cliffs. Expect to find an arrival hamper of scones, clotted cream, and sparkling wine to tuck into as the ride rolls in. Fido is welcome at this pet-friendly Airbnb in Cornwall’s luxurious coastal development.
Glamp in the heart of rural Cornwall at this off-the-grid Airbnb near Truro. This is a prime spot for wildlife: eagle-eyed guests have crossed paths with hedgehogs, foxes, and the elusive British badger. The cabin is carefully insulated and remains toasty warm thanks to the wood-burner while the secluded patio has a roll-top bathtub. Rock up with an appetite – the cabin comes stocked with a gourmet hamper of goodies.
Sitting on the outskirts of Cornwall’s westernmost town, this unique Airbnb is near Land’s End, St Michael’s Mount, and Tremenheere Gardens. The bungalow is fashioned from traditional materials with a roaring open fire and mezzanine upping the coziness. Evening entertainment gives you the choice of a hot tub soak, an Xbox marathon, or an acoustic guitar sing-a-long. In place of the “perfectly round green door,” you’ll enter via the equally charming stable door.
Stay at this upside-down sanctuary near Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor National Park, and both Cornish coasts. The living room and kitchen are on the second floor, allowing for cooking and lounging with a valley view. The bedrooms are located on the first floor and kids will love waking up to the sight of the horses. Outside, you’ll find a barbecue terrace, hot tub, and sunny lawn. It’s right off the A30 major road which makes sightseeing a doddle.
Perched on a hill a mile out of Boscastle, this brand-new barn conversion is a short drive from Tintagel Castle and St Nectan’s Waterfall. The bungalow comprises a skylighted open-plan lounge with a top-of-the-line kitchen and a chic tiled bathroom. It’s the perfect base for a family, with a large patio and lawn surrounded by farmland where the kids can run riot and Atlantic views from the wood-fired hot tub.
With the border located approximately 250 miles from Central London, Cornwall is England’s most southwestern county. The northern coast of the peninsula overlooks the Celtic Sea while the southern beaches face the English Channel. Trains connect London Paddington with Truro and Penzance from where Great Western Railway (GWR) operates local services. It’s often easier to travel to Plymouth, Devon, and change lines there. Otherwise, GWR’s sleeper train to Penzance is an alternative.
What is there to do in Cornwall?
Cornwall’s tourism orbits around water activities, hiking, cycling, and visiting National Trust and English Heritage properties. Land’s End marks the westernmost point of England whereas Lizard’s Point claims the southernmost tip of England and the United Kingdom.
North Cornwall is the surf capital where the North Atlantic provides year-round swells that top out in winter. The stretch between Tintagel and Boscastle is where to go for myths and legends. Tintagel Castle is said to be the childhood home of the fabled King Arthur. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is dedicated to superstitions and the darker side of the occult.
South Cornwall’s calm inlets are suitable for kayaking and paddle boarding. The British cousin of Mont Saint Michel, St Michael’s Mount is an offshore isle accessible via a causeway during low tide. Time your outing to avoid a maritime slumber party. The Eden Project is a botanical wonderland near St Austell where ginormous biomes are filled with plants from all over the globe. On the other side of town, the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a mysterious estate of jungle, forest, and farmland.
Overseen by Henry VIII, the medieval Pendennis Castle guides you through the English Civil War, Napoleonic Wars, and the First and Second World Wars. Visit in tandem with St Mawes Castle and you’ll score a ferry ride between the sistering sites.
Venture inland where you’ll walk through England’s murkiest moments at Bodmin Jail or get your spook on with a twilight ghost tour. Tap on a drive across Bodmin Moor where a string of stone circles are linked to druidism, burial rituals, and astronomy.
Exploring Cornwall is hungry work. Fuel up on Cornish pasties, oysters, and cream tea washed down with the region’s Brut (or cider). Remember, Cornish custom says to apply the jam first and then the cream.