Ask for a list of top places to visit in Cornwall and it’s likely that you’ll receive the same recommendations from different people. The well-known attractions are great places to go – but what if this isn’t your first trip to the county? There are a whole host of other things to do, see and explore, that are a bit more off the beaten track.

Here are our favourites (and the distance from the cottage you can find them):

 Gwennap Pit

Described by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, as ‘the most magnificent spectacle this side of heaven’, this geographical anomaly can be found just 3 miles away. Formed by the falling of old mine workings, the amphitheatre-like structure is included in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and is a place of historical and spiritual significance. It’s said that up to 1,500 people can be seated around its 12 rings.

Walking from the top to the bottom and back up again equals one mile!

Photo by Paul Richards –

Kennal Vale

A little over 2 miles away you’ll find Kennal Vale Gunpowder Works – a place steeped in history that combines nature, gunpowder and ghosts (we can’t prove the latter!) In the mid-nineteenth century at the height of productivity, the works produced four to five thousand barrels of gunpowder a year. Fifty men were employed, working to supply the local and and international mining industry. Several fatal accidents occurred in the works due to the nature of the working environment – with one explosion heard miles away.

Today the site is managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is a great place to walk and explore.

Nansidwell Beach (also known as Woodlands)

A year-round dog-friendly beach, which is found at the end of a woodland track. Just over 9 miles away, on road parking can be found opposite the footpath. Roughly a 10-15 minute walk from the car down to the beach and a little longer on the way back! With a mixture of sand, shingle and some rocks, it’s best to visit at low tide. For those fancying more of a walk, the South West Coast Path links both Durgan and Swanpool.

Carn Brea

Reaching up to 225 metres above sea level, Carn Brea can be seen from most high ground in Cornwall – with the monument particularly visible. Roughly 8.5 miles away, from the top visitors can see both coasts – and on a clear day a lot in between! The 90-foot-high granite hexagonal column was built in 1836 in memory of Francis Bassett, Lord de Dunstaville. The Bassetts were the most important mining family in the area. Another legacy of the family is Carn Brea Castle – currently a restaurant, but previously a Victorian folly and before that an Elizabethan hunting lodge.

Engine House at Wheal Coates

Perhaps Cornwall’s most iconic engine house, Towanroath is found on the cliff tops between Porthtowan and St Agnes. Built in 1872, it was responsible for keeping water out of the shaft 600 feet below. At the height of operation, Wheal Coates employed 140 miners. Tin was transported on the tramways and shipped from Truro, Hayle, Portreath and St Agnes. Nearby Chapel Porth beach is great to visit too! You’ll find Wheal Coates and Chapel Porth 11 miles away.

Photo by Paul Richards –