Cornwall is famed for its beauty. For those looking for a picturesque holiday, where there’ll be ample photo opportunities, Cornwall’s geography offers a bit of everything from coastal landscapes and quaint fishing villages, to picturesque countryside and ancient landmarks.
Budding photographers will be spoilt for choice with golden beaches, rugged cliffs, and crystal-clear waters in abundance, but picturesque places in Cornwall go beyond the beach.
Cornwall is rich in culture and history, with unique villages steeped in myth and legend, making for a fabulous spot for a photoshoot – from the harbour at Newlyn to Tintagel’s Castle.
So, if your upcoming holiday is about visiting the most picturesque places in Cornwall, we’ve scoured the county to provide ten top photography hotspots to visit with your camera
A popular, bustling little village, with a quaint but quintessential flavour of times gone by, Port Isaac is one of Cornwall’s picturesque villages. Starting as a fishing village in the 14th century, it’s steeped in history, it has to be seen to be believed.
Put on the map by TV series, Doc Martin, Port Isaac is fictionally known as Portwenn. Head to Squeezy Belly Alley, a lane that runs from Fore Street to Dolphin Street, comprising of tiny passageways and higgledy-piggledy cottages. Both Port Isaac and neighbouring Port Gaverne are within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so there are some scenic walks along the coast with an abundance of opportunities to get camera happy.
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Photographers will feel like they’re travelling back in time to the picturesque historic harbour village and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Charlestown. Full of atmospheric cobbled streets and tall ships, the village was famed on BBC’s Poldark.
A picturesque place in Cornwall, Charlestown was developed into a late Georgian working port to export china clay and import coal, which remains unspoilt today, retaining its charming character. You may want to head to the shingle beach, accessed by steps at the side of the visually striking Harbour.
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©Lifeboat Inn St Ives
Arguably one of the most picturesque places in Cornwall, the famous fishing town of St Ives requires no filter. With its incredible light cherished by artists, it’s a no-brainer for photographers.
St Ives is a place to potter and meander. Visitors may choose to weave the cobble-lined back streets, take pictures of the crystal-clear turquoise waters on its many beaches, or head for St Ives Harbour, a bustling and scenic spot in the heart of the town, complete with colourful fishing boats and dotted with historic buildings. Time it right and you may be treated to a St Ives sunset.
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Kynance Cove, The Lizard, Cornwall ©National Trust Images Hilary Daniel
With over 60k posts on Instagram, Kynance Cove is a landscape photographer’s dream backdrop. Owned by the National Trust, this beach is one of the most picturesque places in Cornwall thanks to its clear turquoise waters and white sand surrounded by dramatic rock formations.
A short distance from Lizard Point – another photo-friendly spot – photographer’s will need to be good on their feet as the cove is only accessible by foot, but the walk down to the beach will provide plenty of camera opportunities.
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Padstow Harbour at Padstow Christmas Festival
Pretty Padstow offers photographer’s bucket loads of charm, making the fishing port a popular Cornish town to visit. Padstow Harbour is a hub of activity, with an array of fishing boats but visitors will find that time passes a little more slowly here.
There are plenty of opportunities to capture the essence of a traditional Cornish fishing town, from fish and chips on the harbourfront to the boats bobbing up and down on the water. With an array of quaint Cornwall cottages, if you walk and seek, you’ll find photogenic spots at every turn.
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The new footbridge at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. Photograph by David Levene, English Heritage
For somewhere totally unique, visit Cornwall’s mysterious and magical village of Tintagel. Home to English Heritage’s Tintagel Castle, a dramatic medieval castle ruin which is perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, with intricate stonework and impressive architecture making for some striking photography. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and steep cliffs, creating an awe-inspiring backdrop.
According to legend, it’s also the birthplace of King Arthur Be sure to check out the much-photographed, 8ft bronze sculpture called Gallos, of King Arthur. This intricate, impressive sculpture blends in well with the cliffs of Tintagel. The new award-winning bridge at the castle reinstates a medieval crossing which connected the clifftop to the castle during the 14th to 17th centuries and makes for an impressive landscape shot, too.
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St Michael's Mount, National Trust
With a whopping 150k posts on Instagram, St Michael’s Mount is ones of Cornwall’s most iconic landmarks. The medieval castle is a breath-taking sight, perched on top of a small island, it is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a causeway that can be walked at low tide. The intricate stonework and impressive architecture coupled with the tranquil water that surrounds makes this one of the most picturesque places in Cornwall.
If you can take your eyes and camera off St Michael’s Mount, look around and appreciate the charm of Marazion, in a previous life it was a busy tin trading port. Wander the quaint streets and take in the views of the old cottages and grand merchants’ houses.
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Porthcurno beach is a natural beauty. A soft, white shell beach with a freshwater stream, surrounded by turquoise seas, this National Trust beach has to be seen to be believed. If you’re into nature photography, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of basking sharks and dolphins.
Without doubt one of the most picturesque places in Cornwall Porthcurno is also home to another photogenic gem, The Minack Theatre. A truly unique open-air theatre that’s been carved into the Cornish cliffs overlooking the sea. The views are as magnificent as the the theatre itself, you can see the striking coastline stretching out for miles – a photographer’s dream.
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Mousehole ©jess buckle, pexels
Quintessentially Cornish, Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) is a photographer’s paradise. With its maze of quaint tiny streets complete with granite cottages and slate roofs, alongside a picturesque harbour, it’s certainly one of Cornwall’s picturesque villages.
Those who enjoy photography will certainly appreciate the labyrinth of buildings, and while Mousehole has two beaches, it’s more famed for its charming harbour setting. At low tide you’ll see the anchor ropes keeping the boats in place, making for a traditional fishing village backdrop.
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© Hugh Hastings
If boat photography is your thing, then the Cornish town of Falmouth should be on your radar. A harbour town, you are surrounded by water, the port itself has a deep-water dock, so is always a hive of shipping activity which makes for some fantastic photography.
It’s not all about the harbour though, Falmouth has a myriad of impressive buildings, including picturesque Pendennis Castle, Henry’s VIII’s coastal fortress, which is a well-photographed Cornish landmark.
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