Known for its tantalizing coastlines, towering cliffs, and numerous sandy beaches, it’s little surprise that camping in Cornwall is such a popular vacation. Whether you are planning to hike, cycle, surf, or are just looking for an inexpensive way to see as much of Cornwall as possible, camping can be a cost effective and fun way to do that.
It’s also a truly unique opportunity to lose yourself in the serene scenery that makes this place so special.
There are several campsites in and around Cornwall to choose from – we recommend some of our top picks in this article. We also look at wild camping in Cornwall later in this article too, as well as the weather and best months to visit.
So slide on your hiking boots and grab your tent – let’s begin your Cornwall camping adventure! And if you’re looking for day trip suggestions for your Cornwall holiday, we have great ones – some of which are free – in a previous article.
Camping in Cornwall: A Quick Overview
Cornwall’s rugged landscape and multitude of standing stones, stone circles and forts, makes it the idyllic spot for anyone seeking to discover history and experience diverse and spectacular views. Maybe you want to undertake the myriad of amazing trails in the region or simply admire the gorgeous coastline and largest collection of plant species in the British Isles.
Avid surfers can also test their skills in Cornwall; the surfing sweet spot has waves which reach dizzying heights – as high as 30 ft!
There are many great campsites perfectly situated along the rugged coastline of Cornwall that sit beside those surfing spots and hiking trails. A good quality walking in Cornwall book – like this one – can help you plan what campsites may be of interest to you if you’re planning such a trip.
Wild camping is technically not allowed – unless you have the permission of the land owner. However many people still do it.
If you can’t be persuaded to stay in a campsite, then we have information on wild camping in Cornwall, and tips to be a responsible camper later on in this article.
However if you’re looking for some great campsite recommendations, below we share a few of our favourite campsites in Cornwall. All of which are located close to beaches, and therefore ideal for walkers, hikers, cyclists and holidaymakers alike.
Camping in Cornwall: Some of the Best Campsites in Cornwall
1. Henry’s Campsite
We love Henry’s Campsite for the spectacular sunsets, astounding sea view and the fact its located in a rural area, away from bustling roads.
Situated at the top of Caerthillian Valley, this small family run campsite is just a few minutes walk from the village centre and ten minutes walk to the coastal paths. The campsite has easy access to the most mesmerising beaches in the area: Pentreath, Polpeor, Housel Bay and even the enchanting Kynance Cove.
Lizard village is within walking distance from the campsite, and is a must visit if you are looking for good pub food, gift shops, pasties, and fish and chips.
With quirky art, unique exotic plants on site and many animals, Henry’s campsite captures the eye of many visitors. Kids will be easily entertained by feeding the alpacas, pigs, goats, chickens and ducks that live here!
With a communal fire pit, campers can also gather and share their day’s adventure with others.
2. Acorn Camping & Glamping
This environmentally friendly campsite is perfectly located within the World Heritage Site of Luxulyan Valley, and offers campers great options for hiking and admiring this exceptional area.
Situated in a serene setting, this campsite is a perfect spot for wildlife spotting, and also boasts attractive Hobbit huts for those interested in glamping – great for any Lord of the Rings fans!
The closest shop and pub is a mile and a half away, so we recommend campers to stock up on essentials before their stay. Although dogs are not allowed on site, kids can be kept occupied with the treasure hunt activities available on the premises.
3. Treen Farm Campsite
With unparalleled views of the blue water stretching from Lizard Peninsula to the Isles of Scilly, Treen Farm Campsite is a great way for camping purists to reconnect with nature.
This clifftop camping retreat has easy access to Cornwall’s famous beaches of Green Bay and Porthcurno. The closest golden sandy beach – Pedn Vounder – is a mere ten minute walk from the campsite.
If you are very lucky, you may even spot majestic whales from the top of the cliffs – a memorable experience for children and adults!
Campers may enjoy occasional visits from Guernsey cows that live on the premises. There’s also a good variety of produce in the on-site shop – what’s not to love!
4. Trevaylor Caravan & Camping Park
Set beside Cornwall’s stunning rugged coastline, Trevaylor Caravan & Camping Park is perfectly located in the charming West Penwith area. This site is also close to historical tin mines like Crowns Mine, which is situated just a few minutes walk away.
Furthermore, avid surfers can get their adrenaline pumping at the world renowned surfing beach at Sennen Cove – just a five minute drive from the campsite.
This pet-friendly campsite is close to Penzance, Land’s End and St Ives, whilst the closest town of St Just is ideal for provisions. The town has two supermarkets, a chemist, bakers and some pubs – a perfect place to enjoy a Cornish pasty with a local pint.
Wild Camping in Cornwall
Like other areas of England , wild camping in Cornwall is not technically allowed, however people still do it. Although campers are allowed to pitch their tent if they have the permission of a landowner. However that’s often easier said than done.
Yet the scenic views, fascinating trails and stunning sandy beaches that make up Cornwall makes it a tempting destination for wild camping, whether you’ve got permission or not.
Therefore if you are planning to free camp in Cornwall – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to help you camp in a considerate manner:
You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. So don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always try and seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to go wild camping in Cornwall.
Most hikers and walkers tolerate camping beside trails that involve multi-day hikes – after all, serious walkers need somewhere to sleep! However as a matter of courtesy you should camp away from any path, and pitch your tent at dusk and take it down at dawn.
Respect the leave no trace policy and take any rubbish with you. Leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
Below are our top tips for camping in Cornwall:
- Heavy rain can happen in Cornwall – even during the summer months. Therefore make sure you have a rainproof tent that can survive rain. A lightweight one-man walking tent like this or similar would be perfect. For a good value tent that fits more than one person, this mosquito-proof one would work well too.
- There are villages close by the coastal paths but remember to always have plenty of water on you when you’re walking and camping. A space-saving collapsible water bottle would be a good purchase.
- If you’re wild camping, then go to the toilet at least 30-50 meters away from water sources, such as rivers. Make sure to use a trowel (like this folding one) to bury any human waste at least six inches under ground. Take any tissue paper with you – use a ziplock bag to store it and dispose of it in the nearest bin.
Camping in Cornwall: The Weather and Best Months to Visit
Spring is a magical time to visit this beautiful region and it’s not hard to see why. For nature lovers, spring is when you can see magnificent Cornish magnolias in full bloom. The Porthleven Food Festival is held around mid-April too.
With temperature ranging from 15C to 30C, summer is a very busy but amazing time to visit this region. Ideal for long walks, surfing and discovering the green surroundings, visitors can fully enjoy a pint outside or tan on the sandy golden beaches. Campers are advised to plan ahead and book campsites well in advance during this period as it tends to attract many holidaymakers.
Autumn is full of events in Cornwall, and food lovers can make the most of The Great Cornish Food Festival in Truro during late September. With mild temperatures and less holidaymakers, visitors can also enjoy the multitude of refreshing beers at the Falmouth Beer Festival in late October.
Winter temperatures can drop to below 0C in Winter, but sometimes reach 8-10C. If you fancy undertaking the South West Coast path during this time, it is a unique experience with frost-flecked forts, clifftops, and moorland.