Cornwall's Cultural Highlights

Cultural top ten

1. Eden Sessions

Stunning live music sessions hosted in an equally amazing, atmospheric setting. This annual series of one-day festivals takes place throughout the summer months. Recent highlights include Oasis, The Verve, Lily Allen, Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstell, The Kooks, Kasabian, Razorlight and comedian Bill Bailey.

2. Port Eliot Festival

Annual arts festival that attracts a host of big name authors, comedians, artists and musicians to perform in the enchanting setting of the beautiful Port Eliot estate. Hanif Kureishi, Louis de Bernières, Rosie Boycott, Alain de Botton, Martin Parr, Murrary Lachlan-Young, Immodesty Blaize, Aisle 16, Gaz Mayall and the Dulwich Ukulele Orchestra have all performed in recent years.

3. Boardmasters

Newquay's annual surf and music shindig sees some of the world's best surfers share centre stage with some of the world's hottest bands, including The Streets, Groove Armada, Pigeon Detectives, Paulo Nutini, and Angus & Julia Stone. In addition to its consistently impressive line-up, the festival hosts exciting surf, skate and BMX competitions.

4. Cornwall Film Festival

A dazzling line-up of premieres, guest speakers, and workshops from the cognoscenti of British and Cornish filmmaking, takes place in Falmouth every November. Mark Kermode (film critic and presenter of BBC2's Culture Show), Mike Leigh (director of Vera Drake and Secrets & Lies) and Simon Channing-Williams (producer of the Oscar-winning film, The Constant Gardener) have all spoken at the festival in recent years.

5. Tate St Ives

An iconic landmark overlooking the beautiful white sands of Porthmeor beach, St Ives, the Tate showcases an impressive range of local, national and international artists as well as hosting a series of talks, workshops and musical performances.

6. Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange

Historic art gallery with a magnificent new contemporary exhibition space that is the largest of its kind west of Bristol. From international award-winners and collaborative exhibitions to emerging local talent, both galleries' programmes are dynamic, inspiring and inclusive.

7. Minack Theatre

Breathtaking outdoor amphitheatre set into the cliffs of Porthcurno, frequented by Cornwall's world-famous Kneehigh Theatre Company, amongst others. This stunning venue has hosted a variety of performances such as Midsummer Nights Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), Philip Pullman's award-winning Northern Lights (Next Stage Productions) and the Proms at Minack.

8. o-region

This Truro-based film and theatre collective organise regular events and screenings for budding filmmakers, produce theatre projects and organise film competitions as well as hosting the internationally acclaimed Future Shorts.

9. Carnglaze Caverns

An unusual and highly memorable venue for live music, with recent performances including British Sea Power and the Guillemots (who also played live accompaniments to Future Shorts). Carnglaze also hosts a range of workshops and events, including a spooky Halloween film evening!

10. Hall for Cornwall

The Hall for Cornwall provides an eclectic programme of national theatre, contemporary dance, comedy and music tours. Cornwall's leading - and largest - indoor cultural venue has welcomed a host of popular live acts and entertainers; highlights include James Morrison, The Zutons, Newton Faulkner and Derren Brown.

Houses and gardens

There are an amazing variety of houses and gardens to explore in Cornwall, from castles to elegant manors to exotic botanical gardens. For a full list of National Trust-owned properties in Cornwall visit:


Cornwall's museums celebrate the county's rich seafaring, industrial and artistic heritage. For a full list of museums in Cornwall visit:


Cornwall's mining heritage is very much in evidence in the landscape today. Ruined mines have been a source of inspiration for many of Cornwall's artists, designer-makers and photographers. To find out more about Cornish mining sites visit:

Ancient sites

Cornwall has a diverse historic environment including prehistoric sites and medieval buildings. 

  • Chysauster Iron Age village inhabited from about 100 BC to sometime in the 3rd century AD.
  • Lanyon Quoit A large stone supported upon three standing stones. It is likely the remains of a long barrow, or chambered tomb.
  • Men an Tol An intriguing monument consisting of two upright stones standing on either side of a round stone with a hole through the middle.
  • Merry Maidens The best preserved stone circle in Cornwall.