The self-care guide to Cornwall

Penned on the 24th April 2023

The self-care guide to Cornwall

If you’re in need of some time to relax your mind, rejuvenate your body and reconnect to nature, a trip to Cornwall could be just the ticket. This southwest county is surrounded by stunning wild coastline and unspoiled countryside, making it the perfect backdrop for a beautiful wellness holiday and some much needed you-time. 

But it’s not just the landscape here that’s good for the soul. From wholesome food and nourishing spas to mindful exercise and wild swimming, there are all kinds of nourishing self-care activities to be found in Cornwall. Here’s our guide to some of the best. 


Saltwater therapy

Wild swimming in tidal pools

Swimming in a crystal clear tidal pool in Cornwall

Is there anything more invigorating than a wild dip in nature? It's the perfect refresh for your mind, leaving you feeling utterly at peace. Dotted around the Cornish coastline you’ll find all kinds of tidal pools to take the plunge safely, from man-made lagoons built into the rocks to hidden natural pools. Some of our favourites include the accessible pool on Chapel Rock in the middle of Perranporth beach, the secluded pool at the bottom of the cliffs at Porthtowan (only accessible at low tide) and the largest in Cornwall, Bude Sea Pool. Wherever you choose to take a swim, don’t forget to bring some warm clothes for afterwards and always check what the tide is doing so you don’t get cut off.



Surfing in Cornwall

With two Atlantic-facing coastlines and over 200 glorious beaches, it’s no wonder that Cornwall is world renowned for its surfing. Riding the waves is an activity that’s proven to boost your wellbeing with all kinds of positive mental and physical health benefits, so take advantage of Cornwall’s breaks and give it a go whilst you’re here. Whatever your ability, there are plenty of beaches, surf schools and surf hire spots to choose from – Newquay, Gwithian, Polzeath or Sennen are all great places to start. You can find out more about where to learn to surf in Cornwall (and which schools to learn with) in our guide.


Stand-up paddleboarding

Paddle boarding over crystal clear waters in front on St Michaels Mount

If something a little slower paced is more appealing, why not try stand-up paddleboarding? This accessible sea-based activity has been quickly growing in popularity over the past few years, perhaps because it brings a wealth of wellbeing benefits including reduced stress and anxiety. Cornwall has plenty of beautiful coves, caves and harbours where the water’s flat calm on a still day, making it the perfect place to SUP. Ocean High in Marazion offers equipment hire and lessons for all experience levels, where you’ll paddle in a magical setting overlooking St Michael’s Mount. Or at the other end of the county, Camel Ski School will take you out SUPing in the beautiful Camel Estuary at Padstow, which is a great spot to look for wildlife. 

For more saltwater therapy inspiration, take a look at our Coastal Adventures in Cornwall guide.   


Nutritious eating

Plant-based eateries

Three healthy vegan dishes served at Potager Garden

Cornwall has an excellent array of wholesome vegetarian and vegan eateries, offering nourishing home-prepared dishes made with sustainably sourced ingredients – guaranteed to make you feel good from the inside out. For on-the-go salad boxes packed with flavour and colour, head to Sabzi Deli in Falmouth or Truro. If you fancy a casual lunch in a beautiful setting, Potager Garden in Constantine is a great option – here you’ll be served tasty homegrown veggie lunches in their charming converted greenhouse. Or for a relaxed candlelit evening meal try The Bean Inn. This gem is a short stroll away from the breathtaking turquoise waters and golden sands of Carbis Bay and serves a range of hearty veggie and vegan dishes, from casseroles to buddha bowls. 


Smoothies & juices

Pretty hut selling smoothies and juices in Truro, Cornwall

For an intensive hit of vitamins and minerals, treat yourself to a gorgeous green smoothie or fruit-and-veg packed juice. Kook in Newquay has a great range of juices and super smoothies from the ‘Detox’ to the ‘Immune Booster’, with options to add the likes of CBD oil, chia seeds, spirulina and more for an extra health boost. Whatever you choose, head to one of Newquay’s beautiful nearby beaches and sip your concoction on the water’s edge in the fresh sea air. Pollen in the Park is a good choice if you’re looking for a city day out. This cute takeaway kiosk is beautifully placed in Truro’s tranquil Victoria Gardens and they offer a delicious ‘Smoothie of the week’ as well as good coffee, raw cheesecake and other tasty treats. 


Health food shops

Green exterior of pretty health food shop in Falmouth

If you’re looking for organic snacks or health-boosting supplements (plus some natural pampering products, perhaps!), head to one of Cornwall’s well-loved health shops. Archie Brown’s is a vibrant health food hub with stores in both Penzance and Truro. The Penzance shop has a café upstairs too – the perfect place to pause post-shopping for a coffee and a nutritious lunch. Or in Falmouth, The Natural Store is an Aladdin’s cave of wholesome goodies situated at the bottom of the town’s Old High Street. Once you’ve purchased your feel-good treasures, you could easily while away a whole afternoon browsing the impressive selection of independent shops and boutiques in this creative harbourside town. 


Mindful movement


Yoga class on the beach in Cornwall

Cornwall has a thriving yoga scene, so it’s a wonderful place to take a class. Whether you’re seeking a practice that’s energising or calming, for beginners or for advanced yogis, there’s something for everyone to choose from. Head to the beautiful light-filled space at Sunshine Cafe & Yoga in Penryn for a nourishing class followed by a wholesome brunch or healing latte. Or if you like the idea of yoga that connects you with nature as well as your body, try one of Alicia Ray’s beach yoga classes held in a heavenly spot amongst the dunes at Gwithian. You can find out more about the variety of yoga studios and classes in Cornwall in our guide here.



Cycling through the forest

A bike ride in a stunning setting is sure to get your feel-good endorphins flowing – and Cornwall offers several accessible routes. The Camel Trail is a lovely, flat 18-mile stretch for all ages and abilities, following the disused railway between Padstow and Wenfordbridge. The Bissoe Trail is another, taking you on an 11 mile journey (each way) from Devoran on the south coast to Portreath on the north. You can hire from Bike Chain Bissoe and stop for a well-deserved coffee and cake afterwards. And the magnificent National Trust Estate at Lanhydrock also offers beautiful cycle trails through its woodland surroundings, from gentle rides to more exhilarating mountain bike routes. 


Walks in nature

The South West Coast Path

Three people walk along the south west coastal path

Cornwall boasts a 300 mile section of Britain’s famous Southwest Coast Path, so walking boots are a must for your self-care trip! There are a huge variety of routes, terrains and locations to choose from on the path, from gentle stretches along picturesque harbours, to challenging hikes on undulating cliffs and headlands. No matter where you choose though, you’ll be rewarded with fresh sea air in your lungs, beautiful wildlife to discover and, of course, staggering views – all of which are bound to deliver a positive wellbeing boost. The Southwest Coast Path website makes it easy to plan your walk too – you can search by location, distance, difficulty and theme (such as walks that include a café stop, for example!). 



Sleeping statue at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Thanks to its mild climate Cornwall is a home to some of the UK’s most spectacular gardens, filled with a breathtaking variety of rare and beautiful plants and trees. They’re all idyllic places to enjoy the benefits of nature on a gentle walk – but some of our favourites include the sub-tropical paradise at Trebah Garden near the Helford River; The Lost Gardens of Heligan near St Austell for its magical sculptures and ‘jungle’ area complete with a 100ft rope bridge; and the tranquil Japanese Garden in St Mawgan near Newquay – the ultimate spot for a relaxing, meditative stroll. Take a look at our gardens to visit in Cornwall guide for more botanical inspiration and ideas. 



Walking through the forest

Forest bathing is a practice that’s been increasing in popularity around the world since originating in Japan in the 1980s. The concept is simple – being quiet, calm and consciously observant amongst the trees to help you de-stress, connect with nature and boost your wellbeing. Cornwall has plenty of peaceful woodland walks where you give it a try. Cardinham Woods near Bodmin has four marked routes, with stream-side paths and stunning viewpoints along the way. Idless Woods just north of Truro offers gentle trails and is particularly lovely in the spring when the bluebells emerge. And, whilst it’s usually a little busier, Tehidy Country Park is Cornwall’s largest woodland area that’s well worth exploring, with over 250 acres and 9 miles of paths.

If woodlands and forests are your favourite environment, why not go one step further and stay in a beautiful hideaway amongst the trees? Take a look at our favourite hideaways in the woods here.  


Spas & treatments

Luxury spas

Woman in swimming pool looking out towards the coast in Cornwall

A spa day is perhaps the most deeply relaxing and sumptuous self-care experience of all – something we all deserve from time to time! Many of Cornwall’s spas are right beside the coast, giving you the chance to follow a sea swim with a sauna – bliss. The eco spa at Scarlet is a gorgeous spot, with a clifftop hot tub and reed-filtered swimming pool, overlooking Mawgan Porth beach and the wild Atlantic beyond. St Michael’s Resort’s spa is home to the largest hydrothermal pool in the south west, as well as a beautiful garden where you can dry off and soak up the sun on a lounger above Falmouth Bay. And C Bay spa offers spectacular views of the glittering waters at Carbis Bay, from the infinity edge pool or the luxurious glass-fronted sauna – champagne optional.

If you’d rather have a spa experience that’s a little more secluded, you could also opt for one of our hideaways with your very own hot tub. Browse our hideaways with a hot tub in Cornwall here


Body & beauty

Hot tub overlooking sub tropical garden in Cornwall

No wellness holiday would be complete without a relaxing massage or pampering treatment – and fortunately Cornwall has plenty of treatment rooms and beauty salons to choose from. If you’re heading for a spa day at Scarlet you could opt for one of their incredible Ayurvedic treatments inspired by Indian holistic health, sure to leave you feeling completely restored. The beautiful Budock Vean set in sup-tropical gardens at Mawnan Smith offers an indulgent range of spa treatments, from hot stone massages and reflexology to facials and full body scrubs. Or for some all-round beauty therapy head to Beautique in Newquay, where you can select something special from their extensive menu of eyebrow and eyelash treatments, nail treatments, waxing and tinting, skin care and much more. 



Barrel sauna nestled within St Anthony Gardens, Penzance

Heat therapies have long been used in healing and wellness practices and are an everyday ritual in many cultures, from Swedish batsu to Japanese sento. They’re also a huge part of Finnish culture with more saunas than cars in the country! We love heading to Penzance for a sea swim off of Battery Rocks, followed by a unique wood-fired sauna experience at Rising Embers Sauna - such an incredible set up in a truly magical corner of Cornwall. If the sea is too rough, then Scorrier House also has a wonderful wood-fired sauna and cold water pool, nestled in their beautiful gardens surrounded by ancient trees and herbaceous plants. Hot-to-cold water therapy is an ancient Nordic healing treatment with many health benefits. The high temperatures of the sauna create a deep, healthy sweat which triggers the release of endorphins, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension and delivers an overall sense of relaxation. Whilst contrast water therapy helps to boost circulation, relieve injury symptoms and reduce inflammation. So, overall you’ll leave feeling utterly dreamy. We cannot recommend Rising Embers Sauna and Scorrier House enough!



Where to stay for your self-care escape

Cabin with a bubble-filled outdoor bathtub in Cornwall

From shepherd’s huts with outdoor bathtubs, to clifftop retreats with dazzling sea views, to quirky cabins surrounded by peaceful woodland… we have so many beautiful hideaways where you can base yourself for a getaway filled with glorious self-care in Cornwall. Pack a good book, some comfy pyjamas and your favourite herbal tea and you’re sure to enjoy the restoring effects of simple living in luxury glamping accommodation in-between your wonderful wellness activities and adventures. Take a look at our full collection of hideaways in Cornwall here.


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