Five Places in Cornwall You Must Photograph

Five Places in Cornwall You Must Photograph

Cornwall is one of those places I cannot get enough of. I've visited three times over the past years and can't wait to be back. In this article, I show you five of my favorite photo locations in Cornwall.

Cornwall lies in the southwest of England. There's a small airport near Newquay in the north of Cornwall. But most likely, if you plan to visit Cornwall from outside the UK, you'll fly into London. From there, you can rent a car and embark on the five-hour drive to Cornwall — no need to hop on another flight.

Getting around Cornwall is easy by rental car. If you book a cottage or apartment somewhere around Newquay, you'll reach every photo location from Cornwall's north to its western tip within 90 minutes. Since the densest distribution of photo spots is toward the west, I'd recommend finding something closer to Redruth or Hayle though.

I always visited Cornwall in late May or early June, which is one of the drier times in that area. It is also when you can expect many coastal flowers along the Cornish coast and bluebells in the forests. Another interesting time to visit Cornwall is winter. With frequent storms, you can encounter dramatic weather with huge waves in the area. I haven't visited at that time yet, but just google "Porthleven Storm" to get an idea of what to expect at that time of year.

This location even looks great on a sunny day.

Holywell Bay

The first time I visited Cornwall, I stayed in a cottage close to Holywell Bay. It's a wide stretch of golden sand surrounded by dunes and cliffs. Toward its western end, you find two large sea stacks called Gull Rock. At sunset, those provide a beautiful subject in the distance. If you climb the dunes along the beach, you can use the golden grasses as foreground interest, with the endless beach making up the middle ground.

The best time to photograph Holywell Bay is when the tide is receding. During high tide, most of the beach is submerged. When the tide is out, you'll have a lot more areas to explore. Closer to the water, you'll find interesting patterns in the sand, and near the cliffs in the west, a river is leading out into the sea.

Just imagine this location with dramatic clouds and huge waves.

Godrevy Lighthouse

Heading west from Holywell Bay toward Hayle, you'll pass a town called Gwithian. A little north of it, the rocks facing Godrevy Lighthouse provide another spectacular photo spot. Again, keeping an eye on the tides is crucial when photographing this location. Between the rocks, you find many crevices you can use to frame your photos. But getting there is only possible at low tide. If the tide is too high, your photography will be limited to a narrow area close to the road leading up to Godrevy Point.

If you spend some time in Cornwall, try to visit Godrevy Lighthouse on a stormy day. I didn't have great luck with wind and weather during my own visits, but with waves crashing on the rocks, the scenery around the Lighthouse will look even more spectacular.

Thanks fo the beautiful rocks, this location also works on overcast days.

Porth Nanven

Close to St Just in the west of Cornwall, you'll find a cove very popular with local photographers - Porth Nanven. It's a bit hard to find if you're in a rush, so plan enough time before sunset to get there and explore the area. The roundish rocks at the beach offer beautiful foreground interest. And again, similar to Holywell Bay, two little islands called the Brisons offer a subject in the distance.

That's what I love about the Cornish coast. Not only will you find great foregrounds and middle ground to compose your photos. In many locations, sea stacks or little islands on the horizon provide additional interest.

Coastal flowers are important to make this view work in a photo.

Pednvounder Beach

The locations I shared up until now are all sunset locations and preferably visited during low or receding tide. Now it's time for a sunrise location you can photograph at any tide - Pednvounder Beach. From Porthcurno in the south of Cornwall, you follow a beautiful path along the coast toward this beach. While getting down involves a little bit of climbing, it's easy on dry days.

But the best photo spot doesn't involve getting down to the beach. The best view is where the path starts heading downward. In late May, this area is filled with coastal flowers, making it a beautiful coastal garden.

Rocks and coastal flowers provide foreground interest at this location.

Kynance Cove

The Lizard Peninsula lies in the south of Cornwall. It's one of my favorite sunset locations because it offers many compositional opportunities. Definitely plan in enough time if you visit this location. You'll want to spend at least an hour hiking along the cliffs to explore the various viewpoints before settling on a composition for sunset.

Again, you'll find coastal flowers in spring and early summer to use as foreground. And as per usual, sea stacks provide a subject in the distance.

Although I prefer to photograph this area at sunset, I'm sure you can also find views facing the opposite direction to make it work for sunrise. As I said, just make sure to bring enough time to explore.


The locations I shared above are just a selection. If you're not in a rush, you can easily spend several weeks photographing the Cornish coast without visiting a single location twice. And there are not only dramatic cliffs or golden beaches to photograph. How about charming coastal villages, forests full of bluebells, or magnificent manors with beautiful gardens? In Cornwall, you'll find something to photograph at any time of day, not just sunrise and sunset. And what if you get some typical English weather? On rainy days, places like Golitha Falls will keep you busy. And don't despair if the rain continues for a longer period of time. There's always a chance of a gap in the clouds at sunset and the best places to be if that happens are Porth Nanven or Land's End.

On the homepage, you find more photos of Cornwall, showing additional areas of interest.

Michael Breitung's picture

Michael Breitung is a freelance landscape and travel photographer from Germany. In the past 10 years he visited close to 30 countries to build his high quality portfolio and hone his skills as a photographer. He also has a growing Youtube channel, in which he shares the behind the scenes of his travels as well as his knowledge about photo editing.

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