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20 Things To Do in Cornwall & Devon That Don’t Cost A Penny

20 things to do in Devon & Cornwall that don't cost a penny
With many people watching the pennies carefully, knowing some of the best sights in Cornwall and Devon that can be visited free of charge can make a difference to the holiday budget. A few suggestions are listed in this article.

Attractions and activities

The most visited landmark in Cornwall, Truro Cathedral is free to visit. Dominating the Truro skyline this gothic revival building has stained glass windows of the Cornish saints and has lunchtime organ recitals on Fridays. At Fowey St Catherines’ Castle, built by Henry VIII to protect Fowey Harbour is open all year round and free of charge to explore.

A wander in the gardens at Godolphin House at Breage near Penzance is a free treat but there is an additional charge to see inside the house itself. In Saltash the Saltfest festival takes place in August on Saltash Waterside and is free to attend and hear some of the bands. Pan for gold at the Cornish Goldsmiths Centre near Portreath where there are a number of free attractions as well as exquisite jewellery workshops.

Near Sancreed, Carn Euny Ancient Village is one of the best preserved Iron Age villages in the South west and another free attraction for visitors. In Exeter the Royal Albert Memorial Museum houses fine collections of antiquarian items and is a free place to visit. Lydford Castle in Devon is one of two castle sites in the area and can be explored free of charge. Nearby the water mill at Otterton provides an opportunity to see a working waterwheel and has a restaurant and shops.

At the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey there are a variety of workshops to explore and see the crafters in action free of charge from metal work to sculpture. Near Torquaty Cockington Court is a manor house with beautiful gardens and even a murder mystery trail and is free to visitors.

Salcombe Maritime Museum charts the history of this sailing and fishing village and is a free treat for those who want to learn more about the area. Why not pay a visit to a working cider press at Dartington and perhaps taste some of the product. At Trenear you can get a guided tour of Poldark Tin Mine for free , and for farming heritage try visiting the Gerrans Heritage Centre for a history of agriculture in the area.

Animals and Nature

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is a charitable organisation dedicated to the welfare of donkeys. Visitors are welcome free of charge to see the work being done to rehabilitate these animals and donations are of course welcome. At Dawlish why not visit the nature reserve to see some of the local flora and fauna at Dawlish Warren which is free of charge to explore.

To see some of the best places for wild flowers and scenery try one of the walks along the South West Coastal Footpath which snakes around the Cornwall and Devon coastline and takes in some of the most stunning scenery in the world. All for free and you can do as much or as little as you like, coming back each year to complete a little bit more.

Beaches in Devon and Cornwall are free to walk along and a great activity for children is crabbing and exploring the rock pools. Try somewhere like Godrevy for pools with small fish, crabs and shells. One summer my parents kept us amused for hours by running a competition to see who could find the most varieties of seaweed and shells.

At Tehidy Country Park near Camborne there are 104 hectares of trails set in the grounds of the former Tehidy Mansion which are perfect for walking or having a picnic. It really is true that some of the best things in life are free.


  1. Paul says:

    These are some great ideas for keeping the costs down on holiday. You forget about the extras and end up spending a fortune as they all add up. Would definitely recommend the Saltfest Festival though if you are there in August.

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