Whether you want to go on a Cornish Piskie hunt in Tintagel or adopt a lobster in Padstow, there are lots of extraordinary things to do, see and try in Cornwall. Here are our editor’s top 10 picks of the best days out in Cornwall.

1. Swim with horses in Mounts Bay

On the beach at Long Rock near Marazion with the iconic St Michael’s Mount behind you, you can experience a 2-3 hour ‘swimming with horses’ session where you can ride a horse without fear of falling off. Specially trained to swim in the bay, you can enjoy riding these beautiful animals and try everything from circus-style antics to standing on horseback with the sea as your safety net. Rides can be one-to-one, pairs or small groups of up to 4 maximum.
How to book: The cost is £150 per horse per person. (07460 865167, cornwallswimminghorses.co.uk).

2. Join a piskie hunt in Tintagel

Follow a nature trail with a bug’s palace, bird hide, and a vast range of wildlife and plants and see if you can spot a piskie – Cornish pixie – at St Nectan’s Glen (below). Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, appointed a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its rare specimens of plants, and considered to be one of the UK’s most spiritual sites, its magical waterfall (right) on the banks of the River Trevillet is said to be inhabited by piskies. Take a circular walk past three waterfalls and end up at Tree of Life Café for some cake by the woodburning stove.
How to book: Prices from £6.45 (01840 779538, st-nectansglen.co.uk).

3. Learn to make a Cornish pasty in Falmouth
Learn traditional Cornish pasty-making and master the art of ‘crimping’ with pasty zen-master Charlie Choak of Falmouth shop Choaks Pasties. In a one-hour lunch-time session, Charlie will teach you his own recipe – his bakery was the first in the area to have an open window so the public can see staff making pasties.
How to book: £10pp and you get to eat your pasty! You even receive your very own certificate too (01326 312426, choakspasties.co.uk/pasty-school).

4. Be inspired by local artists in Penzance

Ceramicist Catherine Lucktaylor creates contemporary pieces inspired by her love of the natural wildness of Cornwall. Combining her African ancestry and her interest in Raku, an ancient Japanese technique (it means ‘enjoyment’ and was originally used as part of traditional tea ceremonies), she sells her work and runs courses from her large rural studio in Penzance. In 2022, she will be unveiling her Ancestral Wisdom Project, healing arts events and retreats.
How to book: lucktaylorceramics.co.uk

5. Ride along the beach in Perranporth 

Only eight miles from Newquay, Reen Manor Riding Stables offers one or two-hour hacks, ideal for beginners who want to take in the spectacular scenery of the famous three-mile sands of Perranporth beach on the North Cornish coast. For the more adventurous, try the half-day pub ride, venturing over the sand dunes and stopping off for Cornish food and ales. There are 20 horses at the stables to choose from to suit all abilities.
How to book: Beach ride from £70pp (01872 57064, reenmanorstables.com).

If you’re searching for fun for the whole family, and you’re not wanting to leave behind your beloved pooch, try out these dog-friendly hotels in Cornwall.

6. Be shellfish in Padstow 

The lobster is the most valuable catch in the UK, worth £30m each year. Coastal communities rely on the industry to create jobs but the industry is not currently sustainable. At the award-winning National Lobster Hatchery (above), you can find out what can be done, meet baby lobsters and learn about the pioneering marine conservation work undertaken to enhance the wild lobster population. Smart, interactive displays and ‘adopt a lobster’ initiatives make this a fun as well as educational day out for the 40,000 visitors it attracts every year.
How to book: From £7.50pp (01841 533877, nationallobsterhatchery.co.uk).

7. See marine life in Penzance

Get close to grey seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises on this environmentally responsible sea safari (left) on a 10m catamaran. With 12 passengers max and marine biologists as guides, this award-winning outfit collects scientific data on every trip and doesn’t disturb the animals thanks to a low-impact vessel with quiet engines and sail power.
How to book: Adults, from £28 per trip, £20 for under-16s, suitable for ages 4 and over only (07749 277110, marinediscovery.co.uk).

8. Go zen near Newquay

Built as a meditative outdoor space to inspire calm and peace, The Japanese Garden (left & right) is set in an acre of gentle winding paths bordered by maples, ornamental grasses and bamboo. With colourful pools of Koi carp and waterfalls, you are encouraged to reflect as you explore the Eastern world of horticulture. Round off your visit at the traditional Cha-Seki (teahouse) with its beautiful display of Bonsai trees and be inspired to create your own Zen garden from its stock of plant species and succulents.
How to book: £5 for adults (01637 860116, japanesegarden.co.uk).

If you’re searching for a staycation hotspot for your Cornish break, try these top Cornwall hotels.

9. Take a dip in a sea pool 
Built in the golden age of the lido in the 1930s, Bude Sea Pool, nestled under the curve of the cliffs on Cornwall’s north coast, offers safe swimming for locals and visitors alike. Measuring 91m long by 45m wide, the pool provides year-round shelter from Atlantic Ocean waves. Part-natural, part-man-made, with its iconic beach huts and surrounding sun terraces, this is a unique place to experience safe sea swimming. But beware – you just might find yourself sharing a swim with one of the shoals of fish that sometimes get washed in.
How to book: Access to Bude Sea Pool is unrestricted and is free of charge (budeseapool.org).

10. Shuck an oyster on the Camel Estuary

Founder of London Oyster Week and a leading expert in oysters, Katy Davidson is known internationally as The Oyster Lady and has appeared on everything from national newspapers to BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen to The Food Programme on Radio 4. Join her on Porthilly Beach opposite the famous harbour of Padstow, where you’ll learn how to ‘shuck’ (remove the oyster from the shell), hear all about oyster culture and history, and get to taste some raw and cooked oysters on a barbecue on the edge of the Camel Estuary that have come direct from local oyster farmers.
How to book: Prices from £65pp (theoysterlady.co.uk or airbnb.co.uk/experiences/450261)

Planning a holiday in Cornwall? Check out the 10 best luxury holiday homes in Cornwall or top Cornwall hotels by the sea. Pick up the latest copy of coast magazine for more holiday inspiration