Where to stay in Cornwall without a car: 7 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, we will visit Cornwall and help you find the best places to stay in Cornwall without a car

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Cornwall without a car, along with a helpful map and some of the best hotels in Cornwall for all budgets.

Cornwall is a county located in the southwestern part of the United Kingdom and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the English Channel to the south. It is known for its stunning coastline, picturesque landscapes, and rugged cliffs. I

Cornwall is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors to come to enjoy the beaches, coastal walks, and various attractions, including the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and the historic Tintagel Castle, associated with the legend of King Arthur.

While having a car can provide more flexibility and convenience, it is possible to get around Cornwall without a car. Some ways to get around Cornwall without a car include trains, buses, taxis, biking, walking, ferries, and organized tours.

Cornwall is served by a train network, with mainline services running from London Paddington to St Austell, Truro, Penzance, and Newquay. There are also local train services connecting various towns and villages within Cornwall.  

There is an extensive bus network in Cornwall that can take you to many destinations. You can rent bicycles or bring your own if you’re an avid cyclist. Some popular cycling routes include the Camel Trail and the Mineral Tramways.

Many parts of Cornwall, especially along the coast, are accessible on foot. There are several long-distance walking trails, such as the South West Coast Path, that offer stunning views and lead to various attractions.

If you want to explore the coastline and islands, ferries operate to destinations like the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth, and St. Mawes.

Where to stay in Cornwall without a car?

The best areas to stay in Cornwall without a car are Penzance, Newquay, Falmouth, St Austell, Bodmin, St. Ives, Truro. These towns are easily reachable by trains and they also offer easy access to attractions, beaches, and amenities on foot, by bus, or taxi.

Penzance is a great option for public transportation, as it has a train station and good bus connections. It’s also a coastal town with easy access to attractions like St. Michael’s Mount and the Minack Theatre.

Newquay is a popular tourist destination with beautiful beaches and good bus connections. The town center is walkable, and you can explore the coast and its attractions like the Blue Reef Aquarium without a car.

Falmouth has a train station, making it accessible without a car. The town offers scenic waterfront areas, a variety of restaurants, and interesting museums. Ferries can take you to places like St. Mawes.

St Austell has a train station and bus services, and it’s close to the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. It’s a good central location for exploring the area.

Bodmin is not as touristy as some of the other towns, but it has a train station. It’s a quieter option if you’re looking for a more peaceful retreat.

St. Ives is a picturesque seaside town with great public transportation options, including a train station. The town itself is very walkable, and there are stunning beaches, galleries, and the Tate St. Ives to explore.

Truro is the administrative center of Cornwall and has a train station and good bus services. It’s a good base for exploring the surrounding areas and is known for its cathedral and shopping.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Cornwall for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Cornwall without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Cornwall without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Cornwall, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Cornwall have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Cornwall without a car:

1. Penzance

Penzance is a lovely choice for visitors who prefer to explore Cornwall without a car. It is the westernmost major town in Cornwall and is known for its scenic coastal location on the southern coast of the Penwith Peninsula. 

Penzance is well-connected by road and rail. The Penzance railway station is the terminus of the Cornish Main Line, providing rail links to London and other major cities. The A30 road also connects Penzance to the rest of Cornwall.

Penzance is situated on the shores of Mount’s Bay, which is known for its stunning views and sandy beaches. The town is surrounded by rugged cliffs, and St. Michael’s Mount, a small tidal island with a castle, is a prominent feature in the bay.

Penzance has a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The town is home to theaters, galleries, and hosts events and festivals, such as the Golowan Festival, which celebrates the town’s history and culture.

Located just a few miles from Penzance, Land’s End is one of the most famous landmarks in Cornwall. It is the westernmost point of mainland England and offers spectacular coastal views.

The promenade along the seafront provides scenic views of Mount’s Bay and is a pleasant place for leisurely walks.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in Penzance without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Carnson House, 4-star hotel located right in the center of Penzance, within walking distance from the harbor and right in front of Penzance Railway Station. Also easy access to Eastern Green Beach, Wharfside Shopping Center, and Penzance Ferry Terminal.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Penzance, 4-star accommodation located within walking distance from bus stops, Scilly Ferry, Penzance Railway Station, and Long Rock Beach. You can choose rooms across St Michael’s Mount.
  • Mid-range ($$): Artist Residence Cornwall, 4-star accommodation located on Chapel Street, within walking distance from Penzance’s historic seafront,  as well as numeris restaurants and galleries. Also close to Penzance Rail Station and Wharfside Shopping Centre.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Dock Inn, great beachfront accommodation with Exceptional breakfast. It is close to the Scillonian ferry terminal and within 10 mins from the bus and train station.

2. Newquay

Newquay is a popular coastal town in Cornwall and can be an enjoyable destination for visitors who don’t have access to a car. Newquay is easily accessible by bus from Padstow or by train from Par.

Newquay is known for its beautiful beaches, including Fistral Beach, Towan Beach, and Watergate Bay. These are all easily accessible on foot.

The town is a renowned surfing destination, and you can take lessons or simply enjoy watching the surfers ride the waves.

The South West Coast Path offers stunning coastal walks, and you can explore some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on foot.

Located within the town, the Newquay Zoo is a great family-friendly attraction.

Newquay offers a range of dining options, including seafood, international cuisine, and traditional Cornish pasties.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in Newquay without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The White House Hotel, 5-star boutique hotel located within easy walking distance from Town Beach, Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium, as well as numerous bars, shops and restaurants.
  • Mid-range ($$): Tolcarne Beach Apartments, 4-star beachfront accommodation, located only a few mins walk from Newquay town center, and the train station. You can reach the apartment via steps. There is also free parking for those who drive.
  • Budget ($): OYO Minerva Guesthouse, popular 3-star guest house, located within easy walk from beaches, Blue Reef Aquarium, and Newquay Activity Center. 3 mins away from the train station.

3. Falmouth

Falmouth is an excellent area for visitors who want to explore Cornwall without a car. Falmouth has a train station, providing a convenient way to reach the town by rail. The station is located near the town center.

Falmouth’s harbor is a hub for ferries and boat trips, offering an enjoyable way to visit destinations like St. Mawes, Truro, and the Helford River. 

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is a popular attraction in Falmouth, showcasing the town’s rich maritime history. Art enthusiasts can visit Falmouth Art Gallery, which houses a diverse collection of works.

You can explore the historic Pendennis Castle, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Falmouth is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, and Gyllyngvase Beach is one of the most popular. The town has a lively town center with shops, restaurants, and cafes serving a range of cuisines.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in Falmouth without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): The Royal Duchy Hotel, 4-star hotel located on Cliff Road, Falmouth, easy access to the beaches and the town center, 5 mins walk from the train station. Featuring Fabulous breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Lerryn, great family-run hotel a short walk from Castle Beach and 10 mins walk from Falmouth town center. Also easy access is the Falmouth Town rail station and the Pendennis Castle.
  • Budget ($): Seaview Inn, 3-star accommodation, located in a central location with the views of the harbor. Only a short walk from the lively heart of Falmouth.

4. St Austell

St Austell is a town in Cornwall that can be a convenient and pleasant place to stay for visitors who prefer not to use a car. Staying in St Austell provides you with easy access to the famous Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

St Austell has a train station that provides access to the town via rail. The station is well-connected to other towns and cities in Cornwall, making it a good starting point for exploring the region.

St Austell is best known for its proximity to the Eden Project, a world-famous ecological attraction featuring tropical and Mediterranean biomes. The Eden Project is easily accessible by bus or taxi.

Another horticultural gem, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, is not far from St Austell and can be reached by bus or taxi.

Charlestown, a nearby historic harbor village, is known for its tall ships and has been used as a filming location for several popular TV series and films.

The South West Coast Path offers scenic coastal walks, and you can explore parts of it near St Austell.

St Austell has a selection of accommodations, including hotels, inns, guesthouses, and holiday cottages. Many of these options are within walking distance of the train station and town center.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in St Austell without a car:

  • Budget ($): White Hart Hotel, 3-star hotel located in the center of St. Austell, 5 mins walk from train/bus station and it offers free private parking for those who drive. Also close to the St Austell Brewery, and easy access by bus to the Eden Project, Heligan Gardens and Mevagissey.
  • Budget ($): Ivy House Cornwall B&B, this bed and breakfast offers free private parking, a garden and sun terrace. 5 minutes walking from the station. Convenient location to explore the nearby attractions.
  • Budget ($): Bankside Bed & Breakfast, 3-star hotel located on Bodmin Road, St Austell, close to Wheal Martyn Clay Museum, the train and bus station. It offers family rooms and free parking.  Easy access to Clay Trail  for walking and biking.
  • Mid-range ($$): Rashleigh Arms, 4-star hotel located near the seafront, in the fishing village of Charlestown. It has free parking, and a short drive from St Austell town center, St Austell Brewery, and Eden Project.

5. Bodmin

Bodmin is a quieter and less touristy option in Cornwall, making it suitable for those who prefer a more peaceful retreat.

Bodmin Parkway is the nearest train station, offering a link to the town of Bodmin. It’s the main rail gateway to the area, and you can then take local buses or taxis to reach the town itself.

You can explore the historic Bodmin Jail, which offers a glimpse into Cornwall’s penal history.

Bodmin is on the edge of Bodmin Moor, a rugged and beautiful landscape that’s great for hiking and nature walks. While you can access some areas by bus, exploring Bodmin Moor may be more challenging without a car.

Lanhydrock House, a National Trust property, is not far from Bodmin and can be reached by bus or taxi. It’s an impressive Victorian mansion with beautiful gardens.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in Bodmin without a car:

  • Budget ($): Boleyn house, located in a quiet location, only a few minutes’ walk from the town center. Popular base for Couples.
  • Budget ($): Westberry Hotel, 3-star accommodation, in the town center, although not near the train station, offers family rooms, very good breakfast, and Free parking.
  • Mid-range ($$): Roscrea Bed & Breakfast, 4-star restored Georgian accommodation, located within a short distance from Lanhydrock House and Eden Project. It has Exceptional breakfast and free parking for those who drive. Easy access to the bus stop and town hall.

6. St. Ives

St. Ives is a picturesque seaside town in Cornwall, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant arts scene, and charming atmosphere. It’s a fantastic destination for those who prefer to explore without a car. 

St. Ives has a train station, which provides direct access to the town by rail. The station is located a short walk from the town center. 

St. Ives is renowned for its beautiful beaches, including Porthmeor Beach, Porthminster Beach, and the Harbour Beach. These are all within walking distance of the town center.

The Tate St. Ives is an art gallery that features both local and international contemporary art. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden showcases the works of sculptor Barbara Hepworth and is set in a beautiful garden. You can also learn about the town’s history and culture at St. Ives Museum.

The South West Coast Path runs through St. Ives, offering breathtaking coastal walks. You can take boat trips from the harbor to explore the coastline, visit seals, or go fishing.

St. Ives has a thriving restaurant and cafe scene, with a focus on fresh seafood and local produce.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in St. Ives without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Harbour Hotel St Ives, 4-star hotel, offering views of the Porthminster Beach and Godrevy Lighthouse, 5-minute walk from St Ives center and close to the train station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Pedn-Olva, great beachfront accommodation located right on Porthminster Beach, offering views of Celtic Sea and St Ives Bay. It has an outdoor swimming pool and spacious terrace. 15 mins walk from Tate St Ives.
  • Budget ($): The Western, popular hotel located on Gabriel Street, St Ives. It has a traditional Cornish pub with a beer garden. 10 mins walk from St Ives Railway Station and easy access to the Penwith Heritage Coast. 

7. Truro

Truro is the administrative and cultural center of Cornwall and is well-suited for visitors who don’t have a car.  Truro boasts a central train station, providing access to the town via rail. 

The impressive Truro Cathedral is a must-visit landmark. You can explore its stunning architecture and the peaceful grounds.

Truro is known for its excellent shopping opportunities. You can explore boutique shops, markets, and high-street retailers in the town center.

You can explore the history, culture, and art of Cornwall at the Royal Cornwall Museum. Truro is also home to theaters and galleries that host a variety of cultural events and performances.

Lemon Street is a picturesque and historic area of the town known for its Georgian architecture, art galleries, and boutiques.

Best places to stay in Cornwall in Truro without a car:


In conclusion, Penzance, Newquay, Falmouth, St Austell, Bodmin, St. Ives, and Truro are the best places to stay in Cornwall without a car. These towns have their own train stations, making it easily reachable by public transportation. Once in each town, you can easily explore on foot and by using local taxis.

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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