Things to do in Truro

The Best Things to do in Truro

Truro is Cornwall’s only city and the most south-westerly city in England, with a population of around 20,000 people it’s rather a small city, and has fewer people here than in neighbouring Falmouth!    The city is actually part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it averages 1745 hours of sunshine a year – compare that to London with 1481 and you can see why the quality of life is great here!  There are heaps to do here, from excellent water sports, sailing and iconic gardens.  There’s also the stunning Truro Cathedral, the Royal Cornwall Museum, the Maritime Line Train, and the famous King Harry Ferry, and you’re on the doorstep of the St. Agnes Heritage Coast.  Welcome to the best things to do in Truro.


Where to stay in Truro

Truro has some lovely places to stay – and we’ve picked the best holiday cottages in Truro, the nicest hostels and the most lovely B&B’s in our guide on places to stay in Truro here – here are our top picks for Truro B&B and Truro Holiday Cottage.

Chy Bre Bed and Breakfast, Truro

Chy Bre is a small family-run Bed and Breakfast in Truro with plenty of beautiful sights to see in the area. The B&B is close to Truro train station, is easy to access on public transport and is just a 10 minute walk from Truro Cathedral.  The best of the en suite rooms has one double bed, a luxurious en suite bathroom, and unique artwork to provide you with a wonderful experience.  The rooms in this B&B feature a flat-screen TV, electric kettle, tea/coffee maker, and free WiFi. You will enjoy breakfast that is served at any time you like, so you can sleep until late morning if you want.

Book for your dream holiday at the Chy Bre Bed and Breakfast here.

  • Chy Bre B&B Address: Cusgarne Manor Sunny Corner, Truro, TR4 8SE, United Kingdom
  • Is there parking at Chy Bre B&B?  Yes, it’s free.
  • Is there a restaurant onsite at Chy Bre B&B?  – No, there are restaurants nearby.
  • Is there free Wi-Fi at Chy Bre B&B?  – Yes
  • Is breakfast available at Chy Bre B&B?  Yes

The Chy Bre Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. See more reviews here.

Kenwyn Villa Holiday Cottage, Truro

Kenwyn Villa is a modern dream holiday home to stay in Truro. It’s impeccably clean, beautifully finished, and luxurious. This gloriously contemporary cottage has a well-equipped kitchen with an electric oven and gas hob for cooking, a fridge/freezer, and a dishwasher. There is a washing machine and a tumble dryer in the utility room. The bathroom has a shower over the bath and WC right by, ideal to refresh you or relax you after spending a day on the beach. And there’s a lovely homely feel in the lounge and cosy up in front of the fire on one of the comfy sofas or armchairs as you watch your favourite film on the Smart TV. There’s more here.

The stunning design of this villa brings the outside in, and the entire wall window into the garden is absolutely glorious.  There is a beautifully landscaped garden, which is completely enclosed and provides garden furniture, barbecue facilities, and sun loungers for any time of the day. There’s free WiFi and plenty of parking available on-site, too.

Looking for a perfect spot for holiday with your family and friends, book your Truro holiday here.

The Best Things to do In Truro

Truro is a beautiful city that doesn’t feel big enough to be a city.  It’s full of granite buildings dating from the 1800s, a great performing arts arena, and the famous Royal Cornwall Museum.  Add that to the fact that you have heaps of natural beauty on your doorstep and you can see why so many people head here to live, work and play! 

If you need to rent a car in Cornwall, we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, what have you got to lose? Get a price for a rental car in Cornwall here.

Take a Walking Tour of Truro

Walking tours are a great way to understand more about a place and the Truro walking tours are no exception.  You’ll find three walking tours in Truro each week, each lasting for about 90 minutes and it costs £7.50 to join.  You’ll need to buy your tickets from the Boscawen Street Visitor Information Centre and that’s where the walking tours of Truro start too.

Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour of Truro

For those who prefer to take the city at their own pace, then local tour guide Penny Fincken has written a Truro self-guided walking tour.  It’s called “Footsteps around Truro” and you can buy copies of it for £2 from the Visitor Information Centre on Boscawen Street.  The guide walks you around the historic moments of Truro through the people who built the city.

Visit Truro Cathedral

Truro Cathedral was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and built by the Victorians over almost 30 years between 1880 and 1910 to a Gothic Revival design.    The cathedral is constructed of granite and limestone and is one of just three cathedrals in the UK that have three spires.  (the other two are Lichfield and Lincoln).  There are several key things to see at Truro Cathedral, all of which are pointed out if you join one of the free guided tours (Monday to Thursday at 11 am).  There are also mini-guide books sold at the main entrance or in the shop which provide more detail on the cathedral and these things to see.

Truro Cathedral Baptistry – dedicated to local miner’s son Henry Martyn who became a missionary, the windows here depict his life.  It was made by Antonio Bertolucci, an Italian craftsman, who travelled here from Lucca, Italy.  He later married a local, Eliza Ward and stayed here, becoming well known for his ice cream!

The Truro Cathedral Foundation Stones – quite unusually there are two foundation stones, laid by Prince Albert Edward, who later became King Edward VII.  Both stones were laid on 20 May 1880, the first can be seen from outside, at the back of the cathedral, in the North-East corner.  The second stone is on the south side of the Nave, noticeably different due to the grey colour of the stone.

Truro Cathedral Stained Glass Windows – at the time this was the largest stained glass project ever.  The windows were produced by Clayton and Bell, the leading company of the time, with three big themes – The Trinity, Biblical stories and the history of the English church.   There are three other themes alongside – Cornwall, baptism and St Mary’s Aisle.

The Finn Cross sits on a plinth made by Falmouth University students and is a bronze sculpture made by Michael Finn.  It’s just 18 inches high.

The Green Man can be found in many cathedrals in England.  The Green Man is a figure surrounded by foliage, sometimes with leaves spilling from his mouth.  Here at Truro, he is in the southern sanctuary screen of the High Altar Reredos carvings.

Visit the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro

The Royal Cornwall Museum has been in this building since 1919, although the building was previously the Truro Savings Bank and then the Henderson Mining School.  It was designed by Philip Sambell, a local architect who could neither hear nor speak.  The museum was founded in 1818 to promote excellence in science and art and to forward the world-leading industries that Cornwall was known for.  You’ll find a lot of mining memorabilia here.

It’s a great opportunity to learn about Cornish cultural life and the Museum has an excellent collection of artwork, ceramic and mineral assortment, souvenirs, science, as well as exhibitions on Greek, Roman, and Egyptian history.

The Royal Cornwall Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.  Adult tickets are £5 (and this includes an annual pass).  Under 18’s are free.

Gardens to Visit near Truro

Truro is a great place to base yourself to see a variety of things – and the gardens around here are lush!  There’s a lot more in our guide to the best gardens in Cornwall here, but for now, these are the best gardens to visit around Truro.

Wander through Victoria Gardens in the Centre of Truro

Victoria Gardens are a beautiful place to wander around through the shrubs, exotic trees, and charming flowers as you enjoy the calming view of the river Kenwyn.   The dazzling Victoria Gardens were designed to honour Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Before they were created, it was predated by a smaller Waterfall Gardens, which has been established in 1893.   You’ll still find the Waterfall Gardens, near St George’s Church.

The current viaduct was installed in 1904, having replaced the original which had been built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1859.  It continues to carry the London Paddington to Penzance trains.

Explore the Trelissick Gardens near Truro

Trelissick is simply lovely.  A simply stunning garden on an estate with fantastic sea views and beautiful forest paths. Trelissick is located on its own peninsula, with stunning views of the Fal estuary. Explore the winding trails through the garden, which lead to exotic species and colourful herbaceous borders. Trelissick provides forest walks through dappled sunshine and over open parks with views down the estuary to the town of Falmouth.  Trelissick is just 5 miles from Truro (and you can take the 493 bus from Truro’s Lemon Quay to get here).    Trelissick is managed by the National Trust, members get in for free, otherwise, Adult entry is £13. 

Tregothnan Garden

The name means “the house at the head of the valley”, and has been home to the Boscawen family since 1334.  The garden is perhaps most famous for being the pioneer of the UK’s first tea plantation.  Yes, that’s right, tea is grown right here in Cornwall!!  There is a stunning botanical garden here – with Manuka honey and wildflower honey produced here as well as the teas and herbal infusions.  There is a huge variety and diversity of trees and plants here, including many rare collections.  The garden is an official ‘safe site’ for keeping and maintaining endangered and rare trees from around the world, including some ‘Red Book’ endangered plants and trees that are larger than those that remain in the wild.  Private Tea Tours are by appointment only and the Tregothnan Garden Shop is open from 9 am until 5 pm Monday to Friday. 

Penrose Water Garden

The Penrose water gardens are located just 2.5 miles from central Truro within a woodland valley and were established 45 years ago.   At Penrose, the garden has unique water lilies, marginal plants, and aquatic plants that float beautifully on the water surface. All around the garden, there are comfortable seating benches to give you a relaxing view of the wildlife which includes moorhens, kingfishers, and ducks.  Penrose really is one of Truro’s best-kept secrets, they’ve been providing plants to garden centres for two decades and are now open to the public, to share the most than 60 ponds around the garden!  The gardens are open year-round from 10 am to 4 pm, but they may close in winter if there is too much water and flooding on the paths.  Penrose Gardens are free to enter.

Enys Gardens

Enys Gardens are beautiful gardens and woodlands located on the East of Penryn in Cornwall. They are believed to be the oldest gardens in Cornwall and were abandoned for more than 60 years.  The gardens here are natural and fit into the surrounding woodlands.  Come to Enys for Bluebell Week in early May, the grounds are particularly stunning then.  You’ll find mature trees, a fabulous “stumpery” and a maze of pathways to explore.

There are waterwheel ponds, a charming flower, the New Zealand garden, a stunning Broadwalk that will lead you to the thatched shelter, and the Summerhouse border that will enable you to view the neighbouring parkland. If you like thatches, then you’ll love our guide to Cornish Holiday cottages with thatched roofs.

Enys Gardens are open for the season, which runs from April 1st to 30th September, open on Sunday and Monday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. The garden is also open daily during the school holidays from 10.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m.   Admission is £8 for adults, children up to 17 are £2, family and season passes are also available.

Visit Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm

If you are looking for a unique family attraction, Healey’s Cyder Farm is a great option.  They planted their first trees in 1986 and are now the largest independent cyder maker in Cornwall and the first distillery for 300 years!  You can board a tractor to tour around the apple farm, experiment with jam making, visit the friendly farm animals and enjoy a delicious creamy ice cream or cream tea.   There are also Cydermaster experiences, gin tasting and there’s also an annual festival!

The farm is usually open every day from 9.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m and you can find out more about what’s on here, and book your experiences. 

Take the Maritime Line Train in Truro to Falmouth

The Maritime Line Train links the city of Truro with the harbour port of Falmouth.  There are six stations from beginning to end –Truro, Perranwell, Penryn, Penmere, Falmouth and Falmouth Docks.    It takes about 25 minutes to go from Truro to the end station of Falmouth Docks and an off-peak day return adult ticket from Truro to Falmouth Docks costs £5.10.   You can download the timetable for the Maritime Line Train here.  The first train leaves Truro at 6 am and runs around about every 30 minutes until 10:50 pm.  There are fewer services on Sundays. Once you’re there you’ll want to see some of the best things to do in Falmouth and they’re here.

Visit the Lemon Street Market, Truro

Truro’s Lemon Street Market is an indoor market area housing local and artisan shops in the heart of Truro.  So you don’t go hungry there are also a series of cafes serving fabulously fresh local produce.

Take the famous King Harry Ferry

The famous King Harry Ferry was established in 1888 and this 5-minute journey connects Truro, Feock and Falmouth with the Roseland Peninsular and St Mawes avoiding a 27-mile route!  The King Harry Ferry is a chain ferry, one of just 5 in England.  It runs 7 days a week and departs every 20 minutes, carrying more than 300,000 cars a year.  It costs £7 per car for a single ticket, or £10 return.  Foot passengers are free, but a donation to charity is expected. You can take your bicycle on here for just £2 one way. 

The ferry that operates this service is the 7th in service since 1888.    Where the name comes from is subject to some dispute.  Both of the most common thoughts as to why this crossing is called the King Harry Ferry are related to English kings.  The first relates to Henry VIII, who may have visited the area with one of his six wives and needed to cross the river Fal to visit the castle at St Mawes.  (You can read more about St Mawes Castle in our guide to the best castles in Cornwall.) The second suggestion comes from when the local Lord of the Manor dedicated a small chapel to King IV and his wife, Queen Anne.   The Chapel was known as the Chapel of King Henry and as time passed, the Cornish name of Cybellys, which means crossing or ferry boat was replaced by King Harry Passage and then became the King Harry Ferry crossing.

Walk a section of the South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is England’s longest way-marked long-distance path and while you may not want to tackle it in its 630-mile entirety, I’d recommend trying a short section of it during your visit to Truro.  Walking from Perranporth to St Agnes Head on the North Coast is a 6.5-mile section that visits many of the lovely coves and beaches of this area.   (read about the best beaches in North Cornwall here) Alternatively, the section on the Roseland Peninsular from the Ship and Castle Hotel to St Mawes and St Just in Roseland is a delightful walk of 4.6 miles.

Taste Cornish Beer at Skinners Brewery

Skinners Brewery was founded in 1992 and since then has become one of Cornwall’s most recognizable brands.  The Skinners Visitor Centre and Tasting Centre is in Newham by Truro’s riverside and is just a few minutes’ walk from Truro City centre.   It’s a fabulous location and Skinner’s has some great beers, like the iconic Betty Stogs.  Come on down and raise a pint! You can read more about Cornish food and drink in our guide here.

Explore the St Agnes Heritage Coast

The At Agnes Heritage coast runs from Goonvrea around St Agnes Head to Perranporth.   The high hill named St Agnes Beacon that looks out over the Atlantic is named from the old Cornish name for a pointed hill, “bryanick” and is now owned and managed by the National Trust.  This is a great area for hiking and there are several circular routes that you can follow.  It is particularly lovely in spring.    Head to Wheal Coates, more National Trust owned property where you’ll find photogenic and stunning old mine buildings.

Map of Things to do in Truro

map of things to do in truro cornwall

You can also see the Truro map of things to do here.

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Final Words on Things to do in Truro

It’s worth visiting Truro, for the simple reason that the entire city is within an Area of Oustanding Beauty, but there are so many more reasons to visit.  There’s excellent history here – that you’ll discover in the Truro walking tours, an incredible cathedral and some stunning gardens here.   There are some great transport options that you can use to explore the area – from the Maritime Line train to the King Harry Ferry.  Come on down to England’s most south-westerly city and see what else she has to offer!

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