If you’re looking for the best things to do in Truro, Cornwall’s only Cathedral city, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been visiting Cornwall for over 30 years and will highlight the best places to visit in Truro and the surrounding areas.
Truro is Cornwall’s county town and the only city in the region. It’s not a large city like London and has a provincial feel with a population of just 21,000 people. That being said there are plenty of things to do around Truro from shopping and restaurants to museums, stately homes, gardens and nature trails.
The city is pretty centrally located so getting to some of Cornwall’s other top attractions and seaside resorts, beaches and villages are easy with good public transport links around the county. SO, without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the best Truro tourist attractions.
15 Best Things To Do in Truro, Cornwall
Below you’ll find a good mix of things to do in Truro from brewery and cider tours to historic buildings, tranquil gardens and outdoor activities. The city is packed with fun and interesting things to do, and here you’ll find the top picks.
1. Take a Walking Tour of the City
One of the best things to do in Truro for first-time visitors is to take a walking tour to acquaint yourself with the town and learn a little about its history. You’ll get to see all the top places to visit in Truro and be shown around by a local.
Visit Truro run three 90-minute tours which each cost £7.50. Monday at 10:00am is the History of Truro tour. Wednesdays at 11:00 is the Big History Little City tour and on Fridays at 10:00am is the Characters of Truro sightseeing tour.
Tours start from the Visitor Information Center on Boscawen Street in central Truro. Tickets can be purchased at the visitor center before the tour starts (you can also pick up a free city map here).
2. Visit the Cathedral
One of the best free things to do in Truro is to visit the beautiful gothic revival Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, otherwise known as Truro Cathedral. This is the only cathedral in Truro and it’s a relative latecomer being built between 1890 and 1910.
The cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday 11:30am to 4:00pm. There is a gift shop and restaurant on site serving light lunches, tea and cakes. The restaurant is from open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 2:30pm.
Truro Cathedral is one of the best things to see in Truro Cornwall and is one of the city’s top attractions for its interesting architecture.
3. Go on a Cornish Pasty-Making Course
One of Cornwall’s most famous foods is the delightful Cornish pasty; a pastry filled with meat (usually beef), potatoes and vegetables. Traditional pasties have a “handle” of extra pastry which meant Cornwall’tin s miners could hold onto this part without getting dirt on the rest of their meal.
This masterclass in pasty-making takes place at a cooking school in the picturesque village of Philleigh less than 10 miles from Truro. You’ll get to make your own pasty, and while it’s cooking enjoy another Cornish treat, a creak tea with freshly baked scones (and Cornish clotted cream of course).
At the end of the course, you’ll get to take home your pasty to enjoy for dinner or lunch the next day. The session lasts 2.5 hours and will have you learning a new skill while having lots of fun.
4. Have a Pint at Skinner’s Brewery Taphouse
The Old Ale House is the home of Skinner’s Brewery taproom and one of the best things to do in Truro at night for beer lovers. With a huge selection of craft beers and guest ales on tap, you can order a pint of try the 1/3 pint flights with a selection of 5 different beers.
The Ale House holds regular tasting events, workshops and tutorials, so be sure to check the website and see what’s going on during your visit. Open Monday to Thursday 11:00am to 11:30pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 12:00am and Sunday 12:00pm to 10:00pm.
5. Visit Healey’s Cyder Farm
If like me you’re more of a cider drinker then a trip to Healey’s Cyder Farm makes for a great Truro day out. Healey’s is the home of Cornish cider (or cyder as they call it) and also the maker of England’s oldest whiskey.
A visit to the farm is a great day out where you can embark on a tasting of over 60 different ciders, juices, wines, whiskeys and more. Healey’s also makes a mean cream tea so even if you don’t drink, you can enjoy some of Cornwall’s culinary delights.
Day tickets cost £16.00 for adults and £8.00 for children and you can save a massive 20% by booking online. Open every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm.
6. Visit the Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum bills itself as the “UK’s Greatest Museum for Cornish Art and Culture” and is home to a series of exhibitions from the Bronze Age to the present day. It is home to a collection of minerals relating to Cornwall’s mining past.
The museum houses various exhibitions throughout the year and is a great place to learn about the history, people and culture of Cornwall. This is the only place in Cornwall where you can see an Egyptian mummy, and they have items loaned from other museums around the country including the British Museum.
Tickets cost £7.50 and the museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. This is one of the top Truro attractions and a great option if it’s raining.
7. Walk Around Victoria Gardens
The Victoria Gardens are a real hidden gem in Truro and date back to 1893. Escape the noise of the city and get lost amongst the trees and exotic plants that line this pleasant parkland. In summer there are weekly music performances at the bandstand every Sunday.
There are a series of water features, ponds and streams. From here you can see the viaduct of the Western Mainline which was originally built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1849 (though it was later replaced in 1904).
The gardens are open daily from 8:00am to dusk and are free to enter (you can even bring your dog too). A car park and toilets are on-site, and it’s a great place for a picnic.
8. Player Ready Virtual Reality and Racing
If you’re looking for an “out of this world” experience then head to Player Ready for some virtual reality gaming. From racing simulators to zombie hordes and an escape room, Payer Ready bills itself as the best and biggest VR amusement in Cornwall.
Open Monday to Friday from 2:00pm to 7:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 7:00pm. The VR Experience costs £5.00 for ten minutes or £20.00 per hour. All ages and abilities are welcome. This is one of the best activities in Truro for all the family.
9. Go to Loe Beach
Loe beach is the closest beach to Truro at just under 6 miles away and less than 15 minutes by car. It’s a shingle/pebble beach but good for paddling and kayaking and there is a sectioned-off area for swimming. There are lots of rock pools to explore so it’s a great place to take the kids.
There is a training center and hire shop offering kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing lessons and equipment hire.
Kayak and paddle board hire starts at £15.00 per hour and lessons start from £35.00 for a two-hour session. I love kayaking in Cornwall and highly recommend getting out on the water.
10. See Boscawen Park
Beautiful Boscowan Park is a riverside park and cricket ground in Truro with large open parkland, a children’s adventure playground as well as tennis courts and a football pitch.
This is a pleasant place to walk along the river and there is a large duck pond, woodland and an on-site cafe for refreshments. The tennis courts can be booked online and cost £7.00 per hour.
Boscowan Park is one of the top Truro visitor attractions and is open 24 hours 365 days a year. Dogs are welcome on leads.
11. Learn to Paddle Board
This 90-minute paddle boarding class will teach you how to use a stand-up paddle board (SUP). You’ll get to know all the proper techniques to successfully paddle around the scenic St Austell Bay a 40 minute drive from Truro.
Get to grips with your board in a sheltered cove as you try out a new skill and even learn some “SUP yoga”. Paddle boarding is great fun and this is one of the best areas to give it a try with a trained instructor.
12. Go on a Kayaking Seafari
Sea kayaking is one of my favourite things to do in Cornwall thanks to its beautiful, rugged coastline. This two-hour “seafari” and kayaking session will have you exploring the beautiful south coast of Cornwall around Fowey 22 miles northeast of Truro.
After a short safety briefing, you’ll get to paddle out into the Fowey Estuary and explore mile upon mile of picturesque coastline. All safety gear is provided and those of all abilities are welcome as training is given.
13. Take a Trip to Falmouth
Falmouth is Cornall’s lively university town and home to some top attractions such as the National Maritime Museum and Pendennis Castle. It’s also a lively town with great nightlife, charming harbour and sheltered beaches.
The town is famous for its deepwater harbour, the third deepest in the world. It’s a short drive to Falmouth or a 40-minute bus ride on the U1 service so getting there is a piece of cake.
You can spend an afternoon in the town and still be back in Truro in time for dinner (though I recommend checking out the Boathouse Pub and Restaurant for its excellent pub menu and fresh fish dishes).
14. Go Surfing at Perranporth
Perranporth is a great surfing beach on the north coast less than 10 miles from Truro. With a large stretch of golden sands perfect for swimming, surfing and sunbathing, Perranprth makes a great day trip. The village is packed with some great pubs and restaurants such as the Perranporth Inn.
There are lots of surf shops close to the beach where you can hire surfboards, body boards and wetsuits (because let’s face it, the UK isn’t famed for its warm waters). Perranporth is a charming Cornish settlement and one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in the area.
15. Visit the Eden Project
The Eden Project is a large tropical garden inside specialist biodomes 18 miles from Truro. This is one of the country’s top attractions and one of the best things to do near Truro Cornwall. Walk around different zones such as the rainforest or Mediterranean and see the country’s largest collection of tropical plants.
You can walk across the jungle canopy or even have a go on the zipline for a real adrenalin rush. The Eden Project is one of my favorite things to do in Cornwall and should be on the bucket list of every nature lover.
Tickets must be booked online and cost £32.50 for adults and £11.00 for children. The Eden Project is open daily from 9:15am to 6:00pm.
Quick Travel Itineraries For Truro
If you’re not sure where to start with places to visit around Truro, check out the below itineraries. Whether you plan to stay for one day or one week, below you’ll find how best to spend your time.
1 Day in Truro Itinerary
Start off with a walking tour of Truro to get orientated. Visit the Cathedral before heading to Bread and Butter Truro for lunch. In the afternoon visit the Royal Cornwall Museum, Victoria gardens and then finish up in the Rising Sun Pub for an excellent seafood dinner.
2-3 Days in Truro Itinerary
Follow the itinerary for day one and add a visit to either Skinner’s Brewery or Healey’s Cyder Farm depending on your preferences. If visiting Healey’s then you can stop off at the charming Penrose Kitchen for dinner on your way back into Truro.
On a third day head to either Loe or Perranporth beaches for a day at the seaside before returning to Truro for a meal at the Cornish Vegan.
1 Week in Truro Itinerary
If you have one week in Truro you should spend time exploring the Cornish coastline and getting out on the water. Follow the above itinerary for three days and then spend a day or two surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding.
Have a go at the Cornish pasty making course to get a real taste of Cornwall and enjoy a decadent cream tea with lots of Cornish clotted cream. Be sure to wander around Boscowan Park and along the river, which is one of the most pleasant parts of the city.
Visit the nearby towns of Falmouth and Penzance and head up to the Eden Project to explore the rainforest and tropical zones in the large biodomes before returning to Truro. Having a car is best for exploring some of the smaller villages, however, Truro has good bus links to the major towns and attractions.
Where to Stay in Truro
These are a few of the best neighbourhoods in Truro for tourists.
City Center – Best for First-Time Visitors
The city center is a great place to stay for first-time visitors with everything you need right on the doorstep. This one-bedroom apartment is centrally located a few minute’s walk from the shops, bars and restaurants and comes with a double bedroom with an en-suite shower, fully equipped kitchen and courtyard.
Trelander – Best for Families
Trelander is a quiet neighborhood to the east of the city center but still within walking distance of all the attractions, shops and restaurants. This brand-new two-bedroom apartment sleeps up to five so is perfect for families. There are two double bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and balcony.
Kenwyn – Best for Couples
This suburb is just a ten-minute walk from the city center and all the amenities, shops and restaurants. The Lodge is a cozy home that sleeps two with a double bedroom, modern bathroom, fully fitted kitchen, living area and outside courtyard.
Best Restaurants in Truro
Don’t miss these great places to eat in Truro.
The Penrose Kitchen sits overlooking a water garden on the outskirts of Truro and is the perfect place for a romantic meal at excellent prices. This homely restaurant has outside seating for the warmer months and a log burner for winter. Come here for fresh, local produce with great fish and vegetarian options.
The Cornish Vegan
If you’re looking for something a little different, but still with plenty of class, then you can’t go wrong with the Cornish Vegan. Their huge menu has a vegan take on many popular dishes and cuisines from Aisa to Mexican and everything in between. Curries, burgers, hot dogs and nachos are just some of the dishes on offer.
The Rising Sun Pub
The Rising Sun is a homely gastropub specialising in freshly caught seafood in relaxed surroundings. From pan-fried catch of the day to scampi, scallops and sole, this is a great place to try some Cornish seafood. The menu also includes salasd, steaks and pasta dishes.
Things To Do in Truro: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Truro.
Truro is known for its large gothic cathedral and as the only city in Cornwall. It offers some of the best shopping in the county and lots of great pubs and restaurants, as well as being in a great location for exploring both the north and south coasts of Cornwall.
If you wan to take advantage of Cornwall’s beaches and stunning nature, then summer is the best time to visit (June to August).
Truro is definitely worth visiting for its historic center and many great visitor attractions such as the cathedral, Victoria Gardens and the breweries and nearby cider farm.
There are plenty of places to visit in Truro on a rainy day from the virtual reality gaming zone at Player Ready to the Royal Cornwall Museum and of course shops, pubs and restaurants.
Truro and Falmouth are both pleasant southern Cornish settlements and one is not any nicer than the other. Both are worthy of a visit and have lots of great visitor attractions.
Yes, Truro’s Lemon Street Market is a large shopping centre in the heart of the city with a large selection of high street and independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
Now you know what to do in Truro, the county town of Cornwall. From exploring the city and cathedral to a Cornish pasty cooking class and getting out on the water, Truro makes a great base for your Cornwall trip.
With plenty of great pubs and restaurants and a central location, the city is a must-visit for anyone exploring England’s charming west country. Visiting Truro is not like visiting the larger cities of England such as London, Liverpool or Manchester as it is a small settlement with a laid-back feel.