Truro is set on the southern fringes of Cornwall’s AONB. It boasts a magnificent neo-gothic Victorian cathedral which overlooks medieval terraced streets and elegant Georgian townhouses.
As well as being an important administrative centre, Truro is also a popular touring and holiday location.
If you’re visiting the area and want the lowdown on some off the best places in Truro to visit, then this guide is for you.
Here are 12 top attractions and things to do in Truro. Let’s being with the majestic cathedral.
Table of Contents
1. Experience Truro Cathedral
Number 1 on our list of top Truro attractions just had to be this wonderful building.
In comparison to other cathedrals in the UK, Truro Cathedral is relatively new having only been completed in 1910. It is one of only three cathedrals in the UK with three spires which tower over the town.
This iconic structure is perhaps the most important of all Truro attractions and was built in the Gothic Revival style by famed religious architect John Loughborough Pearson.
Attracting more than 200,000 visitors a year, highlights include a 14th century carved Pieta, ornately-decorated stained circular windows and an intricately carved high alter.
The pipe organ, installed in 1887, is also a major attraction. Visitor facilities include a highly-rated restaurant and a gift shop. Admission to the cathedral is free.
2. Immerse Yourself in the Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum is another top attraction that’s well worth visiting during your Truro adventure.
Located in the centre of Truro, it houses an intriguing permanent gallery called Hireth – a Cornish Landscape, which displays colourful works depicting local land and seascapes.
The museum also exhibits an extensive array of artefacts including geological specimens, dinosaur remains and fossils.
Those looking to learn more about Truro’s rich mining legacy should visit the website.
On it you’ll find an online exhibition called ‘Mining Memories’ that tells the story of an industry that was at one time so important to Truro’s survival.
The Courtney Library is another historical highlight, with its massive archive of historical documents, some of which date from the 12th century.
The vast collection includes more than 40,000 books, pamphlets, transcripts and manuscripts relating to Cornwall.
They offer a treasure-trove of information on a variety of topics including engineering, archaeology and meteorology.
If you’re looking for things to do in Truro, this fabulous museum comes highly recommended.
3. Visit Trewithen Garden and House
The Trewithen Estate is another top Truro visitor attraction that comprises an 18th century manor house with over 30 acres of woodland gardens.
About a twenty minute drive from Truro, the house boasts an opulently decorated interior designed by famous London architects, Thomas Edwards and Sir Robert Taylor.
The gardens are an absolute delight, especially in the spring and summer months, thanks to an assortment of rare trees, camellia shrubs and wildflowers. Sycamore Avenue is a major highlight, planted with 300 Cornish daffodils.
As testament to their beauty, the gardens were designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence in 2012 – one of only five in the UK to receive such an accolade.
Gravelled paths allow visitors to explore the extensive grounds which also include the longest lawn in Cornwall. The estate is open from March to June each year and includes a plant centre, gift shop and tea shed.
4. Relax in Victoria Gardens
Truro is known for its own green spaces as well – one of its most impressive is Victorian Gardens in the middle of town.
They were created in the 19th century to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and are populated with a rich variety of exotic trees and flowers.
Facilities include a children’s play area and band stand which hosts concerts throughout the spring and summer months.
If you’re looking to visit Truro, keep these lovely gardens in mind.
5. Sample the Delights of Healey’s Cornish Cider Farm
Those looking to sample the delights of Cornwall’s most delicious export will want to pay a visit to Healey’s Cornish Cider Farm.
Located in Penhallow, about a 15 minute drive from Truro, this family run manufacturer produces award-winning ciders, spirits, wines and juices.
Guided tours are operated on a daily basis taking visitors around the production facilities, distillery and orchards.
The tours also include a tractor ride and a full sampling session of the farm’s entire produce.
Further insights into the cider-making process, as well as Cornwall’s long history of cider production, are provided by an on-site museum.
There’s also a restaurant, tea rooms and a well-stocked gift shop.
6. See the Wonderful Archetecture
Among the many Truro attractions, its archetecture also deserves a mention, especially if you want to explore Truro properly.
The town’s history is wonderfully exhibited by the imposing cathedral as we’ve seen, but also by the many Georgian townhouses.
Truro’s town centre also offers vivid examples of the town’s Regency and Victorian heyday.
Notable examples include the Old Mansion House at Quay Street, as well as Princes House and Mansion House on Princes Street.
Lemon Street‘s handsome Georgian town-houses were cut from Bath stone and exude the kind of elegance that’s hard to find outside Somerset’s famous spa city.
Behind Lemon Street is the distinctive curved street of Walsingham Place, with its pretty little terraced properties.
Then you’ve got the charming medieval alleyways, which now featurean assortment of independent shops and boutique outlets.
7. Meet the Residents of Callestick Farm
Animal lovers, not to mention ice-cream enthusiasts, will enjoy Callestick Farm.
Nestled in a tranquil, peaceful valley a few miles from Truro, its home to a 300-strong herd of grass fed cows which provide the milk for a wide variety of tasty ice creams.
These can be sampled at an on-site tea room together with a selection of pastries, waffles and freshly-baked cakes.
The farm has been in operation since the 1950s and uses sustainable, traditional farming methods that help provide high quality milk while also being kind to the local environment. Youngsters also have access to a playground.
8. Have a Day Out at Trelissick Garden
Trelissick Garden is an enchanting and expansive outdoor space located near Truro.
Maintained by the National Trust, it covers approximately 375 acres, consisting of diverse garden landscapes and tranquil woodland walks.
The garden is fames for its many exotic plants, some of which were planted in the 19th and 20th centuries. Species include agnolias, camellias and rhododendrons.
Their careful arrangement means that they generate vibrant displays of colour the year round.
At the heart of Trelissick is the 18th-century house which overlooks the Fal Estuary. Adjacent to it is a lawn that gently slopes down towards the estuary, offering magnificent views.
Beyond the gardens, Trelissick also comprises of vast parkland and woodland areas with numerous footpaths, perfect for longer strolls or dog walks.
It’s not uncommon to spot wildlife including various species of birds, and occasionally, deer.
Visitors can also explore the art gallery, plant sales area and enjoy refreshments in the cafe.
The site also hosts special events throughout the year, such as garden tours, outdoor theatre performances, and Christmas light displays.
Trelissick provides an engaging experience for those who love nature, history, and the outdoors
9. Go to a Beach
There are plenty of excellent beaches near Truro which is unsurprising given Cornwall’s magnificent 300-mile coastline.
Here’s a quick run-down of the closest ones.
Perranporth Beach – 22 minute drive
This is one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches due to its broad expanse of sand dunes which offer plenty of opportunities to escape the masses. Popular with families and sun worshippers, the large surf also attracts water-sport enthusiasts.
Chapel Porth Beach – 30 minute drive
Also owned by the National Trust, Chapel Porth beach is situated on Cornwall’s north coast and is renowned for the wide expanse of golden sand. Low tide reveals a network of rock pools and caves which are ideal for exploring.
Portreath Beach – 30 minute drive
Another favourite among surfers thanks to its pronounced break. The fine, soft sands also make it the ideal destination for family groups. There are numerous facilities in and around the beach including an amusement arcade, restaurant and takeaway.
Porthtowan Beach – 31 minute drive
Backed by sand dunes and dramatic cliffs, this Blue Flag award-winning beach is one of Cornwall’s main surfing destinations. The play park at the top of the beach is also an attraction for families. At low tide, it’s possible to access the neighbouring Chapel Porth. The nearby coastal path which winds along the cliffs towards St Agnes offers some outstanding coastal vistas.
Carne Beach – 35 minute drive
Set on the picturesque Roseland peninsula, the National Trust owned Carne Beach is dog-friendly and well-suited to sunbathing and swimming.
Gyllyngvase Beach – 38 minute drive
As well as being a Blue Flag award winner, Gyllyngvase Beach is the most popular and largest beach in Falmouth. Thanks to its fine crescent of sand and top amenities, it is a particular favourite with families although water-sports enthusiasts flock here as well.
Maenporth Beach – 50 minute drive
With its gently sloping shelf and shallow waters, Meanporth Beach is a major pull for families with youngsters. There are also some beautiful views of the nearby Pendennis Castle and St Anthony Head. The low cliffs that fringe the beach provide some shelter from the coastal winds.
Gunwalloe Church Cove – 1 hour drive
Although slightly further afield, Gunwallow beach is a south-facing cove with a tiny church called St Wynwallow that overlooks the sand. This charming setting was used to film scenes for the hit TV series Poldark.
10. Go on a River Cruise
River cruises are perhaps the best way to explore the local area with Enterprise Boats the most well-established operator. Daily trips are run from Truro to the maritime port of Falmouth as well as Trelissick Gardens.
This is of course an AONB-designated region which means that you’ll be able to enjoy some truly stunning riverside settings as well as the charms of Truro’s quaint rival town. Tickets can be purchased from the company shop on Boscawen Street.
11. Visit Truro Farmers Market
Truro Farmers Market serves as a vibrant hub of local commerce and community.
This open-air market typically lights up the city’s atmosphere on Wednesdays and Saturdays, transforming the city centre into a colourful display of locally-grown produce, fresh food and handmade crafts.
Shoppers are presented with an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic meats sourced from local farms and the fresh catch from the nearby waters.
Dairy lovers will be delighted by the variety of locally produced cheeses, while the assortment of artisan breads and pastries, not to mention homemade jams, preserves and honey, provide a true taste of Cornwall’s culinary scene.
Beyond the culinary delights, Truro Farmers Market also serves as a stage for local artisans to showcase their talent.
Stroll around and you’ll likely find eye-catching handmade jewellery, soothing homemade soaps, creatively designed ceramics and unique textiles.
These handcrafted items not only reflect the creativity of the local artisans but also serve as perfect gifts or souvenirs to remember your visit by.
12. Make the Short Trip to the Blue Reef Aquarium
Situated in the coastal town of Newquay, just a short journey from Truro, the Blue Reef Aquarium presents an immersive journey into the hidden wonders of aquatic life.
This enchanting attraction invites visitors to traverse a series of fascinating exhibits showcasing the diverse ecosystems found beneath the waves, from Cornish coasts to tropical seas.
Upon entering the Blue Reef Aquarium, guests are greeted by a collection of captivating local marine species from Cornwall’s coastlines.
The tour progresses towards the more exotic realms, introducing a variety of colourful and intricate species from around the globe.
Stunning displays of coral reefs provide a vibrant backdrop for tropical fish of all shapes and sizes, while seahorses enchant with their unique grace and elegance.
One of the star attractions is the underwater tunnel, a transparent pathway that immerses visitors in the aquarium’s main ocean display.
As you walk through, you can witness an assortment of marine creatures, including majestic sharks and graceful rays, gliding above and around you, offering a unique 360-degree viewing experience.
Visit the official Truro tourist board website for further information.
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