The 6 best boat tours in Cornwall
You don’t need to go all the way to the Caribbean to enjoy white sandy beaches and crystal waters, as Cornwall can offer this in plentiful amounts! The beautiful county is the perfect location for a holiday with an array of activities to choose from on land and sea. Before you embark on your adventures in Cornwall you should read our guide to the best boat tours Cornwall has to offer. Take to the Cornish waters on one of these fantastic boats and marvel at the views of the South West’s beautiful coastline. Whether it’s a speedy ride or a relaxing boat tour, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
On the coast of Cornwall Falmouth is known for its deep natural harbour on the Fal Estuary. The natural beauty combined with the profound maritime heritage of the harbour brings in the crowds each summer. There’s a creative feel to Falmouth, with many art galleries, independent cafés and shops. The locals and tourists alike use the beaches and sea as a playground for an array of water sports including surfing, windsurfing and sailing.
The award-winning AK Wildlife Cruises sets sail from the Falmouth Marina all year round and offers passengers a chance to spot all the magnificent wildlife in Falmouth. We spoke to them about what makes their boat tour extra special: “With passionate naturalists on board every trip, our 4-hour trips are a wonderful way to see some of the wildlife around the spectacular coastline and offshore, with no two trips being the same. We also offer longer dedicated 7-hour pelagic cruises, giving our passengers the best possible chances of sighting a diversity of cetaceans, and pelagic seabirds.
“Maximum client participation is encouraged to get everyone on board involved and searching, and with the Lizard Peninsula providing fabulous protection, we never lose a day to the weather. We record all the wildlife we see and submit our cetacean sightings to the Sea Watch Foundation for analysis. Free Spirit is also available for corporate and private hire, whether it’s for the media, filming, photography, yachting events or any specialist excursions.”
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast or you’re looking to see something new, then this boat tour is perfect for you. AK Wildlife Cruises say: “Up to eight different species of cetaceans plus a whole host of wonderful bird life can be found in the rich and sheltered waters of Falmouth Bay, with humpback whales returning most years. The Manacles reef Marine Conservation Zone provides high quality, unique habitats for a huge variety of marine communities. Basking sharks, sunfish and seals are also seen on our trips as well as the occasional leatherback turtle.”
A picturesque seaside town with a working fishing port, Looe is the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday. Home to glorious estuary views and scenic countryside walks, Looe attracts many visitors each year to experience a simpler way of living. The clear blue waters that surround Looe is where you can find Superstar Speedboats. Passengers can experience a thrilling speedboat ride around the beautiful Looe Bay, which, according to the 100% excellence rating on Trip Advisor, is an experience not to miss. Passengers get to see hidden parts of the Cornish coast and may even spot a few of Looe’s famous wildlife. Both on land and on the sea, Looe has many activities available for great family fun which makes a Cornish holiday in Looe so special.
Residing in South East Cornwall, the harbourside town Polperro is loved for its walking trails, relaxed atmosphere and its wonderful beach and sea. Visitors can capture the beauty of Polperro from a new perspective by hopping on board a scenic boat trip. Passengers have spotted a range of fantastic marine life and birds in their natural habitat during their trip. Skipper Oliver Puckey said: “Having been lucky enough to travel the world in the merchant navy I can honestly say the coastline around Polperro is stunning and alongside the history of smuggling and fishing a visit to Polperro is a must.”
The boat has many tours to choose: “We provide half-hour trips around the historic fishing village coast-line on a daily basis. Also, a ferry service for walkers from Polperro to Looe and if tides permitting, a round trip to Looe taking in looe island and their seal colony. Our most popular trip is the round trip to Fowey, with a 2-hour stay in Fowey. We also provide a 2-hour mackerel fishing trip in the morning”
On the north coast of Cornwall, Padstow is renowned for its seafood restaurants and beautiful harbourside. The natural beauty of Padstow is what attracts countless tourists to the area to experience the coastal views, scenic walks and fresh, local produce. The harbour is bustling with fisherman and boat owners including the Jubilee Queen, who offer daily boat tours.
We spoke to the Jubilee Queen to find out why tourists should board their boat: “There’s a well-stocked bar, tea and barista coffee, making for the perfect pit stop on your day exploring the North Cornwall coast. Permanently moored in Padstow harbour, the crew run two sailing trips every day between April and November, and you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins as they swim alongside! The best part is that there’s no need to book, just hop aboard, grab a drink and relax! Whether you yourself or your little ones aspire to live as a pirate, an afternoon on board the Jubilee Queen comes highly recommended. ”
If you’re looking for something a bit faster then book a trip on the Padstow Sealife Safari and experience the fantastic views from a RIB. Jenny, from Padstow Sealife Safari, tells us: “We offer a little bit of something for everyone, taking in the beautiful views of the Cornish coast, with the high-speed thrill of being out on a RIB, as well as sensitive wildlife watching along the way. Our expert skippers are all RNLI trained and have years of experience out on the water so you can feel safe in their hands; whilst our wildlife guides have a wealth of knowledge to share with you about the fascinating marine life to be found around our coastline.”
During your ride on the RIB, you’re more than likely to spot some amazing wildlife. They continue: “Padstow Bay is host to a wonderful array of marine wildlife, from the curious grey seal to the playful common dolphin, and the beautiful puffin when they come to “Puffin Island” to nest and much, much more!”
The small fishing port village in West Cornwall has an abundance of charm and character. The village is the perfect destination for a trip during your quiet holiday, with independent galleries, gift shops and restaurants onlooking the harbourside. A great way to appreciate the beautiful views of this part of the Cornish coast is to board the Cormorant. Having been a part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Merchant Navy, Skipper Mike has a great knowledge to share and keeps passengers entertained with a running commentary. With stories featuring smugglers and pirates, this boat tour is entertaining for all. Maxine and Mike Collier from Cormorant Cruising tell us: “our boat trips are specifically to ensure that our passengers have a chance to see the beautiful Cornish coast from the sea. We try to make sure that each and every person has a really good time whilst on holiday in Cornwall. We do not charge an exorbitant price and we love having children (and dogs) on board. We only charge half price for children and no charge for dogs!” The Cormorant offers three cruises; along the coast to Lands End, around the famous St Michael’s Mount and a cruise to Newlyn and Penzance.