Things to do in Truro

Things to do

Things to do in Truro

From beach days to walking holidays and lots of incredible attractions in between, there are many wonderful things to do in Cornwall. The best way to soak up the county’s fabulous activities and experiences is to take a day to explore one of the towns, villages, or, in this case, city!

Situated in the heart of Cornwall, the beautiful city of Truro holds many treasures down its historic cobbled streets and quiet alleyways, as well as some really magical places to discover within easy reach of the centre.

With peaceful parks and gardens, architectural gems, quirky shopping options, riverside walks and Cornwall’s largest theatre, there is much to tempt you to Truro. 

To help you to get the most out of your visit, here is our pick of the best things to do when visiting Truro.


Things to do in Truro

Packed with local shops, cosy coffee shops, and beautiful gardens, Cornwall's only city has something for everyone...


Truro Cathedral

The spires of Truro Cathedral towering over the Cornish city of Truro

Standing in the very heart of the city with its elegant spires visible from miles around, a highlight of any visit to Truro has to be its wonderful cathedral. Completed in 1910 in the Gothic Revival style, it might be one of the youngest cathedrals in the UK, but its imposing presence makes it feel centuries older.

There is so much to see inside this truly breathtaking building from its towering vaulted ceilings, to the colourful stained glass windows and enormous ‘Father Willis’ organ built in 1887, which is considered one of the finest instruments in the country.

Don’t miss the stunning South Aisle, which was originally part of the 16th-century St Mary’s parish church that the cathedral was built to replace. Discover the ancient brasses and memorials to former parishioners as well as enjoying the surprising calm of this hidden corner of the building.

Another highlight is hearing the cathedral’s renowned choir sing. Some of the members recently took part in the Coronation of King Charles III and everyone is welcome to listen to the practice sessions or join the congregation for Sunday Evensong.

If you would like to know more about the history of the cathedral then there are free guided tours with the amazing volunteer staff from spring onwards and pre-booked private tours, that allow you a behind the scenes glimpse at the treasures that this building has to offer, are also available on request.

And for those with a head for heights, why not climb the 120 steps of the spiral staircase and join one of the roof tours!


The Royal Cornwall Museum

A child looking at an ancient stone in the Royal Cornwall Museum

Cornwall is very lucky to have a huge range of interesting museums dotted around in its towns and villages but perhaps the finest of them all is Truro’s Royal Cornwall Museum.

Established more than 200 years ago in 1818, this incredible little museum holds over one million artefacts, not just from Cornwall but from every corner of the globe! Of course not all of these objects can be on display at once but the regularly changing exhibitions ensure that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Many of the items on display have been donated by some of Cornwall’s greatest collectors and pioneers in their fields, which means that there are some truly fascinating exhibits you just wouldn’t expect to find in a county museum, such as an Egyptian mummy!


The Hall for Cornwall

Ballet dances performing Swan Lake on the stage at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro

There are so many amazing theatre spots in Cornwall but for many years the Hall for Cornwall (also known as the HFC)has been considered Cornwall’s premier events venue.

Incredibly, the HFC actually started life as Truro’s Market House in the 18th century, when live animals were bought and sold from inside its walls, along with all kinds of other local produce. The building then became Truro’s City Hall, with plays performed here from the 1920s onwards. It had its first major renovation in 1997, followed by another £20 million refurbishment in 2018, which brought the seating capacity up to 1,354, meaning that the HFC is now attracting world-class acts from all over the world.

From live comedy to international opera, pantomime and dance performances, there is always something to delight and entertain audiences at the HFC all year round, with a mix of matinee and evening performances. Whatever you decide to go and see it is guaranteed to be a visit to remember!


Indoor markets

The blue, wooden exterior of Lemon Street Market in Truro

There are two indoor markets in Truro, providing very different shopping experiences for visitors to enjoy, whatever the weather!

Lemon Street Market, located down a cobbled alleyway just off Lemon Street, is a cool, calm space with some really lovely art, craft, home furnishing and clothing shops. Annie and Maude sells effortless interiors, while 100m specialises in contemporary jewellery and clothes, there is also a Refill Store to top-up on all your environmentally-friendly wants and the gorgeously fragrant Flower Press Shop, which offers everything floral, from house plants to dried flowers. The upper floor of the market is home to the popular Fig Café where you can recharge with coffee and freshly prepared food and delicious cakes.

Just beside the bustle of Lemon Quay, and close to the HFC, is the Pannier Market, which first opened its doors around 40 years ago. The largest undercover market in Truro, the Pannier is full of an eclectic mix of independent shops, with more than 30 local businesses offering a traditional, friendly service. Discover everything from hand-made hats and delicious pastries to fabric, furniture, vegetables and antiques. There’s something for everyone!


Parks and gardens

The pretty bandstand in the heart of Victoria Gardens in Truro

Truro is blessed with some really wonderful green spaces, perfect for a relaxing stroll, picnic, or somewhere for the little ones to stretch their legs. The city is situated at the meeting point of three rivers and just a short distance from the main shopping streets are a series of alleyways, known locally as the Leats, many of which follow these hidden waterways. One such path runs beside the River Kenwyn to Victoria Gardens, which sits in the shadow of the enormous Carvedras viaduct, the longest railway viaduct in Cornwall.

Victoria Gardens was laid out in the 19th century to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and its formal beds are filled with a mixture of exotic trees, shrubs, and bedding plants. There is a fish pond, fountain, and band stand, which is used for free live entertainment during the summer months.

There are also large areas of grass where you are welcome to throw down a blanket, read a book, and relax! There are toilets available and a pop-up café in season. 

A little further along the river sits Hendra Park, with a well-stocked children’s play area and one of the best skate parks in the South West.

Furniss Island is one of Truro’s hidden gems. Named after the biscuit company that once had its factory nearby, this park is just a short stroll from New Bridge Street and is almost entirely surrounded by water. Though much smaller than Truro’s other parks, it feels secluded here and there are some lovely flower beds and sheltering trees in the spring and summer months.

In the shadow of the cathedral you can find the Cathedral Green, where there is a large area of grass with benches - look out for the top of one of the granite spires in one of the wild flower beds! Alternatively, a long walk uphill to Treworder Green will reward you with some of the finest views across Truro. The cathedral can be seen in all its glory, dominating the tangle of streets below you. This is another perfect place for a picnic.


The Drummer

The statue of a drummer in the heart of Lemon Quay in Truro

This striking sculpture by the artist Tim Shaw made his first appearance on Truro’s Lemon Quay (also known as the Piazza) in 2011 and was unveiled by Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor, who grew up in the city. It has been causing debate and discussion ever since! The 15ft-tall bronze statue was made using Cornish tin and copper and features a naked drummer standing on top of a globe.

According to Shaw, the sculpture celebrates the spirit of Cornwall and symbolises not only the migration of Cornish people across the world and the area’s international visitors, but also the region’s fiercely independent streak – literally a place that moves to the beat of its own drum.

The Drummer is the focal point of Lemon Quay, an open space with seating surrounded by shops, which is also the location for weekly farmer’s markets, craft markets, and music events - not to mention a wonderful epicentre for the city’s Christmas festivities.


Escape rooms

A VR headset and headphones resting on a table

One of the many great things to do in Truro come rain or shine, these immersive puzzles are a fun way to spend an hour or two while testing your wit! At Enigma Escape Cornwall there are three head-scratching rooms to choose from, each with its own cluesome set of puzzles and backstory. Decipher codes, complete tasks, and explore every nook and cranny as you race against the clock to unlock the door. Great for families and with varying levels of difficulty, you can’t beat an escape room for hands-on fun.

Kicking things up a technological notch, Player Ready is Truro’s very own virtual reality hub. From VR escape rooms and racing to group zombie experiences and arcade games, Player Ready is great fun for all ages and the perfect indoor activity. 



One of the many cobbled shopping streets in Truro lined with shops

Truro has the widest variety of shops in Cornwall, with a mix of well-known high street names and unique local businesses. The main shopping streets in the city are close to the cathedral, but there are lots of little side streets, such as the picturesque Cathedral Lane, to explore too.

Boscawen Street is a wide cobbled street with the historic Coinage Hall, once used for the assaying of tin, and war memorial at one end. This leads to Kings Street, which in turn brings you to High Cross Square and the pedestrianised Pydar Street.

You will find a number of interesting independent shops in the New Bridge Street area, including a couple of antique shops where you can hunt for an unusual souvenir or two, while River Street has a good mix of clothing shops from surf outlets to Trevails, a family-run business established in 1919, that specialises in high-end, designer labels.

Lemon Street is one of the most elegant streets in Truro and is lined with stunning Georgian architecture. Here, you will find a number of exclusive art galleries, the Lemon Street Market (see above) and the Plaza Cinema.


Places to eat

Someone selecting a pastry from bakery Native Grain in Truro

Truro has a lively café and restaurant scene but some firm favourites not to be missed are Charlotte’s Tea House on the upper floor of the Coinage Hall where the cream teas, served by waitresses in traditional dress, are a must and then across town, the Hub Box where the burgers have the reputation of being some of the best in Cornwall! You can also visit them in their first restaurant on the harbourfront in St Ives.

Hooked is a stylish seafood restaurant tucked away on Tabernacle Street and Piero’s Pizzeria, which opened as a family business more than 25 years ago, remains a local’s favourite for its delicious traditional Italian dishes.

Bodega 18 offers top notch tapas while The Longstore on Lemon Street serves cocktails and enormous streaks, sourcing as much of their ingredients as possible from Cornish suppliers. Vegans and vegetarians will love The Cornish Vegan, where comfort food from around the world fills the plates.

If you’re looking for something a little lighter or take away, head to Native Grain for a mouth-watering selection of freshly baked pastries and sourdough loaves or Angelato (open seasonally) for a cone of lip-smacking Italian ice cream in the warmer months.


A little further afield

In the peaceful valleys surrounding Truro there are a number of wonderful places to explore, here is just a taste of what to expect…


Boscawen Park and Malpas Duck Pond

The view of Truro from Boscawen Park in Malpas

One of the most picturesque areas within easy reach of the city is Boscawen Park. A large playground with swings, slides, climbing equipment and sandpits beside the tidal reaches of the river. There is also plenty of space for running, cycling, and scooter riding in a safe space. As well as the children’s play area there are also tennis courts, a cricket pitch, and football pitch.

Just across the road from the park is the ever popular Malpas Duck Pond, which is home to a variety of aquatic birds and a small café. Why not take a gentle circular walk around the pond, where there are plenty of benches and places to stop and feed the friendly wildlife.


Sunny Corner

Boats moored along a walkway at Sunny Corner near Truro

This tranquil oasis gets its name from its south facing position on the banks of the river on the road to Malpas, just outside Truro. The little beach where many locals learnt to swim has been a popular spot for families and sun lovers for more than 100 years, and now has a passionate volunteer community group that cares for it.

As well as the beautiful displays of flowers and the stunning riverside views, Sunny Corner is a relaxing spot to unwind.


St Clement

Looking across a river at thatched cottages in St Clement near Truro

The tiny historic hamlet of St Clement is just 1.5 miles from Truro but feels like a step back in time. Tucked away in a valley above the Tresillian River, beautiful thatch cottages gather around the medieval parish church. The ancient cross in the graveyard is an interesting relic with not only a Latin inscription but also Ogham, a 5th-century script made up of dashes carved into the stone.

From this village there are stunning riverside walks, perfect for bird watching, in either direction, to the small community of Tresillian or Malpas where the Heron Inn serves homely cooking and real ales and where the boats leave from Truro to Falmouth.


Boat trips

A boat sailing along the river towards Malpas near Truro

Depending on the tides, ferries leave daily in the summer months from Truro to Falmouth, either from the quay in the city or from the hamlet of Malpas, a couple of miles downriver.

This wonderful boat trip takes in some of Cornwall’s finest inland scenery as it winds its way towards the harbour town, passing banks heavily wooded with ancient trees, smuggler’s cottages, and the King Harry Ferry en route. It really is a wonderful way to spend a few hours, as the skipper regales you with tales from the area’s history and points out interesting landmarks along the way.

You can either return on the ferry back to Truro or perhaps wander around Falmouth, sampling some of its excellent seafood before returning to Truro on the train - the Maritime Line is one of the most beautiful railways in the county!


If this has inspired you to seek out all that Cornwall’s delightful little city has to offer, then why not check out some of our holiday cottages in Truro.

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