Wildlife watching in Cornwall

Cornwall has 300 miles of coastline, home to a diverse range of marine life and seabirds. With puffins and basking sharks, razorbills and humpback whales, there’s always something to see - and by far the best way to see it is on the water. So here are just some of the great opportunities for wildlife watching in Cornwall - don’t forget your camera!

See dolphins on a wildlife tour in Cornwall

Sealife Safari, Padstow

Take an exhilarating 2 hour powerboat ride from the mouth of the Camel Estuary out along the Atlantic coast of North Cornwall, where, depending on the time of year, you may encounter puffins, cormorants, razorbills, seals, dolphins and basking sharks. An unforgettable experience and, with experienced RNLI skippers, you’re in safe hands. We recommend you take warm clothing and a waterproof jacket to protect you from the spray. Alternative, shorter trips are also available. https://www.padstowsealifesafaris.co.uk

Sea Kayaking, Port Gaverne

Sitting atop a kayak is a really special, peaceful and eco-friendly way to see this stunning coastline and its marine life, using only arm power. Paddle to some remote coves and caves around this rocky shoreline, where you’ll hopefully spot seals, jellyfish and a variety of seabirds. The two-man kayaks allow you to share the workload and they’re very stable, so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. No experience necessary, all equipment is provided and it’s also a great experience for children aged 8 and over. https://www.cornishrocktors.com

River Boat Trip, Fowey

The river at Fowey is very pretty and a haven for sailing enthusiasts. From Fowey you can take a boat trip to the pretty fishing village of Polperro. Once you leave the sheltered river and enter the bay you may spot dolphins and basking sharks alongside seabirds, such as cormorants and fulmars. Polperro has limited parking so arriving into the centre of the village by boat is the perfect way to visit! Alternatively, take a scenic trip along the river from Fowey to Lerryn, where you may even spot a beautiful Kingfisher. This idyllic stretch of river is said to have inspired Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows and is perfect for ‘messing around in boats’. http://www.foweycruise.com/main.php

Shark Cage Diving, Newquay

If you prefer something a little more challenging how about diving with sharks? Get up close and personal with a blue shark on a full day-trip from Newquay. A boat will take you 15-20 miles off-shore where you’ll get the chance to enter a shark cage, or alternatively you can observe from the boat. No diving experience is necessary and all equipment is provided. http://newquayseasafarisandfishing.co.uk

Cruise, Padstow

For something more sedate, the elegant 25m long Jubilee Queen sails from Padstow daily and has seating for 200, including plenty inside for inclement weather, and a fully-stocked bar where you can enjoy a pint of the excellent Cornish Doom Bar ale (or a G&T) as you cross the infamous Doom Bar sandbank at the entrance to the Camel Estuary. Dolphins, porpoises, seals and a range of seabirds may be spotted as you travel out of the estuary and along the Atlantic coast. Under 4s go free. https://www.jubileequeen.net

Sailing, Penzance

Join Marine Discovery on their sailing catamaran as they collect vital scientific data on marine life. Another environmentally friendly option, this time using sail power, enjoy the peace and quiet and possibly the sounds of the dolphins as they join you as you sail along the south coast. Humpback whales, minke whales and leatherback turtles have all been spotted. Your guides on the trip are marine biologists and naturalists - a very special experience. http://www.marinediscovery.co.uk