Unlike many of the locations in Cornwall that we've written about previously such as Boscastle, Truro is a city - it's actually the only city in Cornwall. However, although you'll definitely notice that Truro has a bit more hustle and bustle compared to some of the other Cornwall locations we've written about, there is still plenty of reason to visit Truro for an enjoyable time, especially for families, and we even included the city in our guide of the best places to stay in Cornwall. This guide will outline the best things to see and do during your time in Truro, all updated for 2023. Let's get into the guide:
Where is Truro?
What is there to do during your time in Truro?
Truro is a great place to visit, here are some of our favourite things for you to check out:
Truro Cathedral is a really beautiful building built in the Gothic Revival style. Construction on the cathedral started in 1880 and the building was completed by 1910. Truro Cathedral is often described as the first 'new' cathedral to be built in Britain since it was built so recently. Even if you don't go to visit the cathedral, you'll still see the magnificent spires soaring above the city’s skyline, which are especially impressive to look at on a clear day. Entry is free and we think it is well worth a look, learn more here - trurocathedral.org.uk
Royal Cornwall Museum
If you want to learn about what makes Cornwall such a special place then a visit to the Royal Cornwall Museum is a must. Originally built in the 19th century, the museum has a collection of items dating back to the Stone Age, but also more modern collections too. The museum is also well known for having an extensive mineral collection, relating to Cornwall's mining and engineering heritage. But our favourite part is the permanent exhibition of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman objects, which helps to explain the Cornish diaspora. Buy tickets and learn more here - royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk
Alongside the Truro river, you'll find Boscawen Park, a great park for kids. There are plenty of quiet outdoor areas to explore if you're looking for peace and quiet during your time in Truro, but Boscawen Park is definitely one for kids looking for lots to do - swings, climbing equipment and more can be found there, as well as lots of room for running around. There are also sporting facilities such as tennis courts and football pitches which can be hired. Dogs can be walked here and there is even a specific dog exercise area.
Hidden right in the city centre you'll find Victoria Gardens, an exotic break from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. With plenty of interesting trees, shrubs & flowers to admire, the gardens are great for a short walk to clear your mind. The focal point of the gardens is a Victorian bandstand, and there are also a number of interesting sculptures and memorials to check out.
You'll find the gardens between the railway station and the city's centre, learn more here - visitcornwall.com
Penrose Water Gardens
If you're a fan of flora and you're looking for a place to wind down away from the city streets of Truro, Penrose Water Gardens is a great place to head to. Originally opened in 1975, the gardens have long been a favourite attraction among locals and visitors to the city alike. The gardens cover more than 6 acres and include more than 40 separate lily ponds, and you've got more than 100 varieties of plants to find and admire. The milder climate of Cornwall means you'll find plantlife and wildlife here that you'll struggle to find anywhere else in the country, and much of it can be found at Penrose Water Gardens. Learn more about visiting the gardens here - penrosewatergardens.com
Explore the rivers
If you're a fan of walking along riverbanks then Truro is an excellent place to head to. Many rivers meet and cross paths here - River Allen, River Fal, Kenwyn, Tinney, and of course, River Truro. The river valleys form a bowl surrounding the city on the north, east and west. This ares was actually the cause of some major flooding in 1988 which caused significant damage to the city centre. A walk along the riverbanks will give you the chance to spot some interesting wildlife that you probably won't see elsewhere, especially the estuarial waters of the River Fal where wildlife can be spotted everywhere. Fal River is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cornwall and is especially excellent to visit.
Lemon Street Market
If you fancy doing some shopping during your time in Truro then a trip to Lemon Street Market is highly recommended. Here you'll find 2 floors of shops to explore, as well as cafes and a gallery. Unlike other shopping centres in Cornwall, Lemon Street Market is only home to independent, local businesses, including a flower shop, a Liquor Cellar with lots of Cornwall specialties, and stylish home interior shops. If you want to take something home with you from your trip to Truro then you'll definitely find something at Lemon Street Market. Learn more here - lemonstreetmarket.co.uk
Truro City of Lights
If you're in Truro during the winter months then we'd highly recommend getting involved in the Truro City of Lights parade. This special event involves the whole community, with local organisations and schools creating elaborate paper lanterns such as the giraffe we've included below. These lanterns are carried around the city during the parade.
The parade marks the start of the Christmas festivities in the city and is a great thing to be a part of.
The team that founded the parade consists of local makers and artists, who wanted to explore the possibility of a new tradition for Truro. The team decided to create a collection of unique and distinctive lanterns made from willow and opaque paper, with each lantern being created to tell a story. It started with the team taking a quiet walk through the city to look at the lanterns, and almost 30 years later the parade is still going. The parade has been known to attract as many as 30,000 people to the city streets just for one day.
Sadly, the parade has struggled for funding in recent times, and there is some speculation that the parade won't be held in 2023. But we'll update this page when we find out more information. If you want to get involved in the parade you should head to Truro between late November and early January.
Things to be aware of before visiting Truro
Like we mentioned previously, Truro is a city and it is definitely a bit more lively than some of the other locations we've written about recently. However, it's within touching distance of some very relaxing and chilled out places, so if you've got your car it is worth taking a trip elsewhere for a day or 2.
Parking in Truro (in 2023)
Parking is pretty straightforward in Truro - you've got 12 car parks to choose from. The car parks include the following -Carrick House, St Clement Street, Old Bridge Street, Edward Street, Calenick Street, Moresk, Pydar Street. Viaduct, High Cross, Lemon Quay, Fairmantle Street, Tabernacle Street, and at the Train Station.
If you're looking for the ideal place to park while you explore the town (including streets like Princes St and Boascawen Street) then Lemon Quay, Moorfield, and Old Bridge are probably your best bets.