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15 Best Books About Cornwall UK

These books about Cornwall, a region of captivating beauty and enchanting history, whisks you away to its rugged coastline, quaint fishing villages, and mystical landscapes.

Nestled in the southwestern corner of England, this county boasts a rich literary tradition that mirrors its diverse landscapes, from the hauntingly beautiful moors of Bodmin to the dramatic cliffs of Tintagel.

On a personal note, my family on my father’s side comes from the Isles of Scilly which is a 3-hour ferry ride from Land’s End in Cornwall. I have explored much of Cornwall in my life, starting as a child.

After travelling to almost 100 countries, Cornwall is still one of my favourite places in the world.

Books About Cornwall

In this selection of books about Cornwall, you will enter a land of picturesque landscapes, where myths, legends, and everyday life intertwine to create a tapestry of storytelling as breathtaking as the county itself.

The books are a mix of fiction and non-fiction as well as a few travel guides to Cornwall.

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

This historical fiction is a series of books about Cornwall in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and follows the life of Ross Poldark and his family. The series includes 12 novels, beginning with “Ross Poldark.”

There is also a very popular TV series based on the books that started in 2015.

If you really want to get right into it you can buy the whole set of 12 Poldark books in one collection.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebbeca is one of the most classic novels of all time and is set in a fictional estate in Cornwall.

It’s a gripping tale of love, mystery, and suspense, and easily one of the best books set in Cornwall to read.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shell Seekers tells the story of a family and their connections to Cornwall, featuring beautiful descriptions of the Cornish landscape.

The Lip by Charlie Carroll

The Lip tells the story of a young man named Tom. Tom’s life takes an unexpected turn when he meets a mysterious woman who leaves a lipstick mark on his window.

This chance encounter leads Tom on a journey of self-discovery and adventure as he tries to track down the woman and unravel the secrets of her past.

The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

The Wild Silence is a memoir and the sequel to her bestselling book The Salt Path, (see further down the article.)

The book continues to explore Raynor Winn’s life journey and delves into the aftermath of her and her husband Moth’s long-distance walk along the South West Coast Path, as chronicled in The Salt Path.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Another work by du Maurier, Jamaica Inn is set in a sinister and remote inn on the Bodmin Moor in Cornwall and is known for its dark and atmospheric storytelling.

It’s easily one of the most famous books about Cornwall ever written and a must-read for anyone truly interested in the region.

Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash

Dark, Salt, Clear is a memoir and an ethnographic account of Ash’s experiences living and working in the fishing town of Newlyn in Cornwall.

Ash immerses herself in the lives of the people of Newlyn, particularly the fishermen and their families, as she works alongside them and learns about their way of life.

Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly: Local, Characterful Guides to Britain’s Special Places (Bradt Guides)

Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly is one of the best guidebooks to Cornwall (and the Isles of Scilly) that you can get and is from a UK-based guidebook company.

It goes into great detail about Cornwall and will give you a greater understanding of the place.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path is not just about Cornwall but the South West Coast Path in the UK in general, which is one of the country’s long-distance walking trails which passes into Cornwall.

The book chronicles the true story of Raynor and her husband, Moth, who embarked on an incredible journey along the South West Coast Path in the UK and this memoir documents the physical and emotional challenges they faced, as well as their deepening connection with nature and each other.

Smuggling in Cornwall: An Illustrated History

Smuggling in Cornwall: An Illustrated History is one of the best books about Cornwall that explores the history of smuggling in the region.

Out of all the books my father and I have read about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in the 18th and 19th centuries, this is the best.

If you plan on visiting any of the famous towns and villages associated with the smuggling trade, like Polperro, this gives a fun and interesting history of that past.

The Little History of Cornwall by Paul Wreyford

The Little History of Cornwall is the perfect way to get the history of Cornwall in quick doses.

It’s one of the better books about Cornwall for history and if you just want a general overview of the county’s history, its the one to get.

The Life Of A Scilly Sergeant By Colin Taylor

The Life Of A Scilly Sergeant is not specifically one of the books about Cornwall as it is based in The Isles of Scilly just across the water from Lands End of Cornwall.

It’s a hilarious tale from a sergeant in the British police who was stationed in the Isles of Scilly and documented his time there. As the caption of the book goes “Adventures of high tide and low crime.”

As my family on my father’s side is from the Isles of Scilly I can easily say this is one of the best and funniest books about the Isles of Scilly you can read.

Walking the South West Coast Path by Paddy Dillon

If you enjoy hiking and exploring the natural beauty of Cornwall, then Walking the South West Coast Path provides the best information on walking routes and trails in the region.

It’s written by Paddy Dillon who is an expert in hiking in Cornwall.

Cicerone easily makes some of the best hiking and walking guidebooks around and is based in the U.K. so you know they have the U.K. walking routes down perfectly.

The Unofficial Poldark Cookbook

The Unofficial Poldark Cookbook is the perfect ending to this list of the best books about Cornwall that will satisfy your tastebuds.

If you want to cook for yourself some traditional Cornish dishes from the 18th century and is also great if you love the Poldark books mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Or as a gift for a family member/friend who loves Poldark or traditional Cornish/English cooking.


Those are some of the best books about Cornwall to browse through to get insight into one of my favourite places in the world.

I hope someday you will visit, or if you already have, to go again. Or if you live there, lucky you!

For more on Cornwall take a look at the 20 best seaside towns in Cornwall to visit.

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