Visit magical St. Ives, a town of art, ice cream and fish ‘n’ chips.
Walk to Land’s End, the most westerly point on the English mainland.
Discover mysterious Celtic standing stones and burials upon high coastal moors.
The spectacular open air theatre on the cliffs above Porthcurno.
Explore hidden coves once the haunt of smugglers, now the abode of seals and surfers.
Self-guided walking holiday on the Cornwall Coast Path
This week-long walking holiday follows the Cornwall coast on a section of the South West Coast Path, between St Ives and Penzance. Much of the South West Coastal Path was developed by the government to enable customs men to patrol the cliffs and coves for smugglers. Today it offers exhilarating coastal walking on one of the world’s great pathways.
This walk takes you around the extreme southwest coast of Britain, a wild and surf-pummelled shoreline, taking in Land’s End and a multitude of tiny coves, throbbing with the sound of breakers, the eerie call of birds and barks of seals. Human history here has been long and chequered, clifftop moors are dotted with cairns and unusual pierced rocks. There is an artistic and literary tradition here that has bloomed from the romance of the land, the seascapes and the history of mining, seafaring and smuggling. Walking the Cornwall coastal path, you will stop at many small and charming fishing villages, such as Sennen Cove, Mousehole and Porthcurno. You will find turquoise bays, golden beaches and of course wonderful fish ‘n’ chips!
|8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS||From €885 per person sharing*
*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers.
||We use a variety of accommodation along the route ranging from bed and breakfasts to lodges, pubs and small hotels. They are run by walker friendly hosts offering en-suite or private facility rooms with a tasty breakfast to get you ready for the walk ahead. Further facilities such as washing and drying facilities, packed lunches and packed lunches are available in some accommodations.
For details of accommodation for each night please see the itinerary section.
|MEALS||The overnight accommodations are on a bed & breakfast basis. You will have a selection of cold and hot options to choose from each morning.
Packed lunches can be booked and paid for on arrival at your accommodation. They offer a good selection of sandwiches, snacks and drinks for you to take with you for that day’s walk. On a few sections you will also pass a café and/or shop but on many days you will not pass anything between the start and finish.
For evening meals you will have a variety of pubs and restaurants to choose from, or your accommodation will provide a tasty meal.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start any day, subject to availability, between late March and mid-October.|
Day 1: Arrival in St Ives
Make your own way to St Ives. This beautiful fishing village dates back to AD460, when the missionary St. Ia, daughter of an Irish chieftain, landed here and gave her name to the settlement. Protected from Atlantic storms, St. Ives was once the most important fishing port in Cornwall. In the 1800’s the town became famous for its vibrant art scene, which reached its heyday after WWII. The St Ives Tate Gallery features excellent exhibitions, as well as a café with lovely views over the sea.
Overnight: St Ives. We use two guesthouses in this bustling town, one is the 4-star Old Vicarage and the other a boutique B&B called Villamorva. If these are full you may be booked into Carbis Bay, 15 minutes’ walk away.
Day 2: St Ives to Zennor
Distance: 11 km | Ascent: 270 m | Descent: 190 m
Enjoy a hearty breakfast as there are some tough ups and downs and some occasionally boggy walking for the next two days. Fortunately, the days are quite short in distance and the seascapes are beautiful!
Around St. Ives Head, the walk passes St. Nicholas’s Chapel (patron saint to seafarers) and a hut that was used for spotting pilchards from the cliffs. As you leave St Ives the number of walkers rapidly diminishes, as does your pace as the path roller-coasts through a series of steep dips. Keep your eyes peeled for seals basking off the rocks. There is a final steep climb, from where you walk 10-15 minutes inland to the village of Zennor. Here you will find a quaint church, a small museum on Cornish life, and a great old pub called The Tinner’s Arms.
Overnight: Zennor. The Tinners Arms is the only Inn in Zennor and was built in 1271 to accommodate the Masons who constructed St Senara’s church.
Day 3: Zennor to Pendeen Watch
Distance: 11 km | Ascent: 290 m | Descent: 290 m
Returning to the coastal path, you thread your way through beautiful coves to Gurnard’s Head. Being wary of tin mine shafts, you can have a look around the prehistoric fort site at the headland. Just before you reach Pendeen, you pass Geevor tin mine (open for guided tours) and at Pendeen Watch an afternoon visit to the lighthouse is possible.
Overnight: Pendeen Watch. Your accommodation dates back to 1860 and has been carefully restored to bring the old and new together.
Day 4: Pendeen Watch to Sennen Cove
Distance: 14.5 km | Ascent: 240 m | Descent: 350 m
The first part of the walk is quite easy, following the clifftop trail past the remains of old lead and tin mines. The path skirts inland beside Cape Cornwall and continues past Carn Gloose, where a walled pit is thought to be a Neolithic shrine. Then it is past the village of St.Just which has a square where ‘miracle plays’ were performed in Mediaeval times. Finally, you pass the beach at Whitesands Bay to Sennen Cove, a pretty fishing and tourist port.
Overnight: Sennen Cove. You will stay at The Old Success Inn, which dates back to the 17th century.
Day 5: Sennen Cove to Porthcurno
Distance: 10 km | Ascent: 200 m | Descent: 180 m
You have a shorter walk today, which allows time to visit the sights of Land’s End, the most westerly point in England. This is a highly developed commercial site, with various ‘attractions’ including a theme park! It can be busy here, but there are some great seascapes with views as far as the Scilly Isles and towards Long Ships and Wolf Rock lighthouses.
The walking greatly improves as you continue and you will pass the attractive hamlets of Porthgwarra and St. Levan, before reaching the dramatically-situated open air theatre at Minack Point. Steep steps take you down from the cliffs to the beach and to the village of Porthcurno, which has a wonderful bay in a magnificent location.
Overnight: Porthcurno. The Edwardian Cottage B&B offers afternoon cream teas, a private garden and is only 400 yards from the beach.
Day 6: Porthcurno to Mousehole
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 270 m | Descent: 300 m
The South West Coast Path follows the cliffs with an offshoot trail taking you to Logan Rock, an 80 ton rock owned by the National Trust. Up until 1824 this could be rocked without much effort, but then one Lt. Goldsmith and 12 of his ship’s crew levered it off with crowbars. This caused local outrage as it was a tourist attraction and the admiralty forced him to replace it, which took 60 men. Although restored to its original place it will not rock so easily!
There follows a more challenging walk towards Penberth Cove and Porthguaron, which are lovely places to pause. You will pass though Lamorna, with a famous and once illegal old pub called the ‘Lamorna Wink.’ The walk continues around Penzer Point, with views over Mounts Bay and towards the island of St. Michael’s Mount. Next you will reach your destination of Mousehole (pron’Mowzl’), a picture postcard village with a history of pilchard fishing. Nowadays the village has a small artists community.
Overnight: Mousehole. You will stay at the popular Inn right by the harbour.
Day 7: Mousehole to Penzance
Distance: 6.5 km
The path from Mousehole to Newlyn is beside the coast road, but you can go inland via the village of Paul to see the monument erected to Dolly Pentreath (died 1778, the last native Cornish speaker who spoke no English). Newlyn and Penzance are quite built up, being ports as well has important holiday destinations. Although Newlyn has some nice galleries, you may wish to catch the bus into Penzance from here. The latter has more attractions including some Georgian and Regency housing, the exuberant Egyptian House, Maritime Museum and National Lighthouse Museum.
Overnight: Penzance. We use a number of different guesthouses in the busy town of Penzance.
Day 8: Departure from Penzance
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. You can take a direct train from Penzance to London Paddington Station.