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South West Coast Path: Penzance to Falmouth 6

South West Coast Path: Penzance to Falmouth

Overview

The South West Coast Path is England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath and National Trail and one of England’s national treasures. Stretching 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset, the route curls around the entire peninsula of Devon and Cornwall and rounds the south-western tip of England at Land’s End and follows the southern shore through the dramatic scenery of Dorset. We are happy to offer some of the most interesting and scenic parts of the Southwest Coastal Path, featuring the Lizard Peninsula (the most southerly point of the British mainland) and St. Michael’s Mount; the section from St. Ives to Penzance as well from Clovelly to Tintagel.

The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall lies in the southernmost part of Britain and is an area of astounding beauty. From the start of the walk, you enjoy views of the well-known silhouette of St Michael’s Mount and go on to see marvellous wildflowers and birds, perhaps catching a glimpse of a Basking Shark off the coast, or eat delicious ice-cream at Coverack – not to mention endless views of romantic creeks and breathtaking cliffs and the busy port of Falmouth. A rewarding, moderately strenuous self-guided walking holiday.

  • The Lizard – the most southerly tip of Britain
  • Unspoilt countryside with abundant wildlife
  • Staying in picturesque fishing villages dotted around the coast
  • Secluded coves and golden sandy beaches
  • Marvel at the famous St Michaels Mount

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Penzance

Enjoy the small, busy town of Penzance with its long promenade, numerous cafes and views to St Michael’s Mount.

Day 2: Penzance to Porthleven | 21 km / 13 mi

The first stage of today’s walk is fairly easy, leaving you with enough time to enjoy the views as the path begins to narrow and rollercoaster over the cliffs up to and beyond Praa Sands. St Michael’s Mount dominates as you walk first to the ancient town of Marazion, passing Marazion Marsh with its rich wildlife. Once a Benedictine Priory, a fortress and tin mining port, the Mount can be accessed by a causeway at low tide or ferry. The path continues through a landscape with obvious evidence of mining history.  Passing sandy beaches followed by a more rugged landscape the granite cliffs turn to Slate where you will find some dramatic vertical cliffs before walking down to the pretty fishing village of Porthleven for overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 13 miles / 21 km
  • Accommodation: Wellmore End or similar

Day 3: Porthleven to the Lizard | 21 km / 13 mi

The path is fairly level beyond Porthleven but then becomes narrow in places with some steep ascents and descents. There is a sense of remoteness and wildness on the Peninsula, especially along Mullion and Predannack Cliffs which are part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve where the colour of the rare heathers and wildflowers make for spectacular views. Pass the Loe, largest body of fresh water in Cornwall and separated from the salty sea by the mixture of fine gravel and sand called Loe Bar. Continue past coves and steep cliffs to the white sand and turquoise sea of Kynance Cove, an outstanding natural beauty area onto Lizard Point with its beautiful lighthouse and wildflowers. Overnight the Lizard.

  • Walking for the day: 13 miles / 21 km
  • Accommodation: Penmenner House or similar

Day 4: Lizard to Coverack | 17.5 km / 11 mi

From Lizard Point, you walk to the picturesque fishing village of Cadgwith to Coverack. The walk today is through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You will come across different types of rock from Serpentine (dark green rock with red and white veins) to Granite and Schist. Pass Kennack Sands – once famous for shipwrecks it is now a National Nature Reserve with beautiful cliffs of layered rock and displays of wildflowers. An uphill climb to Beagles Point leads you to far-reaching views of the Coast Path ahead and the possibility of a glimpse of a whale from Black Head. Continue down to the lovely village of Coverack.

  • Walking for the day: 11 miles / 17.5 km
  • Accommodation: Fernleigh B&B or similar

Day 5: Coverack to Mawnan Smith | 24 km / 15 mi

Today’s walk includes a variety of landscapes, from clifftops to fishing villages to lush woodland. You begin with a leisurely stroll around the edge of the Bronze Age field systems of Lowland Point, then an uphill climb out of Porthoustock follows the inland route to Porthallow, where you then join the sea again and walk around Nare Point to the beautiful Gillan Creek. Cross the creek past St Anthony Church before continuing along the Helford River’s shores to the delightful village of Helford, an old smuggler’s haunt. Just upstream is the village of Frenchman’s Creek: This beautiful, wooded creek gave its name to one of Daphne du Maurier’s most popular novels. Take the ferry across the river and then it is a short walk to Mawnan Smith.

  • Walking for the day: 15 miles / 24 km
  • Accommodation: Trevarn B&B or similar

Day 6: Mawnan Smith to Falmouth | 6.5 km / 4 mi

Today you will cross the openings of lush valleys with subtropical gardens. Then it is gentle easy walking through fields and along wooded clifftop paths to Pendennis Castle and on to the delightful town of Falmouth with its shops, art college and the third deepest natural harbour in the world.

  • Walking for the day: 4 miles / 6.5 km
  • Accommodation: The Grove Hotel or similar

Day 7: Departure

Departure after breakfast or extra nights upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations include a mix of charming small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

While not too demanding, the route follows the coast quite closely, and it includes plenty of elevation gains and losses and some steep sections (read more about difficulty grades). The route is well waymarked and easy to follow. A comprehensive guidebook and map are supplied. You can also call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from the beginning of April until end-October. It is best enjoyed in the spring and autumn when there are fewer people on the trails; however, it is lovely during the summer months, too. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens).

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Bristol (BRS), London Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW) or Luton (LTN).

By train or bus
  • There is a direct train to Penzance from London Paddington (5-6 h).
  • On return, you can reach London from Falmouth by train which takes 6 hours, this involves a couple of changes. Please check the Traveline website for timetables or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in twin/double rooms with an en-suite or private bathroom (3-star hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses as listed in the itinerary)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel – up to 20 kg per person
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: personalised trip notes and maps (hard copy provided at first hotel; one set per room)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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