September 15, 2023
Destination: Devon & Cornwall
Best Coastal Walks in Cornwall
With its dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and sparkling azure waters, there’s nowhere quite like the Cornish coastline.
Every year, thousands of walkers descend on the region to tackle sections of the beautiful 630m South West Coast Path, which encompasses Cornwall’s entire coastline.
Whether you prefer an easy amble from village to village or a strenuous clifftop hike, here are our favourite coastal walks in Cornwall – some of the best hiking in England.
The Lizard Coastal Walk (Circular Walk)
The iconic walk around the Lizard Peninsula is a favourite with both locals and visitors. The circular walk follows the southernmost tip of mainland Britain, taking in dramatic scenery, wildflowers, and even some coastal history.
Starting at Kynance Cove, the trail follows a stony clifftop path for most of the walk, passing a disused Victorian lifeboat station, the famous Lizard lighthouse near Lizard Point, and the ‘Lion’s Den’, a 12m hole in the cliff, created when a cave collapsed in the mid-1800s.
- Start and end: Kynance Cove
- Distance: 7 miles (11.2km)
St Ives to Zennor (Circular Walk)
This spectacular 12-mile walk takes you slightly inland for the first half, following the Coffin Path to Zennor Church. After passing through Zennor, where there are plenty of refreshment stops, you’ll then join the jagged coastal path, which will take you back to St Ives.
On clear days, enjoy panoramic views from Zennor Head, spot seals in the water, and in the summer, the magnificent bright heathers will guide you along the path.
If you don’t want to walk back from Zennor, you can always get a bus to St Ives – but if you only do one leg, make sure it’s the coastal path.
- Start and end: St Ives
- Distance: 12.1 miles (19.4km)
Porthcurno to Land’s End
Follow this point-to-point coastal walk from the quaint small village of Porthcurno to the famous Land’s End. So long as you have a clear day, you’ll be blessed with amazing views the entire walk.
Refuel at the Land’s End Restaurant and Bar (Landsend-landmark.co.uk), and if you don’t want to walk back, there’s a bus that you can catch instead.
- Start: Porthcurno
- Finish: Land’s End
- Distance: 4.8 miles (7.7km)
Trewarmett to Tregardock
If you love waterfalls, then put this magical walk at the top of your list. The circular walk along Trebarwith Valley offers beautiful views, then meanders through the countryside and along the coast.
At Tregardock Beach, you’ll find the waterfall, tumbling over the mouth of a cave and onto the sandy beach below.
- Start and end: Jeffrey’s Pit Quarry
- Distance: 5.9 miles (9.5km)
Fowey Hall Walk (Circular Walk)
This is a coastal walk with a difference… because it includes, not one, but two ferry crossings.
You can either start at Fowey or at the ferry crossing to Bodinnick. Once across, you’ll be at the start of the original Hall Walk, which climbs through Bodinnick and follows the medieval path to Penleath Point.
Continue through the woods around Pont Pill, with a small river crossing at Pont. Follow the footpath to Polruan and then take the ferry back over to Fowey.
It’s a beautiful, fun walk, with plenty of places to stop for refreshments along the way.
- Start and end: Bodinnick Ferry crossing / Fowey
- Distance: 3.8 miles / 6.1km
Perranporth to Trevellas (Circular Walk)
Perranporth is home to one of the best sandy beaches in Cornwall, and it’s where this walk starts and finishes – so pack a picnic.
The walk follows the coast path around Droskyn Point, past the blowholes of Shag Rock, and then crosses the mineral lodes on Cligga Head. The route passes the knife-edge cliffs of Hanover Cove, circles the old Spitfire base, and then drops down into Parracombe.
- Start and end: Perranporth
- Distance: 5.4 miles (9km)
Crackington Haven to Tintagel
A point-to-point coastal walk across impressive cliffs and through valleys. Following the ocean – and maybe even feeling the spray on your face – this is a walk not to be missed.
The main climb is High Cliff, the tallest cliff in Cornwall, over 223m high, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views at the top.
You’ll pass a few shops on the way, like Boscastle Farm Shop & Cafe (Boscastlefarmshop.co.uk) and the quaint Boscastle Harbour.
- Start: Crackington Haven
- End: Tintagel
- Distance: 11.1 miles (17.9km)
Par to Polperro
At 22 km, this is quite a long day out for many but there’s a short ferry crossing between Fowey and Polruan in the middle, to break it up.
The walk starts along the high cliffs, passing coves and offering amazing views as you make your way to Fowey. The harbour is guarded by the ruins of St Catherine’s Castle, built in 1542 as part of Henry VIII’s chain of defences on the Cornish coast. It’s a beautiful town, with quaint houses and fishing boats.
After the ferry crossing, follow the coastal path to Polperro, a delightful harbour town, with quirky streets and a few pubs in which to have lunch, too.
- Start: Par
- End: Polperro
- Distance: 13.9 miles (22.3km)
Rock to Polzeath (Circular Walk)
This route starts in the small seaside village of Rock and follows the sand dunes to Daymer Bay and Trebetherick Point, before joining the Greenaway path to Polzeath.
Enjoy a picnic on the idyllic beach and then follow the path back towards Rock, passing the partially buried St Enodoc Church.
If you have time, we recommend catching a ferry to Padstow and dining in Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop (Rickstein.com)!
- Start and end: Rock
- Distance: 5.8 miles (9.4km)
St Just in Roseland to St Mawes (Circular Route)
This walk along the Roseland Peninsula offers mesmerising views of Falmouth, a fairy tale woodland of bluebells, and even a Tudor castle at St Mawes.
It’s a moderate hike, without too much elevation, and at 6 miles, it’s perfect for a morning stroll between breakfast and lunch.
- Start and end: St Just in Roseland
- Distance: 6.1 miles (9.8km)
Tempted by our pick of the best coastal walks in Cornwall? To see the very best that the area has to offer on foot, check out our guided walking tours.
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