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Top Places to Visit in Cornwall

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Cornwall is a walkers’ haven due to the plethora of dramatic coastlines, stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. The South West Coast Path attracts visitors from far and wide, whether it’s for an afternoon stroll and a cream tea in the sun or to take on the challenge to trek the entire 630 miles all the way around! Our guided walks are selected considering the wishes of our guests and the conditions to give you the best possible walking experience during your time in Cornwall. The walks are usually around 8 miles and cover some of the most interesting a visually stunning areas to be seen in the South West. Below is a list of the best places to visit in Cornwall in terms of the quality of walking on offer and a few extra details and points of interest regarding each location which may be of use.

river views to be seen in Fowey

Fowey

The Fowey Estuary offers an array of historical sites, landmarks, gardens castles and nearby towns and villages that are all worth a visit during your time here. The area is bountiful of walking routes, both exploring the estuary and the surrounding countryside, as well as being perfectly placed for access to the South West Coast Path. All walks offer stunning views of the estuary and the opportunity to see the wealth of wildlife provided by the River Fowey; including some fantastic birdwatching opportunities. The combination of clifftop paths, enchanting woodlands and expansive countryside makes Fowey the perfect place to explore for both experienced hikers and beginners alike. A great time to come walking in Fowey is the third week of August, where the peaceful little town attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors for the Fowey Royal Regatta. One of Britain’s premier sailing events, the Regatta has hosted royalty in the past including Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. During this week, main events include a carnival, fireworks over the river, live music on the quay and racing on the water every day – from the professional sailors to the less-experienced, but still highly entertaining, raft racers.

beach views in Bude, Cornwall

Bude

Surrounded by natural beauty, this area of North Cornwall is a paradise for walkers who can explore everything from beautiful beaches to wild moorland and tranquil lakes. The best way to see Bude is on foot via the various well-marked foot paths and bridleways, where something interesting to spot is never too far away. The unspoilt countryside has something for everyone, whether you’re roaming the canal or seeking wildlife at the Marshes. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the Beast of Bodmin, for the renowned Bodmin Moor is fairly close by. Bude is often recognised for it’s mild climates, with warmer winters and it was recorded as the sunniest place in the UK in 2013! This means it’s every seasoned British walker’s dream come true! If you are taking part in one of our self-guided walking tours and have extended your time here, release the inner adventurer and take a trip to Lundy, a remote island on the Bristol Channel where you can appreciate breath-taking sea views and exotic wildlife at every turn. A visit to the incredible town of Bude, which is home to more beaches than there are days of the week, is a must-visit during your walking holidays in Cornwall.

a river walk near Boscastle in Cornwall

Boscastle

The beautiful village of Boscastle is one of the most romantic places in Cornwall, steeped in history from medieval times and boasting a beautiful natural harbour. This small, fishing village is said to be the inspiration for many authors and artists who are influenced by the rugged beauty and remoteness of the area. For example, Thomas Hardy is believed to have walked the path through the woods which leads you to St Juliot’s church and he stayed in The Rectory. It was here he met his sweetheart Emma whilst working on the church tower. The village is host to landscapes like no other, made all the more appealing by quaint buildings, local potteries, art galleries and the museum of witchcraft. Sacred site Saint Nectan’s Glen is not far away, where the River Trevillet has created a spectacular 60 foot waterfall which cascades into the valley below. A local spot, affectionately called Devil’s Bellows by locals, is just below Penally Point and a thumping and snorting noise occurs exactly one hour before and after low tide. Depending on the conditions, this can sometimes blow a horizontal water spout across the harbour entrance which you should try and catch during your stay in Boscastle.

beautiful sunsets in Tintagel

Tintagel

Set high on the dramatic North Cornwall coast, Tintagel is steeped in myths and mystery and is well-known for its association with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Step back in time with a visit to the castle ruins, where views out to sea are quite simply sensational. There are lots of tracks between the South West Coast Path and the village, making it easy for you to incorporate a visit into your schedule. Whilst walking in this area, keep an eye out for seals and try your hand at flower identifying with the help of our guide and you’ll spot wildflowers such as Sea Pink, Toadflax and Sea Campion all present in the area to add a splash of colour to your trails. You can also indulge in history with a visit to the Tintagel Old Post Office, oozing with charm and character, this 14th-century farmhouse is renowned for its wavy roof and is the destination to catch any National Trust events, including live music in the garden.

views of boats at St Ives harbour

St Ives

If you find yourself staying in St Ives during your walking adventures in Cornwall, the South West Coast Path is right on your door step. Nestled in an area of outstanding natural beauty, this area has a wealth of nature trails to explore, all rich in wildlife for every season. Birds inhabiting in the area include guillemots and shags, as well as the harder to spot curlews and kestrels which tend to make an appearance in Summer and Autumn. During all coastal walks, keep your eyes on the water for dolphins, porpoises, minke whales and basking sharks could be accompanying you on your route. St Ives is also home to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s classic novel To The Lighthouse.

St Michaels mount, a view to be seen in Cornwall

Penzance

Famed for its association with singing pirates, this town boasts an abundance of palm trees and gardens overflowing with sub-tropical plants, thanks, in part, to the typically mild climate. St Michael’s Mount is a spectacle to see and visit, where you can discover the legends and myths that surround the area that is steeped in over a thousand years of history. A trip will allow you to delve into the history of a fortress and enjoy spectacular views both out to sea and of the cliffs inland. Bird watchers will appreciate the wealth of shags and cormorants that can be seen offshore on coastal walks towards Lands End, as well as the noise from the cliffs that are alive with nesting fulmars, kittiwakes and guillemots. From Penzance, you can easily access the Isles of Scilly, where walks around dramatic, rugged coastlines are plentiful and you can keep your eyes peeled for puffins and seals. This is also the perfect base if you wish to explore the areas of Padstow and Mousehole which you can find more information on below.

a small fishing village in Cornwall, Mousehole

Mousehole

Pronounced ‘Mowzel’, this tiny fishing village, just 3 miles west of Penzance has a picturesque harbour surrounded by narrow streets and yellow houses. This peaceful spot is a great place to walk away from the hustle and bustle of nearby hot spots and you will be able to gain a true sense of the village and its constant proximity of the sea in all its moods. There are plenty of well-regarded beaches such as Mousehole harbour beach, Salt ponds beach and Porthcurno within the immediate area, all of which can be explored on foot via coastal paths. If you’re in the area for a few days, pack a quintessentially Cornish picnic and hit the open-air Minack Theatre, where you can enjoy a magical show under the stars through the summer months. You may have heard of Mousehole due to its impressive collection of Christmas lights that are on display around the festive period, attracting visitors from far and wide.

views to be seen in Padstow

Padstow

A charming fishing port nestled amongst golden sandy beaches, this natural beauty is full of quiet coves and spectacular walks. Within close proximity to the South West Coast Path, Padstow is the perfect place to explore this area of Cornwall, and is the start and end point for the Camel Cycle Trail. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or you just fancy a gentle pedal every now again, The Camel Trail is a great way to see as much of the expansive green landscapes as you can. Walking around this area means that glorious beaches are guaranteed as there are seven within a five-minute drive of the town. The town is also home to some of the greatest culinary delights in the county, including Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant, where you can indulge on the freshest of fish right on your doorstep. If you’re here for a few days, you can take the ferry over the river to the village of Rock, where you can embark upon several great walks taking you to the renowned beaches of Daymer Bay and Polzeath.

Image credit: Scott14, Plaf Bausch, Thierry Gregarious and David Stowell