Discover sweeping coastal vistas, pretty woodlands, and charming villages on a walking tour in Cornwall, home to England’s scenic Land’s End. Trek the famous South West Coast Path along soaring seaside cliffs, through green pastures to quaint, harborside villages. Stop to stroll the fragrant gardens of St. Just churchyard in Roseland and take time to explore the beaches and caves of Prussia Cove. Cross a causeway at low tide to make your way to the picturesque St. Michael’s Mount, the island home of an ancient monastery and medieval castle. Throughout your journey you’ll dine on farm-fresh cuisine and relax in comfort at boutique accommodations imbued with warm, Cornish hospitality. An enchanting coastal journey, this Cornwall walking tour is adventure you won’t soon forget.
Mon, May 4 to Wed, Jul 29 - 2020
Make your own way to the Railway Station at Par, a small town with a busy working port about halfway down the southern coast of Cornwall. Upon arrival, a taxi transfers you about 15 minutes to Fowey, an old fishing village on an estuary of the River Fowey. With its location at the end of the Saint’s Way, a long-distance Cornwall walking path, the town is a gateway into the South Coast’s designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Take time to explore the narrow streets of the Old Town, dripping with seaside ambiance and maritime history and lined with beautiful medieval and Georgian buildings. Visit the shops, galleries, and tea rooms and stroll the Town Quay, perhaps stopping to visit the Fowey Aquarium or the Fowey Museum to view the collection of writer Daphne du Maurier, the town’s most famous resident. Later, meet our local representative for an orientation meeting. Dinner is included tonight at the hotel, giving you a chance to sample the town’s renowned Fowey River oysters, local scallops, West Country meats, and Cornish cheeses.
Accommodation: The Old Quay House, Fowey
5.2 miles, easy to moderate, 750-ft. elevation gain and loss
Wake up to a cooked-to-order Cornish breakfast this morning, then set out on a loop walk with the aid of two ferries. There’ll be ample opportunities to shop for refreshments and lunch on your own. From Fowey, embark a five-minute ferry at Caffa Mill and cross the harbor to Bodinnick. As you arrive, you have views of “Ferryside,” the waterfront house where Daphne du Maurier wrote her first novel in 1928. Today, it is occupied by her son and his family. Up a steep, short hill, you see the sign for the National Trust Hall Walk. Follow the mostly level footpath into a lightly wooded area blanketed with heath, gorse, and wildflower, pausing to take in charming views of Fowey town and the River Fowey and its estuary. Later, Cornish writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch is memorialized at the “Q” Monument. The prolific novelist is mostly remembered for compiling the gigantic volume, The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900. Continue through more coastal woodland past hedges bright with primrose, perhaps catching the scent of wild garlic, passing a point where, in 1644, a musket shot narrowly missed King Charles I during the English Civil War. Later, arrive in the small harbor town of Pont, situated at the head of Pont Pill creek. Once a busy quay full of barges, the once fully navigable river silted up over time. This picturesque region, sometimes graced by the majestic grey heron, was inspiration to Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows. Your trail then leads to St. Wyllow’s church, also known as Lanteglos church. Dedicated to a reclusive Irish-born saint who was beheaded by locals, it was (more happily!) the site of Daphne du Maurier’s wedding in 1932. Your route continues into the fields adjacent to pretty Lantic Bay. The coastal path from here features a 390-foot climb to Blackbottle before you proceed on a mostly downhill track to Polruan. This attractive sheltered harbor town was once a tiny fishing village and later transformed into a boat-building center. You catch the ferry here back to Fowey. For centuries, the crossing was completed by rowboat; passengers could save on their fare if they worked the oars themselves!
This evening, stroll the inviting streets of Fowey, lined with lovely shops and restaurants. For dinner on your own, savor the fresh catch of Cornwall: mussels caught just offshore, seafood hauled in that very day, or lobster or crab netted hours earlier. Complemented by the produce of the surrounding farms, your meal tonight—and those throughout your journey—will be ones to remember.
Accommodation: The Old Quay House, Fowey
6.5 miles, easy to moderate, 450-ft. elevation gain and 500-ft. elevation loss
After breakfast, you transfer via taxi about an hour to Portscatho, once renowned for its pilchard, or sardine, fishing. This seaside village is beautifully set on the Roseland Peninsula, one of the most stunning areas of the coast and part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Beauty. This seldom-visited region is squared off by hedgerows and hushed lanes, dotted with tranquil villages and sandy bays, and blanketed with green and gentle terrain.
Today is a full day of walking the South West Coast Path along the breathtaking Roseland Peninsula. In Portscatho, fuel up with a pastry and tea and pick up ingredients for a picnic lunch that you can enjoy later at a scenic spot. Then begin your walk by tracing the cliff tops above a rocky shore to Towan Beach. Perhaps stop for a refreshment, then walk the headlands at Killigerran and Porthmellin through open fields and farmland to remote Porthbeor Beach. If it’s low tide, you can have a soak in its refreshing tidal pools. Later, from the dense scrub of Zone Point, continue south, keeping watch for seals and their pups in the water. Porpoises and dolphins have also been seen in these waters. At St. Anthony’s Head, the southernmost point of the peninsula and a National Trust site, take in sweeping views of the entrance to Falmouth Harbor, the deepest natural harbor in Western Europe. This is the Fal Estuary, the world’s third largest natural harbor and home to a vast array of birdlife. You may detour to St. Anthony’s Lighthouse if you’d like; the 1835 tower boasted the largest bell in Cornwall until it was replaced by a foghorn. And follow a trail to a World War II battery and camp, restored and managed by the National Trust. Avid birders may follow a path to a bird hide, from where you can watch for Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser diving duck, colonies of fulmars, flocks of gannets, and shags and cormorants.
Continue along the Coast Path, summiting the headland at Amsterdam Point before descending to Cellars Beach. A woodland path then leads you to Place, a quaint seaside hamlet where you will find the Place House, a lovely country estate, and the adjacent ferry terminal for your 10-minute crossing to St. Mawes. Hugging the mouth of the Percuil River, this was an important port during medieval days and remains home to the best preserved of Henry VIII’s fortresses. Enjoy the rest of the day to settle in and explore the pretty town’s numerous galleries and shops. Dinner is included at the hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Tresanton, St. Mawes
6.2 miles, easy to moderate, 400-ft. elevation gain and loss OR 8.8 miles, easy to moderate, 700-ft. elevation gain and loss
The charms of St. Mawes are endless. Rows of whitewashed and pastel houses and cob cottages look out over the water from narrow hilly streets as colorful sailing vessels dot a sheltered bay. Its gloriously preserved, clover-leaf shaped castle was built in the mid-1600s, along with Pendennis Castle across the estuary, to defend England from possible invasion by France, Spain, and the Pope. The fortress retains much of its Tudor style and is a delight to explore. And you may do so at your own expense (approximately £6.30 per person) if you wish, regardless of the walk you choose today.
Your first option traces the Percuil River on a footpath through the bluebell woods of Bosloggas. A National Trust trail points you through the fields of Tregear Vean, grazing land marked by many stiles and gates. This pathway follows a high ridge from which you enjoy breathtaking vistas of the estuary and the sea. Take it all in at a relaxed pace, then arrive at St. Just in Roseland, called by many “the most beautiful churchyard on earth.” Its setting is sublime, nestled among semi-tropical shrubs and trees along a tidal creek. You’ll want to spend time strolling the winding walkways lined with bamboo trees and other tropical plantings and admiring the colorful canvas of snowdrops, hydrangeas, marigolds, heather, and countless other flowers. The church, too, is a wonder, a 13th-century treasure. After a picnic lunch or cream tea here, you return to St. Mawes via the banks of the Fal River estuary, an area known as Carrick Roads to locals. You traverse more than a dozen fields kept by the National Trust, glancing across the waters to Pendennis Castle and Falmouth, the latter with its busy shipyard. St. Mawes Castle welcomes you back to your home base.
If you prefer, embark the ferry to Falmouth, rich in nautical history. News of Admiral Nelson’s death at Trafalgar first landed on England’s shores here in 1805, and Charles Darwin disembarked the HMS Beagle at this port in 1836. Upon arrival, you have the chance to absorb the maritime ambiance of the city as you follow streets inland, perhaps stopping to browse the works at an art gallery or perusing the fascinating exhibits at the National Maritime Museum. Leave city streets behind for the fertile Cornish farmland and cross open fields as you make your way to Maenporth. Pause here to relax on its wide sandy cove before following the South West Coast Path, a gentle hike across flat seafront that affords access to beaches at Swanpool and Gyllyngvase, each separated by a small headland. An uphill path delivers you to Pendennis Point and its historic castle, brother to St. Mawes Castle across the estuary. After exploring this impressive citadel (at your own expense; approximately £11.00 per person), return to the ferry terminal for your return trip to St. Mawes.
You may instead follow your own whims today free of an agenda. Explore St. Mawes Castle, or ferry over to Falmouth to explore its cultural and historic riches. Visit Pendennis Castle and find the ideal spot for lunch, whether a traditional deli or pub, a waterside café, or the famous Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips, owned by the BBC food series personality.
Accommodation: Hotel Tresanton, St. Mawes
5.3 miles, easy to moderate, 500-ft. elevation gain and 400-ft. elevation loss
Transfer to the surfing village of Praa Sands this morning. Part of your one-hour journey requires a crossing on the King Harry Ferry, one of only five chain ferries still operating in England and an icon of Cornwall’s heritage. At a beachside pub, you set out into another of the county’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty of sandy beaches, tiny coves, and dramatic cliffs.
Follow the South West Coast Path uphill to round Hoe Point, where it undulates along clifftops along a patchwork of fields. At the rugged inlet of Pesreath Cove, admire the tiny beach below and traverse a scrub-lined trail to the larger Kenneggy Sands beach and the historic Prussia Cove, home to the notorious 18th-century ship wrecker and smuggler John Carter, nicknamed the King of Prussia. Notice the cave entrances covered in bricks as you walk; the grottoes were reportedly once used to store contraband. In 1947, the HMS Warspite (called “the ship that refused to die”) ran aground here as she was being towed in to land at the end of her career. Today, Prussia Cove (which actually comprises four coves: Coule’s, King’s, Bessy’s and Piskies) is a peaceful and breathtaking stretch of coast. It also serves as inspiration to students of the International Musicians Seminar, which occupies a scenically perched Art Nouveau building.
Take your time today and enjoy the secluded beauty of this stunning series of coves. Take the steep steps down to the tiny pebble beach of Bessy’s Cove. Skirt around to Piskies Cove and admire the sandy shore and the varied blue shades of its water. Climb to the narrow headland of Cudden Point, where you might spot a seal colony. At this impressive height, you get your first spectacular views of St. Michael’s Mount, rising offshore like a wedding cake.
Stackhouse and Trevean coves follow as you continue along the rugged coast dotted with gorse and scrub, tracing walking trails and vehicle tracks. Pause at Perran Sands to renew and refresh in the water and perhaps have lunch. Before getting underway again, explore the quaint village of Perranuthnoe, home to a small, Norman-style church dedicated to the patron saint of Cornwall, St. Piran. And pass what could be the oldest recorded inn of Cornwall, a now-Victorian building with roots dating to the 12th century.
Return to the flat fields squared by Cornish hedges, native tamarisk, and boulders. The sheltered parcels, mild climate, and fertile soil are ideal for flower farming. Head around Basore Point and rocky Ternow Cove before turning inland to the ancient market town of Marazion. An active artist community of painters and potters, it claims to be England’s oldest settlement.
This afternoon you can explore the fascinating scenery and history of “The Mount,” viewing it from the shore, walking out to the tidal island at low tide, or crossing by boat. Originally, it had historic Benedictine connections to Mont Saint Michel in Brittany; its monastic buildings date to the 12th century. Clues also suggest the island was a tin port in prehistoric times, and it may even have been mentioned by the Romans and Greeks. By 1424, the connection with the French island monastery ended, and it passed through the hands of various aristocratic landowners over the centuries, with a small fishing community at its base. Now, the Mount is managed by Britain’s National Trust, with a 999-year lease held by the St. Aubyn family.
This evening, either settle into your final accommodations here in Marazion—with stunning views of St. Michael’s Mount—or transfer 20 minutes to your inn in the picture-perfect fishing village of Mousehole, described by the poet Dylan Thomas as “the loveliest village in England.” Dinner is included at your inn.
Accommodation: The Old Coastguard, Mousehole
6.1 miles, moderate, 600-ft. elevation gain and 900-ft. elevation loss. Or 4.9 miles, easy to moderate, 500-ft. elevation gain and loss
After another hearty breakfast, choose again from two walking options. Maybe the most spectacular walk in Cornwall, the first (more challenging) option begins with a transfer to the little village of Zennor, set above high, rocky cliffs amid boulder-strewn hills and moors. The granite here was quarried to build parts of St. Ives and the walls of Falmouth Harbor. You set out into this romantic, brooding landscape at the Tinners Arms, the town’s only pub. Zennor’s 1150 Norman church is notable for its medieval carvings of the Mermaid of Zennor, who is said to have lured a local parish singer into the sea, never to be seen again. During World War I, this was also home to D.H. Lawrence, who praised Zennor’s setting as “lovelier than the Mediterranean.”
Your footfalls first lead you along the South West Coast Path around Zennor Head. Though its granite cliffs soar 200 feet from the sea, the head’s highest point lies at 314. The head was mined for copper in the Victorian Age. Cornwall still boasts about 30,000 miles of stone-based hedges, most of them established in ancient times. Some of them are here on Zennor Head and they reveal much about the area’s 6,000-year-old Bronze Age farming system. Lands here are still farmed sensitively to preserve wildlife and Neolithic historic features.
Continue along a fairly rigorous footpath, plunging down towering cliffs to splendid coves and then climbing to the next head. Expect to do some boulder scrambling during this segment. At Mussel Point, your halfway mark, take in the magnificent views of rugged cliffs and perhaps pause for a picnic. Off shore, admire the rocky islands known as The Carracks and Little Carracks, the Cornish word for “rocks.” You might spot grey seals on the largest of them. Your route from here levels out a bit, following grazed cliffs, grassland, and heathland to Porthmeor Beach, the premier beach of St. Ives and one of Cornwall’s finest. Its long golden sands, overseen by artists’ studios, take the full force of the Atlantic surf, flanked as it is by rugged headlands. There’ll be time to explore St. Ives, a quaint seaside resort, with its many craft shops and galleries. If you wish, wander into the narrow lanes to visit the satellite Tate Gallery here, or the Hepworth Collection, before transferring back to your inn.
Today’s second (easy-to-moderate) walk option begins and ends at the historic harbor front in Mousehole. Once a busy port crowded with fishing boats landing pilchards, Mousehole today is one of the most charming harbor villages in the country, its cobbled streets winding down toward a tiny stone harbor scattered with net-stacked fishing boats, ringed by small shops, galleries, and pubs crafted from finely grained Lamorna granite. Join the South West Coast Path at the southern end of the village and follow it along the edge of weather-beaten cliffs, over exposed fields, and through shaded tree tunnels of the Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve, a conifer plantation sloping down to the sea. Shortly after rounding the headland of Carn Du with its panoramic views, you arrive in the tiny hamlet of Lamorna Cove clustered around the shimmering sea. Apart from the natural beauty of this small cove, Lamorna is perhaps best known for the Post-Impressionist artists who came to stay here in the early part of the 20th-century. There are still many artists and craftsmen living in the area around Lamorna today whose works may be found in several area potteries and galleries. Pause for lunch or a refreshment at the seaside café or at the traditional pub just a short walk inland. The return route to Mousehole loops through the Lamorna granite quarries and through the fields of the clifftop farms overlooking St. Clement’s Isle and St. Michael’s Mount. (Note: a morning and afternoon transfer will be provided if staying in Marazion.)
Accommodation: The Old Coastguard, Mousehole
After a sumptuous breakfast, you transfer about 10–15 minutes to the Penzance train station, where your tour concludes.
The Old Coastguard
Nestled in the lovely fishing village of Mousehole, this characterful, seaside restaurant-pub with rooms offers a laid-back vibe, simple comforts, and locally sourced top-notch cuisine. The 14 un-airconditioned rooms blend tongue-and-groove paneling, plaid fabrics, and colorful walls adorned with Cornish art. More cozy-coastal than super-stylish, they are extremely comfortable and packed with homey touches: bathrobes, blankets, luxury toiletries, coffee, Cornish tea and biscuits, and books with which to curl up with. There are no in-room TVs, but all rooms feature retro Robert radios and WiFi. Most have sea views (even if just a glimpse), and some come with balconies. Downstairs is an award-winning restaurant and friendly bar, a hub of the local community where you’ll often find sandy toes, muddy paws, and many a local popping into the bar or chatting over Sunday lunch. The bright conservatory provides a space to relax with comfy sofas and a floor-to-ceiling glass front that leads out onto a sundeck, the ideal space for guests to while away the afternoon, taking in views across to St Clement’s Island and St. Michael’s Mount. A lovely garden with palm trees is also a plus, with a path leading to rock pools and seats. Please note: this accommodation is available on limited departures.
The Old Quay House Hotel
Occupying a charming whitewashed Victorian seamen’s mission on the Fowey River estuary, the Old Quay House is a boutique luxury hotel of just 13 rooms. With a location on Fore Street, one of Fowey’s central streets, the charms of the town are within easy reach. Enjoy splendid views of the Fowey estuary and the vast harbor where they meet the sea, with the option to dine or sip a signature cocktail on the outdoor waterfront terrace, part of the property’s “Q” restaurant. Un-air conditioned rooms are bright, elegant, and tastefully furnished with an eye toward simplicity. Please note: this accommodation is available on limited departures.
A charming cluster of houses on the harbor’s edge of St. Mawes, the contemporary Hotel Tresanton is a 30-room property that once held a place in high society as a sailing club. The creation of Olga Polizzi, one of England’s most renowned hoteliers, each of its un-air conditioned rooms offers spectacular views across the Cornish Sea toward St. Anthony’s Lighthouse. Gracious, inviting, and elegant, its eclectic interiors feature both traditional and modern furnishings, with an engaging blend of lovely mosaic and tongue-and-groove floors and local art. The outdoor terrace of the restaurant, too, has wonderful waterfront vistas. Fresh seafood and farm-fresh dishes are served simply here and provide the perfect ending to a rewarding day of walking. Please note: this accommodation is available on limited departures.
|9 meals: 6 breakfasts and 3 dinners|
|Detailed water- and tear-resistant Route Notes and maps|
|Orientation meeting with a Country Walkers representative|
|Local representative available 24/7|
|Scheduled taxi and luggage transfers (Please note: If unable to walk, it is possible to transfer with your luggage from one accommodation to the next at no additional charge.)|
|Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Global Assistance|
|Access to Self-Guided Flight Concierge—Ask our knowledgeable team to find flights that sync perfectly with your planned trip.|
Dates & Prices
|2020 Dates||Number of Travelers||Pre Hotel Night||Post Hotel Night|
|2-3||4+||Single Supplement||Solo Surcharge||2+||Single Supplement||2+||Single Supplement|
|May 4 - Jul 29||$3,198||$3,198||$1,348||$398||$198||$198||$198||$198|
|Jul 30 - Aug 29||$3,398||$3,398||$1,348||$398||$198||$198||$198||$198|
|Aug 30 - Oct 31||$3,198||$3,198||$1,348||$398||$198||$198||$198||$198|
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