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England: Cornwall (Land’s End Circuit)

  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £735
    Longer/shorter stays possible
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £650
    Longer/shorter stays possible

Ancient trails, great tales, dramatic coastal walking…and seals!

Back to Routes
Lamorna Cove

Lamorna Cove

Pretty Mousehole harbour

Pretty Mousehole harbour

The last remnants of prehistoric tombs

The last remnants of prehistoric tombs

Newlyn harbour and distant St Michael's Mount

Newlyn harbour and distant St Michael's Mount

Sennen Cove

Sennen Cove

Post-industrial landscapes at Kenidjack

Post-industrial landscapes at Kenidjack

St Ives harbour (photo: Pixabay)

St Ives harbour (photo: Pixabay)

Longhorn cattle keep watch

Longhorn cattle keep watch

The broad sands of St Ives Bay

The broad sands of St Ives Bay

St Michael's Mount (photo: Pixabay)

St Michael's Mount (photo: Pixabay)

Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall

Tin mines cling to the cliffs at Botallack

Tin mines cling to the cliffs at Botallack

Botallack mines

Botallack mines

Price: from £735
Nights: 6
Grade:
Walk: 3-7 hr/day

Travellers Blog

Cornwall: a walk of wonders

Thursday 10th December | Posted by On Foot Staff

Cornwall: a walk of wonders view article

This is a new walk, so we don't have any walker reviews yet.

England: Cornwall (Land's End Circuit) - On Foot Holidays

At a glance

6 nights (5 full days walking). We recommend extra nights in St Ives to explore the town more fully.

How much walking?

Full days: 10-22km, 3-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: No shortening options.

Max. Grade:

Ancient trails, great tales, dramatic coastal walking…and seals!

The ancient Greeks knew this part of Cornwall as Belerion, which translates as ‘Shining Land’, or a little less romantically as ‘Seat of Storms’, and it’s not hard to see why, on both counts. Of course, we like Shining Land best and although those ancient visitors were probably less-impressed by the clear blue skies, glistening azure seas and special artists’ light than by the tin mining industry that has shaped the landscape over the last millenia, there’s no doubting that this has always been a very special place indeed.

Our route is, we think, a perfectly formed circuit, offering a taste of everything a walker could wish for. Starting with a micro-pilgrimage from St Ives across the rural peninsula to St Michael’s Mount, we then spend three days exploring some of the best of the South West Coastal Path. Pass through Marazion, Mousehole and Porthgwarra – all names made famous in fiction and art but as beautiful in reality as in the mind’s eye and then explore the picturesque remains of the mining industry. Wildlife lovers will be spoilt too – watch seals as they chase fish across the bay in Lamorna and spot now rare Cornish choughs with their red feet and bills, signifying King Arthur’s violent and bloody end.

For your final walk back to St Ives, we loved the Tinner’s Way across Woon Gumpus common, with its mining heritage, stone circles, castles and quoits, leading directly to St Ives. If you prefer, you can stay on the coastal path all the way to St Ives, feeling supremely satisfied and with a smile etched from ear to ear.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Mary and Fi.

REVIEWS: This is a new walk, so no feedback has yet been received.

COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Please read our summary of current regulations.

Route Highlights

  • St Ives and its galleries
  • The Tinner’s Way
  • The St Michael’s Way – a micro pilgrimage to St Michael’s Mount
  • Dramatic coastal walking around the Land’s End peninsula
  • Plentiful wildlife, including seals and the Cornish chough
  • Abundant folklore, ancient tales and more modern ones too
  • Relics of the Cornish tin mining industry

This route features the following characteristics and interests: Coast, Pilgrimage, Archaeology, Art, Birdwatching, Drive to route, Food, History

We Recommend

Plan a long enough stay in St Ives to fully explore this pretty town and its galleries.

Eating and drinking

Cornwall produces among the richest variety of top quality fresh produce from land and sea available anywhere in the UK. Here you will find the iconic Cornish pasty and clotted cream sitting happily alongside some of the best modern British cuisine and world-class cheeses, wines and spirits. So, take some time to seek out Cornish pasties, a clotted cream tea, saffron cake, Kern cheese, crab sandwiches, Tregothnan tea, Tarquin’s gin, St Austell’s Proper Job ale, Warren beef and local Cornish wine. Plenty to power you on a full day’s walk.

How much Walking?

Full days: 10-22km, 3-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: No shortening options.

Warm up with a relatively long but easy walk on the St Michael’s Way. Then comes some challenging walking on the South West Coastal Path, where navigation is easy but the paths are rocky and there’s considerable ascent and descent. For the walk into St Ives, there’s a choice to stay on the coastal path or you can strike off inland onto the easier Tinners’ Way.  Mainly easy navigation using our notes, maps and GPS files. Coastal walking requires good boots and walking poles and some of the walking may worry the acrophobic.

Medium-hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 712m (530m-800m) per day.

Medium: CUSs 684m (530m-800m) per day using shortening options where available (ending at Marazion on the first day and bussing into Penzance, and starting the following day at Mousehole after a short transfer).

GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone.

Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.

 

When to go?

The best months to walk: April, May, June, September, October

Other possible months: March (from 2022 onwards), July, early November

Please note: date ranges shown are for a ‘normal’ year. While Covid-19 restrictions remain, please contact us to discuss your plans and availability.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for St Ives

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in St Ives

Arrive in St Ives, check in to your accommodation and then get your bearings around the pretty town and its coast. Perhaps visit a gallery if time allows and certainly eat well tonight.

Day 2 - St Ives to Marazion and St Michael’ Mount: The St Michael’s Way

The St Michael’s Way is part of a network of paths that lead to Santiago de Compostela, so today’s leg stretching walk is a mini pilgrimage in its own right. Follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims who arrived from Ireland and Wales and abandoned their ships to walk across the peninsula rather than navigate the treacherous waters around Land’s End, converting the locals as they went.

Starting in pretty St Ives, wend your way across to impressive Carbis Bay before heading inland and up to Knill’s Monument with some fabulous views of St Ives Bay. Then comes Bowl Rock, said to have been created by a giant (they feature large in Cornish folklore and are much blamed for the rocky landscapes you will encounter), before a short climb up and over Trencom Hill, a Neolithic hillfort. Ludgvan is the next place of interest – the church was used as a meeting point for pilgrims and is worth a visit, before you descend through the bird-filled Marazion marshes and on to the village of Marazion itself, and St Michael’s Mount at the end of the causeway. (4¼hrs walking time (allow 5¾hrs), 14¼kms, CUSs 460m).

Alternatives: No shortening options BUT you could extend the walk by c. 4½km by following the SWCP all the way into Penzance (we think the bus is best!).

VISITING ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT: At low tide, you can walk across to St Michael’s Mount but there are currently no public boats, so if you are exceedingly keen to visit, it’s worth planning your dates accordingly to avoid disappointment – it may mean taking a second night in Penzance. A visit to the castle and the island must be pre-booked at www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk. Closed on Saturday. National Trust property – free entrance to members.

Day 3 - Penzance to Porthcurno

A fabulous day of walking, with something for everyone. But it’s tough and long if done in its entirety so we recommend, actually, that you miss the first section of the walk by taking the bus into Mousehole (pronounced ‘Mau zel’) and starting from there, which is where the exciting coastal walking begins.

Mousehole, so named after the small entrance to its harbour, is a pretty village and it’s easy to get distracted by its charms. But don’t linger for long as Lamorna is not without appeal – seals reside in the harbour and can be seen hunting for breakfast and lazily eating their spoils, whilst floating on their backs.

From here, the path wends its undulating way along the coast with dramatic scenes around each headland: lighthouses, smugglers’ coves and even an iron age hillfort to explore. Today’s journey ends in pretty Porthcurno.

Either stay in Porthcurno for the night, or take a transfer on to Sennen Cove. (6 hrs walking time from Mousehole (allow 7 hrs), 13kms, CUSs 650m.)

Day 4 - Porthcurno to Sennen Cove

Another lovely day of dramatic coastal walking beginning in pretty Porthcurno, probably best-known for its internationally renowned Minack Theatre, fascinating Telegraph Museum and stunning natural beauty. Plan to spend some time here (the Minack and the museum must be pre-booked) before striking out across the cliffs, with views around every corner, some as far-reaching as the Isles of Scilly.

A paddle at Porthgwarra Beach is on the cards today before enjoying the lookout from Gwennap Head and then the long, relatively uninterrupted walk around Land’s End, iconic in its own right. Having posed for the ubiquitous selfies beside the signpost, leave the madding crowds behind and enjoy an easy walk down to Sennen Cove to find your accommodation, right on the coast path. (4 hrs walking time (allow 5 hrs), 11kms, CUSs 650m.)

Day 5 - Sennen Cove to Pendeen

Today’s walk begins by heading around the enormous golden expanse of Whitesand Bay, popular with surfers as they catch the Atlantic rollers. Pass mineshafts (be sure to stick to the marked path), pretty coves, fantastic headlands and ancient burial grounds on your way to Cape Cornwall, originally thought to be England’s most westerly point and certainly more charming than its successor.

Having taken some time to climb to the Cape’s lookout station, the path now passes around the Kenidjack Valley and the remains of a mining industry long past. Chimneys and old mine buildings make their indelible mark on this industrial landscape, culminating for the day just beyond the Botallack mines. Head inland to peaceful Pendeen, for your accommodation tonight, and a much-deserved, home-cooked dinner. (6 hrs walking time (allow 7 hrs), 14 kms, CUSs 800m.)

Day 6 - Pendeen to St Ives

A day of choices. For those who want to see a little more of the interior of West Penwith, follow the ancient Tinner’s Way all the way to St Ives, passing by stone circles, quoits and menhirs along the way. Woon Gumpus Common, Men-An-Tol, Ding Dong Mine and the Nine Maidens are like sirens, luring the unwary walker along the trail. The Tinner’s Way probably dates back as far as the Bronze Age and the introduction of metal working, and offers a sense of isolation that’s missed on the busier coastal path. As you begin your descent back to the sea, you can see both north and south coasts, giving a real sense of journey’s end.

For those who find the enticing draw of the coast path too much to resist, consider doing the first part of the Tinner’s Way to the Gurnards Head Inn near Zennor and then joining the much tougher coastal path for your triumphant entry into St Ives. You could also head back to the coast path to complete the whole walk, but, unless you have planned a stop in Zennor for the night, it’s a long, tough walk… (Tinner’s Way: 6 hrs walking time (allow 7 hrs), 20 kms, CUSs 790m).

Departure day

Depart for home or, better still, stay longer to enjoy this very special part of England.

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY RAIL
St Ives has its own station served via St Erth. St Erth is located on the London/Exeter-Penzance line with a regular daily service. The train journey from St Erth to St Ives is a highlight in itself.

Sample journey by rail:
Via London: Paddington to St Erth, then change for train to St Ives (c. 5½ hrs)

We suggest thetrainline.com for times, ticket booking and other information.

ARRIVING BY CAR
Please let us know if you plan to drive to St Ives so that we can help with your parking arrangements, which are not cheap.  

ARRIVING BY AIR
For those coming from further afield, the best “local” airport is Newquay (45 minutes drive away) or Exeter or Bristol.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for more detailed transfer information.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

Your accommodation is booked within walking distance of the railway station, or you may prefer to take a local taxi if your bags are unwieldy.

If you plan to drive, please ensure that you have made parking plans as it can be expensive and may not necessarily be close to your accommodation. On Foot can help with the arrangements.

For those arriving by air, transfer times and methods are suggestions from London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports, but if you arrive at Newquay, Bristol or Exeter airports, then transfer times will be shorter in most cases (contact us for advice).

GATWICK AIRPORT

Outward: Gatwick Express to Reading, train to St Ives, changing at St Erth and possibly Plymouth too (c. 7 hrs).  Other routes via London may be quicker, depending on your arrival time at Gatwick.

Return: As above, in reverse.

HEATHROW AIRPORT

Outward: Heathrow Express to London Paddington, train to St Ives, change at St Erth and possibly Plymouth too (c. 6 hrs).

Return: As above, in reverse.

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

Where You'll Stay

In St Ives we can offer a choice of inns and hotels to suit your budget. In Penzance you’ll stay in a lovely old pub close to the station and seafront. In Porthcurno, it’s a comfortable B&B (but small, so your dates may be limited) and we have chosen a newly-extended inn on Sennen Cove, where many of the newer rooms have great sea views. In Pendeen, it’s a fabulous local restaurant with rooms, before heading back to St Ives once more.

St Ives – The Western Hotel (B&B)

Night 1

St Ives – The Western Hotel (B&B)

An old coaching inn, centrally positioned, with live music.

St Ives – Pedn Olva (B&B)

Night 1 (Upgrade)

St Ives – Pedn Olva (B&B)

A contemporary hotel with great views of the harbour and bay. Outdoor heated pool.

Penzance – The Longboat Inn (B&B)

Night 2

Penzance – The Longboat Inn (B&B)

Traditional, family-run inn, close to the harbour.

Porthcurno – Seaview House (B&B)

Night 3

Porthcurno – Seaview House (B&B)

Small and friendly B&B, a short walk from the lovely cove.

Sennen Cove – Old Success Inn (B&B)

Night 4

Sennen Cove – Old Success Inn (B&B)

A bright and cheery inn, overlooking a wide beach popular with surfers.

Pendeen – Field House (dinner, B&B)

Night 5

Pendeen – Field House (dinner, B&B)

A cosy B&B with a big welcome, and perfectly placed for the setting sun.

St Ives – The Western Hotel (B&B)

Night 6

St Ives – The Western Hotel (B&B)

An old coaching inn, centrally positioned, with live music.

St Ives – Pedn Olva (B&B)

Night 6 (Upgrade)

St Ives – Pedn Olva (B&B)

A contemporary hotel with great views of the harbour and bay. Outdoor heated pool.

Staying in St Ives and Penzance
Both St Ives and Penzance have a big range of accommodation to choose from, so if we’ve not listed something that appeals, then do let us know and we will do our best to source something that works better for you.

If you want to bring your four-legged walking partner, or would prefer a
hotel with all mod-cons, or are looking for something a little more bijoux, then please ask and we will do our best to help.

 

 

 

 

Prices

Price: from £735 for 6 nights

Total 6 nights in double/twin room, 6 breakfasts, 1 dinner; luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.

Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £300
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £135

Maximum party size: 8

 

 

Add Ons

Extra nights: Contact On Foot
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK:  £10-£40 (per pack, location dependent)

 

 

 

Travellers Blog

Cornwall: a walk of wonders

Thursday 10th December | Posted by On Foot Staff

Cornwall: a walk of wonders view article
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
On Foot Holidays team

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This route has been designed by the staff team at On Foot Holidays in Salisbury.

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