Walking Holidays in Cornwall
Cornwall offers some of the best walking and hiking in the UK, if not the world. With an enormous variety of coastal scenery, winding country lanes, open moorland, accessible heritage sites and a vast network of public footpaths, it is hard to beat.
If you are considering a walking holiday in Cornwall, the information below may be of interest or you can
click here to go straight to a list of our Cornwall walking holiday routes and itineraries.
Throughout this site we have all of the information that you need to know about walking holidays in West Cornwall. But for those of you that want a little more, we have provided the additional sections below:
Cornwall boasts the longest coastline in Britain, providing over 250 miles of incredible coast path and with an additional 2000 plus miles of inland public footpaths, you can understand our enthusiasm for its walking potential. This is all complimented by an awesome diversity of landscapes and terrain that make endless opportunities for walking holidays in Cornwall.
Many of our finer paths work their way through Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is mostly divided between the Lands End and Lizard Peninsulas, Bodmin moor and the Camel Estuary. In case you are wondering, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are “a precious landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them.” Basically this means that they are the most scenic, dramatic and interesting areas in the county and the good news is that whether you want to walk the Cornwall coast path or investigate ancient monuments on the moors, you can easily do it in an AONB.
The longest trail in Cornwall is the Cornish coast path at almost 300 miles long. This is certainly the biggest draw for those interested in a Cornwall walking holiday and we have included more details on walking the Cornwall coast path below.
There are many other trails that offer a great chance to explore the county by foot. The second longest, and most well known is the Cornish Way, a 180 mile trail from Bude in North Cornwall down to Lands End in the far west. This cycle trail is now popular with walkers and is a good alternative to a Cornwall coast path walking holiday. Comprised of six individual trails, this route is generally easier going than the coast path and includes many of Cornwall’s heritage sites as well as incredible scenery.
Next comes the Camel Trail in North Cornwall. Beginning at Padstow, this 11 mile trail is a popular add-on to the end of many Cornwall coast path walking holidays (especially St Ives to Padstow in 6 days). Running alongside the River Camel, the terrain is flat, well surfaced and the scenery picturesque. The final section is somewhat wilder, with an introduction to the rugged wilderness of Bodmin moor.
The Mineral Tramways are a network of trails in mid-west Cornwall that explore Cornwall’s mining heritage. Popular with hikers and cyclists, these can make for a series of interesting and scenic walks.
The 630 mile South West Coast Path is Britain’s longest trail and was recently voted one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions by Lonely Planet. From Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset it wanders through two World Heritage Sites, one National Park, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, seventeen heritage coasts and one UNESCO Geopark!
Almost half (47%) of the South West Coast Path lies west of the River Tamar, in the county of Cornwall. Now confirmed at 296 miles, this includes some of the best, most dramatic, unspoiled and evocative coastal scenery in Britain. Walking the Cornwall Coast Path is becoming increasingly popular and it is easy to understand why. For variety, isolation, fresh air, access and spectacular scenery it really is hard to beat a Cornwall Coast Path Walking Holiday.
From North to South - general description
Heading south from Bude, a walk on Cornwall's coast path takes you through Widemouth Bay for 9 miles, by gorgeous sweeping sands, before continuing past the rugged cliffs at Millook Haven and through Cornwall`s only surviving Cornish Oak wood, on to the surfing beach of Crackington Haven. To Tintagel is another 10 miles of rugged coast path, over National Trust owned land and gorse covered cliffs, with views across Sapphire Rock and the Strangles Beach. The hills are as breath taking as the views in this region – great for experienced hikers but not so for those in search of a relaxing Cornwall walking holiday.
It is at Padstow where many of our North Cornwall Coast Path Walking Holidays end. This famous section of coast includes Newquay and Perranporth, Watergate Bay and Holywell, St Agnes and St Ives. There are surf lined sandy beaches, popular resorts, proud headlands and high cliffs all along this section of coast. In fact one of our most popular Cornwall walking holidays is St Ives to Padstow in six days.
West of charming St Ives lies the Lands End Peninsula and some of Cornwall’s most dramatic and ancient scenery. With a real sense of isolation, walking the Cornwall coast path here takes you along the tops of sheer granite cliffs, rugged moorland and some of Britain’s finest beaches. Famous spots such as Lands End, the Minack Theatre and Mousehole pale alongside the magnificent landscapes of West Cornwall.
Using Penzance as a base we have a great opportunity to explore the peninsula in depth without changing accommodation every day. These Penzance walking holidays are ideal of larger groups and those who prefer a little urban comfort in the evenings.
The windswept Lizard Peninsula is next, jutting way out on Cornwall’s south coast. Another wild and wonderful region, the coast is magnificent and harsh with mighty cliffs falling into rough seas and tiny fishing villages nestled in rocky bays. For a superb walking holiday in Cornwall, we recommend covering both the Lands End and Lizard Peninsulas in just over a week.
The coast path to Falmouth (where our Cornwall Coast Path Walking Holidays end) takes you past a Tudor Castle at Pendennis Point. Beyond here is Mevagissey with its old world charm and quaint streets. Next stop is St Austell and Fowey, and from here you head for Talland Bay with its small sandy bay, and on to Looe and Seaton with its grey sandy beach and the shingle beach of Downderry. Beyond this point you will see Plymouth Sound and the end of the Cornish coast path.
The main walking season in Cornwall runs from May to October, but we have determined walkers who visit all year round. As the weather can be rather unpredictable, the month by month guide below is based on our own experience and some statistical evidence. The best thing to remember if you are considering a walking holiday in Cornwall is to be prepared for anything. Bring a rain coat if you are coming in August and your sun screen in April, just in case.
Typically we have mild and wet Winters (we are surrounded by relatively warm water that comes up from the Gulf of Mexico) with only occasional snow, beautiful fresh Springs, warm Summers with long days and warm, showery Autumns.
January: Few walkers around. Cold, wet and windy.
February: Still empty with more rain and similar temperatures.
March: Longer days, fresh winds and showers. Still chilly.
April: Often sunny with fresh winds and showers and more visitors arriving.
May: More sunshine, warmer days and evening, less rain, plenty of flowers and one of our favourite months for a walking holiday on Cornwall. Things start to get busy half way through this month.
June: Sun, long days, lots of walkers.
July: More sun, warmer and high tourist season. Towns will be busy but the coast path is never so.
August: High season. Should be sunny but often rains. Warmer evenings, light winds and beautiful.
September: The best month for a Walking Holiday in Cornwall. Warm days, cool evenings, fewer people and beautiful colours.
October: Things start to cool down but often dry. Shorter days but still great for walking in Cornwall.
November: A big change with higher chance of wind and rain but still quite popular until mid-November.
December: Not too cold but wet and windy in general. More popular with group centre based Penzance walking holidays than inn to inn hiking.
A North coast Cornwall Walking Holiday will cover a host of spectacular beaches including Perranporth and Bedruthan.
Much of West Cornwall's coastline is haunted by disused tin mines particularly around St Agnes on the North Coast and St Just in the far West. With a little back ground reading, or one of our information packs, this can bring another element to your Cornwall coast path walking holiday.
The West Penwith moors are packed full of ancient monuments and mystery. With a centre based Penzance walking holiday, we can organize hikes or day trips to explore this fascinating area as part of an alternative Cornwall Coast Path Walking Holiday.
Whether walking inn to inn in West Cornwall or as part of a Penzance based walking holiday, it is easy and highly recommended to visit the magnificent St Michael's Mount in Marazion.