White sand and emerald sea , St Ives, Cornwall

A Guide to the Perfect Week in Cornwall

This guide will help you have the ultimate holiday in Cornwall. Read on for ideas on how to experience many of this stunning county’s highlights in a week.

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful jewels in England’s crown. Found at the south-western tip of the UK, this idyllic county is a dream destination, brimming with the best England has to offer. Visit Cornwall and you will be mesmerised by its rugged cliffs, wild moorlands, stunning beaches, and picturesque harbours and villages.

Who Should Visit Cornwall?

The answer to this question is easy…everyone! No, seriously, Cornwall really is the perfect destination for everyone. Whether you want the ideal destination for a family holiday, a romantic destination for special ‘together-time’, or somewhere for solitude to get away from it all, Cornwall is one of the first places you should consider. More specifically, for the:

  • Surfers, it is home to some of the world’s best surf. 
  • Hikers, it contains some of the most beautiful stretches of the South West Coast Path.
  • Foodies, it has more than its fair share of Michelin starred and top-rated restaurants.
  • Beach lovers, find your perfect spot with over 300 beaches to choose from.
  • Campers, it has over 200 campsites.
  • Culture lovers, from Daphne du Maurier and the Tate St Ives, to the Minack Theatre and Tintagel Castle, Cornwall’s cultural riches abound. And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

We did this trip with our daughter, who was 3-months old at the time. We used the baby-carrier a lot (still the best thing we have bought, thank you Baby Bjorn) and the walks we did on day 1 and day 4 are definitely not pram-friendly. If you are thinking of doing this with a baby we definitely recommend the Eden Project (see day. 6). Our daughter was absolutely fascinated by it all. So much so that we ended up getting annual passes.

Cliffs of the South West Coast Path next to the sea
Along the South West Coast Path

Is a Week in Cornwall Long Enough?

Let’s be honest, most of us would prefer to be travelling for longer than a week but, sometimes, that’s the most we’ve got. Spending a week in Cornwall is definitely time well spent.

Cornwall is only 75 miles long and you are never more than 20 miles from the sea. It is easy to travel around by car but beware of the summer peak holiday season when the traffic can be horrendous! Sadly, like a number of rural counties in England the public transport links are far from adequate so, if you plan to travel around, you really do need a car.

Unless you are caught up in the aforementioned traffic you can cover a lot of Cornwall in a week. However, to rush from place to place ticking things off of a list is to miss the point of Cornwall. Whilst you may see a lot you won’t experience the county at its best. Cornwall is a place to be absorbed, not to rush through.

For ideas on how to use your annual leave to get even more time off work to explore places like Cornwall read How To Maximise Your Annual Leave.

Suggested Itinerary for a Week in Cornwall

In our opinion, having done it ourselves, our week in Cornwall itinerary strikes the balance between seeing a lot of the highlights, whilst giving you time to truly experience the Cornish peninsula. Feel free to adopt it as your own, or use it as a starting point to plan your own itinerary.

Above anything else we recommend that you give yourself the opportunity to be flexible with your plans to get the most out of your holiday (although this goes for any trip, not just time in Cornwall). The weather in England is notoriously unpredictable and its changeability can easily disrupt the best laid plans.

Yes, some of Cornwall’s highlights are missing from our suggested itinerary. For example, we desperately wanted to visit the Minack Theatre. Who wouldn’t want to visit an open-air theatre carved into a granite cliff looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean? Unfortunately, there were performances on most days (we didn’t have and couldn’t get tickets) and the timings when we could have visited didn’t work out with our other plans. The weather was appalling on the one day we could visit and so we reluctantly decided to leave it until next time. Another omission is Tintagel Castle, the medieval fortification which, legend has it, is the birthplace of King Arthur. Just as we were about to set off we discovered that the whole complex was closed whilst a new footbridge is constructed (re-opening Summer 2019). Again, something for next time.

Itinerary Summary

Day 1Travel day
Day 2Fowey & South West Coast Path Walk (Fowey-Polruan-Bodinnick)
Day 3Truro, The Roseland Peninsula & Mevagissey
Day 4Charlestown & South West Coast Path Walk (Menabilly Barton-Gribbin Head-Polkerris)
Day 5Port Isaac, Padstow & Newquay
Day 6Eden Project
Day 7St Ives, Marazion (St Michael’s Mount) & Falmouth
Day 8Stops at Looe and Cawsand & Kingsand before heading home

Day 1 – Travel Day

How to get to Cornwall

Unless you live close to Cornwall it’s best not to plan too much for the first day to give you time to get there and settle. The table below provides a summary of the transport options to get to Cornwall. The Visit Cornwall website has a very useful section on travelling to Cornwall – click here to go to the travel information page.

By PlaneCornwall Airport Newquay is Cornwall’s own airport and Exeter International Airport is in neighbouring Devon. You can fly into Newquay from London Gatwick, Manchester, and a number of other regional airports. Flying into London Heathrow is an option if you then use another method of transport to get to Cornwall itself.
By TrainHigh speed train services run between London Paddington and Penzance, with the option of using branch lines to get to other places in Cornwall. This route also includes a sleeper service. Direct lines also run from Bath, Bristol, Plymouth, and Exeter St David’s. As well as London Paddington, Reading is a good place to change to a train heading for Cornwall from elsewhere in the UK.
By CarThe motorway leading to Cornwall is the M5, although it doesn’t go into Cornwall itself. The main dual carriageway A-roads for Cornwall are the A30, the A38. Once in Cornwall there are lots of beautiful country roads with a few main routes. As we said above, traffic can be very heavy during the peak summer months so the more you can do to avoid driving during peak times, the better.

NOTE If you leave Cornwall via the River Tamar Bridge there is a toll payable and, unless you have a Tamar Tag, you can only pay in cash (Euro notes are accepted). Make sure you have sufficient change as it is difficult to get cash near the bridge. Click here for details.
By BoatThe closest port to Cornwall is in Plymouth, just across the River Tamar in Devon. Services from Roscoff, France and Santander, Spain arrive in Plymouth. It’s possible to arrive by boat into another part of the UK and transfer to Cornwall from there.
By CoachThe main coach companies providing services into Cornwall are National Express and Megabus. Both take you to a number of places within Cornwall, making travelling by coach an excellent option. It takes 7-8 hours to get into the city of Truro by coach from London

Day 2 – Fowey & South West Coast Path Walk (Fowey-Polruan-Boddinick)

This first full day is a great introduction to Cornwall, combining exploring a Cornish harbour town with the South-Cornish coast line. Fowey is a prosperous harbour town on the banks of the River Fowey. The South West Coast Path is 630 miles long, the longest national hiking trail in the UK. It winds along the coast from Dorset, through Devon, Cornwall, Devon again, and Somerset. 300 miles of the path are in Cornwall and provide an opportunity to explore the staggeringly beautiful coast.

If you drive to Fowey, parking in the town itself is very limited but there are a number of car parks on the outskirts (click here for car parking information).  The Main car park is the closest and is a 5-minute walk downhill to reach the town. However, we recommend parking in the Readymoney Cove car park and taking the opportunity to spend some time at this picturesque little beach before walking for 10-15 minutes along the Esplanade to reach the town.  

View towards Readymoney Cove
View from the path towards Readymoney Cove

If the water is too much to resist you can swim in Readymoney Cove’s designated swimming area.  It also has a small shop and toilet facilities.  When you are ready, retrace your steps uphill and make your way into Fowey itself. We recommend doing the walk first before spending a couple of hours wandering amongst Fowey’s beautiful collection of winding lanes, pastel-coloured houses, and small shops and boutiques. 

Fowey-Polruan-Boddinick Walk

Start: Fowey  End: Fowey  Distance: 5 miles  Duration: 3 hours Difficulty: Challenging

Looking towards the white sand of Lantic Bay

On this walk you will experience the best of South Cornwall’s coast, countryside, and riverside.  It starts in Fowey before going on to Polruan, round to Bodinnick, and back to Fowey. It is a wonderfully scenic circular walk along the South West Coast Path, with dramatic views out to sea and towards the Cornish coast line. You will then circle back round through the countryside passing the church where Daphne du Maurier was married. The final stretch of the walk takes you along the River Fowey Estuary. 

When we started writing this article we included details of the walk here. However, we quickly realised that the walk deserves its own dedicated blog post and so that is what we’ve done. We also thought that it’s easier to refer to a self-contained article when you’re doing the walk (or you can print it out and use it in that way). To read the article about the walk follow the link below:

Day 3 – Truro, The Roseland Peninsula & Mevagissey

Gothic facade of Truro Cathedral against the blue sky

Truro

Spend some time today in Cornwall’s capital, Truro.  If you can coincide your visit with a dry, warm day (easier said than done in England!) it is particularly pleasant to wander around the city centre, spending time (and money, probably) in the shops.

Marvel at Truro Cathedral, the last cathedral built in England.  The three spires soar above the city, enhancing the skyline.  It was completed in the early 20th century and is beautiful from every angle.

Triple spires of Truro Cathedral seen behind trees
Truro Cathedral

As well as the usual chain restaurants, Truro has some fantastic independent restaurants.  Over the years we like to think that we’ve become Sunday Roast connoisseurs so believe us when we say that if you are here on a Sunday you must sample this English tradition at Bustopher Jones on Lemon Street.  The crispy roast potatoes are particularly good! [Query, do roast potatoes exist if they’re not crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside?]

If you can resist the urge to take a nap after all of that delicious food you must instead go for a stroll in Victoria Gardens. The gardens were originally created to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and they are certainly a gem. From May to September there are free concerts in the bandstand every Sunday, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Another reason to visit Truro on a Sunday!

The trees, shrubs, and bandstand of Victoria Gardens
Victoria Gardens

Roseland Peninsula

From Truro take a drive around the Roseland Peninsula, reached by taking the King Harry car ferry.  A journey is always more fun when there’s a water crossing involved! As you approach the ferry you could take a detour to Trelissick, a National Trust owned property. Explore the country house or just wander through the gardens of this beautiful aristocratic estate.

Head towards St Mawes, a harbour town looking towards Falmouth (there is a passenger ferry connecting the two, great for a detour). Along the way you have to stop at the church of St-Just-in-the Roseland. The churchyard may well be the prettiest in the whole of the UK. No, seriously! The 13th Century church sits on the banks of St Just Creek and the churchyard is a higgledy-piggledy layout of gravestones amongst sub-tropical plants, trees, and shrubs. It’s quite something when you can sit in a churchyard, keeping cool under the shade of a palm tree, and listen to the sound of water lapping.

Sub-tropical plants in the churchyard of St Just-in-Roseland
Sub-tropical plants in the churchyard of St Just-in-Roseland

After you’ve enjoyed a coffee and an amble along the harbour front of St Mawes, head back the way you came to reach the other side of the peninsula. You can drive to St Anthony’s Head at the southernmost tip of the peninsula to see the remains of a Victorian gun battery. And if you’re as old as we are you’ll recognise the lighthouse there as the one from Fraggle Rock!

Looking out across the harbour of St Mawes
Looking out across the harbour of St Mawes

We decided to head to Mevagissey for dinner. You can stop at Porthcurnick beach along the way, or head towards the beaches of Carne & Pendower (or both). We arrived at Pendower beach as the sun started to get lower in the sky and had it to ourselves. It was a great stop to stretch our legs and drink in the stunning Cornish coastline.

Pendower beach looking out towards the cliffs and Nare Head
Looking from Pendower Beach towards Nare Head

Mevagissey

As with most of the coastal driving in Cornwall, the drive to Mevagissey is spectacular if you hug the coast as much as possible. Trust us, you will have the urge to keep stopping! One of our stops was at Porthluney Cove (Caerhays Beach), the views were too beautiful not to stop. We later read that this beach is a naturist beach, although apparently there hasn’t been much naturist activity for a while. Still, it’s good to know that you have options if you’re desperate for a swim and you’ve forgotten to pack beachwear (which, incidentally, would be a grave mistake to make in Cornwall. Always have beachwear with you during the warmer months!).

Porthluney Cove
Porthluney Cove

Mevagissey is a small port in southeast Cornwall and it is incredibly pretty! Its roads are few and extremely narrow so driving is a little difficult. We highly recommend parking your car in one of the car parks as quickly as possible and exploring on foot.

It was getting late by the time we arrived and too dark to take photos so we found somewhere for dinner. Although Mevagissey is small it has some fantastic places to eat and so is therefore popular. If you know where you want to eat in advance it is worth booking, especially in peak season. We had dinner at Number 5, a café and restaurant serving fresh seafood and meat dishes using locally sourced ingredients. It has a relaxed, convivial atmosphere and manages to achieve the difficult balance of being a restaurant that’s as good for couples as it is for families. And the food is delicious!

Mevagissey is a lovely place to end a lovely day.

Day 4 – Charlestown & South West Coast Path Walk (Menabilly Barton-Gribbin Head-Polkerris)

Have you read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca? Or perhaps seen the 1940 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine? If you have, you’ll know that ‘Manderley’ is a haunting and iconic house in English literature. It’s up there with Miss Haversham’s ‘Satis House’ in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Mr Rochester’s ‘Thornfield Hall’ in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. If you haven’t read Rebecca, or indeed any of Daphne du Maurier’s books, you are definitely missing out and you need to add them to your reading list immediately! Especially as, at the time of writing, a new film adaptation of Rebecca is in the making, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer.

Anyway, what has this got to do with a holiday in Cornwall?

Daphne du Maurier moved to Cornwall in the late 1920s and she gained inspiration for her books from her new home (if you’ve been to Cornwall, you will understand this). She originally lived in a house in Bodinnick and was married in the Church of St Wyllow in Lanteglos-by Fowey (you can see these locations if you do the walk in Day 1 – see above or click here). She later moved to live in Menabilly, which has been immortalised in Rebecca as the aforementioned Manderley. Whilst it’s not possible to visit the house (it’s private property), we wanted to explore the surrounding area.

But, before we got to Menabilly we visited Charlestown.

Charlestown

If you’re a fan of the Poldark TV series you’ll already be familiar with Charlestown as it features in different guises in the show. It is in South Cornwall near to St Austell, and is a beautiful example of a late-Georgian working port, which played an important role in the mining industry. In fact, Charlestown is part of the ‘Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape’ which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

You can wander around the quay and admire the tall ships docked in the harbour. Then pay a visit to the Shipwreck Centre which houses artefacts from over 150 shipwrecks from around the world, dating back to Ancient Egyptian times!

Tall ships in Charlestown Harbour
Charlestown’s tall ships

Charlestown is on the South West Coast Path so you can go for walks along the coast from here. Or just walk out onto the shingle beach and admire the stunning views.

Cliffs of Charlestown Coast
The coast from Charlestown
Crab sandwiches from The Galley, Charlestown

There are various places along the harbour where you can stop for a bite to eat, a coffee, or an ice cream. Cornwall is famous for its fresh crab and, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite place for fresh crab sandwiches was here in Charlestown. The Galley is a small deli where you can sit in the outdoor seating area or take food away. It serves fresh sandwiches, Cornish pasties (it goes without saying that you need to have at least one pasty whilst in Cornwall), cream teas (and the same for a cream tea), homemade cakes, and the aforementioned delicious crab sandwiches.

South West Coast Path Walk (Menabilly Barton-Gribbin Head-Polkerris)

After Charlestown, drive 20 minutes down the road to Menabilly Barton to the Hambland car park at the start of this walk.

Start: Menabilly Barton End: Menabilly Barton Distance: 4.5 miles Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours Difficulty: Moderate

Looking across Polridmouth Cove and beach
Looking across Polridmouth Cove

On this walk you will enjoy breathtaking coastal views as you ascend to the Gribbin Headland Daymaker and follow the South West Coast Path to Polkerris Beach. You’ll then return to the starting point, perhaps trying to get an elusive glimpse of Menabilly/Manderley!

For full details of the walk read Walking the South Cornish Coast, Dreaming of Manderlay.

Day 5 – Port Isaac, Padstow & Newquay

Spend time in North Cornwall on Day 5 of your trip. The coastal cliffs of South Cornwall are dramatic, but North Cornwall’s are even more so!

Port Isaac

Have breakfast in Port Isaac, a classic Cornish fishing town and working harbour. The picturesque harbour is lined with shops and cafés before the rugged coastal path ascends, leading to Port Gaverne to the east and Tintagel to the west. If you’re a fan of the hit British TV series, Doc Martin, you will recognise Port Isaac as the village in which all the action happens. Such is the popularity of the series that tours run to the various filming locations and you can buy all sorts of memorabilia with Martin Clunes’s face on (we’re fond of our fellow-Dorset countryman).

Port Isaac harbour
Port Isaac harbour – spot Doc Martin’s house on the far left of the photo

Padstow

After breakfast in Port Isaac, head to Padstow for lunch. Thanks to celebrity chef Rick Stein, Padstow has been transformed from a sleepy fishing port into a chic gourmet town. If you want to eat in one of Rick Stein’s establishments (and there are a fair few to choose from) you’d be well advised to book in advance, particularly during peak season. Alternatively, if you fancy upmarket dining from a different chef you can take your pick in Padstow. For example, try Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 or Andy Appleton’s bistro Appleton’s at the Vineyard.

We had lunch at Rick Stein’s St Petroc’s Bistro. It’s great that they allow children in there (oh how we’ve changed!) and the service is excellent but, if we’re honest, we were disappointed with our food. We shared the chateaubriand and were somewhat underwhelmed. The meat was a little overcooked and we could have created what appeared to be a soggy lettuce side ourselves. Our fish and shell soup starter, however, was excellent and exactly what we were hoping for in a restaurant of this calibre.

Rather than drive straight to Padstow, do as we did and park in Rock instead. That way you can get the ferry across to Padstow, which is a more novel way, and fun, to arrive.

Looking across the sand to Padstow from Rock
Looking from Rock to Padstow at low tide

Newquay

Newquay’s Atlantic coast location, together with a collection of stunning beaches, makes it the UK’s premier destination for surfing. Fistral has excellent surfing conditions and is probably the most well-known (and, therefore, busiest) of Newquay’s beaches. Crantock’s vast expanse of golden sand and excellent swimming conditions makes it a great ‘all-round’ beach. Mawgan Porth is quieter and less-developed so is a good choice if you want to be away from the crowds (although there will still be people there, especially in the summer months).

When driving from Padstow, follow the coastal road (B3276) to stop at Bedruthan Steps. These magnificent granite pillars stand in testament to the beauty and wonder of the power of the elements and, therefore, are very Instagram friendly!

We headed to Watergate Bay for its incredible views, spectacular sweep of golden sand, and for dinner at The Beach Hut. After our disappointing lunch we were in the mood for seafood in a relaxed setting, and this is The Beach Hut’s speciality.

In a contrast to the sunny blue skies we’d been enjoying, the weather was starting to close in and a storm was threatening. This just served to make our panoramic views of the bay from our window table at The Beach Hut even more startling! This place is brilliant and it’s right on the beach so it must be rammed in peak season! It’s the sort of place that’s perfect in all-weathers, although we’d bet good money on it being its best in winter! We want to go back to snuggle by a crackling fire enjoying a glass of wine whilst nature puts on a stunning beach display outside.

Coffee at the Beach Hut, Watergate Bay, Newquay
Enjoying the view at The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay

Day 6 – Eden Project

In the early 1990s there was a huge clay pit in Boldeva, close to St Austell, which was all but exhausted after being in use for around 160 years. Nowadays, there’s a tropical rainforest, a Mediterranean paradise, tea plantations, outdoor gardens, England’s longest zip wire, and more!

The Eden Project opened its doors in March 2001 and, since then, millions and millions of visitors have helped it to become one of the UK’s biggest landmarks. If you’re looking for paradise, this is an excellent place to start! It is worth dedicating the best part of a day to a visit, whatever the weather. It’s a fantastic place to take kids. We were as in awe of the whole place as we were at seeing the awe on our 3-month old daughter’s face! And there was us thinking that she was too young to be interested – how wrong we were!

The biomes of the Eden Project
The Eden Project’s biomes

The Eden Project’s biomes are probably its most recognisable feature; they are the largest greenhouses in the world! The Rainforest Biome is the larger of the two and, when you enter, you are transported to four of the world’s rainforest environments: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Tropical South America.

Whatever you’d choose to wear to explore a rainforest you need to wear in here as the temperatures range from 18–35°C. The biome is the world’s largest indoor rainforest, with over 1,000 species of plants. It’s hard to describe how magnificent it is to wander through the biome, absorbing the whole experience. It’s just like being in a rainforest, if rainforests had gravel paths. One of the highlights is the Canopy Walkway, a stunning rope bridge walk through the treetops at the top of the biome. Although be warned, when the temperatures are too high the walkway is closed.

Inside the Rainforest Biome
Inside the Rainforest Biome

The second biome is the Mediterranean Biome, where you can wander through the landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia. The temperatures in here are a cooler 9-25°C, though clearly not cold! The riot of colour is extraordinary and the cocktail of scents mingling in the air is intoxicating. There is a café inside this biome where you can enjoy refreshments surrounded by exotic plants.

Colourful plants inside the Mediterranean Biome
Inside the Mediterranean Biome

Outside of the biomes you can meander for ages through the outdoor gardens and there is a land train to take you between the visitor centre and the biomes if you’d prefer.

If we’re honest, we weren’t expecting to like the Eden Project that much but it turned out to be one of the highlights of our week in Cornwall. So much so that we converted our tickets into annual passes. The Project does a huge amount of work on conservation and sustainability and it’s impossible not to want to be part of its vision to create a future that we all want to live in and educate all of us to help fight climate change and biodiversity loss.

At the time of writing, there are plans in place to build an eco-friendly hotel on the outskirts of the site which is scheduled to open in 2021, as well as another Eden Project in the north of England.

Day 7 – St Ives, Marazion (St Michael’s Mount) & Falmouth

There are certain places in Cornwall that more people have heard of than others. Lands End is one of them, Penzance is another, St Ives is a third.

St Ives

St Ives fits many people’s idea of the perfect Cornish destination. It’s four picture perfect beaches, artistic community epitomised by the illustrious Tate St Ives, and foodie-heaven eateries make it a dazzling place to behold. However, its perfection means it can also get very busy, particularly during the school summer holidays in July and August.

We highly recommend arriving in St Ives by train. Not just because parking is limited in St Ives, but because the train journey is one of the most beautiful railway lines in England. Running from St Erth, the St Ives Bay Line takes you past magnificent coastal scenes. We’re talking about vast sweeping arcs of white sand, lapped by turquoise and cerulean waters. Not your average sight from a train window!

On the train to St Ives

St Ives has some outstanding restaurants. Those on the harbourside command stunning views to accompany their dishes, although dining in such glory does not come cheap. Whilst wandering the cobbled streets a few blocks back from the seafront we stumbled across a real gem: Olive’s Café. There are only a few tables and we were very lucky to nab one of them. Olive’s serves delicious light meals, cakes, and the all-important Cornish cream tea, all of which are home-made. We’ve eaten our way through a fair number of scones so believe us when we say that you will struggle to find any better than the ones baked at Olive’s! ‘Mouth-watering’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

Cornish Cream Tea
The perfect cream tea at Olive’s Café

From St Ives on the north coast, drive for 30 minutes to the south coast to Marazion to see St Michael’s Mount.

Marazion (St Michael’s Mount)

As you’re on the road approaching Marazion, St Michael’s Mount appears on the horizon like something out of a fairytale. We’ve used lots of superlatives throughout this article to describe Cornwall and we’re going to use more. The arresting sight of St Michael’s Mount looming large over the sea is something to behold. Whether it’s against the backdrop of a bright azure sky, or storm-grey clouds, it’s simply stunning.

St Michael’s Mount is a medieval castle, sitting atop an island, reached by a causeway. It feels like something from the myths of time and getting to the island is half the fun. If you visit when the tide is out you can get to the island by crossing the causeway. Or, do as we did and eschew the causeway to walk across the beach. When the tide is in, the island can only be reached by boat (unless you fancy the swim!).

St Michael's Mount, looking across the beach
St Michael’s Mount

The castle, the grounds, and the gardens are owned by the National Trust. There is an admission fee for the castle and a separate fee for the gardens. It’s free, however, to walk over to the island and this is what we did. For us, it was enough on this trip to absorb the magic of the place without going any further. The St Michael’s Mount website is an excellent resource to plan your visit if you’d like to explore further.

Falmouth

End the day with a stop in Falmouth, a lovely seaside town overlooking the Fal River, surrounded by green hills.

The boats in Falmouth Harbour

Falmouth boasts independent cafés, trendy bars, and relaxed restaurants. If you haven’t had fish and chips yet, now is the time. And, if you have, have them again! If you’re from Britain you know that fish and chips are part of the British DNA (along with Sunday Roasts and cups of tea), but producing the perfect fish and chips is an art as well as a skill. Our recommendation is Harbour Lights in Falmouth. Whether you sit in the restaurant with views over the quay, or get a takeaway and sit wherever you’d like, they certainly know what they’re doing here! Feast on chunky fish encased in melt in your mouth batter accompanied by perfect chips. Definitely worth the calories! And don’t just take our word for it. Harbour Lights was named one of the top 10 fish and chip shops in the whole of the UK in the National Fish & Chip Shop Awards 2019!

Elsewhere in Falmouth, explore Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII to help protect England’s coastline; spend time on its beaches and try stand-up paddle boarding, bodyboarding, and kayaking; or visit the National Maritime Museum (outpost of London’s National Martime Museum in Greenwich) for a 360-degree panoramic view of Falmouth and to learn about its history as a port.

Day 8 – Stops at Looe and Cawsand & Kingsand Before Heading Home

So we arrive at the final day, the day to leave Cornwall. If you have time to make a few more stops in Cornwall along the way then do. After all, it is hard to say goodbye to this spectacular county. These last two stops show you two different sides of Cornwall – the best of both worlds, if you will.

Looe

Looe has been a popular seaside town ever since it became the favourite of prosperous Victorians. It’s kitsch, but this only enhances its charm. Looe is a great place for breakfast before a long journey, to have some last minute beach time, or to pick up last minute souvenirs. Wander the streets and soak in the atmosphere of this bustling Cornish town.

Looking across the river in Looe

Cawsand & Kingsand

After Looe, head to the Rame Peninsula for a taste of ‘unspoilt’ Cornwall. The Peninsula is much quieter than most of the rest of Cornwall and so this a chance to escape the crowds and spend a little more time gawping at the views. Whitesand Bay is the largest beach here, with 3-miles of sand, and is accessed via cliff paths and steps. If you don’t have time to explore this beach head to Cawsand & Kingsand instead.

Devon/Cornwall boundary in Kingsand & Cawsand

Kingsand & Cawsand are two villages sitting side by side, each with a small beach. They are beautiful traditional Cornish villages, once fishing ports. There are a lot of places in Cornwall you can visit and feel you have stepped back in time, but you really will feel that way here. If you had visited Kingsand in early 1844 you would have been in Devon and you could walk down the road and find yourself in Cornwall moments later. However, as a result of boundary changes in that year, both villages are now in Cornwall. The location of the old boundary is still visible on the side of one of the houses.

If you want to have lunch before you head home make sure you find The Old Bakery in Cawsand. This charming artisan bakery is famous for its sourdough and they run baking classes to teach you the secrets (pre-booking is essential). Their menu changes on a weekly basis but you can be certain of an absolutely delicious light lunch. It’s hard to beat their fresh sandwiches made with their sourdough bread. And it’s hard to resist their cakes. Oh, and their scones too! Having lunch here is a lovely way to end the perfect week in Cornwall!

Looking towards Kingsand from Cawsand
The Cawsand & Kingsand seafront with its Victorian clocktower

Where to Stay

Cornwall is known for its idyllic coastal and countryside cottages, campsites, and hotels. However, accommodation can be expensive, especially during peak season. It can be difficult to find ‘the perfect place’ if you are travelling on a budget, although there are literally hundreds and hundreds of options. There are several websites dedicated to helping you find your ideal place to stay and self-catering, dog-friendly cottages are a speciality.

We based ourselves in Polkerris, near Fowey. We found a gorgeous converted barn called Little Polkerris through Cornish Gems. It is situated in a wild meadow with magnificent views towards the sparkling sea. The rural setting was wonderful and we felt remote, even though we were only a few minutes drive from Polkerris Beach.

The road through the meadow to Little Polkerris
The pathway through the meadow to Little Polkerris

Our accommodation had an outdoor hot tub and open plan living. It is marketed as a one-bedroom place sleeping two people, although there are twin beds on a mezzanine level so it would be suitable for two adults and two children. However, the ceilings are vaulted and very low in the second bedroom (presumably it was once a hay loft…or something) and the ladder staircase leading up is very steep.

Little Polkerris was much cheaper than a lot of other places we saw and we couldn’t really work out why because this is definitely a place with the X-factor! The only thing we could think of is that it does not have wifi. That was fine for us but perhaps it is a deal breaker for a lot of people.

Little Polkerris Exterior
Little Polkerris
Sea view from Little Polkerris
Look at the views from that hot tub…bliss!

This itinerary provides a great combination of many of Cornwall’s highlights. It helps you to see some of the best of the county, whilst giving you enough time to relax and soak it all in. Cornwall is achingly beautiful and you can see a lot in a week, although be prepared to yearn for much more time here. We’re already planning our return trip when we can experience a hundred other Cornwall experiences which are now on our bucket list!

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A week in Cornwall | Ideas for a holiday in Cornwall | Cornwall beaches | Cornwall walks | Hike South West Coast Path | Fowey | Charlestown | Eden Project | Menabilly Barton | Port Isaac | Newquay | Polkerris | Mevagissey | Roseland Peninsula | Padstow | St Ives | Who should go to Cornwall | How to get to Cornwall | Cornwall Ideas
A week in Cornwall | Ideas for a holiday in Cornwall | Cornwall beaches | Cornwall walks | Hike South West Coast Path | Fowey | Charlestown | Eden Project | Menabilly Barton | Port Isaac | Newquay | Polkerris | Mevagissey | Roseland Peninsula | Padstow | St Ives | Who should go to Cornwall | How to get to Cornwall | Cornwall Ideas

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