South West Coast Path - Padstow to Penzance

South West Coast Path (Padstow to Penzance) Route

This is our suggested South West Coast Path route from Padstow to Penzance. Click on Itineraries and Prices for various route options.

Day 1: Arrive in Padstow
Travel to the town of Padstow, the gourmet capital of Cornwall, where you can sample some of the freshest seafood in Britain, enjoy a boat trip, or sit with a drink overlooking the picturesque harbour.

Day 2: Padstow to Porthcothan (13.5 miles / 22 km)
Enjoy a day of easy walking along low cliffs, with beautiful, tempting beaches below. The path passes the sheltered beach of Hawker’s Cove before leading you out to the Atlantic Coast. If you can resist the sandy beaches on your journey you will have more time to enjoy the sheltered dune-backed beach of Porthcothan at the end of today’s walk.

Day 3: Porthcothan to Newquay (10.5 miles / 16.5 km)
Follow the coast to Bedruthan Steps - a popular tourist spot since Victorian times, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the huge slate outcrops scattered along the beach. The trail winds between little coves and headlands before leading you into the popular seaside town of Newquay.

Day 4: Newquay to Perranporth (12.5 miles / 20 km)
After leaving Newquay Harbour cross the famous surfing hotspot of Fistral Beach and the picturesque tidal inlet of The Gannel. Your destination this evening, Perranporth, is an idyllically located village surrounded by golden sands and spectacular cliffs.

Day 5: Perranporth to Portreath (12.5 miles / 20 km)
The hustle and bustle of Perranporth disappears quickly as the trail passes through an ancient coastal mining district following rugged clifftops and narrow paths. There’s a handful of little villages to stop for refreshments, or sandy beaches where you could enjoy a picnic.

Day 6: Portreath to St Ives (18 miles / 29 km)
Seals are a common sight around the waters today and sunfish and basking sharks have been spotted from the North Cliffs. The dunes behind the spectacular beach which stretches from Godrevy Point to the entrance of the Hayle estuary are also rich with wildlife.

Your overnight stop this evening, St Ives, is one of the prettiest towns in Cornwall and has attracted artists for centuries. It’s home to some of the finest art galleries in Britain including The Tate and the Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden.

Day 7: St Ives to Zennor (6 miles / 9.5 km)
This relatively short walk between St Ives and Zennor is one of the most challenging sections of the South West Coast Path due to the rocky and sometimes boggy ground, and several steep ascents and descents between the headlands. This is made up for with some of the most spectacular coastal views in the country, along with a feeling of remoteness unlike any other part of the coast path.

Day 8: Zennor to St Just (12 miles / 19 km)
More challenging walking awaits today as you journey through Cornwall’s mining landscape, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscape is littered with stunning rock formations and former tin mines, which soon give way as you make your way to beautiful Cape Cornwall - once thought to be the most westerly point in England before Land’s End stole the accolades. St Just, a mile inland from Cape Cornwall, is an attractive former mining town with some excellent pubs and restaurants.

Day 9: St Just to Porthcurno (11 miles / 18 km)
A couple of star attractions of the South West Coast Path await today - Land’s End and the Minack Theatre. Land’s End is the most westerly point on the English mainland and the closest point to North America. The excellent Wildlife Discovery Centre has telescopes to help you identify the local seabirds and wildlife (look out for basking sharks and dolphins), and the view out to the distant Scilly Isles is nothing short of spectacular.

The trail continues alongside attractive cliffs and stacks, including the arch of the Armed Knight, before more wonderful clifftop walking leads to the amazing open-air Minack Theatre and the picturesque village of Porthcurno.

Day 10: Porthcurno to Penzance (11.5 miles / 18 km)
The final day offers a wonderful finale to this part of the South West Coast Path. The cliff castle of Treryn Dinas is thought to have been occupied as early as the Mesolithic period (9000 - 5500 BC), and the pretty village of Lamorna is a welcome stop for a picnic.

The trail leads you into the picturesque village of Mousehole, which poet Dylan Thomas called “the prettiest village in England”. The last native Cornish speaker, Dolly Pentreath, died here more than 200 years ago. From Mousehole, the scenery becomes increasingly urban, and a long stretch of road walking will take you into the bustling town of Penzance where you can enjoy views of the distant St. Michael's Mount.

Day 11: Onward travel