Cornwall is Britain’s most south-westerly county, yet in spite of its far-flung location, it attracts roughly 15 million day visitors every year – with miles of wild coastline, picturesque river estuaries, amenty-rich towns and villages and tempting waters, it’s easy to see why.
Cornwall’s proximity to the Gulf Stream makes the county a favourite holiday destination in summer. But winter is a great time to visit, too – the roads are quieter, the towns and villages more relaxed and the footpaths largely empty.
The South West Coast Path runs the length of the Cornish coastline and is a great way to explore the area. Regardless of your designation, drop on to the coast and a trusty SWCP waymarker will be there to guide you on. And there are some beautiful inland routes as well.
To help you get out there and start your own adventure, we come up with a list of our favourite paths, from short Cornish classics to all-day hikes.
Best walks in Cornwall
Cadgwith to lizard Point, South Cornwall
Battered by Atlantic swells on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, Cadgwith is the southernmost fishing village in the UK. Thatched cottages cluster together on the slopes of the valley, while a stream runs down to the sand and across the shingle beach. A lovely 6.5-mile circular walk follows the South West Coast Path from Cadgwith to Church Cove.
St Michael’s Mount, South Cornwall
This nine-mile coastal walk begins at Lamorna Cove, winding along the South West Coast Path past the ‘prettiest village in England’, the coastal town of Newlyn and bustling Penzance, ending at iconic St Michael’s Mount.
Zennor Head, North Cornwall
This circular walk heads through farmland and woods before emerging on to the towering granite cliffs of Cornwall’s north-west coast – a dramatic section of the South West Coast Path, home to seabirds, wildflowers and Atlantic waves.
Lizard Point to Mullion Cove, South Cornwall
From colourful wildflowers and glowing azure waters in spring and summer to the atmospheric wind and waves of autumn and winter, this walk from Lizard to Mullion in Cornwall is guaranteed to awaken your senses.
Pentire Head, North Cornwall
This 3.5-mile circular walk around a Cornish headland has it all – dramatic geology, a wealth of wildlife and a secluded cove with a hidden secret.
Loe Pool, South Cornwall
Cornwall’s largest natural lake runs deep with history and legend, but it’s the diversity of the trails that trace the banks of The Loe and the richness of its wildlife that make it such a special place.
Trebarwith Strand to Port Isaac, Cornwall
This section of the Cornish coast path involves a lot of ups and downs – but those who choose to walk it will be rewarded with magnificent views over Port Isaac Bay, wildlife encounters and pretty seaside villages.
Wadebridge, North Cornwall
Explore the gorgeous Cornish countryside surrounding the historic town of Wadebridge via the Camel Trail.
Boscastle, North Cornwall
Follow a footpath through a dramatic flower-filled valley and verdant woodland, over the River Valency and along high clifftops, starting and finishing at one of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages.
Falmouth to Mylor, South Cornwall
Enjoy clifftop views over the moody English Channel with a short coastal walk before warming up at one of Mylor Yacht Harbour’s eateries.
Perranporth, North Cornwall
Investigate a World Heritage Site that combines rugged cliffs and surprising industrial treasures on a seven-mile walk along the Cornish coast.
Mount Edgecumbe and Rame Head, South Cornwall
Escape the bustle of Britain’s Ocean City on a centuries-old ferry service to a spring-infused landscape of quiet coves, birdsong, woodland and charming fishing village.
Cotehele, South Cornwall
On the Cornish side of the River Tamar, the Cotehele estate encompasses 526 hectares of woodland, meadow and riverside countryside. Enjoy a short walk from Cotehele Quay through woodland to a glorious Cornish estate.