England: Cornwall

Self-Guided Walking Tour, England: CornwallSelf-Guided Walking Tour, England: Cornwall

England

Cornwall

overview

On a wedge of land in England’s southwest corner—where the open Atlantic meets the peaceful English Channel—Cornwall offers a maritime bounty of rugged seaside landscapes and bustling harbor towns for anglophile adventurers to enjoy. Walking the spectacular oceanfront cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and broad sandy beaches of this fascinating region, you’ll soon discover why people keep coming back to this region’s famous South West Coast Path. Start your journey in the traditional fishing port of Padstow—a culinary hub, thanks to its dock-fresh seafood—before ambling over to the subtropical beaches of artsy St. Ives, where acacia trees and palms look out on an aquamarine waterfront that more resembles the Mediterranean than the north Atlantic. Finish your journey with a visit to St. Michael’s Mount near Penzance, a 12th century monastery and castle linked to the mainland by a narrow cobblestone path that’s only above water at low tide. Along the way you can visit the prehistoric remains of ancient Celtic Cornish settlements, mix it up with the locals over a pint and a bite in quaint pubs, and savor stays in sumptuous, waterside hotels. It’s a quintessentially British adventure by the sea...perfect for you to appreciate at your own pace.

 

Activity Level
Easy to
Moderate;4-10
miles daily
Meet
Bodmin, England
Depart
Penzance, England
Daily Itinerary
Download printable
itinerary
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
Self-Guided Walking 
7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Breakfast daily, one lunch (day 5), and three dinners (days 1, 3, 5); beverages not included
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Local transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers between the hotels
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Compare Dates & Prices
Prices Starting From...
Departure Dates
2+ travelers
Single Supplement
Solo Surcharge
2014
April 1 -30, Oct 1 - 31
$2,598
$695
$795
May 1 - Sept 30
$2,698
$875
$945
2015
April 1 - 30
$2,798
$745
$875
May 1 - Sept 30
$2,898
$895
$1,045
Oct 1 - 31
$2,798
$745
$875
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Padstow
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2
Padstow
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3
St. Ives
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4
St. Ives
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5
Marazion
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6
Marazion
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7
Marazion
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Day 1

Padstow

Arrival in Bodmin. Transfer to Padstow

The tour starts in Bodmin, on the main rail line from London to Cornwall, where you are picked up for a transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to the Cornish coastal town of Padstow. Once solely a traditional fishing port (which you can learn about at the small town museum), now Padstow’s colorful piers, shops, and restaurants are also enjoyed by tourists and recreational sailors. For many in the UK, Padstow is associated with British celebrity chef Rick Stein, a seafood specialist, who owns several restaurants in town. Once settled into your centrally located hotel, you can explore on foot or borrow one of the property’s complimentary bikes. With advance reservation and payable locally, you could also participate in a cooking class. We recommend you visit the National Lobster Hatchery, an internationally recognized research center promoting marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable lobster fishery. You proceed to your first of the week’s many fine dinners, tonight at the chef’s flagship restaurant, with a truly rich array of seafood from fresh oysters to Dover sole, local hake, seafood curry, or lobster thermidor, or Cornish rib-eye steak, if you prefer a land option.

The Seafood Restaurant

Padstow, Cornwall

A restaurant and hotel share the same name, but confusion drops away upstairs in the stylish boutique hotel situated above the restaurant in the center of Padstow. Spacious modern rooms are inviting and soothing with neutral tones and natural wood, decorated by hotel owner and interior designer Jill Stein. All have views of Padstow Harbour or the Camel Estuary.

Day 2

Padstow

Padstow Circular Walk around Rock; 6 miles, easy

After a delicious breakfast at your hotel’s restaurant—classic English, or with a specialty fish dish such as grilled kippers—you set off on an easy loop walk beginning with a short scenic ferry ride on the Padstow Rock Ferry across the Camel River estuary. Be sure to check with your hotel about the small ferry’s departure point, which can be at one of two places depending on the tide.  You watch the pleasure and working boats on the estuary, then, once on the other side, you walk along the water and the long sandy beach stretching from Rock to Daymer Bay, backed by wildflower- and grass-covered dunes. Along the dunes is the ancient St. Enodoc’s church, a chapel dating to the 13th century that had to be dug out from the ever-shifting sands that began covering it in the 16th century. You may choose to stop for a hearty lunch at one of the pubs along the way. Further down the trail you pass Brea Hill, a bronze age burial mound, before reaching the bucolic village of Pityme and lastly Porthilly Beach. . Once back in Padstow, you are free to continue your explorations of the town’s many inviting shops and restaurants.

The Seafood Restaurant

Padstow, Cornwall

A restaurant and hotel share the same name, but confusion drops away upstairs in the stylish boutique hotel situated above the restaurant in the center of Padstow. Spacious modern rooms are inviting and soothing with neutral tones and natural wood, decorated by hotel owner and interior designer Jill Stein. All have views of Padstow Harbour or the Camel Estuary.

Day 3

St. Ives

South West Coast Path to Constantine Bay; 12 miles (4- and 7-mile options available), easy to moderate

Your walk today is along the South West Coast Path—the longest, and arguably the most scenic, of England’s many long distance National Trails. With a total length of 630 miles, as its name indicates, the path follows the coastline of England’s southwest coast, encompassing the entire coastline of Cornwall, including Land’s End. Following historic trails used by coastguards and locals, you can pick up the path by leaving your hotel on foot, or shorten the walk by hopping on a local bus to start a bit farther on. The Cornwall portion of the Coast Path is characterized by grassy high cliffs overlooking the open ocean and rocky coves and beaches below, as well as charming villages offering options for pub or café lunches. The end of the walk, and your pickup point, is at Constantine Bay—the long sandy beach preferred by surfers, protected for its biological and geological features, and designated a “Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” You are transferred just over an hour to the lovely seaside town of St. Ives—especially known in Britain for the man in the nursery rhyme with seven wives, sacks, cats, and kittens!* Your home for two nights is a glorious beachside hotel with superb dining and views over the Caribbean-like aquamarine waters of the region. Sourcing directly from local Cornish growers and fishing boats, the award-winning menu may feature pan-seared pollock or roasted local lamb.

* As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Every wife had seven sacks
Every sack had seven cats
Every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives.
How many were going to St Ives?

Carbis Bay Hotel

St Ives, Cornwall

A deluxe hotel and spa directly on its own beach, the family-run historic property overlooks the sea and Carbis Bay, part of the larger St. Ives Bay. Spacious rooms are luxurious and just steps away from the hotel’s beach, awarded nationally for the highest scenic and environmental standards. Set in inviting grounds, with gardens, a tropical conservatory, ocean-view terrace and swimming pool, and fine dining, on-site spa treatments are also available.

Day 4

St. Ives

Carbis Bay to St. Ives; 6-8 miles, easy to moderate; St. Ives exploration; optional excursion to Zennor

After basking in the stunning views at breakfast, today’s walk takes you from your hotel along and above the coastline, accompanied by sea views, to the charming town of St. Ives. You can return on foot or catch a train back to your hotel, thus allowing ample time for exploration of the town or relaxing on the beach. Along the walk, there are relics of Stone Age habitation as well as a medieval chapel and a fisherman’s lookout hut.  A quaint English seaside resort, St. Ives is an art center with its many craft shops, galleries, and museums (including the Tate Gallery and the Hepworth Collection) lining narrow lanes. You may choose to stay in St. Ives for the evening, or return there by the five-minute train ride to explore its restaurants and cafés, or again enjoy your hotel’s fine dining.

An additional option today is to take a local bus to the tiny village of Zennor, which is noted for a 15th-century church with its legendary mermaid carving, as well as the Zennor Quoit, said to be Britain’s largest Neolithic portal tomb. The English author D.H. Lawrence lived and wrote Women in Love here, calling Zennor “the most beautiful place, lovelier even than the Mediterranean.”

Carbis Bay Hotel

St Ives, Cornwall

A deluxe hotel and spa directly on its own beach, the family-run historic property overlooks the sea and Carbis Bay, part of the larger St. Ives Bay. Spacious rooms are luxurious and just steps away from the hotel’s beach, awarded nationally for the highest scenic and environmental standards. Set in inviting grounds, with gardens, a tropical conservatory, ocean-view terrace and swimming pool, and fine dining, on-site spa treatments are also available.

Day 5

Marazion

St Michael’s Way; 10 miles, easy to moderate

You leave your hotel on foot, fittingly to walk a portion of the ancient pilgrimage route of St. Michael’s Way, one of Europe’s many medieval pilgrimage routes trail-marked with the scallop shell of Saint James, the patron saint of pilgrims, and leading to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Way leads from Carbis Bay on the western side of the peninsula, up and over land to the southern shore and emerges near St. Michael’s Mount, the tiny tidal island with a castle and chapel, connected to the mainland by a manmade stone causeway that can be crossed at low tide. The trail rises behind Carbis Bay, traversing sand dunes, to far-reaching views at Trencrom Hill. It is thought that medieval pilgrims, missionaries, and travelers, en route to or from Ireland and Wales, chose this route to avoid the treacherous waters around Land’s End. Before reaching your destination, the trail gently descends to sea level, passing through marshes and wetlands rich with birdlife, and you can walk all the way to your hotel in the town of Marazion, with its stunning views of the Mount. You settle in to a well-earned rest and dinner at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.

Mount Haven Hotel

Marazion, Cornwall

Stunningly located overlooking historic St. Michael’s Mount, this warm boutique hotel offers spacious modern rooms, individually decorated in rich fabrics and plush furnishings. Terraces and inviting gardens, dining and public areas combine contemporary decor with Eastern touches, also with spa treatments on site.

Day 6

Marazion

St Michael’s Mount exploration. Optional coastal walk; 4.5 miles, easy

Based in a perfect place for relaxation and sightseeing, today you can explore the fascinating scenery and history of St. Michael’s Mount, walking out to the tidal island at low tide, or crossing by boat. Originally, the Mount had historic Benedictine connections to Mont Saint Michel in Brittany; its monastic buildings date to the 12th century. Clues also suggest the island was a tin port in prehistoric times, and it may even have been mentioned by the Romans and Greeks.  By 1424, the connection with the French island monastery was ended, and it passed through the hands of various aristocratic landowners over the centuries, with a small fishing community at its base. Now, the Mount is managed by Britain’s National Trust, with a 999-year lease held by the St. Aubyn family. After strolling through the Mount’s narrow alleys and ancient stone ways, you may choose to walk along a portion of the South West Coast Path, turning onto an inland trail before looping back to the coast and your hotel. You may also choose to hop a short bus to Penzance, the picturesque town with its pirate background, or to the dramatic scenery of Land’s End, England’s most westerly point.

Mount Haven Hotel

Marazion, Cornwall

Stunningly located overlooking historic St. Michael’s Mount, this warm boutique hotel offers spacious modern rooms, individually decorated in rich fabrics and plush furnishings. Terraces and inviting gardens, dining and public areas combine contemporary decor with Eastern touches, also with spa treatments on site.

Day 7

Marazion

Departure

After a final view of the Mount over breakfast, before noon a 20-minute private transfer takes you from your hotel to the Penzance train station for the train to London.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

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