This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.
Arrive in St Ives
St Ives is a bustling fishing village with a wonderful harbour, winding narrow streets, art galleries, and plenty of restaurants.
Section 1: St Ives to Zennor
Head out of St Ives and follow the wild and rugged coastline south. Undulating paths on rough and demanding terrain make todays walk a strenuous one, but all worthwhile for the stunning views across the sea. Zennor is a small village which is a 10-15 minute walk inland from the coast, the local pub will be a welcoming sight after the walk today. The local museum is worth a visit which is dedicated to Cornish life from Prehistoric times.
Walk: 6 miles, 10 km
Section 2: Zennor to Pendeen
The stretch to Pendeen Watch passes some beautiful little coves to Gunnard’s Head which is a great stop for a picnic. The cliffs of Bosigran can be seen and once you reach Pendeen Watch, visit the lighthouse in the afternoon before you head inland to Pendeen for your overnight.
Walk: 7 miles, 11 km
Section 3: Pendeen to Sennen Cove
There is a lot to see on this section of the walk to Sennen Cove, with astounding views out to sea. Soon after leaving Pendeen you reach the remains of old tin and lead mines and then the Iron Age Kenidjack Castle—a wonderful place to take a break and look at the views towards Cape Cornwall. St Just is the next place on the map and is worth a detour if you are not stopping here, it is a thriving village with artists and is the most westerly town in the UK!
From Cape Cornwall to Sennen Cove is a wonderful walk passing the sand dunes to Whitesands Bay. Honey coloured cliffs prevail and keep your eyes peeled as dolphins are a common sight. The route follows the dunes but alternatively you can walk on the beach until you reach the little village of Sennen Cove.
Walk: 9.5 miles, 15 km
Section 4: Sennen Cove to Porthcurno
This day includes wonderful cliff top walking and reaching Land’s End is a real high point on the South West Coast Path. Here views across to all of the amazing rock formations - The Armed Knight, The Irish lady and Dr Syntax head to name a few can be seen from here. Heading onwards follow the path past many coves and cliffs to the spectacularly located Minack Theatre at Porthcurno Bay. It is perched on top of the cliffs overlooking the bay and from here the steps lead down to the beach and the village.
Walk: 7 miles, 11 km
Section 5: Porthcurno to Penzance
From Porthcurno you will quickly reach Logan Rock which is a 70 tonne boulder that used to be rocked by pushing it! You pass many coves until you reach Lamorna which is one of the few wooded coves on the path.
The next section of the walk passes through a pine forest and then heads inland to Mousehole. From here to Penzance the walk follows a track mainly on tarmac. Soon you will be amongst the buzz of Penzance with its galleries and cafés lining the streets.
Walk: 11 miles, 18 km
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. You will stay in carefully selected B&B’s, guesthouses, country pubs and small hotels. A delicious breakfast is always included.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms within your party we will always try and accommodate you subject to availability. A single supplement is payable. This walking tour is available to solo walkers but as we incur additional baggage transfer costs, there is a solo walker supplement payable.
We strongly recommend adding extra nights in St Ives and Penzance. In high season or weekends some accommodation will not accept one night stays in these locations.
Additional nights can be added at any point on the walk.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.
Queens Hotel - St Ives
The Queens Hotel is situated a 2 minute walk from the harbour, each room is bright and spacious, and comes with a flat-screen satellite TV.
Zennor Chapel Guesthouse - Zennor
Zennor Chapel Guesthouse and Café is situated in the village of Zennor just half a mile from the South West Coast path. There are five unique newly-decorated rooms, all with fantastic views of the sea of hills.
North Inn - Pendeen
The North Inn is a traditional ivy-clad Cornish village pub with purpose-built guest accommodation to the rear. The rooms have modern bathrooms and balconies on the seaward side.
Old Success Inn - Sennen Cove
The Old Success Inn is a delightful 17th century Fisherman's Inn. Over the years, The Old Success has been sympathetically modernised to improve its accommodation, restaurant and other facilities.
Rockridge House - Porthcurno
A very friendly run B&B, situated in the valley of Porthcurno. All the guest rooms are en-suite and it is located just a short walk from the beach and the Minack theatre.
Torwood House - Penzance
This beautiful Victorian house is situated on a tree-lined avenue close to the seafront. All original doors and features where possible have been retained to provide comfortable rooms with modern day comforts.
You can start your trip on any day between March and October subject to availability. This section of the South West Coast Path is very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as you are able to.
Time of Year
This section of the South West Coast Path is probably best enjoyed in the Spring and Autumn when there are fewer people on the trails, however it is lovely during the summer months also. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans.
This holiday is graded from moderate to strenuous depending on the itinerary you choose. Although you follow the coast quite closely it includes plenty of elevation gains and losses and some steep sections.
The route is well way marked and easy to follow. We supply detailed maps and guidebooks so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Getting to St Ives
By Rail/Bus - Trains run from London to St Erth (5H), where you need to change trains to St Ives (15mins)
By Car - St Ives is a 5H30 drive from London, there is limited parking and the car parks can often be very busy in the summer months.
Getting from Penzance
By Air - Newquay Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe and Air Southwest from UK Airports. The closest international airports are Bristol and any of the London Airports.
By Rail/Bus - There is a direct train from Penzance back to London Paddington (6hrs)
By Car - There is parking in Penzance but again it can be very busy. If you need to return to St Ives from Penzance you can do this by bus, it is only 8 miles and takes around 45 mins.
Information on train and bus travel may be found on the Traveline website
- Overnights in B&B’s, small hotels and guesthouses
- Luggage transfers
- Detailed Information Pack, guidebook and map
- 24/7 telephone support from our UK office
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to St Ives
- Travel from Penzance
- Lunches & Dinners
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Single room supplements
- Solo walker supplements
How fit do I need to be?
Although you are following the coast the ascents and descents are often steep and you will need strong knees and a good level of hill fitness. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness, regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 3 months prior to your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
Do I need to be able to navigate?
Yes, but it's really easy. The path is well waymarked throughout and we supply a detailed map and guidebook so you shouldn't have any problem following the trail.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Cornwall is extremely popular over the summer months. Even if you are booking last minute we will always try and accommodate your plans, so please do give us a shout.
Are there upgrade options available?
We use a variety of B&B’s, guest houses, small hotels and Inns on our trips. In the larger towns, there are hotel options available. Please note that these can be at a slightly higher upgrade cost, but they are not similar to our ‘In Style’ accommodation options
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. We will send you a full equipment list as part of your info pack.
When is the best time of year?
April, May and June when the spring flowers are out is just great. Also September and October when the summer holiday makers have gone home.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport, local taxis or our baggage van may be able to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your information pack.