- Walk this varied section of the SWCP from Falmouth to Plymouth.
- The fortress of St Mawes, one of Henry VIII’s best preserved castles.
- The historic and charming port town of Fowey.
- Whitewashed cottages and colourful fishing villages.
- The tall ships at the tiny port of Charlestown.
Walk this diverse section of the South West Coast Path from Falmouth to Plymouth.
Start your adventure with a short ferry crossing to St Mawes and wander around the fabulous medieval castle grounds before following the southern coastline to Plymouth.
Discover dramatic coastlines, colourful harbours, quaint unspoilt fishing villages and great locally-caught seafood. Megavissey, Charlestown and Fowey are all great places to add extra nights and you can take time to visit the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan en route.
For all the information you need on the South West Coast Path, you can download our free guide.
This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.
Starting Point: Falmouth
Below you will find a detailed description based on our 7 Day & 8 Night Itinerary. The other option is to take 9 days to do the walk with slightly shorter walks on a couple of the days.
Your first overnight will be in Falmouth where its worth arriving early to explore this bustling seaside town. Plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants line the streets and there are many local beaches near the town for a relaxing stroll.
Falmouth to Portloe—13.5 Miles, 22 km
Begin today today by taking 2 small passenger ferries, firstly across to St Mawes and then to Place where the walk starts its route to Portloe. Its worth having a look around St Mawes with its wonderful clover leaf design castle and built by Henry VIII. From Place you follow the trail around St Anthony's Peninsular passing the coastal church and prominent lighthouse. Sandy beaches and small valleys bring you round to Portscatho which is an ideal resting point and lunch spot.
From here the path follows low cliffs and quiet bays past Veryan Castle to Nare Head where you can see fantastic views across to Veryan Bay. Passing more coves the trail ends in the tiny harbour of Portloe fronted by jagged black rocks and an unspoilt harbour.
Portloe to Mevagissey—12.5 Miles, 20 km
From Portloe pass West and East Portholland which are both isolated hamlets. Porthluney beach is a great resting point today with its fabulous beach and a well earned rest from the cliff walking. Caerhays Castle stands behind the bay which is worth having a look at and especially its glorious gardens.
The path then climbs up to Dodman Point where the views are spectacular both back to Lizard and onward. Gorran Haven is a nice resting point and soon you reach Mevagissey, a working fishing village with a busy harbour, narrow backstreets and quaint shops.
Mevagissey to Charlestown—7.5 Miles, 12 km
Leaving the harbour head up to Penare Point passing many overgrown ruins and the small harbour at Pentewan, The village is worth a visit with a nice pub and café. Pass golden sands and head up past Gamas Point and uphill to the rugged Black
Head up to where the Iron Age Castle used to sit proudly on the cliff top. The path heads back down to the coastline and subsequently takes an inland turn towards St Austells bay. This section ends in Charlestown with its tall ships and very interesting visitors centre.
Charlestown to Fowey—10 Miles, 16 km
From Charlestown the path heads round St Austell’s Bay and crosses the wide and spacious Par Sands before entering the wild and remote area at Gribbin Head. A fabulous viewpoint marked with a candy striped daymark tower which stands 84 feet above the cliffs.
The Daphne Du Maurier coastline follows where much of her novels were written and inspiration sought. At Polridmouth a hidden beach opens to reveal the boathouse where the author lived for many years. The path into Fowey passes many coves and St Catherine’s Castle perched on the cliffs. Wander through the remains before you finally reach the village of Fowey with its many bars and restaurants.
Fowey to Looe—12 Miles, 19 km
Today you start off by catching a small passenger ferry across to Polruan. Its quite a steep start to the walk today heading up to the cliff tops but you will be rewarded with some fabulous views. The route today is very remote and wild with plenty of cliff top walking en route to Looe. Head down to the unspoilt beach of Lantic Bay with its turquoise sea.
Polperro is a great stop for a refreshment and thenceforth the walking becomes a little easier through the pretty village of Talland Bay.The final section to Looe is along the seawall with some fantastic views across to St Georges Island.
Looe to Portwrinkle—8 Miles, 13 km
The walk from Looe to Portwrinkle starts by passing the holiday parks at Millendreath and then the path climbs up to Bodigga Cliff. Some lovely woodland walking up on the cliffs follows until you head down to Seaton Beach where there is a lovely little beach café to take a well deserved rest.
Head through Downderry and if the tide is out you can walk along the beach. A zig- zagged path leads up to Batten Heights which is the highest point on the whole Cornwall coast at 461ft. The path continues around Whitesands Bay to finish the days walk in the pretty fishing village of Portwrinkle.
Portwrinkle to Plymouth—13 Miles, 21 km
This last day to Plymouth is a varied day of woodland, cliff top and beach walking. The path passes behind Tregantle Fort which was originally built to protect Plymouth from the sea and then heads along the top of Long Sands beach. The view point at Rame Head is a highlight where the views are wonderful.
From here head around and up to Cawsand and Kingsand Bay which are both great lunch stops. Woodland walking follows through Mount Edgecumbe County Park and then on to Cremyll where you take the ferry across to Plymouth. The last couple of miles of the walk follow the waterfront walkway to Plymouth Hoe where your accommodation is booked for your final night..
Why not try some freshly caught seafood in one of the waterfront restaurants on the Barbican, or relaxing in the sunshine with a picnic on the Hoe. It’s also possible to take a behind the scenes tour of Devonport Dockyard. Each area of Plymouth has something special and unique to explore.
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
During peak summer months and due to minimum 2-night restrictions there is a possibility, in order to confirm your booking, that we may have to use accommodations that are not close to the trail. If this is the case, we will need to charge extra for these transfer costs.
If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you,subject to availability. There is a single room supplement payable.
We recommend adding extra nights in Mevagissey where you can visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project. Another place to add an extra night is in Plymouth at the end of your walk. 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.
Falmouth Bay Guest House - Falmouth
This is a modern, contemporary guest house, with 8 individually styled en-suite bedrooms, in the heart of Falmouth.
The Lugger Hotel - Portloe
The Lugger Hotel sits right on the water’s edge in the centre of this delightful village. All 22 bedrooms are beautifully decorated with deluxe showers and fine linens.
Mevagissey Bay Hotel - Mevagissey
This is probably the best hotel location in the Mevagissey Bay area; the views are second to none and the hotel is perfectly placed to take advantage of the South West Coastal Footpath.
Honeycombe House - Mevagissey
Honeycombe House is a family run Victorian B&B overlooking the harbour. All the rooms provide tea/coffee making facilities and also a hairdryer.
Rashleigh Arms - Charlestown
The Rashleigh Arms overlooks historic Charlestown and is used regularly as an international film location. They provide a full English and continental breakfast.
The Well House - Fowey
Situated in the heart of the historic port of Fowey, this former merchant house has immediate access to a marvellous array of attractions including shops, pubs, restaurants and the fantastic harbour.
The Watermark - Looe
The Watermark is situated in quiet West Looe overlooking the sandy beach, town and little fishing harbour. The rooms are en-suite and stylishly furnished to a high standard.
Little Fox Hotel - Portwrinkle
This charming, family-run 14th Century Inn is situated within 8 acres of quiet private grounds providing extensive views over Dartmoor.
Sea Breezes - Plymouth
This luxury guest house in Plymouth has 6 tastefully furnished rooms with good quality beds, beautiful bed linen and fluffy towels.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you, subject to availability. There is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome, but there is a solo walker supplement to cover the additional cost of luggage transfers.
This holiday is graded from moderate. Although you follow the coast quite closely it includes plenty of up and downs 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 Falmouth
By Rail/Bus - You can reach Falmouth from London by train which takes 6 hours, this does involve a couple of changes.
By Car - There is parking in Falmouth but again it can be very busy. Here is a website with some car parks listed in Falmouth.
Getting from Plymouth
By Air - The closest airport is Southampton. You can take a train to this airport from Plymouth with one change and the journey takes around 4H. Other airports you can fly into are Bristol and any of the London Airports.
By Rail/Bus - You can reach London from Plymouth by a direct train in approximately 3-4H.
By Car - There is limited parking in Plymouth.
If you need to get back to Falmouth from Plymouth then you can take a train via Truro to Penmere and then walk to the centre of Falmouth (2H30)
- Overnights in B&B's, hotels and guest houses
- Door to door baggage transfer
- A detailed info pack, guidebook and map
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Travel Insurance
- Transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Travel to Falmouth
- Travel from Plymouth
- 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?
Favourites are April, May and June when the spring flowers are out and 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 info pack.