Macs Adventure, Tips & advice, Walking

Where does the South West Coast Path Start and Finish? – And how do I get there?

1 Feb , 2019  

The South West Coast Path is an epic 630 mile trip around arguably the finest stretch of coastland in England. Its myriad of tiny coves, sheer cliffs speckled with seabirds and enchanting little coastal villages make this walk a must-do for every keen hiker.

Where does the path Start and End?

Officially the South West Coast Path begins in the town of Minehead in Somerset, overlooking the Bristol Channel. The path then takes you right to the end of the UK and back along the southern coast until you reach Poole in Dorset, which looks across the English Channel to France.

The full 630 mile path takes around 45-55 days to walk, so while the start points are fixed for these, we have split the route down into smaller sections, so you can tackle one or two at a time as not everyone has a free 55 days. Below we will talk through each of the sections including a brief description on how to get to the start point for each.

In our descriptions we will talk mainly about public transport and how to link back to a major hub like London or Bristol. It is possible to drive to any of these points, however leaving your car for the week and returning along the coast may prove to be a costly.

For more information on the particular walking sections we offer, you can visit our South West Coast Path page on the Macs Adventure site.

Getting to Minehead

By Air – Bristol Airport is the closest to the start of this tour and is served by Easyjet from UK Airports.

By Rail/Bus – Trains run from London Paddington to Taunton (2H). You can then take the bus to Minehead (1H) from here.

Getting to Westward Ho!

By Air – Exeter Airport is served by Flybe from London and Edinburgh. The closest international airports are Bristol and any of the London Airports.

By Rail/Bus – Trains run from London to Barnstaple (3.5H).  From here regular buses run to Westward Ho!

Getting to Padstow

By Air— Newquay Airport is served by Flybe and Air Southwest from UK Airports. The closest international airports are Bristol and the various London airports.

By Rail/Bus—Trains run from London to Bodmin Parkway (3h40) and connect with buses to Padstow.

Getting to St Ives

By Air— Newquay Airport is served by Flybe and Air Southwest from UK Airports. The closest international airports are Bristol and the various London airports.

By Rail/Bus – Trains run from London to St Erth (5H), where you need to change trains to St Ives (15mins)

Getting to Penzance

By Air – Newquay Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe from UK Airports. The closest international airports are Bristol and any of the London Airports.

By Rail/Bus – Trains run direct from London Paddington to Penzance (5 hours).

Getting to Falmouth

By Air – Newquay Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe from UK Airports. The closest international airports are Bristol and any of the London Airports.

By Rail/Bus – You can reach Falmouth from London by train which takes 6 hours, this does involve a couple of changes.

Getting to Plymouth

By Air – Bristol is the closest airport and is served by Flybe and Easyjet from UK Airports. The closest international airport is in London. From the airport you can take a train into the centre (Temple Meads Station) and then board a train to Plymouth (journey takes approximately 3H)

By Rail/Bus – You can reach Plymouth by train from London Paddington. (approx 3H30).

Getting to Exmouth

By Air – Exeter Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe and Easyjet from UK Airports. The closest international airport is in London.

By Rail/Bus – You can reach Exmouth by train from London via Exeter. (approx 3h). Alternatively arrive by bus or fly into Exeter and then get a local train from there to Exmouth.

Getting to Lyme Regis

By Air – Exeter International Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe and Easyjet from UK Airports.

By Rail/Bus – Trains run from London Waterloo to Axminster (2H45) and then you change and take the bus to Lyme Regis from here (20mins).

Getting from Poole

By Air  – Bournemouth International Airport is the closest airport and is served by a few different airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Thomson. You could also fly into Bristol or any of the London Airports.

By Rail/Bus  – You can reach London from Poole by a direct train service which takes approx. 2H20.  

For information on trains and bus schedules consult the Traveline website. The Trainline website also has invaluable information.

We hope this is of some help planning your South West Coast Path trip, however sometimes there is no substitute for speaking to an expert and we have an office full of them, so if you have specific questions on the route, dont hesitate to contact one of our SWCP Specialists.

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Ewan By
A member of Macs Adventure's amazing marketing team, my passion in life is Snowboarding (apart from my family of course, should they happen to read this!) and have taken up mountain biking to fill the seasonal gap and keep me fit enough to spend as much time on the slopes as I can, come winter.