A great way to explore the south west of England’s jewel in the crown is to take one of the great scenic drives in Cornwall. I have hand picked two of my favourite Cornish driving routes that take in some breathtaking vista’s along the way. Whether it’s in a sports convertible or a classic vintage VW camper van. You can take both of these routes at your own pace.
St Ives to Sennen
The starting point for this journey is the iconic seaside town of St Ives. Heading south along the B3306 the road stays close to the Atlantic shoreline, whilst at the same time meandering through the wild Cornish moorland. Along the way you will see many spectacular examples of Cornwall’s rich tin mining history. A late afternoon/evening drive in the summer in particular will provide some fantastic photo opportunities at sunset.
Notable stopping points on the route are the ancient village of Zennor and Cape Cornwall . When you reach your destination at Sennen. Park up and take a stroll down to the spectacular Sennen Cove beach. From there you will have a great view of the iconic Longships Lighthouse just off the coast.
Newquay to Padstow
The lively Cornish town of Newquay is where you will begin your drive. The early part of the drive north will take you past Porth Beach, Watergate Bay and then Mawgan Porth via the B3276 . All three beaches are considered to be some of the best sand & surf beaches in Cornwall.
As you leave Mawgan Porth and head up the coast it’s worth taking some time in your schedule to stop at Bedruthan Steps. You can take a short stroll along the cliffs to view the famous sea stacks. Leaving here you can head straight to your destination, the iconic Cornish fishing port of Padstow. However, if you have more time to play with, then there are few more noteworthy places to pay a visit to along the way. These include, Constantine Bay, Porhtcothan and Trevone.
The town of Padstow on north coast of Cornwall was once most famous for being a traditional fishing port. In recent years a number of superb restaurants in Padstow have opened their doors to the public. And it has now become a must visit destination for food lovers from all over the world.
From comforting pub grub on a cold winters evening, to a fine dining experience fitting for any special occasion. I have picked out a selection of my favourite places to dine out in Padstow.
Rojano’s serves a menu with British and Italian influences in a relaxed environment. They have a great selection of small plates and deli items perfect for a lunch option. As well as some fantastic sourdough pizza’s and larger pasta dishes that are more substantial, ideal for an evening meal. Maybe paired with a bottle of local sparkling wine from the award winning Camel Valley vineyard?
Opened in 1975 the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow has established an international reputation for serving seafood dishes based around fresh locally sourced ingredients. Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a truly local flavour. Oysters and Champagne on a sun terrace overlooking the stunning Camel Estuary. Whats not to like?
A rustic tapa’s style menu located in the heart of Padstow is what is on offer at Prawn on the Lawn. Freshly caught seafood is the core of their menu which changes by the season. By day time Prawn on the Lawn is also a fishmongers. The restaurant is suitable for any occasion, if you love fish, you will love this plaice! The menu highlight for me is the jaw dropping Fruits De Mer.
Located in a Georgian style town house a stones throw from the harbour side. No.6 offers it’s patrons a Michelin star fine dining experience. Showcasing the very best of Cornish produce with influences from south east Asia to continental Europe. Paul Ainsworth at No.6 is a perfect option for both lunch and dinner. If you have a sweet tooth, I recommend you cast your eyes over the ‘Fairground Tale‘ dessert option. You will not be disappointed….
Holiday makers in Cornwall often make a point of visiting the Eden Project which is located close to the town of St Austell. Construction of this vast horticultural site on a disused china clay pit began in 1998, from essentially a huge crater! It eventually opened to the general public in the spring of 2001.
The site stands out due to the unique addition of its huge biome’s which dominate the landscape. Visitors to the attraction follow a guided winding path between the domes which take in a variety of landscapes and gardens. There are also a number of contemporary sculptures for people to enjoy and interact with.
The biome’s themselves host a unique experience for visitors of all ages. The first biome hosts the largest indoor rainforest on the planet. The second Mediterranean biome is home to more temperate species familiar to Europe. The biomes are kept at the perfect temperature and moisture level for species from these ecosystems to thrive.
Plan your visit
It’s alway’s best to book your tickets in advance if you are thinking of visiting the Eden Project during the peak summer months. For the latest ticket information and opening times visit the official Eden Project website.
The Eden Project site has also become famous for staging pop/rock concerts in the summer months. Some of the world famous headline acts to have played the Eden Sessions include: Oasis, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Peter Gabriel, Blondie, Lionel Richie & Kylie Minogue.
If you are thinking of paying a visit to the Eden Project as part of your holiday to Cornwall. The areas surrounding St Austell have a wide range of holiday accommodation to choose from. Including a large number of quality self-catering holiday cottages to suit all budgets and tastes.
Sat Nav – Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, PL24 2SG.
If you are looking for a place to spend some quality time with your pet, there are some stunning dog friendly beaches in Cornwall. Surrounded on 3 sides by the sea, the coastline of Cornwall is only ever just a stones throw away. There is an almost endless choice of fantastic beaches where you can take your four legged friend for a stroll.
The only problem you will have is choosing where is your favourite spot is to stay as there are so many dog friendly cottages in Cornwall to choose from. Would you & your dog like to walk across the county’s vast sandy beaches? Maybe you prefer heading along the spectacular South West Coastal path? There is something to suit every type of stroller, whether they have two legs or four!
My favourite top 5 dog friendly beaches in Cornwall are :
The beach is a huge expanse of golden sand in the popular resort of Newquay and is split up into three distinct areas. South Fistral, the main beach & Little Fistral. Not only is the beach a great place to walk but the spectacular Pentire and Towan headlands to South and North are also well worth exploring.
Mawgan Porth Beach
Close to the town of Newquay, but also far enough away to avoid the peak season holiday crowds. The beach is sheltered by high cliffs to each side and particularly at low tide, there is lots of space.
Gorran Haven Beach
A golden sandy beach located right next to the ancient village of Gorran Haven. The beach has a small stone walled harbour giving the place a traditional Cornish feel to it.
Situated on the Lizard Peninsula lies the picture postcard fishing village of Coverack. This part of the Cornish coastline is relatively quiet all year round, so if you want to avoid crowds, this is the place for you.
Green Bay Beach
Located on the Scilly Isles, an archipelago just off the Cornish mainland. Green beach has vast expanse of white sand backed by trees and foliage to the rear, giving it an almost Caribbean like feel in the summer months.
Piskies Cove, is one of Cornwall’s finest hidden beaches. At low tide there is a reasonably sized section of sand for sunbathers. You should always check the local tide times before visiting. Even if the tide should happen to be in, it can still be a great place to swim, sunbathe or paddle board in the summer months. There are plenty of rocks surrounding the crystal clear blue water to lay down your towel. The cove is a simply stunning location with a very ‘Greek Island’ feel to it. The cove is mostly quiet all year round, avoiding all the usual peak season holiday crowds .
The nearest parking spot is a 15 to 20 minute walk away, so make sure you pack everything you need before you set off. There are no facilities at the beach. Dogs are allowed all year round at this beach. Please note that there are no lifeguards are on duty at Piskies Cove, even in the summer months.
For those with an interest in history, in particular the dark and mysterious chapter of Cornwall’s smuggling past. Piskies Cove is said to be the place that John Carter otherwise known as the King of Prussia, landed his contraband. From there he distributed his illegal goods all around the British Isles.
If you are planning a trip to Piskies Cove as part of a weekend break or longer holiday in Cornwall. There are variety of self catering holiday cottages to choose from in the local area.
Directions to Piskies Cove
To find Piskies Cove, take Prussia Cove turn off from main Penzance to Helston road. Park in the Prussia Cove car park, then walk down onto the South West Coastal Path. Head west and follow the path all the way to the old fisherman’s huts until you reach the cove.
Bude is a popular seaside town located on the North coast of Cornwall near the Devon border. It has been regularly named the UK’s best costal town at the British Travel Awards. The vast spotless golden sandy beaches of Bude are popular with surfers and tourists. Holidays in Bude provide a great place to go walking and explore the North Cornish coastline’s spectacular geology.
Bude is a laid back and endearing corner of Cornwall. The town has plenty of independent restaurants, shops, bar’s and cafe’s to spend the afternoon and evening exploring. The Bude canal, shown in the image above, is also a great place to hire a pedalo and explore the mouth of the River Neet. If you are looking to visit Bude for a short getaway or a that long awaited summer holiday, there are huge variety of holiday cottages in Bude to choose from.
Historically the town of Bude became notable as a ‘safe harbour’ for ships from the winter storms that would lash the North Cornish coastline. The Bude Canal also ran all the way to Launceston. This was used to transport coastal sand and soil that are rich in sea minerals. These deposits would then be used by farmers inland to improve the yields of their crops. The real growth of the town however came during the Victorian era. When it became popular with holiday makers looking to escape the soot filled urban city streets of the industrial revolution.
Directions to Bude
To get to Bude by car via the scenic route, also know as the the ‘Atlantic Highway’. Leave the M5 at Junction 27, and follow the A39 going past Barnstaple & Bideford and then into Bude. For those in a hurry, which is definitely not the Cornish way! Drive South West down the A30 to the Okehampton turn off, then follow the signposts for Bude heading West.
Port Quin is an almost deserted cove/inlet on the North coast of Cornwall. Not far from the popular fishing port of Port Issac. It is one of Cornwall’s hidden gems and is a great place to swim in the summer time away from the busy holiday resorts. The lush green steep hills on each side combined with the turquoise blue water look spectacular. The small beach also reveals numerous rock pools at low tide which is great for families to explore.
To get to Port Quin by car. Leave A30 at Bodmin and join A389 to Wadebridge. At Wadebridge take B3314 signed Polzeath, then follow the local signage to your destination.
If you are looking to stay in Cornwall. Within touching distance of Port Quin there is a huge selection of holidays cottages in Cornwall to choose from.
‘Rock pools are God’s looking glass. A chance for people to see a microcosm of the some of creatures that live in our vast oceans’.
The South West coastal path is the UK’s longest National Walking Trail. It offers a fantastic opportunity to connect to nature, relax, exercise and take time away from the stresses of every day life. There are some great sights to see, no matter how long or short your planned walk is, especially on Cornish coastline. Find out more about the entire walking route by visiting the South West Coastal Path Association. There are also a huge number of self catering Cornish holiday properties to use as either as base or a stopping point along the coastal path.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”John Burroughs
The small parish of Zennor lies on the North Western Cornish coast, to the untrained eye the village just looks like a picture perfect Cornish settlement. However the local people of Zennor will tell you a story of enchantment & mystery that will point you in the direction of the village church.
The story begins….
….long ago when a beautiful and strange looking lady that seemed ‘not of this earth’ began to appear occasionally at the church services in the village. None of the villages knew who she was or where she came from and she seemed to disappear as quickly as she appeared.
Many of the local men became enchanted by her beauty, her long long flowing gold hair and in particular her unique singing voice, it was also said that her dress ‘shimmered like the sea on a sunny day’. One local man by the name of Matthew Trewella’s became so besotted over time with this beautiful woman that he took it upon himself to find out who she was and where she came from.
After the church service had concluded one Sunday Matthew decided to follow the lady as she made her way towards the towards the steep cliffs to the West of the village. This was the last time that Matthew and the mysterious lady would ever be seen in Zennor.
Many years had passed….
…..since Matthew vanished, so long so that his distraught mother had passed away. But late one summer’s evening the captain of a merchant ship anchored just off the coast to the west of Zennor heard a voice calling out to him. ‘Ship ahoy, ship ahoy’, as the captain leaned over the side of the vessel, a lady with long golden hair was clearly visible in the water. She told the Captain to move the boat as the anchor was blocking the access to her home on the sea bed & her husband Mathy was trapped inside with their children.
The captain fearing that the sight of a what could be a mermaid would bring disaster on the ship, wasted no time in agreeing to this request. As the captain turned away he noticed the the glimmer and swish of tail in the water and the lady was gone! On hearing of the this news from the ship’s captain the local’s decided to commemorate the story by carving the ‘Mermaids Bench’ which can be seen to this day in the church of St Serana in the north of the village.
Directions to Zennor.
Zennor can be easily accessed by car and is located just off the B3306. There is also a regular daily bus service to and from the village.
Visit St Nectan’s Glen, located within a wooded valley close to Tintagel, St Nectans Glen is one of Cornwall’s hidden gems. It also is believed to be a deeply spiritual location by local people and visitors alike.
The history of St Nectan’s Glen goes back as far the 6th century when St Nectan lived a life of solitude in a cave located atop one of the waterfalls in the valley. He was believed to have a bell near the entrance to the cave, which he rang out to warn ships near the coast during stormy weather or when the heavy fog rolled in.
A visit to St Nectan’s Glen will lead you on a walk though enchanting woodland mixed with a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Along the way you will see the signs of piskies & fairies that are believed to exist in these parts. Make sure you look out for the fairy stones, especially down by the babbling stream that winds it’s way along your route. In the distance you will already hear the sound of the waterfalls ahead, but take your time and enjoy the splendour that surrounds you on your journey through this ancient woodland.
It’s worth noting that the woodland trail is around a two mile round trip, so take this into account when you are planning your visit.
At the end of the woodland trail a trilogy of waterfalls await you. The main attraction is the waterfall located in St Nectan’s Kieve. This is a magnificent 60ft waterfall that has over time forced it’s way through the stone, to produce a spectacular hole where the water cascade’s down into a shallow pool the valley below.
By car, head from Tintagel to Boscastle on the B3263 road. You can park in the free car park situated just off the road in Trethevy. If you are planning to base your holiday or short break near to St Nectan’s Glen there are a wide range of holiday properties in Cornwall to choose from.