On the slipway of the harbour at Portloe the Lugger has 23 rooms with a 2 AA rosette restaurant
SOUTH CORNWALL COAST: HISTORIC PORTS & FISHING VILLAGES
7 days walking/8 nights
A self-guided walking holiday exploring a beautiful but relatively quiet section of Cornwall's South West Coast Path
Traditional fishing villages huddled around small harbours, such as Charlestown, Portscatho, Portloe, Polperro & Mevagissey
Peninsulas with far ranging views such as the infamous Dodman Point
Wonderful estuaries with ferry journeys
Option to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival in Falmouth
Welcome, and night at Falmouth. Explore this historic harbour town, the gateway to the beautiful Fal River.
Day 2: Falmouth - Portloe
There are 2 ferry journeys, first to St Mawes and then to Place. There are some magnificent views back to Falmouth and the River Fal from the windswept stretches around Carricknath Point and St Anthony Head as well as opportunities for birdspotting from St Anthony Head, Zone Point and Nare Head. The Path offers easy walking until the approach to Nare Head and Portloe beyond, where you will find several steep ascents and descents and walking becomes a lot more strenuous. You will come across the beautiful sands of Porthcurnick Beach. The Path twists and plummets in places through wooded areas and across high open fields until the descent into Portloe.
Overnight: Portloe, Walk: 22km, +860m
Day 3: Portloe - Mevagissey
The slight clamber across rocks out of Portloe eases to more pastoral landscapes, before becoming tougher again on the approach to the secluded sands of Hemmick Beach. From here the route climbs to Dodman Point, where the views are fantastic, on a clear day they extend to Lizard Point in the west and Berry Head in the east. There is also a lovely sheltered beach at Porthluney Cove, clean and safe for swimming. The landscape of the Path varies between a mixture of wild scrub and soft pastures as well as some road walking around Gorran Haven. The Path opens out on the approach to Chapel Point and walking is easy with rewarding views in all directions. Mevagissey, with its double walled harbour, is an active fishing port which attracts the tourists.
Overnight: Mevagissey, Walk: 20km, +890m
Day 4: Mevagissey - Charlestown
Today, you have a choice: you can take a break from the coast path, by taking an inland diversion along woodland footpaths via the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This misses out a section between Mevagissey and Pentewan. Both options allow you to visit the white sands of Pentewan Beach. The coastal path itself is a bit of a roller coaster. High cliffs pass rocky coves between Pentewan and Charlestown producing dramatic scenery, but tiring walking. There are many steps to climb along this stretch as the Path continues to rise and fall past Phoebe's Point and Silvermine Point. There are extensive views from the humped, wind-swept promontory of Black Head. The walk goes through the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Reserve woodland of Ropehaven Cliffs before descending to historic Charlestown, with its beautiful historic harbour and quay.
Overnight: Charlestown, Walk: 11 or 14km, +600m
Day 5: Charlestown - Fowey
An easier start today along the coast to Par with its large expanse of beach and on to Gribbin Head with its red and white daymark. You then follow the path along high cliffs passing coves such as Coombe Hawne and Readymoney, and walking out to headlands with fantastic views before reaching Fowey, which sits on a beautiful estuary with tidal creeks full of families of birds such as herons, curlews, redshanks and little egret.
Overnight: Fowey, Walk: max 17km, +350m
Day 6: Fowey - Looe
The day starts with a ferry crossing to Polruan with beautiful views of the estuary. Much of the next stretch from Polruan to the picturesque fishing village of Polperro and then on to Looe is owned by the National Trust and the path climbs and zig zags over rugged cliffs and dips down to rocky coves, providing fantastic scenery but strenuous walking.
Overnight: Looe, Walk: 19km, +950m.
Day 7: Looe - Crafthole
The path passes through the holiday village of Millendreath and onto Bodigga Cliffs, where the views open to Rame Head. The path twists and climbs to heights with spectacular views on the approach to Battern Cliffs, one of the highest points on the south coast of Cornwall at 141m. From here there's fantastic cliff walking to the fishing village of Portwrinkle with views of the 4 mile long expanse of Whitsand Bay ahead. There maybe some diversions in place; this section has suffered from several landslips in recent years.
Overnight: Crafthole, Walk: 14km, +600m.
Day 8: Crafthole - Plymouth
This last stretch of the South Cornwall Coast Path is, for the most part, easy. Although there are some short, steep ascents and descents in places. You follow the cliffs of Freathy to the promontory of Rame Head. Towards Penlee Point the path becomes quite wild in appearance but this changes as you go through sheltered woodland to the villages of Cawsand and Kingsand. After Cawsand Bay, you reach the landscape of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park with fantastic views of Plymouth Sound. A short ferry trip takes you into Plymouth.
Overnight: Plymouth, Walk: 22-24km, +700m.
Day 9: Departure
Holiday ends after breakfast.
At a glance
1 March - 31 October
From £970 per person (based on 2 sharing)
8 nights / 7 days walking
Distance: 11-24m per day
Ascent: 350-950m per day
Small B&Bs, amily run hotels & inns
Bed and breakfast
Other self-guided walking holidays in Cornwall
Other walking holidays along the South West Coast Path
Other coastal self-guided Walking holidays in Europe
South Cornwall Coast
On the last stretch of the Cornish Coastal Path there are high cliff top views, picturesque fishing villages, beautiful estuaries and sandy beaches aplenty to enjoy on route between the historic maritime centres of Falmouth and Plymouth. Although there's plenty to see along the route, this is one of the more quieter sections of the South West Coast Path as well as being one of the more gentle. You can escape from it all around some of the prominent headlands with far reaching views without being too far away from a fishing village and harbour or secluded beach.
This self-guided walking holiday provides an interesting and varied experience which includes witnessing the beautiful estuaries as you cross them by ferries (4 in total.) The cliff top path passes gorse-covered granite headlands and through wooded valleys and along rocky coves. In between you will discover tiny fishing villages, bustling harbours and sleepy hamlets, such as St Mawes with its castle, the unspoilt Portloe, the georgian port of Charlestown, sometimes the location of a tall ship or two, and the busy old port of Mevagissey with its narrow streets, once the haunt of many a Cornish smuggler. You can understand why this part of the coast has featured in films and TV as well as inspiring writers such as Daphne Du Maurier. From Mevagissey it is possible to take an inland diversion to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. Fowey, where you will take one of your ferry crossings, is a beautiful harbour town with many medieval and georgian buildings. What follows is a steep climb up to Pencarrow Head and one of the toughest sections of the walk, but you are rewarded with delightful views, on a clear day you can see as far as Lizard Point. The profusion of gift shops does not spoil the old Cornish fishing village of Polperro whose narrow streets are free of cars making Polperro an ideal place to explore on foot. Further on you will reach the town of Looe which prides itself on its fresh fish; it is still a working fishing port. Here as well as many places along this stretch of the coast there is a delightful sandy beach.
On Day 7 you will reach Portwrinkle, a wonderful spot on this section of the route, especially for birdwatchers. There are plenty of other places on the coast path that are excellent for birdwatching including St Anthony Head on Day 1 of your holiday. The walk along the top of Whitsands Bay beach then offers stunning views. Your holiday ends in a country park and a ferry journey across the Tamar to Plymouth. Additional nights can be booked in Falmouth and Plymouth to allow time to explore these important maritime centres.
8 nights/9 days: 7 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Everday of week subject to availability during 1 March to 31 October
Walking Profile & Grade
This independent walking holiday covers a reasonably challenging section of the South West coastal path. The overall walking holiday is graded Moderate to Challenging. Despite the relatively moderate distances involved - between 14km and 22km per day, the amount of ascent and descent is considerable, with an average of over 700m each day. The maximum ascent and descent in any one day is 950m. The walking ranges from some easy level walking to strenuous ascents and descents on steep ground with paths which in places are narrow or on rough and muddy ground where you need to be sure-footed. Walking experience on hilly terrain is advisable. Although there are no easy days it is possible to catch the bus in certain places to shorten the days.
This walking holiday is graded moderate to challenging. You should have some experience of day walking and be in reasonable health. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
A range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible we choose bed and breakfasts which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation.
Where is this section of the South Cornwall Coast?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking holiday on the South Cornwall Coast is available from the beginning of March to the end of October. Cornwall has a typical maritime climate with warm summers and mild winters. Average summer high temperatures are around 20ºC on the coast with winter temperatures rarely falling below freezing. Rainfall occurs regularly but in-between, sunny, cloudless days are also common. In the summer months, temperatures in the region can reach into the high twenties °C however, the climate generally remains comfortable for walking due to sea breezes.
March average daytime temperatures are 11°C, climbing to 13°C in April, 16°C in May and 18°C in June. The weather generally becomes drier and more settled as you go from March to June, with June being the driest month of the year. October is by far the wettest month of the period when the holiday is available. Cornwall is one of the sunniest areas in the UK, with over 1541 hours of sunshine per year. The sunniest months are May through to August. The coast is exposed to the dominant South west winds. The winds are calmest from June to August.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
Most of this walking holiday follows the long distance South West Coast path which is signposted along its entire length. The symbol for the trail is an acorn and these are often shown on signposts ccompanied by the words coastal path or a particular direction and the distance. The walking follows clear paths, tracks and minor roads for its entire duration. The walk will use other footpaths to access accommodation, villages or local sites. Our walking notes are very detailed (more information
8 nights / 7 days walking between guest houses
- From £970
- Prices are per person and based on 2 sharing a room
- Loyalty scheme reduction may apply for returning customers
- see terms and conditions
What's included in the price
- 8 night's accommodation on B&B basis
- Transport of luggage between guest houses (1 bag per person)
- Detailed walking notes with information about the local sites and suggestions for places to eat lunch and dinner
- OS walking maps
What's not included in the price
- All lunches and evening meals
- Drinks (except at breakfast)
- Ferries: St Mawes, Place, Fowey & Cremyll
- Transport to Falmouth and from Plymouth
- Travel insurance
- Any entrance fees
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
This independent walking holiday in Cornwall includes a range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible, we choose guest houses which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation. Below you'll find an example of the type of guest house we use.
A small hotel situated on Charlestown’s Georgian harbour. 27 delightful bedrooms and an A La Carte Restaurant. Re opening in March 2018 after refurbishment. Renowned for its high-quality menu and with stunning views of Charlestown’s harbour
Extra nights are possible at any of the stopovers during the holiday for example you could stay an extra night in Falmouth at the start of the walking holiday and in Plymouth at the end of the trip to explore this fascinating maritme city. You may also wish to opt for an extra night in Mevagissey. From Mevagissey it is possible to take an inland diversion to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK.
Combining walking holidays
This coastal trail walking holiday can be combined with any of our walking holidays elsewhere on the south west coastal path. We have a wonderful and challenging walking holiday on the northern Cornish coast, as well as an easier walking trip along Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
If you want to learn more about the region's culture through tailor-made activities and visits, check out this trip that includes a few days in Cornwall. Contact us to add them to your hike.
Discover some of the most majestic landscapes, cities and villages along the English coast : departing from London to reach the Cotswolds and Cornwall.