Your Ultimate Staycation – a 7 day itinerary to the perfect holiday in Cornwall
With so much to see and do in Cornwall, knowing what to fit into your holiday can seem a bit of a challenge.
Some of the most stunning scenery in the country (even the world) awaits, with golden sandy beaches, striking cliffs, picturesque harbours, rugged moorland, idyllic countryside… the list goes on. Well known as a foodie paradise, Cornwall’s innumerable restaurants and pubs beg the question, where to eat? And there is no shortage of incredible places to visit, things to see and experiences to try to fill your days.
Cornwall is a place that you will want to come back to year after year, still never seeing all its wonders and delights and still never tiring of its beauty. But if you want to get the full ‘Cornwall Experience’ in your one week – read on!
You’ve just arrived in Cornwall, perhaps you had a long drive. Time to unwind!
The Watering Hole in Perranporth is the only bar in the UK that’s actually on a beach! Set on the sand along this 3-mile long beautiful bay.
Watch the sun go down over the sea, soaking up the awe-inspiring views, drink in hand. Great atmosphere, great scenery – the perfect start!
To Eden! World-renowned, and with good reason, The Eden Project’s main draw is its two huge biomes which rise out of the bottom of a former disused quarry. Spectacular in their own right, the biomes are full of even more incredible plants from all over the world. Around the domes, the rest of Eden is full of weird and wonderful sites to behold, with a real emphasis on education and sustainability. Many of the exhibits are interactive making Eden a fabulous day out for young and old. There’s something new to discover around every corner, including their many cafés where you can enjoy the tasty range of lunches and snacks on offer. For the braver members of your party, Eden also boasts England’s longest and fastest zip wire! Zooming right over the biomes, you get a bird’s eye view of the whole site! Remember to get your discount on entry to Eden using our Holiday Extras Scheme.
After a jam-packed day at Eden, zip off to Fowey – only a 15 minute drive. This beautiful harbour town is located at the mouth of the River Fowey on the South East coast. Home to many great restaurants, why not try out Sam’s. Sam’s has had huge success in Fowey, and now has restaurants across the county. A laid-back atmosphere and great food make Sam’s a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. With much of the seafood coming straight off the dock in Fowey, you won’t find fresher produce. They also do great cocktails!
Set between Falmouth and Lizard Point, the Helford River is a true gem. One of Cornwall’s most serene locations, the exquisite, tree-lined estuary could not be more tranquil, and there’s no better way to experience it than by kayak. Explore the inlets and meanderings of the river at your own pace, taking in the gorgeous picture-perfect scenes and seeing a range of incredible wildlife up close. Continue the laid-back, serene feel with lunch at the Pandora Inn in the little village of Helford. Set right on the creek, the inn is full of character and history – and great food!
If you indulge a little too much and need to burn off your lunch, then a walk is probably in order. Cornwall has the longest coastline in Britain, making it hard to choose which coastal walk to try, but the paths around the Lizard Point have to be some of the best. Park at the Lizard and follow the South West Coast Path along the cliffs, marvelling at the incredible views. Kynance Cove is one of those places that has to be seen to be believed – breathtakingly beautiful. Then head inland for a change of scenery, enjoying the grasses and heathers of the Lizard Downs. After a short walk on the country lanes and you arrive in Cadgwith – a chocolate box village full of character with thatched cottages centred around a tiny harbour. Head back along the coast path to arrive at your starting point. No doubt you will have worked up an appetite again, as the walk is roughly 3 hours. The harbour town of Falmouth is home to Oliver’s The Eatery, the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Serving modern British food in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, the perfect end to a perfect day!
Time to take in another of Cornwall’s stunning panoramic vistas! The stretch of the South West Coast Path from the village of Porthcurno to the iconic Land’s End headland takes about 2 hours and encompasses not only impressive sea and coastal views and tiny, idyllic beaches but some Poldark filming locations as well! The clifftop path of this remarkable walk affords views of the hard to reach teeny coves made famous for scenes in the popular drama. The end of the walk brings you to Land’s End – the most westerly point in mainland England. After enjoying the views, head inland a little to the First and Last Inn at Sennen for some well-deserved lunch. The more adventurous may want to walk back, but for most of us, the bus back to Porthcurno seems the most appealing option! Once there, a real treat is in order. The world-famous Minack Theatre has plays running throughout the summer and nothing beats the experience of watching the play with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop! Most plays have matinees and the tickets are reasonably priced.
After your day’s entertainment, head to the north coast (only 17 miles) and explore one of Cornwall’s true highlights. The light in St Ives has proved irresistible for generations of artists and the clear, turquoise waters provide inspiration for some truly magnificent works. Well worth a visit during your stay if you have time, St Ives includes the Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth museum as well as numerous galleries and studios to explore. Wander the narrow, picturesque streets until it’s time for dinner. As well as serene light, fine art and great beaches, St Ives is also well known for its gastronomic delights – especially seafood. With too many to choose just one, a couple of our favourites are the Seafood Café which, as the name suggests, serves excellent seafood and the Porthminster Café with its incredible views.
With Cornwall enjoying a milder climate than the rest of the country, the gardens here are some of the most spectacular, often flowering earlier than other places and happily supporting species that don’t grow elsewhere. One of our favourite gardens has to Heligan, located near St Austell on the South East coast. The gardens were lost for many decades, becoming completely overgrown until they were rediscovered and brought back to their former glory. The beautiful walled gardens and winding paths passing through numerous separate gardens, are supplemented by woodland and countryside walks across the rest of Heligan estate.
There’s also the ‘jungle’ to explore where a rope bridge connects the two sides of the valley so you can walk above and amongst the exotic specimens. The café at Heligan is stocked partly by what’s grown in the immaculate vegetable gardens. Round off the day by heading to nearby Mevagissey. A lovely fishing port just over a 5 minute drive from Heligan where you take to the waters on a boat trip. With plenty of options, from fishing trips to pleasure cruises and wildlife watching tours, everyone will enjoy getting out on the ocean! With all that salty sea air, you’re sure to be feeling hungry before too long! Try Salamanders in the village for dinner - fresh locally caught seafood - what could be better!?
For the kids, Camel Creek near Padstow makes for a great day out. There’s a whole host of animals to see; from emus, horses and llamas to caiman, snakes and meerkats. There’s also a selection of rides for all ages and levels of bravery!
For adults and older kids, fully immerse yourself in the Cornish experience! Have a go at stand up paddleboading (SUP) or surfing. The area around Padstow and St Merryn boasts some of the best watersports schools in the county and also some of the best conditions. And remember to use our Holiday Extras Scheme to get discounts off some lessons (discounts available at Harlyn Surf School, Kingsurf Surf School, Newquay Activity Centre and Waves Surf School amongst others).
The fishing port of Padstow is well worth a wander round and provides ample choice for places to have lunch. As one of Cornwall’s foodie hot spots, you’re spoilt for choice.
After lunch, if you haven’t brought your own bikes with you, you can hire some in Padstow and take a ride along the Camel Trail. One of the most popular cycle trails in the country, this 18 mile route runs from Padstow along the estuary to Wadebridge and then inland through idyllic countryside to Wenfordbridge near Bodmin. The vast majority of the trail is traffic-free with only a tiny stretch through the market town of Wadebridge on the road. It’s also really level so you can enjoy the scenery without too much effort! Ride for as long or as little as you want, then return to Padstow for some well-deserved dinner! There are some really great options, but if you’re in Padstow, why not give Rick Stein’s a go. There’s something for all budgets; if you’re feeling flush, indulge in dinner at The Seafood Restaurant, or you could sample the delights of the bistro or just eat fish and chips sat on the harbour wall!
With all the exertion of your holiday, make your last day a lazy beach day. One of our favourites is Constantine Bay – it has great surf, plenty of rockpools, glorious golden sand, a seasonal café, some great cliff walks and is dog friendly. The beaches either side are also popular - Treyarnon Bay has a tidal pool and neighbouring Booby’s Bay is generally much quieter - just be careful of the tides!
After a couple of hours on the beach, it’s time to head home, hopefully refreshed and revived by your time in Cornwall!
We’ve given you a real flavour of the county and covered some of the highlights, but remember there is always more to experience; more amazing walks, more fabulous restaurants and more things to see and do.