Self-Catering Hiking Holidays in Cornwall
There are a lot of guided walking holidays available in Cornwall, but most devoted hikers prefer to just adopt a holiday cottage as a home away from home and head out on their own to explore the local countryside. There are many hundreds of miles of footpaths which follow some truly spectacular cliff-tops along the famous South West Coast path, which passes and winds down to remote and beautiful sandy beaches, tidal creeks and rocky pools. The pathway crosses meadows and farmland, skirts local woods and even passes through a few striking areas of high granite moorland, so you really do get a taste of absolutely everything.
Unless you’re aiming for a more intensive holiday than most people would prefer, a typical Cornwall hiking holiday would see you aiming to cover six to nine miles a day (the equivalent of nine to thirteen kilometres), but don’t mistake this for an aimless ramble. Regardless of distance, most hikers will aim to spend at least six hours out in the open seeing the sights both in the countryside and along the coast.
If you’re a regular walker and can manage eight or nine miles in six hours – as long as you don’t mind the odd section of steeper inclines and negotiating the occasional “stile” (normally stone or wooden steps between fields or meadows) then a self-catering Cornwall holiday built around hiking and walking is probably ideal for you.
For a more relaxing rambler’s walk, try the route between the southeast Cornish towns of Looe and Polperro. The path follows a section of the Looe River and is also a section of the South West Coastal Path which ensures some great views and lovely scenery as you go. While it is possible to find a selection of circular routes to make more of a day of the exercise, most hikers simply choose to reverse their steps once they’ve explored their destination.
The route is very easy to follow and extremely well signposted, which means even casual ramblers can afford to follow the path at their leisure. There are a smattering of steep climbs, a few rocky tracks and even some stream crossings but nothing too taxing, so you can tackle these at your own pace while enjoying the lovely Cornish air which is never so clean and fresh as during the coastal portions of the walk.
Keep an eye out for grazing cattle on the Hannafore portion of the walk as you approach Lamanna Chapel. There is a gorgeous view of Looe Island here on the left. The pathway goes up and down a bit along the cliffs but doesn’t get difficult until the steeper track up to the war memorial at the top of the biggest hill in this section. For a touch of levity on your walk, look out for the signposts at Talland Bay which give three completely different distances to Polperro even though they’re in the same place!
The walk to Polperro ends at the top of the harbour which lets you descend into the town to take advantage of the nearest pub or restaurant. A there and back straight version of the walk rounds out at about ten miles – pretty respectable even for a seasoned holiday hiker, with plenty of opportunities to pause for a breather, take in the sights or have a picnic on the way.
For a range of holiday cottages in both Polperro and Looe, take a look at some of our self-catering properties in Cornwall, and you can start at either end of this lovely walk as a great introduction to your self-catering Cornwall holiday.