The ultimate Cornwall itinerary holiday cottages

The ultimate Cornwall itinerary

Kate W 22 March 2023

With so much to see and do in Cornwall, knowing what to fit into your holiday can seem a bit of a challenge – which is why we've put together this one-week Cornwall itinerary bursting with all our favourite places from the region. 

Some of the most stunning scenery in the country awaits you here, with golden, sandy beaches, striking cliffs, picturesque harbours, rugged moorland, idyllic countryside… the list goes on. And as it's well known as a foodie paradise, Cornwall’s innumerable restaurants and pubs beg the question, where to eat? Also, there is no shortage of incredible attractions to visit, things to see and experiences that will 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 never tiring of its beauty. But if you want to get the full ‘Cornwall Experience’ in one week – read on!

Day 1: Perranporth Beach 


You’ve just arrived in Cornwall, perhaps you had a long drive. Time to unwind!

Day one of our seven-day Cornwall itinerary takes you to The Watering Hole in Perranporth – the only bar in the UK that’s actually on a beach and is set right on the sand along this 3-mile-long beautiful bay. Watch the sun go down over the sea, soaking up the awe-inspiring views with a drink in hand. Great atmosphere and great scenery – Perranporth Beach is the perfect first stop on your Cornwall itinerary! For more seaside days, take a look at our guide to Cornwall's best beaches or the best surfing spots in Cornwall

Day 2: The Eden Project

The Eden Project

To Eden! World-renowned, and with good reason, the Eden Project is one of the best places on our Cornwall itinerary and the main draw is its two huge biomes that rise out of the bottom of a former disused quarry. 

Spectacular in their own right, the biomes are full of incredible plants from all over the world and, 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 this Cornwall garden 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, the Eden Project also boasts England’s longest and fastest zip wire! 

After a jam-packed day at Eden, zip off to Fowey – only a 9-mile drive. This beautiful harbour town is located at the mouth of the River Fowey on the south 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 it a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. 

Day 3: Helford River and Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove

One of Cornwall’s most serene locations, set between Falmouth and Lizard Point, the Helford River is a true gem – 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 feel with lunch at the Shipwright Arms in the little village of Helford. Set right on the creek, the inn is full of character and history!

If you need to burn off your lunch, a walk is probably in order. Cornwall has the longest coastline out of any county 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 Cornwall country walk, you'll 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. Head to the Cadgwith Cove Inn for freshly caught fish and seafood, followed by a homemade dessert; it's the perfect place to recharge your batteries in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. 

Day 4: Land's End and St Ives 

Land’s End

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 (5 miles) and encompasses not only impressive sea and coastal views and tiny, idyllic beaches, but some Poldark filming locations as well. 

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 back in Porthcurno, 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.

After your day’s entertainment, head to the north coast (only 17 miles) and explore one of Cornwall’s true highlights: St Ives. Visit the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum as well as numerous other galleries and studios. The light in St Ives has proved irresistible for generations of artists and the clear, turquoise waters provide inspiration for some truly magnificent works. Take a look at our full guide to things to do in St Ives for more inspiration. 

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 – 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.

Day 5: The Lost Gardens of Heligan 


One of our favourite gardens in Cornwall has to be 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, with winding paths passing through, are supplemented by woodland and countryside walks across the rest of the Heligan Estate.

There’s also the ‘British jungle’ to explore – here, a rope bridge connects the two sides of the valley so you can walk above and amongst the exotic specimens. Finally, dine in the café to try some of the produce grown in the immaculate vegetable gardens. 

Round off the day by heading to nearby Mevagissey, a lovely fishing port just over a 2.5-mile drive from Heligan where you can take to the waters on a boat trip. Choose from fishing trips, pleasure cruises and wildlife-watching tours, before heading to Salamander Restaurant in the village for a dinner of fresh locally caught seafood – what could be better?

Day 6: Padstow and The Camel Trail 


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 with stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) or surfing – the area around Padstow and St Merryn boasts some of the best water sports schools in the county and also some of the best conditions. 

After lunch, if you haven’t brought your own bikes with you, hire some in Padstow and take a ride along the Camel Trail. 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 and it’s also really level so you can enjoy the scenery without too much effort!

Finally, return to Padstow for some well-deserved dinner. This fishing port is one of Cornwall’s foodie hot spots, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to refuelling. Why not give one of Rick Stein’s restaurants a go? There’s something for all budgets; indulge in dinner at The Seafood Restaurant, sample the delights of St Petroc's Bistro, or just eat fish and chips while sitting on the harbour wall. 

Day 7: Constantine Bay

Constantine Bay

With all the exertion of your holiday, make your last day a lazy beach day. One of our favourites is Constantine Bay for its great surf, rock pools, glorious golden sand, seasonal café, and great cliff walks – and it's dog friendly too. The beaches on 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, refreshed and revived by your time in Cornwall!

Plan your Cornwall getaway 

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. Browse our wonderful cottages across Cornwall for more inspiration, find your perfect place to stay, and begin to plan a holiday that's specially tailored to you and your holiday gang.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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