With miles of stunning sandy beaches, rugged cliff edges and incredible views, it comes as no surprise that so many choose to visit Cornwall on their holidays.
The Cornish coast has something for everyone, from captivating cobble street towns to classic seaside villages, along with top-rated restaurants and surfing spots. With many established walking routes around Cornwall, it makes sense as to why it is so popular for those planning a walking trip!
The region offers unmatched coastal scenery, which makes for some of the best walks in the UK. Whether you are looking for a quiet stroll, cliff top walks or circular hikes, we’ve put together this list of the best 11 walks in Cornwall for you below so that you’re well equipped to visit the region and get out and about exploring on foot!
The Lizard Coastal Walk
When visiting Cornwall, one hike that is worth doing is the Lizard Peninsula Coastal walk. The views here truly take your breath away, as the route takes you through several different landscapes and across varying terrain.
With its little hidden coves, rugged cliff edges, shimmering blue water and grassy moorland, the Lizard Peninsula has everything you could ask for on the perfect hiking adventure. The walking route is mainly managed by the National Trust, so the paths here are well maintained.
Kynance Cove, which is about 2 miles north of Lizard Point is especially worth a visit, as on a clear sunny day it truly feels like you’ve stumbled across a beach on a tropical island! There’s a great little cafe here that is situated right on the coast overlooking the cove, which makes a great pit stop if you’re tackling the whole route.
You can park at Lizard Village in the large car park, where the walking route is well signposted from. Although you don’t have to pay to park here, donations are much appreciated to help towards maintaining the public facilities.
Starting in this quaint little village is a great way to explore Kynance Cove and the Lizard Peninsula. You can make this walk as long or as short as you like, with options to continue past the many coves on the peninsula, or you can turn back when you have gone as far as you please.
Perranporth to St Agnes
Another stunning Cornish coastal walk is the hike from Perranporth to St Agnes. Strolling along the impressive cliff edges dotted with diverse wildlife and flowers makes for a perfect day out in Cornwall.
The walk is great for the whole family, as the terrain is fairly level throughout. Remains of the copper mines from years ago lie here, you can follow the area’s mining heritage the whole way along this trail and perhaps pop into one of the many dog-friendly pubs or beaches whilst on the route.
It’s about 3.6 miles from Perranporth to St Agnes, and the route will take you along the South West Coastal path. If you want to be stunned by all that the Cornish coast has to offer, this walk won’t disappoint. Listen as the waves crash against the cliffs and embrace the beauty of the great Cornish outdoors.
Trewarmett to Tregardock
If you are looking for a beautiful circular walk in Cornwall, consider the route from Trewarmett to Tregardock. There are plenty of opportunities throughout this walk to soak up the incredible views and the chance to catch a glimpse of Cornish caves, rock pools, waterfalls and golden sandy beaches. What’s not to love?
The walk takes you along the side of Trebarwith Valley, providing fantastic opportunities to catch a peek at some classic Cornish scenery. You will then head through fields and farms towards the coastal path, which guides you down to Tregardock Beach. From here, the path takes you across the Treligga Downs to Backways Cove, which then follows the valley and crosses into Trebarwith Valley, finally looping back to Jeffreys Pit.
This walk is great for the whole family, as there is a lot to see along the route. Local farmers go about their work alongside the path, making the hike from Trewarmett to Tregardock feel like a very wholesome way to spend your day in Cornwall.
Tintagel Church and Castle Walk
There are many walks to choose from around the pretty town of Tintagel. Situated on the northern cliff tops in Cornwall, there is much to see here, check out the typical Cornish bakeries, gift shops, cafes, and art galleries that are dotted around the quaint town.
One of the most popular walks is around Tintagel Castle and Church. Pass the old Post Office, King Arthurs’s Great Halls and make a pit stop at a cafe in Tintagel to enjoy one of the delicious baked goods and hot drinks on offer.
There is also a chance to immerse yourself in the history that lies in the area around this walk. The architecture of the castle dates back to the 13th century and the church goes as far back as the 11th or 12th century. The story of Tintagel Castle and the legend of King Arthur are also told through the various signs dotted around the coastal path near the castle, which is a great way to learn about the history here whilst exploring the area.
When walking the Tintagel Church and Castle route, expect about 2.4 miles of hiking. The walk is suitable for the whole family, as it is not overly steep or difficult.
Mousehole to Lamorna Cove
Another circular, coastal walk in Cornwall is the hike from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove. This stunning walk starts in the famous town of Mousehole, takes you through the nature reserve of Kemyel Crease along the cliff tops overlooking the coves, and then loops back through the Lamorna quarries towards Mousehole.
Starting in the fishing town of Mousehole allows you to explore the history here and how it has changed over the years. This little town has been named the loveliest village in England, so it comes as no surprise as to why so many choose to visit here.
The views along the walk from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove vary throughout. One minute you’re overlooking cliff edges and hidden coves, and the next you can take in expansive panoramic views of lush green fields and farmland. The walk is about 4.7 miles and is of a moderate difficulty level.
Rinsey Walk is a great option for those who are looking for more of a leisurely hike in Cornwall. The walk is about 2.8 miles and starts in Rinsey Head Car Park, the coast path then takes you east towards Porthleven.
With a mixture of the impressive landscape, coastal scenery and natural history to be found along the route, there is plenty of exploring to be done as you walk. You can find the three engine houses along Rinsey walk, all with World Heritage Site status. The old engine houses that perch atop the cliffs date back to the 1800s when they were used to produce copper.
Along the walk keep an eye out for the stone stiles, these are a great indication that you are still on the right track. This route is also perfect for catching a glimpse of dolphins diving in and out of the water, which is just another aspect of the walk that makes it so special.
St Ives to Zennor
When researching Cornwall, you’ll no doubt have heard of the popular town of St Ives. Many tourists visit this stunning coastal town throughout the year, and with great shops and an idyllic setting, it comes as no surprise as to why.
When searching for a great Cornish hiking adventure, the walk from St Ives to Zennor is one to be ticked off your list. St Ives isn’t just a great town to explore; it’s also home to some of Cornwall’s most beautiful coastline, which you can enjoy on this particular route.
Expect to be blown away by the panoramic coastal scenery alongside an abundance of wildlife, including seals bathing on rocks and seabirds soaring above. The three sandy beaches along this walk are Carrick Du, Porthmeor and Porthgwidden, which are all certainly worth a visit if you’re looking for somewhere to stop for a picnic or just rest your legs.
St Just in Roseland to St Mawes
The walk from St Just in Roseland to St Mawes is better suited for those of a moderate fitness level. Some parts are fairly steep and the route is about 6.1 miles.
You will begin your walk at St Just Churchyard which takes you past St Just Creek, the footpath from here is easy to follow and will guide you the rest of the way around this stunning walking route. This hike is worth all the hard work as it is rewarding throughout, with stunning views, historical churches and castles to explore.
Take a look around St Just Church and explore its stunning sub-tropical gardens. You will also find The Tudor Castle at St Mawes here, which is another great way to explore some of Cornwall’s history.
Porthcurno to Lands End
The route from Porthcurno to Lands End is considered to be a relatively easy walk, as it is only around 3.9 miles.
Follow the southwest coastal path from the tiny village of Porthcurno to Lands End. When arriving at Lands End, you can visit some of the souvenir shops and peer over the lookout which is a great way to take in the scenery. The name describes the views from this point as they appear, with nothing but open water stretching out to the horizon.
The coastline along Porthcurno to Lands End is utterly stunning and is considered to be one of the best in Cornwall. Bear in mind that it can be windy along the path, so take care when near the edges on days when the weather is blustery.
When deciding where to walk in Cornwall, the Whitsand Bay routes are great for a variety of walking capabilities, as you can pick the one that best suits you. You can either choose the easy Tregantle to Crafthole route or the moderate Rame Head and Cawsand route.
If you are planning to walk in Cornwall with a family that includes younger children, it might be best to opt for the easier route from Tregantle to Crafthole. The walk is about 5.2 miles and provides stunning views over Whitsand Bay, with perfect sandy beaches and ample wildlife throughout.
When opting for the more difficult of the two routes, the Rame Head and Cawsand walk is about 5.6 miles and is steeper in comparison to the alternate route. Expect your hard work to be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Whitsand Bay as well as Plymouth Sound.
If you’re seeking a bit of history during this walk, you can explore the mediaeval chapel in Rame Head and the mediaeval streets in the town of Cawsand.
Hawkers Cove to Stepper Point
Hawkers Cove to Stepper Point is a fairly easy walk, making it perfect for a range of hiking abilities. The level path allows you to explore the pretty Cornish farmlands with ease, making this a great leisurely hike.
Hawkers Cove is situated about one and a half-mile outside of Padstow, where you can take in the outstanding beauty that Cornwall has to offer. Before or after your walk, it would also be worth visiting the stunning seaside town of Padstow. Alongside the beautiful coastline, sandy beaches and breathtaking views, you also have the option to soak up some of Cornwall’s best food and drink in this popular town.
When reaching Stepper Point, you are met with the fantastic opportunity to take in the sight of the expansive Camel Estuary.
After reading our recommendations for Cornwall’s best walks, we hope that you can now decide on which routes you would like to explore on your next holiday. All of the walks mentioned above offer stunning Cornish views as well as the opportunity to experience all that this beautiful county has to offer, so grab your hiking boots, pack a backpack and get ready to explore the great outdoors!
If you’re planning a walking holiday to Cornwall and are looking for somewhere to stay on your trip, Independent Cottages offers a range of stunning holiday cottages that can be browsed here.