Ambling down the tiny streets of iconic Cornish fishing villages such as Mousehole and Newlyn
Standing at the tip of dramatic Trevose Head, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Following the St Michael’s Way, an official Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in the middle of Cornwall!
Catching your first glimpse of the abbey on St Michael’s Mount as you complete your pilgrimage route
Enjoying both traditional and gourmet meals in local pubs and seaside restaurants
Spotting the spires of the 12th century St Enodoc Church, burial site of the poet Sir John Betjeman
Small Cornish fishing ports, legends of Phoenician traders, pirates, coves and the pilgrimage route of Michael’s Way, all feature on this self-guided walking tour of Cornwall that immerses you in the history and local life of the area.
Discover a plethora of highlights, relaxing in one of renowned chef Rick Stein’s seafront restaurants, striding out to reach the tip of Trevose Head with views to Newquay, the iconic fishing village of Mousehole, and glimpsing St Michael’s Mount as you reach the south coast.
Begin in Padstow, a delightful seaside town and embark on walks that take you along small beaches with green and purple rocks and ride on a tiny ferry that crosses the Camel River Estuary. Pass St. Enodoc Church where the poet Sir John Betjeman is buried, then follow an official Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route from the north to the south coast, the St Michael’s Way. It is said that Welsh and Irish pilgrims and missionaries landed their boats on the northern Cornish coast and walked to the south coast, rather than face the treacherous waters around Land’s End. This inland route is a great contrast to the coastal routes, full of hedgerows, Iron Age hill forts, ancient churches and crosses. As you get closer to your next destination, Marazion, you will begin to get a glimpse of St Michael’s Mount, prominent UK landmark and the official end of the St Michael’s Way.
The southern Cornish coast and your exploration of it also has much to offer, including a scenic walk along local bridleways and footpaths near Marazion and trails that follow the coastline to Mousehole, a quaint fishing village that seems to belong on a film set. Penzance is also en route and a town that was once the main commercial hub for the tin mining trade. To this day it remains a bustling town but is now famous for its art galleries and tea shops.
DAY 1: Arrive Padstow
Padstow is a charming and bustling harbour town and is your base for the next three nights. The town has a dramatic setting at the head of the Camel River Estuary and is surrounded by natural beauty. It is also famous due to its association with Rick Stein, the celebrity chef!
After checking into your centrally located B&B, why not try one of the local pubs for some traditional food and beer which will give you sustenance for your first day of walking tomorrow. Or it is also possible to eat at one of Rick Stein’s four acclaimed restaurants, The Seafood Restaurant, St Pedroc’s Bistro, Rick Stein’s Café or Steins Fish & Chips. Gourmet heaven!
DAY 2: Padstow Circular Walk Around Rock
Today’s walk takes you on a circular route beginning with a short ferry ride across the estuary to Rock, which takes its name from the Blue Elvan rock which is quarried nearby. This village has also been named “Britain’s Saint Tropez” due to its popularity as a holiday destination for the rich and famous, including Prince Harry, the Rothschilds and the actor, Hugh Grant.
From Rock head along the coastal path on the tops of the sand dunes and towards the mouth of the Camel River. You then turn inland and pass by St Enodoc Church which is the burial place of the poet, Sir John Betjeman and dates from the 12th century. Follow trains to Pityme where you can enjoy a pub lunch. The walk finishes back at the ferry crossing where you will take the little ferry back to Padstow. (payable locally)
Walk: 6 miles
DAY 3: Padstow to Constantine Bay
Today’s walk takes you along the South West Coast Path to Constantine Bay. Begin by walking alongside the Camel Estuary before coming out onto the coast. Pass the sweeping golden beaches of Trevone, Harlyn Bay and Mother Ivey’s before rounding Trevose Head. This area has been designated “An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and on a clear day you can see all the way to Newquay. From here pass a lighthouse which takes you to another small headland and to Booby’s Bay, a wide sandy beach and into Constantine Bay, where your walk finishes. It is possible to take a local bus back to Padstow.
Enjoy another fabulous evening in the quaint seaside town of Padstow where you might try another of the many great restaurants or local pubs.
Walk: 12 miles
DAY 4: St Michael’s Way- Carbis Bay to Marazion
After a transfer of around one hour (included) begin today’s walk in Carbis Bay. St Michael’s Way is a walking route that takes you from Cornwall’s north to south coast and due to its historical significance it is the only footpath in Britain that is part of the designated European Cultural Route. It is part of a network of pilgrim routes that lead to St James’ Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and dates back to pre-historic times. It is thought to have been used by pilgrims and missionaries who arrived from Ireland and Wales and chose to abandon their ships and walk across the Cornish peninsula, rather than navigate the treacherous waters around Land’s End.
Although the route officially begins in Lelant, you will begin in Carbis Bay and from here the route takes you inland and to the striking granite sculpture known as Knill’s Steeple. Then come upon Bowl Rock, a lump of granite which is said to have been placed here by a giant! The route continues around Trencom Hill, a Neolithic Hill Fort and onwards through the Marazion marshes, a wetland reserve for wild birds.
Walk: 10 miles
DAY 5: Marazion Circular Walk–Footpaths and bridleways of Perranuthnoe
Your walk today begins in Marazion and takes you through the Parish of Perranuthnoe, a small and ancient village. The trail follows footpaths, bridleways and quiet lanes in the surrounding countryside and from where you can also see coastal views. This is indeed a stunning part of Cornwall with constant reminders of the area’s history of trading and of pilgrimages. You will also se the remnants of the copper and tin mining industry and walk past several old mine workings.
Walk: 10 miles
DAY 6: Marazion to Mousehole
As the walk today is a bit shorter, you may want to begin this morning (if the tide is right!) by following the footsteps of pilgrims across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount, a prominent British landmark and the official end of the St Michael’s Way. Thousands of years ago this island was a busy port trading tin with Europe and an abbey was built on top of the island and granted to the Benedictine monks from Mont St Michel in France.
Today's walk initially takes you along a pleasant coastal path to Penzance, a bustling town whose heyday was in the 19th century when it was the commercial centre of the tin mining industry. Today it has a plethora of art galleries, tea shops, coffee houses and pubs. Continue on a cycle path which hugs the shoreline to reach the pretty fishing port of Newlyn. This idyllic place attracted a whole host of artists in the 19th century due to its similarity to Brittany in France.
You may wish to stop for lunch in one of the many restaurants such as The Smuggler’s Restaurant, which has great views over the harbour and the boats which have possibly brought in the fresh fish in that you are eating.
Continue to Mousehole (pronounced ‘mowzal’), an iconic Cornish village with its typical old stone quay and cottages. From here you can either catch a bus back to Marazion (via Penzance), or retrace your steps.
Walk: 6.2 miles
The tour finishes after breakfast and you can make your way by bus or taxi to Penzance Station in order to continue your onward journey.
You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. There are often waymarks to help you find your way and as always when walking you should be able to read a map and use a compass in case of bad weather.
All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.
The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as good boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.