Things to do in West Cornwall

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The far west is on the edge, things are different here. We're surrounded on three sides by the sea, and it has a strong influence on our lives.

Come and live the dream, whether you're seeking adventure, or whether you're seeking escape, or maybe you just need peace and quiet to work on a project.

We're away form it all, yet close to everything, and the major attractions of Cornwall are all within reach.

The sea

The sea brings us everything from our food to our weather, and so many recreational opportunities too. When you are lucky enough to grow up near the sea its pull is strong, more than a few weeks away from it is too much. Here in the far west of Cornwall the sea surrounds us, you're never more than a few miles from it.

Our beaches

Choose from hidden coves like Poldark's Porthgwarra, to those that feature in world wide top tens such as Sennen and Porthcurno. See our list of favourites on our Beaches page.

This far west we have small beaches, and very small beaches. Sennen Cove is the biggest this side of Penzance, though its hardly big.

Take care when exploring beaches. Be aware of the tide and avoid getting cut off.

Surfing

Whether you're a salty seasoned long time surfer, or an aspiring beginner there's something for everyone here.

Sennen Surfing Centre is down the road from our Tregiffian properties, and there's a school at Porthleven too. Sennen Surfing Centre teaches at every level, and you can hire your kit from them to save loading up the car.

If you're on the beach or walking the cliffs near Gwenver look out for the amazing spider like technique of former world long board champion Sam Bleakley.

Sea swimming

Going for a swim these days tends to be called Wild Swimming. Whatever you call it, a dip in the ocean is an exhilarating experience. It's warmer here than the rest of the country, but not that warm!

There are plenty of locals who swim year round, and the Christmas swim on Sennen Beach is a major Christmas Day event with hundreds taking part.

Many beaches have life guards, and if you're not a confident open water swimmer you're best off sticking to these. Check the RNLI site for details of lifeguard cover for particular beaches.

Climbing

The dramatic granite sea cliffs of west Cornwall offer plenty of climbing including the well known Chair Ladder, Bosigran, and Longships Wall and Day Tripper at Lands End, as well as many quieter crags.

Coasteering

The new(ish) sport of coasteering might well have been designed for the far west of Cornwall. If you want a thrill, some strenuous exercise, and to see areas of the coast you'd never normally get to check out Kernow Coasteering. Their tours will give you an unforgettable experience.

Walking

Fill you lungs with fresh sea air. Walk the whole coast, or just take a healthy stroll, this is the perfect place to base yourself for walking the cliffs and moor lands of West Cornwall. The cliff paths start from your door at the Tregiffian properties. From Trevena Cross Barn the views from Tregonning Hill are spectacular on a clear day.

Cycling

Kelvin grew up cycling the roads around West Cornwall. It's hilly, windy, but so rewarding. Whether you want to ride the roads, or mountain bike, you'll have a lot of fun. There are bike hire opportunities in Penzance, but if you want something special to ride email Kelvin and he'll arrange hire through Bike Chain Ricci.

Gardens

The mild climate in Cornwall makes some amazing gardens possible. There are many to visit from the National Trust, and some great private ones too. Our favourite locally is what must be one of the newest private grand gardens in the country. Tremenheere also has the huge draw of some major sculpture and installations from James Turrell, David Nash and others.

Twitching

I know nothing about bird watching expect that I see crowds of twitchers on a regular basis as news of an unusual feathered visitor spreads. I'm delighted every time I see the choughs on the cliffs between Gwenver and Cape Cornwall.

Art galleries

Guests come from across Europe to stay with The Cornish Way and then tour the many galleries of the far west of Cornwall. West Penwith has attracted artists for hundreds of years, seeking inspiration from the natural beauty and clarity of light, their work, old and new, is a thrilling testament to the draw and intrigue of this mysterious land.

Nearby we have nationally renowned galleries including The Tate in St Ives, Barbara Hepworth's Studio, the Penlee and the Newlyn School of Art, perhaps just as interesting though are the myriad small independent galleries.

Theatre

We're home to Kneehigh, the radical underground theatre company who made it big, but have stayed true to their Cornish roots, and of course we have the famous Minack Theatre perched on the dramatic cliffs above Porthcurno. Kneehigh have an outdoor programme every year – I thoroughly recommend seeing them.

Theme parks

We're not big on theme parks in West Cornwall, but try Flambards in Helston for some great rides and family entertainment. A little further is Dairyland which is great all year round, but especially in spring when young animals are being born all over. There are some attractions at Lands End, but I'd send you there for the cliffs and views.

St Michael's Mount

It says a lot for the far West of Cornwall that something as spectacular as St Michael's Mount is just one of our jewels. Walk across at low tide, or catch a boat from Marazion. St Michael's is a real life fairy tale castle, still lived in by the St Aubyn family and managed by the National Trust.

Mining heritage

The St Just area is a UNESCO listed World Heritage site, recognising its important role in mining history (and of course the basis for the wonderful Poldark books and films). Go underground at Geevor, the last Cornish tin mine or see the oldest working steam driven beam engine at Levant near Pendeen. A bit further afield, the Heartlands Centre near Redruth sounds good, but I haven't been yet.