Things To Do in West Cornwall

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 from 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. The beauty of this region is wherever you stay, you're never more than a few miles from a beach.

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 numerous beaches, some very small and little known and others well known. Sennen Cove is the biggest this side of Penzance, though its hardly big. For a real stomp though head to Gwithian Towans the longest beach in Cornwall where there is three miles of golden sands leading to the Hayle estuary with St Ives in the distance. Always take care when exploring beaches and 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 many of our 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.

Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing is well catered for in West Cornwall and unlike surfing which can take years to master, in a couple of days you can be up and away so if you ever fancied it give it a go on your holiday. One of the best spots is on the beach from Marazion to Long rock. There are a couple of good schools here www.oceanhigh.co.uk and www.thehoxtonspecial.com

Sea swimming

So much choice and not enough time! Were blessed to be surrounded by coast here and there are plenty of great spots. Even in the height of summer you can find a quiet place to have a dip. Both Long Rock (between Marazion and Penzance) and Porth Kidney (park round the church at Lelant) have the warmest water i have found. Timing is everything and go a few hours before high tide when the sea has had a chance to warm over the sand. Porth Kidney is the prettier and both are dog friendly all year. Gwithians and Gwenver are both fantastic but all the beaches and coves in our guide are worth a try. As always down here be careful with rips and always use a lifeguarded beach if in doubt or with little ones.

Climbing and coasteering

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.

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 your 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 many of the properties. From Granny Polly’s cottage the views from Tregonning Hill are spectacular on a clear day.

Cycling

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 Seb 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 except 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 and theatres

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.

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.

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.