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Walking holidays in Cornwall

England’s most westerly corner is a rugged peninsula that clings to long held local customs, legends, and an ancient language all its own. And in the same way that Cornish miners once chiselled precious metals from the earth, Cornwall has carved out a place for itself as a big-name walking destination.

There are 422-miles of wow-worthy coastal paths that reveal hidden coves and secluded sandy bays awash with stories of smugglers, piracy, and plunder. Add in a treasure trove of charming harbour towns, standout surfing spots, and top attractions like the Eden Project, too, and it’s no surprise Cornwall keeps us coming back for more.

Walk the farthest reaches of Britain

Our Cornwall walking holidays line-up a long list of highlights. On the South West Coast Path, you can trek around Mount’s Bay from the granite ridges of Lands End to Lizard Point – mainland Britain’s most southerly peninsula. Along the way, tick-off the notorious smuggling den of Prussia Cove, Minack Theatre’s far-reaching Atlantic views, and St Michael’s Mount – a tidal island crowned by a medieval church and castle.

There’s also north Cornwall’s St. Agnes Heritage Coast. Hike over grassy hilltops littered with the ghostly ruins of ancient tin mines and find out how the Cornish pasty was born. And when it’s time to take a break, stop off for a Cornish ice cream or afternoon tea complete with scones, jam, and lashings of clotted cream.

The name on everyone’s lips on a Cornwall walking holiday, however, is St Ives – the seaside hub that has inspired generations of artists with its working harbour, historic fishing communities, white-sand beaches, and surrounding landscape.

Discover Looe

While St Ives takes centre stage on our west coast Cornwall walking holidays, over on the southeast it’s all about Looe – the working fishing port cherished for its golden, sandy beaches, traditional pubs, and island nature reserve. This charming seaside spot serves as a great base from which to walk along some of the finest sections of the South West Coast path and to discover the long and storied histories of Mount Edgcumbe, Polperro, and Fowey.

Outdoor activities and seafood galore

With more miles of coastline and hours of sunshine than anywhere else in England, Cornwall offers a bucketful of outdoor activities including rock pooling, coasteering, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It’s also got some serious surfing credentials, especially on the beaches of Newquay.

If you need to fuel up for the fun, Cornwall serves some of Britain’s best seafood – just ask celebrity chef, Padstow resident, and champion of all things Cornish, Rick Stein.

Relive the golden age of piracy and smuggling

The awe-inspiring coastal scenery fits perfectly with the romantic image of the Cornish smuggler. Treacherous shallows navigable only by the smallest of boats and a network of maze-like grottoes and sea caves made Cornwall’s coastline a haven for the smuggling trade. At its 18th century peak, half of all the brandy drunk in Britain was smuggled through Cornish ports.

Today Cornwall still thrives on its smuggling past, but in a different way. After a long day’s walking, drop into the pint-sized village of Mousehole and take your pick from a slew of waterfront pubs with names that pay homage to famous smugglers.