1. ST IVES, THE TATE AND BARBARA HEPWORTH MUSEUM & GARDEN
St Ives has beautiful beaches which are child friendly and as such can get quite crowded on sunny summer days. There are lifeguards on Porthmeor (surfing and swimming) and Porthminster (swimming) beaches, and good cafes and facilities on both.
Tate St Ives opened in 1993. Check their website for current exhibitions (www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-st-ives or call 01736 796226)
Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is magnificent and well worth a visit, with stunning views across the water.(opening times for both: March – October 10 – 5 Nov – Feb 10 – 4 )
There is a good park opposite Tate on Porthmeor beach, but it gets very busy in summer
Lunch or dinner at Porthminster Beach Cafe ( 01736 705352) stunning view. Seafood Cafe (01736 794004) fresh local fish & shellfish. Porthmeor Beach Cafe (01736 793366) for tapas & great beach location opp. Tate. There are lots of pubs and bars around the harbour, places to buy pasties, ice cream, fish & chips, cream teas, a real day out at the seaside!
You can walk from St Ives to Zennor (approx 4 hours) along coast path (fairly difficult). Spectacular views and sunset.
2. ZENNOR, ST SENARA, ZENNOR QUOIT & THE GURNARDS HEAD
A short walk along to the Zennor Head to admire the sunset or you could take the coast path West to the Gurnards Head and its namesake pub which serves good food, wine and traditional ales, very good for dinner or Sunday lunch. (book 01736 796928)
Visit the beautiful St Senara Norman church with its 600 year old Mermaid Chair.
The Wayside Museum houses an extensive collection of local artefacts dating from 3000 BC (open April – October)
Enjoy a pint at the Tinners Arms – traditional Cornish pub, built 1271, open log fires, folk music on Thursday night from 9pm.
3. ST JUST, CAPE CORNWALL & PENDEEN
Geevor tin mine was a working mine until 1990. The area from Pendeen to St Just was the capital of tin mining in Cornwall in 19th century.
Geevor sell good traditional pasties (closed on Saturdays). Worth pre-ordering your pasty to avoid disappointment (01736 788662)
The North Inn pub specialise in curries (01736 788417)
Cape Cornwall is where the Atlantic splits South to English Channel and North to Irish Sea. It is the only cape in England and for a long time the original Land’s End. The cape is recognisable by the old chimney on its summit from tin mining days when shafts extended hundreds of metres under the sea to extract tin and copper. The Brison rocks wrecked a number of ships. Great sunsets.
St Just, once one of Britain’s most important mining towns is the furthest west in England and home of the Cornish Independence. Lafrowda festival runs for 2 weeks in July with live music and market stalls.
Cookbook Cafe is a good place for lunch serving good soups and cream teas Vivian Olds is an excellent local butcher, great steaks.
4. SENNEN & LAND’S END
A very popular surfing beach. You can enjoy watching the sun set from the terrace of the Beach Cafe (01736 871191)
There is a good little cafe for takeaway food at beach level where the surf school and facilities are.
There are lots of places here to hire surf boards, wetsuits and to book surfing lessons. At the far North end of the very long sandy beach is Gwenver beach from which you can see the Scilly Isles on a clear day.
At the other end of the seafront in Sennen is the Roundhouse Gallery built on top of the old Capstan which was used to winch boats up and down the beach before the advent of steam. They sell art and crafts by local artists and is worth a visit. Decent fish and chips at the seafront chippie.
5. PORTHCURNO & PEDNAVOUNDER BEACH, THE TELEGRAPH MUSEUM AND THE MINNACK THEATRE, TREEN & LOGAN’S ROCK
It is a spectacular walk at low tide along the beach from Porthcurno along Pednavounder beach to Logan’s Rock – a finely balanced 80 ton granite boulder perched on the edge of an iron age promontory fort called Treryn Dinas. This is an excellent beach for swimming and dolphin spotting.
In the summer months, Porthcurno can be very busy and you may prefer to park at Treen and walk down quite a steep path to Pednavounder beach which is a quiet naturist beach with clear blue water; or just stay on the coast path and admire the views.
The Minnack is an open air theate, its first performance was the Tempest in 1932 with the sea as a dramatic backdrop. The summer season runs from May to September presenting drama, musicals and opera from many travelling theatre groups. Check their programmes ( 01736 810181 or online www.minack.com). Definitely worth a visit and if you go to a performance, wrap up warm and take some cushions, a raincoat, a picnic & a bottle of wine.
The Telegraph Museum was the hub of international cable communication from 1870 to 1970 and the beach at Porthcurno was donated by BT to the National Trust .
It takes about 3 hours to walk along the coast path from Treen to Lamorna, going through Penberth, an old fishing cove, and St Loy, with its stunning waterside trees and leafy properties, past the scene of the Penlee lifeboat disaster of 1981, the Tater Du lighthouse and Carn Barges rock and on to Lamorna Cove.
6. LAMORNA TO MOUSEHOLE
Lamorna Valley is one of the only places in West Penwith sheltered enough for large trees to grow and the Lamorna river runs down through the woods to the cove.The granite from Lamorna Cove was used to construct the Thames Embankment.
The Lamorna Arts festival celebrates the original Lamorna Colony and today’s art community.
There is a tiny beach at Lamorna Cove where you can swim or rent a canoe from the beach cafe. Avoid using the car park though!
Lamorna Pottery on the main road to Penzance also serves afternoon tea.
You can walk beyond Lamorna along the coast path towards St Loy and Treen (3 hours) and take the bus back from Treen to Mousehole. The Logan’s Inn in Treen is a traditional Cornish pub and there is a little cafe open in the summer only for a bowl of soup, an ice cream or a cream tea
The Wink pub is a no frills Cornish pub, the wink being a signal that contraband could be obtained. Good for a pint but sadly they don’t allow dogs inside the pub.
It is just 45 minutes along the coast path from Lamorna to Mousehole and you can walk back along the fields or vice versa.
Mousehole is a beautiful traditional fishing village, with lots of gift shops and galleries featuring local artists and pubs, cafes and good restaurants.
The best restaurants in Mousehole are The Old Coastguard which is also a very relaxed pub with great views and a nice garden which you can access directly from the coast path (01736 731222) or Two Fore Street (01736 731164) and The Rockpool is an exceptionally lovely cafe.
7. NEWLYN & PENZANCE
Newlyn is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK.
Harveys Shellfish sells good crab and lobster and there are several fishmongers, a good greengrocer and the excellent Newlyn Cheese and Jelberts ice cream which is very popular with locals.
Mackerel Sky in Penzance is good for lunch and they have a new seafood bar in Newlyn!
Newlyn School of Art was founded in 1885 and many still live and paint in the area. The Newlyn Art Gallery is on the seafront.
Penzance means holy headland in Cornish.
Chapel street has some of the oldest and most interesting architecture in Penzance with good galleries and interesting shops.
Penlee House & Gardens built in 1865 is the only Cornish public gallery specialising in Newlyn School of Art. (closed on Sundays)
Morrab Gardens is a Victorian garden with subtropical gardens.
The Jubilee Pool is an art deco lido which was badly damaged in 2014 storms. It should be re-opening in the summer with a cafe.
The Honey Pot and the Front Room are both good places for lunch if you are in Penzance.
8. ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT, MARAZION & PERRANUTHNOE
You can walk to St Michael’s Mount at low tide or take a boat taxi when the tide is in. The rocky island is crowned by a medieval church and castle with the oldest buildings dating from 12th century. It has been a priory, a fortress and a place of pilgrimage.
It became a private home to the St Aubin family in 1659 who still live in parts of the castle. . The Mount is currently owned by the National Trust who operate the Sail Loft restaurant (01736 710507) good for lunch and a little cafe for cream tea.
There are stunning exotic subtropical gardens (open spring to autumn) and guided tours of the castle all year round.
Marazion’s name is derived from the markets that were held there and was originally the main trading town in West Cornwall. Nowaday it is a popular destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing in Mount’s Bay as well as visiting the Mount.
Lunch or dinner at Ben’s Cornish Kitchen (01736 719200)
Very pleasant easy walk (45mins) East along coast path to Perranuthnoe with stunning views of the other side of St Michael’s Mount and across the bay. Enjoy lunch or dinner at the VIctoria Inn (01736 710309)
There is a good organic farm shop just outside Perranuthnoe.
9. THE SCILLY ISLES
The islands are an area of outstanding and form a archipelago of 5 inhabited islands and 140 small islets. Lying in the Gulf Stream, the islands are considered sub-tropical and have some of the warmest weather in the UK. The rocky islands provide homes for numerous seabirds, migrating birds and marine animals.
The main island is St Mary’s, the most populated and has air and sea links with the mainland.
Scillonian sailing times: from Penzance to St Mary’s: 9.15
Journey time approx 3 hrs
from St Mary’s to Penzance:16.30
St Mary’s: there are 30 miles of coastal path and nature paths with guided walks. One of the most popular is around the Garrison and offers stunning views of the other islands. There are 9 miles of road linking the island’s communities and bikes can be hired to explore. There are boat trips to the various island from the port.There are burial chambers and ancient monuments dotted around the heathland. There is a cluster of shops, restaurants, galleries a post office and banks & a range of accommodation.
Tresco: A subtropical gem and home to many rare plants that cannot be grown anywhere else in the UK. It has the greatest contrast of landscape between the North and South of the island. There is a delicatessen, a post office, an award-winning pub and a range of accommodation.
St Martin’s: just 2 miles long, it has some of the finest white sand and crystal blue sea in the UK. Expanse of rockpools and sandy flats on the South coast and steep cliffs, coves and coastal path on the North side. Cafes, hotel, award-winning bakery & pub.
Bryher: rugged and untamed. The smallest of the inhabited islands, encapsulates wild beauty and gentle tranquility. Post office, grocery store, cafe, campsite and some accommodation.
St Agnes: staggering views, a pub, a fish restaurant, cafes, campsite, post office, grocery store.
10. FARMERS MARKETS and FARM SHOPS
Sennen Tuesdays 9-12 Community Centre
PaulWednesday 10-2 Village Hall
St Ives Thursday 9.30-2 Backpackers, Lwr. Stennack
PenzanceFriday 9-1 The Exchange
St Buryan 2nd & 4th Saturdays Village Hall 9.30-12.30
Organic Farm Shop: just after Perranuthnoe on Helston road 01736 710410
Trevaskis Farm Shop, Connor Downs, 01209 713931: pick your own fruit and veg.
Mousehole Fish, 1 Albert St, Penzance, 07977689689 fresh local fish good prices
Newlyn Cheese: cheese, some charcuterie, biscuits, bread.
Vivian Old Butcher, St Just: 01736 788520 will deliver Wed and Sat.
CRAB: Harvey’s Shellfish Newlyn and a Quayside Fish in Porthleven
11. GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IN WEST CORNWALL