Are you looking for an itinerary for a 7 Days of Cornwall Road Trip? Then you are in the right spot.
Cornwall, with its rugged coastlines, quaint fishing villages, and golden beaches, is a haven for any traveler. You can see as much or as little as you like, stopping as you go to see whatever catches your fancy.
From rugged beaches to lovely little villages, Cornwall has everything you’d want in a relaxing holiday in the UK. Plus, everything is fairly close together; it won’t take you more than an hour to get between stops. It’s a great a road trip without spending all day in the car!
It can be quite hard to figure out a great itinerary without knowing the area. My friend Jen Miller is an American living in London and the face behind the blog London in Real Life. She has recently visited Cornwall, and told me all about it for this blog post.
This itinerary offers a mix of coastal towns, historical sites, and outstanding natural beauty, all at a relaxed pace. Keep on reading to find out everything you need for your Cornwall road trip in this complete guide.
Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
- Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days Itinerary – at a Glance
- Downloadable Map One Week Cornwall Road Trip
- Getting to Cornwall from London
- Cornwall Road Trip Tips
- Day 1: Falmouth
- Day 2: Falmouth to Coverack
- Day 3: Coverack to Cadgwith Harbour
- Day 4: Exploring the Coves en Route to Porthleven Harbour
- Day 5: Porthleven to Penzance
- Day 6: Penzance to Land’s End to St Ives
- Day 7: St Ives
- Other Amazing Attractions in Cornwall
- Is Cornwall Safe?
- Best Time for a Cornwall Road Trip
- What to Pack for a 7 Days Cornwall Road Trip
- Cornwall Quick Facts
- Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days: Final Thoughts
- FAQ: Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days
- About the Author
Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days Itinerary – at a Glance
- Day 1: Falmouth
- Day 2: Falmouth to Coverack
- Day 3: Coverack to Cadgwith Harbor
- Day 4: Exploring the Coves en Route to Porthleven Harbour
- Day 5: Porthleven to Penzance
- Day 6: Penzance to Land’s End to St Ives
- Day 7: St Ives
Downloadable Map One Week Cornwall Road Trip
Getting to Cornwall from London
If you’re coming from London, or another major metropolitan area of the UK, the most budget-friendly route is to take a train to a Cornish city. Going on a road trip to Cornwall from London is a great idea if you are looking for a city escape.
You can then rent a car once you’re in Cornwall. It’s best to book ahead, as there aren’t many rental businesses. They book up fast in the summer months.
You’ll need a car once you arrive, as public transport in Cornwall is limited and slow. Many of these suggested stops on the Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary are not accessible by public transport.
Trains to Cornwall are affordable most times of year, especially if you have a Rail Card. The best places to arrive in Cornwall by train are Plymouth, Exeter, and Redruth.
These all have major rail hubs. Check your train options decide which route is best for you, and make sure the local car rental agencies have availability.
Alternatively, you can also grab a rental car in London for this road trip.
Cornwall Road Trip Tips
☀️ Cornwall is compact, so if you don’t want to book different accommodations every night, you can opt to stay in one spot instead. It that case you can do each of these Cornwall itineraries as day trips. For this option, I’d suggest you stay in Falmouth as a home base. It isn’t quite as pricey as the more popular St. Ives or Penzance.
☀️ Cornwall’s roads are narrow, and some are not paved. If you meet another car head on in some spots, you may need to reverse. It’s best to drive a small car and be familiar with your car’s dimensions. And make sure you don’t get stuck in the mud (like I did!).
☀️ Petrol stations are few and far between. Though you won’t go through a lot of petrol on this trip – as everything is close together – be mindful of your levels and top up while you’re near a station.
☀️ This trip is perfect for a solo travel adventure. I went on my own and loved exploring everything Cornwall has to offer at my own pace.
Day 1: Falmouth
Falmouth is a charming coastal town in the Northeast corner of Cornwall. We’ll start here, then loop around the coast clockwise.
Morning: Arrive in Falmouth and explore the historic Pendennis Castle. Enjoy panoramic views of the sea
Afternoon: Stroll around the town, visiting the National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Evening: Dine at one of the waterfront restaurants, enjoying the fresh seafood Cornwall is famous for
What to see in Falmouth
- The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is a must-visit, offering a deep dive into the town’s seafaring past. Offers interactive exhibits and historic boats
- Gyllyngvase Beach and Swanpool Beach: These are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water sports
- Falmouth Harbour: One of the world’s deepest natural harbours. It’s a hub of activity with boats, ferries, and yachts. You can take boat trips to nearby places like St Mawes or up the River Fal
- Pendennis Castle: Historic castle built by Henry VIII. It overlooks the sea and offers panoramic views of the area. It’s a great place to learn about the town’s medieval history.
Accommodation in Falmouth
Day 2: Falmouth to Coverack
Just a short 40 minute drive from Falmouth is the picturesque fishing village of Coverack. Take your time and take advantage of the beautiful stops along the way!
Morning: set off from Falmouth driving south to Coverack. Enjoy one or two of my suggested stops in Coverack (see below)
Afternoon: Arrive in Coverack, a picturesque fishing village. Wander around the harbor and enjoy the tranquility
Evening: Stay in a local B&B and enjoy a meal at a village pub
- Potager Garden and Trebah Garden are beautiful botanical gardens, great for a short wander and a cup of tea
- Halliggye Fogou: a remnant of the Iron age, a mysterious network of tunnels
- Slice of Cornwall: a great stop for coffee, filled flatbread, waffles, and delicious cakes, Slice of Cornwall is one of the best restaurants in the whole of the peninsula. It may be a bit busy, but it’s worth the wait
What to See in Coverack
Coverack is a very small fishing village with incredible natural beauty. It’s great for just relaxing, wandering, and turning in at a local B&B.
🌊 Coverack Beach: a mix of sand and pebbles, it’s a lovely spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and beachcombing. The waters are clear and inviting, perfect for swimming and snorkeling in the warm summer months. Sometimes the water is still a bit chilly!
🌊 Coastal Walks: The village is situated on the South West Coastal Path, offering breathtaking views of the coastline. Go walking along this path, explore the rugged cliffs and hidden coves of the Lizard Peninsula
🌊 Local Cuisine: As a coastal village, Coverack offers fresh seafood dishes in its local pubs and restaurants. You must try a traditional Cornish pasty
Accommodation in Coverack
Day 3: Coverack to Cadgwith Harbour
Morning: Depart Coverack and head south to Cadgwith Harbour, choosing from the stops noted below. It’s a very short drive at only 20 minutes end to end, so this day is all about the detours!
Afternoon: Arrive at Cadgwith Harbour. Explore the village, watch local fishermen at work, and maybe even buy some fresh catch for dinner
Evening: Enjoy a traditional Cornish meal at a local inn
- Kennack Sands: one of the flattest and sandiest beaches in Cornwall, Kennack Sands is great for a day of exploring and wading in the tidal pools. If you have dogs or kids, this beach is especially lovely for a day out
- Mora Cafe is a lovely family run cafe on the shores of Kennack Sands, offering ice cream, delicious coffees, and a variety of fresh food. Grab a cuppa and relax on their spacious seaside balcony
- National Trust Old Serpentine Works: an abandoned mine that was integral to Cornwall’s Victorian economy. This is a great historical stop. There is also a mapped walk of historical sites along the Coastal Path
What to See in Cadgwith Harbour
🏖️ Cadgwith Harbour itself is the main attraction here. It has cute thatched roofs, and charming cobbled streets, and is a gorgeous fishing village. If you’ve seen the British TV show Doc Martin, Cadgwith Harbour will remind you of the village in that show.
🏖️ The Old Cellars Restaurant: watch the catch of the day come in and move directly to this restaurant to be prepared into lovely meals! It’s a quaint seafood spot with fish that’s as fresh as fresh can be
🏖️ St Ruan Holy Well: A 15th-century Celtic holy well, well-preserved. It’s like glimpsing into the ancient Celtic past.
Accommodation in Cadgwith Harbour
Day 4: Exploring the Coves en Route to Porthleven Harbour
Another highlight on this Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary for 7 days is the route to Porthleven Harbour.
We’re now in the middle of the Lizard Peninsula. The Lizard Peninsula is known for its stunning cliffs and hidden coves. You could easily spend days here exploring every one, or pick which one interests you the most and spend your day there.
Morning: Head to Kynance Cove, the most famous in all of the Lizard Peninsula
Mid-Day: Visit Poldhu Cove, known for its turquoise waters and unique rock formations
Afternoon: Explore Mullion Cove and its historic harbor
Evening: End your day at Porthleven Harbour for the night.
- Kynance Cove: The most famous and beautiful cove in all of Cornwall, Kynance Cove is the major attraction of the Lizard. Park at the car park, then hike down one of two routes (easy or difficult) to reach the stunning waterline. I recommend doing Kynance Cove first thing in the morning, as by mid-day the car park may be full. Pay attention to the tides, as you’ll miss the lovely mermaid pool at high tide – I made that mistake and was really bummed
- Poldhu Cove: a more easily accessible beach than Kynance, Poldhu is a lovely sandy beach great for surfing and swimming. There’s a cafe, surf shop, and ample parking. This one is really popular for families, and the coffee at the cafe is delicious
- Mullion Cove: a historic harbor just south of Poldhu Cove, Mullion Cove is best for exploring rather than swimming and sunbathing. If you like, you can kayak or paddle board to Mullion Island, a nature preserve close to the harbor
- Gunwalloe Beach: a sandy natural wonder, and dog friendly
What to See in Porthleven
🏝️ Porthleven Beach: right near town is this small rocky beach where you can take in the views of the Cornish coastline.
🏝️ Penrose: just east of town is an incredible woodland surrounding Cornwall’s largest natural lake. Take a stroll through the woods in this historic spot.
🏝️ The Ship Inn or the Atlantic Inn: two excellent pubs with even better views! Grab a pint and a pie and sit on the balcony
Accommodation in Porthleven
Day 5: Porthleven to Penzance
The next stop on this Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary for 7 days is Penzance, with a stop at St. Michael’s Mount along the way.
Morning: Drive to Penzance, stopping at St. Michael’s Mount
Afternoon & Evening: Explore Penzance’s historic streets, and visit any of the suggested locations below
The one thing you absolutely must see on the short drive between these two stops is St. Michael’s Mount, a historic 1600’s castle that was once a grand family home.
It sits on a small island off the coast. Book in advance, as it sells out quickly in the summer months.
You can also book an incredible afternoon tea at the castle. Leave a good amount of time to explore the island’s medieval church, subtropical gardens, and panoramic views of Mount’s Bay.
What to See in Penzance
⛵ Penzance Promenade: Stretching along the seafront, the promenade is perfect for a leisurely walk, offering views of the sea and St. Michael’s Mount
⛵ Morrab Gardens: A beautiful subtropical garden in the heart of Penzance. It’s home to a range of exotic plants, a bandstand, and ornamental ponds
⛵ Penzance Harbour: The historic harbour is bustling with activity. You can watch fishing boats, take boat trips, or simply enjoy the views
⛵ Jubilee Pool: An iconic Art Deco lido, it’s one of the oldest surviving sea-water lidos in the UK. It’s a great place to take a dip or relax by the poolside
⛵ Penlee House Gallery & Museum: This museum showcases the history of West Cornwall and features works by the Newlyn School of Artists
⛵ Chapel Street: One of the oldest streets in Penzance. It’s lined with historic buildings, including the Admiral Benbow pub and the Egyptian House
Accommodation in Penzance
Day 6: Penzance to Land’s End to St Ives
To go across the entire peninsula from Penzance to Land’s End is only a 20-minute drive. But it’s quite beautiful!
From Land’s End, we’ll head to our final stop on the Cornwall Road Trip 7 days Itinerary: the incredible seaside town of St. Ives.
Morning: Head to Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England
Afternoon: Drive to St Ives. En route, pick from the suggested stops below
Evening: Explore St Ives, a gorgeous village on the sea with a lovely seafront promenade
Suggested Stops, Penzance to Land’s End
- If you take the Southern route, you can pass The Merry Maidens Stone Circle: an ancient (2500 BC) stone circle much like Stonehenge, but much more accessible and picturesque
- If you take the Northern route, you can pass Boscawen-un Stone Circle, of a similar era and just as incredible
What to See in Land’s End
Land’s End is all about the view, and it’s breathtaking. Make sure to pose with the iconic signpost marking the Westernmost point of mainland England!
Just north of Land’s End is the Mayon Cliff Ship Wreck, a very cool shipwreck you can walk around at low tide
Suggested Stops, Land’s End to St. Ives
Make sure to take the suggested route that takes you along the coast (A3071) to see these suggested stops. The entire route takes only 35 minutes end to end, without stops.
🚤 Geevor Tin Mine: This preserved tin mine offers a glimpse into Cornwall’s mining heritage. Explore the underground tunnels and learn about the history of tin mining in the region. This is vital to Cornwall’s heritage. It’s why this area is known as the ‘tin coast’!
🚤 Mên-an-Tol: An ancient Bronze Age holed stone that’s believed to have curative powers
🚤 Gurnard’s Head: A scenic viewpoint that offers amazing vistas of the coast
Accommodation in St. Ives
Day 7: St Ives
Enjoy your final day of the Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary for 7 days in lovely St. Ives.
St. Ives is all about the seafront. The harbor is surrounded by historic buildings. It offers views of fishing boats, sandy beaches, and the sea.
It’s a great place for a leisurely walk or just to bask in the ambiance.
What to See in St. Ives
St. Ives is also famous for its narrow winding streets, historic fishermen’s cottages, and the numerous art galleries that dot the town. The unique light quality in St. Ives has attracted artists for generations, making it a hub for the arts in Cornwall.
- St Ives Bakery: The best bakery in town! Grab a coffee and a pastry to enjoy on your walk around town. This one surely measures up to the Instagram-worthy cafés in London.
- St Ives Harbour Old Lighthouse: Walk all the way around the promenade and across the seawall, and you’ll find a lovely spot for photos near this old lighthouse
- Tate St. Ives: This branch of the famous London Tate Gallery showcases modern and contemporary art, often with a focus on artists who have connections to the Cornwall region. It also has a lovely little cafe
- Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden: A second branch of the Tage, this nearby museum is dedicated solely to the works of the renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth. She lived and worked in Cornwall. Explore her studio and the garden filled with her bronze sculptures
- The Leach Pottery: Founded by Bernard Leach, one of the most respected potters of the 20th century. This pottery studio is now a museum showing his works and the history of pottery in St. Ives.
- The Island: Walk all the way up the hill of this headland connected to the town, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of St. Ives and the surrounding coastline. At its peak is the Chapel of St Nicholas, which is also a cool little spot to check out.
- Fore Street: The main shopping street in St. Ives, it’s lined with boutiques, galleries, and eateries, great for wandering.
- Boat Trips: From the harbour, you can take boat trips to see seals, explore the coastline, or go fishing.
- Cornish Coastal Path: For those who love walking, the path offers breathtaking views of the cliffs, beaches, and the Atlantic Ocean
Other Amazing Attractions in Cornwall
Taking it easy on this 7 days in Cornwall Road Trip Itinerary was one of my biggest goals. It is impossible to cover every pretty spot in the area in just a few days. Here are a couple of other hotspots and highlights in Cornwall that you can put on your itinerary:
- Tintagel Castle: Birthplace of King Arthur, perched on dramatic cliffs
- The Eden Project: Iconic biomes housing diverse plant species from around the world
- Minack Theatre: An open-air theater built into the cliffs overlooking the sea
- Porthcurno Beach: Known for its turquoise waters and the famous Telegraph Museum
- Port Isaac: A picturesque Cornish fishing village
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan: Victorian gardens
- Mousehole: A quaint harbor village known for its Christmas lights
- Bodmin Moor: A rugged landscape with Neolithic sites and granite tors
- St. Just in Roseland: A charming churchyard garden in a peaceful setting
- Perranporth Beach: A wide sandy beach perfect for surfing and water sports
- Fowey: A charming coastal town with a connection to Daphne du Maurier
- Lanhydrock House: A grand country house with beautiful gardens
- Trebah Garden: A subtropical paradise with a private beach on the Helford River
- Geevor Tin Mine: Explore Cornwall’s mining heritage in this historic site
- Cape Cornwall
Is Cornwall Safe?
Yes, Cornwall is very safe.
In terms of safety, it’s considered a relatively low-crime area. Crime rates are generally lower compared to larger cities, making it a safe destination for travelers.
However, it’s still a good idea to take basic precautions. Make sure to be keeping an eye on your belongings and being aware of your surroundings.
Do you need travel insurance in Cornwall? Yes, travel insurance in Cornwall is highly recommended. Unsafe roads, hiking accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.
Best Time for a Cornwall Road Trip
The best time for your road trip through Cornwall depends a lot on your preferences.
Spring and autumn offer a balance between pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer is perfect for beach enthusiasts. Winter is ideal for those who enjoy a peaceful getaway and don’t mind cooler temperatures.
Here is a small overview of the average weather per season for your road trip:
Spring (March to May):
- Daytime temperatures: 11°C to 15°C (52°F to 59°F)
- Moderate rainfall, sunshine hours are increasing
Summer (June to August):
- Daytime temperatures: 16°C to 20°C (61°F to 68°F)
- Little rainfall, the sunniest season in Cornwall
Autumn (September to November):
- Daytime temperatures: 14°C to 17°C (57°F to 63°F)
- Rainfall is increasing over fall, sunshine is getting less and less
Winter (December to February):
- Daytime temperatures: 8°C to 10°C (46°F to 50°F)
- Lots of rainfall, short daylight hours
What to Pack for a 7 Days Cornwall Road Trip
Here are my top 10 cool items to pack for a Cornwall road trip:
- Rain Jacket: Cornwall’s weather can be unpredictable, so a waterproof and windproof rain jacket is essential
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: You’ll likely do a lot of exploring, so pack comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots
- Backpack: A lightweight, comfortable backpack is handy for carrying essentials and snacks during your adventures
- Sunscreen: Even on cloudy days, UV rays can be strong, so pack sunscreen to protect your skin
- Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by refilling your bottle from Cornwall’s many natural springs and fountains
- Picnic Supplies: Cornwall has beautiful picnic spots, so bring a picnic blanket, utensils, and reusable food containers for a lovely picnic
- Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling from outside the UK, don’t forget a UK power adapter to charge your devices
- Camera or Smartphone
- Maps and Guidebooks: While GPS is handy, having physical maps and guidebooks can help you discover hidden gems
- Reusable Shopping Bag: Cornwall is environmentally conscious, and a reusable shopping bag will come in handy for local markets and shops
Cornwall Quick Facts
🔥 Cornwall isn’t a country. It’s a county in England. But it’s got its own unique culture and history, which makes it super interesting!
🔥 Cornwall isn’t part of Wales. It’s in the southwest of England. But both places have Celtic roots, so they share some cultural vibes
🔥 Cornwall is part of the UK, so it’s not independent. There are some folks who talk about Cornish independence, but it’s not a big movement or anything. Mostly, people take pride in their unique culture and history.
🔥 The capital of Cornwall is Truro. It’s a pretty small city but super charming! Got a cathedral, shops, and all that good stuff.
🔥 There’s such a thing as a Cornwall accent! It’s kinda similar to the accents you’d hear in other parts of the West Country.
Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days: Final Thoughts
This Cornwall Road Trip itinerary for 7 days is all about soaking in the beauty of Cornwall, taking the time to truly experience each location.
Whether you’re gazing at the horizon from a secluded cove or wandering through a historic village, Cornwall offers a sense of peace and connection to nature that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Take your time, get lost, and make this trip yours.
Cornwall does remind a bit of the Caribbean, make sure to check that out next.
FAQ: Cornwall Road Trip 7 Days
You should spend at least 4 to 7 days in Cornwall to fully explore its stunning coastline, charming villages, and rich history. This allows time to visit popular spots like St. Ives, the Eden Project, and the historic Tintagel Castle while also enjoying some leisurely moments along the beautiful beaches.
Driving around Cornwall can take around 5 to 7 hours if you’re covering the entire coastline. The winding roads and scenic detours might add time, but they’re worth it for enjoying Cornwall’s picturesque landscapes and charming villages along the way. So, plan for a leisurely journey to savor all the beauty it has to offer!
For a fantastic week in Cornwall, start by exploring the iconic St. Ives and its art scene. Then, visit the Eden Project for its unique biomes. See beautiful cliffs, Cornish fishing Villages, the Kynance Cove and the Bedruthan steps.
Yes, Cornwall is generally easy to drive. The roads can be narrow and winding, especially in rural areas, so drive carefully. Traffic can be heavier in popular tourist spots during peak season, but overall, it’s manageable. Enjoy the scenic drives and explore Cornwall at your own pace.
The best time to visit Cornwall is during the late spring (May to early June) and early autumn (September to early October). During these months, the weather is mild, and crowds are smaller than in the peak summer season. You can enjoy pleasant temperatures, blooming gardens, and less crowded beaches, making it an ideal time to explore the beauty of Cornwall.
Having a car in Cornwall is convenient, especially if you want to explore the more remote and scenic areas of the region. While public transportation options like buses and trains are available, they may not be as frequent or convenient for reaching some of Cornwall’s hidden gems. Having a car gives you the flexibility to visit secluded beaches, quaint villages, and historic sites at your own pace. Make sure to travel on the King Harry Ferry in Cornwall.
Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore Cornwall. It offers flexibility to access remote areas, scenic coastal routes, and picturesque villages at your own pace. While public transportation is available, having a car ensures you can make the most of your Cornwall adventure and discover its hidden gems with ease.
Cornwall is known for its stunning coastal landscapes, rich history, and delicious Cornish pasties. The rugged coastline, historic sites like Tintagel Castle, and the culinary delight of Cornish pasties are iconic aspects of this beautiful region in England.
About the Author
Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.
She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.