This epic 3-day itinerary in Cornwall is one of the best adventures I’ve been on in England yet. Surrounded by the good company of the Global Travellers family, we took on hiking, coasteering, beach volleyball and more during our weekend in Cornwall. Find out more about the Global Travellers community here.
Located along the southwestern tip of Great Britain, Cornwall is encapsulated by beautiful beaches and surrounded by the vast Atlantic Ocean. For nearly 300 miles the magnificent coastline wraps around the UK’s most westerly points. With its captivating fishing harbours, freshly baked Cornish pasties and dynamic surf spots, the plentiful opportunities that Cornwall offer cannot go a miss!
There are so many things to do in Cornwall. It very quickly becomes overwhelming when you start researching your trip. There are so many gorgeous coves, walks and activities to check out, so if you’re just heading down for 3 or 4 days I would suggest not jam-packing your itinerary with too much. Perhaps stick to one area and leave room for the unexpected.
For this 3-day Cornwall itinerary, we stayed around Padstow and Newquay, on Cornwall’s north coast. For a road trip itinerary that includes St Ives and Lands End, check out this post.
The credits for photography in this blog post go to Lydia Collins Photography.
- The best things to do and see in Padstow, Cornwall
- 10 beautiful little villages you must visit in Cornwall
- The best and most beautiful beaches to visit in Cornwall
- The best things to do in Cornwall, England
- A 4-day Cornwall road trip itinerary: Padstow, Lands End and Eden Project
- A guide to exploring Dartmoor National Park, Devon
- 18 unique things to do in England
- The ultimate guide to planning a UK road trip
Here’s the perfect 3-day itinerary for Cornwall’s north coast: Treyarnon Bay, Padstow and Newquay
Getting to Cornwall…
From London: Drive along the M4 motorway from London and arrive in Cornwall in less than 5 hours.
From Manchester: Drive along the M6 motorway and exit onto the M5 to Exeter were you can finish your journey to the heart of Cornwall in under 6 hours on either the A30 or A38.
By train or coach:
Train services run frequently from London Paddington station. You can also find direct trains that run daily from Bristol to Cornwall. Prices and times can be found on Trainline!
Newquay airport has daily flights from around the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. With additional seasonal routes during summer, there are even more flights available! You could also fly into Exeter or Bristol, or there are regular links from London airports to Cornwall.
Where should you stay in Cornwall?
For this Cornwall itinerary, we stayed at YHA Treyarnon Hostel, which is perched right on a cliff top overlooking the rugged coastline of Treyarnon Bay. With outdoor picnic benches and coastal walks on the doorstep, you are completely spoiled for location here.
This traditional hostel has over 68 beds including bunk beds and double beds, dining lounges and a self-catering kitchen. It also offers a camping site where you can rent bell tents and land pods. For the ultimate camping packing checklist, check out this post.
Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hostel, the beach front cafe and restaurant is worth a visit. They even have live music on Fridays from local talent!
Location for sat nav: YHA Treyarnon Bay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8JR
Alternatively, there’s an abundance of accommodation in the area as Cornwall is a popular holiday spot for tourists and locals alike!
Day 1 in Cornwall: Trevose Lighthouse, Padstow & Treyarnon Bay
Our first morning had us meander along the coastal path from our hostel around to Trevose Lighthouse via Constantine Bay and Booby’s Bay. Once we got to the lighthouse we enjoyed some hot chocolate and biscuits as we watched some seals play in the water.
For the afternoon we hopped in the car, took the scenic route and drove 20 minutes to explore the small little town of Padstow. Padstow is a charming village known for its fishing ports and sandy beaches. The main car park (PL28 8AQ) is pay and display, so take some change with you!
After grabbing lunch at one of Rick Steins world famous fish restaurants, indulge in some epic Cornish pasties and home-made fudge.
After dinner (we ate at the hostel), head down to Treyarnon Bay for a game of beach volleyball, some s’mores and campfire stories with a bonfire.
Day 2 in Cornwall: Fistral beach, Newquay
Time to go coasteering! Coasteering is a unique and exciting adrenaline-built experience which includes cliff jumping, coastal scaling and a little bit of swimming (floating).
Located on Fistral beach, we met Nick and his fully trained team at Barefeet Coasteering who took us along one of the three optional routes. Before jumping in we were kitted out with the appropriate wet suits and safety gear and taught all the skills and techniques you need to ensure a memorable but safe climb. Then we explored the coast, swimming through crystal blue water and climbing up coastal cliffs before leaping 30 feet into the sea. The sun was shining, the wet suits were snug and the good vibes were in full swing.
Tip: Don’t forget your swimsuit, a towel and old trainers. You can also rent a wet suit, boots and gloves for £5.
Location for sat nav: 5 Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1HW
After coasteering, we grabbed a pizza and beer at Fistral Beach Bar. If pizza isn’t your thing there is plenty of food options to suit everyone and if the sun is shining, you strike gold at this location.
After an adventure packed day, we sat outside on the decking with our drinks and toasted to fears conquered, friendships made and beautiful English weather!
After a busy morning we headed back to YHA Treyarnon and freshened up for dinner.
Of course we couldn’t resist another bonfire. We were so lucky to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets on this evening. We cuddled around the fire, toasted marshmallows and danced the night away.
Day 3 in Cornwall: Tingatel
On our final morning we hit the road and travelled to another beautiful corner of Cornwall, Tintagel. Tintagel is located along the coastline between Padstow and Bude. Here there are plenty of breath taking hikes suitable for all ages.
One of the main features in this gorgeous Cornish town is Tintagel Castle, a national heritage site that costs £14.50 for adults. It’s free if you’re an English Heritage member; buy your membership here.
Top tip: If you take the coastal path south here you can view the castle from afar for free.
Location for sat nav: : Tintagel Visitors Centre, Bossiney Road, PL34 0AA
We cosied up in The Wootons Inn where we enjoyed homemade cakes and hot drinks. The Sunday roast was the perfect fuel for the long drive home!
Watch our 3-day Cornwall itinerary come to life in my video…
Have you been to Cornwall?
Which places would you put on a Cornwall itinerary? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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