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A 1-week road trip itinerary for Cornwall

Updated On 26th August, 2021

If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall and are wondering what your Cornwall road trip could look like or what you should do with your time there, you’ve arrived at the right blog post. In this blog post, I am going to share a 1-week Cornwall road trip itinerary with you, jam-packed with all the best adventure on offer in this beautiful place to visit in England.

I will be taking adventures from my best things to do in Cornwall blog post and plotting them on a route that will take you on an epic Cornwall road trip. It will encompass all of the adventures I’ve been on in Cornwall and more: exploring the Roseland Peninsula, the Lizard Peninsula, visiting Land’s End and St. Michael’s Mount, scenic drives around Zennor and Cape Cornwall, as well as beach time near St. Ives and Newquay, and visiting Padstow

Of course, this Cornwall road trip itinerary is going to assume you have a car with you. I’m not sure it would be of any use for me to write an itinerary for you whilst staying at your hotel lol. However, if you have booked to stay in one place during your time in Cornwall, you may want to use this post to inspire a day trip in Cornwall or to add an extension to your existing booking.

Make sure you check out my UK road trip planning guide and my UK road trip checklist so that you are fully prepared for this Cornwall road trip itinerary! After all, road trips are the best!

Looking for a shorter Cornwall road trip itinerary?

Other blog posts you might find useful…

A 1-week road trip itinerary for Cornwall...

I’m going to begin this Cornwall road trip itinerary at Bodwin Moor in Cornwall (somewhere you’re likely to drive near if you’re coming to Cornwall from other parts of England), and end this road trip itinerary in Bude. I’m going round Cornwall clockwise, but there’s no reason why you can’t do it anti-clockwise!

My itinerary also assumes that you are already in Cornwall for Day 1, so make sure you allow enough time to get to Cornwall the day before so that you are ready for adventure as soon as you wake up! The driving time for each day indicates the total time spent in your car or van that day, so you can factor this into your exploring.

This is a 1-week road trip itinerary for Cornwall, but there’s no reason why you can’t adapt it to be a 10-day or 2-week itinerary, or take your time and spend 3 or 4 weeks completing this route! On days where you want to take it slower in this 1-week itinerary and I’ve suggested a couple of activities or places to visit, you might like to prioritise and choose one so that you can take it all in. 

I’ve spent many months in Cornwall in my van, so if you’re looking to spend a bit more time and make some more stops, or if you’re looking for the best wild camping spots in Cornwall, be sure to check out my Cornwall Google Map Legend

With this Google Map, you can have all my tips and recommendations at the touch of your fingertips. These are all the things I wish I knew and spent a lot of time researching before my Cornwall adventures. 

This Google Map Legend includes:

  • Best walks, hikes, viewpoints and activities
  • Best beaches and coves to visit
  • Road trip tips (campsites, laundrettes, lunch spots)
  • My favourite places for coffee, brunch and dinner
  • Things you must add to your bucket list!
  • Travel guide links within each location

Day 1: Bodwin Moor & the Roseland Peninsula

Bodwin Moor is one of the best places to visit in Cornwall, and one that often takes people by surprise – most people think of the beaches in Cornwall before they think of the stunning moorland! It’s also a great place for the start of a Cornwall road trip itinerary as it’s straight off the A30. 

Spend the morning completing the Rough Tor and Brown Willy circular hike (7km, about 3 hours). Once you’ve climbed Rough Tor via Holy well, you’ll follow the ridge of Showery Tor which has spectacular views of the North Cornish coast. From there you’ll drop into a valley and then climb to the top of Brown Willy – the highest point in Cornwall – where you’ll get stunning views south to the China clay hills around St Austell. You’ll finish by circling back to Rough Tor, through the remains of prehistoric settlements overlooking the Fernacre stone circle.

If you want to stop in this area for lunch, I’ve heard great things about the Jamaica Inn. If you’d rather wait, drive down to St. Austell, a stunning town in Cornwall, and have lunch on the coast. If you didn’t fancy the Rough Tor hike in the morning, I’d recommend taking the detour down to Polperro and exploring this beautiful village for lunch.

Once you’ve had lunch or coffee, it’s time to hit the road again and enjoy one of the most scenic drives in Cornwall: the Roseland Peninsula. The Roseland Heritage Coast is and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England and absolutely stunning. There are lots of places to stop for walks, snacks or coffee, and to take in the view. If you have time (either by setting off early from Bodwin Moor or adding time to your itinerary) explore The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which have been restored and feature a jungle complete with its own Burma rope bridge, water features and ferns. I’d recommend at least half a day here, so you might need to sacrifice the hike in the morning if this is a must-do on your Cornwall bucket list! 

Stay the night somewhere on the Roseland Heritage Coast, near to St. Mawes ready for tomorrow’s adventures! The Hidden Hut in St. Mawes is great for dinner. 

Day 2: Falmouth & the Lizard Peninsula

Catch the King Harry Ferry from St Mawes to Falmouth this morning, and grab breakfast and a coffee in Falmouth. This chain ferry is one of only 5 in the UK, so it’s not only one of the most unique things to do in England but it will save you a lot of time driving round! 

Falmouth is the 3rd largest natural harbour in the world, and one of the nicest towns in Cornwall. After coffee have a little explore, choosing perhaps to visit Pendennis Castle, climb Jacob’s Ladder, a walking trail along the Cornish coastline, or to kick back on one of Falmouth’s beaches. 

Having explored Falmouth a little, head down towards Lizard for a picnic lunch on the coastline. If you have time in your itinerary, I’d recommend taking a less direct route than the one Google Maps will give you and explroe some of the villages and countryside on the Lizard Peninsula! 

The highlight of Day 2 on this Cornwall road trip itinerary is the Lizard Coastal Walk. Park up at Kynance Cove, one of the best beaches in Cornwall and on everyone’s Cornwall bucket list, and follow this circular route along the coastal path towards Lizard Point and Lizard lighthouse, the southernmost point in the UK, and then back up through Lizard village to Kynance Cove, in time to watch the sunset. The loop should take you about 3 hours.

If you have extra time in the day, drive up to Cadgwith Cove for a walk along the coast, as it’s also beautiful! There is also a Cadgwith-Lizard circular walk if you would prefer that to the Kynance Cove walk.

Kynance Cove, A guide to the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, England

Day 3: St. Michael's Mount and Lands End

Marazion is one of the cutest villages in Cornwall, so today it’s best to set off early and head west in time for brunch. 

St. Michael’s Mount, one of the most iconic places to visit in Cornwall, is just off the Marazion coastline. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Cornwall and you shouldn’t miss it. How you get here is going to depend on the time and day you arrive. You can only walk across at low tide, but you can catch a little boat across any time, so check the times that the causeway is open here so you can plan your transport for the morning. 

After lunch, head down to Land’s End. Famous for being the ‘end of England’ as it’s most westerly point, grab a photo with the iconic sign before enjoying a coastal walk before sunset. Land’s End is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded on 3 sides by the Atlantic Ocean. The dramatic cliffs, soaring sea birds, famous Longship’s Lighthouse and ocean views make for some stunning walking trails, which form parts of the 630-mile South West Coast Path. 

A guide to the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, England
Lands End, A guide to the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, England

Day 4: Scenic drive from Sennen Cove, through Cape Cornwall & Zennor, to St. Ives

This is one of my favourite and most scenic drives in Cornwall. Short and sweet, and plenty of time for coastal walks and swim stops! There are so many stops you could include, but some of my favourites are…

Whitesands Bay at Sennen Cove is famous for its white sand (hence the name), turquoise water and also for being a great surf spot – especially for beginners.

Cape Cornwall is where the Atlantic current changes and so you get some great, dramatic views of the sea here. If you have time, try the 10km loop walk down to Pendeen Watch lighthouse. 

Portheras Cove is another great swim spot!

Stop for a cup of tea and a wander around Zennor, a lovely village in Cornwall. 

If you can make it to St Ives before sunet, I’d recommend watching it at Porthmeor Beach or Gwithian Beach, with views over the Godrevy lighthouse. If not, sunrise tomorrow morning will be beautiful! 

Porthmeor Beach, St.Ives: A guide to the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, England

Day 5: St. Agnes & Newquay

Today is a beach day on our Cornwall road trip itinerary, so it’s up to you if you make a few stops with shorter swims or pick one and spend the day there! Some of the best beaches in Cornwall are on this stretch of coastline. 

Gwithian Beach and Porthmeor Beach in St. Ives are great places to start your day off with a dip in the water! 

Heading north on the coast, you could stop at Chapel Forth Beach or Perranporth Beach  for a swim before lunch in St. Agnes, one of my favourite towns in Cornwall

The highlight for me today is Newquay, a place that stole my heart and that I have spent a lot of time in. From surfing on Fistral Beach to walking along the esplanade with an ice cream, there are lots of great things to do in Newquay for you to choose from. There’s even coasteering if you’re looking for something more adventurous. If you have time time and you’re extending your Cornwall road trip, I’d recommend adding some extra time here!

St Agnes: A guide to the most beautiful towns in Cornwall, England
The best things to do in Newquay, Cornwall

Day 6: Padstow

Padstow is a wonderful Cornish fishing village and somewhere that you must stop on your Cornwall road trip. There are so many things to do in Padstow, you can easily fill a day with adventure here: wandering around town with a coffee, cycling the 18-mile Camel Trail, trying a coastal hike or surfing/stand-up paddleboarding at Harlyn Bay.  

Finish your day with some of Rick Stein’s fish and chips – trust me, it’s worth it! 

The best things to do and see in Padstow, Cornwall

Day 7: Port Isaac & Tintagel

Port Isaac and Tintagel are some of my favourite places to visit in Cornwall, and they are definitely great places to finish this Cornwall road trip itinerary. 

I’d recommend heading to Port Isaac in the morning after breakfast, in time for coffee and cake. Port Issac has a magical feeling about it. There’s something about it that doesn’t feel real. It feels like you’re walking onto a film set… Oh wait, you are! But it’s real-life and really lived in quintessentially fishing village. Port Issac is where ITV’s Television Show, Doc Martin was filmed so if you’re a fan… make sure you go on a walking tour whilst you’re here!

Nestled in a small bay on the jagged Northern coastline of Cornwall, the small village of Port Isaac is postcard-perfect. The cobbled streets feel like a gorgeous walk through history and rumour has it, the fish finger sandwich from Chapel Cafe is to die for! 

Spend the afternoon in Tintagel, either visiting the Castle and exploring inside or walking along the coastal path to admire it from afar. If you’re looking for a walk that’s not on the coast, head inland to St. Nectan’s Glen for a woodland walk with a scenic waterfall. 

10 beautiful little villages you must visit in Cornwall
A 4 Day Roadtrip in Cornwall with a Vintage VW Camper | Where's Mollie - A UK Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Go home via the Atlantic Highway

So, we’ve come to the end of our 1-week road trip itinerary in Cornwall, but the fun doesn’t have to stop here! The Atlantic Highway (A39) is the perfect route out of Cornwall for catching more of those stunning coastal views. Follow the A39 up to Bude (30 minutes from Tingatel), stopping for a bite to eat, and then head home via the A39 going through Devon and Somerset for more stunning views of southwest England!

Thinking of extending your trip? Here are the best things to do in Devon.

Have you been on a Cornwall road trip?

Where are your favourite things to do in Cornwall? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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