A Grand English Vacation: How to Spend a Perfect Week in Cornwall

Wild, rugged, windswept, and heart achingly beautiful, the Cornish coast located on England’s south western tip is a magical place.

Highlights of our time in Cornwall:

  • Taking in the sweeping panoramic vistas, and pretending to be characters from Poldark gazing wistfully and passionately at the sea (Brad was such a sport)
  • Hiking the coastal paths and countryside lanes
  • Cream teas! Freshly made warm scones served with jam and Cornish clotted cream
  • Exploring the beaches, coves and tiny thatched roof villages of the Lizard Coast
  • Strolling the enchanting St. Ives town and and visiting 13th century pubs
  • Eating fish & chips with gravy and pies while dangling our feet over the harbor
  • Delicious breakfasts at our B&B, drinking tea and eating shortbread while listening to the waves crash outside our room
Porthgwarra Meadow
Dreamy Porthgwarra cove (Also known as the place where Demelza spies Poldark skinny dipping :D)
As I mentioned in a previous post, Cornwall is my heart song. As a huge fan of Masterpiece Theatre’s Poldark, the Cornish Coast has been a destination I have been dreaming about for years, the haunting landscapes and English countryside calling to me to explore. This summer we were lucky enough to visit for an entire week, as part of our  6 week travels and I cannot stop day dreaming about this glorious place. If you have not been, and are a fan of the UK, put this on yo’ bucket list. It is one of my favorite places in the world.
St Ives Harbour
St. Ives harbor
Coastal Hike To Zennor
The coastal path to the village of Zennor – sweeping views about 10 minutes into the walk!

The Itinerary

As a huge Poldark fan, there were several must sees for me:

Kynance Cove: where they shot Poldark’s beloved ancestral home Nampara

The Lizard Coast and Land’s End: breathtaking panoramic views where the lands meets the sea. Boasts Polpeor a fantastic clifftop cafe

Porthgwarra: a dreamy, golden cove

Porthcurno: a gorgeous beach with sparkling azure waters in Penzance

Cadgwith: a tiny fishing village along the Lizard Coast

Gazing out to sea Poldark Styles
Porthgwarra Cove – gazing out to sea, Demelza styles
Nampara, Lands End Cornwall
Of course we had to brave the weather to hike to Nampara! Felt like we were at the end of the world.
Porthgwarra Poldark Territory
Porthgwarra Cove – Straight up Poldark country. This is the cove where Demelza spies Ross going for a swim, and also the pilchard scene where all the townspeople rush into the sea!
The hikes in Cornwall are outstanding and varied – filled with sweeping cliff top vistas, crashing waves, rolling mist, turquoise waters, flower filled meadows and winding country paths.
Cornish Country Lane at Land's Inn
Cornish country lane at Land’s End
Nampara, Cornwall
Yes, the Lizard Coast was every bit as windswept and rugged as it looks. 
Porthcurno Beach – Look at the color of that water!
Cadgwith: We hiked a windy little path to get to this tiny fishing village with its thatched roof cottages and cascading wildflowers. Cadgwith felt like every British novel I have ever loved come to life. We stopped at the local pub, The Cadgwith Cove Inn, and sat by the fireplace for a hearty lunch.
Porthgwidden Cornwall.jpg
Am…am I in a Dicken’s novel?!
Fishing Village Cornwall.jpg
Idyllic Cadgwith. I mean….look at this place! My Jane Austin, Elizabeth Gaskell, Agatha Christie and Dickens loving soul is in heaven.
The holiday seaside town of St. Ives, filled with pirate lore and full to bursting with English charm was the perfect home base. We took a train from London to St. Ives, and the view was outstanding. The trip lasted about 5 hours. We then rented a car for two days so we could explore a few must see sights in Cornwall. I suggest booking online for the best offers.
Well, Hello St. Ives!
Hello St. Ives – I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you!
Brad and I had a fabulous time eating seafood take away on the harbor, playing in the kitschy arcade (I am weirdly good at guitar hero, Brad is excellent at skeeball), watching the gulls, nibbling scones and tea and sipping Prosecco at beach cafes while watching the sun emerge from behind the clouds to light the Atlantic glittering turquoise.

Where to Eat

Olives for Cream Tea: An absolute MUST when visiting Cornwall, Olive’s Cream tea is comprised of freshly baked blueberry scones served with jam and Cornish clotted cream. Also served with a steaming pot of Early Grey tea.  Note: You are encouraged to pile your jam and cream as high as possible. I feel like I really nailed this tradition. 
Cream Teas, St Ives 1.jpg
Cream tea – a must have while in Cornwall! I dream about these daily.
Sloop Inn: Built in the 1300s, this is a straight up pirate bar and I absolutely adored it. I just KNOW pirates smuggled items here. They also have live music.
Where to eat: There is no end to fabulous places to eat in St. Ives. Our favorites were The Balancing Eel for takeaway fish and chips, gravy and pies. We visited this place at least twice and had a wonderful time dangling our feet over the harbor, eating fish & chips and listening to the gulls hoot and shuffle shiftily around us. 

We also really enjoyed The Rum Shack, Porthminster Beach Cafe for drinks and churros,  and Hub for excellent fried chicken sandwiches perfect for splitting.

Coastal Hike to Zennor 2
Hiking the coastal path to Zennor – Glorious views about 10 minutes into the walk!
Cornwall Coastal Hike.jpg
The coastal path to the ancient town of Zennor. *Note: we made it about 1/3 of the way there, before turning back for a cream tea break.* But, if you hike the full route you end up at The Tinner’s Arms. We just drove there.
We stayed at Tregony Guesthouse, and this B&B was a dream come true. Before visiting Cornwall I knew exactly the type of place I wanted to stay at – scrumptious breakfasts and huge picture windows with sweeping views of the ocean.  An adorable British couple ran the B&B, and made the most delicious made to order breakfasts. When visiting Cornwall, I suggest staying at a B&B if at all possible to heighten the English seaside experience.
I plan to return to Cornwall again and again. Something about this part of the world speaks to me, calls to me from across the oceans to come visit, come explore.
Porthgwarra Phone Booth
Yeah, we found the phone booth at Porthgwarra. Shenanigans Cornish coast styles
Cornwall St Ives Town.jpg
St. Ives harbor panorama

Upcoming blog post – 1 week in Australia!

2 thoughts on “A Grand English Vacation: How to Spend a Perfect Week in Cornwall

  1. Not a part of the UK I’ve really visited but it’s somewhere I keep meaning to visit. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a weekend trip over the summer.


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