Every year around four million visitors come to Cornwall – many of them drawn here by our amazing landscapes and ancient history. Walking in Cornwall is a popular holiday activity which offers up sites of interest crafted over decades or even millennia by mankind and nature.
Here are four great summer walks to be found within short travelling distances of the Queens Hotel Penzance. They represent just a miniscule fraction of all the great trails, hikes, routes and pathways that Cornwall as a county has to offer, yet they perfectly encapsulate what this great place is all about.
Walk Along Penzance Promenade
There’s a great walk to be had just outside the front door of the Queens. Just nip across the road and you’ll be on Penzance Promenade; an historic paved walkway that stretches all the way to the equally-iconic Jubilee Pool.
On a clear day you’ll have an expansive view of the bay as you stroll along, with the huge glittering body of water framed by the hilly coastline leading to Mousehole on one side and the long, slender green body of the aptly-named Lizard Point on the other. On a really good day you can even see the satellite dishes at Goonhilly.
The walk is perfectly flat throughout, and there are plenty of benches, so it’s a great choice for all ages and abilities. For a short, refreshing walk simply turn back at the Jubilee Pool, or continue around past the harbour and dry dock, and on to Penzance if you’re feeling more energetic.
Along the way are places to buy food and drinks to consume on the road, as well as pubs and cafes in which you can sit and enjoy the view.
Walk Around the Coast to Mousehole
Mousehole is the quintessential Cornish seaside village, and as such isn’t a very car-friendly place. There is a car park just outside of the town, and you could always hop on one of the regular busses, but, if visiting Mousehole is on your to-do list anyway, walking around the coast to get there is a great experience.
The winding road that hugs the hilly Cornish terrain has plenty of lay-bys in which to park, meaning you can leave the car a mile or two outside of Mousehole and enjoy a sedate walk along the wide pedestrian footpaths.
As you go you’ll be able to look out across the bay to St Michael’s Mount and the Lizard Point, as well as looking back at Penzance, or down at the rocky shore, complete with rock pools below.
Even if you don’t go into Mousehole itself, travelling this way on foot is a much pleasanter experience than by car or bus.
Walks in Penzance: Cycle Path to Marazion
St Michael’s Mount is one of the most recognisable and iconic landmarks in West Cornwall. What could be better than a seaside walk that ends at the foot of the Mount?
The Marazion cycle path is a largely smooth and wide stretch of pathway that is perfect for a gentle walk along right next to the sea. Start in the Wharfside car park and follow the white-walled path tucked behind the bus station and train station.
The first few hundred yards are tarmac and proceed with the railway tracks on one side and the rocky wave breaks on the other. Soon the granite wall separating you from the water drops away and becomes first rocky sea defences and then wide, pristine sand.
Keep on the path, or take off your shoes and walk along the sand; either way you’ll eventually end up on Marazion beach, or in the town itself. Walk along the cobble causeway to visit the castle, sit and relax on the beach, or have lunch or coffee in one of the cafes or pubs, such as the delightful Godolphin Inn.
The full walk is several miles, so you could always walk one way and then get the bus the other. Or, for the real hardcore walkers, start right at the Queens Hotel Penzance, walk the promenade as described above and then transfer onto the cycle path all the way to Marazion.
Sennen Cove to Lands End
One of the beauties of this route is that it can be a quick saunter or a long hike, depending upon how far you want to go. In many ways, this walk offers a microcosm of Cornwall itself, combining clifftop views, a traditional Cornish fishing village, a well-known tourist attraction, ancient history and the site of legends.
Start in Sennen Harbour; a tiny granite construct just around the corner from the impressive and ever-popular beach. There’s a car park at the top of the hill and one at the bottom by the Ben Tunnicliffe restaurant.
Heading up past the restored coastguard lookout – which is now more than 125 years old – you’ll traverse granite cliffs, pass an Iron Age castle (Pass Maen), Bronze Age burial cairns and the Longships Lighthouse.
Continue through prehistoric fields to Lands End, which is a popular destination for visitors from across the country and indeed the world. On a clear day you can look out across the sea and spot the Scilly Isles.
Legend has it that the ancient city of Lyonesse – the Cornish version of Atlantis – lies somewhere beneath the waves between these isles and the mainland. The story goes that, on a stormy night, an observer listening carefully can hear the bells of the lost city, tolling as the waves disturb them from their watery slumber.
From Lands End you could take a bus back to Sennen, or walk along the ‘First and Last’ cycle trail – also known as National Cycleway Route 3 – to get back to your starting point.
Walking Holidays in Cornwall with the Queens Hotel Penzance
We think these four routes illustrate not only how easy it is to get out and see what Cornwall really has to offer when staying at the Queens Hotel Penzance, but also the sheer variety that this county manages to pack into a small area.
Whether your measure of a good walk is the data collected by your Fitbit or the number of wild animals you can tick off your list, we’re sure that these routes will delight and satisfy.