South West Cornwall is a wonderful place to spend a weekend, and although 48 hours may not seem like much time, there are plenty of views, flavours and activities you can cram into a couple of days in the last corner of the UK.
Breakfast in Falmouth
Start your day with an artisan coffee and sweet pastry at the gorgeously hip and exquisitely styled Espressini. These guys choose their coffee beans from all over the world and ensure that they are sustainably sourced and of super high quality. There is a breakfast and brunch menu filled with classics with an Espressini twist, served until mid-afternoon.
32 Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK +44 1326 236582
Hit the water
Next, hop in your car and head to Mylor, just along the river from Falmouth, for a sailing lesson with Mylor Sailing School. There are many options for getting out on the water for both novices and the experienced sailor, by yourself, as a couple or as a group. You’ll see castles and villages from your river vantage point, enjoy the Cornish sunshine and have good company with your very friendly and professional instructors.
Mylor Yacht Harbour, Mylor Churchtown, Falmouth, UK +44 1326 377633
Follow the road south and make a short detour into the pretty village of Porthleven where you can wander the galleries, have an ice cream on the pier and/or a beer in The Ship before carrying on to Penzance for dinner.
The Ship Inn, Mt Pleasant Road, Porthleven, Cornwall, UK +44 1326 564204
Park on the Penzance promenade and take a wander across the seafront, by the art deco Jubilee Pool, an outdoor seawater swimming pool, and up the hill into Chapel Street until you come across The Cornish Barn. This restaurant is a smokehouse and bar with a sunny beer garden, comfortable lounge, relaxed atmosphere and delicious menu. Top tip: have the squid for a starter and drink the pinot noir, they are both delicious.
20 Chapel St, Penzance, UK +44 1736 339414
Drinks at the Admiral Benbow
If you haven’t consumed enough by the end of your dinner at The Barn, cross the road and have a pint or two in the Admiral Benbow. This traditional Cornish pub has pirate ship paraphernalia hanging from the low ceiling, the walls, above mantlepieces, on the bar, behind the bar… you get the idea. The staff are friendly and locals propping up the bar are as Cornish as Cornish can be.
Chapel Street, Penzance, Cornwall, UK +44 1736 363448
Breakfast at the Front Room
Walk all the way down to the bottom of Penzance’s high street and pop into The Front Room to fill your boots before a day of adventure. This small and quirky cafe behind a small door you have to duck through to enter serves all day breakfasts and delicious homemade cakes. Take a seat by the window and watch the town wake up while you sip your morning coffee.
83 Market Jew St, Penzance, UK +44 1736 448681
Whistle stop tour of the coast
Driving south from Penzance and around the end of the country there are loads of things to do and views to see. Stop in Mousehole (pronounced Mowzle not mouse-hole) and learn about Tom Bawcocks and the Mousehole cat. Visit the pretty hermit of Larmorna, stand in the middle of a stone circle called the Merry Maidens, explore the Minack Theatre and the Caribbean-like beach of Porthcurno. See many of the locations where Poldark was filmed, including the Botallack mines known locally as The Crowns, walk along the wind-worn coast paths, stand on top of the cliffs at Land’s End and drive between the rugged Madron Moor and cliffs along the north coast.
Go for a stomp
When you reach the small village of Zennor, which is known for its legends of mermaids and sirens, park in the carpark or on the road next to the Miner’s Arms. From here follow the signs for the coast path until you reach the cliffs. You can walk north or south (right or left) from here and each way offers a challenging hike next to the sea. Be prepared to scramble if you head north, and for some steep ups and downs if you head south. There are no circulars on this part either, so bear in mind you’ll have to double-back when you wish to head back to the car. On your return to Zennor be sure to pop into the Tinner’s Arms for their signature ale and a light lunch – you’ll definitely need it after a long walk on the coast!
Zennor, Saint Ives, UK +44 1736 796927
Next up is pretty St Ives. This twisty-turvy seaside village is filled with art galleries and boutique shops, museums and plenty of great food. Explore the beaches and the town before heading to the Porthminster Cafe for fresh seafood and dinner on the beach.
Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives, UK +44 1736 795352
Drinks in the Sloop
Finish your night with a drink or two at The Sloop, a small and dark pub with a bucketload of character. There is a distinctive air of history inside this pub and it’s easy to imagine pirates conspiring in any of the candlelit corners. Outside is a whole other ballgame, however, and the packed beer garden spills onto the street and drives up a cacophonous noise when the sun is shining!
Back Lane, Saint Ives, UK +44 1736 796584