Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Find out about the highlights of West Cornwall, from the Penwith Peninsula to the Lizard. There's everything from fishing villages and harbour towns like Mousehole and St Ives to iconic attractions like St Michael's Mount and the Minack Theatre.
The journey to the road’s end may be long and tiring. It may be fraught with crawling traffic and toilet stops, but there’s something undeniably liberating and otherworldly about arriving in Penzance on the A30. Perhaps it has something to do with those exotically planted roundabouts on the town’s outskirts.
Yet, in many ways, Penzance is only the beginning – the hub from which a web of minor roads fans out across the Penwith Peninsula to a whole ‘island’ of holiday opportunities in hidden fishing villages, old mining communities, organic farms, cliff-top retreats and surf spots.
If you’re lucky, Penzance is also a departure point for day trips or longer visits to the Isles of Scilly aboard a Skybus aircraft or the plucky little Scillonian III. Lying just 28 miles to the southwest, this idyllic archipelago seems to have a toehold in the tropics, with brilliant turquoise seas, powder-white beaches and rampant plant life.
If you’re sticking to the mainland, though, the natural thing is to keep heading west from Penzance on the A30 until it finally fizzles out at Land’s End. Before you reach the mighty, wave-chewed toe of Britain, however, you can’t help but notice all those enticing signs luring you down side lanes to places like Porthcurno (with its show-stopping line-up of beach, Minack Theatre and Telegraph Museum) or Sennen Cove (surf central and all-round beach beauty).
Closer to Penzance, fishing villages like Newlyn and Mousehole add weight to postcard stands with their colourful trawlers and cutesy harbourfronts, while Marazion is the stepping-off point for St Michael’s Mount – the crowning glory of the region, if not the entire county.
Further west, towards The Lizard, you’ll find rocky nooks and blousy bays like Prussia Cove and Praa Sands. Head inland from Penzance and the B3071 weaves past prehistoric remains to St Just – gateway to Cape Cornwall and the starting point for a spectacular coastal drive on the B3306, linking historic mining settlements before reaching St Ives. If there’s one thing worth driving all the way to the far west of Cornwall for, it’s this beautiful harbour town with its dazzling beaches and dynamic arts scene.