The South West Coast Path: Cape Cornwall To Helford

Trek a section of the South West Coast Path National Trail and explore 65 miles of spectacular Cornish coastline awash with stories of smugglers, piracy, and plunder.

This enchanting section of the South West Coastal Path explores a wide array of coastal landscapes, from the dramatic cliffs of Land’s End and the secluded coves of Mullion and Kynance, to the smaller fishing villages hugging the inlets and estuaries of Cornwall’s southern coastline.

Admire breathtaking views of St Michael’s Mount and visit the pretty fishing village of Mousehole. After the spectacular coastal scenery of Mount’s Bay, the coastline heads south on to the wild promontory of the Lizard Peninsula – the most southerly point on the British mainland.

Experience the earthy appeal of traditional Cornish fishing villages like Cadgwith and Coverack before following the trail north to the Helford River whose steep slopes are densely wooded and rich in wildlife and whose literary connections lend an additional layer of romance and mystery to this rewarding walk.

Tour Overview

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Coastal / History / Flora

Landscape Type

By Water

The South West Coast Path: Cape Cornwall To Helford

Every step of the journey has been carefully planned to help you make the most of your walking adventure. Click on the blue tabs below for more information.

Tour Details

Photograph of holiday companies logo This guided trail holiday is operated by HF Holidays – an award-winning British heritage brand that has been leading the way for walking and special interest holidays since 1913.

All HF Holidays Leaders undergo a thorough assessment before guiding a trail, ensuring they’ve got the passion and knowledge to go beyond the guidebook and point out plenty of highlights along the way. One of the biggest advantages is convenience. They’ll take care of all the planning and navigation, leaving you free to focus on the joy of the journey.

Accommodation, food, and transport to and from walks are all included in your holiday price. You’ll stay in one of HF Holidays 16 characterful country houses where comfortable en-suite rooms and full-board come as standard. There’s a cream tea on arrival, a hearty daily breakfast, plus packed lunches, and three-course evening meals. Vegetarian choices and dietary requirements can be catered for (please give advance notice when booking).

HF Holidays grade this walk as a Level 3 – Medium to Challenging

Walks follow well-defined paths, though often in hilly or upland areas, or along rugged coastal footpaths. These may be rough or steep in sections and will require reasonable fitness.

To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later, or to download them as a PDF. 


Journey from Cape Cornwall to Helford and tick-off a host of highlights along the way. You’ll round the granite cliffs of Land’s End, drop into storied smuggling haunts like Mousehole, marvel at the remarkable Minack Theatre, and visit Lizard Point – mainland Britain’s most southerly spot.

Your walk leader will give an introductory talk about the holiday.

Starting at Cape Cornwall, we walk past Carn Ballowall towards Porth Nanven and then along easy paths to Whitesand Bay and Sennen Cove, traversing the granite cliffs to Land’s End to continue over some of the most spectacular stretches of Britain’s coastline. The trail heads over Gwennap Head and down to Porthgwarra, a delightful cove with unusual tunnels through the cliffs and finally to the Minack Theatre – a unique open-air theatre created in the cliffs with the Atlantic as a backdrop.  18km / 11 miles with 2400ft (730m) of ascent.

Leaving Porthcurno we drop down to Penberth Cove – preserved by the National Trust and completely unspoilt by commercialism. Further ascents and descents bring us to sheltered St Loy and its boulder-strewn beach before returning to rougher sections as we approach Lamorna Cove and continue, with stunning views of St Michael’s Mount, to Mousehole. 13km / 8 miles km with 1860ft (580m) of ascent rugged with several short ascents and descents becoming easier towards Mousehole.

Side-stepping the built-up areas around Penzance, the day starts at Marazion, where we walk along low sandstone cliffs towards Perranuthnoe, and then pass Cudden Point and Prussia Cove to reach the long sandy beach of Praa Sands. At Rinsey Head and Trewavas Head, we see partly restored mine buildings before continuing between fields and cliff paths to the fishing harbour of Porthleven. 16km / 10 miles with 1800ft (550m) of ascent.

Returning to Porthleven harbour we follow the coast road to Loe Bar, the sand bank between Loe Pool, Cornwall’s largest freshwater lake, and the sea. We continue along the coast path to the fishing cove of Gunwalloe and then to Church Cove. The path continues to Poldhu Cove and the cliffs where the first radio signals were sent across the Atlantic by Marconi in 1901. A magnificent stretch of cliff scenery brings us to Mullion Cove and then to the scenic Kynance Cove. After rounding Lizard Head we reach Lizard Point, the most southerly point in England. 22.5km / 14 miles with 2500ft (760m) of ascent, easy paths giving way to narrower and more difficult terrain; apart from a few little steep valleys, much of the walking is over level ground high above the cliffs.

From Lizard Green, we walk back towards Lizard Point and Polpeor Cove and past the Lizard Lighthouse. We continue towards a second Church Cove and past a collapsed cave known as the Devil’s Frying Pan to the pretty fishing village of Cadgwith. The path continues past the disused serpentine works at Poltesco across Kennack Sands, on to Black Head and down to Coverack village. 18 km / 11 miles with 2225ft (680m) of ascent.

Starting at Coverack, a series of quarries – active and derelict – force the path away from the coast towards St Keverne. We rejoin the coast at Porthallow and continue to Nare Point with views of the wooded Helford River estuary. Continuing to Gillan Creek to the hamlet of St Anthony, the coastal path then goes towards Dennis Head before descending through the woods to Helford Village. 16.5km / 10.5 miles with 1640ft (500m) of ascent.

After breakfast depart for return travel.


Accommodation on this holiday is at Chy Morvah – HF Holidays’ Grade II-listed house in the seaside resort of St Ives. There are 39 well-appointed guest rooms in three categories (Classic, Premium, and Superior) – many with bay windows and sea views. It also has a main lounge overlooking St Ives Bay, a ballroom for evening activities, a licenced bar, and a sea-facing dining room for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Elsewhere, there’s a handy boot and drying room, a small terrace, manicured gardens, and a heated outdoor pool (open May to September).


Regular International flights into Heathrow then train to St Ives.

From Heathrow take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to St Erth, and finally a short branch line train to St Ives.

St Ives station is only half a mile away, but it’s a steep uphill walk.

St Erth is four miles away and the journey takes just over 10 minutes.

You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended company, Ace Cars*. As of 2023, the guide price for a 4-seat taxi from St. Ives station is around £4 and around £14 from St. Erth. 8-seater taxis are also available at a higher rate. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting:

Ace Cars
Tel: +44 (0)1736 797799

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Chy Morvah.

*Ace Cars is not owned or managed by HF Holidays and prices are subject to

(½ mile steep, uphill walk)

From the platform enter the station car park; on the left you will find a set of steps. Go up the steps to the main road. Turn left and after 30 metres take a right turn (before the Chy an Gerra Guest House) up a steep hill. At the top of this road turn left along Pendolva Terrace and then take the first right. Follow the hill upwards keeping The Longships Hotel on your left. Chy Morvah is in front of you.

Head to Cornwall via the A30 then take the A3074 signposted to St Ives. At the next two small roundabouts, go straight across the first and take a right at the second towards Lelant. Pass through Lelant and Carbis Bay on the same road.

As you approach St. Ives keep left at the fork, which heads slightly uphill, following signs to visitor parking and the leisure centre. Follow the road and turn left up the steep hill. Almost immediately the road turns left again, but instead of following the road, turn off and head directly up the hill on Porthminster Terrace.

Chy Morvah is at the top of the hill. To reach the car park you’ll need to drive left past the front of Chy Morvah and turn immediately right behind the back of the building. The car park is on the right 15 yards along Bishop’s Road.


This guided trail holiday involves walking as a group on well-defined paths, though often in hilly or upland areas. These may be rough and steep in sections and will require a good level of fitness. HF Holidays want you to be confident that you can meet the demands of each walking day and get the most out of your trip. Please be sure you can manage the mileage and ascent detailed in the daily itineraries. It is important for your own enjoyment and that of your fellow guests that you can maintain the pace.

Food & Drink

HF Holidays has 16 UK country houses where all stays come with full-board as standard. There’s a cream tea on arrival, a daily cooked or continental breakfast, a wide range of packed lunch options, plus three-course evening meals. Vegetarian choices and dietary requirements can be catered for (please give advance notice when booking).

Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

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