The Serpentine Coast: Rambling Around Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard Peninsula is the southernmost point of mainland Britain – and one of the most wonderfully wild. This is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel, a place of wheeling seabirds, rugged cliffs, pounding waves and too many shipwrecks to count. And, of course, the South West Coast Path traces right around its edges, providing a front-row perspective on all this natural drama.
The Lizard also feels like a land apart. With its rare geology of serpentinite-bearing rock, its mild maritime climate and its super-abundance of birdlife, marine life and plants, you’ll feel like you’ve ventured much further than the south-west of England. So, prepare for an adventure. Hike along the Coast Path, via jaw-dropping crags and coves. Keep an eye out for bobbing seals and basking adders, for marsh fritillary butterflies and Cornish choughs. Learn about lighthouses and the birth of modern communications (Marconi made pioneering radio experiments here). And eat the best pasties in the world.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 6.5km to 11km
Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns / By Water
History / Food & Drink / Wildlife / Coastal
Activities & Experiences
Walking / Water Fun / Heritage
The Serpentine Coast: Rambling Around Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break on the Lizard Peninsula and Cornwall coast. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.
Get back to nature on a three-day break, exploring Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula. As well as heart-soaring walking along the South West Coast Path, there’s the chance to spot (and meet) seals, hone your bird-watching skills, be wowed by wildflowers, swim off world-class beaches and eat very well indeed.
Day 1 The Lizard: to Lizard Point
Day 2 The Lizard: Seals and Sub-tropics
Day 3 The Lizard: Mullion Cove
The Lizard area of the South West Coast Path has a range of accommodation options, including campsites, B&Bs, hotels and self-catering cottages.
- The Old Bakery B&B, Lizard – Former bakehouse converted into a two-bed B&B.
- Haelarcher, Lizard – Farmhouse B&B with great breakfasts and warm and cosy beds.
- Penmenner House, Lizard – Elegant B&B with luxury accommodation and mesmerising ocean views.
- Silver Sands Holiday Park, Lizard – Luxurious lodges, static caravans and touring and camping pitches set in mature parkland.
- Little Trenoweth, Lizard – Most southerly thatched Grade II-listed cottage in England; available for self-catering stays, sleeping up to six.
- Lizard YHA – Former Victorian hotel, now a four-star hostel; panoramic sea views.
- Lizard Lighthouse Holiday Cottages – Six handsomely appointed lighthouse keepers’ cottages at the southernmost point of mainland Britain.
- Cadgwith Cove Cottages – Selection of characterful self-catering cottages around Cadgwith Cove and Lizard.
- Chyheira, Cadgwith – Quality B&B in an old Edwardian house, a short walk from Cadgwith.
- Polurrian on the Lizard, Mullion – Contemporary Cornish retreat with Mediterranean-inspired restaurant.
- Trenance Farm Cottages, Mullion – One- to three-bed self-catering cottages; dog friendly.
- Sea Acres Holiday Park, Kennack Sands – Caravans and lodges, with a range of activities and facilities including an adventure playground, heated indoor pool and PADI dive centre.
- Kynance Cove Cottage – Cosy cottage at the bottom of Kynance Cove, next to the cafe; has one bedroom with a double bed and bunk beds.
Food & Drink
The Cornish coast, around the Lizard, is packed with great places to eat, from beachside cafes to fancy dining spots with far-reaching views. And if you just want a world-class pasty or fish and chips, you can get those too.
- Anne’s Pasties – A Lizard institution; arguably the world’s best pasties, including vegan options.
- Fat Jacks, Lizard – Known for fantastic sandwiches and pasties.
- The Witchball, Lizard – The most southerly pub in mainland Britain, serving fresh seafood.
- Polpeor Cafe, Lizard Point – Lovely fresh seafood salads and other dishes, with huge views.
- Wavecrest Cafe, Lizard Point – Fresh, seasonal and local produce served, overlooking the sea.
- Tregullas Farm Shop, Lizard – Edible goodies to take home; also serves great coffee and cream teas.
- Smugglers Fish & Chip Shop, Lizard – Good old chip shop, using fresh fish caught by day boats from local harbours and nearby villages.
- Housel Bay, Lizard – Hotel with three different eating and drinking spots, including a panoramic terrace.
- Mullion Cove Hotel, Mullion – Award-winning restaurant with amazing food and views; great cocktails too.
- Polurrian on the Lizard, Mullion – Relaxed Mediterranean-inspired meals served in spectacular surroundings.
- Kynance Cove Beach Cafe – Family-run cafe right by the beach.
- Cadgwith Inn, Cadgwith – Characterful pub serving pub classics, with a warm welcome and a well-stocked bar.
Follow linear sections of the South West Coast Path, or use other footpaths to make great loops. You can get in the water too.
- Lizard Point Circular, 6.5km – Gentle loop around Britain’s most southerly point.
- Rosemullion Head Circular, 6.5km – Spectacular views of Rosemullion Head, secluded coves and the Helford Estuary.
- Mullion Cove to Lizard Point & Village, 11km – Trail from Mullion Cove, along the exposed cliffs of the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula.
While you’re walking the South West Coast Path, make time to visit a few more attractions around the Lizard Peninsula.
- Kennack Diving – PADI 5-Star Dive Resort, offering courses from beginner to assistant instructor and trial dives in the pool and sea.
- Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre – Exhibitions and audio-visual and interactive displays telling the story of the historic building.
- Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek (https://sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org/en/visiting-us/tickets-experiences/) – Cornwall’s only working seal hospital; exclusive-access tours available, including feeding session with the seals.
- Trebah Gardens – Sub-tropical paradise, the result of over 180 years of dedicated creation; network of footpaths and lovely cafe.
- Mungo Lil’s Art Gallery, Lizard Point – Gift shop and gallery; great place to pick up a little memento.
The South West Coast Path forms part of the England Coast Path.
For further coastal walks visit England’s Coast.
Great Western Railway runs a regular service from Paddington station to the south west region.
Buses connect Helston, Mullion and Lizard village year-round. Buses also run regularly from Falmouth and Helston to Gweek Village. It is useful to have a car for exploring further afield, though note that The Lizard can get very busy in high summer.
The walks included in this itinerary are graded moderate and include some steep ascents. It’s important to always take care near cliff edges.
We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.
Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside
Click here to access the interactive map
Maps, Guidebooks & 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. The South West Coast Path Association also publish The Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path, available to buy at www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/shop or FREE when you join the charity as a member.