West Penwith has a unique and rugged landscape with wild moorland, sparsely populated countryside, quaint fishing villages and secret coves.
Flying into Newquay is the ideal way to explore the most westerly part of Cornwall. Arrange to collect a hire car as soon as you touch down and you could be cruising your way down the A30 within minutes. West Penwith is situated right at the tip of the county and is only 30 miles from Cornwall Airport Newquay.
Where to Stay
West Penwith has its own microclimate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream which means that amazing subtropical plants decorate the countryside. The seaside town of St Ives has fantastic subtropical gardens, a working harbour and spectacular sandy beaches.
It’s an artist’s paradise, with galleries and sculpture gardens and there’s a great choice of restaurants, many serving locally caught seafood with views out over the harbour. Wander through the cobbled streets, exploring galleries, gift shops and boutiques, have an adventure on the south west coastal path or take a dip in the sparkling turquoise ocean.
There’s always plenty to do in St Ives whatever time of year you visit and it’s a great base for exploring the rest of West Penwith. Drive the magnificent southwest coast road down to Land’s End, discover hidden coves and charming fishing villages and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the secluded countryside in West Penwith. Search for your holiday cottage in St Ives and start dreaming of your coastal getaway.
Where to eat
St Ives itself has a plethora of delicious restaurants serving locally sourced ingredients, ideal for a relaxing dinner after a day exploring St Ives’ galleries and shops or a lazy day spent on the beach. But whilst you’re out and about discovering new places in your hire car, there are plenty of lovely eateries to stop at to relax and refuel.
The area of West Penwith stretches from the bustling town of St Ives on the north coast, all the way around the most westerly tip to the fishing villages of Mousehole and Newlyn. After a busy day discovering new places, why not stop off at a cosy pub or restaurant for a lovely meal?
The Gurnards Head in Zennor is on the way back to St Ives if you’re driving along the southwest coast road and has amazing views of the Atlantic ocean, a delightful seasonal menu and a log fire on colder days. Alternatively, if you’re visiting Land’s End, you could stop off at the nearby First & Last Inn, a 17th century pub which would have once been frequented by smugglers, and tuck into a dish from their traditional pub menu.
Finally, if you venture all the way around to Newlyn, a visit to the Meadery is a must. Enjoy a unique dining experience in this medieval themed restaurant, where waitresses in period costume will serve you tasty food on wooden platters with some traditional Cornish mead to wash it down.
Places to Visit
You’ll be spoilt for choice with interesting places to visit in West Penwith. As well as the spectacular scenery, West Penwith is rich with mining history, with its cliff tops dotted with tin mines and engine houses. Geevor Tin Mine is the largest preserved mine site in the country set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Channel your inner Poldark and head underground into a real 18th century tin mine.
Did you know that Porthcurno in West Penwith was once the heart of international telecommunications and had the largest telegraph station in the world? The Telegraph Museum tells the fascinating history through exhibitions and interactive displays for a fun and immersive experience. You could tie in your visit with a trip to the iconic Minack Theatre, enjoying an outdoor performance with sea views or pack a picnic and take it onto Porthcurno beach.
You don’t have to travel too far to experience a bit of culture. The Tate Gallery is right in the heart of St Ives, situated right next to Porthminster beach with wonderful views of the ocean. Peruse the incredible artwork and exhibitions, take part in one of their regular art workshops or while away an afternoon in their top floor cafe, which enjoys unrivalled views of the ocean.
You’re never far from a beach in West Penwith. From the gorgeous sandy beaches in St Ives and Carbis Bay to the wonderful wild waves at Sennen and Praa Sands and the secluded spots of Lamorna Cove and Prussia Cove, to name just a few. Book a cold water surfing lesson, go for an invigorating wild swim, walk along the coastal path, or simply sit on the beach and watch the waves.
There’s a little something for everyone on this magical peninsula, so escape to the wild and rugged beauty of West Penwith for a wondrous Cornish getaway.