The best coastal walk in Cornwall
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Hailed as the best coastal walk in Cornwall and quite possibly the UK (!), the hike from Logan's Rock on the south coast of Cornwall (near Porthcurno) to Land's End is something unique, offering breathtaking clifftop views along the entire route. If you time this for a sunny day, the water looks just magical - but even if it's overcast, it's still a walk worth doing as the views are fantastic. Be sure to pack your swimsuit, so you can take a dip in the many coves you'll pass along the way.
Duration: 3 - 4 hours
Distance: 7.2 miles
Route: Starts in Treen, ends at Land's End
By car: If you're driving, make your way to the grass car park in Treen, just after the Logan Rock Inn (this isn't the small car park outside the inn - it's a tiny bit further up the lane and more of a rocky/grassy car park). At the time of writing (July 2022), parking is £4 for the day.
By bus: If you're taking the bus, the A1 Coastal Cruiser operated by First Kernow runs 3-5 times a day - and there is a bus stop (Lamorna Junction, Penzance) just a five minute walk from the Treen car park mentioned above.
Return journey: You could opt to walk the way you came - but as the return walk would involve a lot of uphills, you might want to take the bus back, which is what we did. You can take the A1 bus from Land's End back to Treen. In the summer months, the bus is often open-top and runs roughly once an hour (check the timings in advance here).
1) Exit the car park and take the immediate left up the lane. After a few minutes you should pass another lane with a sign for Logan Rock - follow this. If you miss it, just follow the main lane as this will anyway meet the coastal path. It's a slight detour to Logan Rock - the rock itself is a huge boulder which once upon a time rocked back and forth. If you do want to walk out onto it, take care as the path is rocky and there are sheer drops.
2) Once you've marvelled, carry on west along the coast path and after about ten minutes, you'll reach the breathtakingly-beautiful-can't-quite-believe-it-exists cove of Pedn Vounder (or Treen Beach). The water is some of the clearest you'll see and definitely a reason why this is the best coastal walk in Cornwall 😍
Be sure to check the tide timings, as when the tide is low, there is an awesome sand bank visible. Note that the route timings above don't include venturing down to the beaches, so taking a detour to Pedn Vounder will add on time to the hike - but it's absolutely worth it! It's a tricky climb down, so only do this if you're a confident scrambler and okay with heights. To reach this nudist friendly beach, you need to follow the turning down a narrow path, which eventually leads to a very rocky descent down the cliff. Make sure you're wearing your trainers or walking shoes for this, as it isn't an easy climb down (or back up again). You can find out more about Pedn Vounder in my Best Places to Visit in Cornwall blog post. If climbing down isn't for you, and/or if you just want to proceed with the walk, there are plenty of other more accessible and beautiful coves along the way, so you aren't really missing out.
3) Once you've taken in the beautiful views and/or had a dip, continue along the path for about 15 minutes - the path here is quite overgrown, so expect some scratchy leaves in this section - and you'll soon reach the sensationally blue crescent of Porthcurno. It's a gorgeous beach and there's a car park nearby, which means it gets busy (think families with parasols etc etc). This is an excellent spot to have a swim along this section of the best coastal walk in Cornwall - so if you didn't make it down to Pedn Vounder, consider going for a dip here.
4) Continue along the path (if in doubt, just keeping 'hugging' the coast - basically stick to the path closest to the coast) and you'll reach the foot of some rocky stairs. This is probably the steepest section of this here best coastal walk in Cornwall and will lead you up to the unique Minack Theatre. The steps are quite rocky and care needs to be taken, especially in the busy summer months when more people are walking both ways. The Minack is a much-loved outdoor theatre which was a passion project of Rowena Cade; she allowed local plays to be performed in her back garden on the cliff edge and, in the 1930's, with the help of her gardeners, she slowly built the theatre into the celebrated venue that it is today. Performances run from Easter to September but a timed ticket can be bought all year round for a tour of the theatre. A tour might be a nice added extra to do along the walk! Tickets are £10 per adult (£5 per child) and are best booked in advance.
5) Once you've caught your breath at the top, walk across the Minack car park and through the wooden pedestrian gate, and continue on for about 10 minutes around the headland, and you'll soon reach Porth Chapel. This is another beauty and much quieter than the other beaches - we counted four people and a dog! We were keen to continue our walk (as we were timing it with the return bus) but if there was one beach we would have stopped off at on our way there, this definitely would have been it (we ended up going for a swim at Porthcurno after the return bus but more on that later).
6) Just a stone's throw from Porth Chapel Beach, you'll soon pass by St Levan's Holy Well. It was once said that drinking from this well could cure diseases - but this isn't advised, as the water isn't particularly sanitary. The views are great though 😉
7) Continue on about 20 minutes and you'll reach the tiny fishing cove of Porthgwarra. The path here was a bit confusing for us and we ended up taking a wrong turn but managed to navigate back to the coastal path quite easily. Just keep hugging the coast and keep left, and you can't really go too wrong. There's a small cafe here with seating, so why not stop for a snack!
8) Carry on walking and after about 10 minutes, you'll reach a path that splits in two and run adjacent with each other; both are nice but if you take the left path closest to the coast, you'll walk past some cool rock formations. There's also an extremely scary and very deep ditch/hole in the ground with no warning signs - so do take care and don't get too close to the edge.
9) Next up is the exposed clifftop of Gwennap Head. There's a coastguard lookout station here and the view is vast and fantastic! At this point, you're about halfway along the best coastal walk in Cornwall. If it's a clear day, see if you can spot Wolf Rock Lighthouse 9 miles in the distance. We stopped a bit further from here to eat lunch as it was windy at the top.
10) After about 30 minutes is a nice little bit of cliff called Carn Les Boel - you'll have to go off-path momentarily but if you walk out onto it, the views feel almost 360!
11) Ten minutes of walking and the downhill will lead you to a cove you might mistake for just any other cove, until you're almost past it. This is of course the beautiful and famed Nanjizal; a lot of the coves along this best coastal walk in Cornwall have a similar look and we nearly didn't realise it's significance until we were going over the bridge and spotted the cliff arch! We of course quickly retraced our steps to take in the beautiful surroundings and walk down the wooden staircase to the cove. There are lovely rock formations and the water is crystal clear! As Nanjizal isn't near a car park, it therefore takes a bit of effort to get to, so luckily this means it doesn't get very busy; most people passing are those walking the coast path. Note: if you're google-mapping this bit, Nanjizal's official name is Mill Bay. And a fun fact: the natural arch by the rock pools is called Zawn Pyg (Cornish for 'pointed chasm') but the locals refer to it as the Song of the Sea cave - which, quite frankly, makes my heart sing 🤗
12) And once you've passed Nanjizal, you're only about half an hour from Land's End! Land's End is the most westerly point of mainland England and also marks the finishing line for walkers and cyclists completing the 900-mile challenge from John O'Groats in Scotland. Drink in the views as you pass by beautiful water and the much loved Enys Dodnan Arch which juts out of the cliff. You'll also pass through a small farm. If you're not too exhausted, head to First & Last House which sits on the official most westerly point.
And you're done! That's the best coastal walk in Cornwall complete 🤩 You can technically just walk back the way you came but you'll probably be exhausted (and also, bear in mind that the return journey would consist of a lot of uphills). We opted for the bus and boarded the A1 bus just outside the Land's End tourist complex at Bus Stop E. In the summer months, a lot of the buses are open-top and run roughly once an hour (check the timings in advance here). For some reason, our bus didn't come so we had to wait an hour until the next one turned up. But apparently this doesn't usually happen and was a one-off! The buses run in a circular route - with some going clockwise to St Ives, and some anti-clockwise. All routes include Land's End - just make sure you board the A1 anti-clockwise bus if you're heading back to Treen. The journey is about 30 minutes and was £3 for a one-way ticket.
14) We could have taken the bus all the way to Treen but instead we got off at Porthcurno to have a swim. The water was cold but it was such a hot day and just what we needed after a long hike! It's so blue and clear and really didn't feel like we were in England. I would definitely recommend taking a dip here or at Pedn Vounder. It's then just a 20 minute walk back to the car park at Treen, along the same path you walked before. All in all, this best coastal walk in Cornwall isn't too difficult a walk (only a couple of steep uphills, and the steps leading up to the Minack Theatre). So if you're fit enough to undertake a 3-4 hour walk, this is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to see the finest parts of Cornwall in a short space of time.
And if you're looking for more walking inspiration in Cornwall, some other popular routes include:
Kynance Cove and Lizard Point (5.9 miles), starting and ending at Kynance Cove.
Godrevy to Hell's Mouth (5 miles).