Rugged coastline, alluring beaches, and stunning scenery are just a few of the several features of Cornwall.
Located in the southwestern part of England, many people consider it to be one of the best holiday destinations in the nation. The fascinating history, amazing views, and vibrant culture of this county can help you relax and enjoy the break that you need from your daily routine.
However, if you just have three days to spend in this county, how can you make the most of it? In this blog post, we will walk through a three-day Cornwall road trip itinerary to help you plan your trip. All this so that you can enjoy these three days in Cornwall as much as possible.
Let us begin!
Day 1: Exploring The Coastal Regions
First Stop: St. Ives
What better way to start your Cornwall weekend getaway than visiting St. Ives? The natural beauty of this town is alluring to everyone, especially artists and art enthusiasts. It is known for its picturesque harbour, narrow cobbled streets, and famous art scenes.
You can begin the day by taking a stroll along the beautiful waterfront of St. Ives. There, you will find yourself amidst the fresh breeze of the sea and the sound of seagulls. As the day progresses, the harbour will get busier, and you can enjoy the sight of fishing boats bobbing on the water.
The main highlights of St. Ives are the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Sculpture Garden. If you are an art and sculpture enthusiast, you must know about the talented artist Barbara Hepworth. This museum is dedicated to her artistic contributions to the world, as she lived and worked in St. Ives for a long period. You can click beautiful pictures of the serene sculpture garden.
Die-hard art enthusiasts can also consider visiting the Tate St. Ives, a branch of popular Tate galleries showcasing modern and contemporary art. Here, you will find that the art of Cornwall artists is in focus – which is perfect if you want to explore the culture of this county on your road trip. You can also dine at different cafes, as there is one at almost every corner of St. Ives!
Second Stop: Land’s End
Once you have lunch at St. Ives, it is time to explore the scenic destination of Land’s End. It is located at the westernmost tip of England and is best known for its beautiful coastal landscape.
The rugged cliffs and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean together form an inviting environment to take leisure walks. You can also consider visiting the iconic signpost in your Cornwall itinerary to take pictures and check out distances to different destinations around the globe.
If your schedule grants you extra time, you should consider visiting the Land’s End Visitor Center. It provides ample knowledge about various aspects such as history, geology, flora, and fauna of Northern and Southern Cornwall. This region of Land’s End is the perfect location to delve deep into the rich heritage, legends, and tales related to the county.
Once you are done exploring the cultural heritage in Land’s End while visiting Cornwall, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the region. You can head to the viewing platform to watch the beautiful panoramic views, rugged coastlines, and a glimpse of the Isles of Scilly – located off the coasts of Cornwall.
Third Stop: St. Michael’s Mount
The perfect way to end the first day of your Cornwall itinerary would be to visit St. Michael’s Mount. This region is a fascinating location for history enthusiasts. It is located off the coast of Marazion, and you can reach there via boat on a low-tide day.
One of the main attractions of St. Michael’s Mount is its mediaeval castle. Since it has been home to the family of St. Aubyn for centuries now, the castle has a fascinating history and offers a beautiful glimpse into the past. The grand halls, intricate architecture, and historical artefacts together tell the story of the old castle.
However, there are several other beautiful attractions apart from the architecture. For instance, the castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens with vibrant flowers, greenery, and paths for leisure walks. Once you are done admiring the castle and gardens, you can visit the village on St. Michael’s Mount.
The village boasts incredible architecture, quaint gift shops to find souvenirs, and several more features that captivate you as you stroll through this part of your Cornwall itinerary. You can enjoy the peaceful and serene environment of the village for a few hours and then conclude your first day.
Day 2: Tour Of The Cultural Heritage And Natural Wonders
First Stop: Tintagel Castle
You can continue walking on the trail of myth, legends, and history on the second day of your Cornwall itinerary and begin the day by visiting the Tintagel castle. It is associated with the iconic stores of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Hence, this site is an iconic and popular location for people who love the historical events and the stories of King Arthur. The ruins of this castle are perched on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, which is why the overall environment of this site looks all the more stunning.
You can talk to your guide or even to locals and learn more about the legends and events that took place within the walls of this castle. The Tintagel Castle has been considered a source of inspiration by several esteemed artists, writers, and poets – including Lord Tennyson!
Once you visit the castle, you can head to the Tintagel Old Post Office. It is a mesmerising 14th-century building that is located near the castle, and it flaunts the traditional architecture of the Cornish coast. Each room of this office has unique artefacts and period furnishings, which can help you understand the heritage of this site better.
Second Stop: South West Coastal Path
While exploring the Cornish coast, it is impossible not to include a coastal hike in your Cornwall itinerary. While spending your days in Cornwall, you can hike to the South West Coast Path.
You can opt for a leisure stroll to appreciate the natural beauty of elements like the dramatic cliffs of the path. But you may want to go for a challenging hike instead if you want to spend more adventurous days in Cornwall. You can assess the various hiking regions of this path and choose one that suits your preferences and fitness level. Then, as you walk on this beautiful trail, you can enjoy the scenic stretches.
If you want to opt for the former option – i.e., the leisure stroll – it would be best if you stick to the path from Padstow to St. Ives. You can observe the stunning view of the sparkling sea, some seaboards flying over your head, and if you are lucky – some dolphins too!
However, those looking for a more challenging hike to level up their Cornwall trip experience should stick to walking on rugged cliffs. The path between Minehead and Westward Ho is considered one of the toughest sections of the South West Coast Path due to the rugged trail. If you are looking for a somewhat equally adventurous hike but shorter in section, consider hiking on the path between St. Ives and Zennor.
Third Stop: Lost Gardens And Eden Project
A Cornwall road trip is incomplete without exploring all the famous gardens of the county. Hence, the best way to end the second day of your road trip would be to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan and then head over to the Eden Project.
As the name suggests, the Lost Gardens of Heligan have a rich history with a mysterious period called the “Lost Years” between 1914 to 1990. It went through an extensive restoration process, and today, it is known as the largest garden restoration project in Europe.
You can explore several sections of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, including vegetation gardens, exotic species of Italy and Japan, and the stunning fauna of the Heligan Estate. From here, you can go on a 25-minute short road trip to visit the largest indoor rainforest in the world in Eden Project.
While it offers visitors beautiful attractions, it is also an educational charity. You can learn more about the different kinds of climates and the flora and fauna that flourish in such environments. The Eden Project also hosts several live performances, which you can enjoy as you learn more about creating a sustainable world!
Day 3: Beach Day!
First Stop: Porthcurno Beach
Consider heading towards the beautiful Porthcurno beach on your third and final day. It is located on the south coast of Cornwall and is known for its crystal-clear turquoise water. How can a Cornwall road trip not include visiting the sandy beaches?
If you like taking a lovely walk on the soft and beautiful beaches, visiting Porthcurno Beach won’t disappoint you. You can sit under the sun (best during summer!) or dive into the Atlantic Ocean for a refreshing swim.
You can also visit the popular Minack theatre, which is located on this beach. The view of a stunning open-air amphitheatre built on cliffs is alluring, and the fact that it overlooks the sea makes it look even more stunning.
For lunch, you can either pack your food to enjoy a picnic on the beach or visit any nearby restaurant to dine in. The nearby cafes are renowned for selling locally caught fish, Cornish pasty, and cream tea to their customers.
Second Stop: Padstow
The charming coastal town of Padstow is located in North Cornwall and is best known for its great restaurants and beautiful harbours. You can begin the second visit on your final day in Cornwall by taking coastal walks on the bustling harbour and observe the day-to-day life of a fishing village.
Whether you are looking for a delicious breakfast or a tasty lunch, the fresh fish and other seafood dishes will definitely satisfy your taste buds in this town. It is home to several popular restaurants, including those under chef Rick Stein’s name.
Once you are done eating, you can take a walk on the narrow streets of the town to explore the different kinds of shops, cafes, galleries, etc. If you are a wine enthusiast, you can also drive to Trevibban Mill for a five-minute drive to try out wine tasting. However, booking your reservation before you visit would be best to get in easily and find a good car park region.
If you want to explore more beaches, such as Harlyn Bay, during your stay at Padstow, you can visit the ones nearby. It would help if you considered staying there from about an hour to two, but you might find it difficult to spot an easy car park region during busy hours. Also, at Harlyn Bay, you can surf as much as you want to!
Third Stop: Perranporth
If you just can’t get enough of the sand, the third and final stop of your three days in Cornwall itinerary should be Perranporth. It is one of the best beaches located on the north coast of Cornwall and deserves a visit if the weather is nice.
You can also visit the village of St. Agnes, located between the main road connecting Redruth and Perranporth. Since it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, St. Agnes will provide a serene vibe – the perfect way of concluding the day and your trip. The spectacular coastal views, great breakfast options, and beautiful high tide will conclude your trip in the best way possible.
Things To Keep In Mind While Following Your Cornwall Itinerary
1. Check The Weather
Since the weather conditions of Cornwall are quite unpredictable, it is crucial to analyse and predict what kind of weather you will travel in. You will have to walk and move often during your long weekend trip, so you should only visit Cornwall when the weather is predicted to be sunny.
Packing weather-appropriate clothes with waterproof fabric would be best because all the beaches boast an unpredictable rain schedule. Since Cornwall is quite windy, too, you should also carry glasses with you for eye protection.
As you visit Cornwall, you must travel from one site to another during your long weekend. Hence, you should either opt for public transport if you do not want to keep up with the extra cost of taking your car around or rent a car. You can also consider getting your car for flexibility and freedom to go anywhere without much dependence.
However, it is worth noting that car park regions may not be available during the busy hours of sites. You may have to pay an extra cost to simply car park as you visit different places. If you opt for public transport as an alternative, research their schedule beforehand to avoid missing your train or bus.
3. Time Management
While planning a long weekend getaway, it is crucial to keep time management in mind. Although it is impossible to stick exactly to your schedule throughout your trip, it would certainly help to map out how much time you want to allocate to each site.
Ensure that you plan out the time management of your trip such that you spend enough time at each site and keep their opening and closing time in mind. It would help if you also kept your schedule a little flexible. This way, you can visit sites like Fistral Beach, St. Austell, Port Isaac, and Kynance Cove as per the free time in the itinerary of your trip.
4. Respect The Environment
Cornwall is quite popular for its scenic views and clean environment, and as a visitor, you should be careful to respect it as it is. Make sure that you are a responsible citizen and do not litter around in any case.
You should also carry other necessary measures to respect the environment, such as not plucking flowers unnecessarily and cleaning up after yourself after beach visits. This way, you will not damage the beautiful flora and fauna system of the county.
With that, we have reached the end of the itinerary. Since you only have three days to spend your long weekend trip in Cornwall, it is important to visit as many sites as possible in the least duration. However, that does not mean that you don’t enjoy each iconic region of the county – just follow the itinerary provided to you above, and you will surely enjoy your trip.
Lastly, it is important to note that while all the sites mentioned above are worth visiting, you should amend your plans according to your convenience and preferences. This is just a layout to begin your planning!
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