Best Boat Trips And Ferries To Take In Cornwall




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8 Best Boat Trips And Ferries In Cornwall

1. Jubilee Queen, Padstow

Padstow is a fishing village situated on the North Cornish Coast. Here, the scenic beauty is scarcely matched elsewhere, which is why tourists flock to the area for the coastal views of the town. 

The harbour is rarely empty, with ships, ferries and boats moving in and out every so often. You can spot fishing boats and touring ferries moving in and out of the docks throughout the day. 

One ferry belongs to Jubilee Queen, offering a luxury boat trip from Padstow Harbour throughout the summer. Offering a guided tour of the North Coast of Cornwall, Jubilee Queen provides you with information on the local history, marine life and fishing communities

Climb aboard from the lower beach at low tide, a fifteen-minute walk away from the Padstow Harbour. Alternatively, get onboard the Jubilee from the ferry steps or the inner quay at high tide. The ferry is easy to spot, so keep your eyes peeled!

In addition to all the intriguing trivia, the seafarers have a well-stocked bar for tourists to sample from. Experience an ever-expanding collection of wines, spirits and ciders from the bar to sip on while you tour the seas for 90 minutes. 

Moreover, the ferry is often a host to local events to make your tours even more memorable. Available during evening cruises, your tour during these events will last up to two hours to make the most out of your time aboard. Note that these details are subject to change due to sea conditions.

This combination of local knowledge, special events and a vast selection of drinks make for a relaxing and enjoyable time out on the seas. Climb aboard the Jubilee Queen to experience a unique flavour of Cornish tourism!

2. AK Wildlife Cruises, Falmouth

AK Wildlife Cruises aims to facilitate the tourists’ oceanic adventures and give them a fascinating new insight into the marine wildlife of the British Isles. The crew and ship are fully equipped to provide its guests with an excursion that is completely safe and comfortable.

Offering boat tours that last from three to seven hours, the cruise company can help you explore a huge variety of activities at sea. You can observe whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, take part in special events, leave the boat for a guided snorkelling adventure, and more.

Firstly, the three-hour-long trip will take you to Falmouth Bay, where you may search for seals, birds, dolphins, and other local wildlife. Observe the local scenery as you sail through the tranquil waters, and gaze upon the coastal and pelagic seabirds along the way.

Next, you may choose the four-hour-long trip that has you explore the southern Cornish coast. The longer you spend out on the seas, the greater the chance of spotting a rare wild animal. Should you miss any, the captain and crew of the ship will point the animal out to you.

And the longest boat tour offered by AK Wildlife Cruises will take you to the coast of the Lizard before venturing into deeper waters. Witness even rarer wild animals during the all-day trip, with fin whales, storm petrels and bottlenoses being the highlights of the cruise.

The tours are created with the Cornish coastline and biodiversity in mind in order to entertain and educate tourists at the same time. As such, AK Wildlife Cruises is WiSE Master accredited for promoting responsible ways of observing wildlife.

Falmouth Nub News

3. Scillonian Ferry, Penzance

As far as ferries to Scilly Isles go, the Scillonian Ferry may be one of the best ways to reach the gorgeous isles. It offers a whole new way of observing the Cornish coastline throughout the 2 hours and 45 minutes of the tour.

This ferry takes you from Penzance to St. Mary’s, treating you to a seaward perspective of both the landmarks of Cornwall and Scilly Isles. Be it a day trip or an extended visit to the isles, the tour offers plenty for all to enjoy. 

Observe St. Michael’s Mount, Mousehole, Jubilee Pool, Minack Theatre and more from the deck of the ferry throughout the trip. And if you turn your gaze towards the sea, a rare marine animal may also appear. Feel free to take pictures to your heart’s content!

The Scillonian ferry aims to make your journey to the isles an amazing experience, providing you with reclining seats and access to a cafe. Sip on a cup of coffee or munch on your favourite assortment of biscuits- the Western Rocks Coffee Co. has it all.

This dog-friendly ferry operates for a vast majority of the year, open to all from March all the way until November. Simply check in an hour before departure to embark on a unique and fulfilling journey to the Scilly Isles!

Isles of Scilly Travel

4. Fal River Ferries, Falmouth

During your Cornish vacation, you are bound to reach Fal River at one point. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions of Cornwall in the UK, Fal River is a stunning river that goes through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Of course, you can find ferries running to and from the river. Boat trips and ferries remain some of the best ways to explore the waterways found in the area, after all.

Connecting Truro to Falmouth, Fal River Ferries give tourists a chance to view the unspoilt beauty of the Roseland Peninsula. It’s no wonder that people flock to this place while vacationing. 

You may take the St. Mawes Ferry to experience Pendennis and St. Mawes Castle. Throughout the trip, you will capture the gorgeous views of the water with plenty of marine life and seabirds to witness. Seals, dolphins, and migrating birds are a sight to behold, so be on the lookout while on the deck!

Feel free to use a Fal Mussel Card to avail discounts while boarding ferries and enjoy your tour through the river.

Fal River

5. Helford River Ferry, Falmouth

One of the oldest ferries crossing in Britain, the Helford Ferry connects Helford Passage to Helford Village. This ferry has been in service for nearly a thousand years, so expect the services to be top-notch!

Situated near Falmouth, the Helford River Ferry helps tourists and passengers reach Helford village without having to travel through the mainland. This saves a significant amount of time while travelling, especially when compared to reaching Helford by car.

The ferry leaves from a private pontoon next to the Ferry Boat Inn when traversing from the Helford Passage. From the Helford Village, it departs from the end of Helford Point, where a jetty is located. 

And calling the ferry is as simple as opening the yellow circular sign on either side of the Helford Estuary. The sign lets the ferryman know that someone awaits their services on the other end, and they will promptly come to you.

Featuring an extensive list of ferrymen who have helmed the Helford Ferry for a thousand years, you can expect to learn plenty about local history. Expect thrilling tales involving civil war troops, pirates, smugglers and much more as you sail on the ferry. 

Helford River Boats

6. Padstow Sealife Safari

Observing marine wildlife without disturbing their natural habitat- that is the core objective of Padstow Sealife Safari. Offering tourists a chance to view the diverse North Cornwall Coast marine life, the service aims to help them view life through a different lens.

As a tourist, you may choose from several boat trips dedicated to a particular type of wildlife or exploration. This includes puffins, beautiful grey seals, general sea life or simple marine exploration.

You may find Atlantic puffins resting on the “Puffin Island” during the summer as they fly past the boat. The tour lasts one hour, during which you may catch a glimpse of these regal birds bobbing on the water before diving for sand eels.

Similarly, the service offers a seal safari that lasts an hour as well. Seals are a common sight around Padstow, but you can observe them in their natural habitat at particular sites of interest. You may also spot a few birds like guillemots, razorbills and even puffins during certain times of the year.

The Sealife Safari and Explorer’s Safari are boat tours for wildlife enthusiasts that take up to two and three hours respectively. During these, you will visit points of interest from where you can view rare and intriguing animals. Simultaneously, you will be able to view other parts of Cornwall, having ventured further into the sea than the other boat tours.

Wildlife conservation is a goal important to the service, which is why they record all the wildlife sightings on each trip. The recorded data is then sent to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, which contributes valuable information for conservation research.

7. Boat Trips In Looe

Looe is a seaside town that primarily functions as a fishing port, which makes it a perfect spot to embark on a boat tour. After all, the town is a prime location for viewing scenic estuaries and countrysides from a distance. And for this reason, Looe has become a tourist hotspot over the years.

To begin your boat tour, you may hire a speed boat for a thrilling ride on the turbulent ocean waves. Zoom past the picturesque Looe Bay for an unforgettable experience scarcely matched elsewhere. Witness the amazing wildlife local to the area and take in the beautiful scenery to your heart’s content. 

It’s an activity and unique experience suited for the whole family, which is what makes the boat trips in Looe so special.

Looe Directory

8. Cawsand Ferry

Running daily during the seasonal months, the Cawsand Ferry brings you from the Barbican Landing Stage to Cawsand and Kingsand on the Rame peninsula. 

Having been operational for more than a century, the ferry gives you the opportunity to experience old fishing and smuggling villages like never before. The sailing journey lasts for half an hour, during which you will be treated to views of the secluded beaches, awe-inspiring scenery and amazing walks.

This service operates during the summer, starting from April and ending operation near the end of October. Tickets can be booked on a first-come, first-served basis onboard the ferry. 

You can check the live feed on their social media pages to view service status and learn more about the ferry as well. It’s important to remember that the boarding details may change based on the weather conditions, which you can see in their latest posts.

Learn all about the history of Cawsand and Kingsand along the way and have fun onboard the brief yet memorable boat tour!


Final Words

And that concludes our list of the best boat tours and ferries to find in Cornwall. Make your trip truly memorable by boarding these ferries at least once during your visit!

Ferries can be a great way to explore a previously-unknown part of the world that is normally inaccessible. They offer you a unique opportunity to shift perspectives to one that you’ve never experienced before. And that can be quite helpful in its own right.

It makes your trips more than just an enjoyable experience, creating memories that remain with you for a long while. It could be something special like a first trip with a loved one, or it may simply help you learn more about the region.

Whether you choose a speedy ride or a tranquil sail, all that matters is that you take something away from the tour. It could be a souvenir, or it could be a memory worth revisiting in the future.

About The Author


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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.