Winter in West Cornwall15 October 2021
Winter is a great time to explore the Cornish coast
In the winter, west Cornwall is made for walking. Perhaps it’s the crashing waves, the swirling winds, or the thought of a snug bar at the end – it’s an exhilarating time of year to head out on a hike. And if you are tempted take to the trails, Hotel Penzance – the best boutique hotel in Penzance – is a gorgeous place to warm up in comfort at the end. So here are our picks for some of the best winter walks in Cornwall.
A coastal classic
While Land’s End gets all the press, Cornwall’s second most westerly point delivers sweeping sea views without the crowds. This 5 mile hike, outlined here by Visit Cornwall, starts inland in the sturdy mining village of St Just, 7 miles from Penzance. It then heads down into the Cot Valley before taking the South West Coast Path north, past Priest’s Cove to Cape Cornwall itself. It’s a superb hike, dotted with remains of ruined mine workings, a tiny tidal pool, and sensational views – if the weather’s fine look out for the Isles of Scilly some 30 miles off shore.
St Michael’s Mount
Even Penzance’s locals are mesmerised by St Michael’s Mount – a tidal island crowned by a fairytale castle. Its unforgettable outline dominates vast Mount’s Bay and is one of Cornwall’s most iconic images. The island sits just 4 miles east of Penzance at Marazion. This 6 mile route, described by the South West Coast Path, takes in a broad sweep of shore – allowing you to drink in those memorable views – before cutting back inland through the fields around Perranuthnoe.
Or you could take a breathtaking hike from Penzance along the sandy beach of Mount’s Bay to Marazion and then head back to Hotel Penzance across the fields. This 6.8 mile walk from the South West Coast Path also takes in a section of the 13 mile St Michael’s Way and the winter birdwatching hotspot of Marazion Marsh.
Penzance town trail
For the days when you don’t want to wander too far, there’s the history-packed Penzance Town Trail. This 2.8 mile, 16 stop route winds through the streets of Old Penzance, taking in everything from one of Britain’s oldest cinemas to the links to Penzance boy Sir Humphry Davy, the mining safety pioneer. What’s more, the trail leads within a few hundred yards of our front door at Hotel Penzance.
At Hotel Penzance we have Mount’s Bay’s beaches pretty much on our doorstep. While the dunes and rock pools of Marazion Beach begin just a few miles away. At low tide you can even walk across a tidal causeway to St Michael’s Mount itself. Other cracking options within 10 miles of Hotel Penzance include the sandy expanse of Sennen Cove (spot the winter surfers) and the bewitching bays at Porthcurno. All perfect for a windswept winter walk.
Go guided or find your own trail
If you’d don’t want to follow routes on the map and would rather have someone else show you around, see Visit Cornwall’s lists of firms offering guided walks. Or if you’d like to blaze your own trail, the options are absolutely endless. Check out the South West Coast Path’s Walk Finder for hundreds of inland routes as well as shore-side paths.
Your reward at the end
Whether you’re after a weekend break, or a more extended time taking to the trails, having a comfortable base is a must. Hotel Penzance isn’t just one of the best boutique hotels in Cornwall, it’s also your elegant but unstuffy home from home. It’s a place where you can watch the sun rise over the sea from your bed, tuck into delicious seasonal, local food and sample Cornish wines. In short, it’s the perfect place to settle down and warm up – perhaps with a whisky – after your exhilarating west Cornwall walks.