Start & Finish: Padstow
Make your own way to Padstow. The town is named after St. Petroc who came here circa AD 500. The church of St. Petroc is one of a group of three said to have been founded by the saint. It is quite large and mostly of 13th and 14th century date. The old harbour usually has a nice ensemble of boats including the old pilot vessels. You can find nice pub fayre and a Rick Stein café/restaurant, not forgetting Rick's Fish & Chip shop and ‘National Lobster hatchery.’
Accommodation: Our normal inn dates back to the 14th Century and is the oldest existing pub in the town.
If you are hiring bikes, the bike hire shop opens from 9.00 am, so after breakfast, make your way there to collect and check out your steed before pedalling off southwards on roads close to the Cornish coast. From Padstow, cycle along the coast past Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay. Passing by the surfing beaches and town of Newquay and follow coastal lanes to the village of Crantock with its pretty church and round garden, before arriving at Perranporth.
It is believed that Saint Piran founded a church at Perranzabuloe near Perranporth in the seventh century. Buried under sand for many centuries, it was unearthed early in the twentieth century, but again left to the mercy of the sands in the 1970s. Otherwise this is a pretty small resort with a very long 3 mile beach, sea stacks and shrieking gulls. The ride between Padstow and Newquay can be very busy in summer, and instead you can choose an inland route which goes through St Columb Major. Adding 12 km/7.5 miles to the day’s total, but it is faster and flatter.
Accommodation: The 4* country house offers all rooms ensuite. The country house is situated in its own grounds overlooking Perranporth and is only minutes from the coastal footpaths. It is a steep ride out of Perranporth to the accommodation, and if you want to have a meal.
The bike ride today passes many old tin mine workings riding to the village of St. Agnes. There are then a couple of steep descents and ascents into the bays at Porthtreath and Porthtowan, before rolling along the coast road towards Hayle with a possible stop at Godvrey Head. Skirting the Hayle Estuary, which is noted for its seabirds and waders, you then roll past beautiful Carbis Bay to reach the town of St. Ives. This dates back to AD 460, when the missionary St. Ia, daughter of an Irish chieftain, landed here and gave her name to the settlement.
Protected from Atlantic storms, St. Ives was once the most important fishing port in Cornwall, but like elsewhere on the surrounding coast, by the beginning of the 20th century, the fish stocks became depleted and the fishing fleet largely disappeared. However as early as 1811 Turner visited to paint the seascapes and by the late 1880s there were several artists installed and the town became famous for its vibrant artists’ colony. This perhaps reached its peak during the late 1940s and the 1950s. Today, their work can be seen in the St. Ives Tate Gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Bernard Leach Gallery.
Cycling steeply out of St. Ives, the roads take you along a classic Cornish scenery of small farms with ancient drystone walls, mine engine houses and chimneys. You could stop for a coffee in the attractive village of Zennor, famous for its mermaid legend. You could take the road out to Cape Cornwall then check out the landscape, visit the tin mining museum at Geevor or continue on, perhaps to have a snack at the old village of St. Just before visiting Land’s End. Have an ice cream at ‘The First and The Last ‘ store. This is England’s most westerly point, it is possible to see the Isles of Scilly on a clear day.
Then you’ll head east through Treen, passing some ancient remains, and cycling through the semi tropical valley at Lamorna. The route runs down the coast of Cornwall to Mousehole (pron’Mowzl’), another picture postcard village. It has a history of pilchard fishing and now has a small artists community. You then pedal through Newlyn and into Penzance. This has a number of attractions including some Georgian and Regency housing, the exuberant Egyptian House, Maritime Museum and National Lighthouse Museum.
Before Treen you can take a little detour to Porthcurno which is home to the Minack Theatre. It is dramatically situated and built by Rowena Cade - a unique place where the auditorium and stage are carved into the cliff above the sea, and above a wonderful bay.
Accommodation: You will stay at one of our selected guesthouses/B&B's in the seaside town of Penzance.
A short day of cycling, allowing you the opportunity to explore Penzance or spend some time relaxing on the beach. From Penzance there is a flattish but dramatic ride around Mounts Bay with views over to St. Michael’s Mount with its tidal causeway. You maybe able to fit a visit in with the tide times. The road then goes inland before you reach Porthleven. This is another charming fishing village, whose harbour is closed by wooden baulks during storms with good restaurants and a couple of nice pubs. You can enjoy fine seafood at the inn or venture along the quay to a seafood restaurant that is famous all over Britain (reservations recommended!).
Accommodation: We stay in a 4-star inn by the quayside with old stone flags on the floor and oak beams and wood panelling in profusion. The bar retains the ambience of an old fisherman’s pub, and offers friendly service in traditional surroundings. If you are there on a Saturday, there will often be entertainment as well.
Pedal out inland to cross Lizard Point avoiding the steepest coastal hills. You pass the heath of Goonhilly Down to St. Keverne to view its pleasant village square and remarkable churchyard. Here over 400 shipwreck victims of the nearby Manacle Reef are buried. Continue cycling to Helford and round the pretty villages that surround the Helford River. Frenchmans Creek here was made famous by the writer Daphne Du Maurier. Here you need to take a ferry across the Helford River. On the other side you could drop into the famous Trebah Gardens, before continuing through to the pretty cove at Swanpool for a coffee or an icecream. Finally, you roll into Falmouth, home to the world’s third largest natural harbour and the National Maritime Museum.
Accommodation: We use a number of guesthouse/B&B's in this lively town.
You start today's cycling with a ferry ride from Falmouth to St. Mawes. It is a remote pleasant little yachting harbour at the end of the Roseland Peninsula, which boasts a clover leaf castle built by Henry VIII in 1542. Today is hilly as you visit various attractive coves on the route, you are cycling across the pretty Roseland Peninsula passing through Veryan (with its round houses) Portloe and Portholland before rolling past Caerhays Castle and beaches. Then cycle along country lanes with some steep hills to the old fishing and smuggling village of Mevagissey.
The hilly route continues to your overnight stop in Charlestown. This attractive old port was used as a location for filming Poldark and Jane Austin’s Persuasion. Usually there is at least one square ridded vessel being worked on in the old dock, which gives the place an old fashion air. There is also a shipwreck museum. Today or tomorrow you could visit the Eden Project, famous in Cornwall it is a biosphere reserve with tropical gardens.
Heading towards the Eden Project, in the old China Clay pits, you avoid the busiest roads, to ascend the quiet lane through Tregrehan Mills to join a rough track that goes to the project. At a junction, if you want you can do an excursion off along the Clay Trails - a landscape well known for its clay tips and pits created by the 250-year-old clay mining industry. This striking and dramatic scenery is visible from distances of many miles. You can ride them, passing the Eden Project and then into the beautiful UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’ valley before the pretty village of Luxulyan. Then onto Bodmin, which has an 18th century gaol where you could break for lunch passing the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, where steam locomotives are still chugging away. Leaving Bodmin, your Cornish Cycle tour ends with a gentle cycle along the Camel Trail. Follow the river towards Padstow and you have now completed this exciting loop of Cornwall.
Accommodation: As per the first night.
Depart Padstow after breakfast.
The hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts on this cycling trip in Cornwall are family-run, clean and comfortable (ranging from 2-4 stars), and provide access to local living thanks to your hosts. The hospitality is generous and their knowledge of Cornwall is invaluable. Where possible, we choose locations that add to your experience.
A connection to Charles Dickens, set in seven acres of beautiful Cornish countryside, overlooking the Camel Estuary, 9 luxury rooms with floor to ceiling glass doors opening out onto a private balcony: the award-winning Pickwick Inn is one of Cornwall's hidden gems.
St George’s Country House Hotel is a 180-year-old former mine captain’s home with walled gardens and panoramic views.
Coombe Farmhouse sits in a secluded valley with sweeping views across the beautiful, unspoilt local farmland.
This traditional, family-run inn is conveniently located close to Penzance’s atmospheric harbour and promenade.
Harbour Inn is a simple yet stylish pub (part of St Austell Brewery) situated in the heart of this quaint fishing village.
Another member of the St Austell Brewery, this is a modern and funky abode set right on Falmouth’s harbourside.
You’ll be resting your head at The Rashleigh Arms, expect stylish and characterful furnishings and a warm welcome.
This program can be booked any day between March 1st and October 20th, subject to availability
The nearest international aiports to fly to are Cornwall Airport Newquay, Bristol, Cardiff - and for longhaul flights London
Getting to/from Padstow
Cornwall Airport Newquay is relatively close to Padstow and it is a 1-hr bus service or 30min taxi ride between both places.
Nearest train station is: Bodmin Parkway - from/to there bus 11 to Padstow
Contact us about the option to hire an e-bike on this trip
GPS tracks are available on request.