All About The Lizard & Lizard Point, UK
The Lizard (Lizard Village) is a Cornish community filled with mermaid shops and quaint inns. It is also the gateway to Lizard Point, a rocky peninsula at the southernmost tip of mainland Britain where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel. The region is home to stunning land- and seascapes that are crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails. Read our Lizard Point guide for information on services available and things to do in The Lizard, Cornwall UK.
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WHY IS IT CALLED “LIZARD” POINT
The name “Lizard” is derived from the Old Cornish dialect. In Old Cornish, the word “Lys” means courtroom or fortress, and the word “Ardh” means height or high place. Thus, “Lysardh,” or Lizard, would mean high courtroom, or fortress on a high place (appropriate for the region’s cliffs). The name is not thought to have any connection to reptiles, dragons, or other scaley beings.
LIZARD POINT GEOGRAPHY
The geography of Lizard Point is oft studied by geologists. Lizard Village and Lizard Point exist upon a plateau called the Lizard Peninsula. The peninsula is surrounded on three sides by the ocean, and on one side by the Helford River. The peninsula is an ophiolite, meaning it is a piece of the ocean floor that was lifted onto the continental plate. This occurred between 400-500 million years ago.
The origins of the Lizard Peninsula resulted in Serpentinite rock formations and other unusual topography, plants, and wild life. The plateau where Lizard Village sits is surrounded by rolling farmland. Lizard point is characterized by dramatic cliffs and jagged rock formations along the Atlantic Coast. These rocky promenades extend into the sea.
LIZARD POINT HISTORY
The sea has played a prominent role in the history of Lizard Point and Lizard Village. With its southern location, Lizard Point was a starting point for many ocean voyages. It was also notorious for the number of ships that were destroyed by rocks under the sea. At Lizard Point, visitors can view relics of this history at the Lizard Lighthouse and abandoned Lizard Lifeboat Station in Polpeor Cove.
At one time, the mining of tin and copper was prominent in the region. The PBS series Poldark was filmed in this area. Lizard Point was also the location where Guglielmo Marconi performed many of his pioneering wireless experiments which lead to the birth of the radio transmission.
Today, England’s National Trust owns and preserves much of Lizard Point and the surrounding territory. The trust (along with other charitable organizations) maintains the Lizard Lighthouse, Lizard Point, the Marconi Wireless Station, and the spectacular South West Coast Path that links these historical sites.
IS IT WORTH VISITING LIZARD POINT
The Lizard will hold your attention if you are a fan of fishing villages, independent art galleries, fresh seafood, and country markets. Lizard Point will appeal to you if you love to walk along wind-blown cliffs, or if you enjoy ferreting out secluded beaches.
The Lizard Peninsula has been recognized as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). In addition, the surrounding ocean has been designated as a Marine Conservation Zone rich in biodiversity.
The Lizard Peninsula’s unusual geography, interesting history, excellent hiking, gorgeous landscapes, and well-maintained roads make it worth visiting. Moreover, the area’s multitude of restaurants serving regional fare, shops with locally made wares, and family-run lodging – all offered in a low-key, low-cost, uncommercialized setting – only adds to its appeal.
LIZARD POINT PARKING
The National Trust Lizard Point maintains several fee-for-parking lots in the area. Visitors will find a large parking lot by the town square in Lizard Village. In addition, there are public car parks at the Lizard Lighthouse and at Lizard Point (follow the signs from the town square).
LIZARD POINT MAP
HOW TO GET TO LIZARD POINT
Falmouth is the largest town near the Lizard Peninsula. Most visitors will arrive in Lizard Point by car or bus from the Falmouth area. The fastest route from Falmouth to The Lizard is about 42 minutes (23.5 miles or 38 km) via Highway A394 and A3083. By bus, travelers would ride from Falmouth to Helston and take the Lizard bus route 34 to Lizard Point.
THE LIZARD HOTELS
The Top House Inn: Lizard Village. Traditional pub with rooms. Close to village restaurants, shops, Lizard Lighthouse, Lizard Point, and South West Coast Path.
Housel Bay Hotel: Housel Bay Road. Classic Victorian Hotel. Adjacent to the South West Coast Path with a short to Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, and the fishing village of Cadgwith.
Penmenner House: Lizard Village. Penmenner Road. Bed and Breakfast.
THE LIZARD RESTAURANTS
Polpeor Café: On Lizard Point. Baked good, café fare, and small plates. Views. Dine in and take out.
Wavecrest: On Lizard Point. Lunch and Supper. Views. Dine in or Take out.
Smuggler’s Fish and Chips: Lizard Village. Seafood restaurant. Take out.
Lizard Shellfish: Lizard Village. Seafood restaurant. Dine in or Take out.
Ann’s Pasties and Bar: Lizard Village. (The Square). Pasties, ale, and café fare. Dine in or take out.
The Regent Café: Lizard Village. (The Square) Café fare. Breakfast, lunch, and supper. Dine in or take out.
SHOPS AT THE LIZARD CORNWALL
Little Trenowyth Gift Shop: Lizard Village
The Lizard Fudge Shop: Lizard Village. Ice Cream and Candy Shop
Velvyn’s Boutique and Gift Shop: Lizard Village – on the square.
Mermaid’s Secret: Lizard Village, 1 Kynance Terrace. Jewelry and crafts.
Tregullas Farm Stand: Lizard Village. Groceries, baked goods, Cornish Cream Tea
Roskilly’s Ice Cream: On Lizard Point. Ice cream regular and vegan.
LIZARD POINT THINGS TO DO
Walk the stunning South West Coast Path along the Cornwall UK coast. Enjoy trekking alongside the dramatic cliffs, fields of flowers, and Serpentinite rock formations. Read our article, Lizard Point Coastal Walk, for more information.
Explore the beaches of the Lizard Peninsula. Along the Lizard Point coast there are sandy and pebbly beaches, beaches for sunbathers, and beaches that are hidden among the cliffs until low tide. Check out some of these well-known beaches: Kynance Cove, Church Cove, Poldhu Beach, Kennack Sands, Housel Bay, and Polpeor Cove.
Bike the world-famous landscapes of the Lizard Peninsula. Cyclists can pedal through miles of farmland, heaths, moors, and riverbanks on traditional pedal or e-bikes. Check out Lizard Bike Hire on the square in The Lizard.
Explore the Lizard Lighthouse. Built to guide ships through the English Channel, a lighthouse has been on this spot since the 1600s. The light helped to warn captains of the rocky coast in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. There are great views of the coast from the lighthouse.
Spot wildlife at the Wildlife Watchpoint on Lizard Point. At the free Wildlife Watchpoint you can borrow binoculars from a volunteer and try to spot a grey seals frolicking on the rocks offshore. Also, look for dolphins, porpoise, sharks, and whales. Open 11-3 April through October.
Hit the water. Lizard Peninsula is surrounded on three sides by water. There are several adventure and watersports companies located on the peninsula. Popular activities include surfing, diving, coasteering, sea kayaking, or sailing.
Lounge for a while at Lizard Point; the southernmost point in mainland Britain. Look out over the horizon and spot ships from around the globe. Wander the small cafes, ice cream shop, and art studio onsite. Then, walk down to Popleor Beach and the old Lizard Lifeboat Station for a looksee.
Visit the Lizard Wireless Station to learn about the work of Guglielmo Marconi. Guglielmo was an electrical engineer whose work on wireless communication helped further radio and telegram transmissions. Many of his experiments were conducted on Lizard Point.
Go birdwatching. Lizard Point is known for its variety of seabirds such as puffins, terns, oystercatchers, whimbrels, and gannets. Rare Cornish Chough (featured on the Cornish coat of arms and once thought to be extinct) are also regularly spotted up and down the coast.
Spend an afternoon getting to know The Lizard (Lizard Village). Shop the many small craft, jewelry, and textile shops. Indulge in some fudge and freshly made scones at a café on the square. Walk the village’s stone streets and see the brightly colored Cornish homes. Before you depart, mail a postcard from The Lizard Post Office.
Don’t leave without trying a cup of Cornish cream tea, Laura and Randy
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