Cornwall England Road Trip
Our Cornwall England road trip will take you from Falmouth’s picturesque harbor to the stunning seascapes of Lizard Point. Acclaimed for its rugged countryside and sandy beaches, Cornwall is an English county with Celtic roots. Explore this historic region in one day on a self-guided driving tour of Cornwall UK.
Our one-day Cornwall England road trip is driven in a loop. The trip begins in Falmouth with a look at the deepest natural harbor in Europe. Next, motor past verdant farms and historic mining communities until reaching the tiny fishing village of Durgan. Then, on to Lizard Point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel. Finally, visit the charming surfing community of Porthleven before returning to Falmouth.
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Where is Cornwall England?
Cornwall England is a peninsula shaped land mass on England’s southwestern tip. The region includes moorlands, gently rolling pastures, and a rocky coastline that features dramatic cliffs and hidden beaches. Cornwall is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and west. Devon county is on the east, and the English Channel is to the south.
What is Cornwall famous for?
Cornwall is famous for its sandy beaches (over 300!) and hikes along the stunning South West Coast Path. The area is also recognized for its ancient Cornish culture, including its Celtic language, history, and castles. Cornwall is notably the birthplace of the much enjoyed Cornish pasty (a pastry case filled with meat and cheese) and Cornish cream tea. But perhaps, Cornwall UK is most celebrated for is stunning coastal scenery as viewers of the PBS series Poldark and Doc Martin can attest (both were filmed in Cornwall).
With its southwestern orientation Cornwall England has a warmer climate than other parts of Britain. However, the county is bordered on three sides by the ocean. Rain and wind are frequent, particularly in the fall and winter. December and January are the coldest, wettest months (mid-40’F). July and August are the warmest, sunniest months (mid-60’F).
Best time to visit Cornwall
Spring and Fall: The best time to visit Cornwall is spring and fall when its cultural and historical sites are open and crowds are medium. This time of year is great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and road tripping.
Summer: Summer is a good time to visit Cornwall if you are a beachgoer or boater. (Crowds are thickest.)
Winter: Winter is a good time to visit Cornwall if you are a surfer and like large swells. (Crowds are lightest.)
Cornwall England Road Trip - Map
Self-Guided Falmouth to Lizard Point Driving Loop
Our self-guided Cornwall England road trip begins and ends in Falmouth UK. We recommend renting a car for this road trip as public transportation can be fragmented in the region. The roads are generally well-signed and maintained, and rental cars are plentiful making this option the most economical and efficient means of transport.
As outlined, the route is 53.4 miles (86km) and 2 hour 10 mins of driving (straight through). We estimate the road trip will take 6-8 hours to complete including driving, and stopping 60 to 90 minutes at each of the four stops along the route.
Begin your day with an exploration of Falmouth Harbor. The Falmouth docks are deep-water docks on the largest natural harbor in Europe. Park in car park by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Then, walk Grove and Church Streets to the Falmouth Prince of Wales Pier. Along the way, discover the marinas, bakeries, pubs, and shops that call this area home. Attractions in the area include the Maritime Museum and nearby Pendennis Castle.
Route Falmouth to Durgan
From the National Maritime Museum (Discovery Quay), head to Melville Rd/A39 to Bickland Water Road. Then, take Maenporth Rd into Durgan Village.
Durgan UK is a small fishing village on the Helford River. The hamlet consists of some 17 buildings that are part of the National Trust. Walk the quiet lanes of the traditional, thatch-roofed Cornish cottages. Relax on the beach and take in the scenery of the lovely cove. Attractions in the area include Glendurgan Gardens and Trebah Gardens.
Route Durgan to Lizard Point
From Durgan take B3293 to A3083 to The Square/The Green in Lizard Village, Helston. Park on the square.
Lizard Point is a coastal headland at the southernmost tip of England. The area is famous for its sheer cliffs, hidden coves, lighthouses, and ship wrecks. Park the car in Lizard Village (aka “The Lizard”). Explore the eateries, gift shops, farm stands, and neighborhoods of the charming and walkable village.
Then, drive to the Lizard Lighthouse and walk to Lizard Point. Explore the quaint shops and old Lizard Lifeboat Station. Hike a bit in either direction on the brilliant South West Coast Path. Enjoy the views and look for dolphins, seals, and whales in the surf.
Route Lizard Point to Porthleven
From the Lizard Point car park continue on A3083 toward Porthleven. Continue straight until reaching Harbour Road and Porthleven Harbour.
The final planned stop of the day will be at the lively village of Porthleven which is known for its fishing and surfing communities. Unlike Durgan UK, Porthleven is a bustling harbor town full of interesting craft stores, galleries, and fine dining restaurants - with a surf shop or two sprinkled in.
Shop for gifts, then buy a warm Cornish pasty at a local bakery and find a spot overlooking the harbor where you can watch the surfers offshore negotiate the enormous Atlantic swells.
Route Porthleven to Falmouth
From Porthleven, take Harbour Road to the B3304. Follow to The Furry/A394 in Helston. When you reach the roundabout, take the second exit onto The Furry/A394. Look for Godolphin Road and B3297 to A394. Follow A394 and A39 to Avenue Road in Falmouth.
Hope you tried at least one cup of the Cornish cream tea, Laura and Randy
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