Your Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days on the Coast

From fishing harbours to fine-dining restaurants, here's how to spend 72 hours in Kernow

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Coastline in Cornwall

Did you know that behind the smiling faces of Jack Sparrow and the like, smuggling was a very real problem in Cornwall. And while it’s thought many pirates genuinely had a Cornish accent, the way we imagine pirates talking today was cemented in the zeitgeist by actor Robert Newton, who played Long John Silver with a preposterously exaggerated Cornwall accent in 1950.

And if you think we’ve begun this article with too much focus on pirates, then yarrr totally right. But people love pirates (not real ones; they’re scary). Cornwall is packed with some of England’s greatest natural…treasures. Its villages contain colourful fishing harbours and quaint old pubs. The Eden Project brings the rainforest to the British Isles, while the Minack Theatre provides a nice setting to watch a performance against the picturesque backdrop of the sea. It’s a large area and there’s a lot to do, so let us be your guides for your Cornwall itinerary of 3 days.

Day 1

Wake up and take in the fresh, salty air from the window of your Plum Guide Cornwall home to mark the start of your Cornwall itinerary of 3 days. Stretch those weary legs and get on down to the Cornish Coastal Path. Now, it runs for more than 600 miles, so we don’t expect you to complete the whole thing by lunch. At the western tip, you’ll reach St Ives, which is a surfers’ hub. Try to avoid any annoying surfers…or maybe even annoy join them on a hot tepid summer’s day on the water. Back on land, absorb all the culture you possibly can by visiting the Tate St Ives Gallery and wander through the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Stop for lunch at the Lakeside Cabin Café, the Silco Searoom or the Cornish Deli, which provide you with a range of offerings. Well, obviously…that’s what restaurants do. But those three do it particularly well.

Now, take your family on a scenic boat trip to the Seal Island and try to resist the urge to push your little ones in the English Channel. As the name suggests, the island is packed with seals, so you’ll get a chance to get up close and take a look at those fish-dog things.

In the evening, it’s time for some fine St Ives dining, with the Story by the Sea or the Sands Restaurant. Cornwall is one of those places where fish and chips can either be totally exclusive and glamorous or a quick bite. Controversial opinion alert: the only difference is the price. For something cheaper and cheerful(er), try the Balancing Eel. Then, walk along the Porthmeor Beach or Porthminster Beach for sunset, before heading back to your Plum Home to read Treasure Island and rest. You’ve earned it.

Day 2

To start your second day, make your way to the Eden Project, which is like a bunch of big bubbles with their own eco-systems that teach us about all things nature. It’s pretty enormous, actually, and gives you a chance to admire the Earth’s natural diversity all in one place. You lazy so and so. Seriously though, it’s one of the highlights of Cornwall, with its rainforest and Mediterranean sections proving enough to make you forget the drizzle outdoors. Just kidding, England sometimes has great summer weather, and Cornwall is one of the sunniest and warmest parts.

Drive down to the nearby Historic Port of Charlestown and enjoy a meal at the Boathouse Charlestown. There’s a play area for the little ones and, oh look, there’s that Cornish Coastal Path again (which some people are boringly calling the South West Coastal Path). Better get back on it and get a-walking. Not too far along, you’ll reach the Lost Gardens Heligan, which comprises Victorian gardens and a tea room.

On the eastern side of Charlestown lies Edie’s Kitchen, while if you go southwest to Falmouth, you can dine in style at the upmarket Restaurant Four.

Day 3

Time to explore the north-eastern part of the area for the final leg of your Cornwall itinerary of 3 days. Get yourself a sunbathing spot on the Fistral Beach or the Watergate Bay Beach. With its strong waves, it’s (another) surfing hub, while the Blue Reef Aquarium features an underwater tunnel allowing you to feel like you’re walking or swimming with sharks and rays.

The Scarlet Restaurant is a gem that makes for an idyllic lunch destination. Once you’ve filled your gullets, it’s time to return to Cornwall’s famous sandy strands and soak in the sun. The less lazy among you could travel a little east to the Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps to see the rock formations in the sea. In the evening, discuss the arguments amazing memories you’ve made with your family at the exclusive Samphire Restaurant or the Beach View Restaurant, both of which have…views…of the beach.

And while we've got your attention, if you're looking for the best area to stay during your trip, take a look at our guide to where to stay in Cornwall. And if you're travelling in a bigger group, we've also got the lowdown on where to stay with the whole family too.

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