The South West Coast Path: Map, Baggage Transfer and More!

By Natascha Langelaan

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The South West Coast Path: Map, Baggage Transfer and More!
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The South West Coast Path is the longest marked walking route in England. This route has been named England's best walking route twice, and for a good reason. After all, you'll be hiking through some of the most dramatic landscapes in England. The route is 630 miles long, which is equivalent to 1,014 kilometers, and leads you from Minehead to South Haven Point through fishing villages, mountain passes, valleys, and busy seaside towns. During this hike, you'll even have the opportunity to see dolphins, seals, and whales! In this post, you'll find everything you need to know to hike the South West Coast Path, including tips on the route, distances, accommodation, and more!

The South West Coast Path is a great hiking adventure. The route is divided into 8 one-week sections and runs from Minehead to South Haven Point. This allows you some time to cover the entire distance of the South West Coast. The walk is suitable for everyone, but keep in mind that you'll be walking an average of 18 kilometers, which will take you about 5 hours. If you don't have enough vacation days for the whole route, you can also choose one of the most beautiful sections. Which one? We will help you with that. Let's go!

Origins of the South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is the longest footpath in Britain. It follows the entire coast of southwest England. It is an ancient walking route, which was once used by coastguards patrolling the coast, looking for smugglers coming into England from France. The route was also used by fishermen who kept an eye on the sea from land. From the South West Coast Path, they could see the fish that they wanted to catch. The route is maintained by the South West Coast Path Association. They keep the coastal path safe, accessible, and well signposted.

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Distance: How Long Is the South West Coast Path?

England's Longest Distance Walking Route is the South West Coast Path and runs from Minehead to South Haven Point. The route is 630 miles long, which is equal to 1014 kilometers. To give you a good idea of what to expect, we've divided the route into 8-week sections. Further on in the blog, we have explained the (in our opinion) most beautiful week of the South West Coast Path. If you have two months to spare, your itinerary would look something like this:

Week 1 - from Minehead to Westward Ho!

Yes, that exclamation mark is part of the name. In week one, you'll hike from Minehead to Westward Ho! in seven days, a 140-kilometer walk. This week, you'll pass through the rugged landscape of Exmoor National Park, as well as the surfing beach of Woolacombe.

Week 2 - from Westward Ho! to Padstow

In the second week, you'll hike from Westward Ho! to Padstow in seven days, a walk of 126 kilometers. This week is considered by many to be the toughest, but one of the most spectacular weeks of the walk. You will pass several cliffs and valleys.

Week 3 - from Padstow to St. Ives (Highlight!)

In your third week, you'll hike from Padstow to St. Ives in six days, a 107-kilometer walk. You'll walk westwards, passing rugged cliffs and surf beaches and valleys.

Week 4 - from St. Ives to The Lizard (Highlight!)

In week four, you'll hike from St. Ives to The Lizard in six days, a 112-kilometer hike. This week is considered by many to be the most spectacular week of the entire hike. During this week, you'll pass towering cliffs, valleys and subtropical beaches. This week is in more detail further on in this blog.

Week 5 - from The Lizard to Par

In week five, you walk in six days from The Lizard to Par, a hike of 116 kilometers. In this week you pass picturesque fishing villages and intimate coves.

Week 6 - from Par to Torcross

In week six, you'll hike from Par to Torcross in seven days, a hike of 152 kilometers. During this week, the estates stand out. You will also pass by softer landscapes and the historic port of Plymouth.

Week 7 - from Torcross to Seaton

In week seven, you'll hike from Torcross to Seaton in six days, a walk of 116 kilometers. This walk will take you mainly past farms and seaside towns.

Week 8 - from Seaton to South Haven Point

In the final week, you'll hike from Seaton to South Haven Point in seven days, a 148-kilometer walk. The route takes you past the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Week three and four of the above outline are the most spectacular walks and so they are highlighted further. The walk from week three runs from Padstow to St. Ives and is 66 miles, which is equal to 107 kilometers. The walk is divided into two options: Six and four days and you are taken past cliffs, valleys and beautiful beaches. An outline of this route you can find further below in this blog post.

The walk from week four runs from St. Ives to The Lizard and is 69 miles, which is equal to 112 kilometers. The walk is divided into six days and takes you past towering cliffs, rugged landscapes, subtropical beaches, granite boulders, and beautiful flora and fauna. Again, an outline of this route you can find further below in this blog post.

Distance: How Long Is the South West Coast Path?

Did you know that we can book all overnight accommodation for the South West Coast Path for you? Check out all our options here.

Weather and Best Season

The South West Coast Path is best walked between March and October, but July and August are very busy with tourists. Southwest England has the mildest and sunniest climate in the United Kingdom, as a result of its oceanic setting and the influence of the Gulf Stream. Despite that, there can still be days when it rains a lot, after all, it still is England. Between March and October the maximum temperature is between 10 and 19 degrees, the minimum temperature between 4 and 13 degrees. In the months May, June and July the sun shines the most, and there is the least rainfall.

South West Coast Path Map

The Komoot app is a handy app when planning your hiking vacations. Below you can find a map with an overview of all the stages of this hike.

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the South West Coast Path with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

South West Coast Path: Padstow - St. Ives Route

There are 2 parts of The South West Coast Path that are the most beautiful. One of them is divided into 6 stages, starting in Padstow and ending in St. Ives. This part can also be walked in 4 stages, you will then walk from Padstow to Portreath.

Day
1

Arrival in Padstow

Today you will have to make your way to Padstow. Here, you will spend the night preparing for your South West Coast Path adventure.

The London Inn (Padstow)

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The London Inn (Padstow)
Day
2

Padstow to Porthcothan

Duration: 06:05 h
Distance: 22.6 km
Ascent: 290 m
Descent: 240 m
This section of The South West Coast Path offers a day of easy walking along low cliffs, with beautiful, tempting beaches below. The path leaves the attractive town of Padstow behind and leads you out to the Atlantic Coast. The path can become narrow in places and is quite rocky around Constantine Bay.

Macdonald's Farm (Porthcothan)

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Macdonald's Farm (Porthcothan)
Day
3

Porthcothan to Newquay

Duration: 04:44 h
Distance: 17.3 km
Ascent: 260 m
Descent: 280 m
This stretch of coast, with its vicious rocks and wild seas, was once particularly hazardous for ships and responsible for many wrecks before the lighthouse was built at Trevose Head. The South West Coast Path leads you in and out of little coves and headlands with generally fairly easy walking, with some steep steps to climb in places. If you feel like a picnic break and the tide is out, you may be tempted to take the long flight of steps down to explore the stacks as well as the many pools and caves on the beach.

The Beresford Hotel (Newquay)

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The Beresford Hotel (Newquay)
Day
4

Newquay to Perranporth

Duration: 05:27 h
Distance: 20.2 km
Ascent: 260 m
Descent: 280 m
After leaving Newquay harbour, keeping a lookout for the Kittiwake colony on the cliffs out to Towan Head, the path crosses the famous Fistral Beach. The route across the River Gannel varies depending on the season, tide and weather conditions and therefore you will need to plan ahead. Either way there is plenty to see, including beautiful salt marsh plants and many species of wading birds enjoying the worms and crabs.

Atlantic View Hotel (Perranporth)

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Atlantic View Hotel (Perranporth)
Day
5

Perranporth to Portreath

Duration: 05:36 h
Distance: 19.7 km
Ascent: 400 m
Descent: 400 m
Leave the bustling seaside resort of Perranporth behind as the path passes through an ancient coastal mining district following rugged cliff tops. The mines along this stretch are home to bats, including the rare Greater Horseshoe bat. Not only do you pass many remnants of the mining industry, but you will also see some fascinating geology along the way, especially around Cligga Head.

Portreath Arms (Portreath)

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Portreath Arms (Portreath)
Day
6

Portreath to Hayle

Duration: 05:14 h
Distance: 19.6 km
Ascent: 210 m
Descent: 220 m
After leaving Portreath The South West Coast Path follows the cliffs with some beautiful views of rocky coves, such as the wonderfully named Ralph’s Cupboard, apparently a favoured smugglers spot for stashing loot. After just a couple of steep climbs, the path soon levels and walking becomes fairly straightforward. As you follow the sheer cliffs, surrounded by brightly coloured spring and summertime flowers, such as blue sheep’s bit, primroses and yellow rattle, look down to the contrastingly raw, jagged reefs below.

The Cornubia Inn (Hayle)

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The Cornubia Inn (Hayle)
Day
7

Hayle to St. Ives

Duration: 02:40 h
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 110 m
Descent: 90 m
The route from Britain’s oldest swing bridge leads you along roads following the Hayle Estuary. You are able to take small detours in places in order to reach the muddy flats which are home to many different species of birdlife. Hayle was once the most important industrial port in Cornwall and a centre of copper mining and smelting. The South West Coast Path also follows part of the ancient pilgrim route called St Michael’s Way which led pilgrims across Cornwall from Lelant to Marazion, near Penzance, where they would then travel on to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

The St. Ives Bay Hotel (St. Ives)

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The St. Ives Bay Hotel (St. Ives)
Day
8

Departure

After breakfast, our services and your South West Coast Path adventure will be over. Have a safe trip back home!
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South West Coast Path: St. Ives - The Lizard Route

The most beautiful part of the South West Coast Path is divided into 6 stages starting in St. Ives and ending in The Lizard.

Day
1

Arrival in St. Ives

Today you will have to make your way to St. Ives Here, you will spend the night preparing for your South West Coast Path adventure.

The St. Ives Bay Hotel (St. Ives)

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The St. Ives Bay Hotel (St. Ives)
Day
2

St. Ives to Pendeen

Duration: 07:55 h
Distance: 28.7 km
Ascent: 520 m
Descent: 420 m
This is one of the toughest sections of the entire route, partly due to the rocky and sometimes boggy ground. As a result, the walk is going slower than expected, but the views make up for everything. During this day you'll be doing a lot of climbing, while passing towering cliffs in beautiful bays.

The Commercial (St. Just - Pendeen)

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The Commercial (St. Just - Pendeen)
Day
3

Pendeen to Sennen Cove

Duration: 03:17 h
Distance: 11.9 km
Ascent: 170 m
Descent: 270 m
Today is a slightly easier walking day, with the exception of a small section at Aire Point, where you have to climb over a rocky point. The coastal path leads you past the shining lighthouse at Pendeen to the breathtaking beach at Sennen Cove. As you approach Whitsand Bay, it's time for a picnic with a spectacular view. Here you can spot seals while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The Old Success Inn (Sennen Cove)

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The Old Success Inn (Sennen Cove)
Day
4

Sennen Cove to Lamorna

Duration: 05:56 h
Distance: 21.4 km
Ascent: 400 m
Descent: 370 m
Today is a fairly exhausting day, especially on the last part. Just before you approach Lamorna, the trail leads you through granite rocks. Once you get past the Land's End complex, you can enjoy the fantastic views over the ocean to the Scilly Isles.

Lamorna Pottery (Lamorna)

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Lamorna Pottery (Lamorna)
Day
5

Lamorna to Marazion

Duration: 04:06 h
Distance: 15.8 km
Ascent: 80 m
Descent: 130 m
This walking day, you'll start in the subtropical bay of Lamorna and the path leads you through a protected nature reserve. You walk through the fishing harbor Mousehole, which is known for its small harbor and narrow streets with granite houses. Then the path leads you towards the old town of Marazion, where the sight of St. Michael's Mount dominates.

Rosario Bed & Breakfast (Marazion)

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Rosario Bed & Breakfast (Marazion)
Day
6

Marazion to Porthleven

Duration: 04:51 h
Distance: 17.8 km
Ascent: 270 m
Descent: 270 m
Today the trail leads you through a protected nature area and offers fantastic views of Mount's Bay. You'll pass tempting beaches and rugged landscapes.

Harbour Inn (Porthleven)

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Harbour Inn (Porthleven)
Day
7

Porthleven to The Lizard

Duration: 06:43 h
Distance: 24.3 km
Ascent: 440 m
Descent: 390 m
The last day of the walk is exceptionally beautiful. The trail starts out fairly flat, but soon narrows with some ups and downs. The Lizard peninsula can be seen from a distance, particularly through the banks of yellow-flowered Hottentot figs.

Haelarcher Farmhouse and Helicopter B&B (Lizard)

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Haelarcher Farmhouse and Helicopter B&B (Lizard)
Day
8

Departure

After breakfast, our services and your South West Coast Path adventure will be over. Have a safe trip back home!
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South West Coast Path Accommodation

On the South West Coast Path, you can either spend the night in a cozy hotel or in a typical English B&B, where you will receive a warm welcome and a typical English breakfast. You can also choose to camp. Camping is only allowed on campsites and designated areas, so wild camping is not possible.

South West Coast Path Accommodation

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your accommodation and luggage transport, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your South West Coast Path, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

Luggage Transport on the South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is a very popular trek and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Thanks to this popularity, there is always a possibility to have your luggage transported. Your suitcase will be picked up from your hotel each morning and it will be ready for you at your next hotel at the end of the day.

Walk the South West Coast Path: Starting and Ending Point

The South West Coast Path begins in Padstow or St. Ives and ends in Portreath, St. Ives or The Lizard. The path is traditionally walked counterclockwise, so you'll be less affected by the wind.

Starting point

To get to Padstow or St. Ives, you first have to travel to London, Bristol or Newquay, either by public transport or by plane. Once in one of these three cities, you can travel to Padstow or St. Ives by train or bus. The fastest and cheapest option is the train from Newquay, this trip takes just over 3 hours. From London, the journey takes 5 to 7 hours. You can also drive to Padstow or St. Ives by car and pick it up after the hike.

Ending point

The South West Coast Path ends in Portreath, St. Ives or The Lizard. The way back to Newquay is quite easy, there is a direct bus that takes over 3 hours. The train to London takes over 5 hours and the direct train to Bristol takes over 7 hours. In case you came by car, a bus trip from over 3 hours will bring you back to Padstow or St. Ives. There are also possibilities to take a taxi cab.

Walk the South West Coast Path: Starting and Ending Point

Packing List for the South West Coast Path

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Safety tips for the South West Coast Path

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The South West Coast Path is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the South West Coast Path. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of South West Coast Path and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the South West Coast Path.

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where Can I Book the South West Coast Path?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided South West Coast Path and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations, organizing luggage transportation and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the South West Coast Path not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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