Planes, Trains and Automobiles
March 12, 2019
Five ways to explore Cornwall’s coastline, from its beaches and estuaries to its paradise islands…
Freewheel through woodland valleys, hop aboard one of the UK’s most scenic railways or see the coastline from the perspective of the seabirds – there are plenty of ways to soak up Cornwall’s sublime scenery. These are some of our favourites:
Skybus to the Isles of Scilly
Gliding at cloud level, looking out to the five main islands and 140 uninhabited islands and islets that make up the Isles of Scilly, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were arriving at a Caribbean archipelago. Travelling in a small 8- or 19-seater plane is all part of the adventure of reaching these paradise islands, especially if you’re used to the likes of a Boeing 747. The bird’s eye view of the Cornish coastline surpasses the inflight entertainment of regular air travel, and within 20-30 minutes you’re swooping onto the island of St. Mary’s, just like one of the many seabirds that far outnumber residents in this magical destination.
Stay at one of our holiday lets in Watergate Bay or Mawgan Porth and you’re minutes’ away from Newquay Airport, where you can catch a flight to the Isles of Scilly.
The Train to St Ives
Bag a window seat on one of the UK’s most scenic railway journeys, and gaze out to the eye-popping scenery that lured so many artists to St Ives and its surrounds. Hugging the banks of the Hayle estuary and the coastline, during the 15-minute journey you’ll be mesmerised by the scenery – from bobbing boats and beautiful beaches, to seabirds and surfers. Once you disembark above the white sands of Porthminster Beach there’s plenty of time to take a stroll around the island to spot dolphins, visit the world-famous Tate St Ives gallery and dine in a Michelin-star restaurant, before the return journey.
Stay at one of our Beach Retreats in Portreath and it’s just 20 minutes’ drive to Lelant Saltings Park & Ride, where trains depart to St Ives every 30mins (peak times).
Cruise along the Atlantic Highway
Join the convoy of V-Dubs with boards strapped to their roofs and hit the Atlantic Highway from Bude to Newquay. Snaking along the coast between pumping surf spots, foodie meccas and rugged beaches, make plenty of pit-stops to surf-check from wave-hewn headlands, explore the remains of Iron Age castles and dine in harbour-side hamlets such as Padstow and Port Isaac. Once you reach Newquay don a wetsuit and hit the waves before watching the sunset over the Atlantic with a locally brewed tipple in hand.
Stay in Bude or Whitsand Bay and follow the Atlantic Highway (A39) to the surfy hub of Newquay.
The ferry from Cawsand to Plymouth
Slip seamlessly from beach life to city life aboard the passenger ferry from Cawsand to Plymouth. One minute you can be hunting for crabs and critters in the rock pools of a smugglers’ cove; the next you can be aboard The Western Maid, sailing towards the vibrant waterfront Barbican. After a twirl around Plymouth’s shops, iconic maritime landmarks and culinary hotspots, you’ll be ready for the 30-minute boat cruise back to barefoot beach life at Cawsand and Kingsand.
Stay in Whitsand Bay or in Cawsand itself and it’s a 10-minute drive to Cawsand, where you can catch the ferry to Plymouth (Easter until October).
Cycle the Camel Trail
Trace Cornwall’s watery landscape inland as you follow 18-miles of disused railway along the banks of the Camel Estuary to the flanks of Bodmin Moor. Starting from Padstow, the Camel Trail is an easy-going cycle route that takes you to the market town of Wadebridge, on past the famous Camel Valley Vineyard and through fairy-tale woodland all the way to Bodmin Moor. Whether you complete the route or simply pedal your way to Wadebrige and back, you’ll build up a hearty appetite, ready to fuel up in one of Cornwall’s finest foodie outlets when you get back to Padstow.
Stay at our Beach Retreats in Rock and you can hop on the ferry to Padstow, hire a bike from Padstow Cycle Hire and freewheel along the Camel Trail at your leisure.