A hiking tour along the subtropical south coast of Cornwall with its rugged cliffs, quaint fishing villages and world famous gardens.

A self-guided walking tour
2018 dates: April to mid-October, starting on any day.
Duration: 6 or 8 nights.
Grade: Moderate hiking. The gradients on the well-marked coastal path are in some places steep and strenuous. However most days can be shortened by using buses.
Tour prices: See “Tour prices” below.
Tour code(s): F6 or (with private bathroom throughout) F6E. With 2-night Bodmin Moor extension F8 or F8E.

The Bodmin Moor extension includes prehistoric stone circles and high moorland capped with granite ‘tors’.  The relics of the former copper-mining industry are now a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Tour Map




Images from our Polperro to Mevagissey tour…

  • Mevagissey Harbour
  • Charlestown tall ships
  • Fowey waterfront
Overnight stops:

F6, F6E: Nights 1 & 2 Polperro; 3 & 4 Fowey; 5 & 6 Mevagissey.

F8, F8E: Nights 1 to 6 as F6; nights 7 and 8 Darite (Bodmin Moor).

Accommodation. Specially selected guest houses and ‘B&Bs’. En suite or private bathroom facilities can be guaranteed throughout the tour on payment of a supplement (tour codes F6E, F8E).

Meals included. Breakfast each morning; other meals can be obtained locally without pre-booking. However at Darite (F8) it is advisable to reserve a table for evening meal at the local inn.

Extra nights. These can be included at any point on our tours at the time of booking the holiday. On this tour two nights are already included at each stop.

This tour can be accessed by rail. Start the tour via Liskeard rail station (direct main line trains from London) or Looe rail station (branch line trains from Liskeard), then hourly direct bus from Liskeard or Looe to Polperro. End of F6 tour St Austell rail station (frequent bus from Mevagissey); end of F8 tour Liskeard rail station (taxi from Darite included in tour price).

Rail service. Direct from London Paddington rail station via Reading Station to/from Liskeard (change for local train to Looe) and at end of F6 tour direct train back from St Austell. Journey time from Paddington 4.5 to 5 hours; from Reading Station 30 minutes less. Also direct trains from Bristol and Exeter to/from Liskeard and St Austell.
Airports. From London Heathrow (LHR) airport there is a frequent bus shuttle to Reading Station, where direct Paddington to Cornwall trains stop to pick up passengers. There is also a frequent rail service from London Gatwick (LGW) airport to Reading Station. Bristol airport is served by international flights from continental Europe, and has a frequent shuttle bus service to Bristol Temple Meads rail station for direct trains to Cornwall. Exeter airport is even closer to Cornwall, with frequent direct trains. The closest airport for this tour is Newquay (NQY), with flights from London Gatwick. Taxis can be pre-booked at reasonable rates between Newquay airport and Polperro/Mevagissey/Darite.

Tour prices 2018:

Tour code F6:
6 nights tour, ES or private facilities most nights: £540. SRS*: £120. STS**: £150.

Tour code F6E:
6 nights tour, ES or private facilities every night: £570. SRS*: £150. STS**: £180.

Tour code F8:
8 nights tour, ES or private facilities most nights: £720. SRS*: £160. STS**: £230.

Tour code F8E:
8 nights tour, ES or private facilities every night: £760. SRS*: £200. STS**: £270.

Please read these notes below on pricing:

  • Extra nights £60 per person per night. Single room £80 per person per night.
  • SRS* = single room supplement (applicable when 3 or 5 persons book together).
  • STS** = solo traveller supplement (applicable when booking is for one person only)

Prices quoted are per person on basis of two people in double or twin-bedded rooms. Included in the price are bed and breakfast each night, with baggage transfers, maps and route directions. ‘ES’ (en suite) facilities means that there is a private bathroom with shower or tub and toilet within the main door of your room. ‘Private facilities’ means that the private bathroom may be outside the main door of your room. When the booking is made for a party of 3 or 5 customers, a single room supplement is payable. When the booking is made for a single traveller, a solo traveller supplement is payable. Note: normally a maximum of 1 single room per booking.

In 1939 Oscar Kokoschka painted a series of studies of Polperro and the narrow rock-girt entrance to its tiny crowded harbour. Almost 80 years later the fishing village is still as picturesque as ever. Extending for miles both east and west of the harbour entrance is a line of lofty cliffs, along which runs the South West Coast Path (a well marked National Trail). After exploring the sheltered estuary (tidal river) of the River Looe, our self-guided hiking route follows the dramatic and uninhabited coastline westwards from Polperro to the next well-hidden inlet where we catch the little passenger ferry from Polruan across to Fowey. Fowey, clinging to the steep banks of the beautiful estuary of the same name, is an ancient port town retaining fortifications from the time of Henry VIII; its narrow streets and quaint pubs are fascinating to explore. We also describe walks through the dense natural woodland along the estuary and along the well marked Saints’ Way hiking trail. Just west of Fowey, at Menabilly, is the former home of the novelist Daphne du Maurier; her celebrated novels Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel were both set here. The coastal path continues round the panoramic headland of Gribbin Head to Tywardreath, where du Maurier set her time-travel fantasy The House on the Strand. Kaolin (china clay) is extracted from the granite mass of St Austell and exported in bulk from the docks at Par, but this short industrial interval is soon behind you and the coast reverts to an unspoilt and natural wilderness for the strenuous hike between Charlestown and Mevagissey. En route is the important coastal nature reserve of Ropehaven Cliffs. Mevagissey’s fishing harbour is wider and if anything even prettier than that of Polperro, and here there are usually fewer day trippers. An hour or so’s walk (or a short bus ride) inland from Mevagissey are the celebrated and award-winning Lost Gardens of Heligan (open daily – www.heligan.com). Also accessible via an easy day excursion from Mevagissey or from Fowey is the world-famous Eden Project garden (www.edenproject.com). Another option for a day from Mevagissey is to continue along the spectacular coast path via Gorran Haven (excellent sandy beach) to the next panoramic headland, the Dodman.

Routefinding is generally easy on this tour, as the coastal path is a well marked national trail. Gradients can be steep with repeated short ascents and descents. On a short section west of Polperro where the coast path is rather narrow and exposed we describe an alternative inland route in case of bad weather. An attractive feature of hiking on this coast is the number of pubs and beach cafes encountered along the way.

Bodmin Moor extension (2 nights). Stop off on your way back from Mevagissey for 2 nights in comfortable farm-house accommodation with private bathroom at Darite on the edge of the beautiful granite upland of Bodmin Moor! Pick-up and drop-off at Liskeard main line rail station included, or discounted price if you arrive in your own car. An amazing landscape contrast after the south coast! Maps and route notes included, also transfer on Day 2 of the extension to the remote village of Altarnun (setting of much of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Jamaica Inn) from where you can walk back across the moor to Darite.

Bodmin Moor extension (2 nights). Stop off on your way back from Mevagissey for 2 nights in comfortable farm-house accommodation with private bathroom at Darite on the edge of the beautiful granite upland of Bodmin Moor! Pick-up and drop-off at Liskeard main line rail station included, or discounted price if you arrive in your own car.

Bodmin Moor offers an amazing landscape contrast to the south coast! The area round the villages of Darite and Minions is now part of the Cornish Mining Unesco World Heritage Site – see the Caradon Mining District page on the Cornish Mining World Heritage website. A visitor centre at Minions explains the history. Also within easy walking distance of Darite and Minions are the precariously balanced natural rock formation called the Cheesewring, the massive dolmen (neolithic tomb) of Trethevy Quoit and the group of neolithic stone circles known as ‘The Hurlers’.

Maps and route notes are included, also transfer on Day 2 of the extension to the remote village of Altarnun (setting of much of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Jamaica Inn) from where you can walk back across the moor to Darite. En route you can take in several ‘tors’ (rocky summits and pinnacles of granite projecting above the rolling surface of the moor). Fox Tor, Kilmar Tor and Sharp Tor each offers magnificent all-round views.

For more information on our Bodmin Moor extension see the factsheet FSF.

To add the Bodmin Moor extension to the Polperro to Mevagissey tour (F6) book tour code F8.

More images of this tour…

  • Lantic Bay
  • Trethevy Quoit
How to Book

Hiking Tour Enquiries

Request our detailed factsheet for this tour - code FSF - to find out more about daily walking distances, places of interest to visit and more!

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Other hiking tours in Cornwall


Discerning Traveller offers 2 other walking tours in Cornwall:


Lands End & St Ives

A moderate 5-night or 7-night hiking tour taking in magnificent coastal scenery, prehistoric monuments and picturesque fishing harbours. The numerous evocative relics of the former tin-mining industry are now included in a UNESCO World Heritage site. The artists’ mecca of St Ives has its own branch of London’s Tate Gallery.

St Ives

Padstow & Tintagel Coast

From Padstow, known for its fish restaurants and surfing beaches, this energetic tour follows the rugged north coast of Cornwall to the legendary island fortress of King Arthur at Tintagel and the rock-girt harbour of Boscastle. A 2-night extension takes you across the granite upland of Bodmin Moor to Jamaica Inn and the Minions stone circles.

Padstow Main Street

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