Where to stay each night after a day's walking in Cornwall?
July 12, 2011 10:25 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to organize a solo, self-guided walking trip to bits of coastal Cornwall for late August and am having trouble planning a 6- to 8-day itinerary that has me end a day's walk where there's budget accommodation like hostels/backpackers/campsites.

I've been poring over OS maps of the area and know, roughly, where I'd like to go - somewhere along the stretch of coast between Newquay and Falmouth (not necessarily contiguously). I'd like to see some of the coves on the Lizard, but beyond that the whole coast looks gorgeous and I'm not too picky about where I actually do the walking.

But the planning of the walking itself - how far each day, where to start and end, etc. - is eluding me, because I can't figure out how to space accommodation, and how that marries up with public transport.

I'm imagining doing about 8-15 miles a day (so, all told, about 50-80 miles), but I'm going to want a rest day or two in there somewhere; and while I'm not an experienced long-distance overnight walker, I have been on a number of medium-distance (15-20 km/9-14 mi) day hikes.

I know this much so far:

1. August 21: get to Newquay or Penzance (from London, probably by bus)
2. [walk, primarily on the coast, maybe with bus/public transport assistance?, for 6-8 days]
3. August 28/29: leave Cornwall, head up to Birmingham, again by bus

A final complication: I need places I can book without sending a cheque in advance as a deposit (!) as I'm in Poland, cheque-less. (Two great campsites I found wouldn't hold my place without a cheque!)

Thanks, hive mind!
posted by mdonley to Travel & Transportation around Cornwall, NY (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You'll be on the South West Coast path, so here's a guide to accommodation on or near it. The drop-down menus will help you find the areas you want to find somewhere to stay..
posted by dowcrag at 2:41 AM on July 13, 2011

Penzance Backpackers for a while, maybe? You could do day walks around the Land's End peninsula, maybe a day in St Ives, get the bus to the Lizard (I've only ever walked as far as Penzance to Marazion. Yes, you can see St Michael's Mount, but otherwise, that bit's not terribly interesting) and either do it as day walks or keep going East.

Given that they have instructions on their contact info page for how to call them from outside the UK, they probably have a system for making reservations from abroad. If you email them and ask, they may well also know of other places that can cope with international bookings for when you want to move on.

Getting a bus from London .... eewww, yuck. But if you can get the £9.00 fare (do they let you get etickets outside the UK? on a card with a foreign billing address? I don't see why they *shouldn't*, but these things don't always make sense) then yeah, it's worth it. If you're buying a ticket on the day of travel, a SuperOffPeak train ticket (only available on some trains) is only £6 more than the bus but three hours shorter.
posted by Lebannen at 3:23 AM on July 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for that link, dowcrag - that's very helpful.

Lebannen: The £9 ticket is the sole reason I'm thinking of doing the bus. But can you get a SuperOffPeak rail ticket on the day of? I didn't see anything about that over at the Seat61 UK page. Maybe I missed it? I'd totally "splurge" and pay the two quid an hour to speed up the trip by three hours!
posted by mdonley at 3:42 AM on July 13, 2011

Sorry, that's £6 more than the full-price bus ticket, not a total of £15. thetrainline.com says SuperOffPeak tickets can be purchased on day of travel, but as far as I know there are a limited number available, so they may sell out before the desired date.
posted by Lebannen at 3:50 AM on July 13, 2011

I've not had a problem buying Super Off Peak from Paddington going west on the day of travel to Bodmin Moor; the problem is the times for trains are very limited (Only valid leaving between 10.15 am and 3pm or after half 7 in the evening, M-F, if I remember correctly? Although you can return any train on weekends as well if you buy the return).
posted by Cuppatea at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2011

A stage suggestion: Stay in Penzance overnight, walk to Marazion so you get a good view of St Michael's mount, then in Marazion pick up First Great Western's no2 bus and go to Porthleven, this will cut out a dull bit, then from Porthleven walk down the west side of the Lizard, staying at the Lizard IYH (you can pick up the no2 in Penzance if not bothered about the beach walk to the mount). This will be a long day so make the next day the short walk to Coverack, which is a nice little town on the east side of the Lizard. I would suggest you dump your pack at the YH and then take a walk to Roskilly's just out of town, they make their own ice cream in multiple flavours as well as their wider, on weekends in the summer they also do big barbecues. The next day another long session, up the east coast of the lizard, make sure you get to Helford in time to get a scheduled boat across the river to Helford Passage, from there it is a nice 5 miles or so into Falmouth where there is this backpacker hostel. From Falmouth you can get the 88 bus or the regular train to Truro. Cost is about the same, train is quicker but if you're looking for the bus station in truro then get the bus from Falmouth, if train station then get train from Falmouth. Alternatively, there's half a very nice walk to Truro, get the ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes and walk up out of the back of the town and walk along the brow of the hill (as opposed to the path along the harbour), you might consider stopping at the church in St Just in Roseland, it has a very attractive church and graveyard. Anyway, continue north until a T junction then turn left for the King Harry Ferry and cross the river. This is the end of the nice walk, the rest is just getting into Truro. if you walk into Playing Place then you will be able to pick up a bus otherwise just keep walking.

or after half 7 in the evening

Bear in mind the last train for Cornwall leaves Paddington at 7.03pm.
posted by biffa at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2011

oops, wider = cider above.
posted by biffa at 3:14 PM on July 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the extra info, biffa!
posted by mdonley at 7:06 AM on July 26, 2011

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