Great British Walks - St Ives to Zennor
The walk along a rocky stretch of South West Coast Path, from St Ives to Zennor, followed by lunch at The Tinner’s Arms and a bus back, is a classic day out. It’s a fairly demanding stretch of the path but well worth the effort.
Follow this guide to plan your walk. We've included details on how long it should take you to complete, where to park, and some places to stop for food and drink along the way.
We've also included a recommendation of where to stay if you're looking to book a pitch nearby and spend more time in this area.
Picture courtesy shorty25/stock.adobe.com
This Cornwall walk follows the South West Coast Path along rocky cliffs and is officially one of Britain’s most popular hikes, being voted 24th in an ITV poll to find Britain’s Favourite Walk. From the busy town of St Ives to the historic village of Zennor, the route takes you along some challenging but stunning coastline.
It’s a six-mile walk but progress might be slower than you’d expect due to the terrain. There’s no need to rush, though, just as long as you make it to The Tinner’s Arms in time for lunchtime. There’s the option of walking back, too, which would make it a 12-mile circular route. Although you won’t need any great technical skills to negotiate the walk (basically keep the sea to your right and you’ll be fine!), you will need to be fairly fit as there are several sections that will require some real physical effort. Good walking boots are a must and if bad weather is expected, you might want to consider postponing to another day.
From the car park in St Ives, head west past Porthmeor Beach and the Tate gallery onto the coast path. The first section is a fairly gentle walk towards Clodgy Point but it gets tough fairly quickly, with lots of descents and steep climbs. Most of the path is decent but there is some scrambling required on some sections of the path. Unlike most of the South West Coast Path, there’s a real sense of remoteness here, although the wild and rugged landscape makes up for it. There’s fantastic coastal scenery to enjoy the whole way; with beautiful beaches, delightful coves and dramatic cliffs.
When you reach Zennor Head, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you leave the coast and head into the village. After a bracing three or four-hour trek, your reward is lunch at the 700-year-old Tinner’s Arms in Zennor. In the cosy bar you’ll find a mix of locals, tourists and walkers and on a warm, sunny day you can recharge in the garden, where there are magnificent views over the Atlantic coastline.
There’s a bus back to St Ives from Zennor in the afternoon or if you linger too long in the pub and miss the last bus, you could take a taxi instead for around £13. Of course, if you feel up to it, you could walk back… the return route takes you across country and is less demanding than the coastal path.
Once back in St Ives you can enjoy all that this popular destination has to offer – from galleries and exhibitions to traditional pubs and smart restaurants.
Picture courtesy Edward Samuel/stock.adobe.com
PLAN YOUR WALK
Route St Ives to Zennor along the South West Coast Path
Distance 6 miles
Time 3.5 hours
Terrain Coastal path, rugged in places
Parking Trenwith car park (full day £8). Car parks in St Ives get full quickly in main season so an early start is essential
The Church of Saint Senara in Zennor, which dates partly from the Norman period and the 13th and 15th centuries, features a tombstone with an inscription for a “hen-pecked husband”.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Tinner’s Arms, Zennor
Sloop Inn, St Ives
Where To Stay
ST IVES BAY
The holiday park is set in sand dunes leading down to three miles of sandy beach and surrounded by acres of open dune land. The campsite offers a wide choice of accommodation including caravans, chalets and four-bedroom houses. It also has camping and touring pitches with excellent facilities and electric hook-ups. There are a total of five toilet blocks on the park which have toilets, showers, washing and dishwashing facilities.
Private beach access, surf school, shop, 2 bars, bistro
73 Loggans Rd, Upton Towans TR27 5BH
OPEN 14 APRIL - 27 SEPTEMBER
Price from £10 per day camping. Units from £180 per week.
EAT & DRINK
Two bars one with bistro food.
• St Ives Bay is located on one of Cornwall’s finest beaches.
• Parking by pitches
• Electric hook ups
• Washing machine facilities
• Wheelchair-friendly facilities
• WiFi available
• Motorhome waste empty point
• Accepts tents, caravans and motorhomes
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Picture courtesy shorty25/stock.adobe.com