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The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip

The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip

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Have you got 3 days to spend in Cornwall and are looking for the perfect Cornwall road trip itinerary? Look no further!

Cornwall is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, with plenty of sandy beaches, leafy woodlands and interesting landmarks.

For Brits, it’s the ultimate staycation or weekend getaway destination. And for overseas visitors, it’s often high on the agenda for those who know a little more about the UK outside of London.

3 Days in Cornwall Itinerary: Epic Road Trip

In this 3 days in Cornwall itinerary, we’ve decided to focus on southern Cornwall. We want to show you the absolute best of what the West Country has to offer.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Day 1 – Land’s End, Porthcurno and Minack Theatre

Your first day (and before) will likely be spent driving into Cornwall.

Depending on where you’re starting your road trip, it will obviously take different lengths of time. This itinerary assumes that you’ve already made it to the outskirts of Cornwall by this point, so do bear that in mind.

For a 3 day Cornwall road trip, we’d recommend heading straight to the very end of Cornwall and then spend the next few days slowly making your way back up.

This is why we recommend starting at Land’s End (quite literally, the end of the country).

Land’s End

Land’s End is the UK’s most south-westerly point and is one of the most well-known landmarks in the country.

There are spectacular coastal views here, as well as traditional funfair attractions and games.

If you’ve got time, we’d recommend parking at nearby Sennen Cove, which is noticeably cheaper than parking at Land’s End itself.

Parking at Sennen Cove also means you can make use of the popular coastal path to help stretch your legs (taking about an hour to walk to Land’s End).

However, if you’d prefer to spend less time here and just see Land’s End, then you can park at the attraction itself, although you will be required to pay more for parking.

Porthcurno

Heading in a south east direction from either Sennen Cove or Land’s End, your next stop should be Porthcurno, which is about 15 minutes away by car.

Porthcurno Beach is where we’re going to suggest you spend your afternoon.

Porthcurno Beach

It’s a lovely sandy beach with beautiful turquoise water perfect for dipping your toes in. As it’s the UK, swimming might be out of the question unless you’ve packed your wetsuit!

Please note: There is a seasonal dog ban in place throughout the summer months. Sorry pups!

If you’re travelling with dogs, Bude in north Cornwall offers some great dog friendly beaches you can choose from though!

Minack Theatre

Overlooking Porthcurno Beach and the ocean is the Minack Theatre, which is an incredible open air theatre set right into the cliffs.

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

After spending the afternoon at the beach, there’s nothing better than spending the evening catching a show!

For popular shows (and peak times), you’ll need to book your tickets in advance — at least three months ahead in order to secure the best prices.

You’re welcome to bring food and drink with you to a theatre show, but space is quite limited where you sit, so you’ll need to bring it in something that doesn’t take up too much space.

A picnic basket, for instance, is NOT a good idea!

Also, as the seats are carved into the cliffs, you can expect that they’re not very comfortable. You’re essentially sitting on stone. So bring a cushion! Otherwise, you can hire out cushions at the theatre for £1 each.

Additionally, many shows go ahead come rain or shine, providing it is safe to do so.

So you’re recommended to bring blankets, coats and multiple layers. Even in summer, it can get quite nippy by the coast, especially once the sun sets.

But all this aside, a trip to Minack Theatre is guaranteed to provide you with an unforgettable evening.

Maybe you’ll even see a clear sky and bright full moon like we did the last time we went?

Day 1 – Where to Eat in South Cornwall

On your first day, we recommend taking a picnic with you to Land’s End.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a simple picnic while looking out across the sea. It’s also pretty romantic if you’re road tripping with your partner!

Either that, or you could eat a traditional Cornish pasty, which are on sale at Land’s End.

For dinner, you have a few options.

You could eat fish ‘n’ chips, which is a must when visiting the seaside in Britain. Or you could simply hold out for your Minack Theatre picnic… or have both (you’re on holiday after all)!

Day 1 – Where to Stay in Porthcurno

Where to stay in Porthcurno

If you’ve decided to follow this 3 days in Cornwall itinerary, then it’s recommended you stay in or around Porthcurno.

It’ll be quite late into the evening that you’ll be coming out of your show at the Minack Theatre (likely 10-11pm), so you won’t want to have to drive too far to get some rest.

Here are our recommendations of where to stay in Porthcurno:

  • Tater-du Stunning self-catered holiday home with sea views
  • Porthcurno Bay View Another stunning self-catered holiday home with log burner and large freestanding bath

However, if more unique properties are your thing, then there are also some great options on Airbnb that you can try, such as this charming apartment, or this luxury treehouse!

Penzance is also only around a 30 minute drive from Porthcurno, so you might also like the look of this unique shipping container!

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Find more places to stay in Porthcurno >>

Day 2 – The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Mevagissey

On your second day, we recommend that you head to The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the fishing port of Mevagissey.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan have a fascinating history and are beautiful to see today. This is easily one of Cornwall’s top hidden gems!

Lost Gardens of Heligan

The original gardens date back as far as 1766, but what’s really fascinating is that the gardens became neglected during the First World War.

It wasn’t until 1990 that the gardens were discovered again, prompting a full-scale renovation project spanning an entire decade.

Today, you can see that the gardens have been lovingly restored, but there is still an air of mystery when you visit thanks to unusual stone statues, overgrown spaces and an area of the garden aptly named ‘The Jungle’.

To truly enjoy your visit without rushing, aim to spend 3-4 hours here. You can even bring your dog!

Mevagissey

Mevagissey is somewhere that is certainly lesser known in Cornwall, but is a charming and very traditional Cornish fishing village.

Mevagissey Port

It’s a great place to while away a couple of hours watching the boats and eating traditional fish ‘n’ chips – a must when by the seaside in Britain!

If you wanted, you can even hop on a fishing tour to see how the fish are caught!

Day 2 – Where to Eat in South Cornwall

The Lost Gardens of Heligan has a kitchen and bakery on-site, which offers some delicious lunchtime options such as sandwiches, pies, quiches, and salads.

For dinner, we’d recommend scouting out fresh fish in Mevagissey itself. After all, locally caught fish is their speciality!

Salamander and The Fish Grill & More are definitely the best options within the town.

You will need to book overhead for Salamander, whereas The Fish Grill is handy if you just want to grab a takeaway and sit overlooking the harbour – just watch out for pesky seagulls!

Day 2 – Where to Stay in Mevagissey

Personally, nothing could make this itinerary better than sleeping in Mevagissey itself for a traditional Cornish experience.

Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Mevagissey:

Or… if you’re after a more unique stay, don’t forget to check out Airbnb. Here are a few cool places we’ve found:

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Or check out this guide for more places to stay in Cornwall >>>

Day 3 – Eden Project

On your third and final day in this south cornwall road trip itinerary, you shouldn’t leave Cornwall without exploring everything that the Eden Project has to offer.

As you can easily spend upwards of 4 hours here, we’d recommend devoting your whole last day just for this attraction.

Eden Project

One of the most popular attractions in Cornwall is the Eden Project.

It’s essentially several dome-shaped biomes containing thousands upon thousands of different plants, flowers and foliage.

Even if you don’t have a single green finger in your body, if you simply love looking at beautiful flowers and walking through nature, then you’ll love what the Eden Project has to offer.

You can even climb some steps to see one of the biomes from above – perfect for the more adventurous among you.

When visiting, we’d highly recommend wearing thin layers and carrying plenty of water with you.

It gets incredibly hot, humid and rainforest-like inside the Eden Project, so you’ll want to be able to strip off a little bit, and drink plenty of water during your walk around.

You may also want to tie up long hair as it can end up sticking to the back of your neck otherwise.

Eden Project

Day 3 – Where to Eat Near the Eden Project

There are several cafes and eateries within the Eden Project park itself, such as the Med Terrace Restaurant, Eden Kitchen and Eden Coffee House.

However, if you’d rather eat off-site and explore a little more of Cornwall in the process, then we can highly recommend either The Kings Arms in the stunning Luxulyan Valley, or Sams On The Beach at Polkerris.

Day 3 – Where to Stay in Lostwithiel

There are lots of small towns and villages around the Eden Project that you can book a stay in.

But if you don’t mind a short drive from the Eden Project to the town of Lostwithiel, then we’d suggest staying there.

It’s a charming riverside town for the utmost in relaxation and peace.

Here are some of our recommendations for where to stay in Lostwithiel:

Alternatively, you can browse the full range of Lostwithiel hotels and holiday homes here >>>

And if you’re looking for unique Airbnbs, we love the look of this cosy shepherd’s hut, this apartment in an old railway building, this cosy cottage, and finally, this quirky treehouse at a gin distillery (gin tasting included, of course)!

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Bonus 5 Days Cornwall Itinerary – St Ives and Tintagel

If you have an extra couple of days to spare in Cornwall, then we’d also highly recommend visiting both St Ives and Tintagel if you’re able to.

Tintagel, Cornwall

St Ives is a charming seaside town, offering lots of beautiful sandy beaches, a bustling harbour and picturesque views, while Tintagel and its castle are famous for being the supposed home of King Arthur.

If you can spare the time, we’d recommend turning this 3 days in Cornwall itinerary into 5 days by chilling out in St Ives on your first day and visiting Tintagel during your final day before heading home.

Is this Cornwall itinerary not quite what you were after? We also offer custom travel planning services!

Our Final Thoughts

We hope you find this Cornwall road trip itinerary useful! We absolutely adore Cornwall, choosing to holiday there once every couple of years and we hope you enjoy your time there too.

Just remember to make the most of the beautiful beaches, coastal walks, cream teas and fresh fish – all of these are a must when in Cornwall.

Looking for more Cornwall travel tips and inspiration? Check out our other blogs:

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Need help planning your trip to Cornwall? We also offer custom travel planning services!

The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip
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