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 mini-break 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.

Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip

In this 3 days Cornwall itinerary, I’ve decided to focus on Southern Cornwall, and 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 days road trip, I’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 I 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, I’d recommend parking at nearby Sennen Cove, which costs £2.50 for 4 hours (noticeably cheaper than 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 1 hour to walk to Land’s End and back).

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 closer to £5 for parking.

Lands End

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 I’m going to suggest you spend your afternoon. 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!

Check out the top dog friendly things to do in Bude now. >> 

Porthcurno Beach

Minack Theatre

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

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 3 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!

Minack Theatre

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, I’d 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. I’d suggest the Cable Station Inn for some simple pub food. 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 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 my 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 cute garden cabin, or this luxury treehouse!

Day 2 – The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Mevagissey

On your second day, I’m going to 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.

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, I’d aim to spend 3-4 hours here. You can even bring your dog!

Day Trips from Newquay - The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Mevagissey

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

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!

Mevagissey Port

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, I’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:

Alternatively, you can browse the full range of Mevagissey hotels and B&Bs on Booking.com >>

Where to stay in Mevagissey

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, I’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, I’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.

Day Trips from Newquay - 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 I 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 I’d highly recommend staying there. It’s a charming riverside town for the utmost in relaxation and peace.

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

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

Where to stay in Lostwithiel

Bonus 5 Days Cornwall Itinerary – St Ives and Tintagel

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

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, I’d recommend turning this 3 days 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.

Conclusion

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

The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip

This post contains a few affiliate links for hotels I personally recommend. If you do decide to book a stay via one of my links, then I’ll earn a small amount of commission at no extra charge to you. This just helps with the running of this site so I can offer more useful advice, tips, inspiration and itineraries like this.

7 thoughts on “The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip

  1. Eniko says:

    This is very helpful, especially about parking facilities! I moved to London 4 years ago from Hungary and really want to visit Cornwall. My boyfriend is British and of course spent many weeks there as a child on holiday. He has fond memories and I think I would also really like it! Looks like you were lucky with the weather as well, gorgeous pictures!

  2. Inge says:

    Awesome road trip! I’m fascinated with things made out of the scenery, so the theater carved into the cliffs is very interesting! Combined with the scenery on this trip, it looks like a great holiday plan!

  3. Kalyn says:

    Cornwall has always been on my list to visit as someone who lives in London, but I just haven’t found the right weekend yet. This has inspired me to book a Friday off and just do it! Thanks for sharing – beautiful pictures. 🙂

  4. Julie says:

    Very informative, helpful, and inspiring post! It truly makes me want to visit Cornwall. I like that you give recommendations on places to eat!

  5. Corinne says:

    Lovely, thorough guide! I love that you highlighted that dogs can visit Lost Gardens of Heligan.

  6. Emma Grace says:

    Whenever I think ‘road trip’ I literally never think about here in the UK. Cornwall looks beautiful! That beach looks just as good as anywhere abroad. You’ve put ideas in my head for my next trip!

  7. leanne says:

    I almost went to cornwall this weekend but then life admin got in the way – yawn! But its still very much on my bucket list

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