If you’re looking for the best walks on the Lizard, I’ve put together my favourite hiking trails from the southernmost part of Cornwall in this blog post!
Cornwall’s Lizard delivers when it comes to nature, rugged beaches, dramatic cliffs and a welcoming rural atmosphere.
Here, you’ll find the ever-popular Kynance Cove along with lesser-known beaches like Poldhu and Cadgwith Cove, fields with wildflowers and the furthest south point of the UK, Lizard Point.
There’s even the chance to spot dolphins and seals in the waters and plenty of birdlife (although sightings of the Cornish Chough, the region’s native bird, are very rare these days).
But what about the best Lizard walks?
You’ll find numerous walks to choose from on the Lizard peninsula, ranging from easy strolls along beaches to more challenging hikes across rugged terrain.
One of the most popular walks is the Kynance Cove to Lizard Point walk, which takes in some of the most spectacular scenery on the peninsula.
Along the way, hikers can admire the turquoise waters of Kynance Cove, try to spot rare wildflowers, and take in panoramic views of the coast, before arriving at the southernmost point of the UK!
Other popular walks in the area include the Gunwalloe Coves circular walk, which takes in the wrecks of treasure ships and the underground tunnels used by smugglers, and the vivacious Helford River which provides a refreshing change from the coastline.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, the Lizard Peninsula has something to offer everyone.
Top Walks on the Lizard
Spectacular views await you in the walker’s paradise of the Lizard Peninsula, with stunning coastal scenery, nature reserves, and picturesque fishing villages. This is West Cornwall at its best!
Here are some of the best short walks to explore the area:
Kynance Cove to Lizard Point
Probably the only part of the Lizard that could be called tourist-trodden, Kynance Cove made the headlines in 2021 for being so busy it had to turn people away.
This was in the staycation summer when everyone and their dog was going to Cornwall (as border restrictions meant we couldn’t go overseas), but even in normal summers, Kynance Cove does get extremely busy.
It’s easy to see why – with serpentine rock formations, white sand and bright blue water, surrounded on all sides by towering cliffs, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall.
The Kynance Cove to Lizard Point walk is one of the most popular on the Lizard, but as soon as you walk away from Kynance Cove and embark on the South West Coast Path (SWCP) trail toward Lizard Point, you’ll notice the number of tourists significantly diminishing.
The walk begins at Kynance Cove and follows the SWCP to Lizard Point, the most southerly point of mainland Britain (Land’s End is the furthest southwesterly point), passing by the Lizard Lighthouse and the old lifeboat station at Polpeor Cove.
We continued on the path at Lizard Point because we were hiking the whole route, but from here you can cut into Lizard Village (where there are pubs and cafes for refreshments) and then follow the Lizard’s heathland to reach Kynance Cove.
The walk is approximately 4.4 miles/ 7.1 kilometres long and takes around 2-3 hours to complete.
If you’re spending any time at Kynance Cove, be aware of tide times – at certain points, the beach can become blocked off.
Coverack to Lizard Village
One of the longer coastal walks in this article, this 11 mile hike takes in the pretty fishing village of Coverack, one of the best places for paddleboarding in Cornwall.
Leaving Coverack, it traverses up and down a fairly undulating section of remote path which is largely unserviced, leading through sheltered coves and across headlands.
You’ll eventually bypass Cadgwith Cove; this is one of my favourite places in Cornwall, with tranquil fishing boats bobbing on the calm waters and an old-timely village atmosphere always in the air.
There’s a steep climb to get out of Cadgwith, before passing the Devil’s Frying Pan, then continuing through fields and along the coastline.
The hike eventually passes by the picturesque Housel Bay before culminating in Lizard Point.
If you’re doing this walk as a standalone day hike, it might be best to park in Helston and take the bus from the town to Coverack, then take the return bus back at the end of the day.
The Loe circular walk
Stepping away from the coastline (it’s a Lizard highlight, but there’s plenty of nature inland too!), this walk takes you around Loe Pool, the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall.
You can leave your car at the National Trust car park at Penrose and hike through the woodland of Penrose estate until you reach the edge of the lake.
Then, follow the lake in a circular direction until you reach Loe Bar, the beach where you can take in both the lake and the sea.
This is one of Cornwall’s quietest dog-friendly beaches, but be mindful of the sea here – neither humans nor dogs should swim as there are strong currents and choppy waters out to sea!
If you want to extend your walk, you can also hike into Helston, the largest town in the area.
Church Cove, Lizard Point and Kynance Cove circular
Probably the best way to see the tip of the Lizard is by this circular walk.
Beginning at Lizard Village, from here you can head eastwards to Church Cove (not to be confused with the nearby Gunwalloe Church Cove), before taking the South West Coast Path to Lizard Point.
From the Lizard, follow the SWCP to Kynance Cove, before taking inland routes to get back to the village.
If you want to cut your route short (it’s about 10 kilometres or 6 miles in total), you can do so when you get to Lizard Point.
Gunwalloe Coves circular walk
History lovers, this one’s for you!
The Gunwalloe Church Cove circular walk is a beautiful and scenic walk that takes you around Gunwalloe and Loe Bar on the west side of the Lizard.
It bypasses Poldark filming locations, smuggler’s coves and sites where treasure has been washed up on the beach!
Starting at Loe Bar, the walk traverses to Gunwalloe Church Cove and Dollar Cove, where dollar coins have washed ashore after a ship was wrecked in the nearby sea.
From there, you will summit up Halzephron cliffs, where you can take in a scenic vista of Mount’s Bay, and return via the Hazlephron Inn (stop for a pint if you wish!) which dates back to 1468 and has many a smuggling tale to offer!
This walk at around 5.3 miles or 8.5 kilometres long and has moderate steepness.
Porthleven to Loe Bar
The Porthleven to Loe Bar walk is at the northwestern point of the Lizard Peninsula.
The walk starts in the town of Porthleven, one of the most popular holiday spots in this part of Cornwall, and travels along the South West Coast Path towards Loe Bar, a stunning beach that separates Loe Pool from the sea.
It’s a flat, easy walk, first along the harbour wall and then following the coastline past Porthleven Beach.
It’s around half an hour to Loe Bar on flat terrain; from here you can either walk back or combine it with a walk around Loe Pool and into Helston, before taking a bus back to Porthleven.
Porthallow to Coverack
This seven-mile hike follows the eastern side of the Lizard, leaving the small shingle beach of Porthallow and ascending over the cliffs, in a southerly direction to Coverack.
Porthallow is actually the mid-point of the South West Coast Path, so it’s a bit of an odyssey for any hikers doing the full 630-mile trail.
This is a fairly challenging route that passes through Porthoustock.
There’s no golden sand here – it isn’t my favourite beach on the Lizard, but is worth stopping at for a picnic!
The walk then continues towards Coverack. In total, it’s about 7 miles long.
Helford River Walk
Spanning along an inland section of the South West Coast Path for around five miles, the Helford River walk is lush, green and serene!
Starting in the village of Helford, this hike takes you along the river towards Frenchman’s Creek, made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name.
The vibrant river has plenty of bird life and interesting plants, and this is a lesser-explored area of Cornwall – so you may well have the path to yourself!
The path is well-maintained and easy to follow, plus it’s fairly flat, making it a great option for families and less experienced walkers.
The walk also takes you past the picturesque village of Manaccan, where you’ll find a church with architecture from the Norman period and a 250-year-old fig tree.
Lizard Coastal Walk
The entire Lizard Coastal Walk is a 40-mile section of the 630-mile South West Coast Path.
Rugged and rural, the Lizard is one of the least populated areas of South West England – making the coastal path one of the most impressive!
Running from Porthleven in the west to Helford in the east, this voyage spans the entire coastline of the Lizard peninsula, visiting every beach, clifftop and valley on the way.
This walk takes most hikers three days to complete (with stops in Lizard and Coverack), but of course, you can take longer to do it, stopping in spots like Cadgwith or Porthallow if you desire!
Most hikers who complete the entire three-day trek will carry all of their kit and either camp or stay in guesthouses along the way, as public transport is limited and you may end up walking further if you need to return to your car!
Parking and Directions
Parking in the Lizard can be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak season.
Kynance Cove car park (run by the National Trust) is a popular starting point for many walks, but it can get busy.
Other options include the car park at Lizard Point and the car park at the Lizard village green.
If you are using a satnav or GPS to navigate to the car park, be aware that the signal can be patchy in some areas of the Lizard, so you might need to download your maps offline.
To do this, you could either use Google offline maps or Maps.Me.
Lizard Peninsula Map
For a more traditional approach to navigation, a map of the Lizard Peninsula can be a useful tool.
The Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (No. 103) covers the entire peninsula and includes detailed topographical information.
It seems quite old-school to have a physical map, but it could prove incredibly useful if you lose or break your phone! I’d recommend picking one up before heading out on the Lizard – you can purchase it on Amazon by clicking here.
Many of the walks on the Lizard are signposted, so keep an eye out for waymarkers along the route.
Where to stay on the Lizard
There are a few accommodation options available on the Lizard Peninsula – but do book early on to ensure the best rates and availability!
If you want to camp, try Cadgwith Camping, which offers pitches with an incredibly clifftop background, warm showers and friendly owners.
Housel Bay Hotel boasts stunning sea views, comfortable rooms, and an on-site restaurant.
The historic Cadgwith Cove Inn encompasses comfortable rooms, traditional pub food, and a cosy atmosphere; every Friday night, local singers come to belt out traditional Cornish songs.
Where to eat on the Lizard
The Cadgwith Cove Inn also serves traditional pub food (I had the best pasta ever there once last year!) and a delicious selection of local beers and ciders.
The Polpeor Café offers a range of snacks and light bites, as well as hot and cold drinks.
The Greenhouse Restaurant, located in St Keverne, is a small eatery serving up a range of locally sourced seafood, veggie and meat dishes in a friendly atmosphere.
The Top House Inn has a range of pub classics and comfort food, as well as a great selection of local beers and ciders. It is now the southernmost pub in the UK, after The Witchball closed in early 2023.
Are you ready to go hiking on the Lizard?
A prime example of the spectacular Cornish coast Lizard Peninsula is a walker’s paradise, offering a wide range of scenic routes that cater to all skill levels.
Whether you have a few hours or a whole day to spare, you can explore the stunning landscapes and breathtaking views that the Lizard has to offer by taking these trails through fishing hamlets and along clifftops.
Whatever Lizard hiking route you choose, you’ll be graced with epic coastal views and get to enjoy heartwarming local culture!