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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 16 April, 2023

This superb 360-mile walking route – between Minehead in Somerset and Poole in Dorset, and incorporating the entire coastlines of Cornwall and Devon – takes in some of Britain’s most dramatic and unspoilt coastline: from craggy cliffs to golden beaches, hidden coves to secret caves. Throw in a smattering of heritage – from castles to tin mines, smugglers legends to U-boat bases – and picturesque villages for refuelling, and you’ve got the most outstanding long-distance walk in Britain.

The South West Coast Path website divides the path into shorter and one-day sections. It also offers themed walks aligned to specific interests: heritage, geology, wildlife and culture. The area has a rich smuggling history, leaving a fascinating legacy of tales and legends. Treasure Trails has specially-designed smuggler-themed treasure trails for families to follow that you can download (for a small fee). Several are on the South West Coast Path.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 day - 6 weeks

Getting there & doing it

Most walkers take six to seven weeks to complete the whole route; it’s relatively easy going all the way, the path is well signposted throughout, and there are plenty of quaint villages for dining and overnighting options. There is a luggage transfer service with collection/delivery from/to your accommodation as you go.

You can of course just dip in and dip out; there are literally hundreds of access points and great shorter walks to break it down.

There are some great traditional British pubs (and gastropubs) on or near some of these walks. See the Pub Walks link on the website for listings.

When to do it

Walking is superb all year round. Summer obviously brings the best weather, but also the crowds. Spring and autumn are optimal, but don’t discard winter, with the reward of roaring log fires.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Boskerris Hotel

St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

A beautifully chic, beautifully run boutique hotel outside St Ives, with stunning ocean views. No kids under 16.

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Hotel Tresanton

St Mawes, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Elegant, waterfront family hotel offering quiet sophistication in the yacht-filled harbour town of St Mawes.  A Cornish, if not world, classic.

Official star rating:

Polurrian on the Lizard

Helston, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Cliff-top boutique hotel on the isolated Lizard, on the South West Coast Path and close to glorious beaches – great for families.

Official star rating:

St Moritz Hotel

Trebetherick, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Lovely art deco-inspired boutique in a cracking location between the boating haven of Rock and the surfing hotspot of Polzeath. Great for families.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

A region of craggy cliffs, sheltered creeks, glorious sandy beaches and quintessential villages – rich in local life, pagan legend and delicious, locally-made food and drink.

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