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Winter walks and cosy pubs in Cornwall

Nowhere does bracing winter walks and cosy pubs quite like Cornwall — nothing beats sinking into a fireside armchair with a local ale after time spent battling the elements on the Cornish coast. If you’re looking for walking inspiration this winter, here’s a round-up of some of our favourite coastal stomps, all of which have a welcoming pub to duck into somewhere along the route.

West Cornwall

The walk: The Zennor Circular
The pub: The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor

Starting from Zennor on a rugged stretch of the Penwith Peninsula just south of St Ives, this exhilarating coastal walk follows the path past several coves (sub-zero dip, anyone?), including the sheltered Veor Cove and pretty Treen Cove, where you’ll spot the iconic remains of an engine house and a mediaeval chapel. From here, follow the path inland to The Gurnard’s Head — the sort of fine old country inn every weather-beaten hiker hopes to find. The circular route is completed on the ancient paths of the Zennor Churchway, which bring you back to the village.

The walk: Mousehole to Lamorna Cove
The pub: The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

An easy walk following the coast path from Mousehole harbour to the lovely cove at Lamorna, this route hugs the sea the entire way, giving you fabulous ocean views and plenty of opportunities to dip down into little coves along the path. Lamorna Cove is a quiet, sheltered spot with a clutch of fishermen’s cottages and a little cafe. On your return to Mousehole, head straight to the laid-back Old Coastguard Hotel, a dog and family-friendly place set in a beautiful spot in one of south Cornwall’s prettiest harbours.

The walk: The Penzance to Newlyn Circular
The pub: The Mexico Inn, Penzance

No walking boots needed for this wheelchair and buggy-friendly route, which follows the old harbour from Penzance to neighbouring Newlyn, a thriving fishing port in south Cornwall’s West Penwith peninsula with galleries, delis and independent boutiques to browse. The walk returns through the subtropical Morab House gardens in Penzance where exotic plants from all over the world were brought here in the 19th cen and thrived in the warm climate. The Mexico Inn in the heart of Penzance is a perfect finishing point with its great food and local Cornish ales.

South Cornwall

The walk: The Pandora Inn Circular
The Pub: The Pandora Inn, Mylor Bridge

Cornish walking holidays Gwithian South West Coast Path

Starting in Mylor Bridge, this three-and-a-half-mile walk follows fields, lanes and pretty creekside paths towards Restronguet Creek, one of the tributaries of the Carrick Roads just north of Falmouth. Here you’ll find the wonderful Pandora Inn, a 13th-century thatched pub sitting right on the water and the perfect place to tuck yourself in to a cosy nook and feast on delicious local fare. Leaving the pub, the route follows a narrow wooded path, fields and country lanes before arriving back at Mylor Bridge.

The walk: Helford and Frenchman’s Creek
The pub: Shipwrights Arms, Helford

Pub near Helford River cottages by Forever Cornwall

This walk begins in the creekside village of Helford, once a thriving trade port and surrounded by ancient woodland, deep valleys and hidden creeks. The route follows the valley to a tiny 20th-century chapel before descending to Frenchman’s Creek, the inspiration and location of Daphne du Maurier’s romantic novel. From here, you’ll follow the path along the length of the creek to Withan Quay on the other side before reaching Kestle (meaning ‘castle’ in Cornish) where you’ll find refreshments, an art gallery and gardens to wander. Loop through the valley back to Helford for a well-deserved stop at the cosy Shipwrights Arms on the banks of the river for delicious, seasonal grub.

The walk: Cadgwith to the Lizard
The pub: The Cadgwith Inn, the Lizard Peninsula

Cadgwith, The Lizard Peninsula

Visit this wonderful, wind-swept stretch of coastline on the seven-mile circular walk from Cadgwith Cove to Lizard. Starting in the village, a stony track leads you to the Devil’s Frying Pan, so-named because the water within the cave resembles an egg in a frying pan during rough weather. The steep slope brings you to the mainland’s most southerly spot, Lizard Point, surrounded by shallow reefs, before the route turns inland and brings you back to the start. Once back in Cadgwith, head straight to the characterful Cadgwith Cove Inn, a stone’s throw from the beach, for Cornish ales, great pub grub, and sea shanties on Friday evenings.

North Cornwall

The walk: Port Gaverne to Barrett’s Zawn
The Pub: The Port Gaverne Restaurant and Hotel

Up the ante a little with this six-mile heart-thumper from Port Isaac via Port Gaverne and then along the coast to Cartway Cove. The route hugs the coast along Bounds Cliff to the deep ravine at Ranie Point and on to Barrett’s Zawn, where you get some spectacular views across the beautiful valley that drops to the gorgeous, craggy cove below (access is by sea only). The return stretch follows the valley inland to the farm at Hendra and returns to Port Gaverne along the lane. Once back, refuel at the welcoming Port Gaverne Hotel and Restaurant, just off the beach.

The walk: The West Pentire Circular
The pub: Bowgie Inn, Crantock

The Gem Crantock View Evening

This short two-mile walk visits two beaches — Porth Joke and Crantock, both of which are dog-friendly year-round — and the village of Crantock, a place of saints and sinners, with two holy wells to its name. Midway, the route descends to Cubert Common and follows the valley down to the beach at Polly Joke (also known as Porth Joke). From here the route follows the coast and crosses the top of the headland where there are lovely views. Return to Crantock and stop in at the historic Bowgie Inn. Come back and do the route again in June when the fields are bursting with poppies and corn marigolds.

Looking for more winter inspiration? Check out our latest seasonal things to do in Cornwall