How to Spend a 4-5 Day Vacation in St. Agnes, Cornwall

This charming village located on the northern coast of Cornwall is an IDEAL destination for discovering the county.

St. Agnes offers everything you desire for a Cornwall vacation. It boasts a picturesque beach, a wild and untamed coastline, and an incredibly charming village filled with historic cottages, art galleries, and unique boutiques.

Additionally, you can explore the nearby St. Agnes Heritage Coast, which is perfect for scenic cliff hikes, surfing, discovering hidden coves, and observing wildlife. And don’t forget the numerous stunning beaches in the area; there are plenty to enjoy!

I recently enjoyed an amazing 4-day stay in St. Agnes, residing in a gorgeous holiday cottage provided by Classic Cottages. While I spent a significant amount of time exploring the village, I also made it a point to venture out and discover more of Cornwall. Whether you’re planning a 4-night getaway like I did, or even a longer stay, there are numerous nearby destinations to explore.

St. Agnes is a sizable village located along the northern coast of Cornwall, approximately 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Newquay. It is a well-liked tourist destination celebrated for its sheltered beach, rugged Heritage Coast, and nearby surfing spots.

Furthermore, the surrounding area is one of the 12 segments within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the St. Agnes Heritage Coast holds the status of a designated protected area, providing a habitat for numerous wildlife species.

St. Agnes is also situated at the heart of Cornwall’s mining world heritage site. Tin and copper mining activities were carried out here until the 1920s, and the remains of old mining structures can be observed on various hilltops around the town. Cornwall’s last operational tin mine can also be found within a short walk from St. Agnes!

Day One: Discover St. Agnes

Dedicate your initial day to exploring the St. Agnes village. Take a trip to the beach for a swim or engage in rockpooling when the tide is low.

In the heart of the village, you’ll discover numerous charming cafes, independent stores offering locally crafted items, and a variety of small art galleries. It’s a delightful experience to meander through the steep and narrow streets, seeking out hidden treasures and picturesque cottages.

Additionally, there’s a delightful cliffside trail that you can embark on from the beach, leading around to St. Agnes Head and circling back inland over St. Agnes Beacon. The Beacon is a prominent hill that overlooks the village, offering breathtaking coastal vistas.

It’s also an excellent location to catch the sunset, making it an ideal choice for a wonderful evening stroll once you’ve arrived and settled in St. Agnes!

If you’re not in the mood to prepare your own meal on the first night, you can opt for a delicious takeaway pizza from the Cornish Pizza Company in St. Agnes (their handmade pizzas are fantastic) or explore one of the numerous restaurants in town.

Surprisingly, there is a considerable selection of pubs, restaurants, and dining establishments for what seems like a relatively small village! While I didn’t have a meal there, the Taphouse appeared to be fantastic, and Driftwood Spars comes highly recommended!

Day Two: St. Agnes Coastal Hike

For me, any Cornwall vacation revolves around cliffside hikes, and St. Agnes offers some incredible ones!

I embarked on a walk from St. Agnes to Perranporth, the neighboring town renowned for its stunning white sand beach. The hike takes approximately 1.5 hours along the cliffs, offering breathtaking vistas throughout the journey.

On your way, you’ll also come across the Blue Hills Tin Mine, the last operational tin production facility in Cornwall. If you have the time, consider stopping by the Visitor Centre for a self-guided tour to delve deeper into the history of mining and smelting. Cornish tin has been mined here since 2000 BC, and the St. Agnes area is renowned for its tin production, making it a worthwhile visit while you have the opportunity!

Don’t forget to bring your swimwear, as Perranporth Beach is a stunning spot to take a refreshing dip! If you’re in need of lunch, you’ll find several fish and chip shops, as well as a delightful beachside cafe right on the sand.

From Perranporth, I continued my walk all the way to Holywell, which took another approximately 2 hours. I then took the bus back. This portion of the hike involves traversing the sand dunes behind the beach, followed by a path along the cliffs at Penhale Point, leading to a small rocky peninsula at Holywell.

The South West Coast Path extends along the entire northern coast of Cornwall. It is well-marked and straightforward to navigate, with numerous helpful walking guides available on their website. This allows you to choose a section near St. Agnes that matches your hiking ability.

Day Three: Explore the Lizard Peninsula on a Road Trip

Desiring to explore beyond the immediate vicinity of St. Agnes and experience more of Cornwall, I ventured to the southern coast on my third day. In fact, I went as far south as possible!

Lizard Point stands as the southernmost point of mainland Britain, extending from the Lizard Peninsula, an exceptionally beautiful and surprisingly tranquil region in western Cornwall. What’s more, it’s less than an hour’s drive from St. Agnes, making it an ideal and convenient day trip.

You can turn it into a mini road trip by first making a stop in the coastal town of Falmouth before heading to the Lizard Peninsula to explore some of its beaches and scenic spots. For instance, you can visit the following places:

  • Lizard Point – the southernmost point in Britain.
  • Kynance Cove – a picturesque beach nestled in a rocky cove.
  • Roskilly Farm – a working dairy farm and the home of the renowned Cornish ice cream.
  • Kennack Sands – two beaches celebrated for their distinctive rock formations and caves.
  • Trebah Garden – featuring subtropical gardens.
  • Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

Alternatively, the hike from Lizard Point to Kynance Cove and back is an absolutely stunning one. Kynance Cove is among the most photographed locations in Cornwall, and as you ascend to the cliffs overlooking it, you’ll instantly understand why!

Day Four: Cycle the Camel Trail to Padstow

Renowned for its charming harbor and Rick Stein’s fish and chips, Padstow is a must-visit destination when exploring the north coast of Cornwall. Plus, it’s just a 40-minute drive from St. Agnes, making it a convenient addition to your vacation plans.

Devote a day to cycling the Camel Trail to Padstow. This delightful cycling route traces the course of the River Camel, spanning from Wenford Bridge to Padstow, passing through Bodmin and Wadebridge. It’s constructed along a former railway line, making it mostly flat and ideal for a leisurely bike ride, with the occasional disused station platform adding to the charm!

I rented a bike from Camel Trail Cycle Hire in Wadebridge (adult bike £16 for the day), and they were fantastic! They provided high-quality bikes and had incredibly helpful and friendly staff. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them!

Following that, I cycled up to Padstow and grabbed some fish and chips from Rick Stein’s for lunch. The fish shop was quite crowded around lunchtime, but the wait was definitely worth it for my chili fish burger!

Afterward, I cycled the entire route from Padstow to Bodmin, made a pit stop for ice cream at one of the trailside cafes, and then cycled back to Wadebridge.

In retrospect, this route may seem a bit unconventional since Wadebridge is the midpoint. For a more extended bike ride, it’s likely more practical to rent a bike in Bodmin, cycle to Padstow, and return from there.

The stretch between Bodmin and Wadebridge primarily passes through woodlands, offering a serene and picturesque environment. In contrast, the segment between Wadebridge and Padstow is more open, providing views of the Camel Estuary.

During my vacation in St. Agnes, I lodged in a magnificent self-catering holiday cottage provided by Classic Cottages. Classic Cottages offers a selection of over 700 cottages spread throughout Cornwall, including many delightful options in St. Agnes.

Classic Cottages exclusively accepts properties that meet their stringent quality criteria. This means you won’t have to sift through numerous subpar listings, questioning the authenticity of reviews. Since each Classic Cottages property is meticulously selected and routinely inspected, you can make your booking with confidence.

Opting for self-catering cottages is an excellent choice for a holiday in St. Agnes, particularly given the limited number of hotels in the village. Holiday cottages also offer a more home-like atmosphere, complete with useful amenities, such as access to a washing machine for your convenience after a day at the beach!

Getting to St. Agnes – and Navigating Cornwall

By Car: Driving is typically the most convenient means of reaching St. Agnes, especially if you plan to bring your own vehicle for your vacation, provided that traffic conditions are favorable.

If you have the time, consider taking the scenic A39, known as the “Atlantic Highway,” which runs along the northern coast. It may be a bit slower if you’re traveling from London, but it’s often less congested than the busy A30, and the route offers a delightful drive.

When driving, it’s advisable to follow your satellite navigation system (satnav) to St. Agnes, as it will provide real-time updates to avoid traffic.

By Train: You can take a train to Truro . From Truro, it’s a 20-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute bus journey to St. Agnes.

By Bus: Another option is to take a bus to Truro and transfer there for a route to St. Agnes. However, the bus ride from London takes approximately 7.5 hours, making it a less preferred choice.

By Air: If you’re arriving in Cornwall by air, the nearest airport is Newquay Airport. From there, it’s a 35-minute drive to St. Agnes. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Newquay Airport to St. Agnes, which takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and involves one transfer.

The most convenient mode of transportation in Cornwall is by car. If you’re not bringing your own vehicle, you can typically rent one in most major towns. The nearest location to rent a car in St. Agnes is in Truro.

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