The Lizard Coastal Walk is easily one of the best walks in Cornwall. Starting in Lizard village, you’ll explore the sensational Lizard Peninsula, which includes the famous Kynance Cove and the stunning Housel Bay Beach.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Lizard Coastal Walk and Kynance Cove. After describing the brilliant walk, we’ll cover information about essential things to know before you go and how to get there. Then, we’ll tell you about route alternatives, other things to do in the area and where to stay. Whilst we’re at it, we’ll answer a bunch of FAQs.
Anyway, before you read this guide, feel free to watch our 2 Best Hikes in Cornwall video.
We hope you find this guide helpful. FYI – one of the other great walking routes in Cornwall is the Zennor to St Ives Walk.
Table of Contents
The Lizard Coastal Walk (Lizard Peninsula Walk)
The Lizard Coastal Walk, also known as the Lizard Peninsula Walk and the Lizard Trail, is one of the best coastal walks in Cornwall and in all of England. Certainly, this coastal walk is one of the most impressive sections of the 1,014 km (630 mile) long South West Coast Path.
The South West Coast Path Lizard section visits some almighty natural attractions. Indeed, the Lizard Peninsula is jam-packed with beautiful natural coastal landforms. Of course, it’s Kynance Cove that gets all the plaudits. But, other parts of the Lizard Peninsula explored during the walk, such as Pentreath Beach and Housel Bay Beach are just as spectacular. Before we describe the trail, let’s look at a map of the coastal walk below.
Lizard Coastal Walk Map (Directions) and Stats
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 11km (7 miles)
- Time: 3–4 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 260m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Lizard, Cornwall
- Map: AllTrails
Lizard Coastal Walk: Highlights and Details
As you can see from the Cornwall coastal path map above, the Lizard Coastal Walk covers lots of excellent coastal attractions. Let’s start with perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Lizard Coastal Walk in Cornwall – Kynance Cove.
Kynance Cove: Cornwall’s and National Trust’s Epic Attraction
Starting in Lizard, you’ll soon swap road walking for a dirt trail, leading you by farmland. After approx. 2km, you’ll reach the stunning coastline of the Lizard Peninsula. At this point, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the breathtaking Kynance Cove. Known as Britain’s best beach, it’s surrounded by awesome sea stacks and an incredibly rugged coast.
Views of Asparagus Island
Before descending to Kynance Cove Beach and Mermaid Pool, take your time to explore the headlands above. From these elevated positions, you’ll enjoy unparalleled views of Asparagus Island. Facing opposite the Lizard Peninsula coastline, Asparagus Island is a small island around 100 metres or so away. Asparagus Island is truly an immense coastal landform.
Explore Caves on the Lizard Coastal Walk Around Kynance Cove Beach (Kynance Bay)
Once you’ve explored the headlands above, it’s time to explore Kynance Cove Beach, AKA Kynance Bay. Be careful as you navigate some steep steps down to the beach. Keep in mind, that exploring Kynance Cove should only be done at low tide. For information on safety when visiting, read here.
If it’s low tide and safe to proceed, you can walk along the shoreline at Kynance Cove Beach. You’ll even be able to explore some of the sea caves, which face opposite the beach.
Kynance Cove Mermaid Pool
The Kynance Cove Mermaid Pool is essentially a small portion of Kynance Bay found just north of the main beach area. Following along the South West Coast Path in a northerly direction, you’ll find a similar-looking shoreline consisting heavily of protruding rocks. Basically, some of these rocks form a small natural rock pool-type structure, which has become known as Kynance Cove Mermaid Pool. As mentioned, it’s only safe to explore this area in low tide and with a low swell. Again, we’ll talk more about safety when visiting later in the guide. Here’s where to find it.
Pentreath Beach: A Beautiful Section of the Lizard Coastal Walk
Once you’ve filled your boots with scoping out the main attraction, it’s time to check out more of the serene Lizard Peninsula. Continuing south on the Lizard Coastal Walk, you’ll soon reach Pentreath Beach. Certainly, Pentreath Beach is one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Personally, Beck and I didn’t stop for a swim as we did this walk in winter. But, in summer, you may want to bring your swimmers and put them to good use once you arrive at Pentreath Beach.
Either way, you’ll soon continue further south along the Lizard Peninsula. In between Pentreath Beach and Lizard Point are some of the best sections of the Lizard Coastal Walk in Cornwall. You’ll tackle some seaside steps, which steer right along the edge of the coast. Beck and I loved speed hiking these sections; getting a great workout with a beautiful natural backdrop – what could be better?
What’s speed hiking? We sometimes do it for a workout whilst exploring nature trails. Find out more about it here.
After bending around Old Lizard Head and passing through National Trust’s Pistil Meadow, you’ll soon arrive at Lizard Point. If facing the sea, you’ll find Polpeor Cove is the cove immediately to the right of Lizard Point. Similar to other coves along the Lizard Peninsula, Polpeor Cove is another stunning cove to appreciate. Basically, you’ll walk by Polpeor Cove to arrive at Lizard Point, which is the UK mainland’s most southerly point.
Lizard Point in Cornwall: The UK Mainland’s Most Southerly Point
Lizard Point is definitely one of the highlights of the Lizard Coastal Walk in Cornwall. After all, it’s not every day that you visit the most southerly point of mainland UK! After scoping out Lizard Point, you’ll continue the walk further east along the Lizard Peninsula. But first, make sure to check out the Lizard Point Lighthouse.
Lizard Point Lighthouse
Built in 1752, the Lizard Point Lighthouse has helped ships navigate safely for hundreds of years. Certainly, the Lizard Point Lighthouse is one of the major attractions at Lizard Point. Basically, you’ll walk around the outer parameter of Lizard Point Lighthouse, continuing in a northerly direction towards Housel Bay Beach and Bass Point.
Final Stages of the Lizard Coastal Walk: From Lizard Point to Bass Point
The final stages of the Lizard Coastal Walk involve hiking from Lizard Point to Bass Point and then to Church Cove. Once you arrive at Church Cove, you’ll head west through Landewednack to return to Lizard. In between Lizard Point and Bass Point, you’ll walk by Housel Bay Beach, which is one of the most spectacular sections of the Lizard Coastal Walk.
Housel Bay Beach
An underrated part of this coastal walk is exploring Housel Bay and Housel Bay Beach. The rough and raw coastline surrounding Housel Bay is simply splendid. As you bend around Housel Bay, you’ll pass the small and hidden Housel Bay Beach. To access Housel Bay Beach, you’ll need to take a side trail, which isn’t classically part of the Lizard Coastal Walk. But, with low tide, there’ll be enough sand to set up a towel and go for a swim – if that’s what your heart desires!
Lizard Lifeboat Station
Whether you simply pass Housel Bay Beach or go for a swim there, you’ll eventually continue further east along the Lizard Peninsula. You’ll then veer north, heading towards the Lizard Lifeboat Station. Interestingly, the Old Lifeboat Station, from 1859 to 1961 was based at Popleor Cove at Lizard Point. When you explore Lizard Point, you’d have seen the Old Lifeboat Station and connected wharf. Since 1961, the Lizard Lifeboat Station relocated to where it’s positioned today near Church Cove.
Arriving at Church Cove signals the end of your coastline exploration. From Church Cove, you’ll head inland, passing through a small village called Landewednack. From there, you’re only a short distance from Lizard, where the coastal walk finishes.
Considerations For the Lizard Coastal Walk (Kynance Cove Safety)
The most important things to know before doing the Lizard Coastal Walk in Cornwall are about safety at Kynance Cove. As mentioned previously, you should only explore Kynance Cove Beach and Mermaid Pool at low tide and when the swell is low, meaning the waters aren’t rough.
Kynance Cove Tide Times
If you explore Kynance Cove Beach and Mermaid Pool outside of low tide, you’ll be putting yourself in danger. At high and medium tide, the waves crash along the coastline and cliff walls at the beach. Indeed, it isn’t safe to explore down at the level of the beach at Kynance Cove outside of low tide. For information about tide times, head here. Indeed, by checking the Kynance Cove tide times, you can plan your walk to time with low tide. This will ensure a safer exploration of Kynance Cove.
Of course, even at low tide, extreme safety and caution need to be exercised. It goes without saying; but, the sea is obviously unpredictable – larger than expected rough waves can amount from nothing. In addition, the beach isn’t patrolled by lifeguards. So, if you explore Kynance Cove Beach and Mermaid Pool, you’ll need to have your wits about you.
Kynance Cove Weather
Of course, a trip to Kynance Cove will be much more enjoyable in good weather conditions. As well, with poor weather, it’s more likely that the sea will be rougher and that the beach will be less safe to explore. With that said, make sure to check the weather forecast before heading there. You can check out the Kynance Cove weather here.
How to Get to Lizard in Cornwall (Parking)
The easiest and quickest way to get to Lizard for the coastal walk is to drive there yourself. In terms of parking in Lizard, we recommend the main car park in town, which is by the village green. There’s plenty of space and best of all, it’s free with no time constraints.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very easy to book online.
Using public transport to do the Lizard Coastal Walk is possible. Although, it’s not very time efficient. So, we don’t recommend using public transport to get to Lizard in Cornwall. But, if public transport is your only option and you’re travelling south to Cornwall, you’ll need to get yourself to Redruth. From Redruth, you can catch the 34 bus down to Lizard. For the latest timetable and information about the 34 bus, head here.
Kynance Cove Parking (Kynance Cove Car Park)
A parking alternative is Kynance Cove Car Park. Essentially, you’d just be starting the Lizard Coastal Walk at Kynance Cove rather than at Lizard. So, you’d still do the same walk overall. Starting at Kynance Cove Car Park is a good idea as you’ll be able to easily time visiting at low tide if you start your walk there. Of course, the car park isn’t for free, unless you’re a National Trust member.
Alternative/Adjoining Route Options and Other Related Nearby Walk Options
There are many route variations for exploring the Lizard Peninsula and Kynance Cove. Of course, we recommend doing the Lizard Coastal Walk as described in this guide. That way, you’ll explore all of the highlights and beautiful natural attractions of the area. But, when it comes to Lizard walks and Lizard Peninsula coastal walks, there are plenty of modified trail options. We’re going to briefly review alternate route options below, including Lizard walking maps with each of the trails mentioned.
Lizard to Kynance Cove Walk
If you just want to explore Kynance Cove and Lizard Point along the Lizard Peninsula, this is a great option. Basically, you’ll do the Lizard Circular Walk, excluding the section from Lizard Point to Church Cove. The Lizard to Kynance Cove Walk is one of the most popular trail options.
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 8.5km
- Time: 2–3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 195m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Lizard or Kynance Cove
- Map: AllTrails
Kynance Cove to Lizard Point Walk
If you only want to walk by the coast of the Lizard Peninsula, the Kynance Cove to Lizard Point Walk is your best option. The Kynance Cove to Lizard Point Walk removes the inland walk from Lizard to Kynance Cove and from Lizard Point to Lizard. Basically, you’ll do an out and back between Kynance Cove and Lizard Point, sticking by the coastline the whole time.
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 7.1km
- Time: 2–3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 205m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Kynance Cove or Lizard Point
- Map: AllTrails
Lizard Point Walk
The Lizard Point Walk itself has a few trail variations. We’ve chosen one of the most popular Lizard Point Walk routes below. Admittedly, the Lizard Point Walk is the least popular route alternative mentioned in this guide as it doesn’t visit Kynance Cove.
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 6.3km
- Time: 1.5–2.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 150m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Lizard
- Map: AllTrails
Things to Do Near Lizard Point and Kynance Cove
There are plenty of things to do near Lizard Point and Kynance Cove. Let’s explore your options below.
Lizard Peninsula Beaches
There are plenty of Lizard Peninsula beaches to explore. Without laboriously listing all of the beaches along the Lizard Peninsula coastline, check out the image below to suss out other Lizard Peninsula beach options. Which Lizard Peninsula beach will you explore after doing the Lizard Coastal Walk?
Swim, Sunbathe and Build Sandcastles
At whichever Lizard Peninsula beach you wind up at, we’re sure you’ll be swimming, sunbathing and building sandcastles. Yes, if you’re not building sandcastles, I’ll be disappointed.
Paddleboarding, Kayaking, Cliff Jumping, Surfing and Snorkelling
Cornwall is a popular destination for paddleboarding, kayaking, cliff jumping, surfing and snorkelling. Certainly, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy before or after exploring the Lizard Peninsula on foot.
Kynance Cove Sunset
In terms of other things to do at Kynance Cove specifically, watching the sunset there is a very popular activity. Given its location, a Kynance Cove sunset would be an absolute treat. You could even time your walk with a Kynance Cove sunset to help elevate your coastal walking experience. If you’re able to time a visit to Kyannce Cove Beach with low tide and time sunset at the headlands surrounding Kynance Cove afterwards, well that makes you a logistical genius! Otherwise, you may just have to return for a Kynance Cove sunset on another day.
Kynance Cove Cafe
Why not pop in to the Kynance Cove Cafe during or after the Lizard Coastal Walk? When it comes to cafes in the UK with stunning coastal scenery, it’s hard to beat the views on offer at this cafe. By all accounts, the Kynance Cove Cafe serves a decent cake and coffee – perfect to fuel you for the walk or kill your appetite after the walk.
There are cafes galore along the Lizard Coastal Walk. Other than the cafe mentioned above, you’ve also got the Polpeor Cafe at Lizard Point. Similar to Kynance Cove Cafe, you can expect fantastic coastal views. From Polpeor Cafe, you can expect lovely views of the UK mainland’s most southerly point. Indeed, if you’re looking for something to eat or drink at Lizard Point, head to Polpeor Cafe.
The Top House Inn in Lizard is one of Cornwall’s best pubs. What better way to finish your coastal walk than a pint at this highly-rated pub and inn?
Kynance Cove Accommodation: Where to Stay
When it comes to Kynance Cove accommodation options, you won’t find any properties or camping options at the cove itself. But, there are plenty of great accommodations nearby in Lizard in Cornwall. There are also plenty of camping options nearby. With that said, let’s go through the best hotels and camping options.
Kynance Cove Hotels
As mentioned, there aren’t any Kynance Cove hotels per se. But, there are some lovely hotels near Kynance Cove in Lizard. Admittedly, you won’t find much in the way of budget hotel options in Lizard, Cornwall. Although, there are some truly wonderful hotels in the area. One of these hotel options is the Top House Inn, which we talked about previously as being one of the best pubs in Cornwall. The other two outstanding hotel options near Kyannce Cove are Housel Bay Hotel and Haelarcher Farmhouse.
Kynance Cove Camping
Similar to hotels, there aren’t any Kynance Cove campsites per se. But, if you want to camp near Kynance Cove, there are a couple of great options in Lizard in Cornwall. We recommend either camping at Henry’s Campsite or Kynance Camping. Both campsites are actually fantastic bases to do the Lizard Coastal Walk.
FAQs About the Lizard Coastal Walk and Kynance Cove
Let us satisfy your curiosity by answering the most frequently asked questions about the Lizard Coastal Walk and Kynance Cove.
Where Is Kynance Cove?
It’s located on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall in the southwest of England.
What Is the Kynance Cove Post Code?
The post code is TR12 7PJ.
Is Kynance Cove Dog Friendly?
Dog friendly walks are possible at some times of the year. Basically, dogs are banned at Kynance Cove Beach from 1 July to 31 August between 10am and 6pm. Dogs are allowed at Kynance Cove Beach outside of these hours and between any hours from 1 September to 30 June.
Is Swimming at Kynance Cove An Option?
Yes. But, for safety, you should only swim at Kynance Cove Beach and Mermaid Pool at low tide.
What is the Water Temperature at Kynance Cove?
The water temperature remains fairly low all year round. Even in summer, the water temperature doesn’t usually rise above 18°C.
Are There Toilets at Kynance Cove?
Yes, at the car park and next to the Kynance Cove Cafe.
Are There Lizard Point Beaches?
No. But, there are plenty of beaches along the Lizard Peninsula coastline.
Is There Wildlife at Lizard Peninsula?
Yes. In terms of the most spectacular wildlife to spot along the Lizard Peninsula, seals and puffins would have to be at the top of the list!
Guide Book Suggestions For Walking In Lizard
Hiking Essentials For the Lizard Coastal Walk
These are our five hiking gear essentials for this walk.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Make sure to also pack water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat! For a longer hiking gear list, read our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.
Bonus Tips For the Lizard Coastal Walk
- Best time of year to visit: of course, hiking in summer means warmer weather and less chance of rain and wind. But, this walk is still fine to do in winter. If anything, the trail will be much quieter!
- Time your walk for sunset: we didn’t enjoy a Kynance Cove sunset specifically. We actually enjoyed sunset around Housel Bay Beach, which was simply spectacular.
- Mullion to Lizard Coastal Walk: certainly, after you walk the Cornish Coast, it’ll leave you wanting more. Why not consider the circular Mullion to Lizard Coastal Walk?
To find out more about the two best coastal paths in Cornwall and how to logistically do them both one day, read here.