Day Trip – Our Guide to the Lizard
For the ultimate day trip, the Lizard is just a 40 minute drive from St Michaels Hotel. Head to the most southerly point on the UK's mainland, see the scenery change and surround yourself amongst the sound of waves hurtling to the shore. Around the coast you'll find tiny fishing ports with huge sea walls to protect from the Atlantic gales, pubs with fresh seafood on their menus, and secret sandy bays with jagged rocks jutting out to sea.
Sit at Kynance Cove and simply enjoy the view of this spectacular beach. With an arc of white sand and rich serpentine rocks, the reflected sunlight turns the water turquoise. It’s probably the most photographed location in Cornwall and can be reached by a steep 10 minute walk down to the cove. Enjoy a pasty or cake from the eco-friendly cafe, wander over to the towering rock stacks and hidden caves at low tide, or walk the two mile scenic walk around the coast to Lizard Point.
Kennack Sands, near the village of Kuggar, is actually two beaches divided by a rock feature and small hill of Carn Kennack. The easterly beach is a nature reserve reached by the footpath – a wildlife haven to sit amongst with a picnic or hot chocolate in hand. Kennack is a hot spot for surfers, regularly boasting up to 5 foot waves. Whether you’re looking for surf or leisure, Kennack also has its own shipwreck stories and vessel remains are often spotted closeby.
Coverack is a picturesque fishing village with a small sand and pebble beach. It’s fairly rocky but a good family beach nonetheless, and can provide ideal conditions for anglers. The Manacles are located just off the Coverack coast (a group of dangerous rocks which have caused the sinking of many ships) – making it a popular area for divers exploring shipwrecks.
From the freshest fish to pasties and pub grub, here’s a few of our favourite Lizard eateries…
SMUGGLERS FISH AND CHIPS – Well loved by locals, find this modest cafe in Lizard village for a hearty meal of locally caught fish (including monkfish, hake and battered mackerel) and chunky chips cooked to order. Eat in or take away and tuck in as you perch on the nearby cliffs.
POLDHU BEACH CAFE – Head here for peaceful beach views and ponder over the menu of breakfasts, burgers and pizza nights every Friday. Bring your own bottle or sample their range of Cornish brews in the summer months.
ROSKILLY’S FARM – Take a peek at a real, working, organic Cornish farm. Watch their award-winning ice-creams being churned and fudge being made in front of you, gobble a sweet treat, then walk it all off while exploring the nature trails around this family farm. The Croust House also offers homemade food either inside by a roaring log fire or out in the sunshine in the old farmyard.
ANN’S PASTIES – Scoff one of Ann’s famous pasties – lovingly handmade on the Lizard to an authentic Cornish pasty recipe that’s been passed down through her generations. If you’ve left loved ones at home, you can even treat them to a tasty pasty by post, which can be sent anywhere on mainland Britain!
HALZEPHRON INN AND RESTAURANT – Located near the idyllic fishing village of Gunwalloe, this inn was built around 500 years ago and is steeped in smuggling history. Nestle in a cosy nook or head outside to look out on the rolling countryside. Enjoy their award-winning specials, homemade puddings and an ample selection of seafood delivered daily.
OUR TOP lizard ACTIVITIES
1. Visit St Winwaloe Church, right on the beach at Gunwalloe Church Cove. Dating from the 13th century and known as the Church of Storms, there is a separate bell tower behind the church and inside you’ll find a 16th century rood screen made of wood from a Portuguese wreck.
2. Explore the Lizard Lighthouse – shining a light for over 260 years, it’s the only lighthouse you can climb in Cornwall. Find out about maritime history in the visitor centre and pack your binocolars to lose yourself in the breathtaking views from the top of the lighthouse.
3. Enjoy a sea fishing trip where you can watch the wide variety of wildlife and catch your supper for barbecuing on one of the many Lizard beaches.
4. At Poldhu Cove you can visit the Marconi Centre to discover the fascinating historical advances made in transatlantic radio communication.
5. Wander through the peninsula’s many independent shops for interesting trinkets, serpentine carvings (famous at the Lizard) and artwork. Painters, potters, sculptors, jewellery makers, weavers and photographers have all made this area their home, drawing their inspiration from the magnificent scenery around them. Local artisans work and sell from their studios, so watch out for sign posts down country lanes and along craft trails.
The South West Coast Path provides oodles of walks in yet another Cornish Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The rare geology here creates a plethora of gorgeous flowers and during a stroll you’ll see small farms, Bronze Age barrows and historic standing stones. Or walk a little further to find visually dominant structures built in more recent times, such as Goonhilly Earth Station and wind turbines.
The villages on the Lizard are picture-perfect – think thatched cottages clinging together in coves where small fleets of fishing boats catch fresh lobster and crab each morning. In the pubs by the shore you can stop for a break, listen to traditional Cornish shanties and sip plenty of local tipples to keep you going.
Arrive at The Lizard Green and you can walk west, south or east, following the land until it stumbles into the ocean. Look for choughs, guillemots, gulls, seals, dolphins and basking sharks.
DID YOU KNOW? In 2002 the Cornish Chough bred once again on the Lizard, when three birds returned naturally to the area. This rare member of the crow family is the Cornish national bird and had been absent for Cornwall for over 30 years. Look out for their red beaks and distinctive call during your rambles!
BASE YOURSELF AT ST MICHAELS WHERE YOU CAN DAY TRIP TO THE LIZARD – JUST 40 MINUTES AWAY. JUST GIVE US A CALL ON 01326 312707 FOR A QUOTE.
With thanks to our friends at Visit Cornwall for sharing some of their top tips with us.