A few of our favourite walks on the South West Coast Path

Wrap up warm and get outdoors this winter with a few of our favourite walks

We’re incredibly lucky to be based in a stunning part of Cornwall, with glorious walks around the Cornish coastline giving you wonderful views of the majesty of our county. The team at St Michael’s Mount have selected just a small sample of some of the hikes you can take around our part of West Cornwall. Here are some of our favourites.

Marazion to Perranuthnoe

Setting off from the home of St Michael’s Mount, this walk begins in the picturesque village of Marazion. Pick up pasties for your journey at local’s favourite, Philps Pasties, or get a salad box to go from The Copper Spoon.  You’ll head over the hill to Perranuthnoe church and enjoy amazing views of Mount’s Bay. After reaching the beach at Perranuthnoe, the walk returns along the coast path, passing several small coves tucked in the rocky shoreline. The final stretch is past the causeway and ferry to St Michael’s Mount. Reward yourself with a tasty lunch at The Godolphin Arms in Marazion.

Land’s End

Take a circular coastal walk on the rugged cliffs at the most westerly point of the British mainland with astounding views and beautiful wildflowers. This walk takes you between the headlands Pordanack Point and Pedn Men Du giving you glorious views of Land’s End in both directions.

Zennor to Gurnard’s Head

A circular walk from Zennor along the dramatic Cornish coastline coast via Porthmeor Cove to the site of an Iron Age fort on Gurnard’s Head. Enjoy lunch at the renowned Gurnards Head before returning to Zennor via the fields.

St Just to Cape Cornwall

This walk heads across the fields from St Just past Cornwall’s oldest pasty makers to Cape Cornwall, passing the remains of the Celtic chapel and then heading up onto the Cape before returning to St Just.

Perranuthnoe to Prussia Cove

The route follows the coast path from Perranuthnoe past a number of small coves to Cudden Point where there are stunning views over Mount’s Bay. The route continues along the coves of Prussia Cove before turning back inland and returning over the fields with views over St Michael’s Mount.

For information about routes for wonderful walks near St Michael’s Mount, there are a number of useful websites including the South West Coast Path and iWalk Cornwall.

Sunsets in Cornwall

Catch the fiery colours that light up the sea and sky in October on the Cornish coast

Sennen Cove: The most westerly village in Cornwall with a pearly-white sandy beach, Sennen is a natural choice for sunset watching. Find a spot above the beach, throw some picnics blankets down and watch as the sky explodes in a roar of rusty reds and burnt orange hues. Topped off with a steaming flask of hot tea (or glass of fizz if you’re feeling romantic), nothing could be better.

St Michael’s Mount: Drink in the fiery sunsets that West Cornwall is so famous for from our very own St Michael’s Mount. Whether you are atop the Mount or standing jaw-agape from the shore as effulgent rays of light stream around the castle’s regal frame, this is truly the most magical setting for bidding farewell to the day.

Land’s End: Mainland England’s most westerly point, Land’s End has to be one of the most well-known sunset spots in the whole of England. A particularly good time to catch these blazing beauties is around June, when a shaft of light from the setting sun momentarily casts a glimmering trail right through the middle of the archway of ‘Enys Dodman’ rock.

Cape Cornwall: Forming part of the Tin Coast and Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, Cape Cornwall not only boasts rich historical and cultural pedigree but is also one of the top places to watch a sunset in Cornwall. Offering awe-inspiring panoramas over land and sea, this distinctive headland in St Just beckons onlookers to cuddle up and watch shards of gorse, apricot and saffron tones paint the horizon.

Jubilee Pool: A great sunset-watching location with a twist, the Jubilee Pool in Penzance provides a much more immersive experience. With varied opening hours throughout the year, bathe in the fresh, safe seawater of the Art Deco pool and watch the blues of the day give way to multi-coloured streaks thrown across the sky.

The Minack Theatre: One of the most iconic settings in the country, sunsets don’t come much more special than at the Minack Theatre. Watch a performance with a spectacular sunset backdrop or simply pull up a pew when the crowds have dispersed to watch the almighty beauty of Mother Nature take centre stage.

Porthmeor Beach: Famed by artists world-over for its natural light, St Ives is an obvious choice for sunset watching in West Cornwall. Hunker down on the powder-fine sands and see out the day in style, before heading into the beating heart of the town and treating yourself to warming tipple in one of the many bars and pubs.

Praa Sands: Another jewel in West Cornwall’s crown, Praa Sands is a superb location for catching the last of the day’s sun. Stretching for over a mile between Hoe Point in the west and Rinsey Head in the east, the wide horizon lends itself perfectly to taking in the sunset as the sun droops beyond the glittering sea.

Zennor Head: Head to Zennor Head for a final golden hurrah. A jagged, 750-metre long finger of rock sticking out into the sea, it’s not hard to fall in love with the area’s untouched natural beauty and, of course, in-built vantage point for sunset chasing. Bundle up some blankets and a picnic hamper and walk out to the point to catch the show.

Trencrom Hill: One of the highest hills in West Cornwall, Trencrom Hill stands at 175m high. For a truly unforgettable sunset experience, walk to the top of the hill and take in the beautiful far-reaching views across the landscape and towards the sea. From pre-historic archaeology and history to wildlife spotting to the sun burning in a final blaze of glory, it ticks every box.

Top Five Tips for Photographing the Mount

Expert photographer and local man, Mike Newman, offers an insight into how to nail that perfect shot.

One of the country’s most iconic images, St Michael’s Mount commands fairy-tale awe. A truly magnificent subject for any budding or seasoned photographer, it is as beautiful on a balmy summer’s day when sunshine trickles down its stony façade as in a brewing winter storm, waves swelling and heaving in the background. 

So how best to go about capturing a sense of our mighty St Michael’s Mount? Sharing some of his top tips from over 20 years’ experience, expert photographer and local man, Mike Newman, offers an insight into how to nail that perfect shot.

Mike Newman’s Top Five Tips for Photographing St Michael’s Mount:

1. Lighting. At midday the sun is high in the sky and the light can make everything look flat. If you shoot when the light is coming from one particular side of the Mount, shadows are created which reveal the true shapes of the island and buildings. Shooting in the ‘Golden Hour’ at the beginning and end of the day will also add eye-catching sunrise/sunset colours to your photograph. 

2. Composition. Think about having something in the foreground to add interest – a boat or a person, perhaps.  These will add a sense of scale to your picture. While you’re looking, see what’s happening in the background as well; is it worth adding that cheeky white cloud floating in a blue sky to your shot?

3. Use a Tripod. You’ll get better detail once you lose the chance of camera shake. Being able to use a smaller aperture will increase the sharpness and depth of field of your shot. The ability to have the shutter open for longer will allow you to blur the movement of people across the causeway or turn the sea in to a milky haze. 

4. Secret Detail. The mount has a mass of hidden details - the Giant’s Heart or Queen Victoria’s footstep to name but two. Zooming in on this fine detail (with just enough background to let you know it’s on the Mount) will create a new and intriguing image. Find something most people would miss and make it the feature of your shot.

5. Get Creative. Try to find your own viewpoint rather than the usual ones everyone takes.  The Mount is so dramatic, the usual ones are always good of course, but having taken those shots, why not move on to find a new perspective, a different angle of that same view? Creating something different can be as simple as shooting from ground level rather than eye level, or as complex as shooting the Milky Way at midnight. What will you do?

With one more wink to the camera, Mike shares a final piece of advice: “remember, the best piece of photographic equipment is your eye!”.

Whatever time of year you’re visiting Cornwall, embrace your surroundings and adopt your own individual slant for a unique capture to be proud. For the perfect close-up, you can visit St Michael’s Mount most of the year during select opening hours; at high tide during spring, summer and autumn, boats regularly ferry to and from the Mount’s ancient harbour and at low tide you can enjoy a magical walk to our island castle across the causeway!

If you would like to see some of Mike’s work, he regularly posts jaw-dropping shots on his Instagram and many of his prints are available to buy online. Go on a journey through the lens and fall in love with Cornwall all over again.

Best Beaches of West Cornwall

Cornwall’s beaches are rated amongst the best in the world. There’s a wealth of activities to enjoy on our beautiful beaches, from surfing to watersports, from building sandcastles with the kids to enjoying a drink at a beach bar.

Porthcurno - With gorgeous white sands and turquoise waters gleaming under the sun, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall. High cliffs on both sides provide shelter from the wind, and the world-famous Minack Theatre looks down onto the beach.

Marazion - We have to mention the beach right here in the village. With the best views of St Michael’s Mount and out to Mount’s Bay – one of the most beautiful bays in the UK – Marazion beach is not to be missed. Chill out relaxing in the sand dunes, or indulge in some more energetic pursuits trying out windsurfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing and sailing.

Perranuthnoe - Perranuthnoe beach is located on the south coast just a mile from us in Marazion, and commands amazing views of St Michael’s Mount. 

Praa Sands - Great for families and surfers alike, the mile-long sandy beach is backed with sheltering sand dunes. Enjoy the views over to the Lizard Peninsula while having a coffee in the café overlooking the beach.

Sennen Beach - One of the biggest and the best, this is the most westerly place to go surfing. The beach is long and sandy, and there’s a small harbour nearby to enjoy a bite to eat or an ice cream.

Gwthian - Gwithian offers a broad spacious sandy beach popular for surfing and is rarely crowded. There are great walks along this stretch of beach. Neighbouring beaches include Godrevy, Mexico Towans, Upton Towans and Hayle Towans.