The best things to do on the Lizard Peninsula

Lizard Point lies at the tip of the idyllic Lizard Peninsula


You could argue that if it wasn’t for the draw of standing at Great Britain’s most southerly tip, most visitors to Cornwall would bypass this peninsula that juts some 10 miles out to sea from the road between Falmouth and Helston. We don’t think that’s a strong argument, though, as thankfully enough people know there’s far more than just a simple southerly point here. It would be a massive pity if people missed it out.

What Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in importance. Not only is it home to that southern king, the Lizard Point, but it also hosts some unique geographic formations, it’s home to rare birds and other wildlife and it houses some of the Duchy’s most fascinating attractions. The Lizard is above all a nature lover’s paradise and a visit here is all about the great outdoors, grand vistas, quaint communities and connecting with Cornwall’s weathered past.

The Lizard Peninsula is a dramatic place of extremes with looming steep cliffs on its western side, a sweeping flat centre that houses the famous Goonhilly Earth Station at Goonhilly Downs and an eastern edge that becomes gentler, sloping and rich in thick green vegetation as it bends into the Helford River on its northeastern corner. All along its coast are picture postcard bays, fishing villages and coves, with interesting geological features throughout, such as the prevalence of a dark green and red rock called serpentinite which forms cliffs as at Kynance Cove and can be carved and polished to create ornaments.

The peninsula is also a haven for unique flora and fauna. Here are some of the best chances you’ll have to spot seals, dolphins and even basking sharks from the comfort of the dry land. The Lizard is also home to one of the Duchy’s highest concentration of choughs. The red-billed chough is in the crow family and appears in Cornwall’s coat of arms alongside the miner and the fisherman, reflecting the bird’s importance in Cornish culture. So, yeah, lots of animals to see. Probably the only animal you won’t see, ironically, is a lizard…

Anyway, without any further ado, here are our picks of the best things to do on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, from what beaches to visit, what villages to explore and what attractions to enjoy. Step right this way…

Church Cove

Type: Beach
Suitable for: Families, nature lovers, wildlife spotters, history buffs and romantics
Location: Gunwalloe, near MullionPorthleven and Helston

Backed by rare sandgrasses that are home to an array of wildlife, this National Trust-managed sandy spot is great for families and romantics. It’s possibly our favourite beach on the peninsula as even at the height of the season, it remains relatively quiet so couples and families can enjoy some space on its fine sands while having a dip in its calm waters and marvelling at its stunning setting. It’s also home to the quirky St Winwaloe’s Church (also known as the ‘Church of Storms’) which is well worth checking out. Read more by clicking the button!

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Dollar Cove

Type: Beach
Suitable for: Treasure seekers and fans of shipwreck stories!
Location: Gunwalloe, near MullionPorthleven and Helston

How’s about some pieces of eight with your sandcastles? This colourfully named beach has a storied past that involves shipwrecks and a load of treasure that’s said to be buried under the sands. The tale we like to tell, though, is the one about this rocky, moody, spectacular beach that makes for a great seaside day out for all the family (dogs included) on the Lizard Peninsula. Dollar Cove sits right next to the far sandier but less storied Church Cove (see above!), so you can enjoy both of these spectacular neighbours in one visit.

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Kennack Sands

Type: Beach
Suitable for: Families, clifftop hikers and anyone learning to surf
Location: Near Kuggar village, off the A3083 near Lizard Point

With safe waters and a couple of huge expanses of golden sand that carve Kennack up into two beaches (one of which is dog friendly all year round), there’s something for everyone here. As with the previous two beaches, it doesn’t tend to get too busy thanks to its remoteness. And what’s more, shipwrecks lying off the shore become visible at low tide, making for a dramatic view. Mellow waves make Kennack a hotspot for novice surfers and it’s also worth a hike across the nearby cliffs (pictured) for interesting rock formations and ace vistas.

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Kynance Cove

Type: Beach
Suitable for: Stunning seascape lovers, romantics and people who don’t mind a crowd
Location: Near Lizard Point and south of MullionPorthleven and Helston

If you haven’t got the message already: the Lizard Peninsula is home to some incredible beaches. Don’t worry, it’s home to much more too but we can’t not mention the idyllic Kynance Cove. Crystal clear turquoise water. Brightly coloured rock formations. Dozens of secret caves and outcrops to explore at low tide. Kynance is one of Cornwall’s most picturesque beaches and regularly appears in lists of the world’s most beautiful sandy stretches. That notoriety brings with it the summer crowds but if you don’t mind that, then this needs to be on your bucket list.

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Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre

Type: High and mighty nautical attraction with a historic lighthouse
Suitable for: All the family
Location: Just above Lizard Point, just south of the village of Lizard and at the end of the A3083

If there’s any attraction that highlights the fearsome reputation that the waters around the Lizard Point had in years gone by, it’s the Lizard Lighthouse. This majestic working structure has guided ships around the point since 1751. And now it’s part of a fascinating heritage centre that’s packed with interesting nautical facts, figures, exhibitions and stories. There’s a ton to see and do here (not least marvel at those spectacular elevated views above the point) so make sure you click on the ‘Read More’ for our full story on those twin lighthouse towers.

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Lizard Point

Type: Important geographical location and stunning scenic attraction
Suitable for: Tourists who want a photo next to that sign, nature lovers, diners and photographers
Location: Just south of Lizard Village and at the end of the A3083

What’s the point of the Lizard, we hear you ask? Well this is it. Britain’s most southerly tip. Featuring quaint cafés, the most southerly ice cream in the land, a retired lifeboat station (see below for more on that) and some spectacular views, a trip to this iconic spot is a must, especially if you want a photo next to the point’s popular signpost. Some good eateries, great vistas, top hikes and plenty of history make the Lizard Point an excellent destination right at the tip of the peninsula.

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Lizard Point’s old lifeboat station

Type: An old lifeboat station!
Suitable for: People who like old lifeboat stations
Location: At the bottom of the cliff below Lizard Point

Yes, this lifeboat station is old. It was actually in operation between 1859 and 1961 before being replaced by the current station in Kilcobben Cove, which looks super-modern in comparison and lies just over a mile up the coast. The reason we’ve given this old station its own shoutout in this list separate to the Lizard Point one above is that it’s such a tranquil and beautiful spot. It’s worth walking down to so that you can enjoy a few hours of chilling next to the sea and admiring a relic of the past that saved so many lives in these treacherous waters.

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Loe Pool

Type: Natural lake
Suitable for: Lovers of tranquil waters and nature, photographers and walkers
Location: Just down the coast from Porthleven, near Helston

Separated from the ocean by the Loe Bar, Loe Pool is the Duchy’s largest natural lake. And it’s teeming with wildlife. A must for anyone with an interest in birds, in fact. Plus, it’s great for walks as there’s a wonderful six-mile hike around the lake. Many visitors choose simply to enjoy the tranquil waters from the beach or the Loe Bar, though. Note that neither the beach nor the lake are suitable for swimming. Also note that there are some pretty fascinating myths that abound here, including tales of buried treasure, dragons and local demon, Jan Tregeagle. 

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Type: The biggest village on the Lizard Peninsula
Suitable for: We can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to visit Mullion!
Location: Off the A3083, south of Helston and Porthleven

A gorgeous village in a gorgeous area that makes for a great base for anyone who’s exploring the Lizard. Beautiful olde worldy pubs, quaint cafés, tea rooms, craft shops and galleries make the village a must-explore for visitors. There’s plenty of history here too that you can find out about by clicking on the ‘Read More’ below. This is a stunning village in a beautiful area that just needs a browse before you head out to the rest of the peninsula, including Mullion Cove (see below!).

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Mullion Cove

Type: Harbour attraction
Suitable for: Harbour enthusiasts, hikers, history buffs and those who want a quiet afternoon
Location: Nansmellyon Road, Mullion

At the far end of Mullion village lies this cove, which is pretty much a picture-postcard version of Cornwall sitting in a pint-sized bay. Old fishing cottages. A tranquil granite harbour under steep cliffs. A fleet of small fishing boats on the slipway. You get the picture. Or at least you’ll leave this picturesque traditional spot with hundreds of them on your phone after even a short visit here. We do recommend spending a few hours here, though, so you can hike around the area before tucking into some pub grub back up in Mullion village.

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Type: Cornwall’s most southerly port
Suitable for: Those who want to use the town as a base to explore the peninsula
Location: At the end of the B3304, southwest of Helston

Okay, Porthleven isn’t exactly on the Lizard Peninsula but it is on its edge and does make for an excellent base for exploring the area. Great Britain’s most southerly port and its majestic harbour were developed to offer ships safety when the waters around Lizard Point were just too big and dangerous, so the story of the town and the peninsula go hand-in-hand. These days, Porthleven offers one of Cornwall’s most dangerous and jaw-dropping surf breaks, an epic setting for storm-watching and a laid-back vibe alongside some ace pubs and eateries.

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St Mellanus Church

Type: Historical religious attraction
Suitable for: History buffs, churchgoers and anyone who likes unusual places
Location: 2 Churchtown, Mullion

With some quirky features and wonderful craftsmanship on display, this holy spot is well worth a visit if you’re passing through Mullion. It dates back to the 13th century, with some items like the studs in the north door dating back to the 11th century. There’s a Royal Coat of Arms that was apparently given to it by King Charles II (yes, not our monarch) in person. It’s also the only church we can think of that has a separate ancient door for dogs. Now that’s something worth howling about!

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The Old Serpentine Works

Type: Beautiful nature attraction and industrial heritage building, managed by the National Trust
Suitable for: History buffs, geologists and anyone fancying a walk around an area with plenty of charm
Location: Carleon Bay, near Poltesco and Mullion

Fancy a quiet day out? Well, nestled on the eastern edge of the Lizard Peninsula is The Old Serpentine Works, which tells a story of industrial boom-and-bust during the Victorian age. This tale forever encircles the well-kept old building and rolls into the gorgeous tranquil Carleon Bay that sits next to it as these works were once all about the rare rock that’s found in the area: serpentine. Want to find out about the history of this place and what else you need to know for a visit? Click the ‘Read More’ button below. And then enjoy the Lizard Peninsula. We think it’s the most beautiful peninsula in the world!

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Looking for somewhere to stay to explore the best of The Lizard?

Nestled on the edge of Falmouth and within easy reach of the Lizard’s top beaches and attractions, Trewena Cottages‘ collection of accommodation for couples are the perfect base for exploring the best the that Lizard and west and south Cornwall has to offer. With hotel grade king size beds as standard, plus three acres of secluded countryside to roam your relaxing stay at Trewena awaits!

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