Route Section Number 7

St Austell to Penzance

Almost every inch of South Cornwall’s coast from St Austell Bay to Mount’s Bay is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s a chance to drive through a surprisingly quieter area of Cornwall, especially out of peak season. Expect smaller, narrow roads and few resorts or towns to create traffic. 

So slow down, enjoy views of estuaries, rocky headlands and secluded coves. But don’t get distracted – you’ll discover some of the UK’s best coastal panoramas along the way.

Your Route

Take a detour inland

Leafy creeks of the Carrick Roads lead far inland to Truro, Cornwall’s bustling administrative centre. The county’s only designated city offers a cathedral, museum and shopping streets to explore. 

Cornish beach
Cornish coast

Find a Hidden Gem

St Winwaloe Church is right on the beach at Gunwalloe on the Lizard. ‘The Church of Storms’ has a separate bell tower safely sheltered behind the main building… and internal fittings made from 500-year-old shipwrecked timbers.

During your trip

Route Highlights


What locals call ‘Meva’ has the cliché ingredients of a classic fishing village: narrow streets down to a busy harbour lined by lobster pots, art galleries and seafood eateries. Take a walk round the harbour walls while shielding a freshly baked pasty from greedy Cornish gulls.


Surprisingly, in the heart of the south Cornish coast is this protected, undeveloped area of farmland, coves and headlands. There are no towns but little gems like Portloe’s tiny fishing harbour among jagged rocks and St Mawes’ glamorous Riviera-style waterfront with views and water taxis to Falmouth.


From its Tudor castle to waterfront restaurants, from the maritime museum to its semi-tropical gardens, Falmouth is one of Cornwall’s classiest destinations. There’s also a fascinating working dockside and popular sandy beaches.


Unspoilt creeks of the Helford River meander through sleepy forests with tiny mossy quays hidden amid overhanging oaks. It’s a protected wildlife area where visitors spot dolphins or get close to rescued animals at the seal sanctuary.

The Lizard

Don’t miss the detour to Britain’s most southerly headland. Lizard Point is more geographically significant and wildly impressive than Land’s End, but lacks crowds and touristy development.

Penzance / Mounts Bay

It’s always a thrill to catch your first glimpse of St Michael’s Mount and the panorama of Mount’s Bay. Stop at Marazion to walk the tidal causeway or take a short boat trip to the island castle and gardens.

Did you know?

The King Harry Ferry at Trelissick is a tiny example of why we believe the SW660 is Britain’s most sustainable road trip. The chain ferry operates in a beautiful stretch of wooded river, offers 80 crossings a day, takes five minutes – and saves drivers a 27-mile round trip to cross the River Fal on a bigger, busier road inland.

Because of that, ferry owners estimate their low-emissions ferry saves five million car miles a year. That’s 750,000 litres of fuel and half a million kilos of carbon.

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