Things to do in St Just in Penswith

Things to do in St Just in Penwith

St. Just is a simply glorious destination located in the Penwith area of West Cornwall. St Just-in-Penwith was formerly a mining centre and as you wander around the town, you’ll many properties that reflect the town’s history.  These granite mine worker’s cottages lead from a central square that, now somewhat gentrified, contains cafes and artesan craft shops.  St. Just is close to both Cape Cornwall and Land’s End and borders the magnificent North Coast of Cornwall.  If you want to experience a real Cornish lifestyle, then you should plan to visit St. Just.  The town is small, but there are a lot of great things to do in St Just, so come on in and explore.

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Why Visit St Just

St. Just is a great place to spent your holiday in West Cornwall, with incredible landscapes, fantastic walks and it’s close to many of the attractions of this part of Cornwall too. Some of the top attractions around St. Just include; St. Ives, Land’s End, Sennen Cove, Mousehole, Cape Cornwall, the Minack Theatre, and Penzance.

If you love nature, you’ll find lots of activities to engage in – from walking on the South West Coast path and other great hikes to cycling, and breathtaking views of the ocean here.  St Just too has a rich history and a friendly feel that will give you an insight into the Cornish and “Far West” culture.

The town of St Just provides some great accommodation facilities ranging from self-catering cottages, hotels, restaurants, and farm stays to give you a comfortable home-from-home feeling. You’ll also find some excellent camping and caravan sites here too.

If you need to rent a car in Cornwall, we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, what have you got to lose? Get a price for a rental car in Cornwall here.

The Best Things to do in St. Just

St.Just is a beautiful small town with a rich mining history where you’ll find excellent opportunities for activities, exploration, beautiful West Cornwall landscapes to visit, some stunning and magical sandy beaches, and some incredibly unique accommodation facilities.

So, if you’re ready, here are the top things to do when you visit St. Just

Walk a section of the South West Coast Path 

It’s hard to visit St Just without spending at least a little of your time on the famous South West Coast Parth.  Walking the South West Coast Path, from Sennen Cove to Lands End is one of the top things to do in St. Just.    This section of the famous long-distance path is just over 3 miles and is a great section of the route to walk, offering striking views.  If you’re travelling from St Just, you can take the bus to this part of the path, and simply head back to the road when you’ve had enough walking.  In spring, you’ll enjoy the blooming wildflowers while during autumn you will see crowds of seabirds heading past in strong winds.  We recommend having plenty of space on your phone or camera for all the photos you’ll want to take!

South West Coast Parth St Just

Visit Cape Cornwall from St Just

While most visitors to the West of Cornwall will head to Lands End, many will miss Cape Cornwall.   Don’t make that mistake.  Cape Cornwall, easily walkable from St Just, is simply glorious.  It’s a tiny headland managed and owned by the National Trust.  The land here is stunningly wild, receives the worst of the weather, and is outstandingly beautiful.  In fact, if you have the choice to visit Land’s End of Cape Cornwall, then you should come here.  100%.  It’s just four miles north of Land’s End and a mere 1.4 miles from St Just.  And it’s an easy walk if you take the small country lane there. Cape Cornwall is one of our best views in Cornwall. Check out the others here.

Cape Cornwall St Just

The Cornish for Cape Cornwall is “Kilgoodh Ust” and it means “goose back at St. Just”  – which is a reference to the shape of the headland that is the Cape.   Cape Cornwall is the only cape in England, as a cape is the point of land where two bodies of water meet.  Cape Cornwall marks the point where the Atlantic current divide – to the north the sea flows into the Bristol Channel, and to the south to the Irish Sea. 

Cape Cornwall is one of just two capes in the UK, the other being Cape Wrath in North West Scotland. 

Pottery found here, hidden in small coffin-like boxes, or cists, dates back to the late Bronze Age and there is also evidence that the area may have been important during the Iron Age too.  The tower that’s found on Cape Cornwall is from the old Cape Cornwall Mine and was the 1864 chimney stack.  The Cape Cornwall Mine operated between 1836 and 1879 and was a tin and copper mine, which came from under the sea.  After the mine closed, the tower was maintained as an aid for sailors’ navigation.

Visit Land’s End from St Just

The reason to visit Land’s End is that it’s the most westerly point of England.  It is legendary.  It’s a majestic headland on the Penwith peninsula and it has been inspiring people since the times of the Ancient Greeks (700-480 BC) when it was known as the “Place of the Sun” or Belerion.  You’ll find cliff-top walking trails, many of which are designed for wheelchairs too, information boards that provide details of the flora and fauna of the area, and a host of other attractions.

Lands End near St Just

We recommend you visit either early in the day or late in the day, to avoid the crowds.  Because you will encounter crowds here.  This is a major tourist attraction in West Cornwall.   Our guide to Land’s End is here. The parking area is enormous (and will cost you £6 for the day, so take the bus if you can), although the entrance to the site is free and the entrance is faintly resemblant of a down at heel Disneyland.  (Forgive me, and do come here, because it is unique, but please, please, go to Cape Cornwall as well)

So.  You can stay here – the most westerly point in England.  There’s a hotel, some swanky studios, and cottages.  You can drink here – in England’s first and last Inn. You can buy souvenirs.  And there’s a host of attractions here including:

  • The Aardman Grand Experience:  where you can wander around Wallace and Gromit’s living room and their inventing workshops and explore Morph’s interactive room.
  • The 4D Film Experience – where you’ll get the full 4D Jolly Roger film experience – so hold onto your hats for squirting water, shaking seats, blasts of air, and general excitement!
  • Arthur’s Quest – where you’ll need to solve puzzles and face your demons to make your way through the magical portal that is Arthur’s Quest to save the King.
  • Greeb Farm – a restored 200-year-old farmstead similar to those that dotted this landscape, Greeb Farm is a fully child-friendly experience where everyone can meet sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, miniature ponies, and even ferrets.   If you arrive at Greeb Farm during feeding time there’s the chance to get involved with feeding too.
  • The End to End Story – this attraction at Land’s End celebrates those celebrities and ordinary people who have made this iconic journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, or vice versa.  This unique attraction at Land’s End chronicles those who have made this journey using a huge variety of transit methods!
  • The Land’s End Signpost – If you don’t get a photo were you really even here?  This is the Land’s End attraction that you simply can’t miss.  The iconic signpost.  There’s been a signpost here since the 1950s – and it’s famous for those folks who have made the legendary trip from John O’Groats to Land’s End – the End to Enders – and had their photo taken here.  You don’t have to have made that journey to get your photo taken here, but it’s still an iconic photo to get!
  • The miniature Cornish village – this small attraction gives some idea of the traditional buildings of Cornwall.

There are well-made paths here to the more natural areas, there are 4D cinemas, the First and Last Inn, a hotel and some stunning self-catering facilities too.  Land’s End is an entire attraction in itself.  And I really do suggest you come here, but I also suggest that you make Cape Cornwall your real visit to the far west of Cornwall, because there’s not much natural left about Land’s End.  Sadly.

Visit Men An Tol

Men An Tol is an iconic Cornish cultural site that is believed to date from the Bronze Age over 3,500 years ago.   The Men An Tol comprises three standing stones.  There are two standing stones – one on either side of a round stone with its middle hollowed out.  When viewed from a certain angle, it looks like 101.  The first archeological investigation of Men An Tol was made in 1749, by William Borlase.  The plan he drew indicated that the stones were in a slightly different configuration to today.  Reports at the time indicated that local farmers had removed some stones from the area.  The myths and legends of the stones began around this time.  

Men an Tol near St Just

Local legends about Men An Tol include that passing through the hole in the round stone will cure backache, rickets in children (if they were passed naked through the stone nine times).  Mind you, if you want to become pregnant then you should pass through the stone nine times too.

Visit the Mines at Botallack from St Just

The Botallack mine is a popular site and was brought to international attention when it was used as the Wheal Mine for the Poldark drama series.  Botallack has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cornwall and Devon Mining Landscape since 2006.

Botallack Mine St Just

Botallack is an incredible area and site to visit.   The mine here was a submarine mine, meaning it extended out under the seabed – nearly half a mile with shafts that were 570 metres deep.  During its lifetime the mine produced tin – 14,500 tonnes of it, copper ore, 20,000 tonnes, and 1,500 tonnes of refined arsenic.

The entire site is stunning, wild, and fascinating and you’ll want to make sure that you visit these areas of it.  Whether you simply walk through the site, on this part of the South West Coast Path, or whether you visit it in its entirety – it’s owned and managed by the National Trust here in Cornwall, this is a simply stunning area to visit and it’s only a short walk from St Just.  Entrance to the site is free.

Visit Geevor Tin Mine

Formerly known as the East Levant Mine and then the North Levant Mine, the Geevor Tin Mine was operational between 1911 and 1990, producing about 50,000 tonnes of black tin.  Geevor Tin Mine is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cornwall and Devon Mining Landscape.  The name Geevor comes from the Cornish Whel an Gever, meaning “mine of the goats”.  Today at Geevor Mine you’ll get to explore a real tin mine and understand a little more about what life was like for Cornish miners.  At Geevor Mine you can go underground, walking through the 18th century Wheal Mexico mine tunnels, you can pan for gold, explore the museum – and even walk a small part of the South West Coast Path, which crosses the site.

Geevor is an excellent spot to visit to learn about the history and heritage of Cornish Tin mining and it’s a fabulous day out for the whole family.

Geevor Tin Mine St Just

Play Golf at the Cape Cornwall Golf and Country Club

This world-class 18 hole golf course has the most stunning of views of Cape Cornwall and this part of the West Cornwall coastline.  Visitors are welcome to the course with buggy, trolly and club hire available.  Known as the first and last 18 hole golf course in Britain, this is a fabulous club to play at.  The onsite restaurant is well recommended and there are also rooms to book here too.  There’s more information on golfing at Cape Cornwall here.

Go Fishing at Choone Farm

Choone farm has two lakes in a beautiful setting, which will give you an excellent opportunity to experience freshwater fishing. Fish here for carp, tench, rudd, and roach.

Visit St Ives from St Just

It’s just a 30-minute drive from St Just to St Ives, and it’s a glorious drive.  There’s a bus usually once an hour (times here) that goes via Penzance that takes about an hour.  Some services change bus in Penzance.  Whereas St Just is the old mining town, St Ives is a glorious seaside town, with lovely beaches, a stunning harbour, and an amazing art scene.  You’ll find lovely cafés and some great places to wander to.  There’s more on what to do in St Ives in our guide here.

Explore Mousehole from St Just

The small village of Mousehole is a stunning harbor and a small fishing village with the tiniest narrow streets.  It is the archetypal Cornish fishing village and a great place to go to and watch the world go by.  Head over and spend the day, watching the goings-on in the harbour, or spent longer and enjoy the peace and quiet once the day-trippers have gone home.  The famous Cornish Stargazy pie hails from Mousehole, where legend, has it, fisherman, Tom Bawcock caught enough fish to feed the entire village. There’s more on Stargazy Pie in our guide to Cornish Food here

Mousehole is so quintessentially Cornish.  It’s where Welsh poet Dylan Thomas chose to marry his wife, Caitlin McNamara, and where they drank at the local Ship Inn – check out the famous Dylan’s corner in the pub today.

Mousehole is tiny, quaint and one of the loveliest villages in England, let alone Cornwall. 

Visit the Minack Theatre from St Just

Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of the Minack Theatre.  Or your second.  I could go on.  The incredible open-air theatre right on the edge of the cliff is a highlight of Cornwall and indeed England.  More than 250,000 people experience the Minack Theatre each year both as visitors and to see 200 live performances that take place here each year. 

Minack Theatre near St Just

The story of the Minack began in 1929, right here, when Rowena Cade, having moved from Cheltenham and bought the land on which she built Minack House for £100 – you’ll see the house as you approach the theatre.  The theatre that you see today was built with hand tools, with most of the structures made from concrete that was mixed with sand from the beach below.  You’ll see many of the seats etched with the dates and names of performances that have taken place here.  There’s a whole lot more at the Minack Exhibition Centre at the theatre.   You can visit the Minack theatre simply to walk around and see the exhibition centre – check the opening hours here. If, however, you’re visiting Cornwall while there’s a performance on, this is one of the most incredible things to do in Cornwall. Check performance times and tickets here.

Find your Favourite West Cornwall Beach

Cornwall has a stunning coastline which has more than 400 beaches. Here in West Cornwall, we have some favourites.

Gwenever Beach

Gwenever is one of the most lovely beaches found in deepest West Cornwall, not far from Land’s End.  Gwenever, which is thought to be named after the wife of the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, is a beautiful sandy beach with a spectacular natural beauty located at the foot of Trevedra cliff. It’s also within walking distance of the busy surfing beach in Sennen. Walking between these two beaches is only possible when the water levels are low.

Sennen beach

Sennen borders Gwener beach and is more commonly known as the Whitesands Bay. It has a busy surf school and great eateries making it a vibrant beach. If you love adventure, then your favorite beach in West Cornwall is likely to be Sennen.

Sennen Beach near St Just

Portheras Beach

Portherras beach is a spot preferred by many locals and it’s located near Pendeen, between St Just and St Ives. It’s friendly for dog walkers and bodyboarders and offers a quiet, relaxing, and secluded space.

There’s more in our guide to the best West Cornwall beaches here.

Explore the Shipwreck of the RMS Mulheim

The RMS Mulheim was a German Cargo ship, assembled in Romania and was launched in 1999. On 22nd March 2003, the ship was wrecked in Gamper Bay near Land’s End while carrying 2,200 tonnes of scrap car plastic.  Most of the cargo was salvaged before the salvage operation was halted on 29 May 2003.  By October of 2003, the ship had been broken into two pieces and then pushed into an inlet called Castle Zawn.  The wreck went down to its superstructure before long and by 2017 it had been mostly broken up, but you can still see the rusting stern bulkheads and some sections of decking.  To get to Gamper Bay Cove, walk from Sennen Cove along the coastal path towards Land’s End for 5-10 minutes.

Walk to St Helen’s Oratory

The site here dates back to Roman times, but the remains are of a small Christian chapel.  You’ll find it by walking along the Cape Cornwall road from St Just to its end.  There’s a cross on the end gable of the chapel, it was not originally attached to the site, but was found nearby.

Where to stay in St Just

St Just has some lovely places to stay – and we’ve picked the best holiday cottages in St Just, the nicest St Just Hotels and the most lovely B&B’s in our guide on places to stay in St Just here – but here are our top picks for a St Just B&B and a St Just Holiday Cottage.

The Old Post Office B&B, St Just

The Old Post Office B&B is situated at St. Just, a 12-minute walk from the nearby beach and 18km from the famous St Ives. At the Old Post Office B&B, you will enjoy excellent accommodation and a relaxed environment.  The B&B has spacious units that have a fabulous seating area, two ensuite shower rooms, a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, and a tea/coffee maker.

 See more photos of the Old Post Office B&B here.

  • The Old Post Office B&B Address: 24 Bosorne Street, St Just, TR19 7LU, United Kingdom
  • Is there Parking at the Old Post Office B&B?  No parking
  • Is there free Wifi at the Old Post Office B&B?  Yes
  • Is Breakfast available at the Old Post Office B&B?  Yes

Reserve dates for your holiday in West Cornwall at the Old Post Office B&B here.

Sea Two Seas, St Just

Sea Two Seas cottage is just simply stunning.  And seriously well equipped. This exceptional cottage boasts impressive features and attention to detail and benefits from the glorious sea views of the Cornish Coast.  It has four bedrooms, a stylish dining table, cloakroom, an open plan kitchen, utility room, underfloor heating, Sky TV, a private garden, and a deck area with outdoor seating.  The garden has a hot tub and a fire pit.  There are four bikes, paddleboards included in the rent – along with bathrobes and even wellies too!  Sea Two Seas is extremely popular, and you will have to book early to reserve this amazing holiday cottage.  

There’s a double oven, filter coffee machine, and wine cooler and for entertainment, it’s second to none.  There are books games and also Netflix, Amazon TV, Now TV, Sky Atlantic, Sky Cinema, and Sky Entertainment

Like the Sea Two Seas Cottage? Check availability and book your stay in this fabulous barn conversion near St Just here.

Travel Tips for Exploring Cornwall

Final Words on things to do in St Just

St Just is a great place to base yourself to explore the mining heritage of West Cornwall.  The town has excellent facilities and is well located for hiking West Cornwall, exploring Land’s End and Cape Cornwall, and all that the area has to offer.  Rent yourself a comfortable cottage,  pack your hiking boots and come and explore this glorious part of Cornwall.

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