Things to do on the Lizard

The Best Things to do on the Lizard

The Lizard peninsula is located at the very bottom of Cornwall, (and therefore also the UK), with Lizard Point being the country’s southernmost point. It’s close to Falmouth and is usually very peaceful. People come here to wander around and relax. There are a few villages in the region, but no significant towns (the nearest are Helston and Falmouth). The Lizard is mostly agricultural land, yet it boasts wonderful sandy beaches that attract visitors. It is a stunning place to spend a holiday in Cornwall. Welcome to the best things to do on the Lizard!

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Where to Stay on the Lizard

The Lizard is a gloriously relaxed place to stay in Cornwall and there are some fabulous places to stay, we wrote about them here, but here are our top recommendations for the best hotel on the Lizard and the best holiday home on the Lizard.

The Boathouse, Holiday Home on the Lizard

As this beautiful 6-bedroom boathouse on the Lizard you’re just steps away from the shore and your own private slipway to the beach, which has a sand and shingle beachfront, is located just a few feet past your garden. Take a morning swim in the waters of the creek, or rent a kayak or boat and explore. There’s more information about The Boathouse here.

This stunning contemporary holiday home on the Lizard is located along a single-track country lane and is perfect for a getaway from it all trip to Cornwall.  There’s a wraparound deck with glorious views, a cosy living area, a games room, a modern kitchen-diner, and super king-size double rooms with en-suites. The enormous kitchen is well equipped with all you’ll need to self-cater and the lounge area comes with a TV, games, and toys should a rainy day intervene. This is a stunning location and a glorious holiday cottage on the Lizard, you can see more about it here.

Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa

The 30 guestrooms at this Lizard Hotel come with tea and coffee-making amenities, and complimentary welcome packs, and there are a range of rooms available from Standard to Sea-view and Premier. Large rooms offer relaxed luxury, with large windows facing the Atlantic with a light, reflective colour palette.  The heated pool here is a glorious treat in this fabulous hotel on the Lizard, and the hot tubs and spa are perfect for relaxing in. You can read more about Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa here.

Three treatment rooms, an outdoor wood-fired hot tub, a heated seasonal pool, a sun terrace, a lounge area, an indoor hydrotherapy infinity pool, a steam room, a sauna, and a post-treatment relaxation room are all features of this luxury retreat on the Lizard. Want to see more of Mullion Cove Hotel & Spa? Check more details.

The Best Things to do on the Lizard, Cornwall

The whole area of the Lizard has a quiet atmosphere, and beyond a few well-known villages, there’s lots to explore.  This gorgeous area of Cornwall is surrounded by the sea on three sides and bordered by the Helford River in the north, the Lizard peninsular is actually a geological anomaly composed of a complex combination of rocks that are essentially a section of the Earth’s crust pushed up above sea level.  The peninsula is thought to have formed hundreds of millions of years ago when the sea bottom was pushed up and collided with the Cornish shore. As a result, not only is this area of Cornwall interesting for geologists, but it also has some breathtaking views. There are heaps of hidden coves, beaches, wooded valleys, and windswept landscapes to explore here. 

Visit Lizard Point

Most people come to the Lizard because of Lizard Point and the fact that it’s Britain’s most southern point, aside from that few people travel beyond Helston or Falmouth.  Lizard Point has been a landmark for hundreds or thousands of years. Ships have historically used Lizard Point for navigating and many ships from the Atlantic used to make their initial landing here. However,  the waters are dangerous here, there are shallow reefs beyond the Lizard Point cliffs that have claimed numerous ships. The 1750s Lizard lighthouse saved many lives and now houses a museum. (and some rather fabulous holiday cottages that you can take a look at here!)

Lizard Point’s steep, craggy cliffs drop into the Atlantic and beyond the headland, jagged rocks rise like bared teeth, almost warning passing vessels to stay away. In spring and summer, Hottentot fig, thrift, and samphire bloom on these cliffs and they are glorious places to walk. The cliffs are also a great place to see sea life including seals, dolphins, and the odd basking shark.

  • Address of Lizard Point: Lizard, Helston TR12 7NT, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Lizard Point: Admission is free
  • Opening hours of Lizard Point: Open 24 hours every day

Visit the Lizard Lighthouse

The Lizard is Cornwall’s only lighthouse that you can climb. The lighthouse here is now automatically operated and serves a crucial purpose for ships navigating the offshore seas. The Lizard Lighthouse has guided ships safely home for over 260 years. The tower is 19 meters tall and has a light range of 26 nautical miles. The Engine Room displays include some engaging hands-on activities, and the facility still has several antique machines. You must climb to the top of the lighthouse for wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean and you should also listen to Lighthouse Keepers’ tales, send a message using Morse Code, and even blow the foghorn! You may either self-tour or pay for a guided tour.

  • Address of Lizard Lighthouse: 3 Lighthouse Rd, Lizard, Helston TR12 7NT, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Lizard Lighthouse: Adults – £4.50, Child – £2.50
  • Opening hours of Lizard Lighthouse: Open from Sunday to Thursday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Open at weekends at certain times of the year – check opening times here.

Visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek

Technically, Gweek is just on the borders of the Lizard, but it’s worth making the trip to visit this place.  The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a charity that rescues and rehabilitates grey seal pups from the Cornish coast.  Each year they rehabilitate more than 70 pups that have had to be rescued for various reasons.  The sanctuary, located in Gweek, also is home to those animals who are no longer able to be returned to the wild.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary dates back to the winter of 1958 when a tiny seal pup was washed up at the beach at St Agnes. Ken and Mary Jones, living close by rescued the pup and took it back to their garden.  It was the start of the Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall.  Ken’s work started that day and he ran a small rescue centre for seals and birds affected by oil in St Agnes for several years.  In searching for a larger site he was offered land near the River Helford at Gweek and it was here he moved the sanctuary in 1975.   The number of pools and capacity to deal with more seals increased over the ears.  Today you’ll find nursery pools, convalescent pools and resident pools as well as a specially designed hospital for seals and other sea life. 

The permanent residents that you see here as you walk around the trails at the Gweek Seal Sanctuary are here because they would not be able to survive in the wild and you can read their stories as you walk around. 

As well as Seals you’ll also find Southern and California Sealions, plus otters, penguins, sheep, ponies, goats and even beavers! 

Parking is free on-site, and entrance costs are £16.50 for adults, and £13,50 for children your entry fee is valid for 12 months, so you can return as many times as you wish.  It’s a great day out for all ages.

  • Address of Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, TR12 6UG.
  • Cost to enter Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek: £16.50 for adults, £13.50 for children.  Family tickets are available.
  • Opening hours of Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek: 10 am until 5 pm, last admission 3.30 pm

Visit the Poldark Mine and Rural Open-Air Museum

Poldark Tin Mine is one of Cornwall’s most important historical monuments. It’s located in the Wendron Valley, near Helston, and features the oldest preserved mine workings in Great Britain that are available to the public. Fans of the Poldoark TV series (and the books by Winston Graham, covered in our best Cornish books here) will love this place.  Poldark Mine is one of the few mines where you can get to see the underground workings as you are taken down into the mine through a maze of caves and tunnels. Poldark’s mines date from the Middle Ages to the 1790s and have kept much of their historic character. There are several low areas, limited passageways, and many stairs, so it’s not suitable for those with limited mobility and you must use the supplied hard helmet, and wear suitable shoes. (No flip-flops or open sandals).  Episodes of both the 2015 and 1977 Poldark series were filmed here.

NOTE: The Poldark Mine remains CLOSED – please check their Facebook page for updated opening times

  • Address of Poldark Mine and Rural Open-Air Museum: Trenear, Wendron, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 0ES, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Poldark Mine and Rural Open-Air Museum: Adult – £20.00, child – £12.00
  • Opening hours of Poldark Mine and Rural Open-Air Museum: Open from 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Explore a Beach on the Lizard Peninsula Cornwall

You’ll have your choice of beaches on the Lizard, and likely pick one based on the prevailing weather at the time you visit.  Here’s the best of the beaches on the peninsular, including the best beaches near Lizard Point.

  • Poldu Cove – Poldhu Beach is ideal for families because of its soft sand and easy access from the surrounding car park. It is popular with surfers, so it may become crowded. However, there are lifeguards on duty throughout the summer. Locals enjoy the café as well.
  • Kennack Sands – Kennack Sands, with the east of its two beaches welcoming dogs all year, features strong surf, a nearby car park, and a café, making it accessible and ideal for families. Throughout the summer, lifeguards are on duty every day. Sunken boats may occasionally be seen at low tide, so keep a keen eye out.
  • Kynance Cove – this famous cover has appeared in several television shows and films, including Poldark and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The café here serves delicious ice cream and has lovely views.  It’s best to visit at low tide.

Walk the 7-mile Lizard Coastal Route

This is a wonderful treasure of a walk along the Cornish Coast with jaw-dropping scenery! A lovely 4.5-mile Cornish coastal walk that takes you all the way down the ‘Serpentine Rock’ coastal route to the hidden wonder of Kynance Cove, then returns “across the Lizard”. This is a well-signposted path with many things to explore along the way, including the beach at Kynance Cove (one of South Cornwall’s most fabulous beaches), towering rock stacks, and wonderful caverns accessible at low tide. Bringing a camera is strongly suggested since the views are breathtaking, and there is a chance of seeing seals and dolphins along the route.  Read more about this route here.

Walk the South West Coast Path from Kennack Sands to Cadgwith Cove

This circular route starts at Kennack Sands, where serpentine stones fill the shore and continues down the coastal road to Cadgwith Cove, which is filled with charming, thatched homes and fishing boats. You can even have lunch at the Cadgwith Cove Inn. The return route to Kennack Sands travels inland to Ruan Minor church, then back through Poltesco Mill, Kugger, and over the fields to Gwendreath, before eventually following a wooded path back down to the coastal path near Kennack Sands. It’s a fabulous way to spend a lovely day on The Lizard!

See where the first Cornish Rebellion Started (Keverne)

Away from the Lizard’s shore, St Keverne is worth a visit for its history. In 1497, St Keverne witnessed the first Cornish insurrection. Michael Joseph An Gof led the revolt against increasing subsidies to pay for a war against Scotland. Cornwall was already impoverished, with the majority of the population employed in the unreliable (and low-paying) tin mining or agricultural sectors. An Gof gathered in St Keverne before marching peacefully to London with Cornish and Devonians. The king’s soldiers battled them at Blackheath and took what they could. Flamank and An Gof were hanged, drawn, and quartered. In St Keverne, you can see the monument as you enter the village and visit the church where it all began (there is a plaque commemorating it outside).

Go Windsurfing on the Lizard

Coverack Windsurfing Centre is set in a sandy harbour sheltered from the South Westerly wind, making it ideal for beginner windsurfers.  There’s also a specific area where more experienced surfers can enjoy themselves.  There’s even a dry land simulator which is dedicated to safety instruction and close-up demonstrations. This is a great spot to try a new sport as they provide all the windsurfing equipment needed for your windsurfing experience.  If windsurfing isn’t your thing, then there are also kayaks, boats, fishing, and even trips to the Minack Open Air Cliff Top Theatre near Penzance!

  • Address of Coverack Windsurfing Centre: Sunny Corner, Coverack, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 6SY, United Kingdom
  • Opening hours of Coverack Windsurfing Centre: Open Monday to Sunday 09:00 am – 6:00 pm

Visit Flambard’s Theme Park on the Lizard if you have kids

If you have children, why not spend the day at Flambards, Cornwall’s number one theme park? Flambards Theme Park is a fantastic family getaway, offering a variety of indoor activities, family entertainment, and exciting rides. Among the exciting rides offered are the Hornet Rollercoaster, SkyRaker, and Colorado River log flume. The carousel and teacup rides provide a more classic experience. Additionally, there are various indoor play options, as well as award-winning underground artworks that include a Victorian town and a ‘Britain in the Blitz’ environment.

  • Address of Flambards Theme Park: Clodgey Ln, Helston TR13 0QA, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Flambards Theme Park (Rides & Attractions Open): Single Standard Admission Price (online price) – Adult £19.95 (£17.96), Child £14.95 (£13.46)
  • Opening hours of Flambards Theme Park: Flambards opens at 10 am on Ride and Attraction Days, the final admission is at 3 pm Attractions and rides are closed 30 minutes before Flambards closes at 5 pm (rides close at 4:30 pm). Indoor Attraction Only Days – final admission is at 3 pm, and the attractions shut at 4 pm (Attractions shut at 3 pm on Fridays.)

Visit the Cornish Camel Farm if you have kids

The Camel Centre is a farm with a twist! This organic farm also has a herd of Bactrian camels in addition to Welsh black cattle and sheep.  It’s a great opportunity to explore the Goonhilly Downs Nature Reserve and see the camels, which are located in their own gorgeous valley in a region of remarkable natural beauty. Bring a picnic!

  • Address of Cornish Camels: Rosuick Organic Farm, St Martin, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 6DZ, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Cornish Camels: Admission is free
  • Opening hours of Cornish Camels: Open Monday to Thursday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Go on a Spy Mission Treasure Trails if you have kids

This self-guided spy treasure trail is great fun, and while we say, if you have kids, you don’t necessarily need kids, just a good sense of fun!  On the Porthleven Spy trail, you get  an immediately downloadable PDF and the clues to solving the crime are buried in landmarks, monuments, and sculptures across town

  • Address of Porthleven Spy Mission Treasure Trail: The Porthleven Treasure Trail starts at, Church Row, Porthleven, Cornwall, TR13 9HW, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Porthleven Spy Mission Treasure Trail: The trail costs £9.99. (Not per person). For a group of 4 to 5 individuals, one Trail booklet is advised. You can buy them here.
  • Opening hours of Porthleven Spy Mission Treasure Trail: Treasure Trail self-guided trails are available online. On any day of your choice, follow the Trail, solve the puzzles, and experience the sites. There is no need to call for opening hours. All Trails are intended to be completed throughout the day.

Visit some of the gardens in the area

Glendurgan and Trebah are two well-known local gardens, and two of our favourite gardens in Cornwall. Both are located in valleys on the far side of the lovely Helford River, yet the similarities don’t end there. With a variety of subtropical vegetation, mature trees, woodland walks, and a beach at the end, choosing which to visit is almost challenging. Trebah has the advantage for experienced gardeners, and the view down the valley past the famous palm trees is stunning. Glendurgan, on the other hand, offers some fantastic exploration as well as a wonderful laurel labyrinth dating back to 1833. Glendurgan’s beach and village are both worth seeing on their own. I’d visit both.  There’s more on these and other Cornish gardens to visit in our guide to Cornwall’s Gardens here.

Visit Bonython Estate Gardens

The Bonython estate gardens combine tropical and traditional horticulture with the walled garden dating back to the late eighteenth century.  However, it wasn’t until 1999 when new South African owners arrived that the current planting scheme was established. There are ornamental grasses, cannas, and proteas here and the walled garden’s herbaceous borders are lined with alliums, catmint, and other plants that match blue, purple, yellow, and white. There’s also a herb garden here, plus an orchard of Cornish apple trees and a tree fern and rhododendron valley.  This isn’t a traditional Cornish Garden by any stretch of the imagination, but it is truly unique.

  • Address of Bonython Estate Gardens: Bonython Estate Gardens, Cury Cross Lanes, Helston, TR12 7BA, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Bonython Estate Gardens: Adults – £6, Child – £2
  • Opening hours of Bonython Estate Gardens: Monday 4th April 2022 – Friday 16th September 2022 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.  Closed all bank holidays.

Go Diving while on the Lizard

Kennack Diving is the most southerly dive centre in England and they provide a complete variety of PADI courses, custom guided dives, air, and equipment rental.  Anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 can have a go, so long as you’re moderately fit and comfortable being in the water.  You can even test out how you feel in dive gear in the heated swimming pool before heading to the water.  Anyone over the age of 12 can take a trial dive with instructors.  This is a great way to see a completely different perspective of the Cornwall AONB.

  • Address of Kennack Diving: Sea Acres Holiday Park Kennack Sands, Helston TR12 7LT, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Kennack Diving: Prices vary based on the kind of course and equipment needed.
  • Opening hours of Kennack Diving: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Visit the town of Helston

Helston is the Cornish town nearest to the Lizard peninsula. It isn’t a tourist destination as such, yet there are plenty of things to do here. If you’re looking for indoor activities on the Lizard in the rain, The Museum of Cornish Life is one of the best in the region, with displays illustrating Cornwall’s social history. Coronation Park is a big park with a café and a boating lake, and the Blue Anchor is one of Cornwall’s most famous pubs, with, of course, smuggling origins. Want to see more? Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Helston.

Visit Porthleven Harbour

Porthleven is located near the Lizard and is the UK’s most southerly operating port. Although it is rather large in comparison to other neighbouring places it definitely retains the feeling of a Cornish fishing community.  You’ll find cafes, bars and restaurants here and there’s also a small shingle beach.

Visit Loe Pool

Loe Pool is located near Helston and is a lovely location to go for a stroll near the Lizard. Loe means pool in Cornish, hence it’s often referred to as “The Loe” by locals. It is Cornwall’s biggest natural lake and is home to a variety of wildlife. Boating, fishing, and swimming aren’t allowed here, but it is rather picturesque.  There’s also a track that track runs the length of the lake to walk along. The Loe Bar, which divides the lake from the sea, is located near the lake’s end.

Visit Mullion Cove on the Lizard

Mullion Cove is a small historic port situated near the town of Mullion. It’s not as pretty, I don’t think, as Kynance, but it’s a pretty cove that’s popular for watersports. Mullion Village, the biggest village on the Lizard, is well worth a visit, with old cottages, and some rather fabulous holiday accommodation here.

Visit the Marconi Centre

The Marconi Centre is named after the electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi. It is located on the historic Poldhu Wireless Station site, which was founded by Marconi in order to disprove the widely held belief that radio waves could only travel in straight lines. He also wanted to establish a telegraph service capable of connecting to Canada and other locations and here you can see how Marconi accomplished this achievement.

  • Address of Marconi Centre: Marconi Centre, Poldhu Cove, Mullion, TR12 7JB, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Marconi Centre: Admission is free
  • Opening hours of Marconi Centre: Operating hours vary

Visit Coverack on the Lizard

Coverack Harbour is a lovely site to explore on the Lizard Peninsula, as well as a large village (at least by Lizard standards!). At high tide, there is a stony beach, but when the tide is out, there is plenty of sand to enjoy. Coverack also boasts a lovely and historic harbour. This port, which dates from 1724, was used to land and ship pilchards (read our guide to Cornish food here) from the Lizard.

Buy ice cream from Roskillys on the Lizard

Roskilly’s Cornish ice cream is famous and excellent.  Coming to the Roskilly Farm means you’ll get much more than ice cream to enjoy.  You can visit the cows that provide the milk and cream that goes into the ice cream, but there’s also a duck pond and beehives (at a safe distance).  There are more ponds and woods to explore here too, and you can also walk to Rosenithon to join the coastal route and find the peaceful Godrevy Cove.

  • Address of Roskilly’s Ice Cream Farm: Tregellast Barton Farm, St Keverne, Helston TR12 6NX, United Kingdom
  • Cost to enter Roskilly’s Ice Cream Farm: Admission is free
  • Opening hours of Roskilly’s Ice Cream Farm: Open Monday to Tuesday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and 10:00 am to 7:30 pm on Wednesday to Sunday

Visit Porthallow and the Five Pilchards

Porthallow is a lovely community with a well-known pub, The Five Pilchards, named after Cornwall’s pilchard industry! (they do a very good pint of Tribute)It’s also a significant point if you’re walking the South West Coast Path since there’s a signpost here marking the halfway point.  The walk round towards Helston is glorious. The beach is sandy, but the water is clean, and there are lovely views over to Falmouth. It’s also worth stopping at the Fat Apples Cafe, which offers great food and includes a wild camping spot for hikers.

Visit Tardis Like Constantine Stores

The village of Constantine is found on the Lizard’s northern border, between Helston and Falmouth. It’s a short walk from the Helford River and a short drive from Trebah and Glendurgan Gardens. And you might think that it’s a weird thing to include as a must-see, a village shop.  Well.  Constantine Stores is no ordinary village shop. Constantine Stores is like a TARDIS, with the most massive inventory of alcohol conceivable tucked away in the back. What you’ll discover here is the widest assortment of spirits in the southwest. The family-run establishment has offered exceptional whiskies from throughout the world for over 60 years. There are currently over 1,000 varieties, as well as artisan gins, rums, cognacs, and Armagnacs. This is not your typical souvenir shop.

So why is the Lizard called the Lizard?

Lizard is one of Cornwall’s strange names, and you might think that it’s named after the reptile.  However.  It’s not. The Anglican name Lizard, like Mousehole (Muzzle) to the west, is derived from a Cornish phrase. The name, the Lizard is most likely derived from the Cornish word “Lis-Ardh,” which means “fortress.” This might be because of a medieval stronghold here. Other theories say that it is derived from the words “Lys-Ardh,” which means “high court.”

Where is the Lizard?

The Lizard Peninsula, which extends out into the sea and ends at Lizard Point, is located on Cornwall’s south coast. It is not far from Falmouth and Helston. (Read our guide of things to do in Falmouth here)

How to Get to the Lizard

Lizard is only really accessible by car since there isn’t much public transport around here. 

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.

To drive to the Lizard

You’ll need to follow the A30 westbound and then take the A39, which becomes the A394 towards Helston.  Take the A3083 signposted to Lizard Point.  This will take you to the west coast of the Lizard.

If you’re heading for the Lizard’s east coast, then head towards Falmouth (the A30 and the A39) and then take the B3293, then it’s best to follow the signposts to the various villages you’re aiming for.

To get the bus to the Lizard

The 34 bus goes from Lizard Point to Redruth, with stops at Mullion and Helston.  The L1 bus goes from Helston to Lizard Point via Flambards Theme Park and Mullion.

There is also a bus that runs from Porthleven to Penzance.

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Final Words on the Best Things to do in The Lizard

If you’re looking for a laidback, quiet Cornwall, then the Lizard is the place to come.  It’s here that people take their time coming here to wander around and relax.  There are some great beaches here, some fabulous small villages and some great walks, with a couple of good pubs en route. 

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