Explore the Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard Peninsula is one of the least developed parts of Cornwall (apart from the open moorland spaces). It is the most southerly area of England, and the semi-tropical flora makes you wonder if you’re in England at all.
The real draw of the area is that it remains so typical of pre-tourist Cornwall. Considerable charm is found in the magnificent coastline, with sharp contrasts such as the tranquillity of the Helford River juxtaposed with the ruggedness of the east coast and the beauty of Kennack Sands in the south.
The scenery changes as you head south on the Lizard Peninsula. Leaving the granite of the inner moors behind and crossing onto an outcrop made of “serpentine” rocks, named for their waxy red, white and green strips or layers which are actually where a bit of the ocean’s crust has been thrust up onto the continental plate. The unusual geology of the peninsula creates a haven for the rare plants and flowers.
All around the coastline, you’ll find little fishing villages with large granite seawalls to protect their harbours from Atlantic storms. Restaurants specialise in fresh, locally caught seafood, and the warm, luscious climate can resemble the Mediterranean.
The tip of the Lizard is the most southerly point of the UK’s mainland. Calm or storm, you can’t help imagining the many thousands of ships that have passed this way, hundreds of them coming to grief on this treacherous coast as their crews tried to face the challenges of the ocean. To the west is Halzephron Cliff, the scene of many such shipwrecks, which takes its name from the Cornish als and yfarn – Hell’s Cliff. Then retire to the safety of Polpeor Café, or visit the lifeboat station and lighthouse, all on the South West Coast Path.
The beaches around the Lizard are spectacular. Photogenic Kynance Cove is perhaps the most famous and beloved in the region, but there are lots of others, each with its own unique magic. We’ve counted twenty-four individual and noteworthy beaches or coves, starting from the beautiful and unspoilt Stackhouse Cove at the eastern end of Mount’s Bay, and finishing at peaceful Gillan Harbour Beach on the western side of the Lizard.
If you’d like to visit the Lizard, take a look at our cottages in west Cornwall, where this beautiful part of the country can be right on your doorstep.