Our day out: Driving Cornwall's Route 66


Oh, yes. You don’t have to go all the way to the United States to drive along Route 66. We have our own version, right here in Cornwall. And so two of our property managers, Charmian and Ali plus Charmian’s Westie, Lucy, took off to see what all the fuss is about.

Cornwall’s Route 66 stretches from Zennor to Sennen. Not unlike a couple of giggling school girls, they took a brief diversion to take in Porthcurno and Porthgwarra (famous nowadays for the nude bathing scene with Captain Ross Poldark). Chuckles aside, there was one other minor detour: Pendeen Lighthouse.

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Why Route 66?

The journey from Zennor to Sennen is up there as one of the top five drives in Cornwall. And it wasn’t all play. We had to pay a visit to one of our large group rentals, Raftra Farmhouse. It was the perfect excuse to visit the areas promoted within the property description and refresh our knowledge, so we can share it with our guests.

The best bits of your Cornwall day out?

It was fabulous to be out on the open road and tracing such a scenic route. We were blessed with fabulous weather, which made it all the better. We had a delicious lunch in Sennen Cove, but most memorable of all? The ice creams we bought at Porthgwarra Cafe in the Cove. Heavenly Cornish ice cream at its best! Plus the staff were very friendly and there was ample parking.

Porthgwarra Cove Cafe, Ice cream stop

Sennen Cove was well geared up for visitors. The Surf Den Cafe on the beach served up a delicious pizza. This café was also dog friendly which was a real bonus.

Pizza at the Surf Den Cafe Pizza at the Surf Den Cafe

Anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery and has some time on their hands is likely to enjoy the slow paced scenic road. We even had a Thelma and Louise moment pondering how fabulous it would be to do it in an open top sports car!

Oh and Ali took great delight in discovering that there are Highland cows in West Cornwall!

Top tips for planning this trip?

We stopped at Geevor Tin Mine for a cuppa and to stretch our legs, and Lucy’s. The facilities at the mine could benefit from offering takeaway coffees to visitors with dogs and some outside seating or benches (no dogs allowed in the cafe), especially off peak when passing trade is mostly walkers. The outside loos were also closed in early March. The car park is unsealed, so take it easy if you’re precious about your vehicle!

Statue of tin miner at Geevor Mine Let's go digging!

We’d definitely recommend packing a picnic and Thermos for an out of season drive. Not many of the cafes and coffee shops along the route were open. And take water and necessaries for your dog as a few of places en route are not geared up for dogs.

If you divert to Pendeen Lighthouse, wear sensible shoes and take it steady out of season. It was rather slippery underfoot in places.

The ‘famous’ mermaid pew in St Senara’s Church in Zennor was a little underwhelming. It’s a beautiful example of an ancient church pew, but little else. Zennor’s fame for the legend of the mermaid might have stretched the imagination a little far in describing its appeal!

Mermaid pew of Zennor Church, West Cornwall Mermaid pew of St Senara’s Church

Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy this route. We could have stopped more and are longing to do it again in that convertible...

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About the author: Charmian and Ali both work in Cornish Traditional Cottages' property department and visited the Penwith Heritage Coast in March 2018.

Click to read about the other destinations and attractions Ali and Charmian have visited.