The South West Coast Path is one of the most spectacular walking trails in England. It’s also the longest, stretching 630 miles (1014 km) along the rugged and beautiful coastline from Somerset to Dorset.
With breathtaking views, bustling towns, stunning scenery, sandy beaches, gorgeous coastal scenery, and hidden coves, it’s no wonder that thousands of hikers from around the world flock to this trail each year.
Walking the South West Coast Path is a truly unforgettable experience, offering a chance to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and immerse oneself in the beauty of the British countryside with dramatic scenery.
That said, it’s one hell of a walk, so it might not be for everyone. That’s why I’m going to show you how to break it down so you don’t have to complete this British walking route all at once.
Highlights of the South West Coast Path
Jurassic Coast: The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic features of the South West Coast Path. It spans 95 miles from East Devon Coast to Dorset and features stunning cliffs, beaches, and rock formations. Some of the highlights of the Jurassic Coast include Durdle Door, Old Harry Rocks, and Lulworth Cove.
Land’s End: Land’s End is the westernmost point in England and a highlight for hikers on the South West Coast Path. It offers dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline. Walkers can also visit the nearby Minack Theatre, a unique open-air theatre built into the cliffs overlooking the sea.
St. Ives: St. Ives is a picturesque fishing village located on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s known for its white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and charming narrow streets. Walkers can explore the town’s art galleries, visit the St. Ives Museum, or take a boat tour to see seals and dolphins.
Exmoor National Park: The South West Coast Path passes through Exmoor National Park, a wild and rugged landscape of heather-clad moorland, deep valleys, and forests. Walkers can spot wildlife such as red deer and Exmoor ponies, as well as visit historic sites like the ruins of Tarr Steps, an ancient clapper bridge.
Plymouth: Plymouth is a historic port city that played a key role in maritime history, including the voyage of the Mayflower to America. Walkers can visit the Mayflower Museum, explore the historic Barbican district, or take a ferry to nearby Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park.
Everything You Need To Know About The South West Coast Path
As mentioned earlier, the South West Coast Path is one hell of a walk; in fact, it holds the record for being the longest National Train in England.
The path stretches the entire South West Peninsula for 630 miles (1,014 km)… Yep, that’s right, 630 miles!
It was designated as a National Trail in 1978 and quickly became a legendary route for any hiker to take on. The South West Coast Path Association manages it, and they help to keep the path in top condition.
The South West Coast Path starts in Minehead, Somerset Country, and passes through Exmoor, North Devon, and Cornwall before following the Dorset coastline and finishing 630 miles later in South Haven Point.
Surprisingly, one of the most challenging aspects of the walk isn’t the distance. It’s the fact that you have to take on 115,000 ft of ascents and descents.
To put this in perspective, that’s like climbing Mount Everest four times. Crazy, right?
Most people don’t make it through the hike in one go due to fitness levels and time, so most opt to take it on in sections:
How Long Does It Take to Walk the South West Coast Path?
As you can imagine, walking 630 miles takes a fair bit of time, especially with the ascents and descents you need to take on.
Of course, if you’re willing to walk 21 miles a day, you can get the whole thing done in 30 days, but, let’s be honest, most people can’t do that. Most walkers take around 7 to 8 weeks to complete the South West Coast Path.
You can split the hike into seven sections to make things easier, which looks a little bit like this:
- Somerset and Exmoor (35 miles)
- North Devon (90 miles)
- North Cornwall (66 miles)
- West Cornwall (144 miles)
- South Cornwall (76 miles)
- South Devon (104 miles)
- Jurassic Coast (115 miles)
If you’re looking to break the record time, you’d have to walk over 63 miles per day for ten days, but again, let’s face it, most of us aren’t going to do that.
The South West Coast Path National Trail is one of 16 national trails found in the UK.
Here’s a list of all the national trails in the UK: Cleveland Way, Cotswold Way, Glyndwr’s Way, Hadrian’s Wall Path, North Downs Way, Offa’s Dyke Path, Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path, Pennine Bridleway, Pennine Way, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, The Ridgeway, South Downs Way, South West Coast Path, Thames Path, The West Highland Way, Yorkshire Wolds Way.
Week By Week Break Down of Walking the South West Coast Path
Usually, we do a day-by-day breakdown of the walks, but with 52 days to cover, you’d be here all day reading. So, to make this article a little bit more manageable for you, we’ve gone for a week-by-week guide.
I’ve hiked in the UK for 20 years, have experience in teaching outdoor education and have walked the South West Coast Path, so you’re in good hands. I’ll share the highlights, point out tricky or technical sections if there are any, and share my favorite accommodations for walkers each day.
Let’s take a look:
Walk From Minehead To Westward Ho! (Exmoor & North Devon): 7 Days
- Start Point: Minehead
- Distance: 87 miles (140 km)
- Total Ascent: 2,473 m (8,114 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Porlock Weir, Lynmouth, Combe Martin, Braunton, Instow (optional)
- Finish Point: Westward Ho!
The first week of your walk starts in the town of Minehead, which you can reach by train.
On your first day of hiking, you’ll follow the coastline to the small village of Porlock Weir. It starts you off slow with a 9-mile hike. While hiking, make sure you keep an eye out for all the fantastic wildlife along the way; it is rich in wildlife and fauna.
You have a few options for sleeping in Porlock Weir, including Porlock Weir Hotel and The Best Of Exmoor.
On day 2, you’ll walk 12 miles to the small seaside village of Lynmouth. You follow scenic cliff paths and wooded combes with waterfalls and streams (in the right season.) I really enjoyed this section of the walk.
After a lovely day of hiking, you’ll arrive at Lynmouth, where you can spend the night at Lyn Valley Guest House or Orchard House.
On day 3, you have a 13-mile journey to Combe Martin. The main sightseeing opportunities come with Castle Rock, a small pile of rocks that could resemble a castle, and The Valley Of Rocks, with its stunning rock formations.
Once at Combe Martin, you’ll spend the night at Pack o’ Cards Inn.
The following day you have another 13-mile walk to the seaside resort of Woolacombe.
This section takes you through areas of Special Scientific Interest, and while nothing comes to mind of interest, it is a special section full of stunning landscapes.
After arriving at Woolacombe, put your bags at your accommodation (Woolacombe Bay and Ocean Heights Woolacombe are great places), and check out the stunning beach and dip.
On day 5, you’re in for a 15-mile hike today, heading to Braunton village. This walk takes you through the best of North Devon Coast, where you’ll be walking the Tarka Trail, well-known for its wildlife and geological interest.
Two of the best places to stay are Marstage Farm CL and Wrafton House because they don’t take you off the trail.
The final section takes you from Braunton to Westward Ho! for a 24-mile hike. Some people like to split the day and spend a night in Instow, but I wanted to get it down so I could have the seventh day as a rest day in the seaside town of Westward Ho!
It’s a relatively easy path with few ups and downs, making life easier. It takes you down the River Taw, where you’ll walk one side, cross over the bridge and walk back down the other side to Westward Ho!
You can spend the night at a few places, including Durrant House or Seabreeze.
Walk From Westward Ho! To Padstow (Hartland and North Cornwall Coast): 4 Days
- Start Point: Westward Ho!
- Distance: 78 miles (125 km)
- Total Ascent: 3,159 m (10,367 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Clovelly (optional), Hartland Quay, Bude, Crackington Haven (optional), Port Isaac
- Finish Point: Padstow
After having a lovely day off at the beach, resting our legs and feeling replenished, my friends and I decided to hike longer days to take a couple of days off each week. This meant having a few twenty-mile days, but we felt it would be worth it in the long run.
The day started at Westward Ho!, and instead of heading to the historic fishing village of Clovelly (like most people do), we decided to skip it and head to the town of Hartland Quay.
It works out as a 21-mile hike where you’ll walk through woodland paths before eventually returning to the craggy coastline. As for places to Hartland Quay, you have one hotel called the Hartland Quay Hotel.
Day 2 is a 15-mile walk to the seaside town of Bude. This is a tough day of hiking with plenty of relentless ascents and descents. From the coastline, you might notice some shipwrecks depending on water conditions.
You’ll also pass a few tumbling waterfalls (Speke’s Mill Mouth Waterfall) before you reach your resting point in Bude. There are many places to stay, including Canalside Bude and The Brendon Arms.
Day 3 sees you walking to the village of Tintagel on a 21-mile journey. You’ll pass Cornwall’s most profound and steepest valleys during the walk. It’s also an excellent time for birdwatching and watching goats graze.
When you reach Tintagel, drop off your bags at your accommodation (Camelot Castle Hotels) and check out Merlin’s Cave for a bit of King Arthur mythology.
Day 4 of this section of the trail takes you to the fishing village of Padstow. Along the way, you’ll pass areas of outstanding beauty like Backways Cove for the views and Doyden castle for a glimpse into English Heritage.
Eventually, you’ll make it to the Rock-Padstow ferry, which runs every 15 minutes and will take you over the River Camel to your final destination Padstow. You can stay there in a few locations, including Padstow Harbour Hotel or Padstow Cottage Company.
Walk From Padstow To St Ives (Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast): 3 Days
- Start Point: Padstow
- Distance: 66 miles (106 km)
- Total Ascent: 1,481 m (4,859 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Porthcothan, Newquay (optional), Perranporth, Portreath (optional), Hayle
- Finish Point: St Ives
You have slightly less walking to do on this section, with the first part of the walk taking you from Padstow to the English Town of Newquay. It’s a long day with 24 miles of hiking; luckily, it’s a straightforward section.
You get to pass the sheltered beach of Hawkers Cove, which is very pleasing to the eye. And it gets pretty populated as you get closer to Newquay. Newquay is a holiday resort town, so there’s no shortage of accommodation (Best Weston and the Premier Inn).
On day 2, you’ll have a 23-mile day ahead of you as you make your way to the village of Portreath. You’ll be walking through salt marshlands where you can watch wading birds enjoying crabs.
One of the highlights is passing the mines and the beautiful building of Wheal Coates before eventually reaching Portreath for the night. You can spend the night at the Copper House Luxury B&B.
Day 3 takes you to the village of St Ives, and it’s a stunning hike of rocky coves and Ralph’s Cupboard (a smuggler’s hotspot for stashing loot). You also pass Britain’s oldest swing bridge as you head to Hayle Estuary.
St Ives is a beautiful coastal town with plenty of places to rest up and explore. You can try staying at St Ives Harbour Hotel.
Walk From St Ives To The Lizard (The Far West Cornwall): 3 Days
- Start Point: St Ives
- Distance: 69 miles (111 km)
- Total Ascent: 1,509 m (4,951 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Pendeen (optional), Sennen Cove, Lamorna (optional), Marazion, Porthleven (optional)
- Finish Point: Lizard
Your first day of hiking is going to take you to the coastal village of Sennen Cove on a 23-mile journey. It was one of the most challenging days of the journey due to the rocky and boggy ground.
Luckily the views you get on your way to Sennen Cove are spectacular and make the journey worth it. You can spend the night at Cove View or N0 4 Trinity Cottages.
On day 2, you’ll head to the civil parish town of Marazion on a 21-mile hike. During this day, you’ll pass the sub-tropical cove of Lamorna and have magical views of Mounts Bay Island and the castle of St Michael’s Mount.
Once you reach your destination, you can stay at Denham House B&B or Castle View, among many other locations.
Your final day of this section, day 3 takes you to The Lizard, a stunning UK peninsula in Southern Cornwall. On this day, you’ll get more stunning Mounts Bay, where you’ll follow the coastline before reaching Predannack Cliffs, part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve.
Looking out at the turquoise sea and the dramatic views of Kynance Cove made this day exceptional for me. I recommend staying at Lloyd’s Signal Station or Tresawle for the close proximity to the coast.
Walk From Lizard To Par (South Cornwall): 4 Days
- Start Point: Lizard
- Distance: 72 miles (115 km)
- Total Ascent: 1,581 m (5,190 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Coverack, Helford (Optional), Falmouth, Portloe, Mevagissey (optional)
- Finish Point: Par
By now, the long hikes were taking their toll, even with a couple of day breaks between each week, so we decided to take it a little slower this week.
The first day is a hike to the village of Coverack, which is about 11 miles away from the Lizard. It took us past Serpentine, a dark green rock that can be polished and carved, but it made some of the walk very slippery.
There are plenty of places to stay at Coverack, including YHA, Paris Hotel, and Fernleigh B&B.
Day 2 is a 23-mile walk to the town of Falmouth, where you’ll take a boat service to cross the river at Helford to Helford Passage. You’ll see plenty of wildlife and lush valleys with subtropical gardens during this section of the walk.
One of this day’s highlights was Pendennis Castle’s views before reaching Falmouth. Again, there are plenty of places to stay, including Anacapri, The Cornish Bank, and The Falmouth Hotel.
Day 3 of your hike is to Portloe village, which requires another boat service river crossing at Falmouth, which runs regularly.
Over the 11 miles of hiking, you’ll see plenty of rugged coastlines and stunning beaches you can stop off at. Portloe is a small village with little accommodation, so you’ll have to choose between The Lugger or Ocean View, both are close to Jacka Point if you want some spectacular views.
On the final day of this week, day 4 takes you to the village of Par on a 24-mile hike. This is a tough day of hiking, but you have plenty to see before you reached Par. You’ll find a few places to stay here, including Sandy Toes Accommodation and East Crinnis Holiday Park.
Walk From Par To Torcross (South East Cornwall And South Hams): 7 Days
- Start Point: Par
- Distance: 94 miles (151 km)
- Total Ascent: 2,039 m (6,690 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Polperro, Portwinkle, Plymouth, River Yealm (optional), Bigbury-On-Sea, Salcombe
- Finish Point: Torcross
It’s the longest week walking the South West Coast Path, so it’s worth taking it slowly so you don’t burn yourself out.
You’re also going to have a lot of river crossings, luckily the ferries all run very regularly, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Your first day is a13 mile walk to the village of Polperro. You’ll pass plenty of small rocky coves, cliffs, and beaches along the way. In Polperro, you can stay at Nepenthe or Claremont Hotel before getting ready for your following day.
Day 2 is a 12-mile hike that takes you to Portwrinkle. During this day, you’ll pass plenty of open fields and urban landscapes, which is a nice contrast. You also pass Batten Cliffs, which is the highest point (141 m) on the south coast of Cornwall.
Once at Portwrinkle, you can stay at Portwrinkle Holidays or the 4 The Fish Cellars.
On day 3, you’ll be heading to the city of Plymouth on a 13-mile hike that takes you to the river crossing at the village of Cremyll. You’ll pass a military firing range today, so watch for red flags.
At Plymouth, you can spend the night at Plymouth Backpackers, The Duke of Cornwall Hotel, or the Travelodge.
Today, day 4, you’ll be heading to meet the River Yelm, where you can take the river crossing Warren Point to Old Cellars. You can spend the night at Warren Point Cottage before the crossing or head to Noss Mayo Village and stay at The Garden House.
On day 5, you’ll head south and follow the coastline to the town of Bigbury-On-Sea, which is about 14 miles away. You need to take another water taxi to the historic parish of Mothecombe over the River Erme.
The walk has many strenuous climbs, open walks, steep down slopes, and coves before reaching Bigbury-On-Sea, where you can spend the night at Burgh Island Hotel.
Day 6, you depart fromFBigbury-On-Sea, and you’re going to take another river crossing over the River Avon and head towards Salcombe, which is about 14 miles away.
This part of the hike takes you through fields of sandy covers and is part of Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Make sure you look out for kestrels and peregrine falcons on the trail.
When you reach Salcombe, you can stay at The Fortescue Inn Salcombe and prepare for your boat trip over Salcombe Harbor.
On day 7, you’ll take the ferry over the Harbor and start your 13-mile journey to this week’s end point of Torcross (a small seaside village).
During this section of the hike, you’ll pass a stretch of coast designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest with rare flowers and the very rare cuckoo bee Nomada Sexfasciata.
When you reach Torcross, you can stay at The Beach or Linger Lodge to get some rest for your second to last week of the South West Coast Path.
Walk From Torcross To Seaton (South & East Devon): 4 Days
- Start Point: Torcross
- Distance: 72 miles (115 km)
- Total Ascent: 1,687 m (5,538 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Dartmouth (optional), Brixham, Babbacombe, Exmouth, Sidmouth (optional)
- Finish Point: Seaton
You have less walking this week, so we decided to get it done and take a few days off. It starts with a hike to Brixham town, which is a 21-mile walk.
During the walk, you’ll follow the coast as usual and many areas of outstanding beauty. It was also great to see Dartmouth Castle, Compass Cove Beach, and The Dragon’s Tail (a rock formation in the sea) before making it to Brixham.
While at Brixham, you can stay at Berry Head and Hortus House. Berry Head is close to the sea, so you might want to choose that one.
On day 2, you head out on an 11-mile walk to the Torquay district to Babbacombe. The path is straightforward and runs along promenades where you can get views of rich red Devon sandstone rocks that tower above the sea.
As you pass golden beaches, you’ll reach the gardens of Babbacombe Downs. You can spend the night at The Babbacombe, Cary Arms & Spa, or Babbacombe Palms.
From Babbacombe, you have a 16-mile hike to the town of Exmouth on day 3. Today is sheer variety on your walk from rugged landscapes to urban areas and vice versa.
Make sure you look out for the wildlife of Dawlish Warren’s National Nature Reserve before you take your second ferry crossing to Exmouth.
While in Exmouth, you can stay at The Imperial Hotel, Cavendish Hotel, or Dolphin, along with many other options.
Day 4 isn’t an easy day of hiking. You’ll head to the seaside town of Seaton on a 24-mile hike.
You’ll be following the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, and it’s a really stunning section of the walk. One of the highlights was the red rocks at High Peak, which towers about the ocean.
It was also great to check out the Beer Quarry Caves, which is just outside of Seaton. It takes you on a 2,000-year-old journey through vaulted caves.
Once at Seaton, you can stay at Fring House, Eyre Court Hotel, or Redcliffs, but you have more options than that if you’re willing to look.
Walk From Seaton to South Haven Point (Dorset’s Jurassic Coast): 6 Days
- Start Point: Seaton
- Distance: 92 miles (148 km)
- Total Ascent: 2,364 m (7,595 ft)
- Sleeping Stops: Seatown, Abbotsbury, Ferry Bridge (optional), Isle Of Portland, Lulworth, Worth Matravers
- Finish Point: South Haven Point
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the last week of walking the South West Coast Path, but unfortunately, it’s not going to be an easy week; you still have 92 more miles to walk. But then you’re done!
You’ll set off from Seaton in the morning for a 14-mile hike to Seatown (a small coastal hamlet). The walk continues across the Jurassic Coast and is rich in vegetation, crumbling cliffs, and pretty seaside settlements.
The coastal path eventually leads to dense woodland, where you occasionally glimpse the sea before reaching Seatown. It’s a pretty small town, so accommodation is limited to The Anchor Inn or Big Berries Farm Camping.
On day 2, from Seatown, it’s time to make your 12-mile hike to the historic village of Abbotsbury. This is a very dramatic section of the Jurassic Coast with plenty of spectacular views along Burton Cliff and Chesil Beach.
Again it’s a small village, so accommodation is limited to Cowards Lake Farmhouse, Furlongs, and East Lodge Guest House.
Day 3 is a 24-mile hike to the Isle of Portland, a small island connected to the mainland via a beach road.
During this section of the hike, you’ll follow the limestone cliffs and many disused quarries that nature has reclaimed, and you can see stunning wildflowers. Eventually, you make it to the Isle of Portland, where you can spend the night at many locations, including Portland Lodge and Heights Hotel.
Day 4 is a 14-mile hike to Lulworth, a charming small village and civil parish. It takes you through some very diverse landscapes while you pass chalk cliffs and briefly leave the Jurassic Coast.
There are many steep ascents and descents until you’re rewarded with stunning views of Lulworth. One of the highlights is looking back at the breathtaking views of the limestone arch of Durdle Door.
Once at Lulworth, you can stay at Seabreeze Holiday Cottage, Lulworth Lodge, or Cove Cottage.
On day 5, we decided we would finish the path by making a 26-mile hike directly to the village of South Haven Point instead of stopping at night at Worth Matravers village as most walkers do, making this section a 6-day walk.
One thing to point out here is that the path runs through ranges, so if there are red flags, you won’t be able to hike this section. And this means catching a bus from West Lulworth to Corfe Castle, where you can rejoin the route.
While walking the coastal path, make sure you keep an eye out for fossils; it’s not unheard of for hikers to find them along the way.
Also, look for bottlenose dolphins as you approach South Haven Point; it’s a hotspot for wildlife. Once at South Haven Point, you can look over Poole Bay to the city of Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.
Congratulations! You’ve just finished walking the South West Coast Path, the longest trail in England!
Where To Stay Along The South West Coast Path
Again, some villages are small, and you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but there’s always accommodation nearby. The trick is to book ahead of time to ensure you get the desired location.
During the summer, some of these places can fill up quickly, so you might not always get the best location.
Arrival Day: Minehead
Minehead To Westward Ho! (Exmoor & North Devon): 7 Days:
Porlock Weir. Our Recommendations: Porlock Weir Hotel or The Best of Exmoor
Lynmouth. Our Recommendations: Lyn Valley Guest House or Orchard House
Combe Martin. Our Recommendation: Pack o’ Cards Inn
Woolacombe. Our Recommendations: Woolacombe Bay or Ocean Heights Woolacombe
Braunton. Our Recommendations: Marstage Farm CL or Wrafton House
Westward Ho!. Our Recommendations: Durrant House or Seabreeze
Westward Ho! To Padstow (Hartland and North Cornwall Coast): 4 Days:
Hartland Quay. Our Recommendation: Hartland Quay Hotel
Bude. Our Recommendations: Canalside Bude or The Brendon Arms
Tintagel. Our Recommendation: Camelot Castle Hotels
Padstow. Our Recommendations: Padstow Harbour Hotel or Padstow Cottage Company
Padstow To St Ives (Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast): 3 Days:
Newquay. Our Recommendations: Best Weston or the Premier Inn
Portreath. Our Recommendation: Copper House Luxury B&B
St Ives. Our Recommendation: St Ives Harbour Hotel
St Ives To The Lizard (The Far West Cornwall): 3 Days:
Sennen Cove. Our Recommendations: Cove View or N0 4 Trinity Cottages
Marazion. Our Recommendations: Denham House B&B or Castle View
The Lizard. Our Recommendations: Lloyd’s Signal Station or Tresawle
Lizard To Par (South Cornwall): 4 Days:
Coverack. Our Recommendations: YHA, Paris Hotel, or Fernleigh B&B
Falmouth. Our Recommendations: Anacapri, The Cornish Bank, or The Falmouth Hotel
Portloe. Our Recommendations: The Lugger or Ocean View
Par. Our Recommendations: Sandy Toes Accommodation or East Crinnis Holiday Park
Par To Torcross (South East Cornwall And South Hams): 7 Days:
Polperro. Our Recommendations: Nepenthe or Claremont Hotel
Portwrinkle. Our Recommendations: Portwrinkle Holidays or the 4 The Fish Cellars
Plymouth. Our Recommendations: Plymouth Backpackers, The Duke of Cornwall Hotel, or the Travelodge
River Yealm. Our Recommendation: Warren Point Cottage
Noss Mayo. Our Recommendation: The Garden House
Bigbury-On-Sea. Our Recommendation: Burgh Island Hotel
Salcombe. Our Recommendation: The Fortescue Inn Salcombe
Torcross. Our Recommendations: The Beach or Linger Lodge
Torcross To Seaton (South & East Devon): 4 Days:
Brixham. Our Recommendations: Berry Head or Hortus House
Babbacombe. Our Recommendations: The Babbacombe, Cary Arms & Spa, or Babbacombe Palms
Exmouth. Our Recommendations: The Imperial Hotel, Cavendish Hotel, or Dolphin
Seaton. Our Recommendations: Fring House, Eyre Court Hotel or Redcliffs
Seaton to South Haven Point (Dorset’s Jurassic Coast): 6 Days:
Seatown. Our Recommendations: The Anchor Inn or Big Berries Farm Camping
Abbotsbury. Our Recommendations: Cowards Lake Farmhouse, Furlongs, or East Lodge Guest House
Isle of Portland. Our Recommendations: Portland Lodge or Heights Hotel
Lulworth. Our Recommendations: Seabreeze Holiday Cottage, Lulworth Lodge, or Cove Cottage South Haven Point
Frequently Asked Questions About Walking the South West Coast Path
Where To Get Food & Drink On the South West Coast Path?
Although you often feel remote, you’re never that far away from a small fishing town or country village, so it’s straightforward to stock up on supplies. You can find anything from country pubs, restaurants, and fish & chips shops to your regular grocery store.
We always recommend carrying some hiking snacks with you though in case you get hungry and aren’t near a village.
You’ll also want to have a good hiking breakfast before you head out each day.
How To Get There And Back?
The best way to get there and back is to use the train system. They have a station in Minehead where you start, where they have trains that run regularly.
You’ll need to get a ferry from South Haven Point to Poole, where you have a station not far away from Cobbs Quay Marina. Again, Poole is well-connected, so you shouldn’t have any trouble returning home.
When Is The Best Time To Walk the South West Coast Path?
As with any hike in the UK, the best time to go is the summer if you’re looking for the best weather. But, with that said, even during the Autumn, you can still get some good days thanks to it being on the southern coast.
Most people say the late summer months are the best, the crowds get quieter, but the weather is still good.
What Gear Do I Need To Bring on the South West Coast Path?
Here’s our list of recommended trekking gear for a multi-day walk like this. Of special note is buying clothing made from Merino wool, which is perfect for English weather, especially if you’re doing the walk in spring or fall.
Plus, I like to bring a good hiking book so I have something to read in the evenings (usually on my Kindle) and record the day in my hiking journal.
And for the ladies who still want to look good while doing this route, check out our hiking makeup tips.
More Information on Walking the South West Coast Path
Guidebooks are great sources of information, like this guidebook which includes a route planner, route maps if you’re planning on doing it by yourself.
Final Thoughts & Takeaways
The South West Coast is an epic 630-mile journey. And while it’s such a long distance, it almost doesn’t feel like it, thanks to all the beautiful things you see along the way.
That said, it’s a long and stressful journey you shouldn’t attempt unless you’re in top condition.
There are many ascents and descents that make this walk challenging. But, if I’m honest, you get to see the best of England while hiking this route.
The locals are very friendly and welcoming. And if you go during the summer months, you can feel like you’re on the Mediterranean coast; the water is so clear.
If you can’t get the time off work to complete the whole walk in one swoop, don’t worry. You can break it down into sections, making it a bit more manageable.
If you love walking and you want to see the best of England, this is definitely a route you should do, and then you’ll have the honor of saying you’ve walked the longest trail in England!