One of the most southerly points in England, Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula offers a unique and breath-taking stretch of coastline, with rugged coves, white sand beaches and historic harbours. A network of myriad lanes passes through postcard-perfect villages, grand gardens and traditional inns, which add charm and interest to the driving experience.
The largest urban centre on the Lizard, Helston is a thriving market town, which provides an excellent starting point for a scenic drive. The town retains much of its original Georgian and Victorian architecture, and its history can be fully explored by a visit to its own Folk Museum. Helston even boasts international renown, as during May thousands of visitors flock to its streets to witness the annual Flora Dance.
Driving from Helston, a number of main roads lead into lanes through a green-fielded landscape, edged with ancient hedgerows where wildflowers can be found in abundance. Armed with a map, it is easy to take any of these thoroughfares at will and explore the numerous beaches along the coast.
Some of the Lizard Peninsula’s many delights are the picturesque villages that will be passed on a drive around the area. Heading southeast from Helston, the village of Coverack is worth a visit. Enjoy a traditional Cornish pasty whilst wandering the winding backstreets down to harbor.
Driving further south to Kynance Cove, why not pass through Goonhilly Downs, which allow a further view of the Lizard’s varied landscape. Kynance Cove offers a beach divided by the tide with both a sandy bay and dramatic rock formations. A large car park on the clifftop provides ample space, and a brief walk leads to the cove below.
The Lizard Peninsula is a coastline of contrasts, and for an altogether different beach experience, take the road north from Kynance Cove for a visit to Praa Sands. Twisting country lanes can be taken to this stretch of beach, with vistas of the open ocean. Frequented by families and young surfers alike, Praa Sands also has a popular bar and restaurant perfect for re-fuelling during your trip.
For a more manicured landscape, Glendurgan Gardens can be reached by driving east from Praa Sands, with the opportunity to spot wildlife in the countryside along the way. Set in a majestic valley sweeping down to a quiet bay, Glendurgan Gardens is National Trust owned with a secure on-site car park. A range of native English and subtropical plants will delight keen gardeners, whilst the mature green hedge maze will keep children entertained.
A trip through the Lizard Peninsula is recommended to all drivers, who are rewarded with both history and spectacle, in this unrivalled corner of the country. Don’t forget, that you can add a little pocket money to the trip by loading the iPod full of your favourite tunes for the journey so that you can get rid of your old disc collection and sell CDs online ahead of your road trip!