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An Insider’s Guide to Cornwall: Penwith


In the far western tip of Cornwall sits the peninsula of Penwith, stretching from Land’s End to St Ives. Taking its name from two Cornish words, penn meaning ‘headland’ and wydh meaning ‘at the end’, the area is characterised by its stark open moorland and dramatic granite cliffs.

Penwith is renowned for having the highest concentration of ancient Neolithic sites in all of Europe with hilltop tors, circles and standing stones, making it a fabulous area for exploring Cornwall’s history.

Whilst the area is home to a number of popular attractions and places to visit – such as the Minack Theatre, South West Coast Path and Land’s End – we have a handpicked collection to share with you. With a motorhome holiday in Cornwall offering the freedom to explore the area like no other, you can immerse yourself fully in its atmosphere and culture.

The secluded and fascinating cove, Nanjizal Polgigga.

With Cornwall’s abundance of beaches and coves, we thought it only wise to recommend a stunning cove that is secluded and often deserted.  Nanjizal Polgigga, also known as Mill Bay, is located just one mile from Land’s End and features some fascinating and breath-taking features.

Facing west into the Atlantic Ocean, Nanjizal Polgigga is the home to some fantastic rock formations and natural waterfalls with the most popular being: –

Zawn Pyg – This rock formation is better known by the romantic name ‘Song of the Sea’ and is a narrow arch formed by the erosion of the cliffs by the sea. During mid-winter, the sunset perfectly aligns with the arch and sends a golden light through, creating a truly magical moment at the end of the day.

The Diamond Horse – This cliff is located on the north end of the bay and is an equine shaped rock formation. This beautiful rock formation features quartz veins running through it, which sparkle in the sunshine.

Exploring Nanjizal Polgigga


Nanjizal Polgigga has a whole host of other features to be enjoyed, making it a location not to be missed when visiting the Penwith peninsula. Visitors often spot seals around the cove and around the corner at Zawn Reeth, birdwatchers will find Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Blackcap breeding in the area.

Whilst the cove and surrounding bays are famous for smuggling, they have been used as the backdrop to several television shows over the years. One of the most famous being an episode of Doctor Who, where the TARDIS materialised on the beach at Nanjizal Polgigga.

The best way to reach Nanjizal Polgigga is via the coast path from the small coastal town of Porthgwarra.  Parking and amenities are available at Porthgwarra and the walk will take you around 30 minutes, with a set of steps leading down to the cove once there.

Porthgwarra.  Grid reference. SW 3720 2165 Postcode.  TR19 6JR

Chapel Carn Brea

Those looking to explore Penwith’s ancient history and its surviving architecture will be pleased that we have included a wonderful site which contains Neolithic and Bronze Age remains; Chapel Carn Brea. The area takes its name from a medieval chapel that once stood atop the hill in the 13th century and is often referred to as the “first and last hill” in England.

Not only will you find a rich and fascinating collection of burial mounds and barrows in Chapel Carn Brea, but breath-taking views of the area. The hill is only three fields away from the sea and commands views of the Cornish granite countryside and the Atlantic Ocean – you can even see the distant Scilly Isles!

The location’s name was taken from a long gone tiny hermitage chapel of St. Michael of Brea that once sat on the summit.  Its purpose was to keep a beacon burning for travellers and ships, and was tended to by a succession of hermits, including the legendary ‘Harry the Hermit’ who was charged with witchcraft on three occasions for cursing ships.

Located to the south of St. Just, this landmark is owned by the National Trust and has plenty of nearby parking, with just a short 0.25-mile walk to the summit.

Chapel Carn Brea. Grid reference SW 385 280 Postcode TR19 6JD

Ding Dong Mine and Men-an-tol.

Penwith hosts a wide selection of breath-taking scenery, from its coastline to its moorland. We thought that our next Penwith destination should be a mixture of moorland and Cornish history, the perfect blend achieved by the Ding Dong mines in the parish of Madron.

Steeped in both mining and bronze age history, the Ding Dong Mines are not far from the above-mentioned landmark, Chapel Carn Brea. The site has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.

Alongside its rugged and atmospheric views of moorland, the ruined mining engine house is nestled between several Bronze Age sites of interest including the Nine Maidens Stone Circle, Lanyon Quoit and the famous fertility stone, Men-an-Tol. Legend has it that if a woman walks backwards through the holed stone of Men-an-Tol seven times during a full moon, she will become pregnant instantly. Don’t forget to bring a torch!

Following the grid reference coordinates, you will find limited off-road parking. Head through the gate and follow the track northeast to Men-an-tol, from there you will see the Ding Dong Mine in the distance.

Ding Dong Mine. Grid reference SW 418 344 Postcode. TR20 8N

Experience the freedom of Cornwall.

Wherever you choose to visit in Cornwall, you will find a motorhome or campervan to be the perfect way to experience the beautiful Cornish countryside and its coastline. Our motorhomes and campervans give you the freedom to explore lesser-visited areas, with the advantage of having the comforts of home to hand wherever you go.

We at Cornish Motorhome Hire have a range of high-quality motorhomes and campervans, so you can enjoy the comfort of home, wherever you go. We are one of the South West’s leading motorhome and camper hire companies, based near Liskeard, a perfect place to start your Cornish adventure.

Book Now


There’s no time like the present to book your next Cornish holiday, as we have available dates in 2021. To book your motorhome holiday, call us now on 01579 364087 or 07986 073469, or visit our contact page to send us an email. Or, for your convenience, you can browse our website and book online 24/7

Click here for a list of the top campsites that accept motorhomes and campervans near to Penwith, Cornwall.

Happy Touring!