The Roseland Peninsula is a bit of a hidden gem in Cornwall with a distinctly remote feel. A spectacular spot for your Cornish holiday, enjoy the unspoilt landscapes, secluded bays, dreamy summer days and memorable holiday moments.
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Ah, The Roseland. Where to begin describing this magical place? Mapmaker, John Norden, described the Roseland almost 450 years ago as ‘a circuit of land lying between the creek of Falmouth haven and the sea’. Quite simply, it is a picturesque spot with somewhat of a tropical feel. With unrivalled coastal views, beautifully unspoilt landscapes, peaceful beaches and hidden creeks and coves, The Roseland Peninsula is a delightful place for a trip in Cornwall.
We recommend taking the time to explore the Roseland’s unique towns and villages, planning out a walk or two, and booking a reservation at a couple of the pubs or restaurants to experience the fresh, delicious food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
So, if you’re ready to start planning your next holiday, we hope this guide to the Roseland Peninsula helps to inspire you!
A designated part of Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty due to its quality landscape, the Roseland Peninsula is a truly lovely spot bordered by the Fal Estuary and the Atlantic. With wild headlands, woodland valleys, rocky coast and pretty fishing villages, there is much to explore and discover. Spend memorable days just wandering along the coast path and admiring the wildflowers, glistening waters and secret coves.
The unspoilt landscape lends itself to an area which is rich in wildlife, including Dartmoor ponies, seals, sea birds and the common lizard. A brilliant place for keen birdwatchers: cormorants, oystercatchers, curlews and redshank are all native birds which can be spotted in Portscatho and Pennarow Point. Plus, the Fal-Run nature reserve is situated close to Ruan Lanihorne, where you can spot Greenshanks. Different species of butterfly can also be found on the Roseland, including Red admiral butterflies and comma butterflies.
There are many beaches to choose from on the Roseland – all offering those picturesque views and glorious coastline. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to soak up the sun in the summertime or a brisk walk in the winter; somewhere bustling or peaceful; perfect for families or ideal for the dog, take your pick…
An east facing beach overlooking Gerrans Bay, Portscatho Beach is a mostly rocky beach and a great spot for rock-pooling at low tide. Dogs are welcome here year-round and parking is available in the village, along with cafes and toilets.
Popular with families, Pendower is a sandy south facing beach where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea or try out surfing, sailing and windsurfing. Dogs are welcome here all year round and there’s a National Trust car park which is free for members.
A south facing, sheltered beach, perfect for picnics and a paddle in the sea. Enjoy lunch and a cream tea at the Nare Hotel and take in the glorious sea views and the peaceful way of life.
Situated in St Mawes, Summers Beach is a sheltered shingle beach perfect for a swim or kayaking with its inviting turquoise waters. Parking is available in the village along with shops, cafes and toilets.
A popular family beach, Porthcurnick offers golden sands and shimmering seas with the bonus of being the home to the popular Hidden Hut, a great spot for coffee and lunch. There’s a car park nearby and the beach can be accessed via a short walk. Dogs are allowed year-round.
A spacious and peaceful beach near St Mawes with parking nearby, Towan Beach is a great spot for sitting back and watching the sunset. Dogs are allowed year-round and parking is available a five minute walk away at Porth farm.
Gorran Haven Beach
Situated at the bottom of the village, this is a lovely sandy beach perfect for a dip in the sea. Dogs are welcome year-round and parking is available in the village.
Great Molunan & Little Molunan Beach
Sheltered by St Anthony’s Head, these secluded little beaches can be accessed by boat or car and are all connected at low tide. The beaches can be accessed down a steep set of steps or via the Place footpath. Dogs are welcome here year-round.
With plenty of picture-perfect towns and villages to explore, the Roseland Peninsula is a wonderful place to get lost in the magic of the Cornish way of life.
With glittering blue seas, white sands and cute cottages, St Mawes is the quintessential picturesque Cornish village. Wander the streets, stop for an ice cream in the sunshine on one of the three glorious beaches and spend blissful afternoons hiring a kayak and gliding across the still, tranquil waters. There’s a great selection of places to eat in St Mawes, from traditional cosy pubs to waterside cafes. We also recommend catching the ferry across to Falmouth for a fantastic day out.
A pretty, peaceful village with unspoilt beaches and a wonderful selection of cafes and restaurants, Portscatho is a great place for a holiday in Cornwall. Wander through the village with its lovely galleries and gift shops, and pick something up to take home as a reminder of your Roseland holiday. There are plenty of walks to do in the area if you fancy being active, including a delightful coastal walk to Pendower.
A picturesque village adjoining Portscatho, Gerrans is perfect if you’re looking for peace and quiet with plenty of coastal and country walks surrounding. Immerse yourself in the traditional Cornish village life by wandering through the quiet lanes and stopping into a shop for some fresh produce.
Thought of as one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall (and there’s plenty of competition!), Portloe, full of Cornish charm, is like something from a postcard – you might not want to leave! A traditional fishing village with a pretty harbour, the fishing trade thrived here in the 17th and 18th century due to its sheltered location. During the 19th century, a lot of smuggling took place, mainly French brandy! The Lugger Hotel and The Ship Inn are fantastic places to eat in the village, but do take a look at our guide on the best places to eat near Portloe if you’re looking for more recommendations.
A charming, historic village within easy access to St Mawes and Falmouth, Veryan is home to five unique, thatched roundhouses which mark the entrance to the village. It is thought that the round shape would guard the village from evil! Discover the 13th century church and the 16th century inn and enjoy the great choice of walks nearby.
Spend a day in the lovely village of Philleigh, perfect for a scenic walk followed by a delicious lunch at The Roseland Inn. And don’t forget to take a cooking class at Philleigh Way Cookery School! From here, you can also hop on the King Harry Ferry which will take you across the Fal River to the National Trust’s Trelissick Gardens.
Nestled in the peaceful upper reaches of the Fal River, Ruan Lanihorne is a small hamlet perfect for bird watching or walking along the Fal Estuary. Whilst you’re here, discover the parish church which was built in 1321 and stop for a refreshing drink at The Kings Head.
Known as the gateway to the Roseland, Tregony is a traditional Cornish village surrounded by lovely walks with a village pub for good food and ales. Explore the gallery, antiques shop and farm shop, and lace up your walking boots as there are plenty of fabulous walks nearby.
Hidden off the beaten track, Gorran Haven is an unspoilt coastal village with two sandy beaches, traditional fisherman’s cottages and a little harbour, making it a wonderful place to enjoy a laidback holiday.
On the other side of the King Harry ferry crossing, drive 10 miles to Falmouth, a charming and popular seaside town with a lovely atmosphere. There’s plenty of things to do, from wandering around the many shops, discovering fresh and local produce in the independent cafes and restaurants, and discovering the four beautiful beaches of Swanpool, Gyllynvase, Castle Beach and Maenporth, all with fun watersports and golden sands. The National Maritime Museum is based here, which celebrates Cornwall’s maritime heritage and offers over 15 galleries, interactive exhibits and a boatbuilding workshop. And if you fancy some history and heritage, pay a visit to Pendennis Castle, which was built in the Tudor times to defend Cornwall from invasion. Check out our Falmouth webcam to get a glimpse of this Cornish haven.
Not too far from the Roseland, spend a day in the lovely little city of Truro. With an abundance of wonderful places to eat and shops to enjoy, admire the beautiful cathedral and wander the attractive Georgian streets. And don’t forget to stop at the Royal Cornwall Museum to explore Cornish history and culture.
Whilst you can while away many hours simply gazing out to sea and admiring the beautiful views, there’s plenty of things to do on the Roseland Peninsula. Here are a few of our favourites…
Described as being the most beautiful church on earth by Poet John Betjeman, this peaceful 13th century church set above the water’s edge and surrounded by sub-tropical gardens, is well worth a visit. You can reach the church by a scenic 2.5 mile walk from St Mawes, or alternatively it is just a short car journey away.
Philleigh Way Cookery School
Fancy brushing up on your cooking skills or learning a new dish? Why not try out a cookery class at Philleigh Way Cookery School. A fun and unique way to spend a day on the Roseland, Philleigh Way Cookery School offers plenty of different courses, from pasty and bread making to various cuisines. We had a wonderful day on an Italian cooking course - take a look at our experience here.
With the gorgeous, unspoilt coastline, pretty creeks and mostly still and sheltered waters, kayaking is a great water sport to do on the Roseland Peninsula. A few particularly beautiful kayaking spots include Carricknath Cove, the creek in front of the St Just in Roseland Church, and of course St Mawes! Kayaks can be hired in St Mawes, but don’t forget to check the tide times and water conditions before you leave.
St Mawes Castle
Step back in time and discover the fascinating history of St Mawes Castle. Built by Henry VIII to protect the coast from invasion from France and Spain, St Mawes Castle is one of the best-preserved of Henry VIII’s artillery fortresses. Built between 1539 and 1545, the castle has a charming clover-leaf shape and overlooks the picturesque Fal Estuary, with beautifully landscaped gardens to explore and lots of interesting exhibits and displays.
Owing to its low levels of light pollution, the Roseland is a great place for stargazing. Even with the naked eye, it’s possible to spot Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn, along with constellations such as Orion and Pleiades. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you will be able to see planets and constellations in even more detail.
Situated in St Mawes, Lamorran Gardens are well worth a visit on your Roseland holiday. A Mediterranean-style garden with woodland, a Japanese style water garden, a Venetian style bridge and a wonderful variety of plants and flowers. There are also 32 different species of palm trees! This makes for a lovely afternoon out for garden enthusiasts or simply for a peaceful stroll in nature.
With so much beauty to discover, the Roseland Heritage Coast is a very special place for a short stroll or a longer walk, perfect for soaking up the wonderful coastline and spotting secret coves and beautiful wildlife. Stop for a refreshment along the way at one of the Roseland’s pubs, cafes and restaurants, perfect for resting a little while and sharing your photos with friends. Here are a few of our recommended walks…
St Anthony Head walk
Lace up your walking boots for this spectacular 5.9 mile walk at the tip of the Roseland Peninsula. Starting along the Roseland coastline at Towan Beach, explore the Fraggle Rock lighthouse, the sandy beaches of Towan and Molnuan and the unforgettable coastline, before finishing along the creeks of the Percuil River.
Portscatho to Pendower
A simply lovely circular walk around the beaches of Gerrans Bay – which were once used by smugglers to land contraband! The walk is 4.4 miles and will take you along the coast path to the beaches of Porthcurnick, Porthbean and Pendower, passing the Hidden Hut on the way back for coffee and a snack.
Pendower Beach to Veryan
A circular five mile walk beginning at Pendower Beach and finishing in Veryan via Nare Head, where a cold war nuclear bunker is preserved underground! Wander along the footpaths and across fields to Veryan where there’s a church and you can stop at the pub for refreshments. The route then takes you back to Pendower Beach along a pretty wooded valley.
St Just in Roseland to St Mawes
Beginning from the subtropical gardens of St Just in Roseland’s church to the coastal beauty of St Mawes, this lovely walk is approximately 4.5 miles and is perfect for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for various bird species, from sandwich terns, and cirl buntings, to hunting kestrels. Once you arrive in St Mawes, stop for a cream tea and soak up the beautiful views.
Pendower Beach to Portloe
Approximately 3.5 miles, this walk begins at Pendower Cove through Gerrans Bay and finishes in the pretty village of Portloe, where you can easily spend an hour or two admiring the fishing village and stopping for a bite to eat. Don’t forget your camera as this walk is filled with gorgeous views.
Fancy a bite to eat after a long walk or a day at the beach? Whether you’re looking for a sumptuous three course meal or a coffee and a slice of cake, there are plenty of places to eat on the Roseland Peninsula, from charming traditional pubs, popular beach huts and upmarket seafood restaurants. Here are just a few places to choose from…
The Victory Inn, St Mawes
A traditional pub enjoyed by both locals and visitors, The Victory Inn in St Mawes is a great place for a delicious lunch or dinner. The restaurant upstairs offers lovely sea views along with a balcony with a view of the harbour.
Plume of Feathers, Portscatho
A charming 18th century Cornish pub on the water’s edge in Portscatho, with a great selection of beers and ales and local seafood. This is a great place to stop if you’re walking along the coast path.
The Royal Standard, Gerrans
Built in 1793 and situated next to Gerrans Church, The Royal Standard has plenty of character and charm, with its traditional pub grub perfect for a filling meal.
The New Inn, Veryan
Nestled in the historic village of Veryan in the heart of the Roseland Peninsula, The New Inn has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and is a lovely spot to enjoy a well-deserved refreshing drink and a spot of lunch after a long walk.
Kingshead, Ruan Lanihorne
A pretty pub with a friendly atmosphere and a delicious menu with fresh, local ingredients. Relax in the afternoon sunshine out on the terrace with a cold drink. Bliss!
The Ship Inn, Portloe
Built in the 17th century as a fisherman’s cottage, The Ship Inn is the only pub nestled in the picturesque village of Portloe. Enjoy the tasty, quality food from the peaceful beer garden and soak up the warm atmosphere.
The Roseland Inn, Philleigh
A cosy 16th century listed building offering friendly service in the most delightful of locations, the beautiful village of Philleigh.
Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick
Tucked away on the coast path near Portscatho on Porthcurnick beach, the Hidden Hut is a very special spot for enjoying a freshly cooked lunch. Typical dishes include soup, stews, dhals, salads, pasties and sausage rolls and plenty of homemade cake!
Idle Rocks, St Mawes
Situated in the heart of St Mawes, Idle Rocks has a mouth-watering menu and gorgeous south facing views across the water. The menu celebrates Cornwall, with a focus on local suppliers and seasonal flavours.
The Nare, Carne Beach
Set beside the sea in a secluded bay, with panoramic views over Carne beach, The Nare is a wonderful spot for Sunday Lunch or afternoon tea.
Rising Sun, St Mawes
A charming and welcoming pub situated in St Mawes, the Rising Sun serves traditional pub food in a stunning harbourside location.
A cheerful spot for coffee and pizza, Tatams in Portscatho is a true delight. Soak up the incredible views and enjoy the delicious food in a laid-back atmosphere.
The Boathouse, Portscatho
Nestled in The Square in the heart of Portscatho, The Boathouse offers fresh, local produce and is a great place to visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply coffee and cake.
The Watchhouse, St Mawes
A harbourside restaurant in St Mawes, The Watchhouse is a lovely spot to sit back and watch the world sail by, and admire the pretty views across the harbour and over to St Anthony’s Head.
The Roseland can be accessed via car or ferry. There are a number of ferries you can take – The St Mawes Ferry provides a regular pedestrian ferry link from St Mawes to Falmouth and Enterprise Boats runs trips from Falmouth to Trelissick, Malpas and Truro. You can also catch the Place Ferry which will take you from St Mawes to Place, and is a great way to explore St Anthony Head and the many walks in that area. And don’t forget to take a trip on the iconic King Harry Ferry which connects the Roseland to Feock, Truro and Falmouth. Departing every 20 minutes from each side, the ferry runs 7 days a week and takes you across the beautiful Fal River.