St Austell to Penzance

I t’s tempting, after passing St Austell, to continue on the A39 and reach your destination quicker, but try hugging the coastline for a far more memorable experience.

Slow down and discover rocky headlands, secluded coves, and breath-taking panoramic views. With these roads often only taken by locals, you’ll likely be met with less traffic too – as if the stunning scenery wasn’t enough of an excuse! Check out our route highlights and begin planning your journey between these two popular destinations on the South West 660.  


St Austell

One of Cornwall’s largest towns, St Austell boasts a vibrant, industrial history. You’ll soon spot the ‘Cornish Alps’ as you drive through the area, which make for surreal hiking should you have the time to stretch your legs before beginning your next journey. The town also plays host to some of Cornwall’s most popular activities – with the Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Charlestown and, of course, St Austell Brewery all located a short drive from each other.  

Just a few minutes in a car from the main town, you’ll find the historic port of Charlestown, which you may recognise from a certain TV programme! Certainly worth a visit, why not stop by the Rashleigh Arms or Pier House for a quick bite to eat and look at some stunning traditional ships? When arriving to St Austell from the previous journey, Charlestown also makes for the perfect place to rest your head if you’d prefer to stay outside the local town.  


Roseland & Falmouth

The Roseland is, surprisingly, comprised of protected, undeveloped farmland, coves, and headland, rather than towns, making it one of the most scenic drives. On your way, however, you’ll find little gems such as the riviera-style St Mawes and charming fishing port of Portloe, before crossing the river on the famous King Harry Ferry to the ever-popular Falmouth.  

From its Tudor castle and selection of waterfront restaurants, such as our very own, the Chainlocker, to its maritime museum and sandy beaches, you could easily spend a few days exploring the town. It’s certainly worth a pitstop to get a glimpse of the vibrant area – and maybe a dip in the sea if you’re feeling adventurous! 



The Helford River, with its crystal blue waters and tree-lined coves, is a must-stop on your way to Penzance. It’s a protected wildlife area where visitors often spot dolphins and seals  – why not get up close and personal with the rescued animals at the nearby Cornish Seal Sanctuary (in Gweek) while passing through?  


The Lizard

Tick off the most southerly spot in the UK as you hug tight to the coast path and travel around the stunning Lizard peninsula. Boasting its own unique landscape, drive along single-tracked routes to discover some of the stunning beaches such as the ever-popular Kynance Cove. 

In need of a sweet treat? You’re in luck – the famous Roskilly’s farm is also located on the peninsula, perfect for an ice cream top-up en route. While visiting, you can also meet some of the 110 cows, alongside a host of other farm animals.  


Penzance & Mousehole

Finally, after exploring the southern coast, you’ll head to the end of the line – the most westerly major town in the UK. Famous for its pirates (of the singing variety), giant’s castle, and dockside taverns, this is the most authentic and mystic slice of Cornwall.  

Just a 45-minute stroll from Penzance is the charming village of Mousehole, home of the star gazy pie. The olde-worlde charm of the village remains – it’s even been described as the loveliest village in England, and thereby attracts hundreds of visitors year on year. While busiest in the summer, Mousehole is certainly worth a visit at any time in the year, particularly in the runup to Christmas when the harbour light’s up with a stunning display. As your reach this final destination, enjoy a filling meal in traditional Cornish pub; the Ship Inn sits overlooking the sea and is the perfect spot to refuel for another day of exploring.  

The roadtrip of a lifetime

South West 660 is an iconic road trip from Poole in Dorset to Watchet in Somerset, following the beautiful coastline of south west England. With 12 unique sections, each around 50 miles long, you will experience the diversity and splendour of the four counties that make up this corner of the UK.