The foodie and cycling heaven of Penzance and Marazion is one of our top cycling areas in Cornwall. Here's our pick of their nearby routes and cycle-friendly places
The largest town in west Cornwall with loads of places to eat, stay and visit, historic Penzance is a fantastic base for exploring the incredible scenery and sights of the south west tip of England by bike.
Penzance sits in the centre of a huge sweeping bay with the iconic St Michaels Mount to the east and the beautiful fishing village of Mousehole to the west, and our EXPERIENCE hub routes take in both these historical and photogenic highlights as well as Land’s End, Sennen Cove and Marazion. While roaring seas smashing against jagged rocks and perfect beaches hidden in secret coves make up the postcard parade, it’s the hidden heart of Cornwall’s western tip that makes this such a wonderful riding area. A maze of remarkably quiet, wildflower-covered lanes weave, dive and climb through a bewitching landscape of prehistoric spiritual and burial sites, past ancient churches and medieval farms, though tiny villages with the towering remains of Cornwall’s mining past lining the horizon.
With so little traffic on the back lanes our three routes are primarily road based, but we have added optional off-road sections to access the wild and mysterious heart of ‘Kernow’ for more adventurous riders. If you really enjoy riding round Penzance, it also forms the start of the West Kernow Way, a 150 mile gravel route through the stunning scenery and fascinating stories of western Cornwall from Land’s End to the Lizard and then north to Redruth and Portreath.
It’s only fair to warn you that Cornwall’s hills can be challenging. However, with so much interest and beauty packed into a tiny area, you don’t need to go far to have an incredible experience. Amazing foodie stops as well as traditional pasties and cream teas to help keep you going are never far away either.
Land's End loop (30 miles)
This is the longest of the Penzance routes at 48km and takes you out past the picture-perfect fishing village of Mousehole to the very end of England at Land’s End before looping back along a rollercoaster of deserted back lanes. It’s loaded with interest from the joy of the Merry Maidens stone circle to the tragic drama of the Penlee lifeboat station, as well as stunning views from the idyllically pastoral interior to rugged rocky peninsulars.
Carn Euny (14 miles)
This West Cornwall route is only short at 23km, but loops out to the ancient village and natural spring shrine of Carn Euny is certainly not short on fascination, mystery and fabulous riding that makes the most of the unique Kernow landscape. While the first climb out of Newlyn is a steep one, once you’re up the rest of the gradients are a lot more gentle. Even the section of off-road to access Carn Euny is safe for any bike with care or short enough to walk if you don’t want to risk skinny road tyres.
Ding Dong (21 miles)
This is where the riding gets wild on the moors of the West Cornwall interior. You get there by riding up a beautiful road valley, with optional detours to two of Cornwall’s most amazing and memorable sites: Ding Dong mine - which is a UNESCO World Heritage site of huge tin mining and prehistoric significance - and Trencrom Hill castle.
While the area was being visited by tin traders from the Mesolithic era and it’s mentioned by Herodotus in 500 BC, Penzance and neighbouring Newlyn were actually overshadowed by Mousehole and Marazion until the mid-medieval period.
Gaining a Royal market started a rise to fortune that survived being burned by the Spaniards during the Armada, and by the time the Great Western Railway reached the town it was the most important in the area.
The railway brought holiday visitors to admire its beauty and rushed away the flowers and fish that thrive in the area’s warmer climate and waters.
Those same attractions - as well as eclectic architecture, subtropical gardens, the beautiful art deco open air Jubilee Pool and a super relaxed and welcoming character - are seeing visitor numbers rising again now too. That can make the main roads in and out busy at times, but even in high summer the back roads are delightfully deserted.
All the routes start beside Penzance railway station.
Cornwall’s artery road the A30 runs all the way to Penzance making navigation easy if you’re driving.
More cycling experiences in Kent, Cornwall and Norfolk
Penzance and Marazion is just one of our highlighted locations that's perfect for cycling. Here's Cycling UK's full set of cycle-friendly hubs, with accredited facilities and promoted routes
EXPERIENCE is a €23.3 million project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, €16 million) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020, boosting visitor numbers in six pilot regions across England and France. This project will harness the experiential tourism trend to extend the season (October – March), generating 20 million new off-season visitors spending €1 billion across the Channel region by June 2023.