Get ready to follow in the hoofprints of Captain Ross, with our guide to the best of Poldark’s Cornwall.
Taken in the breathtaking filming locations used in the latest BBC adaptations of Winston Graham’s swashbuckling novels. Explore wild moors, windswept headlands and iconic mines. And sink your toes into the pristine sands and turquoise waters of Cornwall’s beautiful beaches.
The cast and crew spent a lot of time on and around nearby Bodmin Moor during filming.
Nampara, home of Ross and Demelza, is situated just outside the village of St. Breward, 3 miles from Tredarrup Farm Holiday Cottages. The house is on privately owned land and can only be glimpsed. But the surrounding moorland has common access and is used as a backdrop throughout the Poldark series.
Explore the moor on foot, or really get into the spirit of Poldark and experience it on horseback. The Poldark Trail runs from the stables where the horses were kept during filming and takes in many of the locations used in both the new and the original TV series.
Whilst you’re in St. Breward why not visit the pretty church, the highest in Cornwall at 700ft, and enjoy refreshments at the 11th Century Old Inn and Restaurant? People come from miles around to sample their wonderful Sunday carvery.
The moors twin granite peaks, Roughtor and Brown Willy, feature as a backdrop in many moorland scenes and you can enjoy a breathtaking walk to their summits from nearby Camelford. The views from the top are well worth the climb.
At the Minions, on the other side of the moor, you’ll also find some of the miners’ cottages used in filming, including the one given to Jim Carter and his wife, by Ross Poldark. The stone cairns and circles that characterise the wild moorland are scattered across the landscape – be sure to visit the iconic Cheesewring and Hurlers stone stack and circle near Minions whilst you’re here.
In series 1, Poldark’s farmhand, Jim Carter, was incarcerated in historic Bodmin Jail.
This brooding granite hulk of a building housed prisoners for more than 150 years from the mid eighteenth century. Take a guided tour of the jail, including the execution pit, or a ghost walk. If you’re feeling really brave, how about a ghoulish after dark tour?
Take a jumper, even in the summer. The dark, dank underground cells are rather chilly!
Holywell Bay and St. Agnes Head
On the north coast of Cornwall, near Newquay, this stunning wide sandy beach with is instantly recognisable. The twin rocks just off shore have featured in numerous scenes, including the one involving a horse race between Dwight and Caroline.
Many of the cliff top gallops taken by Ross Poldark are across the neighbouring wild and heather covered St Agnes Head, with its backdrop of ruined mines. There are some stunning walks to be taken from here along the headland.
Venture into St Cuthbert’s Cave at the north east end of Holywell Bay to find the little-known natural spring that gives the beach its name. But do take care to keep an eye on the tides before doing so.
On the south coast, but still only 30 minutes from Tredarrup, lies the historic and unspoiled Georgian harbour of Charlestown.
This picturesque spot was depicted as Truro in the BBC adaptations.
Visit the handsome square-rigged tall ships and the fascinating Shipwreck Museum. Or head to the lovely little beach at the mouth of the harbour.
There are plentiful pubs, cafes and restaurants alongside the harbour.
Sample some of the best Cornish ice-cream around at the Tall Ships Creamery by the harbour.
Padstow to Stepper Point
The picturesque stretch of the Camel estuary that runs from Padstow to Stepper Point features as a backdrop in many of the Poldark series.
Walk along the coast path from Padstow harbour to the pretty Tregirls beach. A fabulous stretch of golden sand, it continues onwards to Hawker’s Cove, where you’ll find a fabulous little café overlooking the sea.
Look out into the estuary and you’ll see the infamous doom bar. Said to have been created by a disgruntled mermaid, it’s been the scene of many a real life shipwreck.
Continue along the headland to Stepper Point, with its distinctive Day Mark.
It features prominently in the opening scenes of series 3, where Elizabeth is seen struggling with her horse, careering towards the headland. There’s a lookout tower here too with fabulous views.
Return to Padstow for an award winning pasty at the renowned Chough Bakery on the harbour – you’ve earnt it.
Porthcothan & Park Head
The beautiful beach at Porthcothan lies between Padstow and Newquay and is one of Padstows ‘7 bays for 7 days’. It features as part of the Nampara estate in the TV production.
Captain Ross can often be seen galloping across the nearby rugged headland of Park Head. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see the iconic Bedruthan Steps in the background.
The walk along the coast path from Porthcothan to Bedruthan Steps is absolutely stunning.
There’s a fab little cafe at Bedruthan Steps with cracking views along the coast.
Botallack and Levant Mines
Heading further west near Penzance you’ll find the distinctive structures of the mine engine houses clinging to the cliffs.
The Owles and Crown mines, at Botallack, feature as Wheal Leisure, whilst the nearby Levant mines are used as Tressiders Rolling Mill. These mine shafts go 570m deep into the earth and extend almost half a mile out to sea.
Be sure to take your camera – in addition to the obligatory photograph of the mines themselves, the views from here are spectacular.
On a clear day you can see the Isles of Scilly.
Penberth Cove, Gwennap Head and Porthcurno
Penberth is a beautiful small cove that features as the home of Demelza’s brothers in series 3. With its large cobbled slipway and metal winch it’s instantly recognisable.
The beach at Porthcurno features as Nampara Cove during a dream sequence in series 2. Its turquoise waters and pristine sands certainly fit the bill!
What you can’t see in the TV programme is the wonderful Minack Theatre, cut out of the cliffs above the beach. Take in one of the regular performances. Or just visit the site and marvel at the incredible views and the sheer determination of its creator.
From here you can walk to Gwennap Head. It’s here that Drake first encounters Morwenna. It’s also where Demelza waves Ross off on his coach trip to London, to begin life as a Member of Parliament.
Visit adjacent Porthgwarra Cove, where Ross memorably swims topless. Well, memorable to me anyway 🙂
Stop to admire the view from the little café. This is where the cast and crew regularly refuelled during filming.
Kynance Cove and Gunwalloe Beach
Kynance Cove is used as a location for Poldark’s Nampara. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall and beyond!
With turquoise waters, serpentine sea stacks and caves to explore at low tide it is the archetypal Cornish beach. It does however get very busy during the summer so it’s perhaps best enjoyed out of peak season.
There are three coves at nearby Gunwalloe. All are renowned for shipwrecks, so it’s quite apt that in BBC’s Poldark the night-time shipwreck is filmed here, at Dollar Cove.
In the 18th Century a Spanish ship was wrecked at Dollar Cove and lost its cargo of silver dollars, hence the name. Legend has it that they’re still occasionally washed up on the beach.
Take a walk amongst the dunes at Gunwalloe to the beautiful church of St. Winwaloe, where Dwight and Caroline are married in series 3.
Stop for a pint and something to eat at the famous Halzephron pub, overlooking the cove.
The historic Wheal Roots Tin Mine is to be found at Poldark Mine, near Helston. This is the only complete tin mine in Cornwall and it thrived during the Poldark era of the 1700s. No surprise then that it’s used for many of the underground mining scenes in Poldark. Experience the mine for yourself with a tour down below.
Okay, so we didn’t feature in any of the filming. But our historic farmhouse and luxury holiday cottages near Bodmin Moor do date from the Poldark era!
And on a misty murky evening it’s not hard to imagine yourself in the 18th Century.
When you’ve had your fill of the tin mines and windswept headlands, hunker down in your stone cottage, light the fire and enjoy an episode or two of BBC’s Poldark, courtesy of the complimentary Netflix.
Your very own slice of Poldark’s Cornwall.