With the fifth and final series of BBC’s Poldark currently airing, there’s no better time to hit the road and head to Cornwall to visit some of the breathtaking locations you see on screen - the perfect campervan excursion. Before beginning your Poldark adventure, make sure you are fully stocked with all things Cornish, including pasties, ice cream, clotted cream, scones, or Cornish splits and saffron buns (which can be used instead of scones in a cream tea - remember, jam first please when in Cornwall!). There will no doubt be plenty of opportunities to pick up some fantastic Cornish produce along the way too.
Here are our top picks of the stunning Poldark locations to visit in your campervan:
Begin your journey in the lovely town of Padstow. From Padstow, it’s a 3-mile walk to Stepper Point but worth the effort. This is the location where Elizabeth struggles with her horse in the opening scenes of series three and was used as the backdrop to a scene involving horse-drawn carriages racing across the clifftop. Nearby Tregirls and Hawker's Cove have also made appearances.
Porthcothan is located about 15 minutes away from Padstow by road on the B3276 or a 13.5 mile walk along the coastal path. Porthcothan, used as Nampara Land, is a northwest-facing cove near Newquay backed by grassy dunes. Ross is seen galloping across the sands of Porthcothan and neighbouring Hendrawna.
A 5 minute drive or a 30 minute walk along the coastal path from Porthcothan is Park Head. The clifftops here are one of the locations of Ross galloping on horseback and offer dramatic views across to the sea stacks at Bedruthan Steps. Here Demelza was seen walking along the clifftop, and Dwight on horseback going to visit Caroline's guardian.
About a 30-40 minute drive from Park Head you have a choice of routes - the shortest is the B3276, or if you prefer an A road, the A392 or A30, both of which take slightly longer. Owned by the Warleggans, this stunning long sandy beach is backed by grass tufted dunes and features the twin-peaked Gull Rock just offshore. Holywell Bay is the scene of many encounters including a horse race between Dwight and Caroline, the dream sequence of the young Ross rescuing Francis, as well as many encounters between George and Ross and Demelza.
St Agnes Head
Another 30 minute or so drive on the A3075 brings you to the heathland and high cliffs of St Agnes Head, which doubles up as Nampara Valley and has been used in a number of horse riding scenes with the dramatic backdrop of clifftop scenery and the iconic engine house.
About 40 minutes from St Agnes Head is Levant Mine. The buildings here serve as the fictional Tressiders Rolling Mill, where the copper from the Poldark mine is processed. Now owned by the National Trust, it is also home to the only fully restored working steam beam engine in the world!
7 minutes in the car, or a 27 minute walk away, is Botallack, which is key to the Cornish mining history. Here you will find West Wheal Owles which features as Wheal Leisure, Wheal Crowns which becomes known as Francis’ mine, Grambler, and Wheal Grace. Many scenes were shot at Botallack, including Caroline coming to talk to Dwight and the discussion between Ross and Francis about re-opening Wheal Grace.
40 mins further down the A30 brings you to a dramatic headland offering breathtaking views. With lighthouses in the distance and crystal clear waters below, Gwennap Head is a favourite Poldark spot for clifftop riding, chance encounters and long lingering looks.
11 minutes walk along the coastal path you’ll arrive at a pretty sandy cove untouched by time - an ideal location used for many of the swimming scenes: Ross swimming in crystal clear water watched from the clifftop by Demelza, for one. This is also the location of the tunnel where Ross kept his boat that Mark Daniels used to flee after accidentally killing his wife, and the pilchard fishing scene.
1 mile further along the coastal path is Porthcurno and Pedn Vounder, which are joined at low tide and form Nampara Cove. An oasis of natural beauty with fine, soft white sand and sea that turns turquoise in the sun. Many walking scenes are shot here, most notably the dream sequence where Ross and Demelza walk across the beach. As well as acting as Nampara Cove, Porthcurno is famous for the Minack Theatre which is carved into the granite cliff overlooking Porthcurno Bay and set in glorious gardens, definitely worth a look.
After walking back to Porthgwarra it is about a 1 hour drive along the A394. There are three coves at Gunwalloe; Church Cove, Dollar Cove and Fisherman's Cove. Dollar Cove was the shipwreck site in series one. Church Cove, aptly named as there is a church practically on the beach, is where Dwight and Caroline were married. Dedicated to St Winwaloe, this 15th-century church has an unusual bell tower that is completely detached from the church itself. Dwight Enys' cottage was filmed in Fisherman's Cove, the more northerly cove in what was until quite recently, a ruined shell.
20 minutes on the A3083 brings you to Predannack Wollas, hidden away on the Lizard Peninsula. This is a windswept headland strewn with beautiful wildflowers and exposed clifftop, making it an ideal backdrop that is used for some of Poldark's fastest horseback scenes.
Head inland for about 30 mins on the A3082 to the Poldark Mine, where the interior shots of Wheal Leisure were filmed. This complete tin mine was originally known as Wendron Forge and Halfpenny Mine and was renamed as Poldark Mine due to the popularity of the Poldark books, and of course, it was later used as a filming location for the series. The mine is now open to the general public for underground tours, so be sure to take a look around.
Back to the coast on the A3082 to Kynance Cove, both beautiful and recognisable with its serpentine rock-towers rising out of the white sand. This lovely cove has been used as Nampara in some scenes. Here Ross rescues Demelza from her fishing trip, and we see Demelza gathering driftwood while Captain McNeil watches on. Ross was also seen on the clifftops here being marched off to jail!
After around 1.5 hours on the A3083 you arrive at Turnaware Point on the east side of the River Fal. This was the location of Ross travelling in a small boat for the Roscoff Delta scenes. Fans may also recognise it from series three when it acts as a French location for some covert landings. Turnaware was heavily developed for vehicles required for the D Day landings and there is still much evidence of this to be seen.
Sticking on the A3083 for 40 minutes will find the Grade II listed Georgian port of Charlestown, which has been a favourite film location for many years. It was used in the original Poldark series and is once again the backdrop of many scenes, as well as being used for Truro and Falmouth, where Verity Poldark elopes from with Captain Blamey. The slipway and beach at Charlestown became St Mary's on the Scilly Isles, where Ross met Mark Daniels.
Bodmin Jail aka Bodmin Gaol
Reached by the A390, an austere and imposing building Bodmin Jail was originally built for King George III in 1779 and served as a jail until 1927. The significant number of executions that took place in the past have lead to the prison becoming known as one of the most haunted places in Cornwall (and the UK!). Ross' farmhand Jim Carter was thrown into Bodmin Jail after being caught poaching, the conditions were so bad that he soon dies.
St Breward and Bodmin Moor
From Bodmin, St Breward is a 25 minute drive on either the B3266 or the A30. The external shots of Nampara are filmed at a privately owned isolated farmhouse near St Breward, while Minions on the other side of the Moor was used for the tenants and workers cottages. It's near Minions that Ross first meets Demelza. Many of the horseback scenes were filmed on the bleak beauty of the moor itself. When shot on the moor near St Breward, Dwight gallops off to meet Caroline. Ross is seen galloping on horseback across moorland near Roughtor before being joined by Dr Dwight Enys as they make their way to the Assizes at Bodmin.
And the rest…
As well as visiting the Poldark filming locations, why not check out some more of what Cornwall has to offer? The Cornish countryside and coastline are home to some of the county’s most beautiful and interesting spots, with so many reasons to visit - the beautiful landscape, and the huge variety of things to do, including The Eden Project, The Minack Theatre, St Michaels Mount and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The county is full of quaint villages, hidden coves and most notably, amazing coastal views. With miles of coastal paths, Cornwall is also renowned for having some of the best surf in England.
Ready to explore Cornwall? Check availability and start your Poldark adventure!