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Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy an unforgettable swimming holiday amongst some of Britain's most spectacular scenery along the rugged coastlines of Cornwall and the beautiful Isles of Scilly

  • Complete a series of breathtaking swims, including coastal routes, circumnavigations and island-hopping crossings

  • Discover the stunning landscapes of some of the most isolated locations in the British Isles

  • Stay aboard the the beautiful Lady of Avenel, a 102ft Bringatine square rigger tall ship, throughout the duration of your trip

While this swimming holiday in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is brand new for SwimTrek in 2017, we have actually been coming to this part of the world for the past 12 years. From the rugged Cornish coastlines to the white-sand beaches of ‘The Scillies’, this trip gives you the chance to swim and sail amongst some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery.

Throughout the course of the week you will travel in style aboard the gorgeous ‘Lady of Avenel’ tall ship. This 102ft Brigantine square rigged ship is our home for the duration of the trip and comes complete with our very own on-board chef.

We aim to circumnavigate the Isles of Scilly (swimming, of course!) and undertake some epic, hard-to-reach mainland swims along the Cornish coast. The peninsula of Cornwall is one of the most isolated parts of the British Isles, and its warm climate, fabulous scenery and ancient Celtic heritage make it an exhilarating destination for the adventurous traveller.

This trip is a truly unique adventure on the SwimTrek calendar and is an exciting opportunity to enjoy some spectacular adventure swimming and sailing alike.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is made up of a mix of crossings (Isles of Scilly) and coastal swims (Cornish Coast). Conditions will be challenging, yet extremely rewarding. Due to the nature of some of the swims, participants should be experienced open water swimmers who are comfortable in occasionally rough conditions. Due to the nature of this trip, there is a minimum swimming speed of 24min/km (38min/mile). No sailing experience is required, however the boat team are happy for you to assist with on-board duties as much or as little as you like.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday in Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly
  • Swim guides and full safety escort on all swims
  • Six nights accommodation
  • On-board chef
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • All evening meals

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Wetsuit hire

Related Links

Day 1

We meet our ship and accommodation, the ‘Lady of Avenel’, where we are given a tour of this classic square rigger and we take you through a briefing for the week ahead. We then head by boat the short distance to the fishing town of Newlyn, from where we start off with a coastal swim along the Gwavas Cliffs on our way into the tiny, picturesque harbour of Mousehole.

It is then time for a well earned lunch and relax as we make our way over to Marazion, Cornwall’s oldest town, from where we set off on a circumnavigation of the iconic St. Michael's Mount. It’s a fantastic swim as we journey out, around and back from this remarkable island. We spend the evening aboard the Lady of Avenel near Penzance, where there is an opportunity to enjoy what the town has to offer.

Day 2

This morning the crew is up early as we weigh anchor and strike out across the Atlantic towards the Isles of Scilly, lying 20 miles southwest of Land’s End. We first approach the main island of St Mary’s from where we swim across Crow Sound towards the the island of St Martin’s. It’s possible to see kelp beds throughout the entire crossing before landing at Higher Town Quay.

From here we walk across the island to New Quay ready for the swim to Tresco. The swim to Tresco is through a labyrinth of islands and stacks. On arrival into Tresco, and after a well earned rest and lunch at Old Grimsby Harbour, we walk along the island's northern coast and visit, Tregarthen Hill and King Charles's Castle to view the next day’s swims before returning to St Mary’s.

Day 3

Returning to Tresco in the morning, we swim from Cromwell Castle on the island’s west coast to Hangman Island, with its ominous gallows guiding the way, before making land on Bryher’s east coast. From here we walk to Bryher’s rugged northern tip and then along the coastal path to Rushy Bay. After lunch we cross to the uninhabited Island of Samson, passing Puffin Island on the way.

Day 4

This is the day of the trip’s longest swim from St Mary’s to St Agnes. We walk across Hugh Town to the stunning Porthcressa Beach. From here it’s into the water and we head out south to Biggal Rock. From this rock we can see the island of Gugh which we target before arriving into the picturesque Porthconger Bay.

After lunch on board the Lady of Avenel, it's time to wave farewell to these unique islands and prepare for an afternoon sail back to the Cornish mainland. On reaching inshore waters, we look for a safe anchorage to stop for the night and where there may be a chance to pop ashore, should you so wish.

Day 5

This morning is an opportunity to swim along one of Britain’s most iconic stretches of coastline as we swim from Sennen Cove and head out past Dr Syntax’s Head and then around England’s most westerly point at Land’s End. It’s an epic place to swim and one which is normally tricky to access. On reaching Land’s End we have time for a drink before we carry on towards the Armed Knight rock where the swim will finish. It’s an absolute corker of a swim!

Once everyone is back on board, we will motor around to the tranquil Porthgwarra Beach, which, as well as being an ideal lunch stop, is also the start point for our afternoon swim which goes directly below the world-famous Minack Theatre towards Porthcurno Beach. As you swim, the sheer cliffs plunge straight down below the water line. These two swims, which are on the edge of the British Isles, are a real highlight of the week’s swimming.

Day 6

Our last full day of swimming takes us out towards the remote Lizard Peninsula, the most southerly point of Britain’s mainland. Our morning swim sees us depart from the picturesque village of Port Mellion and carry out first a crossing and then a full circumnavigation of the uninhabited island of Mullion, which is home to colonies of migratory seabirds.

Later we travel further down the Lizard to Kennack, where we undertake a stunning coastal swim featuring rocky landscapes, isolated beaches and inlets along our route. Passing the old Serpentine quarry at Poltesco, the fishing hamlet of Cadgwith is our destination. We aim to visit the Cadgwith Cove Inn, famous locally for its local shanty singing. Once onboard our ship, we head back to Penzance where we will spend the last evening and have an opportunity to share stories of the week’s swimming.

Day 7

We have our final group breakfast before departing and saying our goodbyes.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Penzance Harbour, Penzance

Start Date: 09.00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Penzance Harbour, Penzance

Finish Date: 09.00 on Day 7

Swimming Information

Equipment to bring along with you

Item Item
Swimming Costume (x2) Towel
Swimming Googles* (x2) Sweater / Fleece
Sunhat and Sunglasses Waterproof Jacket
Waterproof Sun Cream Walking Shoes / Sandals
Small Daypack Aqua Shoes / Sandals
Plenty of warm layers Beanie and Gloves
  • Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

Note: Due to the nature of this trip, it is advised that valuables such as jewellery are left at home.

SwimTrek will supply swim hats. We will have a limited supply/range of flippers, rash vests and wetsuits available on the trip, however we cannot guarantee sizes for all. If you have your own flippers, rash vest or wetsuit, we would recommend you bring these with you in order to maximise your enjoyment of the trip. Please note that SwimTrek will provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distance
Newlyn - Mousehole 2½km
St Mary’s - St Martin’s 3km
Tresco - Bryher 2km
St Mary’s - St Agnes 3½km
Porthgwarra - Porthcurno 2km
Kennack - Cadgwith 3km
Marazion -St Michael’s Mount 2km
St Martin’s - Tresco 2km
Bryher - Samson 1km
Sennen - Armed Knight 3km
Port Mellion - Mullion Island 2½km

Please note that due to the fickle nature of Cornish weather and sea conditions, we have a number of alternate swims for any single day.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as jellyfish could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Distances

The walking is moderate in both the Isles of Scilly and in mainland Cornwall, where we use the South West Coastal Path on some occasions. Most walks take place on recognised paths and tracks, however there may be cases where we walk along trails or other unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas.


Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
September (Cornish Coast) 15-17˚C / 59-63°F 22-24°C / 71-76°F
September (Isles of Scilly) 14-16˚C / 57-61°F 22-24°C / 71-76°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 12. The group will be split into two groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat support on this trip includes one main boat and two inflatable boats to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There

There are a number of options for getting to Penzance at the start of your trip. While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Driving to Penzance

For those wishing to drive to Penzance the postcode for the harbour is TR18 2GB. From London, the journey takes approximately five hours along the M4, M5 and A30. The Harbour offers weekly parking for £42.00 (cars only), however this can only be purchased via pay by mobile phone system, not at the pay and display. Please check the AA route planner for any road closures or roadworks at the following website: Route Planner.

Public Transport to Penzance Harbor

Penzance is the the southernmost station on the national rail network and is the terminus of the Cornish main line. Catching the train is a convenient and scenic way to get to Penzance and journey times from London are between 5-6 hours. There is also an option to catch the night sleeper train which arrives from London into Penzance at just before 08:00. For full details of the trains to Penzance, we advise using the National Rail website.

If you are looking to travel by bus, the National Express and Megabus run services to Penzance from all major UK cities, however travel times can be very long. Tickets from London Victoria to Penzance cost from as little as £1 but do take several hours. More information can be found at National Express and Megabus.

The harbour is located on the seafront, around a 15-minute walk from both the coach and train stations.

Practical Information


The Lady of Avenel is a 102ft Brigantine square rigger with 12 guest berths and staff quarters. Originally built in Poland in 1969 as a tug vessel, she was refitted in 1992. The vessel appeared in ‘Through the Looking Glass’, the sequel to Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’


All meals are included on this trip, cooked by our very own on-board chef. With years of experience working on various vessels, this trip offers a high standard of food, fuelling you for your swims during the week.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as trips to the occasional pub and shopping on the few islands/ports that have towns. The local currency is British pound (£).

Passports And Visas

Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly are part of the United Kingdom. Non-residents of the U.K. require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand are given ‘leave to enter’ the UK. Citizens of the EU do not need a visa to enter. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.


There are currently no essential vaccination requirements for U.K., however it is advisable to re-check this information eight weeks before you travel. You should also ensure that your immunity to tetanus and polio is up-to-date.

  • Brilliant trip - exceeded all expectations

    Jane M, Australia- 2017
  • A great week, in good company with a great team.

    John O, UK- 2017
  • Exciting, fun , just a brilliant week.

    Jos S, UK-2017
  • Had a ball , great swims ,guests and crew all fab. Would do again!

    Olivia H, UK- 2017
  • Flexible, challenging but non-competitive. A great mix of people. Skilful, knowledgable and good humoured staff. I felt safe but not cosseted or regimented.

    Crispin H, UK- 2017
Dates Availability Price From
09 Sep -
15 Sep, 2017
Trip Finished
16 Sep -
22 Sep, 2017
Trip Finished