Stretching along the Atlantic coast this beautiful and dramatic region has so much to offer. With wide expanses of beaches, ancient monuments, quaint harbour towns and villages, incredible seafood and world renowned surfing and water sports, a stay in a North Cornwall holiday cottage will perfectly position you to explore this fabulous holiday destination.
Nestled near the top of the North Cornish coastline, Boscastle is a picturesque fishing village with a medieval past and a natural harbour, renowned as one of Cornwall’s most romantic destinations. The Museum of Witchcraft offers wonderful insight into the past as well as myths and legends. The village is home to several cosy pubs and restaurants which serve great food and local ales, as well as a wide selection of shops and galleries. From nearby Bude, dramatic walks take you along the South West Coast Path in both directions.
Slightly further along the coast you'll come across the ruins of Tintagel Castle, steeped in mystery and reputed to be the birth place of King Arthur, sitting on dramatic cliffs overlooking a small cove of turquoise ocean, with a sea cavern known as ‘Merlin’s Cave’. Maintained by English Heritage, visitors can learn about the story of the castle dating back to Roman times and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Slightly inland, Bodmin Moor is dominated by dramatic granite tors towering over sweeping expanses of open moorland. The moor, featured is in many books. 'The Jamaica Inn' written by Daphne Du Maurier, is actually set in a coaching house on the Moor which was famous as a smugglers rest house as they made their way from the South Cornish coast up the country. Today the historic Jamaica Inn provides a fascinating to visit, offering good food, a sense of mystery and intrigue, and a museum dedicated to the smugglers who frequented the Inn in the past.
Back on the coast, the charming fishing port of Padstow is these days most renowned as a culinary destination, with restaurants from celebrity chefs including Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth making the most of the freshly caught seafood brought into the Padstow Harbour on a daily basis. The town is surrounded by beautiful North Cornish countryside and is close to many large stretches of sandy beaches. Padstow is also home to the National Lobster Hatchery, a marine conservation charity helping to preserve lobster populations.
At the top of this striking coastline sits Bude, a great family resort town boasting a mix of independent traders and two large sandy beaches with a large sea pool. The Bude canal meanders its way towards the sea and provides perfect boating and kayaking opportunities as well as stunning walks along its banks into rolling countryside.
With its narrow streets of white-washed cottages and Cornish slate-fronted houses, winding your way through picturesque Port Isaac can feel like taking a step back in time. Steeped in maritime history, the village was once home to a thriving pilchard fishery and a bustling port. Nestled on the rugged Atlantic coastline, Port Isaac is still a working fishing village, reflected by the fresh seafood dishes served up in the local restaurants. There are also a number of shops and galleries plus a village pub to keep you entertained.
Situated a little inland along the Camel River estuary, a lively hub on the North coast, the market town of Wadebridge boasts an abundance of independent shops, cafes and pubs. You can easily access the popular Camel Trail from here, an eighteen mile multi-use trail, perfect for walkers or cyclists, which runs over the moors from Wadebridge to Bodmin or along the Camel estuary from Wadebridge to Padstow. Wadebridge also plays host to the annual Cornwall Folk Festival and the Royal Cornwall Show.
A surfer’s paradise, Newquay is famous for its water sports. The bustling town has wide golden beaches which are perfect for bathing as well as numerous surf schools and places to hire everything from boards to jet skis. The town also has a wealth of independent shops, restaurants and cafes and is accessible by rail as well as by air from the nearby Newquay airport.
With over 3 miles of soft sandy beaches, Perranporth is a popular family resort. This beautiful section of coast is littered with old Cornish tin mines. A favourite with walkers taking the route from the quaint Perranporth village to St Agnes along the South West Costal Path, Perranporth provides stunning sea views and is particularly good for dogs as it passes beaches and pubs where dogs are welcome.
Rock climbing, coasteering, ecoasterring, wild swimming, sea kayaking – for the thrill seeker who wants to get that little bit closer to Cornish nature, Cornish Rock Tors has venues on the north and south coasts of Cornwall, so it’s a good one to keep in mind whether you’re visiting the area for the first time or after multiple trips. Suffice to say the excursions allow you to take in some of the most picturesque aspectsof Cornwall, getting to grips with the great outdoors and some of the most incredible scenery the UK has to offer. They even cater to hen weekends and stag parties, all the while endorsed by the National Trust and conservation organisations.
Opened by Rick Stein and Jill Stein in 1975, The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow is famous for establishing an international reputation for the very freshest fish and shellfish, often landed on our doorstep. Head chef, Stephane Delourme and his team create simple seafood dishes with classic flavours using Rick’s recipes.
The Seafood Restaurant Riverside, Padstow PL28 8BY (T: 01841 532700)
A contemporary tapas and cocktail bar with plenty of seating and a great atmosphere serving delicious home cooked tapas brimming with local fish and seafood. Wash down your meal with a range of cocktails, local ales and lagers.
The Bank at Bude Pethericks Mill, Bude EX23 8TF (T: 01288 352070)
One of the oldest pubs in Cornwall dating back to the 13th century, with flagstone floors, cosy wood burners and ceilings beamed with timbers from ships wrecked off the coast. Choose from the excellent modern British menu full of quality local produce in the light and bright courtyard restaurant, or pop in for a few drinks in the friendly bar.
The Tree Inn Fore St, Stratton, Bude EX23 9DA (T: 01288 352038)
A rocky beach in a narrow, sheltered cove, Port Quin Beach is close to Port Isaac, and is only accessible at low tide. Its rugged landscape is beautiful to see, but its location means that it’s largely popular with seasoned walkers and those looking to go snorkeling and kayaking. Unspoiled and peaceful, it reveals a treasure trove of rock pools when the tide is out, and the nearby village is largely deserted, having once had thriving fishing and mining industries. Today both the cove and the village are owned by the National Trust and there is a car park courtesy of them in Port Quin. Dogs are banned between Easter and October, and there aren’t any facilities nearby – it’s all about enjoying the peace and quiet.
Since the arrival of Doc Martin on the small screen, Port Isaac has soared in popularity, and the pretty little village with the historic harbour, which also serves as the beach, has become instantly recognisable. Still an active fishing village with crab pots scattered about, the sand stretches between twin piers at low tide and has a small stream and lots of rock pools to explore, so it’s ideal for children. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and as it’s at the centre of the village there’s easy access to shops and all facilities including public toilets. The car park for the town is a 10-minute walk away, and while there are a couple of parking spaces on the beach itself, just make sure you park above the high water mark, or keep an eagle eye on the tide!
A sheltered beach on the north Cornwall coast, Port Gaverne Beach is in a narrow cove just east of Port Isaac. It’s comprised of sand and shingle with lots of rock pools to explore at low tide. In the summer months it can get quite busy given the popularity of the location and its suitability for families. Surrounding walks along the cliff path are delightful and at high tide the beach is favoured by divers. There’s also a slipway and it’s sometimes used to launch boats because of the easy access from the road. Thanks to it proximity to Port Isaac half a mile away facilities and restaurants are nearby, and the beach welcomes dogs all year round. You can also park in the village although there is limited road parking by the beach itself.
Best known as a surf beach, Tregardock Beach is only accessible by footpath, which offers beautiful views of the water and Port Isaac as you head down. It is quite a stroll and the terrain is bumpy, so it’s not an ideal beach to visit with children. The path can also get quite muddy, so keep an eye on the weather. There’s a seasonal ban on dogs from Easter to September, and there aren’t any facilities in the immediate vicinity of the beach. When the tide goes out, several small beaches become one long stretch of sand, and there’s a waterfall cascading down the cliffs at the back of the beach as well as caves to explore, so it really is a little paradise hidden in the landscape. Because it’s not easy to access, it’s usually quiet at this beach, but parking along the roadside near the farm at Treligga is very limited, so it’s a good idea to head over as early as possible and make sure you don’t get cut off at high tide.
Two miles from Tintagel, Trebarwith Strand Beach on the north Coast of Cornwall is easily accessible and is owned by the National Trust. A long stretch of sand, it’s backed by flat rocks and steep cliffs, but check the tides before you visit because people often get cut off in the summer months. Once there, there are caves to explore and rock pools containing a wealth of sea life. It’s been the setting for a number of films in its time, but these days it’s all about swimming (when lifeguards are on duty between May and September) and exploring. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and there are two car parks – the main one is a bit of a walk away, and a smaller one is closer to the beach. There’s also a handful of roadside parking spaces.
In the shadow of Tintagel Castle, Tintagel Beach is small and often overlooked, barely accessible via a scrabble down the cliff path. To the north of the beach there’s a waterfall and to the south is Merlin's Cave, a 300ft long tunnel passing under Tintagel Island and castle that’s only accessible at low tide. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, and the beauty of the place is its remoteness – just you, the beach and the sea, so there aren’t any facilities nearby basically.
At the end of a narrow valley, surrounded by towering cliffs, backing into the village of Crackington, Crackington Haven Beach offers shelter from the elements but only by comparison to the exposed coastline. The beach is all rocks and shingle, and has a seasonal ban on dogs from Easter to October. There’s parking at the beach, so remember to take cash for pay and display, and there are two cafes, a pub, surf hire and toilet facilities close by. There’s also lifeguard cover in the height of summer.
Less the five minutes on foot from the centre of Bude, Summerleaze Beach is an easy beach to get to and enjoy for the whole day. There’s a river flanking the sandy beach and it’s sheltered by a breakwater, making it popular with families and surfers. You can book beach huts daily or weekly, and adding to its charm is a part man-made/part natural salt water sea pool to swim in at the foot of the cliff, that’s been welcoming swimmers since it opened in 1930. There’s lifeguard cover in the summer months, dogs need to be kept on leads from May to September, and there are toilets and disabled toilets close by as well as an RNLI shop, sandy play area, a beach café, and a large car park that leads directly to the sand dunes.
Three miles south of Bude, Widemouth Bay Beach is a long, open bay that’s popular with families and surfers, while at low tide there are hundreds of rock pools to explore. It’s a wonderful place to learn to surf or body board thanks to fantastic conditions and lots of local surf schools in the surrounding area. There’s free parking at both ends of the bay as well as viewing points. Dogs are welcome throughout the year on the south section of the beach, otherwise known as Black Rock, but on the northern part there are seasonal dog bans. It has a wild feel to it, which adds to its appeal, and there is lifeguard cover in the summer, but nonetheless do be careful when swimming.