Discover the coastal magic

Delve into the secrets of the coast and discover some of Cornwall's most beautiful spots.

The most captivating places on the North Cornwall coast

Sarah on Aug 17, 2015

Vibrant coastal towns, charming villages and the wilderness of Bodmin moor aside, the North Cornwall coast offers plenty of truly hidden delights, but how do you find them?

Really secluded beaches

The walk to Harbour Cove is like a scene from a movie. Found at the mouth of the River Camel, on the Padstow side, you can reach the long sandy stretch by walking down across cliff-top meadows. In the summer, wildflowers grow here making it a truly picturesque walk. You can also reach the beach by heading north along the coast path from Padstow. At low tide, the infamous Doom Bar is revealed where you can stroll across to nearby Hawker’s Cove.

Where to snorkel

‘Image’ by Foshie | CC BY 2.0

Avoid the crowds and find somewhere a little more peaceful to enjoy a relaxing dip in the blue waters. Bossiney Haven really lives up to its name, found just north of Tintagel and accessed by a half mile footpath from the car park. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a tropical paradise as a reef runs along the western edge of the beach, providing the perfect spot for snorkelling.

The best places for swimming in the sea

At Lundy Bay beach, a fascinating blow hole makes for an exciting dip in the ocean. You can swim into the hole yourself and explore the caverns, as long as it’s low tide and the sea is calm. You can get here by following the coast path for a mile from Port Quin; before you drop down on to the sand you can look straight down into the blow hole.

The best places to spot wildlife

Beeny Cliff is one point along the coast to go for a wildlife fix – make sure you have your camera to hand! Here, Buckator Cliff is home to the largest grey-seal colony on the north coast of Cornwall so if you’re lucky you’ll see the adults basking in the sun while pups play together at low tide. Along this stretch of coast, there are also around 20 pairs of breeding peregrine falcons so look out for them too!

Ladies Window, a natural rock arch is found just off the coast path between Tintagel and Boscastle and is a great place to spot puffins.

Where to catch the best views

From a picnic spot with a view to the very best sunset, of course North Cornwall certainly does not go short. High Cliff, Crackington is the highest point on the Cornish coast so it’s not surprising it has one of the best view points. Watch the sunset here and you could see set eyes on the famous ‘green flash’ moments before sunset.

Caves and caverns

Beneath the headland of Tintagel Castle, Merlin’s Cave is a huge double-ended sea cavern which stretches right in under the land, actually connecting to the castle. You can swim right inside, but make sure you have a torch with you and go at low tide.

Taking your dog with you?

Here are a few ideas for dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall, where you can be confident your pet can run free without a care in the world. Check out our beach guide app to find dog-friendly beaches all over the UK.

  • Porthkidney Beach

  • Known locally as the ‘happy dog beach’ and found just two miles from the pretty harbour town of St Ives, the pristine white sands of Porthkidney beach are perfect for letting your pooch paddle their paws.

  • Mexico Towans

  • Four miles of perfect sands run from the mouth of the Hayle Estuary to the lighthouse and Godrevy Point, a fantastic spot for a long evening walk to watch the sunset.

  • Mother Ivy’s Bay

  • Just under five miles from Padstow, Mother Ivey’s Bay, named after a local wise woman is a peaceful and stunning spot. It’s not the most accessible beach which makes it a quieter hide away, even on the busiest of summer days!

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