The Cornish stretch of coastline in Southwest England is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. At this point, the coast reaches far and wide, encompassing many little towns, villages, and hamlets along the way. So here’s your quick guide to the most beautiful villages in North Cornwall that you definitely won’t want to miss!
Sheltered by the sea in its own natural harbour, you’ll find the quaint little village of Boscastle. Located in an area of particular outstanding beauty, much of the coastline around this area is managed by the National Trust and is best visited during the summer months.
Boscastle is the perfect place to set off for a coastal walk, or simply enjoy the sunset. Here, you’ll also find a variety of quaint cafés, as well as a museum dedicated to all things Witchcraft. For those looking to make a weekend break of their Cornish escape, Boscastle also makes for a great base from which to explore the surrounding area.
With parts of the village dating all the way back to the 14th-Century, it’s not hard to see why Port Isaac is one of the most beautiful villages in North Cornwall. After all, the little port side town is one of those quintessentially Cornish fishing villages that remains frozen in time. Small lanes, narrow houses, and sagging roofs all come together, focused on the port which houses tiny fishing boats to this day.
The village remains largely unspoiled by tourism and is particularly quiet in the shoulder seasons, as well as earlier and later in the day. So quaint and iconic is this little village that it has been used as the location for popular Doc Martin Tv Series for a number of years.
A little way down the coastline from Port Isaac, you’ll find the much smaller settlement of Port Quin. Though the small settlement comprises of little more than a few houses, a café and a surf school, the lack of signal, quiet nature and sheltered beach make this a lovely little place to sit back, stroll along the beach and enjoy the sound of the waves lapping on the sand.
Overlooking the village, jutting out on a small piece of the headland, you’ll see the fortress of Castle Doyden. The little folly was built during Victorian Times and is a pretty site to look at; a set of order among the chaos of the wild coastline. Like many other holiday properties in the area, the Castle is managed by the National Trust and can be rented for vacations during certain points of the year.
Popular with tourists from far and wide, it’s easy to see why the charming village of Rock has quickly transformed into a honeypot, attracting international attention. After all, it’s here, in the village of Rock that you’ll find various cafés, hotels, and a spotless beach.
A village shop stocks plenty of local produce (including locally brewed cider- a must try while in the area), and a nearby ferry carries both foot and car passengers to the nearby larger town of Padstow. The village of Rock is also only a short way down the coastline from Polzeath, a popular surfing destination.
Rock is also served by Rock Beach, beautifully kept sandy beach overlooking an azure blue sea. Though there are fewer waves than in nearby Polzeath, it’s a lovely place for a stroll along the coastline, and a great opportunity to snap a few photos with fewer tourists than at other popular beaches along the North Cornwall Coastline.
Read more: A guide to Rock and Porthilly
Small and surrounded by the sea, the small little hamlet of Porthilly is fairly close by to Rock, and just a short ten minute walk away. Filled with quaint Cornish houses, and an artists studio or two, here you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Wander along the wild coastline, snap photos of the cute little houses and explore the interior of St Michael’s, a 12th-Century church frozen in time and on the fringes of the ocean. Elsewhere in the area, you can hike the South West Coastal Path, the longest National Trail in England.
Of all the beautiful villages in North Cornwall, Tintagel may well be one of my favourites. Also known as ‘Trevana/ Tre war Venydh‘ in Cornish, the little village of Tintagel is home to just under 2000 residents. Established as early as Norman Times, the village is the location of a large array of cafés, cute pubs, and even a shop selling locally produced honey and other bee products (the honey is delicious!).
It’s here, in Tintagel, that there’s also a castle on the fringes of the land, overlooking the sea. Just outside the tiny village of Tintagel, you’ll find the ruins of Tintagel Castle. Legendary birthplace of King Arthur (according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, a historian writing in the 12th-Century), there were once over 100 buildings adorning the rocky cliff face.
Other than Tintagel Castle, another site of particular interest is the Tintagel Old Post Office. This small stone cottage dates all the way back to the medieval period and was used as a local Post Office during the Victorian Era.
Read more: Tintagel Castle and King Arthur