North Coast Cottages
Unspoiled natural scenery, breathtaking beaches and a wealth of exciting and exhilarating things to see and do are the hallmarks of a holiday in North Cornwall. Boasting a diverse landscape replete with scenic coves, craggy clifflines, windswept bays and lush countryside, North Cornwall presents a fabulous feast not only for the eyes, but for all the senses.
What's more, it's home to a wide range of must-see attractions alongside a host of hidden treasures where visitors can walk, cycle, surf, swim, dine and relax in some of the delightful surrounds.
Where can I stay in North Cornwall?
Stretching from Perranporth to Bude, the forty mile-long North Cornwall coast features a heady host of destinations, from traditional fishing towns like Padstow to 'village on a mountain' Tintagel and riverside towns Wadebridge and Camelford to foodie favourites including Newquay. So whether you're planning an activity-filled family holiday, couples' retreat or long weekend away, North Cornwall's eclectic range of places to visit will satisfy you’re every whim in unique and unforgettable style.
Where are the best family beaches?
Offering incomparable choice, North Cornwall is veritably choc with family-friendly beaches. Located on the eastern side of Padstow, Porthcothan and Treyarnon present wonderfully sheltered seaside spots alongside ample amenities. Padstow's surrounding coastline includes Constantine Bay, Harlyn Beach and Trevone, where families can sample various water activities such as surfing, snorkelling and rock pooling as well as exquisite expanses of soft golden sands fringed by wind-breaking cliff tops.
Beyond Padstow's picturesque harbour and village, Polzeath and Daymer Bay sit on the far side of the Camel Estuary; offering uninterrupted views, fine flat sands and shallow waters with smaller waves when the swells arrive, making them both ideal options for families.
Toward Tintagel, the stunning Trebarwith Strand is great for surfing and swimming, affording dog access along with seasonal lifeguard cover and a host of facilities, while the village beach – otherwise known as Merlin's Cove - is concealed at the bottom of the valley under the castle. It requires a bit of a cliff scramble to get to, but features a beautiful waterfall and famous, Merlin's Cave. Be aware that the beach disappears with the high tide.
Nestled near the Devon border, Bude boasts a bevy of brilliant beaches as well as an all-year-round (and free) sea pool for swimming, and wonderfully scenic canal for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. In particular, Summerleaze and Crooklets beaches both provide expansive stretches of seasonally lifeguarded sands that come complete with a range of facilities including showers, cafés, toilets and beach hut hire.
What about quieter coves for couples?
Renowned for its wild sense of romance, North Cornwall's rugged cliffs and concealed coves provide the perfect place for couples to indulge in some sweet and secluded downtime. Quintessentially Cornish fishing village, Port Isaac (home to BBC's Doc Martin) may captivate the high-summer crowds, but nearby Lundy Bay and Tregardock Beach are trickier to get to, meaning the holiday hordes can be eluded as you experience some of North Cornwall's celebrated sense of escapism.
Further round the rugged headland from Tintagel en route to Boscastle, you'll find the dog-friendly (but not lifeguarded) Bossiney Beach, which joins up with Benoath Cove on a low tide and provides the perfect peaceful seaside retreat for couples.
Is there a cycle path?
Covering almost twenty miles of mostly traffic-free recreational routes linking Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin, The Camel Trail is one of the best cycle paths in the country, which follows a disused railway track around some of North Cornwall's most scenic spots.
The terrain is mostly level and offers a variety of paths of varying distance, meaning that whatever your age, ability or agenda, everyone will enjoy the chance to trail blaze, walk or nature-watch their way, potentially spotting the likes of otters, bats and kingfishers.
Another prize path is The Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast route that will take you from Portreath to the utterly delightful village of Devoran (about 15 miles) across Cornwall's celebrated and uber pretty World Mining Heritage site.
Where are the best places to eat?
From cool seaside cafés to traditional pubs and celebrity chef restaurants to seasonal pop ups, Cornwall's brilliantly burgeoning food scene offers something for everyone as it steals from its surrounds to offer fresh, locally sourced produce served at some truly spellbinding locations.
Both of Nathan Outlaw's restaurants in Rock are located in The St Enodoc Hotel. Outlaw's offers a more casual and relaxed dining experience while his two star Michelin treasure, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw guarantees gorgeous seafood gastronomy of the highest calibre.
Outlaw's Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac is also on North Cornwall's culinary map, along with Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant – or for families fancying some flavour with a smaller price tag, Stein's Café and Fish & Chips are just the top-tasting ticket.
What else should I see and do while in North Cornwall?
Tintagel Castle is a must-see for many reasons. The Roman castle's ruins spectacularly lie on the rugged headland overlooking the Atlantic and are associated with Arthurian legend, affording a mesmerising dose of dramatic views, intriguing history and magical mythology. Boscastle's Witchcraft Museum is also worth a visit, as is Rocky Valley in Bossiney – a magnificent miniature gorge featuring waterfalls, wild flowers and Bronze Age rock carvings.
Bude Castle is home to a heritage centre, art gallery, archives and restaurant, and families can hire outdoor games to enjoy some al fresco fun on the Castle Green with the brilliant likes of quoits, croquet and pick-up-sticks.
In Wadebridge, Cornwall's Crealy Great Adventure Park is a 111-acre amusement spectacular featuring 35 acres of outdoor play along with large indoor play area, park rides, animals and live shows.
Morwenstow's wild remoteness and position on the edge of Cornwall lends it a wonderfully away-from-it-all feel, which can be experienced by walking to Henna Cliff, which – at 450 feet high – offers vertiginous, far-reaching panoramas to Lundy Island and Wales.
Then there's Camelford - perceived by many to have been the site of King Arthur's Camelot - complete with nearby Arthurian Centre and sixth-century inscribed, King Arthur's Stone.
Simply pick a place and get involved in its top offerings. Think sea life safaris in Padstow, zorbing at Sphere Bude or go-karting St Eval's Kart Circuit for an endlessly fun-filled series of adventures for all the family.
And for rainy days, try the Lappa Valley Steam Railway or Carruan Farm at Polzeath, which will brilliantly entertain and exhaust kids and adults alike.