This 10-day adventure combines city tours with hikes along England’s southwest coast. It begins in London with a pub tour, after which you’ll transfer to Cornwall to begin the great trek. Starting in the seaside resort of Bude, you’ll hike south along the water as you enjoy views of rugged clifftops, sandy bays, ancient ruins, and charming villages. It ends back in London with a deep dive into the city’s rich legacy while touring historic neighborhoods.

Highlights

  • Hike along one of the most beautiful routes on England's Cornish coast
  • Discover London's history on a tour of medieval landmarks and legendary pubs
  • Visit the otherworldly peninsula at Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur
  • Explore traditional Cornish fishing villages like Port Isaac and Padstow

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London, Explore London
Day 2 Pub Tour of London London
Day 3 London to Bude - Explore  Bude
Day 4 Bude to Crackington Haven Crackington Haven
Day 5 Crackington Haven to Tintagel Tintagel
Day 6 Tintagel to Port Isaac Padstow
Day 7 Port Isaac to Padstow St Ives
Day 8 Padstow to London by Train London
Day 9 London History & Culture Walking Tour London
Day 10 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London, Explore

Discover vibrant London on a self-guided walking tour

Welcome to London. Upon arrival at the airport, a personal driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After dropping off your bags and relaxing, you can head out for a self-guided walking tour of the city. 

You’ll quickly discover that London is where the old meets the new. In this city, medieval churches sit alongside towering skyscrapers, chic pop-up restaurants compete with historic pubs, and the green spaces of regal parks contrast nicely with the urban street art of the coolest neighborhoods. Plus, there are all those art galleries, food markets, and festivals to enjoy.

As you walk around, you’ll find that many of the best sights are free to enjoy, including the famous Tate Modern art gallery.

Day 2: Pub Tour of London

Go on a pub crawl in London

London has history and culture to spare, and you’ll find both in its famous pub scene. There are over 3,500 pubs, and today you’ll visit some of the city’s most historic on a small-group walking tour. The smaller nature of the tour offers more personal attention from your guide.

This 3-hour stroll through London’s beverage history begins in the afternoon. You’ll depart from St. Paul’s tube (subway) station on a leisurely 2-mile (3-km) walk down some of the oldest streets, following in the footsteps of legendary residents like Charles Dickens. Throughout the tour, your guide will reveal the history of the area and the various pubs you’ll stop at for a tipple. You’ll even visit a tavern that dates back to 1549.

The tour finishes near the neighborhood of Covent Garden, a short walk from the theaters, shops, and restaurants of London’s West End. There are many more pubs and taverns you can visit on your own—in case you’re still thirsty after all that walking.

Day 3: London to Bude, Explore 

View across Summerleaze Beach to Bude.
View across Summerleaze Beach in Bude

In the morning, you’ll travel west from London to the Victorian seaside resort town of Bude. Located in the county of Cornwall, this is a favorite spot for surfers and holidaymakers visiting England’s South West Peninsula. It’s also where your Cornish walking adventure starts.

After settling into your hotel, head out and explore the town. There’s a lot to enjoy here—you can sample local seafood, stroll along the vast Summerleaze Beach, and pop in at a cozy pub for a nightcap. Consider making it an early night, though, as you’ll want to rest up for your first day of hiking tomorrow.

Day 4: Bude to Crackington Haven

Turquoise waters at Trevone, Widemouth Bay.
Admire the turquoise waters at Trevone, Widemouth Bay

A relatively easy start to today’s hike follows a grassy incline behind the beaches from Bude to Widemouth Bay. Here the path becomes more challenging as it passes over several sheer cliff tops. Keep an eye out for grey seals as you cross the magnificent bluffs at Phillip’s Point Nature Reserve.

Then continue past the prehistoric Dizzard Forest, home to some of the oldest oaks in Britain. Cresting the hilltops of Pencannow and Castle Point, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views along the coast and inland to the Tors of Dartmoor—unique granite outcroppings that dot the countryside. Finish the day with a descent to your base for the night: the quiet port village of Crackington Haven.

Walking distance: 10 miles (16 km),  +/- 2,657 feet (810 m)

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Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 5: Crackington Haven to Tintagel

Steep walkways and bridges lead to the peninsula of Tintagel.
The rugged peninsula of Tintagel

Today you’re in for a challenging yet superb walk as you ascend from Crackington above the isolated Strangles beach. Passing rocky shelves and headlands, you’ll witness breathtaking views from the highest cliff in Cornwall. This stretch of coast is beloved by birdwatchers; the cliffsides are home to colonies of puffins, razorbills, and guillemots.

Continuing past the inlet at Pentargon, you'll catch sight of a spectacular waterfall plummeting 130 feet (39 m) into the sea. Your day ends at the historic village of Tintagel, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur. Its rocky promontory was also the site of a Roman settlement and Celtic fortress, and there are castle ruins dating from the 13th century.

Walking distance: 11 miles (18 km), +/- 2,611 feet (795 m)

Day 6: Tintagel to Port Isaac

View towards Port Isaac.
View toward Port Isaac

Day four takes you along a section of the coast once vital to the fishing and slate trades. You’ll see remnants of this history in the donkey tracks around Backway’s Cove and at the rocky pinnacles of Hole Beach. The pace picks up as you traverse a series of hills and valleys before descending to the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of Trebarwith Strand.

Continue along the cliffs past the sleepy little harbor of Port Gaverne before reaching the quaint and unspoiled Port Isaac. This fishing village surrounds a picturesque bay and has a network of alleyways lined by white-washed, historic cottages. One narrow lane here is famously called “Squeeze-ee-belly.”

Walking distance: 9 miles (15 km), +/- 2.740 feet (835 m)

Day 7: Port Isaac to Padstow

The Rumps on Pentire Head.
The Rumps on Pentire Head

On your last day of hiking, you'll leave Port Isaac and follow a beautiful stretch of coast, passing the remote inlet of Pine Haven and the Iron Age fort of The Rumps. The rugged first section winds its way around steep headlands, gentle valleys, and pretty coves. Other highlights include the spectacular views of Camel Estuary from Pentire Point and Lundy Beach, famous for its rock pools, caves, and natural arch.

The trail then becomes gentler as it passes through Polzeath to reach the sandy beaches of Daymer Bay and the 13th-century Saint Enodoc's Church. From here, catch the ferry to historic Padstow. This port town is famous for its bustling harbor and medieval buildings.

Walking distance: 12 miles (19 km), +/- 2,805 feet (855 m)

Day 8: Padstow to London by Train

Sunrise over Padstow's harbor.
Sunrise over Padstow's harbor

Your grand Cornish hiking excursion finishes here in Padstow, which overlooks the calm waters of the Camel Estuary. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy your last morning on the Cornish coast.

A driver will pick you up and transfer you to the train station at the appropriate time. From there, it’s about a 5-hour ride back to London. Upon arrival, you’ll head to your new hotel, where you can unpack and spend the evening relaxing.

London History & Culture Walking Tour

Tower of London
Explore the famous Tower of London on a walking tour

Get ready for a walking tour that encompasses 2,000 years of rich London history in a mere three hours. A local historian will lead you on this informative and exciting excursion that begins at one of the city’s most famous landmarks: the Tower of London. Built in 1078 by William the Conqueror, this fortress is comprised of various sections, including St. Thomas’s Tower, Traitors’ Gate, and the White Tower. Over the centuries, it has served as a castle, a royal palace, a prison, and a place of execution. 

The walk continues to All Hallows-by-the-Tower. Dating to the 7th century, this church is the oldest in London. The building contains remnants that span the ages, including the Roman, Saxon, medieval, and modern periods. Besides the church’s long and storied British history, it’s also where John Quincy Adams was married in 1797.

Leaving the church, you’ll pass relics of Roman and medieval walls that were once part of the area. Next, you’ll explore the City of London, a historic district that is also the city’s financial heart. Here medieval buildings like the 16th-century St. Andrew Undershaft Church sit next to modern marvels like the Lloyd’s Building and the Gherkin—so named because it resembles a pickle.

Next, you’ll stop at the 14th-century Leadenhall Market. This was historically of crucial importance to the trade industry in London. It continues to flourish today and is home to various merchants, restaurants, coffeehouses, bars, and more.

If time allows, your guide will take you to Guildhall. This 15th-century town hall is one of the few buildings in the city that survived both the 1666 Great Fire and the 1940-41 Blitz intact. The site is also home to a Roman amphitheater at the structure's ground level, whose ruins you can examine. 

Day 10: Depart London

London
Farewell, England

This concludes your hiking adventure in the Cornish countryside and your exploration of London. A driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for the flight home in the morning. See you soon!

More Great 10-Day England Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? Check out these other 10-day England itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of Hike the Northern Cornish Coast - 10 Days
Map of Hike the Northern Cornish Coast - 10 Days