This six-day hiking adventure follows a spectacular section of England's famed South West Coast Path. Starting in the historic seaside resort of Bude, you’ll walk south along Cornwall's Atlantic coastline. Take in rugged clifftops, sandy bays, ancient ruins, and whitewashed fishing villages, before ending your journey in the medieval port of Padstow.

Highlights

  • Experience challenging and varied hikes against breathtaking coastal scenery 
  • Visit the birthplace of King Arthur at Tintagel
  • Explore charming traditional Cornish fishing villages
  • Complete a section of England's famous South West Coastal Path

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Bude Bude
Day 2 Bude to Crackington Haven Crackington Haven
Day 3 Crackington Haven to Tintagel Tintagel
Day 4 Tintagel to Port Isaac Padstow
Day 5 Port Isaac to Padstow St Ives
Day 6 Padstow and Departure St Ives

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Bude

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

Your Cornish walking adventure starts in the Victorian seaside resort of Bude. After settling into your accommodation, head out to explore the town. Bude is a favorite spot for surfers and holidaymakers visiting the South West Peninsula of England, and you’ll soon see why as you sample some local seafood, stroll along the vast Summerleaze Beach, and find a cozy pub to finish the evening. Consider making it an early night—you’ll want to rest up for your first long day of walking tomorrow.

Day 2: Bude to Crackington Haven

Turquoise waters at Trevone, Widemouth Bay.
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 a number of sheer clifftops. Keep an eye out for grey seals as you cross the magnificent bluffs at Phillip’s Point Nature Reserve, and 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. Finish our 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)

Day 3: Crackington Haven to Tintagel

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

Today brings a superb and challenging day’s walking as you climb away from Crackington and pass above the isolated beaches of the Strangles. Past rocky shelves and headlands, you'll get 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 Pentargon inlet, you’ll catch sight of a spectacular waterfall plummeting 130 feet into the sea. Your day ends at the historic village of Tintagel, reputed birthplace of King Arthur. Its rocky promontory was the site of a Roman settlement and Celtic fortress, with castle ruins dating from the 13th century.

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

Day 4: Tintagel to Port Isaac

View towards Port Isaac.
View towards Port Isaac.

Day four takes you along a section of 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 the rocky pinnacles of Hole Beach. The pace picks up as you traverse a series of hills and valleys, before being rewarded with a descent 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, with a network of alleyways lined by white-washed historic cottages, including one narrow lane called ‘Squeeze-ee-belly.’

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

Day 5: Port Isaac to Padstow

The Rumps on Pentire Head.
The Rumps on Pentire Head.

Your penultimate day leaves Port Isaac and follows a particularly beautiful stretch of the coastal path, passing the remote inlet of Pine Haven and the Iron Age fort of The Rumps. The rugged first section winds its way around several steep headlands, gentle valleys, and pretty coves. Other highlights include the spectacular views from Pentire Point across the Camel Estuary, and Lundy Beach, with its rock pools, caves, and rock 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 the historic port of Padstow, with its bustling harbor and medieval buildings.

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

Day 6: Padstow and Departure

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

Your hiking holiday finishes in Padstow, overlooking the calm waters of the Camel Estuary. Relax, put your feet up, and enjoy your last morning on the Cornish coast.

Map

Map of Walk the Northern Cornish Coast: Bude, Tintagel & Padstow - 6 Days
Map of Walk the Northern Cornish Coast: Bude, Tintagel & Padstow - 6 Days