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

Highlights

  • Challenge yourself on various hikes amid breathtaking coastal scenery 
  • Visit the otherworldly peninsula at Tintagel, birthplace of King Arthur
  • Be charmed at traditional Cornish fishing villages
  • Hike a section of England's famous South West Coast 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. This is a favorite spot for surfers and holidaymakers visiting the South West Peninsula of England. You’ll soon see why as you sample local seafood, stroll along the vast Summerleaze Beach, and pop in at a cozy pub to cap 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.

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. 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 you're in for a challenging yet superb walk as you rise up from Crackington, above the isolated beaches of the Strangles. 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, 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 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 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 5: Port Isaac to Padstow

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

On your penultimate day of hiking, you'll leave Port Isaac and follow a particularly 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 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 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 6: Padstow and Departure

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

Your hiking holiday 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.

Map

Map of Hike the Northern Cornish Coast - 6 Days
Map of Hike the Northern Cornish Coast - 6 Days