Good food and hospitality in an Inn nestled in the hamlet of Crackington Haven overlooking the beach. The ideal location for anyone walking the coast path
CORNWALL'S DRAMATIC NORTHEN COAST
4 or 5 days walking/5 or 6 nights
A self-guided walking holiday exploring the challenging north coast of Cornwall between Bude and Padstow
Rugged and wild coast with secluded bays and exposed headlands where sheer cliffs plunge to rocky shelves
Beautiful inlets and bays which harbour traditional Cornish fishing villages full of character such as Crackington Haven, Boscastle, and Port Isaac
Interesting walking throughout along one of the prettiest parts of the south west coastal path, with numerous coastal formations and pretty landscapes - classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The delightful estuary village of Padstow and the historic site of Tintagel, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur
A mild climate which can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival in Bude
Welcome, and night at Bude. Explore this attractive seaside resort with its canal and a favourite spot with surfers and holiday makers.
Day 2: Bude - Crackington Haven
Your first day's walking along the north Cornish coast is a relatively easy introduction to your self-guided walking holiday, following the grassy cliff path along the back of the beaches from Bude to Widemouth Bay. The path soon becomes more challenging as it passes over a number of sheer cliff tops such as the magnificent cliffs at Phillip’s Point Nature Reserve, where you can try and spot grey seals. Other interesting features on this section, which in the main follows the top of cliffs, are Dizzard forest, which are the remnants from the prehistoric wood that once covered the entire country; a number of beautiful waterfalls and a series of hilltops, such as Pencannow and Castle Point. These cliff tops provide magnificent views along the coast as well as inland as far as the Tors of Dartmoor. The path then descends to the enclosed bay of Crackington Haven - with its tiny village which was once an important local port.
Overnight: Crackington Haven, Walk: 16km, +810m
Day 3: Crackington Haven - Tintagel
Superb and challenging days walking. You'll climb away from Crackington and pass above the isolated beaches of the Strangles and their rocky shelves and promontories. Later you'll get breathtaking views from the seat on the highest cliff in Cornwall: High Cliff, at over 700ft (223 metres). These towering cliffs make a great place to bird watch with birds of prey such as Falcons and Kestrels and sea birds including puffins, guillemots and razorbills. In addition, the grazing sheep and goats help to maintain a rich flora with several important wild flowers. Boscastle, with its ancient harbour, is a beautiful fishing village in the bottom of a rugged, steep sided valley, which is especially remembered for the devastating flash flood in August 2004. Other highlights on this wonderful days walking is Pentargon inlet where an impressive waterfall plummets 40m into the sea. Just after, the path continues around the cliffs to Penally Point, which has a blow hole and provides spectacular views. You'll finish the day at Tintagel, its rocky promontory being the site of a Roman settlement and a Celtic fortress, with its castle ruins dating from the 13th century and being the reputed birthplace of King Arthur. The pretty village includes a 14th-century building used as a post office since the 19th century.
Overnight: Tintagel, Walk: 18km, +1230m
Day 4: Tintagel - Port Isaac
Your walking trail takes you reasonably gently away from Tintagel along a section of coast that historically was significant for fishing and slate extraction and there are remnants of these trades to be seen on the Coast Path, such as donkey tracks around Backway’s Cove and an incredible rock pinnacle left by the quarryman behind Hole Beach. The day then becomes decidedly more strenuous as you climb and descend a series of hills and valleys. Your walking trail descends to the beautiful beaches at Trebarwith Strand with their turquoise waters, lovely sandy beaches, rock pools and sheltering cliffs. The undulating nature of this rugged coastline is well illustrated by your climb from sea level to the top of Dennis Point (300ft, 90m), where you can take in the views before dropping straight back down to sea level. Viewpoints such as this and Bounds Cliff are excellent places for bird watching. You'll then continue along the cliffs past the sleepy little harbour of Port Gaverne, once an important fishing port, before reaching the quaint and unspoiled fishing village of Port Isaac. This wonderful village surrounding a picturesque bay has a network of alleyways lined by white-washed historic cottages, including one narrow lane called ‘Squeeze-ee-belly’.
Overnight: Port Isaac, Walk: 15km, +835m
Day 5: Port Isaac - Padstow
Today your walking trail follows a beautiful and unspoiled section of Cornwall's coastal path, including the remote inlet of Pine Haven, the natural harbour at Port Quin (with its partly deserted village) and the historic promontory, known as The Rumps, with its Iron Age fort. The first half of today's walk is challenging as the Cornish coastal path winds it way around several spectacular headlands that offer stunning panoramas, as well as traversing several valleys where you'll find pretty coves. Other highlights of this section include the spectacular views from Carnweather Point towards the Rumps and from Pentire Point across the Camel Estuary, as well as the beautiful Lundy Beach with its rock pools, caves and the natural arch called Lundy Hole. The trail then becomes easier as it passes through Polzeath to reach the sandy beaches of Daymer Bay and the 13th-century St Enodoc's Church. The path winds through the sand dunes that move over time, before catching the ferry to the historic port of Padstow with its bustling harbour and medieval buildings.
The shorter 4-day walking option finishes at Padstow, with your holiday ending after breakfast on day 6
Overnight: Padstow, Walk: max 19km, +855m
Day 6: Padstow - Porthcothan
This optional day's walk allows you to enjoy a series of headlands following relatively low cliff tops, above beautiful tempting beaches such as Hawkers Cove. Heading north along the Camel Estuary, you'll go around Stepper Point back onto the Atlantic Coast before heading out to Trevone Head, one of Cornwall’s most prominent headlands offering wonderful views down the coast ahead. Constantine Bay offers a different experience with a lovely beach where you can relax and watch the surfers before moving onto Porthcothan. You'll then catch a bus from Porthcothan to either Newquay or Padstow. It is also possible to catch a bus at earlier and later stops to make this day longer or shorter as desired.
Overnight: Newquay or Padstow, Walk: 22km, +770m.
Day 7: Departure
Your walking holiday ends after breakfast.
At a glance
1 March - 31 October
From £620 per person (based on 2 sharing)
From £730 per person (based on 2 sharing)
5 or 6 nights / 4 or 5 days walking
Distance: 15-19m per day
Ascent: 810-1230m per day
Small hotels, B&Bs & inns
Bed and breakfast
Other self-guided walking holidays in Cornwall
Other walking holidays along the South West Coast Path
Other coastal self-guided Walking holidays in Europe
North Cornwall Coast
North Cornwall's Atlantic coast is a dramatic and beautiful section of the south west peninsula of England. The rugged and sheer cliffs, as well as the picturesque fishing villages makes this one of the most enjoyable sections of the South West coast path.
The walking is varied, each day enjoying new experiences from beautiful sandy bays to secluded inlets harbouring quaint villages and from exposed rocky headlands to sand dunes and the wide Camel Estuary. Your self guided walking holiday starts at the bustling seaside resort of Bude before embarking on a journey through wild coastal scenery. Highlights of your walking holiday include some towering sheer cliffs including High Cliff, which at 223m is the highest coastal cliff in Cornwall; a number of well-preserved small fishing ports and villages, such as Port Isaac and Boscastle, located in secluded bays of sinuous inlets, away from the fury of the Atlantic ocean. Their white-washed cottages with slate roofs, line attractive, twisty lanes climbing the narrow coves, making for an idyllic scene. Either side of the attractive and busy medieval fishing port of Padstow on the Camel Estuary is a series of dramatic headlands which provide great views along the coast. Some of these sites such as the Rumps are the sites of Iron Age forts and other historic monuments.
If you choose the option with five walking days you can decide whether to catch a bus to the bustling surf capital of Newquay or return to Padstow for your final night's accommodation. This walking holiday can be enjoyed out of season thanks to the mild Cornish climate, when the tourists have disappeared and you can enjoy the beautiful villages and sites by yourselves.
5 or 6 nights/6 or 7 days: 4 or 5 days independent walking moving between guest houses
Everday of week subject to availability during 1 March to 31 October
Walking Profile & Grade
This independent walking holiday covers a reasonably challenging section of the South West coastal path. The overall walking holiday is graded Moderate to Challenging. Despite the relatively moderate distances involved - between 15km and 20km per day, the amount of ascent and descent is considerable, with an average of over 900m each day. The maximum ascent and descent in any one day is 1230m. The walking ranges from some easy level walking to strenuous ascents and descents on steep ground with paths which in places are narrow or on rough and muddy ground where you need to be sure-footed. Walking experience on hilly terrain is advisable. Although there are no easy days it is possible to catch the bus in certain places to shorten the days.
This walking holiday is graded challenging. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
A range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible we choose bed and breakfasts which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation.
Where is this section of the North Cornwall Coast?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking holiday on the North Cornwall Coast is available from the beginning of March to the end of October. Cornwall has a typical maritime climate with warm summers and mild winters. Average summer high temperatures are around 20ºC on the coast with winter temperatures rarely falling below freezing. Rainfall occurs regularly but in-between, sunny, cloudless days are also common. In the summer months, temperatures in the region can reach into the high twenties °C however, the climate generally remains comfortable for walking due to sea breezes.
March average daytime temperatures are 11°C, climbing to 13°C in April, 16°C in May and 18°C in June. The weather generally becomes drier and more settled as you go from March to June, with June being the driest month of the year. October is by far the wettest month of the period when the holiday is available. Cornwall is one of the sunniest areas in the UK, with over 1541 hours of sunshine per year. The sunniest months are May through to August. The coast is exposed to the dominant South west winds. The winds are calmest from June to August.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
Most of this walking holiday follows the long distance South West Coast path which is signposted along its entire length. The symbol for the trail is an acorn and these are often shown on signposts accompanied by the words coastal path or a particular direction and the distance. The walking follows clear paths, tracks and minor roads for its entire duration. The walk will use other footpaths to access accommodations, villages or local sites. Our walking notes are very detailed (more information here) and include intermediate distances for sections of the trail. They also include information about the sites which can be explored along the route. We supply one walking guide per person on this holiday. As well as the detailed walking notes we supply official walking maps produced by OS at a scale of 1:25,000.
On this walking holiday, your main luggage is transferred between guest houses so you only have to carry a day rucksack with picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera etc. On this holiday a local company is responsible for transporting your main luggage. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 20kg. We only use hotels and small guest houses in historic buildings and some of the rooms are accessible by stairs.
To get to Bude
Train journey from London Paddington or Waterloo to Exeter. Stagecoach run buses betweeen Exeter and Bude
5 or 6 nights / 4 or 5 days walking between guest houses
- 5 nights, 4 days walking: From £620
- 6 nights, 5 days walking: From £730
- Prices are per person and based on 2 sharing a room
- Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
What's included in the price
- 5 or 6 night's accommodation on B&B basis
- Transport of luggage between guest houses (1 bag per person)
- Detailed walking notes with information about the local sites and suggestions for places to eat lunch and dinner
- OS walking maps
What's not included in the price
- All lunches and evening meals
- Drinks (except at breakfast)
- Transport to Bude and from Padstow or Newquay
- Bus transfer for 5 days walking option
- Travel insurance
- Any entrance fees
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
This independent walking holiday in Cornwall includes a range of guest houses, bed and breakfasts, small hotels and inns. They are good quality guest houses often in historic local buildings chosen for their charm and welcome. Where possible, we choose guest houses which have a 4 star AA or Enjoy England rating. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation. Below you'll find an example of the type of guest house we use.
The 17th-century Port Gaverne Restaurant & Hotel is nestled in a beautiful secluded cove on North Cornwall's dramatic coast. Enjoy seasonal, star-quality food inspired by the bounty on the doorstep. Rooms have been transformed into quality en-suites without losing their traditional quirky character.
Extra nights are possible at any of the stopovers during the holiday for example you could stay an extra night in Bude at the start of the walking holiday and in Padstow at the end of the trip if you wish to add the additional day's walking from Padstow to Pothcothan. You could also choose to hire bikes and cycle along the Camel Estuary. You may also wish to add an additional night at Tintagel if you want more time to be able to visit and explore the remains of Tintagel Castle.
Combining walking holidays
This coastal trail walking holiday can be combined with any of our walking holidays elsewhere on the southwest coastal path. We have a wonderful and challenging walking holiday on the southern Cornish coast, as well as an easier walking trip along Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
Embark on an extraordinary journey, weaving through the captivating tapestry of England's coastal wonders and historical treasures. From the treasures of the UNESCO listed Dorset coast to the beautiful remote Scilly Isles located beyond the tip of Cornwall your coastal adventure will be a rural escape sandwiched between the cultural delights of London and the Cotswolds. During you trip you’ll delve deep into the traditions and riches of the English coast. From the bustle of the capital to the invigorating sea air, this getaway is designed to be a rewarding experience for both adults and the little ones.
Each day had its pluses, met many people along the route and visits to Boscastle, Tintagel and Padstow were all great. We have thoroughly enjoyed the 3 walks we have done with High Point Holidays.
Christine & Ray O.