The Ultimate Guide to North Cornwall

By Emily Barlow – Guest Blogger and Photographer Extraordinaire!

The Best Things To Do In North Cornwall!

Are you are thinking of a trip to North Cornwall and are planning what you want to do? I hear you – there are so many great places to see and visit. As a local in North Cornwall, I have a lot of knowledge about the best things to see and do.


So, don’t worry, I have you covered in bringing you the ultimate list of things to do in North Cornwall. Keep reading for everything you need to know!

Note: I was short on a few photos for this one, so where a photo is not mine, I have added a photo credit.

Swimming In Bude Sea Pool

The jewel in Bude’s crown has to be Bude Sea Pool. Free to use (but donations greatly received), this family favourite has been delighting bathers year-round for generations.

A tidal pool built in the 1930s and saved from demolition in the 21st century. Hire a beach hut for the day and have fun in the pool before exploring the rest of Summerleaze Beach.

Crab Sandwiches At Crackington Haven

A little further down the coast from Bude is Crackington Haven, where you can catch a fresh crab sandwich from The Haven Cafe. You won’t find this little treasure on the inter-webs, but all the locals know this is the place to go. If you are visiting in winter, their homemade decorations are beautiful, and they make a mean hot apple juice. – it is all about eating in the sunshine, right next to the beach and dramatic scenery. Photo credit Unsplash.

Stroll The Gardens At Pencarrow House & Gardens

One of Cornwall’s lesser known treasures, Pencarrow House & Gardens is a privately owned estate that is steeped in history and luscious gardens. Sub-tropical gardens, American gardens, Italian gardens and much more… even an Iron Age.

A dog-friendly attraction where they are even allowed off-lead in the grounds makes this a no-brainer!

A Fish Supper At Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen

While we are still easing out of lock down, this is take-out only and this restaurant, as you would imagine, is all about fish! Dedicated to supporting local fisheries, the joy of this restaurant is not knowing what is on the menu until the daily catch comes in… perfect!

Make An Appointment At Doc Martin’s Surgery

While you are in Port Isaac, eating all the fish… you might want to drop by the surgery for a selfie. Yes, Port Isaac is the real-life name for Port Wenn and you can visit all the famous filming locations from the surgery to the school and more. In the height of summer, be prepared to wait your turn to get a picture in front the famous house.

Visit Tintagel Castle

Steeped in myth and legend, Tintagel Castle is one of Cornwall’s favourite attractions. Not too much of a castle left now, however the famous doorway has graced many an Instagram account, as has the newly opened bridge that takes you to the island, where you will be privy to wonderful views and lots of history. Also explore Merlin’s Cave, the beach and famous statue of Arthur! Photo credit – a previous guest.

Visit the Village Of Boscastle

When you visit this gorgeous little village today, you would never guess that it was nearly totally destroyed when a flood rushed through in 2004. Rebuilt to exactly as it was before you can follow the river down to the harbour for some stunning view. There are gift shops, cafes, pubs and even a witch museum! There is a nice big National Trust shop here too and if you fancy stretching your legs, take a walk along Valency Valley to the magical Minster Church. Photo credit Unsplash

Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding At Port Gaverne

Little brother to Port Issac, Port Gaverne is just down the hill and often overlooked by visitors but the beach here is great for rock-pooling. Though as the title suggests, it would be a shame to pass up on taking a closer look at the coastline by means of a stand-up paddle board. Cornish Rok Tors are the guys to go to if you want to organise a lesson and tour of the area. Cornish waters can be treacherous if you are unfamiliar with them, so make sure you have a knowledgeable teacher like these guys. Photo credit Unsplash

Screech Owl Sanctuary

Close to Newquay, Screech Owl Sanctuary is a favourite for everyone and by visiting you are helping this charity keep on with it’s good work. With over a hundred owls, flight displays, lamas, raccoons, goats, ducks, emus, a cafe, a playground and more there is no way you will get bored here. Put aside an afternoon and take advantage of everything Screech Owl Sanctuary has to offer.

Wine Sampling At Trevibben Mill

Of course, I had to include a vineyard tour in this ultimate list of things to do in North Cornwall. Not far from Padstow, at Trevibben Mill you can take a tour of the vineyard and lake, learn how to the wine is made and perhaps most importantly get to sample the wines over a light lunch. If that still isn’t enough then kick back in the bar for a while longer. Unsplash

Fish And Chips From Rick Stein At Padstow

No trip to the seaside is complete without fish and chips, that’s just the law. Rick Stein serves up his fish and chips to in or take out. Personally, I’m with take out on this one… grab a space at the harbour-side and watch the boats bob up and down while you eat. If you want to go more upmarket, make a reservation to eat at Rick’s Seafood Restaurant, which has been serving fresh fish since the 70’s!

Photo credit Unsplash

Surfing At Polzeath

I distinctly remember the first time I saw Polzeath on a hot sunny day and thinking this must be what Summer Bay is like (90s kids will know what I mean). Bare feet running across the road and surfboards everywhere, this beautiful beach is a paradise for surfers looking to catch some waves rolling in from the Atlantic. After drying off, catch a bite to eat from the Taco Boys. Photo credit Unsplash

Mackerel Fishing At Rock

A BBQ on the beach with mackerel caught by your own fair hand? Hop on board with Rock Fishing Trips for a 2 hour fishing trip. If this is a special trip you can even book a private charter. You set off to explore the waters of the Camel Estuary and beyond under the expert guidance of this father and son team. Just make sure to use that BBQ safely on the beach and dispose of it properly. Photo credit Unsplash

Scale Rough Tor

Stretch the legs, work the lungs, and reach the top for views out to the Atlantic Ocean. Make your walk as short or as long as you like and if you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the wild ponies. The base of Rough Tor (pronounced Row, as in argument, Tor) has some lovely spots for a picnic too, by the side of the stream.

A Bike Ride On The Camel Trail

The Camel Trail is perfect for a bike ride, with its flat level and well maintained paths. Starting at Bodmin and ending at Padstow, this 18 mile route is mostly free of traffic and follows the path of an abandoned railway. This is a good one to combine with the earlier suggestion of having your fish and chips at Padstow harbour. Photo credit Unsplash

Step Back In Time Lanhydrock Estate

If you enjoy estates and houses you HAVE to visit this Victorian estate. The kitchens alone are out of this world with 16 different rooms for different preparations. The grounds are beautiful, and it is surrounded by open countryside and plenty of cycle trails.

Sundowners At Trebarwith Strand

Pull up a seat at The Port William for drinks with sunsets with a Cornish touch. With Gull Rock in the distance and the unique rock descent to the beach, Trebarwith Strand is a one off. The waves can get frisky here as they crash against the rocks, but you will be safe viewing from up at the pub.


Visit A Cornish Farm-shop

Tre, Pol and Pen may just be the very best farmshop in the whole of North Cornwall. With the beef raised on their own farm, just over the road plus other local meats, breads, vegetables and gifts along with the friendliest staff, this is a win win. They also have a reasonably priced cafe with amazing food and a lovely outdoor space to enjoy a coffee while the kids let off some steam.

The best farm shop in North Cornwall

Chill At Watergate Bay

With some of Cornwall’s top restaurants, amazing surf and stunning sunsets, there is enough to fill a whole day at Watergate Bay. This is the place to hang out with a beer, people watching with the sea breeze cooling you down on a hot day. Although if you are feeling energetic, don your wetsuit and jump into the sea for splash about. Here, the day rolls into the evening with top quality food from Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel (though during the easing of lock down, this is only open to the hotel’s guests).

Walk The Rumps

This famous natural landmark is close to Polzeath. A walk around The Rumps takes in stunning views from the coast path, the possibility of seal spotting, Cornwall’s birdlife and in the summer months colourful flora and fauna. There are even links back to the iron age for the history buffs and fascinating rock formations for the geologists. I speak from experience when I say this is a must do walk and your can read my full blog for more details.

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