Cornwall Coast – Padstow & Tintagel

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  • (Summary) Cornwall’s north coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. West of Padstow, the coastal footpath overlooks wide sandy beaches that are popular with surfers. From Padstow, we take the ferry across the river Camel and follow the high and rugged coastal cliffs to the legendary coastal fortress of King Arthur at Tintagel. The tour ends at the tiny rock-girt harbour of Boscastle.
  • (More detail) Cornwall’s north coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Broad surfing beaches alternate with wave-battered cliffs. Our tour begins with 2 nights at Padstow, a small fishing port with a pretty harbour on the sandy shore of the Camel estuary. The intervening day provides an opportunity for a more or less leisurely hike along the magnificent succession of sandy bays and rocky headlands west of the town – including the imposing Revise Head. You can even spend part of the day (or all of it) just lazing on one of the nearby sandy beaches before indulging at one of Padstow’s celebrated selection of fish and seafood restaurants.
  • Eastwards from Padstow, after a short ferry crossing over the estuary (tidal river mouth) of the River Camel, our route follows the coastal path – all of it a well-waymarked National Trail – past surfing beaches and an iron age ‘cliff castle’ to the old-world fishing village of Port Isaac, where one night is spent. Continuing along the roller-coastline past the cliff-top castle of the legendary King Arthur at Tintagel and the wonderful ‘Rocky Valley’ you reach Boscastle, celebrated for the spectacular narrow rock entrance to its tiny fishing harbour.
  • With a full day at Boscastle, there is an opportunity to follow a peaceful footpath along the deep sheltered valley of the River Valency to the ancient church of St Juliot, where the future novelist Thomas Hardy was employed as an architect to restore the church. His novel ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’ is based on his experiences when staying near Boscastle and working on the church. Alternatively, you can continue along the coast path and admire the amazing geological structures at Crackington Haven.
  • The walking days on the T6 tour can be shortened or modified by using local buses. We provide bus timetable info and indicate on the maps the location of bus routes and bus stops.

Additional Information

Trek Duration

More Than Five days

Tour Languages


Trek Difficulty



The Discerning Traveller

Suitable For

< 18 year olds, 18-39 year olds, 40-49 year olds, 50-59 year olds, 60+ year olds, Families

Guiding Method



Cornwall Coast

Discerning Traveller

What is a self-guided hiking tour holiday? Briefly, this means a hiking holiday (or walking holiday, it’s the same thing) on which each day you walk on to a new place for your next overnight stop. For instance on a Discerning Traveller hiking tour, we book and pay for your accommodation each night with breakfast, move your main baggage onto the next night’s stop and provide you with route directions and hikers maps to enable you find your way on foot. You carry only a daypack containing such items as lunch, drinking water, waterproofs, and camera. Our hiking tours are self-guided (i.e. no leader or guide; our route notes and highlighted maps take the place of a leader); individual (i.e. you are not part of a group; our customers are mostly in parties of 2 to 4 people who have booked together, although we do also cater for single travellers on some routes); and with some exceptions you can start any day you choose within our season.

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Day 1. Arrive Padstow.
Padstow was once the leading port on the north coast of Cornwall. The shifting sand bars of the estuary of the river Camel have reduced its value as a seaport but its old harbour remains to bear witness to its maritime past, and the excellent clean and spacious sandy beaches only a short walk from the town provide a further attraction to visitors, who crowd here in high summer. In recent years Padstow has gained further fame as a culinary centre on account of Rick Stein’s fish and sea-food restaurant. There are cheaper alternatives!
Overnight Padstow.

Day 2. Day walk from Padstow.
10km/6 miles/3.5 hours (Harlin Bay to Padstow or v.v.) or 20km/12.5 miles/6.5 hours (Porthcothan to Padstow). Ascent & descent: Harlin Bay to Padstow or v.v. 403m; Porthcothan to Padstow 770m.
One can have a good day’s hiking along the coast path west of Padstow by using the bus in one direction to reach Harlin Bay or Porthcothan. The bus also runs on Sundays although less frequently. Particularly scenic are the high and rugged headlands of Stepper Point and Trevose head, and the wide sandy beaches of Harlin Bay and Constantine Bay, both popular with surfers and (in calm weather) with swimmers. The going is less strenuous than the coast path later in the tour around Port Isaac and Boscastle, so a day in Padstow can provide an attractively gentle introduction to Cornish coastal walking.
Overnight Padstow.

Day 3. Padstow to Port Isaac.
15km/9.5 miles/5 hours hiking. Ascent & descent: Rock to Port Isaac 854m.
After a short crossing by passenger ferry from Padstow to Rock, the coast path follows the north-east shore of the Camel estuary past rocky outcrops, broad sandy beaches and holiday houses to the bold headland of Pentire Point, formed of ancient volcanic rocks. Here you turn sharply east and the coast abruptly changes character; no more bright sandy beaches, just sombre cliffs of basalt and slate dropping steeply into deep water. The well-preserved banks and ditches of the prehistoric cliff castle called ‘The Rumps’ are a reminder of unruly times long ago when the cliffs themselves formed a valuable defensive feature. After a drink of cool fresh water at the tiny hamlet of Port Quin, now in the care of the National Trust, you can choose between a strenuous roller-coaster section of coast path and an easier inland route across the fields, before descending to Port Isaac. Even with streets as narrow as ‘Squeezibelly Lane’ there is hardly enough room in Port Isaac’s steep-sided valley for the pretty little fishing port and it has spread up and over the cliffs on either side, the newer portions of the town (with some good B&Bs) offering dramatic sea views. The popular TV series Doc Martin is set and filmed at Port Isaac.
The day’s hiking can be shortened by following one of a number of ‘escape routes’ leading inland from the cliff path to the bus route. We provide full directions and bus information.
Overnight Port Isaac.

Day 4. Port Isaac to Tintagel.
12km/7.5 miles/4 hours hiking. Ascent & descent: Port Isaac to Tintagel 835m.
This is not a long day, but we consider it the most strenuous day of the tour, on account of the frequent descents and re-ascents which the coast path makes to cross a series of valleys and intervening ridges. As on the preceding day, the day’s hiking can be shortened by following one of a number of ‘escape routes’ leading inland to the bus route, or by walking along country lanes parallel to the coast path. We provide directions and bus timetables.
The stretch of coast between Port Isaac and Trebarwith Strand is in our experience one of the wildest on mainland Britain. Aproaching Tintagel, the tall tower of its parish church, isolated near the cliff-top a mile outside the village, has long provided a welcome landmark for mariners. However much or little you believe of the legends about King Arthur, the ruinous remains of Tintagel Castle, on a rocky island linked to the mainland by a bridge, are indubitably ancient. In 2017 the castle was open daily from 1 April to 30 Sept from 10am to 6pm. In October closes 5pm. Tel 01840 770328. E-mail:
In the centre of Tintagel is the Old Post Office, which is in the care of the National Trust. This was built in the 14th C as a farmhouse. In 2017 open daily March to September from 10.30am to 5.30pm, October 11am to 4pm. Last admission 30 minutes before closing. March 2017 admission: adults £4, children £2. Tel 01840 770024.Overnight Tintagel.

Day 5. Tintagel to Boscastle.
9km/6 miles/3 to 3.5 hours hiking. Ascent & descent: Tintagel to Boscastle 489m.
An easy day, allowing time to visit Tintagel Castle and/or the Old Post Office (a well-conserved mediaeval manor house in Tintagel village) before starting the hike. On the way to Boscastle there is time to make short detours to the Rocky Valley (30 minutes) and to the Willapark Iron Age cliff castle and settlement (20 minutes).

Day 6. Walks from Boscastle.
1. Valency valley and St Juliot’s church. 8km/5 miles/2.5 hours (back same way) or 10km/6 miles/3.5 hours (via link to Coast Path). Ascent & descent c.300m.
2. Coast path Boscastle to Crackington Haven or v.v. 14km/9 miles/5 hours hiking. Ascent & descent: Boscastle to Crackington Haven or v.v. 744m.Outward or return journey by local bus, daily service in summer. Restricted bus service on Sundays in April and October.

Day 7 (6-night tour). Departure from Boscastle.
On Mondays to Saturdays bus to Bodmin Parkway station – change buses en route at Wadebridge. Bus journey time Boscastle-Bodmin Parkway about 2 hours. Or (recommended) book a taxi. Taxi costs about £40 if prebooked. On Sundays taxi is essential. A taxi from Boscastle to Newquay Airport costs about £70.


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What's Included:

  • 6 nights bed and breakfast in B&Bs and small hotels. En-suite or private bathroom is standard. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated if we are informed when booking.
  • Baggage transfers when moving on to new accommodation during the tour.
  • Annotated hikers’ maps at 1.25,000 scale, showing location of each accommodation and other information.
  • Safety advice.
  • Printout of detailed directions in English.
  • Info on local bus services
  • Practical information on other local services.

What's Excluded:

  • Travel to the start point (Padstow) and back from the end point (Boscastle).
  • Other meals during the tour.
  • Local bus journeys in connection with some of the walks.

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Company Information

What is a self-guided hiking tour holiday? Briefly, this means a hiking holiday (or walking holiday, it’s the same thing) on which each day you walk on to a new place for your next overnight stop. For instance on a Discerning Traveller hiking...

Tour Details

  • Availability
    Available Daily
  • Booking Type
    Instant Booking
  • Duration
    7 Days
  • Guiding method
    Self Guided
  • Guide Language
  • Meeting/Starts Point
  • Maximum Altitude
    250 Meters
  • Trek Difficulty

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