Boscastle, an Idyllic Fishing Village on the Cornish Coast for Holidays in Cornwall

Boscastle is a charming coastal Cornwall village with a blend of beautiful scenery, fascinating history, and unique attractions. With its dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and quaint harbour, Boscastle is an idyllic holiday destination.

Nestled on the rugged north coast of Cornwall lies the picturesque fishing village of Boscastle. With its quaint harbour, charming cottages, and stunning natural beauty, it's no wonder that Boscastle is a popular destination for travellers seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This idyllic village has a rich history, fascinating legends, and many activities to offer visitors of all ages. Discover the charm of Boscastle, its breathtaking scenery, cultural attractions, and unique experiences that will make a visit unforgettable. Whether you're interested in hiking along the coast, exploring local history, or simply relaxing with a cup of tea in a cosy cafe, Boscastle has something for everyone.


‍Boscastle is a charming village that offers a perfect blend of picturesque scenery, fascinating history, and unique attractions. With its dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and quaint harbour, Boscastle is an idyllic destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area. Discover Boscastle's top attractions and activities, find the perfect place to stay and learn about the best time to visit this charming village.

Situated at the meeting of the River Valency and the River Jordan, the village is in a steep valley surrounded by dramatic cliffs and rolling countryside. Boscastle is famous for its natural harbour, used for centuries as a safe haven for boats and ships. Despite its small size, Boscastle is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors worldwide with its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique attractions. The village is also part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a testament to its breathtaking landscapes and unspoiled charm.

The Rich History of Boscastle

The village's name is derived from the Old English "Botreaux Castle," which refers to a 12th-century motte-and-bailey castle built by the de Botreaux family. The history of Boscastle dates back to the early medieval period, with evidence of human settlement in the area dating as far back as the Iron Age. Although the castle no longer exists, the village's history is still alive, and you can find this in its well-preserved buildings and ancient woodland.

Throughout the centuries, Boscastle has been a vital centre for trade, with its harbour playing a crucial role in the local economy. During the 19th century, the village was a bustling port, with ships carrying goods such as slate, coal, and timber. The harbour eventually fell into decline, restored in the 20th century, and today, it serves as a base for a small fishing fleet and recreational boats.

Boscastle has also experienced its fair share of challenges, including a devastating flood in 2004, which caused extensive damage to the village. However, the community came together to rebuild and restore Boscastle, and today, the village stands as a testament to its resilience and enduring charm.

Best Time to Visit

Boscastle is a year-round destination, each season offering its unique charm. Spring and autumn provide milder weather and fewer crowds, making them ideal for leisurely walking and exploring the village. Summer is the busiest period, with warmer temperatures and a calendar full of events and festivals. Winter, while quieter and cooler, offers a chance to experience the dramatic beauty of the Cornish coast and the cosy atmosphere of the village's pubs and eateries.

Travel Essentials

When visiting Boscastle, preparing for the unpredictable British weather is vital. Bring a change of clothing, including clothes for warm and cold weather, waterproof clothing and sturdy walking shoes or boots. A detailed map or guidebook and a camera and binoculars will also come in handy for exploring the village and its surroundings. Finally, don't forget to bring a reusable water bottle and some snacks for those longer walks and hikes.

Attractions in Boscastle

Museum of Witchcraft & Magic

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (MWM) is one of Boscastle's most famous attractions, housing the world's most extensive collection of witchcraft-related artefacts and memorabilia. Founded by Cecil Williamson in 1951, the museum aims to provide a balanced and informative perspective on the history of witchcraft and its role in various cultures and societies.

Whether you're a history buff, a fan of the occult, or simply curious, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is a must-visit attraction during your trip to Boscastle. Exploring the museum, you'll discover various exhibits, including ritual tools, magical charms, and even a preserved witch's cottage. The MWM also hosts temporary exhibitions, as well as a range of events and workshops throughout the year. Visit website for more information and prices: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Boscastle Harbour

Boscastle Harbour is the heart of the village and a major draw for visitors. This picturesque harbour is set in a narrow, steep-sided valley, surrounded by stunning cliffs and lush woodland. As you wander along the harbour, you'll find a variety of shops, cafes, and galleries, as well as opportunities to learn about the harbour's history and role in Boscastle's maritime past.

One of the best ways to appreciate Boscastle Harbour's beauty is to stroll along the harbour wall, which offers stunning views of the village and the surrounding coastline. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can also explore the nearby coastal path, taking you to breathtaking vantage points. Visit the National Trust website for more information on the village and harbour at Boscastle - National Trust.

St. Nectan's Glen

St. Nectan's Glen is a hidden gem just a short drive from Boscastle. This enchanting woodland is home to several waterfalls, including the famous St. Nectan's Kieve, a spectacular 60-foot waterfall cascading into a serene pool below. According to local legend, St. Nectan's Glen is a sacred site and has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for centuries.

Whether you're seeking spiritual solace or want to immerse yourself in nature, St. Nectan's Glen is a truly magical place. As you wander through the verdant woodland, you'll come across some ancient trees believed to be over 1,000 years old. St. Nectan's Glen is also home to wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, and butterflies. Visit the website for admission prices and activities St Nectans Glen, woodland and waterfall in Cornwall (

Outdoor Activities in and Around Boscastle

Walking and Hiking

Boscastle offers a wealth of walking and hiking opportunities for all fitness levels. Whether you prefer strolls along the harbour or challenging hikes along the dramatic coastline, there's something for everyone. You can easily access the South West Coast Path from the village, which offers stunning views and fantastic photo opportunities. Walking along the path, you'll pass through beautiful woodland, picturesque valleys, and historic sites, such as the ancient St. Nectan's Glen and the legendary King Arthur's Castle at Tintagel.

Wildlife and Birdwatching

As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Boscastle and its surroundings are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The Boscastle harbour is a great spot to observe grey seals and dolphins, while the surrounding cliffs are home to nesting seabirds like guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes. The Valency Valley, a lush wooded ravine, offers the opportunity to see kingfishers, dippers, and other woodland birds. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot various species of birds, butterflies, and even marine life along the coast.

Watersports and Fishing

For those who love being on the water, Boscastle offers a variety of water-based activities. The village's sheltered harbour is ideal for kayaking and canoeing, allowing you to explore the rugged coastline and hidden coves up close. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in the harbour or head out to sea on a chartered fishing trip, where they can target species like mackerel, bass, and pollock. Several beautiful beaches are nearby, such as Crackington Haven and Trebarwith Strand, perfect for swimming, surfing, and paddleboarding.

Accommodation around Boscastle

Charming Self-Catering Cottages

For those seeking a home away from home, Boscastle has a range of self-catering cottages that cater to various group sizes and budgets. Many of these cottages offer stunning views of the village and its surrounding countryside, providing the perfect base for exploring the area. Stay in a traditional Cornish stone cottage with modern amenities and a cosy atmosphere. If you are looking for accommodation in the countryside, then Boscastle Self-Catering offer several outstanding properties.

Comfortable Bed and Breakfasts

If you prefer a more personal touch, consider staying in one of Boscastle's welcoming bed and breakfasts. The Old Parsonage, Trehane Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, and The Riverside are just a few of the popular choices among visitors. These establishments offer a comfortable night's sleep, delicious home-cooked breakfasts, and friendly hosts who are happy to share their local knowledge and recommendations.

Although early booking is essential, the YHA in Boscastle is another excellent way to stay in this beautiful area. Check out the YHA website for prices and availability YHA Boscastle Hostel.

Luxury Hotels and Inns

For a more indulgent stay, providing top-notch service and amenities, you should consider The Wellington Hotel, a historic coaching inn dating back to the 16th century that boasts elegant rooms, a fine dining restaurant, and a cosy bar.

Escape to Nature: Camping Near Boscastle

Boscastle is a beautiful destination to visit for a camping trip. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and breathtaking scenery, it is easy to see why so many people camp near Boscastle. The area has many campsites, each with unique features and amenities. Here are two campsites near Boscastle that you should consider.

Trebyla Farm Camping & Caravan Site is a family-friendly campsite in North Cornwall that offers a peaceful and quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and is only a short drive away from the stunning beaches and coastal paths of North Cornwall. The campsite also has various accommodation options, including pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, and two cosy self-catering caravans. The friendly and welcoming owners are always on hand to help you make the most of your stay and will provide you with plenty of local knowledge to explore the best that North Cornwall offers. Whether you are a family looking for an affordable and fun holiday or a couple seeking a peaceful and romantic getaway, Trebyla Farm Camping & Caravan Site has something to offer.

Trewethett Farm Caravan and Motorhome Club Site: This site is an excellent choice for families who want to enjoy the beautiful scenery while being close to all the local attractions. It is just a short drive from Boscastle with its rolling hills and countryside.

Boscastle Harbour

Boscastle Harbour, Cornwall

Where to Dine in Boscastle: Local Cuisine and Eateries

Traditional Cornish Fare

No visit to Boscastle is complete without indulging in some traditional Cornish cuisine. Sample a delicious Cornish pasty, a hearty pastry filled with meat, vegetables, and seasonings, or try a tasty cream tea with scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam. Boscastle's local pubs, like the Cobweb Inn and the Napoleon Inn, offer a warm atmosphere, local ales, and classic pub grub, while the Boscastle Farm Shop and Café serve fresh, locally sourced produce and dishes.

Seafood Delights

Being a coastal village, Boscastle offers a bounty of fresh seafood for visitors to enjoy. The Riverside Restaurant is a popular choice for those seeking a fine dining experience, with its menu featuring locally caught fish and shellfish. For a more casual seafood feast, try Sharon's Place, which offers a selection of freshly prepared dishes, including the local favourite, fish and chips.

Events and Festivals in Boscastle

Boscastle Walking Week - held annually in April, the Boscastle Walking Week celebrates the village's stunning landscape and walking opportunities. The event offers a range of guided walks for all abilities, led by knowledgeable local guides. From coastal hikes to woodland rambles, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Learn more on Facebook or visit the website to book.

Another Facebook page to look at is Boscastle Festival community page with information on events that are planned.

The Boscastle Cornwall website has an information page with relevant local events.

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Boscastle Harbour Cafe, Cornwall

Harbour area and cafe at Boscastle

Boscastle harbour area, Cornwall.

Looking down towards Boscasle from the harbour

Ladies Window

Ladies Window near Boscastle, Cornwall.

Ladies Window is a stunning natural arch near Boscastle. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its unique appearance and breathtaking beauty. The name "Ladies Window" comes from the arch resembling a window with a lace curtain, as if it were a ladies' dressing room. The arch has two natural pillars of rock which have been eroded over time by the sea. The water crashing against the rocks has also created a small cove, accessed by a narrow staircase leading down from the cliff top. The views from the top of the cliff are stunning, with miles of coastline stretching out as far as the eye can see. It's a place to visit for anyone who loves natural beauty and is looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Activity Suggestions

Tintagel Castle, popularly known as the 'King Arthur's Castle', is a historic castle a short drive from Boscastle. The castle was built in the 13th century and perched on a rugged peninsula that juts into the sea. The castle has a rich history, and myth has it that King Arthur was born here. The castle is a popular tourist destination and is a must-visit for history buffs and those who want to see the stunning views of the coastline. The walk to the castle can be challenging, but the views are mesmerizing.

The castle is surrounded by beautiful scenery and a beach, making it a perfect place to spend a day with family and friends.

Find out more on English Heritage.

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