Cadgwith, Explore the Rich History and Natural Beauty of this Wonderful Coastal Village in Cornwall

Cadgwith is a village with charm and beauty, nestled in the stunning Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. It's rich history and picturesque scenery have captured visitors' hearts worldwide.

Cadgwith is a small fishing village on the southern coast of Cornwall, where time seems to have stood still in the village's narrow, winding lanes surrounded by traditional thatched cottages. The village's picturesque harbour, Cadgwith Cove, is one of the most photographed places in Cornwall, and with good reason.

The village's location on the Lizard Peninsula has spectacular coastal scenery. The rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches are why people flock to Cadgwith year after year. The village is also home to a thriving fishing community, and the sight of the brightly coloured fishing boats bobbing in the harbour is a quintessential part of any visit to Cadgwith.

There is a sense of community and tradition in Cadgwith that is hard to find elsewhere. The village's residents are proud of their fishing heritage, and many local events and customs revolve around the sea. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Cadgwith is the perfect destination.


The Rich History of Cadgwith

Cadgwith dates back to the medieval period, establishing the village as a fishing settlement. It was initially known as "Caswydh," which means "battle-place" in Cornish, and believed to be a reference to a nearby Iron Age hillfort. Over the centuries, the village has seen its fair share of smuggling activity, and the maze-like lanes that weave through Cadgwith are a testament to this illicit trade.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Cadgwith was a bustling port, with ships importing and exporting goods to and from the village. The village was also a centre of the pilchard fishing industry, with vast quantities of fish caught in the waters around Cadgwith. The distinctive "huer's hut" on the cliff overlooking the harbour reminds people of this period – the huer would stand in the hut and shout to direct the fishermen to the shoals of pilchards.

Although the pilchard industry has declined recently, Cadgwith's fishing heritage remains. The village is now home to a small fleet of fishing boats that catch crab and lobster, and visitors can often see the fishermen landing their catch on the beach. This strong connection to the sea is vital to the village's identity and ensures that Cadgwith retains its unique charm.

Cadgwith Cove: A Picturesque Destination

Cadgwith Cove is the heart and soul of the village, and it's easy to see why. This small, crescent-shaped inlet is surrounded by rugged cliffs and lined with a pebble beach, creating a natural amphitheatre perfect for watching the world go by. The sight of the colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour is one of the most iconic images of Cornwall, and a visit to Cadgwith Cove is a must for any traveller.

The cove is also home to a small, sandy beach perfect for sunbathing and swimming in summer. Rock pools can be explored at low tide, making it a popular spot for families with young children. The crystal-clear waters of the cove are also perfect for snorkelling and exploring the underwater world of Cadgwith's marine life.

With its breathtaking beauty and fascinating history, Cadgwith Cove is a destination not to be missed. Just a short walk from the cove, you'll find the Todden, a rocky promontory that separates Cadgwith Cove from Little Cove. The Todden is an excellent spot for enjoying the stunning coastal views, and you might even be lucky enough to spot some of the local wildlife, including seals and dolphins.

The Natural Beauty of Cadgwith

The countryside and coastal areas around the village of Cadgwith have some of the most beautiful scenery in Cornwall. The Lizard Peninsula, where Cadgwith sits, is known for its unique geology, diverse flora and fauna, and spectacular coastal landscapes. Whether you're looking for a gentle stroll or a more challenging hike, there's no shortage of ways to explore the natural beauty of Cadgwith and surroundings.

The South West Coast Path, which runs right through Cadgwith, is a fantastic way to explore the stunning coastline. This long-distance footpath stretches for more than 600 miles, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, and offers some of the most breathtaking views in Britain. The section of the path that runs along the Lizard Peninsula is stunning, taking in dramatic cliff-top views, secluded coves, and picturesque fishing villages.

In addition to the coastal scenery, Cadgwith is also an excellent base for exploring the wider Lizard Peninsula. The area is home to several nature reserves, including the Lizard National Nature Reserve, known for its rare plants and diverse wildlife. The nearby Goonhilly Downs is another popular destination for nature lovers, with its unique heathland habitat and fascinating history.

Exploring the Coastal Village on Foot

One of the best ways to truly appreciate the charm and beauty of Cadgwith is to explore the village on foot. The narrow, winding lanes that crisscross the village are perfect for strolls, and there are plenty of hidden gems to discover along the way.

A walk along the harbour front is a must, with its rows of traditional fishermen's cottages and the bustling activity of the fishing boats. The village's two beaches, Cadgwith Cove and Little Cove, are also well worth a visit, offering the perfect spots for relaxation and exploration.

The coastal path that runs through Cadgwith offers some fantastic hikes for those looking for a more challenging walk. The path winds along the rugged cliffs, offering stunning views of the coastline and the chance to spot some of the area's unique wildlife. Whether you're an experienced hiker or simply looking for a gentle stroll, there's something for everyone in Cadgwith.

Cadgwith's Fishing Heritage

Fishing has been at the heart of Cadgwith's community for centuries, and the village's fishing heritage is still alive today. The small fleet of fishing boats that call Cadgwith home is a testament to this enduring tradition, and visitors can often see the fishermen landing their catch on the beach.

Crab and lobster are the mainstay of the modern Cadgwith fishing industry, and the village is renowned for its delicious seafood. Visitors can sample some of the freshest crab and lobster at the local pubs and restaurants or buy some to take home from the village's fishmonger.

The annual Cadgwith Cove Crab and Lobster Festival is a celebration of the village's fishing heritage and an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the traditional methods used by the fishermen. The festival includes demonstrations, live music, and plenty of delicious seafood to enjoy.

Unique Architecture of Cadgwith

The architecture of Cadgwith is one of the things that makes the village so unique. The narrow lanes with traditional thatched cottages, built from local stone and whitewashed, create a distinctive and charming appearance. The village's buildings are a central part of its history and character, and they provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who have called Cadgwith home over the centuries.

Many of the cottages in Cadgwith date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and their unique features, such as the tiny windows and low, beamed ceilings, are a testament to their age. Some buildings also have a more recent history – the village's former lifeboat station, for example, has been converted into a beautiful holiday cottage.

The village's architecture is not its only distinctive feature – the landscape surrounding Cadgwith is also a significant part of its charm. The rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and stretches of pristine beach all contribute to the village's unique beauty and make it an extraordinary place to visit.

Outdoor Activities in and Around Boscastle

Local Attractions and Things to Do

While the natural beauty and charm of Cadgwith itself are more than enough to keep visitors entertained, there are also plenty of local attractions and activities to explore. The Lizard Peninsula is home to several fascinating historical sites, such as the Lizard Lighthouse and the Marconi Wireless Station, which are well worth visiting.

For those interested in the area's maritime history, the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre at nearby Charlestown offers a fascinating insight into the many shipwrecks along the Cornish coast over the centuries. The National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek is another popular attraction where visitors can learn about rescuing and rehabilitating injured seals.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them busy in Cadgwith, with activities like surfing, kayaking, and coasteering. The village also has several local amenities, including a small shop and a post office, as well as several pubs and restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.

One of the most popular events in Cadgwith is the annual August Bank Holiday Regatta, which sees the village come alive with music, dancing, and traditional Cornish games. The event culminates in a thrilling gig race, with teams from all over Cornwall competing to finish as the champions.

Wildlife and Birdwatching

Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or simply looking to experience the natural beauty of Cornwall, Cadgwith's wildlife and birdwatching opportunities are not to be missed. The village is surrounded by beautiful coastal paths and clifftops, making it an ideal location for birdwatching. You can spot many birds, including falcons, kestrels, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, Black Redstart, Leach's Storm Petrel, Western Osprey, European Bee-eater and possibly even the rare Cornish choughs that was once extinct and has now made a comeback.

The area is also home to several marine species, such as seals, dolphins, and porpoises, which can often be seen surfacing in the waters around Cadgwith Harbour. If you're lucky, you might even spot a basking shark, the second-largest fish in the world, which is known to swim in the waters around the village during the summer months.

Surfing and Watersports

Surfing is a popular water sports activity in Cornwall, with several nearby beaches providing ideal surfing conditions. Visitors can rent surfboards and wetsuits from the local surf shops and take surfing lessons from experienced instructors. The waves are perfect for both beginners and advanced surfers.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular water sports activities where you can explore the beautiful coastline and hidden coves. The waters around Cadgwith are perfect for these activities, making it an ideal location for the adventure-driven.

Coasteering is another adventurous water sport activity that is gaining popularity in Cadgwith. It involves climbing, jumping, and swimming along the rocky coastline of the village. Coasteering provides a unique opportunity to explore the hidden caves and gullies in the area that are not accessible otherwise.

Snorkelling is also a popular activity around the coast. The crystal clear waters of Cornwall are an ideal habitat for several species of marine life, such as seals, dolphins, and various fish species.

Accommodation around Cadgwith

Where to stay and how to get to Cadgwith.

If you're planning a trip to Cadgwith, you may be wondering where to stay and how to get there. Cadgwith is a small fishing village on the Lizard Peninsula that offers visitors a unique blend of traditional Cornish culture and modern amenities. There are several options for accommodation in Cadgwith, ranging from cosy bed and breakfasts to self-catered cottages. The village also has a few pubs, including the Cadgwith Cove Inn, which offers rooms with stunning sea views. If you're looking for a more luxurious stay, several hotels are in the nearby town of Helston, just a short drive away. Getting to Cadgwith is relatively easy, but as with many small villages, public transportation options are limited.

Cadgwith self-catering cottages have everything, you need to have a comfortable and enjoyable stay. From fully equipped kitchens to comfortable bedrooms and cosy living areas, you'll feel right at home in one of these cottages. Another great feature of the cottages is their location. Many of these cottages are near the village's main attractions, including the beach, the harbour, and the local pubs and restaurants. Whether travelling with family or friends or simply looking for a romantic getaway, Cadgwith self-catering cottages offer the perfect accommodation option for your next holiday or short break.

The nearest train station is in Redruth, about a 40-minute drive away, and the nearest airport is Newquay, about an hour's drive away. If you're driving, there is limited parking in the village, so it's best to park in the nearby car park and walk down to the village. Once you've arrived in Cadgwith, you'll find the village best explored on foot. Stroll down to the harbour to see the traditional fishing boats and watch the fishermen bring in their catch. Explore the village's thatched cottages and visit the local art galleries and shops. And don't forget to stop by one of the village's pubs for a pint of local ale and some delicious Cornish food. Overall, Cadgwith is an idyllic destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and immerse themselves in traditional Cornish culture.

Camping Near Cadgwith

Camping near Cadgwith is a great way to immerse yourself in the area's beauty. The stunning scenery, fascinating wildlife and fresh air make it the perfect destination for anyone looking for a peaceful getaway. Several campsites are nearby, offering a range of facilities and amenities to suit all budgets and preferences. Whether you prefer a no-frills camping experience or a more luxurious glamping option, there is something for everyone.

Some campsites are just a short walk from the village, while others are a short drive away. Wake up to birds singing and enjoy breakfast with a stunning coastline view. Spend your days exploring the nearby beaches, hiking trails, and fishing villages. Camping near Cadgwith offers an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to reconnect with nature and relax in a peaceful environment.

Campsite suggestions for you:

Cadgwith Camping, a family-run campsite is close to the village; see their Facebook page for contact information.

Kynance Camping is an excellent destination for a family-friendly and dog-friendly camping holiday. The campsite offers easy access to local amenities, making it an ideal location for those exploring the surrounding area. With phone charging facilities available at the campsite, you can stay connected to family and friends throughout your stay. The campsite is also family-friendly, with plenty of activities to entertain the kids. And for those who want to bring their furry friends along, Kynance Camping is dog-friendly so that you can take your four-legged family member on your camping adventure. With stunning natural surroundings and various on-site amenities, Kynance Camping is the perfect place to unplug and relax.

Cadgwith Harbour Fishing Boats

Cadgwith Harbour Fishing Boats, Cornwall

Local pubs and Cornish delicacies

When visiting Cadgwith, one cannot miss out on indulging in some of the best local pubs and Cornish delicacies. The village offers a range of pubs serving locally brewed ales, ciders, and delicious pub grub. The Cadgwith Cove Inn is one such pub that has been around since the 1600s and is known for its live music nights and fresh seafood. The pub has a cosy interior with wooden beams and a fireplace, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors. Another popular pub in the village is The Old Cellars, which has a unique location inside a former pilchard press. This pub also serves delicious seafood and has a great selection of Cornish ales. When it comes to Cornish delicacies, Cadgwith offers a range of options to satisfy one's taste buds. The village is famous for its fresh seafood, particularly crab and lobster, which are caught locally by the fishermen. Visitors can head to the Fish Cellar to buy fresh seafood or even try fishing with one of the local fishermen.

Additionally, the village has a bakery that serves traditional Cornish pasties, which are a must-try when in Cornwall. These pasties are made with a buttery pastry filled with meat, vegetables, and gravy. For those with a sweet tooth, the village has a local fudge maker that produces delicious handmade fudge in various flavours. In conclusion, Cadgwith's local pubs and Cornish delicacies offer a unique opportunity to experience the village's traditional culture and cuisine. It is a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in Cornwall's rich history and enjoy some of the region's best seafood and ales.

Events and Festivals in Cadgwith

If you're interested in music, check out the Cadgwith Folk Night, held every Tuesday throughout the year at the Cadgwith Cove Inn. This event features local musicians performing traditional songs and sea shanties.

One of the most popular events is the Cadgwith Cove Crab Fest, which takes place every August. This fun-filled event celebrates the village's fishing heritage and the delicious crab caught in the surrounding waters. The festival features live music, children's activities, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of opportunities to try crab dishes prepared by local chefs.

Gig rowing is a type of rowing that originated in Cornwall. It is a competitive sport that involves rowing a six-oared boat called a gig. Gigs are boats usually made of wood designed to be fast and seaworthy. Gig rowing is a physically demanding sport that requires a high level of fitness and teamwork. It is also a very social sport, and many clubs have a strong sense of community. Gig rowing is a great way to exercise, meet new people, and enjoy the outdoors. If you want to learn more about gig rowing, visit your local club or contact the Cornish Pilot Gig Association.

The Cadgwith Gig Club's Facebook page provides pictures and up-to-date information on local events involving Gig rowing.

Another popular event is the Cadgwith Cove Christmas Lights, which sees the village decorated with beautiful lights and festive decorations throughout December. This is a wonderful time to visit Cadgwith and soak up the magical atmosphere along with the Cadgwith Singers Christmas Concert, a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Additionally, the village hosts various other events, including live music performances, seafood festivals, and summer fairs.

A Cadgwith cottage, Cornwall

A Cadgwith cottage, one of the many unique buildings in the village

A footpath in Cadgwith the village, Cornwall.

A footpath in the village of Cadgwith

The Serpentine Works

The Serpentine Works were established in the 1850s to meet the demand for serpentine, a type of rock found only in Cornwall. Serpentine is a beautiful stone with various colours, including green, yellow, and black. It was used to make various objects, including ornaments, furniture, and jewellery.

The works located near Carleon Cove, a beautiful bay near Cadgwith. The cove was ideal for the serpentine industry because it had a sheltered harbour and a plentiful supply of serpentine.

The works were a major employer in the area and helped boost the local economy. However, the industry declined in the late 19th century due to several factors, including competition from cheaper materials and the remoteness of the Lizard Peninsula.

The works closed in 1893 and have been in ruins ever since. However, they are still a popular tourist destination and offer a glimpse into a bygone era. The works are open to the public, admission is free. The works are best visited at low tide, allowing you to explore the cove and buildings. There is parking near the factory, but it is very crowded in the summer.

The Serpentine Works, Cornwall.

Activity Suggestions

Bonython Estate, Manor House and reflecting pool, Cornwall.

Bonython Estate Gardens is a 20-acre garden on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, England. The gardens contain various plants, including rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, and other flowers. The gardens also feature several water features, including a lake, a stream, and a waterfall.

The gardens were initially created in the 18th century by the Bonython family. However, they fell into disrepair in the 20th century. In 1999, the Nathan family purchased the gardens, restoring them to their former glory.

The gardens are open to the public from April to September. They are a popular tourist destination, offering a beautiful and peaceful setting to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Here are some of the things you can see and do at Bonython Estate Gardens:

  • Explore the gardens' many different plant collections, including rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, and more.
  • Take a walk along the gardens' winding paths and admire the views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Relax by the lake or stream and enjoy the peace of the gardens.
  • Visit the gardens' tearoom for a light snack or tea.
  • Take a guided tour of the gardens and learn more about their history and plants.

Bonython Estate Gardens is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. The gardens are home to a wide variety of plants and water features, and they offer a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Follow them on Facebook.