The fascinating castles and coves of North Cornwall

The beautiful and tranquil Port Isaac.

A summer family holiday in England was spent exploring the beautiful coast of North Cornwall. Here were some of the highlights.

Port Isaac

The beach at the quaint fishing village of Port Isaac may look familiar to fans of the TV series Doc Martin which was filmed here. Doc’s house was the second from the right.

White and grey is the colour code for houses in this village. They might not appreciate it if you painted your house exterior pink or blue.

There are many seagulls here. The baby seagulls are cute but the grown ones will be keen on stealing your delicious crab sandwiches, which you can purchase at the harbour front.

Don’t be surprised if you bump into a prop or two, perhaps from the Doc Martin TV series advertising Large’s Restaurant in Port Wenn.


The harbour village of Boscastle is one of the most unspoilt in Cornwall.

A picturesque cobble-stoned road.

This ancient crooked cafe had a narrow escape when Boscastle was struck by a devastating flood in 2004.

This old lady working at the Witchcraft Museum looked friendly enough but she didn’t talk much.


Launceston is known as the Gateway to Cornwall and its Norman castle, dating from around 1070, was built to dominate the approach to the town.

The beautiful Norman Castle sitting pretty at the hilltop.
View from the top of Launceston Castle.


The North Cornish coastline is wild and rugged in places and many secluded coves and beaches are not easily accessible without a boat.

For some reason, the British are very fond of their beach huts and are willing to pay quite a lot of money for them.

The huts seem to be exempt from Britain’s normally strict planning laws, perhaps because they are deemed as temporary structures even though these ones have obviously been around for a long, long time.

The beach at Bude.
A row of hideous beach huts at Bude.
Vast open spaces with sea and sky ahead. 

Tintagel Castle

The site has been occupied since Roman times or earlier but is best known for its association with the legendary King Arthur.

Centuries of erosion have taken their toll on the castle walls and buildings but there is still a lot to see.

The ruins were interesting but the spectacular setting with sheer cliffs, great views and a bracing cool breeze were what we enjoyed the most.

Tintagel Castle was built on a craggy promontory joined to the mainland by a narrow neck making it easily defendable.

Crackington Haven

One of the best things about Cornwall and Devon is the South West Coast Path (approximately 1,013 km long) which hugs the coastline at Crackington Haven and provides great views over the bay.

Crackington Haven has a relatively sheltered shingle and sand beach and is popular with surfers.
The village of Crackington Haven is tiny but has a pub, a tea room and a shop.
Green as far as the eye can see.


Padstow is a picturesque fishing port turned tourist destination. Despite having over 1500 years of history it is nowadays best known as the base for Rick Stein’s seafood cooking TV series.

As a sign of Padstow’s gentrification, harbour tour operators offer rides in upmarket Riva-like speed boats.

Facing Padstow, on the opposite bank of the River Camel, is a lovely sandy beach at Daymer Bay.

Padstow is fishing port turned tourist destination.
The gorgeous scenery at Padstow.

The gorgeous scenery of this area, together with the “Rick Stein effect”, has pushed up property prices in Padstow so much that only rich out-of-towners can afford to buy (second) homes here.

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