Boscastle – guide for visiting this lovely village on the Cornwall coast in 2023


Boscastle might be a relatively small village, but trust us when we say it is worth visiting - this is one of the most beautiful and romantic places to visit in Cornwall and is a place which is featured in our guide of the best places to stay in Cornwall. We wanted to write a guide about this village to highlight some of the best things to do and see during your time there, with information updated for 2023. Let's get into the guide:

Where is Boscastle?

Firstly, it probably helps to know where Boscastle actually is. As we mentioned in our introduction, Boscastle is in Cornwall (on the north coast, to be exact). The village is very close to a number of other villages and towns in Cornwall, including Beeny (9 minutes by car), Trevalga (5 minutes by car), and Lesnewth (12 minutes by car). In terms of proximity to slightly better known locations, Boscastle is 14 miles south of Bude and 5 miles northeast of Tintagel. 
FireShot Capture 1659 - Boscastle - Google Maps -

What is there to do during your time in Boscastle?

It's worth keeping in mind that Boscastle is quite small so although there are things to do, it's quite limited. However, there is lots to see and do in locations around the village if you're willing to travel a bit, so we'll be including a mix of options. Let's get into it:

Boscastle Harbour

This isn't just one of the best things to see in Boscastle, we think it's one of the best places to visit in the whole of Cornwall. The harbour at Boscastle is the focal point of the village, and if you want to get to the heart of what makes Boscastle so special then you need to visit the harbour. In fact, Boscastle really owes its existence to the harbour, because 100 years ago it was the only area along the Cornwall coast where boats could harbour. It's a historic part of Cornwall and an amazing place to visit.

Our favourite aspect of the harbour is the blow-hole called "the Devil's Bellows". During a low tide, you can see it blowing a horizontal waterspout halfway across the harbour entrance which is great fun for kids.


South West Coast Path walk

The South West Coast Path is England's longest waymarked long-distance footpath at 630 miles long, and it runs right along the coast of Cornwall. Obviously, we wouldn't expect that you'll be walking the entire 630 miles, but there are a number of walks you join on the South West Coast path from Boscastle. The most popular walk is probably the Boscastle & Pentargon Waterfall walk, which starts and ends at the lovely Boscastle Harbour. This walk is just under 2 miles in length and is mostly flat, so isn't too tricky. Pentargon Waterfall is really impressive and if you visit during Spring you'll get to see the waterfall being especially powerful. Learn more about the walk here -


The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

Another excellent place to visit near the harbour is The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, a museum packed with interesting items and artefacts all related to European witchcraft and magic. The museum has been open since 1960 but doesn't feel stuffy and old at all, some of the exhibits are really fun and often quite scary. For example, seeing the room devoted to the witch trials and the small section on modern religious Satanism might stick with you long after you've left! Learn more about the museum here -

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

Enjoy the views from Willapark and Penally Point

We're still not done talking about the area surrounding the harbour! You'll find the cliffs of Penally Point and Willapark on either side of the entrance to the harbour - it's hard to miss them really, although Willapark is definitely the more noticeable of the 2 as it has a lookout tower on the summit which can be seen from quite a distance. It is thought that humans have occupied the area of Willapark since 200BC, and remains of an Iron Age cliff castle found there suggest that the cliff was used as a defensive site. Just inland from Willapark you'll find Forrabury Stitches, a series of 42 fields. It might not sound very interesting but these stitches date back to Celtic times and this site is one of the best surviving examples of stitches being farmed in Britain today.


The Valency Valley

If you're looking for an area to explore away from the water then you should definitely check out The Valency Valley. The harbour can sometimes be a bit too busy, so if you're looking for a much more relaxed place to visit in Boscastle then this valley is definitely the place to head to. It's one of the few wooded areas in North Cornwall, meaning it has some interesting birds that you'll struggle to find elsewhere in the area, including jays and woodpeckers. The Valency River runs through the valley, and there are a number of walks you can take along the banks of the river.


Things to be aware of before visiting Boscastle

Boscastle is a lovely little place and there are some great things to see and do, but you've probably garnered from our guide that if you're staying here for more than a few days then we definitely think it's a good idea to head further afield, so having a car is a good idea, or get yourself a good electric bike.

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our other guides about seaside locations including Sidmouth, Totnes, and Braunton.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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