A local’s guide to Crackington Haven holiday cottages

A local’s guide to Crackington Haven

A unique Area of Natural Beauty can be found along the north coast of Cornwall, stretching all the way from scenic Polzeath to the holiday haunt of Widemouth Bay. This section of remarkable landscape is home to an ancient medieval castle and old mining sites, a rich and varied selection of wildlife and famed geology, several surfing hot spots and the unusual Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Amongst all these unique and extraordinary features, you’ll find the tiny coastal village of Crackington Haven. Travel up and down through this Cornish AONB while staying by the beach in this secluded seaside village and you can spend each day uncovering new surroundings or relaxing on the sand.

About the coastal village:

Crackington Haven village

Originally a small port, importing limestone and coal and exporting slate from local quarries, this coastal gem escaped expansion in the 1800s when plans for a larger port were drawn up but never came to pass, and so it’s remained a secluded retreat along the Cornish coast.

During the summertime, holidaymakers can take a picnic down to the seaside, dig a castle and moat in the sand or splash in the shallows. The entire Cornish north coast gets hit with excellent surf that rolls in off the Atlantic and, if the weather’s right, Crackington Haven beach is an excellent place to catch a wave. Even in the depths of winter, this cove is a beautiful destination for walkers and explorers who’ll love the remarkable geology and scenic landscape of the area.

The beach:

Crackington Haven beach

A sandy shore perfect for a day at the beach. Families, surfers and walkers are all welcome and can enjoy whiling away hours lying on the sand or making the most of the waves. It’s set between two tall, imposing cliffs and backs onto the village making it easy to pop back if you’re staying in a cottage in the centre of Crackington Haven.

South West Coast Path:

South West Coast Path

Tracing the entire South West coast, you are welcome to walk as far as your feet can carry you along this footpath. Brave souls can attempt the 10-mile Crackington to Bude stretch, which is classed as strenuous due to the rough terrain. You'll encounter narrow sections and steep climbs including a dip into one of the deepest valleys along the Cornish coast, Scrade. Those who follow this route will be rewarded with breathtaking open views of the Atlantic, although you must beware of the crumbling climbs and the dangers that come with bad weather.

Another challenging walk leads in the opposite direction from Crackington Haven to Tintagel. At 11 miles, it provides more steep climbs and rough terrain so stick to the coastal path for safety, but those who take on the challenge will again be rewarded with some stunning ocean views. It will have particular appeal to birdwatchers who can spot peregrine falcons, buzzards and kestrel and breeding seabirds in early summer. 

For a gentler walk around this beautiful section of the Cornish coast, follow National Trust’s circular Crackington cracker walk. About 3 miles around and two hours of walking, this route begins and ends on the South West Coast Path so you won’t miss out on those coastal views; it is classed as moderate so would be a nice choice for amateurs willing to work up a sweat, or families who can take their time gazing at the views and playing along the coast.

The geology:

Crackington Formation

As it’s within one of the Cornish Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’d expect this little cove to have plenty of astonishing natural sights and the geology of this area is of particular interest. It’s so remarkable that it even has a geological phenomenon named after it - Crackington Formation. You can view examples of the folded strata in the cliffs made up of sandstone and grey shales. Formed 325 million years ago in the Carboniferous period, the material has travelled from as far away as the Equator to reach this little section of the Cornish coast. It was during the last Ice Age that the rocks were compressed into the folds we see today.

The accommodation:

Samphire House

Find yourself the perfect coastal cottage right by the beach for your seaside holiday in this quaint, tiny village. From dog-friendly accommodation to big group getaways, we have a selection of holiday homes perfect for every member of the family. Would you rather be down by the ocean or peacefully nestled in the countryside amongst rolling landscape and open views? Take your pick of cottages in Crackington Haven.

The food and drink:

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Lunch is served!

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Overlooking the small sandy beach is Coombe Barton Inn, providing a warm and welcoming environment in which to enjoy lunch beside an uninterrupted seascape. The menu consists of a range of locally-sourced fish, meat and vegetables with seasonal dishes.

Alongside this well-established pub are a couple of lovely cafes where you can grab a seaside snack or sit down to a tasty coffee and cake. Cabin Café and Haven Café, both of which have a varied menu, (ever tried crab sandwich?) sell beach equipment for those who wish to send home a postcard or make a last-minute purchase of a bucket and spade to play in the sand.

Boscastle and Tintagel:

Tintagel Castle
Tintagel Castle


Boscastle is 7 miles south and you can continue on past to reach Tintagel, a 10-mile drive. Boscastle is an old fishing port with arts and pottery studios, a natural harbour, and stunning surrounding landscape, much of which is National Trust-owned, that inspired the great Thomas Hardy. Best of all, this seaside village is home to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic where you can take a guided tour and discover the history of magic in Britain.

A visit to Tintagel Castle is essential for anyone on a trip to this coastal village. Uncover the Arthurian legends associated with this stronghold, walk down to the beach to explore Merlin’s Cave and walk across to the ‘Island’ or headland to see the remains of the Dark Age settlement. The village itself has a few lovely eateries and you could head to St Nectan's Glen - a woodland in nearby Trethevy with a 60-foot waterfall that can be seen through a hole in the rocks.

Inspired to enjoy a relaxing break to Crackington Haven? Take a look through our collection of cottages in and around this quaint coastal village.

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