If you like stunning coastal scenery, ancient legend and challenging terrain, you’ll love this Boscastle to Tintagel walk.
Both of these villages are popular spots along the Cornish coastline, but the hike between them is particularly impressive.
You’ll start at the gorgeous Boscastle harbour and finish on the rocky island that’s home to Tintagel Castle.
This hike will also give you an opportunity to see some other attractions in both villages, including Tintagel Old Post Office and King Arthur’s Great Halls.
Sitting on the South West Coast Path National Trail, it’s a fairly simple hike, but it has enough ups and downs to get your heart racing and make you feel like you’ve had a great workout!
We’ll detail the full Boscastle to Tintagel walk in this blog post, and feature tips about visiting both of the villages.
Boscastle to Tintagel Walk: Quick Facts
- Length: 5.5 miles
- Time: 2-3 hours depending on your speed
- Difficulty: Challenging, although if you’ve already hiked the North Cornwall coast from Hartland Quay and Bude it shouldn’t be too bad.
Boscastle to Tintagel Walk Directions
You’ll begin your walk in beautiful Boscastle.
From the village, walk toward Boscastle Harbour, and follow the South West Coast Path which will lead up the cliffs on the left-hand side.
This path first slopes uphill; just follow it around until it reaches a spectacular viewpoint over the beautiful harbour and another path leads to a whitewashed building called Willapark which is on a headland.
Willapark was historically used by customs officers and in modern times, it’s now a coastguard.
Walk down the slate steps and cross two footbridges, before following the path as it leads to a gate. Don’t enter the gate, but walk around the cliff edge and take in the excellent views as you go.
This is called Trevalga Cliff, and there’s a beautiful rock arch here that’s called Ladies Window.
The path then leads down into Rocky Valley. This rocky cove is an astonishing sight in the middle of the walk. This is a beautiful nature spot that cuts through the rocks by the coastline.
Rocky Valley is a popular place, and as there’s a car park nearby you might find that it’s quite busy. But it’s really scenic and worth spending some time admiring.
The coastal path then leads out of Rocky Valley, past Benoath Cove, and above Bossiney Haven.
This is a beautiful cove that’s only exposed at high tide. There are some steep steps down to Bossiney Haven.
There’s no lifeguard access at Bossiney Cove, but if you want to experience off the beaten path Cornwall it’s an amazing beach.
There are some offshore rocks to enjoy by Bossiney Haven. Look out for Elephant Rock, which is named so because it looks like an elephant’s body, legs and trunk! Plus, the water looks so blue and inviting that you could almost be in the Mediterranean…
Willapark Headland (number two!)
Confusingly, the next headland is also called Willapark. Follow the waymarked path as it crosses over this headland, with Camelot Castle Hotel in the background.
At this point, you can follow a trail inland toward Tintagel Village. If you’re staying at a campsite or hotel (more on these below), this is a useful cut-through.
Barras Nose Headland
After cutting across Willapark Headland, you’ll see Barras Nose in the distance.
Barras Nose is a rocky headland and the castle is situated just behind.
If you keep following the coastal path, you’ll drop down to the Tintagel Castle visitor centre. The cafe and restaurant are also here; this tea room has some of the best cream teas in Cornwall!
You can also get a view of the castle here, and the Castle Beach with Merlin’s Cave is easy to access.
Follow the castle road uphill, and you’ll eventually reach the English Heritage ticket office and Tintagel high street.
Things to do in Boscastle
- Walking around the unspoilt harbour village is one of the best things to do! It’s a historic fishing village with a charming riverside path.
- The terrace of cottages above the riverside path and other houses dating back to Victorian times.
- The natural harbour of Boscastle, which is a beautiful attraction on the coastline.
- The eerie Museum of witchcraft.
- Climbing up the cliffs and looking out over the natural harbour.
Things to do in Tintagel
- Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification on a rocky headland with amazing views over the coastline. Famous for allegedly being the place where King Arthur was born, It’s one of the best things to do in Cornwall; but it’s also one of the most expensive! To visit Tintagel Castle on a budget, I’d recommend purchasing an English Heritage Membership (see my full review here) or becoming a member of the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
- King Arthur’s Great Halls is an immersive attraction that’s all about the legend of King Arthur. You’ll walk through the halls, enjoying a sound and light show and learning about the history as you go. It’s a great spot to visit on a rainy day.
- Merlin’s Cave is located on the sandy beach just below the castle, which is called Merlin Cove or Tintagel Haven. Tintagel Haven also has legendary connections; it’s famous as the place where Merlin first came to Cornwall. (check). To reach Tintagel Haven, you’ll need to climb down a rock stack, so it’s not recommended for anyone with mobility issues.
- Tintagel Old Post Office, which is a 14th century cottage and National Trust property in the village that does guided tours.
- It’s also worth retracting your steps to Bossiney Cove if you didn’t go there while hiking!
- Trebarwith Strand Beach is also close to Tintagel and is one of the best beaches in the area.
See all of the best things to do in Tintagel here.
Is there a Boscastle to Tintagel bus?
Yes, the 95 bus service runs from Boscastle to Tintagel. It also calls in at places like Bude and Widemouth Bay.
Public transport isn’t great in Cornwall, so I’d recommend looking up routes and times before going.
What to pack for the Boscastle to Tintagel hike
- Have a mobile phone loaded with the iWalk Cornwall app and a GPS maps app, which will help you find your way on the route.
- Hiking poles could be useful on the steep uphills.
- Don’t forget a sunhat and suncream if you’re hiking in the summer – there’s virtually no shade here!
- Plus, remember to take lots of water. I love my Water to Go bottle, which you can refill from any rivers or lakes (just no saltwater) and my drinking water bladder which I fill with potable water.
- Don’t forget sturdy, waterproof hiking boots and practical hiking clothes.
Where to stay in Boscastle
Boscastle House: A friendly B&B dating back to 1839, this guesthouse provides comfortable accommodation in the heart of the village – it’s a 15 minute walk from Boscastle Harbour. Click here to read more.
Where to stay in Tintagel
- Dolphins is a Tintagel-based hostel, perfect for backpackers. It has dorms and breakfast is included. Click here for more information.
- The Cornishman Inn is a comfy B&B with double and single rooms and a breakfast included. Utilise tea and coffee-making facilities in each room. Click here to read more.
- King Arthurs Arms has rustic rooms with comfy beds, with en-suite bathrooms. It is located in the centre of Tintagel. Click here for more information.
- Camelot Castle Hotel is a legendary hotel with an opulent exterior and interior. However, the rooms here are more basic than you’d expect for such a grand exterior, and it has mixed reviews. Here’s some more information.
Where to park in Tintagel
If you’re driving to Tintagel, park in Tintagel Village Car Park, which is opposite the main castle entrance. Beware that this car park can get very busy as there isn’t any parking for the actual castle.
Other nearby hikes along the South West Coast Path
This stretch of coast is among the most scenic in Cornwall
- Hartland Quay to Bude: This is widely regarded as the most difficult hike in all of the South West Coast Path. Expect amazing views, but incredibly difficult terrain!
- Crackington Haven to Boscastle: This hike leads to Boscastle and is one of the most dramatic walking routes in North Cornwall.
- Bude to Crackington Haven: Starting in Bude, this hike has some of the most beautiful views of the entire South West Coast Path, but it is quite tricky with a lot of ups and downs!
- Tintagel to Port Isaac: The first few miles of this South West Coast Path trek is fairly up and down, but then it evens out and the route into Port Isaac is easier. It’s a fantastic option if you want epic views and to end up in the glorious village of Port Isaac.
The Boscastle to Tintagel walk is one of the best hikes on the South West Coast Path. It’s not too long, so you can do it in a morning or afternoon, but it’s enough to get your heart pumping and to help you see the best of the Cornish coastline!