The tourist trail here in Cornwall is much-loved and well-trodden, but what about the lesser-known hidden spots known only by the lucky few? What about those secret places in Cornwall which have been shared via word-of-mouth, passed down through families and which are coveted as local secrets not to be shared with visitors? When you stay here at Trevigue we treat you as one of the family, and we think that our guests deserve to learn a little about these beautiful Cornish secret spots! So enjoy reading about our favourites in our run-down of secret places in Cornwall… shhh, just don’t tell the locals.
Five of Our Favourite Secret Places in Cornwall
As it’s one of Cornwall’s best kept secrets most people haven’t even heard of Nanjizal, let alone know how to find it. Thought by many to be the finest beach on the Penwith peninsula, Nanjizal in Cornwall’s ‘wild west’ is truly secluded, often deserted and will evoke gasps of awe in visitors who haven’t experienced this kind of natural beauty before. There are no signposts, large carparks or cafes and the walk there is long, but it’s well worth the effort. Nanjizal boasts a slit-like arch and some remarkable natural stone sculptures, including the “Diamond Horse” – an equine-shaped formation through which sunlight shines with a jewel-like glint. This hidden secret spot has magical caves and anenome-studded rockpools which emerge when the sea retreats, and there’s even a freshwater waterfall. Nanjizel is also a good spot for seal watching, particularly round the corner at Zawn Reeth. This beach is worth exploring if you’re in West Cornwall. But sssshhh…. you didn’t hear it from us!
The Rame Peninsula
People visiting Cornwall from out of county usually zoom straight over the border from Devon into Cornwall without so much as a nod towards the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall’s South East. Often named ‘Cornwall’s Forgotten Corner’, the Rame Peninsula is one of Cornwall’s best kept secrets and a special place to explore thanks to its beautiful landscape of tidal creeks, lush farmland, sandy beaches and country parks. There are no towns here; only Millbrook (a marine-village situated on a Tamar creek) and the twin adjoined harbour communities of Kingsand-Cawsand. At one time, the Devon-Cornwall border ran between the two and now with its tiny, hilly streets and whitewashed fishermen’s cottages overlooking Plymouth Sound, Kingsand-Cawsand strikes an attractive pose. Once a popular haunt of smugglers, these historic fishing villages now offer a waterfront destination with seafood-inspired eateries and traditional pubs. The magical 865 acres of seaside deer park, woodland and Grade I-listed gardens called Mount Edgcumbe sits on the Rame Peninsula and is the jewel in the crown of this secret place in Cornwall. Don’t miss a visit here!
Nestled halfway along the coast road between Padstow and Newquay lies the mystical Bedruthan Steps. There’s something very majestic about the view across the Atlantic-swept stacks with the low, unspoiled headland of Park Head beyond. These curious stone stacks have been separated from the mainland by sea erosion over hundreds of years, and legend has it that a giant named Bedruthan used them as stepping stones as a short cut across the bay. Access to the beach is difficult, and down a steep narrow set of steps cut into the cliff which makes it beautifully deserted. The sand is golden, and the soaring cliffs provide a natural windbreak meaning that the beach at Bedruthan Steps is a secret place in Cornwall you’ll love for sunbathing and picknicking. Just don’t forget to visit the café at the top of the steps afterwards for a huge slice of cake (by the time you’ve climbed back up, you’ll have earned it!).
The Shipwreck at Booby’s Bay
Booby’s Bay near Padstow isn’t one of Cornwall’s secret places as such, but the eerie shipwreck which has only revealed itself a few times in the past century when the sands shift, is a Cornish secret to behold! Local legend has it that in October of 1917, Sailing Vessel Carl had been ruined in the war and so was being towed to London to be broken up for scrap when she broke free in the storm. The Carl went aground on the outer reef and the tugs sent to rescue her managed to pull the vessel off the reef but in doing so broke both of their towing hawsers. The Carl broke her back in the rolling Atlantic waves and was declared a total loss. There she lay for decades, sand and tides burying her deeper and deeper under Booby’s Bay, when the storms of 2014 revealed her wooden carcass for the first time since her demise. Visitors to the beach were able to see the ribcage of the old sailing vessel speckled with starfish and revealed for the first time since 1917 with the rusted anchor, mast and belly of the boat all glistening beautifully in the sunshine! The shipwreck at Booby’s Bay has been seen several times since, but the rare occurrence is one which only a fortunate few have been witness to.
The Witchcraft Museum,Boscastle
Who would think that the world’s largest collection of items relating to witchcraft, magic and the occult was based here in Cornwall – the land best known for pasties, cream teas and golden beaches? Located in the picturesque village of Boscastle on the north Cornish coast since 1960, the Witchcraft Museum has over 3000 intriguing objects relating to all things otherworldly and is one of Britain’s most-loved independent museums. Cecil Williamson, founder of the museum explains why he opened it in Boscastle, “‘Three miles away from this spot you can find this pre-historic maze stone carved into a living rock face, proof that from ancient times man and his magic making with the world of spirit were active in this area. The centuries have passed, and times have changed and yet all around us in this quiet corner of England there is a strange feeling that we are not alone and that the shades of persons passed on and over into the world of spirit are very close. That is why this Museum of Witchcraft is located here. One is standing on the edge of the beyond”. This is one of the secret places in Cornwall which holds much intrigue and celebrates the history of magical practice in Britain from ancient times to the present day.
So there we have it, a run-down of our favourite secret places in Cornwall. Which ones have we missed? Which ones would you like to appear on this list? Which ones do you wish we hadn’t divulged!? Comment below, share with us on our Facebook and get in touch to let us know. Just don’t tell the locals that we told you!