South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path

An epic walk along the coastline of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

3 to 12 nights
630 miles
Easy to Demanding / Strenuous

From £355 per person

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About the trail

At 630 miles (1,008 km) in length, the South West Coast Path is Britain’s longest waymarked footpath and the ultimate challenge for any long distance walker. The route curls around the entire peninsula of Devon and Cornwall, rounds the south-western tip of England at Land’s End, and follows the southern shore through the dramatic scenery of Dorset, constituting a major portion of the England Coast Path.

Although we provide some gentler itineraries, on most holidays, expect stiff climbs on jaw-dropping coastal trails; mile after mile of sea views; and plenty of cream teas and Cornish pasties enjoyed in seaside towns. Walking the South West Coast Path is a challenge, but an immensely (and often tastily) rewarding one.

We’ve broken the full SWCP into ten stages so you can pick and choose your favourite stretches of coast. We also offer a choice of short breaks along the path, which you can find on the South West Coast Path Short Breaks page. If you’re looking for a circular tour, take a look at our walking holiday around the far point of Land’s End Peninsula and inland along St Michael’s Way, or stitch in the Tamara Coast to Coast Way.

Choose your route

  • This route includes dog friendly tour options North Devon
  • Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North
  • Dorset
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South Cornwall
  • South Devon
  • Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - South
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South West Cornwall
  • Far West of Cornwall
  • East Devon
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Tor Bay and Babbacombe Bay

Dog friendly tours available

Dogs are welcome on select routes along this trail. Look for the pawprint icon when choosing your holiday.

Trail running tours available

We also organise trail running holidays along this route. Find out more.

About this route

7 to 9 nights
80 miles
Moderate to Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £910 per person

Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North

This varied walk along the South West Coast Path sweeps over rugged headlands and around secluded coves. It travels through lively fishing villages and is awash with ocean views, but there’s a unique jewel in its crown: the dramatic ruins of Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur.

Between this legendary site and the lively stops around it, Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast offers a wealth of things to see and do.

We also offer a Cornwall's Atlantic Coast North Short Break option that explores the path from Clovelly to Bude. Click here for more information.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
CACN1 From Westward Ho!(L) to Padstow 7 nights, 6 days walking Moderate / Demanding £910
CACN2 From Westward Ho!(L) to Padstow 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate / Demanding £1035
CACN3 From Westward Ho!(L) to Padstow 9 nights, 8 days walking Moderate £1160

Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North 7 nights, 6 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Important information

Since the Covid pandemic, single-night stays in Padstow have become challenging to arrange. To arrange this tour, we therefore must book two nights at Padstow. This will necessitate a transfer from Port Isaac for the penultimate night's stay; or, alternatively, we can book an extra night at the end of your walking tour. If you would prefer the latter option to minimise transfers, please add an extra night in Padstow during the booking process, or contact us directly for more information.

This tour is available to book all year, however out of season from November to March, there may be a small supplement for luggage moves, which will be moved by taxi rather than the usual luggage courier.

 

Start

Travel to Westward Ho!(L) where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Westward Ho!(L) to Clovelly(L). 11.5 miles (18.5km) / 2349 ft (716 m) ascent

Day 2

Clovelly(L) to Hartland Quay. 10.5 miles (17km) / 2087 ft (636 m) ascent

Day 3

Hartland Quay to Bude. 15 miles (24km) / 3278 ft (999 m) ascent

Day 4

Bude to Boscastle. 17 miles (27km) / 3570 ft (1088 m) ascent

Day 5

Boscastle to Port Isaac. 13.5 miles (21.5km) / 3107 ft (947 m) ascent

Day 6

Port Isaac to Padstow. 12 miles (19km) / 1762 ft (537 m) ascent

Finish

Depart from Padstow after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£65.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£55.00 per person / per night


You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Standard
Interactive
© Contours Walking Holidays Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North map
Westward Ho! to Padstow
80 miles (127 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Delving into rich literary links to Charles Kingsley, Rudyard Kipling, and Dickens.

Wandering the open-air ruins of King Arthur’s birthplace at Tintagel.

Exploring links with popular culture, from Westward Ho! To Clovelley and Port Isaac.

What's included?

  • 7 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

An extra night gives you a chance to explore some of the villages on the path or to simply relax on one of the many sandy beaches for which Cornwall is famous.

The pretty little village of Clovelly is a popular choice. Clovelly is also worth considering if you would like to visit Lundy Island, which is noted for its birdlife.

There is a lot to see at Bude and Boscastle and Port Isaac is also worthy of an extra night, but Padstow, with its lively harbour, is an ideal base for enjoying the unique Cornish atmosphere.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 79.5 miles (127 km)
Duration: 7 nights, 6 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 10.5 miles (17 km)
Maximum daily distance: 17 miles (27 km)
Code: CACN1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Westward Ho!(L)
End of holiday: Padstow

Route Profile

Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air

The most convenient major city and international airports are Bristol, Exeter and Newquay Airport.

By Rail

The nearest rail station to the start of the trail (Westward Ho!) is at Barnstaple (about 10 miles away). The nearest rail station to the end of the trail (Padstow) is at Bodmin Parkway (about 19.5 miles away).

By Bus

There are bus services from Barnstaple to Westward Ho! and also from Padstow to Bodmin Parkway.

From London

Trains run from London Paddington station to Barnstaple. From there a bus/taxi will be required to Westward Ho!

Return to Start

The easiest way to return to the start of the trail is to take a taxi from Padstow to Westward Ho!, as public transport options are not viable.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.
"Damehole Point" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Damehole Point" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Harbour at Port Quin" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Harbour at Port Quin" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Tintagel Haven at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Tintagel Haven at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Beyond Hartland Quay" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Beyond Hartland Quay" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Tintagel Head at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Tintagel Head at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Hartland Quay Shoreline at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Hartland Quay Shoreline at Sunset" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Coastline near Cleave" by Blais Brancheau (2023) "Coastline near Cleave" by Blais Brancheau (2023)
"Descending to Hartland Quay" by T Kraan (2023) "Descending to Hartland Quay" by T Kraan (2023)
"Constantine Bay" by Sandra Steel (2017) "Constantine Bay" by Sandra Steel (2017)
"Hartland Quay" by Sandra Steel (2017) "Hartland Quay" by Sandra Steel (2017)
"The Gannel" by Sandra Steel (2017) "The Gannel" by Sandra Steel (2017)
"Coffee Time" by Sandra Steel (2017) "Coffee Time" by Sandra Steel (2017)
"Boscastle to Bude" by Sandra Steel (2017) "Boscastle to Bude" by Sandra Steel (2017)
"Which Way Next?" by Therese Larum (2017) "Which Way Next?" by Therese Larum (2017)
"Enjoying a Rest" by Therese Larum (2017) "Enjoying a Rest" by Therese Larum (2017)
"Along the Path" by Therese Larum (2017) "Along the Path" by Therese Larum (2017)

Customer reviews from the Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North

“Very demanding walking trip but beautiful.”
Ms McMillan, USA
“Another wonderful trip. Amazing scenery, good lodging and food, even good weather. Despite the difficulty level and the crowds, we would still rate this trip as excellent. Although we have walked another section of the South West Coast Path, and therefore had some idea what to expect, the scenery exceeded our expectations. We also enjoyed a number of historical sites, old churches and other buildings and towns, and the cultural experience involved in the travel, the lodging places, the restaurants, and talking with people in the areas we visited. We were happy with all of the lodging places we stayed at. We would recommend this walk to others who want almost constant dramatic coastal scenery and the smaller villages along the way, and do not mind the frequent up and down climbs that are involved. We have booked a number of holidays with Contours and intend to book additional holidays in the future.”
Mr Brancheau, USA
“We loved it- so incredibly beautiful! All stunning.”
Mr Stallings, UK
“We spent an enjoyable 10 days on the walk. Thanks for arranging the B&B's for us.”
Mr Burnett, UK
“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole holiday, Karen found the terrain tougher than she expected but the local bus services worked well for her. B&Bs, luggage and taxi transfers were excellent, as was the information pack provided.”
Mr Fish, UK
“Didn’t know what to expect on this holiday but it exceeded all of my expectations. This part of the Devon/Cornwall coastline is spectacular. It can be a tough walk but the views and the scenery are exceptional.”
Mr Madge, UK
“The accommodation was good overall. The walking was very hard however the coastline was stunning. This was our 9th holiday with you.”
Mr O’Connor, UK
“It was just a fabulous week, scenery spectacular, some fantastic B&BS and great food.”
Dr Begley, UK
“Spectacular scenery, distance and terrain was very manageable and we were blessed with gorgeous weather! All arrangements worked well and we had a great time. Walking without luggage was delightful! Porthcothan to Newquay was breathtaking, but also very demanding. Perranporth beach was stunning. Crantock village was very pretty. Godrevy lighthouse was spectacular - but we didn't spot any seals! I think the best thing was just being free on the hills (we were surprised that we didn't meet anyone else doing the Coastal path other than day trippers),with spectacular views of cliffs and idyllic coves, a turquoise/emerald sea, butterflies, birds, flowers etc.”
Mr Miller, UK
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