Boscastle Holiday Guide for 2024

Nestled in the heart of Cornwall’s North Coast, Boscastle is a holidaymaker’s dream. Its enchanting natural harbour, crowned by an Elizabethan quay, is lined with picturesque stone cottages, boutique shops, and inviting tea-rooms perfect for a relaxing afternoon. The National Trust preserves much of the surrounding land, offering visitors a plethora of scenic walks. From the lush fields of Forrabury Stitches to the historic churches of Minster and St Juliots, immortalized by Thomas Hardy, there’s a sight for every traveler.

The town’s harbour, protected by two stone walls from 1584, stands as a testament to Boscastle’s rich history. Once a bustling trade hub, it’s now a serene spot that remains untouched by time. As the only harbour within 20 miles, its unique charm makes it a must-visit. Ready for an adventure? The coastal path starts right in Boscastle, leading you through landscapes protected by the National Trust. And while the town’s heritage is steeped in trade, today it welcomes holidaymakers, making tourism its heartbeat. Come, explore, and fall in love with Boscastle’s magic.

Boscastle Town History

Boscastle has a history that is as captivating as its scenic beauty. The village’s name is believed to be derived from Botreaux Castle, a Norman fortress that once stood nearby, though little remains of this structure today. The castle played a pivotal role in the region’s defense during the medieval period, and its legacy is still felt in the town’s name.

The harbour, which is one of Boscastle’s most defining features, has been central to its history. Constructed with two protective stone walls in 1584, it became a lifeline for the community. In the centuries that followed, the harbour facilitated trade, with Boscastle exporting slate, earthenware, and other local products, while importing essentials like limestone and coal. This trade network connected Boscastle to regions far beyond Cornwall, making it a significant port of call.

One of the most notable figures associated with Boscastle is the renowned author, Thomas Hardy. He was deeply inspired by the village and its surroundings. The churches of Minster and St Juliots, in particular, feature in his works, with the latter being the setting for his novel “A Pair of Blue Eyes”. Hardy’s association with Boscastle has forever linked the village with literary history, drawing fans of his work to this Cornish gem.

However, not all of Boscastle’s history is steeped in tranquility. In 2004, the village faced a significant challenge when it was hit by a devastating flood. A sudden and intense rainfall led to the Valency and Jordan rivers overflowing, causing significant damage to properties, roads, and the historic harbour. Thankfully, with resilience and community spirit, along with national support, Boscastle rebuilt and restored, emerging stronger than before.

Today, while Boscastle thrives primarily on tourism, its rich history is evident at every turn. From its ancient harbour to the literary landmarks and the tales of resilience, Boscastle stands as a testament to Cornwall’s enduring spirit and its place in the annals of British history.

How to Get to Boscastle

Driving to Boscastle is fine as there is a car park which holds 240 cars, this is open 24 hours so you can use it whenever you like. There is very limited parking on the roads so do plan to use the car park when you visit with a car. There is also a bus that goes through the town and stops in Boscastle so you can visit by bus too.