Cawsand, Cornwall

This peaceful village used to be a hotbed for smugglers.


They call this area the ‘forgotten corner of Cornwall’ and it’s easy to see why. With its tiny, pastel-coloured cottages spilling down towards the sheltered harbour, Cawsand has hardly changed in the last few centuries. Except for the smuggling, maybe.

Back in the 18th- and early 19th-centuries, this peaceful village was a hotbed for smugglers like the legendary Harry Carter, who used Cawsand as a port-of-call for the contraband liquor he brought ashore. Local ladies would strap bladders full of rum and other goodies to themeselves, and waddle off up the street to sell them on.

Nowadays it’s much more civilised, of course. In recent years Cawsand has won repeated awards for being the Best Kept Village, and is an ideal escape if you’re looking to get away from it all. Check into the Cawsand Bay Hotel, located right on the beach, and you’ll get cracking views out over the ocean. There’s a private beach too, where you can stretch out on the sand and listen to the water slapping against the nearby rocks.

And if you get all hot and bothered – it is very sheltered here after all – simply wade out into the clear blue water for a quick dip. With this being An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are some rather scenic walks nearby too. So how about grabbing a picnic and having a go at the South West Coastal Path, which starts behind the hotel and stretches for 40 miles from Cremyll to Polruan? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of it at once.

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