Kingsand and Cawsand, South Cornwall

Kingsand and Cawsand, South Cornwall

Nestled on the Rame Peninsula, the two sleepy, twinned villages of Kingsand and Cawsand are a laid-back affair compared to their more well-known sisters, but in my opinion, they’re all the better for it, being reminiscent of ‘old’ Cornwall before the march of tourism took hold – taking me back to the days of higgledy-piggledy picnics and a thermos with my parents and sea glass collecting on the beach.

For such a laid-back place, there’s rather a boisterous history to it; between the 1700’s and 1800’s the two villages were known to be the smuggling centre of the southwest, when a fleet of over 50 smuggling boats would bring barrel loads of spirits into Cawsand Bay, to be dispersed throughout the country.

This spot, up until 1844, was also the border between Cornwall and Devon, where Cawsand was in Cornwall and Kingsand in Devon, split by a tiny stream that represented the boundaries of both counties – before moving ‘up country’ towards Plymouth.

The day I visited was a quiet Saturday in February, and I found the car park easily before walking down into the villages. Typical of coastal villages in south Cornwall, the streets are narrow and the houses pretty; ice cream colours popped on a grey day, and it was fun to spot the unique door knockers – from mermaids to fish – which adorn the cottages as you walk down to the seafront.

The two villages boast three beaches; Cawsand beach is lovely and sandy, a wonderful place for swimming, and backed by some good places to eat and drink. This beach has a seasonal dog ban. Kingsand is a mix of sand and shingle and welcomes dogs all year. The third, Girt beach, is mainly shingle and lies between the two. There’s a fourth beach, Sandways, which is a short walk out of the villages and is known for excellent swimming.

It’s lovely just to stroll around here; there’s a small collection of shops and places to eat - The Old Bakery comes highly recommended, and although it was shut for a winter break looked lovely from the outside. I popped into The Stores Cornwall – a fabulous coffee shop brim full of goodies, from unique pasties and cakes through to cheeses, cured meats and gorgeous pottery and homeware.

Coming away with a pasty, coffee, cake, and a new mug to add to my ever-growing collection, I found a bench close to the iconic clock tower overlooking the beach. The sun deigned to come out for a moment, so I basked in the unseasonal warmth for a while, ate my lunch and watched families play on the sand below.

Afterwards, I walked out along the Cleave – a road that runs to the back of Kingsand beach – then joined a cliff path for a while to admire the view. If I was to carry on, the path would join Mount Edgcumbe, a vast estate and wonderful house, with amazing views across the estuary towards Plymouth and Jennycliff beach.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in south Cornwall here.

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