The twin villages of Cawsand and Kingsand, overlooking Plymouth Sound, have long been a favourite destination for those seeking a quieter part of Cornwall. Once a haven for smugglers, the villages are great for those looking for good walks, waterborne activities or just relaxing on the beach.
Which village is best?
Each village has a selection of shops, cafes and pubs, plus the occasional gallery. They each have a small beach, popular in the summer with day visitors from Plymouth (There’s a ferry comes in from the city)
Because the two villages run into each other, it’s hard to tell the difference, the boundary is marked on a wall by an old metal sign, but this is often missed. It’s best just to treat them as one village and enjoy your time there.
From Cawsand it’s a nice walk out towards Rame Head (see below) whereas from Kingsand side you can walk up onto Maker Heights where there are stunning views out across Plymouth Sound or continue around to Mt Edgcumbe Country Park.
Come for the day to amble around or stay for a week and explore the surrounding countryside, it’s worth it!
Mount Edgcumbe Country Park
Stretching along the coast of Plymouth Sound from Cremyll to Rame Head, this large area of parkland, woodland and coastal heath is a wonderful place to lose yourself for a day or two. Cut through by the South West Coast Path, there are also plenty of other paths and cycleways that take you away from the coast into hidden corners.
At its northern tip beautiful formal gardens lie below Edgecumbe House, itself well worth a visit. Here and there you will come across follies with views up and down the river and out to sea. In the springtime the parkland is ablaze with colour as the camellias and rhododendrons burst into flower above carpets of daffodils.
As well as walking, the parkland is set up for cyclists with marked trails, you can explore on a segway, play disc golf or try your hand at archery. For the young at heart there’s a ride on model railway and there’s plenty of places to eat and even a few shops to browse through.
Entry to the park is free and it’s open all year round.
Sticking out into the English Channel and guarding Plymouth Sound from the south westerly winds, Rame Head provides a fantastic viewpoint and space for relaxing on a summer’s day. Perched atop of the headland is the ruin of a small chapel, once used as a lighthouse to guide ships heading for Plymouth's safe haven.
Between Rame Head and Cawsand the South West Coast Path snakes around Penlee Point with its grotto dedicated to Queen Adelaide (wife of William IV) and a set of giant steps leading down into the water. These were built in the late 19th century to enable a large gun to be brought ashore before being hauled up onto the hill above where a defensive battery was hidden in the trees.
This whole area was full of defenses at one time and as you head back to Cawsand you will pass more between you and the coast. Early experiments with torpedoes took place at Pier Cellars while above the village itself the gaunt presence of Cawsand Fort, built to keep the French away in the mid 19th century, is now luxury apartments.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to Cawsand and Kingsand
Coming by car, from the end of the M5 at Exeter follow the A38 to Plymouth and then across the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall. Continue on the A38 to the Trerulefoot Roundabout (about eight miles) then take the first left onto the A374. Follow signposts to Crafthole and then turn left, heading towards Millbrook.
Millbrook is the main settlement for the area and after making your way through the village head up the B3247 to Fourlanesend. Turn right here and head into Kingsand or onto Cawsand.
You can also come across the Torpoint Ferry from central Plymouth and turn off the A347 at Antony.
There is central parking in both villages, but do not try to drive from one to the other unless along the main road behind the villages.
The area is not well served by busses. The No 70 from Plymouth serves both villages via Torpoint.
The nearest train station is St Germans, but it might be easier to get off at Plymouth and catch the No 70 bus across the Torpoint Ferry.
In the summer a passenger ferry operates from Cawsand Beach across to the Mayflower Steps on Plymouths harbourside.
There is also an all year round passenger ferry from Stonehouse in Plymouth across to Cremyll at the entrance to Mt Edgcumbe Country Park. From here the No 70 bus goes to Cawsand and Kingsand.
Yes, Cawsand Beach (and Kingsand) are both sandy, hence the name!
Despite what local signs say, dogs are welcome on this beach except between the 1 July - 31 August when a seasonal dog ban is in place between 10am and 6pm (2022).
Kingsand beach is dog friendly all year
There are four pubs shared between Cawsand and Kingsand, plus several restaurants and cafes... so no shortage of places to drink and eat. We wouldn't like to say which is the best...
Up until 1844 Kingsand was considered to be part of Devon, even though it's across the water from Plymouth and was surrounded by Cornwall. Cawsand has always been in Cornwall and the sign noting the boundary between the two village is marked 'Dev Corn'.
It's easy to walk from the heart of Kingsand to the heart of Cawsand. A narrow street links the two which is sometimes used by traffic, but most people avoid it as it's probably quicker to use the road that runs behind both villages.
The Mount Edgcumbe estate, including the house and country park is jointly owned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council and has been since 1971 when 7th Earl of Edgcumbe sold it to them in lieu of death duties. Part of the agreement was that entrance to the park should always be free, however you will have to pay to visit the house and the Earl's gardens.
Yes, it is out along a narrow windy road that goes past Maker Church. The road is not suitable for long vehicles. From the car park it is a 15 minute walk out to the chapel on Rame Head itself, part of which is a bit of a scramble up an uneven rocky path.
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Long sandy beaches, hidden coves, rugged moorland, quaint fishing villages, deep wooded valleys, bustling seaside resorts, industrial heritage, rocky headlands, colourful gardens, idyllic rivers and a bijou city, Cornwall has a bit of everything for those who want to explore.
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