Cornwall with Kids: St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall Review, Tintagel

St. Nectan’s Glen in Cornwall is a magical woodland and waterfall, known for its stunning natural beauty. The glen is located near Tintagel, a town famous for its association with the legend of King Arthur, and it’s just a 15 minute drive from Tintagel Castle. (You’ll want both of these brilliant days out on your UK staycation to do list!) So here’s my review of this mesmerising place, including everything that you need to know about what to expect, the history of the glen, entry costs (and how to visit for free!), photos, plus the practical info that you’ll want for a family visit.


What’s St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall like?

The glen is most famous for its picturesque waterfall, which cascades over a series of rocky ledges into a deep, mossy gorge below. I’ve got to say that our morning at St Nectan’s Glen waterfall was a real highlight of our family holiday to Cornwall. We love being outdoors, and there’s nothing we enjoy more than a beautiful place to explore. It was our last outing of our holiday, and the perfect place to end our Cornwall adventure.

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The waterfall is stunning, and it feels as if you’re in a magical hidden world. We were fortunate to have fantastic weather throughout our holiday, so this really enhanced all of our outdoor excursions. But, even before you reach the waterfall, the whole journey is just gorgeous.


The history of St Nectan’s Glen

St. Nectan’s Glen is named after Saint Nectan, a 6th-century Celtic saint who is said to have lived as a hermit in the area. It’s claimed that, around 500 AD, St Nectan built a small chapel above the waterfall in the glen, where he would meditate and pray.

It’s a popular destination for nature lovers (like us!), photographers, and those interested in exploring Cornwall’s rich history and folklore. If you’re planning a visit to Cornwall with the kids then St Nectan’s Glen is definitely worth adding to your itinerary!

Cornwall with kids, family attractions, St Nectan's Glen, waterfall, stream photo, frugal mum review, tintagel


Reaching St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall

The journey to the waterfall is as beautiful as the waterfall itself. We walked along an idyllic stream with stepping stones, across bridges and climbed higher along the path towards the hidden gem at the end. Our two little explorers are great walkers so they loved every second of it!

Cornwall with kids, family attractions, St Nectan's Glen, waterfall photo, frugal mum children and husband in stream

We felt like we were worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Cornwall and, despite other tourist attractions being filled with people during our holiday, we barely saw a soul whilst visiting the glen. It was bliss!


Visitor and Practical Information

What should I know before I visit St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall with kids?

The walk is somewhat uneven and quite a climb, so it’s not one for buggies if you have small children, and a decent pair of shoes would be advisable too. (This isn’t one for flip flops!) The pathway may also be slippery following bad weather, so do take care with the kids.

Cornwall with kids, family attractions, St Nectan's Glen review, waterfall photo, frugal mum

There’s a cafe at the top of the waterfall area so if you fancy a snack there is somewhere to eat – our two enjoyed an ice-cream. The lady in the cafe also pointed us towards a trail with a prize that the kids could have taken part in but unfortunately we didn’t have the time. There are toilets there too.


Where should I park to visit St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall?

St Nectan’s Glen isn’t the easiest of places to get to and the car park is about mile’s walk away. (Car park location: Trethevy, Tintagel, PL34 0BE). It’s only small, along the road side, so avoiding popular travel times is probably a good idea if you’re driving. We visited mid June during the week and had no problem getting a car parking space.


How much does it cost to visit St Nectan’s Glen – can you visit for free?

Once you reach the waterfall area, you have to pay the entrance fee in order to see it – up until that point the walk is free so if you were happy to just enjoy the journey then you needn’t pay. (It’s all pretty magical to be honest!)

We paid £18.95 for our family of four and I think that it was money well spent, though the entrance prices have unfortunately increased now. (Current prices for April 2024: Adults £9 / Children: £5.)

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Can you swim at St Nectan’s Glen?

The water at the base of the waterfall is extremely shallow, so you can’t swim – at best it’s ankle deep. But, take your shoes off and paddle to get closer look. The water is freezing, though the stepping stones help, and it’s worth the cold feet! If you love nature – I would definitely add St Nectan’s Glen to your to do list if you’re looking for a magical day out with the kids in Cornwall. 😊


Useful Information:

Address:  St Nectans Glen, Trethevy, Tintagel, PL34 0BE, Cornwall

Facilities:  Cafe, parking, toilets, picnic areas


If you’re visiting Cornwall with the kids then you’ll want to check out these articles too…

Where are the best places to visit in Cornwall with kids?

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