Cadgwith is a charming little village, near the tip of the Lizard. Cadgwith offers a sheltered harbour, and a steep street of pink and white cottages, whose thatched roofs are held down by heavy chains to prevent them being blown away in winter gales.
Cadgwith was a major fishing harbour in times gone by, holding the record for pilchards with 1.3 million caught in a single day in the 19th century. Today the pilchard shoals are gone, and a few boats still catch crab, lobster and small quantities of local fish. The pilchard cellar still stands on the quay beside the inn. The local lifeboat station was closed in 1963.
Along a short stretch of the Coast path, you will find The Devils Frying Pan, where the collapse of a sea cave has led to the creation of a 200 foot deep hole. A circular nature trail takes you through the Poltesco Valley. And along the trail there are the remains of an old serpentine factory (which closed in the 1890's) at Carlton Cove. The Lizard was famous for the ornamental working of serpentine, with the finished products being ferried out of the Cove in barges to larger ships moored in the bay.
Cadgwith Cove Inn is a 300 year old inn with 7 rooms.
The Old Cellars restaurant is next door to the Inn you will find . Once one of the cove's pilchard cellars, where the fish would have been pressed, salted and packed, this is now a seasonal restaurant.
The Watch House is beside the Gig Club is. Originally this was the Cove's customs lockup and boathouse. A row of cottages up the hill above the cove housed the customs men, while the officers lived in Ship Cottage. Because of the antipathy of the local people, the customs men would have been from from other parts of the country.
Dolphin Cottage and Kiddleywink are thatched cottages were originally another of the cove's pilchard cellars. And behind Kiddleywink, is Ship Cottage, with a distinctive painting of the Socoa (one of Cadgwith's shipwrecks) in full sail.
Cadgwith Pilot Gig Club At the centre of the cove is the Pilot Gig Club. It is based in the old lifeboat house for nearly 100 years before it closed in 1963. A board in the entrance to the Old Cellars lists the rescues carried out by the Cadgwith Lifeboat. A gig, or pilot gig, is a 32 feet long clinker-built rowing boat with six rowers and a cox. Although many new boats have been built in recent years, some have survived since the early 19th century and are still in use. The original gigs were used to take pilots out to sailing ships as they approached the Isles of Scilly or coast of Cornwall. The first pilot aboard the ship got the job, so the gigs evolved into very fast seagoing rowing boats. There are many gig clubs around Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Devon and there are some overseas.
The Cadgwith winch house is in the centre of the cove, a modern engine now being used to haul the boats above the high tide line.