4 Hidden Caves in Cornwall: Everyone knows that Cornwall is one of the most visited destinations in the UK due to its natural beauty. From wild and breathtaking coastlines to the verdant countryside, Cornwall has one of the best landscapes. However, what people may not know is that Cornwall is also home to some of the most spectacular caves in all of England.
Hidden and often barely there, these caves are not only a stunning example of Mother Nature’s hard work, but breathtaking feats, they also guarantee a fun-filled day of exploration. Whether you’re down to step into the enchanting Carnaglaze Caverns or just love the sound of marveling at the rainbow colors of Holywell Sea Caves, adventure through these hidden caves in Cornwall is sure to be the highlight of your trip.
- Piper’s Hole
If you’re traveling to Cornwall’s north coast, chances are you’re either planning on visiting Krantock Beach or you’ll accidentally stumble upon it. Not only is this beach beautiful with sand dunes and water to swim in, but its dramatic cliffs are also home to a collection of caves and other fascinating crevices. One of these caves is known as Piper Hole.
The story of this cave and what is inside it is very fascinating. Nestled within the rock is an image of a woman’s face. Eternally dazzled by the waves hitting the stone, her lips painted a light smile on the words engraved next to her:
Mar, not my face but let me be,
Secure in this lone cavern by the sea,
Let the wild waves around me roar,
Kissing my lips forevermore.
While there is no concrete evidence as to who carved the depiction or who actually is the woman in the rock, speculation has raged over the years. The most told theory is that the carver was a man named Joseph Prater, an artist who lived on the cliff above the beach in the late 1800s.
However, the woman’s identity remains a mystery, with two theories emerging in recent years; The first is Joseph’s sister, Jane, who died before her time, and the second, a woman rumored to have been Joseph’s love, Ethel de Medina Greenstreet, who drowned in Crantock Beach in 1904.
We’ll never know the real story behind this mysterious carving and its location in Piper Hole, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Just walking through caves, touching the smooth wet stone surface, and listening to the sound of the waves as they hit the rocks is enough to let your imagination come to terms with your own theories of secret love affairs and unexplained tragedies.
If you couldn’t already tell, this mesmerizing dale is one of our favorite caves in Cornwall and it’s definitely worth seeing the carvings in person.
- Merlin’s Cave
Just as mysterious and magical as the first cave on this list, Merlin’s Cave is another great place to explore not only physically but also imaginatively. Situated in the area of Tintagel, a place that contains the folkloric tales of King Arthur and his advisor, the famous magician Merlin, are the caves that Merlin himself was often called (hence the name).
Perched in the cliffs below Tintagel Castle, Merlin’s Cave is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Built over thousands of years by the strength and might of the Atlantic Ocean, this spectacular 330-foot-long cave is not only naturally impressive, but it also plays on its association with Arthurian legend for the modern carving of Merlin. Cave entrance.
Let your imagination run wild as you stroll Merlin’s Cave at low tide, picture the mighty magician holding a baby Arthur in his arms, or casting spells from the cave’s shadowy depths.
Easy to find with steps leading down from the cliff-face, a mystical afternoon thrilling through Merlin’s Cave promises to be well spent.
One of the more popular and famous caves in Cornwall is the Cornglaze Caverns, a collection of caves that were hollowed out hundreds of years ago by local slate miners as part of a slate quarry. Through their work, these minors created three cathedral-like caves that can be explored today, each one as breathtaking as it is impressive.
Nestled in the wooded forest of Lavanie Valley on the edge of Bodmin Moor, these caves will have you traveling 150 meters into the hillside and 60 meters underground for a magical view you’ll never forget. Make your way through the first easily accessible cave, stopping to view the fascinating collection of minerals, before descending 60 steps to the dreamy, crystal clear blue underground lake.
One of the cavernous’ biggest drawcards and tourist attractions, the underground lake glows with a bluish-green hue that looks like it would be home to a mesmerizing swarm of mermaids straight out of your favorite fairytale. While the lake may not actually be home to mythical sea creatures, the caves are home to five recorded species of bats, so don’t be alarmed if you do spot something on the shady ceiling of the caves.
Whether you are more interested in taking a guided tour or prefer to explore the chambers on your own, these caves are perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
- Holywell Sea Caves
We’re not saying we left the best cave to last, but we’re also not saying that if you know what we mean. Holywell Sea Cave (also known as St. Cuthbert’s Cave) is notable not only for its purported healing powers but also for its unique color.
Found at the northeast end of the beach at Holywell Bay in Kelsey Head, this wondrous sea cave is a charming grotto with a natural spring that slowly winds its way down a multicolored cliff. It is the mineral-rich water that is said to heal people with tales of people injured or sick to drink from the depths of the cave.
While the mineral wealth in water may not actually have healing powers, it does have the ability to change the color of the rock with bright pink, green, blue, yellow, and red hues on display.
There is a geological reason for it being cave-like, but also a magical one. The story tells of a medieval saint’s skeletal bones rubbing against the cave walls, giving it special healing powers that legend swears by. Even if you believe in its magic, Holywell Sea Caves are special and a visit here will surely leave you with great memories.