Last month the Daily Telegraph published its list of the 20 most beautiful seaside villages in Britan – and three of them were in Cornwall.

While Polperro was selected for its “smuggler vibes”, and the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand for their “relative solitude,” it was the inclusion of Cadgwith on the Lizard Peninsula that was particularly noteworthy in this part of the Duchy.

Selected as being “best for singing shanties”, Cadgwith was also said to “tick every Cornish fishing village box" on the most beautiful villages in Britain list.

We decided to pay a visit to Cadgwith to see if it lived up to its title.

Falmouth Packet: Overlooking the harbourOverlooking the harbour (Image: Helston Packet)

Despite growing up the Lizard Peninsula, it’s been years since I’ve visited Cadgwith; the last time was on a mid-winter evening to have dinner at the village pub, meaning much of the prettiness was lost.

Having become a proper townie in recent years, after moving to the bright lights of Helston (literally – there are street lights; you forget how dark it is out in the countryside after dusk!) returning to the sound of birdsong and waves as opposed to car radios took me to an instant happy place.

Falmouth Packet: Some of the houses that make up the beautiful villageSome of the houses that make up the beautiful village (Image: Helston Packet)

The Telegraph said of Cadgwith: “On the Lizard Peninsula’s eastern edge, little Cadgwith ticks every Cornish fishing village box. It has working boats pulled up on the shingle beach, another beach for swimming, piles of lobster pots, a tiny tin church and tight lanes of thatched cottages.”

And if you want a succinct description of the village you couldn’t do much better.

Falmouth Packet: No fishing in an easterly windNo fishing in an easterly wind (Image: Helston Packet)

Found off the main road to The Lizard Village, down a few more winding roads, you come to Cadgwith’s signposted car park – and unless you have a very good reason (for example your own driveway) that’s as far as you can go. Parking in the village itself is extremely limited and should not be attempted by visitors.

The directed footpath is not the best for those with additional mobility needs, it must be said – narrow, with steps in places and occasionally rough underfoot, you would struggle to get a wheelchair down it, although once parked you could go via the road for a more evenly surfaced way in.

However, if you have no extra requirements then the footpath really is a delightful way to enter the village. Winding our way through red campions and cow parsley, in the distance a family of geese was waddling free range across a field.

Falmouth Packet: A wildflower footpath to the villageA wildflower footpath to the village (Image: Helston Packet)

Past a fishing buoy hanging from a tree, we turned a corner to find a tiny, blue galvanised tin church just big enough for a small village Sunday service each week.

St Mary’s Church still welcomes congregations, and finding the door open we took a peek inside to find a white-washed interior complete with blue painted pews.

Falmouth Packet: The tiny tin churchThe tiny tin church (Image: Helston Packet)

If that isn’t enough to get you clutching your hands to bosom declaring ‘How quaint!’ then prepare to be fully won over by picturesque thatched cottages, each one unique in a world becoming increasingly filled with identikit boxes.

Falmouth Packet: Inside the tiny churchInside the tiny church (Image: Helston Packet)

So far the village was living up to its honorary title – but what do the locals make of the accolade?

In The Watch House, a small village stores and gift shop, Samii Sugrue was still setting up for the busy tourist season ahead, with the shop only opening up again a week earlier.

Falmouth Packet: Samii Sugrue in The Watch HouseSamii Sugrue in The Watch House (Image: Helston Packet)

As she priced up children’s beach spades, she told me: “I love it here. I think we all know how lucky we are.”

Opposite, in Cadgwith Cove Crab, Sue Oliver has been trading again since Easter and will stay open until October, selling a range of fresh fish caught by her partner John Tonkin.

Of course, as the shop name suggests, crab is their biggest seller – and even at 11.30am sales were already coming in for crab sandwiches, made fresh to order.

Falmouth Packet: Sue Oliver of Cadgwith Cove CrabSue Oliver of Cadgwith Cove Crab (Image: Helston Packet)

Asked why she thought Cadgwith had made the list, she said: “It’s quite unique – especially with all the fishermen out; people enjoy watching them come in.

“On a hot sunny day it’s quite buzzy – it’s a nice atmosphere.”

It’s no secret that Cadgwith, like almost every other pretty Cornish fishing village, has its fair share of holiday cottages and second homes – so what are the winters like?

Falmouth Packet: Picturesque thatched cottages are everywherePicturesque thatched cottages are everywhere (Image: Helston Packet)

“It’s definitely quieter,” she said, “but there’s a nice community down here, especially with the rowing.”

Cadgwith Pilot Gig Club was established in 1981 and is now a central part of the village. Members train all year round and the club’s annual Buller Day, filled with rowing races topped off with a fish barbecue, has become legendary.

Slightly up the hill is the Cadgwith Cove Inn – a night in which was described by the Daily Telegraph as “the highlight” of the village.

Falmouth Packet: Inside the Cadgwith Cove InnInside the Cadgwith Cove Inn (Image: Helston Packet)

The 300-year-old inn has been owned since 2012 by Helen and Garry Holmes, and it’s the central meeting point for the village once dusk falls.

Tuesdays are folk singing night, while Fridays are for sea shanties, often accompanied by the famous Cadgwith Singers. Come 9pm you’re hard pushed to get into the bar area, let alone find a table, so if you’re planning a visit to experience it you’d better book early.

Behind the bar when we visited was Mel Richards, who wholeheartedly agreed with the Telegraph’s recommendation.

Falmouth Packet: The bar at the Cadgwith Cove innThe bar at the Cadgwith Cove inn (Image: Helston Packet)

“Of course!” she exclaimed. “I grew up in Ruan Minor and spent my childhood here. It hasn’t changed much at all.

“It’s still got the fishing boats on the beach, passed down through generations. This bar is the same as it was when I was 18.

“It’s still very much a traditional pub here.”

Falmouth Packet: A thatched cat on one of the roofsA thatched cat on one of the roofs (Image: Helston Packet)

And it seems that while the Telegraph may only have just taken note of Cadgwith, many visitors discovered its charms some time ago, and make an annual pilgrimage back to the village to stay in one of the pub’s lettings rooms upstairs.

“A lot of the tourists we get come back year after year; they’re like family,” added Mel.

Falmouth Packet: The view over the harbourThe view over the harbour (Image: Helston Packet)

They come for the peace and quiet. While Cadgwith locals are well equipped to cater for the visiting tourists – there is also a small art gallery and a restaurant – the best advice to any prospective visitor is to get a drink, or an ice cream, and simply taking in the surroundings.

It’s what many were doing this week up on The Todden – a jutting out piece of cliff, with a grassy area and benches that look down over the harbour to one side, and the village’s small pebbly beach the other.

Falmouth Packet: Looking out to sea from The ToddenLooking out to sea from The Todden (Image: Helston Packet)

Walk around a quarter of a mile out of the village and you can look down over The Devil’s Frying Pan – an archway formed when the roof of a sea cave collapsed. The name itself references how, during the winter, the sea below becomes so churned up it can look as though it is bubbling – while the central boulder has the appearance of an egg in a frying pan.

Falmouth Packet: The small pebbly beachThe small pebbly beach (Image: Helston Packet)

Down in Cadgwith harbour itself, the boats were pulled up on the beach for our visit – there’s no fishing to be had in an easterly wind.

Surrounding the harbour many of the buildings remain the same in appearance as they have for centuries – and that’s all down to the local community.

In 2021 a campaign to save the historic fishing lofts for the village, and prevent them from being redeveloped, raised £300,000.

Falmouth Packet: Many of the buildings have looked the same for centuriesMany of the buildings have looked the same for centuries (Image: Helston Packet)

The following year the third of three building purchases was completed, with the Steamers House and Fort York – housing the ice machine and cold room still used today, as well as a fish shop and numerous small fishing lofts - now owned outright by the village in the form of the Cadgwith Fishing Cove Trust, while the Winch House is leased from the parish council on a 125-year lease.

It’s this sense of the community that will see the village straight in the ensuing years – and no doubt on many more ‘best of’ lists still to come.