Discover South East Cornwall
Once referred to as Cornwall’s forgotten corner, South East Cornwall is a place steeped in beguiling beauty and legends of smugglers...
Far removed from the wild, Atlantic-lashed beaches of the surfy North Coast, here beach life beats to the pace of calmer seas. And whether you go rock pooling on Downderry, fly a kite on Rame Head or hop aboard a boat cruise to Plymouth, you’ll discover that any trip here is truly unforgettable.
Here are six things we love doing in South East Cornwall:
Step straight out of our waterfront Beach Retreat onto Cawsand Beach, dip your toes in the sea, and then strike out along the South West Coast Path. It’s an easy three miles through magical woodland to Penlee Point and onto the ancient chapel on Rame Head, where you’ll often encounter wild ponies. From here soak up coastal views as far as the Lizard Peninsula, some 50 miles away, and then push on another couple of miles around the headland to the golden stretch of Whitsand Bay.
Walk the South West Coast Path.
Take a seat aboard one of Devon and Cornwall’s Great Scenic Railways, which hugs the river as it wends through a wooded valley from the market town of Liskeard to the seaside town of Looe. Make the most of the journey – and the scenery – by stopping off to sample some of the region’s finest ales in a series of country inns. If you collect stamps from all nine watering holes on the route, you can claim a free Rail Ale Trail t-shirt.
Explore Cornwall by train.
Stay in our stylish Beach Retreat on Cawsand Bay and it’s easy to mix barefoot beach life with the buzz of city living. Step out of your stylish abode onto a quaint smuggler’s cove, from where you can hop on the foot-passenger ferry to Plymouth’s lively waterfont Barbican. Once you've had your fill of shopping, sightseeing and dining in this maritime hub, hop back aboard The Western Maid and castaway to the sandy shores of Cawsand.
Enjoy a cruise from Cawsand.
Take a boat cruise from Looe
Walk the banjo pier, go crabbing off the harbour wall or hop on a boat trip from the harbour – you’re spoilt for choice for what to do in the seaside town of Looe. Veritable nature enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on a trip to Looe Island Nature Reserve with Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Easter–October), during which you’ll learn about the unique wildlife habitats and have time to take a self-guided walk around the island. However, the best way to witness the wonders of the marine world and the wildlife around the island is on a 45-minute ride aboard the Boatzer glass-bottomed boat.
A long stretch of sand and shingle backed by staggering sea cliffs, Downderry is an excellent spot for rock pooling and also home to the stunning beach house Far Horizon. Stare out to sea from an old sea captain’s house, Far Horizon, while you wait for the tide to ebb, then pad along the shoreline to Downderry, scouring the rock pools for the ocean’s bounty on the way. Keep an eye on the tides if you want to walk back along the sand, and be aware that you might feel a little over-dressed when you reach the secluded eastern end of the beach where naturists like to hang out.
Take a look around Far Horizon.
Although the south coast isn’t as well known as the north coast for its surf, when conditions prevail there are a few decent waves to be found along this more sheltered coastline. Just a stone’s throw from Looe’s flat-water beaches, the surf wraps around the rugged tip of the Rame Peninsula and hits Whitsand Bay’s four miles of golden sands. So when you stay in one of our Beach Retreats overlooking Whitsand Bay, when the surf’s up you can hit the waves under the wing of expert instructors. If the waves aren’t working, you can always take plunge on a thrilling coasteering trip instead.
Find out about surf lessons.