Author: gloversure

New Year in Cornwall

Wondering what to do on New Year’s Eve in Cornwall? Welcome in the New Year with a bracing sea dip, don fancy dress and party on the streets of St Ives, or watch harbourside fireworks reflect into moonlit seas.

Here are some of our favourite ways to bring in the New Year in Cornwall.

Not yet booked your accommodation? Search our remaining retreats with up to 20% off.

Dress up for a street party, St Ives

This idyllic Cornish fishing village hosts one of the UK’s most famous New Year’s Eve parties, which sees crowds come from far and wide to hit the streets in fancy dress. Spectacular costumes and vibrant parades floods onto the beach and harbour, where food stands serve up festive treats. Listen for the chime of the bells at midnight, when fireworks fizz and pop over the ocean, bringing in another year in style.

harbour beach st ives

Watch fireworks over Newquay Harbour

Another seaside town that hosts an almighty New Year’s Eve party, the highlight of New Year’s Eve in Newquay is the spectacular fireworks display over the harbour and ocean at midnight. Make your way through streets packed with party goers in fancy dress, squeeze into local taverns or book a table at a sea-view restaurant, and make your way down to the harbour for the countdown to the incoming year.

Have a New Year’s day sea swim, Bude

Blast away the cobwebs and embrace the New Year with an invigorating dip in the ocean. The craze of shedding your wetsuit and leaping into the icy waves has become a New Year’s Day tradition across Cornwall. Join in the icy experience at Crooklet’s Beach in Bude, or head to Summerleaze tidal pool for a more sheltered dip.

Dine by the sea

Fancy food, fine wine and starlit seas. Book a table at a restaurant with a sea view and dine beside the waves. If you’re not big on partying, this is the perfect way to see in the New Year in style, without the headache the next morning.

Enjoy a beach walk

A New Year’s break in Cornwall isn’t all about revelry. Welcome in the New Year at a more relaxing pace, with a stroll along the beach or the South West Coast Path, enjoying the eye-popping scenery as the sea breeze brings a glow to your cheeks. We recommend the 2-mile walk from Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth, hugging the cliff-tops and keeping your eyes peeled for seabirds and seals at the pristine Beacon Cove along the way.

Book your New Year retreat and welcome in 2024 by the shoreline.

5 retreats for Christmas

The scent of pine needles, wood fires and sea salt. Christmas lights glinting from harbour waters. The chorus of waves from outside your window. Christmas spent by the coast invites you to step away from the busyness of this festive period and reconnect with the senses, making time to cherish loved ones, good food and relaxation. Because after all, that’s what Christmas is about.

Looking to celebrate the festive season, coastal style? Here’s our pick of five winter retreats with availability this Christmas, each with 20% off.

Ellenglaze, sleeps 10, Holywell Bay

The ultimate decadent, glamorous retreat for anyone wanting to celebrate in style. Ellenglaze, a beautiful Grade II listed farmhouse tucked away in acres of land near Holywell Bay. Inside, you’ll find a heated swimming pool and a hot tub with a movie projector – we can’t think of a better way to watch a Christmas film. You can also keep cosy with the Aga and large fireplace, perfect for festive evenings.

Gwynver Beach Cottage, sleeps 10, Sennen Cove

Beach chic meets elegance at Gwynver Beach Cottage, a stunning retreat with almost instant access to one of the most beautiful stretches of West Cornwall coastline. Here, the little ones can play in the glass-walled garden room, with views of the ocean, as you relax with a newspaper. Plus, the chance to spot dolphins on Christmas Day from Sennen Cove is not to be missed.

Gwel Teg, sleeps 12, Porth

Ideal for a large family looking for a North Coast escape, Gwel Teg is just moments from Porth beach, meaning Christmas morning walks await. Stride all the way along the South West Coast Path to Watergate Bay, where you can enjoy a seasonal feast or warming hot choc with all the toppings.

Inside, Gwel Teg is stylish and modern, featuring a games room and hot tub, ideal for hosting a large family get-together.

Swell, sleeps 8, Falmouth

Spend Christmas on the South Coast at Swell, a modern and light filled family retreat seconds from Swanpool beach in Falmouth. Here, you’re close to Falmouth’s array of restaurants and bars, but far enough away to enjoy the peace and seclusion of Swanpool beach. There’s also a great coastal walk from here to Maenporth beach.

Seamist, sleeps 16, Watergate Bay

Our largest retreat, Seamist, sleeps 16 just a few minutes from the Watergate Bay shoreline. Here, there’s plenty of room for a multi-generational family to dine, watch Christmas films, unwrap presents and make memories by the coast.

Stay by the sea this Christmas, with selected retreats offering up to 15% off and open for short breaks of 4 nights or more. 

New traditions

As the festive season approaches, create new traditions by the coast on a Christmas holiday in Cornwall. From Christmas morning sea dips to boxing day drinks at your favourite sea-view pub, spending Christmas in a different landscape means creating new festive rituals to return to year on year.

Add that little extra magic to your stay and form lasting memories with these new coastal traditions you could try.

Christmas morning sea swim

This one is local tradition: every year you’ll see Cornish folk (many with santa hats on) running into icy waters on Christmas morning.

Start the day with a dash of exhilaration and dip in the closest sea to your retreat. Then, return back to your retreat, light the fire and get cosy as you unwrap presents with your loved ones.

Christmas drinks

On Christmas afternoon, swap the living room for a seafront pub and raise a glass to coastal wonder. There’s sure to be a lively festive atmosphere, and heading out for a drink is a great way to fight the post-lunch slump whilst taking in some of Cornwall’s incredible views.

Christmas Day coastal walk

Another way to wake yourself up after your festive feast is to refresh with a Christmas Day walk along the South West Coast Path. Rather than nodding off in front of the TV after one too many pigs-in-blankets, get the kids togged up and set off in search of sea vistas.

Beach scavenger hunt

A tradition that the little ones especially will enjoy. Set out on a Christmas treasure hunt along the shoreline, investigating what’s been washed in by the tide. Keep what you find as a Christmas memento, or search for a pretty shell or interesting rock to give to one another. It’s a great way to appreciate nature’s wonder and make gift giving about small acts of love.

Stargazing on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, trade the twinkling indoor lights for the celestial wonders above. Wrap up warm and take a blanket on the beach (or your balcony), gaze at the starlit sky, and share stories beneath the cosmic canopy. It’s a quiet and magical prelude to the days of celebration ahead.

Seafood dinner

Sure, seafood isn’t typically included in traditional Christmas cuisine, but if you’re spending the season in Cornwall, why not sample some of the delightful local produce which the fishermen bring in every day?

Dine in an award-winning Cornish restaurant and make your festive stay extra special. Or, purchase some local fish and include a seafood recipe in your Christmas meal plan.

Image credit: Graham Gaunt photowork

Escape the ordinary and embrace coastal wonder this Christmas with Beach Retreats, creating new traditions by the coast. Book your Christmas stay.

National Trust at Christmas

Get into the festive spirit at the National Trust’s houses and exotic gardens, which transform every year into winter wonderlands. From holly-adorned great halls serving up mulled wine, woodland strewn with fairy lights, wreath making and Santa’s grotto, these Cornish heritage sites are the ultimate Christmas delight.

Here’s a run down of what’s on.

Find a festive retreat in Cornwall

Cotehele

Visit this atmospheric Tudor house with Medieval roots, with a mill on a historic quay, and a vast estate and garden to explore. This grand home, near Saltash, is a festive wonder, with a 60-foot garland in the Great Hall, festive lights along the stream and choir performances throughout the season.

See this year’s garland in all its glory from daily Saturday 18 November – Sunday 7 January, 10.30am-4pm. (Closed 25-26 December).

Trelissick

This lovely house and garden, set in an estate with maritime views and woodland walks, gets festive year on year. With Father Christmas in residency, mulled wine and spiced apple juice in the café, Christmas gifts in the shop and festive cheer in the stable yard, this is the perfect day out for all of the family. This year, pick up (or make) some Christmas gifts at the Christmas craft fair and festive weaving workshop.

Find Trelissick in Feock, near Truro, with Father Christmas around from 2 – 23 December.

Lanhydrock

Enjoy woodland magic and festive delight at Lanhydrock. This late Victorian country house features a countryside trail, Father Christmas’s woodland grotto and plenty of surrounding land for winter walks and bike rides. With frost-dusted trees and a festive cheer in the air, Lanhydrock makes for a perfect wintry visit. Open throughout the festive season.

Trerice

Trerice, near Newquay, is an Elizabethan manor house bursting with colourful plants by summer and a festive ambience by winter. This year, experience storytelling with Father Christmas, wreath making in the hayloft, and festive performances from the volunteer choir, the house and barn adorned with traditional decorations and festive cheer.

Father Christmas will be at Trerice on Saturday & Sunday 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 and then daily between Monday 18 – Saturday 23 December.

Godolphin

Open throughout the festive season except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Godolphin hosts a range of Christmassy activities and events. From Christmas wreath making, craft sessions, candle and lip balm making, and a variety of Christmas performances, head here for a fun day out. The 500 acres of countryside are also perfect for a winter walk.

Godolphin is near Helston, experience the Christmas House Sat 2 – Sun 3 Dec, Sat 9 – Sun 10 Dec, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Dec, 10.30 am – 4pm (last entry at 3pm).

Find your Christmas retreat in Cornwall and be here for the holidays.

Staff pick of the month: The Croft, Coverack

Welcome back to our staff pick of the month series, where we ask members of the team about their favourite Beach Retreats property. This month we speak to Portfolio Manager Ashleigh Allwood about her chosen retreat, The Croft in Coverack.

I’m Ashleigh, the Portfolio Manager for West and South Cornwall. I moved to Cornwall just over seven years ago and now live in St Erth, Hayle with my partner and dog, Ronnie. I have spent the past year and half renovating my home, after buying at auction during the midst of the Cornwall property boom. I love nothing more than exploring everything the county has to offer and feel so lucky to be able to call Cornwall my home.

My chosen retreat is The Croft, a decadent and stunning retreat overlooking the ocean in Coverack, a small cove in the remote Lizard Peninsula.

What is it you like most about this property?

There are so many things to love about this property; the quality interiors, the generous sized rooms, the beautiful characterful features… but for me it’s the position. Nestled on the shoreline with access to its own private beach is what makes The Croft so special. You instantly feel a sense of calm as you walk into the property, with seemingly endless vistas of the sea from almost every room.

What will be your favourite part of the day when staying at this retreat?

This would have to be in the morning. Coverack is a bustling town during the day when visitors and beachgoers arrive late morning, but the early morning hours around sunrise are so peaceful and quiet here. Being situated on the south coast means the sea is often very calm and you’re treated to some sensational sunrises, all of which can be admired from the sanctuary of The Croft.

What is it that you like about the local area?

There’s so much to explore around Coverack and The Lizard peninsula. As someone who loves hiking with my dog it provides endless footpaths and trails to discover. The coastline is rugged but enchanting, dotted with beaches and quiet coves, many of which are only accessible from the water. The sea here is a haven for divers, snorkellers, kayakers and paddle boarders, so there’s plenty of activities to choose from.

What’s the nearest beach like and how far is the walk?

The Croft has access to its very own stretch of private beach, which adjoins the main beach at Coverack. The winding path from the property leads you down through the garden on to some stone steps, which give you access to the beach. The sea here is generally very calm, making it a great spot for swimming and paddle boarding. After a chilly dip you can wash off and sink into the bubbling hot tub to warm up.

Is there a particular restaurant in the area that you would choose to eat at?

There are plenty! Like most of Cornwall, the Lizard peninsula offers some fantastic restaurants and cafes. My all time favourite place is Jumunjy – an authentic Thai restaurant situated in Cury Cross Lanes. The restaurant used to be a former post office, but has been extensively renovated by the current owners to create a simply unique dining experience. Stepping through the doors is like entering a Thai jungle, the décor alone is an experience you don’t want to miss out on. The food here is amazing and uses locally sourced meat, fish and vegetables. The staff are also really helpful in giving advice based on your food preferences if you’re not familiar with some of the Thai dishes. It’s a must visit!

Can you catch a good sunset or sunrise here?

Sunrise! From the private beach, in the hot tub, on the patio with a cup of tea or whilst lying in bed with the doors wide open – there are so many spots to enjoy a sunrise here.

What would you say is a must-see or do in this area?

Take advantage of all the watersports activities on offer in the bay, as there’s so much to choose from. For those who don’t like getting their feet wet, then exploring the rugged coastal paths is a must! Kynance Cove is only a short drive away and is a great place to spend the afternoon, though I would recommend visiting this out of season where possible as it does get very busy. Ensure you check the tide times and only visit at low tide. For those that enjoy surfing and hot chocolates, the beach at Poldhu usually has some decent waves and the café on the beach serves quite possibly the best hot chocolate in Cornwall!

Discover more from The Croft and book your stay.

5 Reasons to Stay at Bol-Y-Maer

Bol-Y-Maer, a selection of one and two bedroom apartments moments from the Bude coastline, merge laid-back beach living with boutique-hotel chic. Inspired by a mantra of simplicity and ease, each apartment is perfectly designed for comfort and situated close to everything you could need. Dip in the heated swimming pool, laze in stylish interiors, and explore Bude with quick access to the town, beaches and South West Coast Path.

Here’s 5 reasons to book your holiday at Bol-Y-Maer.

Swimming

Bol-Y-Maer is made for water lovers, whether you’re a dedicated sea swimmer or prefer the shelter of an indoor pool. The retreats are just minutes from Bude’s best beaches: at Summerleaze you’ll find a tidal pool perfect for open air lengths, whereas Crooklets has fun waves for jumping and bodysurfing. Back at Bol-Y-Maer, you can book a private session in the heated indoor pool and warm up in style.

Interiors

Sleek, boutique hotel design make these apartments a dream for interior design lovers. Curl up in rustic-chic living rooms, with parquet floors, teardrop hanging lamps and Cornish artwork. Neutrals rule in the comfy bedrooms, where plush cushions and subtle décor create the perfect environment for sleep. And after a day at the beach, rinse the sand off in spa-style rainfall showers.

Surfing

Bude is an underrated surf destination, catering for everyone from complete beginners to seasoned surfers. A short walk from Bol-Y-Maer you’ll find several surf schools, including Big Blue and MLH, where you can book onto private or group lessons, hire equipment and build your confidence in the water. Bol-Y-Maer’s sleek, no-fuss design and practical location make the apartments the perfect surf-pads for friends, couples, families or solo travellers looking for a watersports getaway.

Image credit: Big Blue Surf School

Golfing

Literally seconds from your front door you’ll find Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club, one of Britain’s best clubs with a sea view. The course offers players of all abilities a rare opportunity to experience an old-style links with many blind shots and fast undulating greens. Bude is a member’s golf club which provides a playable course 365 days a year, and visitors are welcome throughout the year. If you’re a keen golfer, there’s virtually no better apartment in Cornwall to stay in and have convenient access to a course.

Restaurants

Cornwall is a haven for foodies, with its fresh seafood and great local chefs. Bude is no exception, and the quirky town centre has plenty of places to dine during your stay. Temple offers chic dining with a modern, seasonal menu, whilst Elements restaurant offers a scenic spot for dinner and cocktails. Read our full guide to eating out in Bude here.

Image credit: Temple

Book your stay in Bude and discover more of the North Cornwall coast.

Find your fish

A fresh-from-the-ocean catch for dinner – just that bit fresher and tastier when staying by the sea? Time to expand your piscatorial horizons and find out what to pick up at the fishmonger and how to cook it, with Ben Tunnicliffe at Newlyn’s Tolcarne Inn

Newlyn Harbour, on the sheltered west side of Penzance Bay, has welcomed fishing boats with their catch since the 15th century. And it continues to be a thriving fishing port landing multiple species every day, from mackerel and monkfish to John Dory and cuttlefish.

A few hundred yards from the pier is the 300-year-old home of the Tolcarne Inn. An unstuffy pub, it’s lauded for its lip-puckeringly good seafood, which travels from sea to market to plate in hours not days.

Award-winning chef Ben Tunnicliffe set up in Newlyn in 2012. “In other European ports, seafood restaurants are abundant. Newlyn has arguably the most diverse fish market in the country, so it made sense to open a fish restaurant here,” says Ben, who buys his fish daily from the market or direct from day fishing boats.

A freshly caught fish will have bright eyes and slimy skin. It also won’t smell of anything.”

Choices, choices

Planning a fresh fish supper? Ben recommends seeking out a local fishmonger and quizzing them on what’s landed that day.

“A freshly caught fish will have bright eyes and slimy skin. It also won’t smell of anything. If it’s starting to smell it means it’s getting old. Be guided by what’s on ice in the shop,” he says.

“If you’re new to cooking fish then have a good chat with the fishmonger. They’ll be happy to answer your questions. They can also prepare it for you, if you need them to, by filleting and pin boning, and then can give you advice on how to cook it.”

Once you get your freshly wrapped fillets or whole fish back to your retreat, Ben recommends not trying to do anything too fancy and risk ruining it by submerging it in an overpowering sauce. Whether it’s a meaty monkfish fillet or a juicy piece of hake, let the delicate flavours shine through and allow the fish itself to do the talking.

“Less is always more,” says Ben. “The simplest way to cook fish is to wrap your fillet in foil with some lemon juice and some herbs stuffed into its belly, season it and then stick it in the oven. Or put it under the grill, as opposed to on top of the grill, or fry it quickly in some butter.”

Gently does it

The biggest faux pas home cooks can make is to overcook their fish, says Ben: “If you think of the amount of raw fish that’s eaten in Asia that tells you not to be afraid of eating undercooked fish. You want it to remain moist and succulent, so it doesn’t dry out. This is a delicate product. Keep it slightly underdone and it will continue to cook in its own steam before you serve it.”

“One of the earliest pieces of advice I got in my career was: ‘what goes together, grows together’”

With fish and seafood prices soaring over the past couple of years, Ben also advises that you experiment with lesser-known species, rather than your traditional coastal favourites: “There’s a huge demand for popular catch like lobster, turbot and mackerel, which means prices are driven up. So, don’t be afraid to try something new and perhaps more affordable.

“Occasionally in the restaurant we have great weever fish on the menu – the fish that buries itself under the sand and can give you a nasty sting. It’s not commonly eaten in this country and people are a little unsure about it but when they try it, they love it.” He recommends asking the fishmonger what’s in season and how they recommend it’s cooked.

The perfect partner

With your fish taking the starring role on your dinner platter, it’s just a question of which sides to serve. While the humble potato – boiled, chipped or fried – is always a safe bet, look at what else is currently in season.

“One of the earliest pieces of advice I got in my career was: ‘what goes together, grows together’,” says Ben. “If you go to the local veg shop, see what produce is coming off the fields at the moment and it’s likely to match with what’s coming off the sea. It’s a really good tip.”

He offers up this seasonal serving suggestion for half-term holidaymakers: “All the brassicas are in season right now, so take some curly kale and fry it off in a little oil and water. Throw in some finely diced chilli, anchovies, lemon zest and lemon juice, continue to fry for a few minutes, and season. This would be a delicious accompaniment to a baked juicy fillet of gurnard, seasoned with a little olive oil and lemon juice.”

If you’d prefer to let Ben do the cooking, head to the Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn.

Enjoy your pick of coastal culinary treats when you stay footsteps from the shore.

Autumn Walks in Cornwall

The crowds have dispersed, but the weather and sea temperature remain warm. Autumn is walking season, being the best time to spot migrating birds heading back south against flashes of red in the trees. You’ll also benefit from cool, crisp air, balmy sunshine and vivid blue sea vistas. Here’s some of our favourite autumnal short walks – all within easy reach of our properties. Your four-legged friends would love a walk too, so why not stay at one of our dog-friendly retreats?

Save 20% on stays throughout September and October at selected retreats, see our special offers page for more information.

Godrevy Head

A circular route with great views across St Ives Bay and Godrevy lighthouse just offshore. If you’re lucky you’ll also spot seals swimming in the sea or basking in the autumn sun down below in Mutton Cove. Just be sure to keep the noise down when passing them, so not to disturb their nap time! In autumn and especially in strong winds you’ll find huge flocks of migrating seabirds sheltering on the headland.

Godrevy lighthouse in Cornwall

Credit: Matt Jessop for Visit Cornwall

Watergate Bay to Whipsiderry 

A walk to blow the cobwebs away. You can either start or finish your stomp along Watergate Bay’s low tide beach before cutting back in along the coastpath at Whipsiderry – a real hidden gem – high up on the cliffs.

Glendurgan Garden

Worth heading inland for. With its mild climate and sheltered valleys, the amazing plants of Glendurgan take on new features in the autumn months. As low light filters through the woodlands on the valley sides, the leaves and trunks of trees take on fascinating shades of autumnal colour.

Glendurgan Garden in the autumn

Copyright: Gordon Jolly.

Sennen Cove to Land’s End

A walk with spectacular views of granite coastline, shipwrecks and inaccessible coves. You can vary the length and difficulty of the walk to suit your needs as there are three options for returning to Sennen.

Sennen_social

Cremyll Ferry to Kingsand and Cawsand

Catch the ferry from Royal William Yard in Plymouth across the water to the historic grounds and gardens of Mount Edgecumbe to start an unusual section of the coast path. Eventually the path leads you to the attractive villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. You can extend your walk to Whitsand Bay if you wish.

A walk through Whitsand Bay

Chapel Porth to Porthtowan

An iconic Cornish walk that takes in the historic Wheal Coates mine engine. Head to Chapel Porth at low tide to walk along the beautiful golden sand to Porthtowan, returning along the high cliffs and mining remains above.

Wheal Coates, Porthtowan

For more walks and beach inspiration, browse our various beach locations.
Save 20% on stays throughout September and October at selected retreats, see our special offers page for more information.
Happy walking!

Sea and skies

Waves crash against rugged shorelines and the air takes on a crisp, invigorating chill. Cornwall unveils a different kind of magic during the autumn and winter months. The season for a change of pace, a chance to embrace the coastal environment and relish precious downtime.

Summer by the sea has much to offer, then as the days shorten and the landscape shifts into its next season mode, it’s time to slow down, stretch out and look up.

You can’t beat the autumn and winter for stargazing. From September through to March, the stage is set for the perfect conditions to gaze at the stars.

Starry skies over Gwennap Head, West Penwith

Image credit: Graham Gaunt Photowork

Bodmin Moor is among the best locations nationwide to turn your eyes skywards. In 2017, the majestic granite moorland was awarded an International Dark Sky Park accreditation – the first to be given to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the UK. This means that night-time levels of artificial light are extremely low, creating pitch-black conditions in which to admire celestial sights. And with ancient monuments all around – from stone circles to burial mounds – the past feels within touching distance. To see the stars in a dark night sky as our ancestors would have done thousands of years ago is an awe-inspiring experience.

A second Cornish region recently gained the same accreditation. West Penwith – ranging from near St Ives to St Just to Mousehole was added to the roster in 2021. Unlike Bodmin Moor, West Penwith is a sweeping coastal habitat, which offers the opportunity to enjoy dark skies from a clifftop vantage point and picturesque ruins of tin mines silhouetted against the sea.

“And as the shower’s peak on 14–15 December coincides with the crescent moon, the sky will be left dark, meaning viewing conditions should be perfect. Moonless nights offer the best opportunity for stargazing – if you want to admire the Milky Way, for instance, time your viewing with the new moon.”

Sights to see

With luck, you may see the spectacular colour of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, when the night sky is filled with dancing shades of pink, green, yellow and violet. Though only rarely seen further south than Scotland in the UK, the colourful phenomenon graced Cornish skies twice last year.

Image credit: Graham Gaunt Photowork

The cosmic calendar is filled with must-see events this winter. On 28 October, the UK will witness a partial lunar eclipse, as the moon passes through the earth’s shadow; turn your eyes to the skies at 21:15 for the maximum eclipse.

In December, the Geminid meteor shower will see up to 150 meteors per hour dashing through the night sky, making it one of the best displays to see this year. And as the shower’s peak on 14–15 December coincides with the crescent moon, the sky will be left dark, meaning viewing conditions should be perfect. Moonless nights offer the best opportunity for stargazing – if you want to admire the Milky Way, for instance, time your viewing with the new moon.

On 22 December comes the winter solstice: the shortest day and longest night of the year. This needn’t be gloomy – far from it. The annual Montol Festival in Penzance on 21 December aims to revive ancient pagan traditions to joyous effect. Six days of celebration – including storytelling, folk music and mask- and lantern-making workshops – will lead up to the main event on 21 December, in which a procession of picturesquely-costumed figures parades through the town.

Image credit: Bella Bunce

Sea views and swims

The winter months are the perfect time for bracing coastal walks. The South West Coast Path along the rugged cliffs and hidden coves of north Cornwall offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Bundle up, bring your camera, and set out for an invigorating hike.

You might even catch one of the season’s most dramatic spectacles: storm watching. Head to a cliffside viewpoint and witness the power of the ocean as it crashes against the cliffs and sends waves soaring into the air. Then there’s the prospect of taking it all in from a beach side retreat, or retreating back there for a mug of cocoa after facing the elements.

Image credit: Bella Bunce

For keen swimmers or those game for a short cold water dip, secluded sea pools offer protection from the wildness of the waves, and local favourites include Bude Sea Pool and Treyarnon Bay Tidal Pool, near Padstow. For something less exhilarating and more relaxing the geothermal pool at Jubilee Pool in Penzance is open all year round, filled with seawater that’s been geothermically warmed to a toasty 35 degrees.

“During winter, hundreds of thousands of starlings gather here to swoop in their impressive formation – known as a ‘murmuration’ – at sunset.”

Winter wildlife

Winter is an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit. As mainland Europe freezes, the Cornish coast becomes a hub for both resident and migratory bird species, including puffins, gannets, and razorbills. Look out, too, for flocks of brent geese and wigeons arriving from the Arctic, seeking refuge in the mild Cornish climate. The cliffs provide ideal vantage points to spot these majestic creatures as they soar along the coastline.

Image credit: Graham Gaunt Photowork

Some of the best places to bird-watch include the internationally-important Maer Lake Nature Reserve near Bude, Middle Amble Marsh and Walmsley Sanctuary, both near Wadebridge, and Windmill Farm Nature Reserve on the Lizard. And to combine heritage sights with natural wonders, you can’t do better than a trip to St Michael’s Mount in Marazion, near Penzance. During winter, hundreds of thousands of starlings gather here to swoop in their impressive formation – known as a ‘murmuration’ – at sunset.

You may even be lucky enough to witness seals and dolphins playing in the brisk waters. Grey seals haul themselves ashore to have their pups in autumn and winter, and there are spots around the coast to observe seals at this time of year from safe vantage points. Bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and harbour porpoises are frequently seen off the Cornish coast year-round.

Whether seeking adventure, carving out some precious downtime, or looking for both, the autumnal and wintery coast has something to offer every traveller.

Make your escape, experience #coastalwonder.…