Author: gloversure

10 of the Best Roasts on The Coast | Cornwall

What better way to reward a Sunday stroll along the coast than with a hearty roast beside the beach? Here are some of the best places for a roast in Cornwall just a pebble’s throw from the waves..

Trevone Bay

Port William, Trebarwith Strand

Explore Trebarwith Strand at low tide and you can splash in the rock pools, jump in the waves and stroll along the sugary sands. Or perhaps you’d prefer a cliff-top ramble to neighbouring Tintagel, with its eye-popping scenery and sea-lashed fortress ruins? Whichever you choose, once you’ve mustered an appetite in the briny air, retreat to the beachside Port William for a legendary Sunday roast. Book a sea-facing table or hunker by the fire with your dog at your feet, and tuck into delicious seasonal food and local ales in this boutique coastal inn.

theportwilliam.co.uk

The Mariners, Rock

When Paul Ainsworth took the helm of this water’s-edge venue in May 2019, there was little doubt that his foodie reputation, teamed with Sharp’s Brewery beers, would prove a winning combination. Whether you’ve stomped along the coast path from Polzeath or floated across by boat from Padstow, this is a stunning location to dine with views over the Camel Estuary. Sunday lunch is a celebration of finest local ingredients, with classic Cornish Dexter beef sirloin and saddleback pork belly roasts alongside contemporary vegetarian and seafood options.

paul-ainsworth.co.uk/the-mariners/about/

Catch, Mawgan Porth

Sunday’s were made for surfing and wild walks on the beach and cliffs. So after a dip in the waves at Mawgan Porth, and a stroll along the cliff tops to the spectacular Bedruthan Steps, tuck into a roast by the coast at Catch Seafood Bar and Grill. Hunkered beside the beach, within easy reach of the sandy runway and Atlantic rollers, this contemporary beach-chic restaurant serves up hearty roast dinners and classic seafood dishes, not to mention the best Bloody Mary on the North Coast.

catchmawganporthbeach.co.uk

Lewinnick Lodge, Fistral

Perched on the wave-lashed Pentire headland, Lewinnick Lodge is a sublime location to eat and drink on any day of the week. Originally an 18thth century cottage that has since posed as a smugglers’ den and a lobster hold, here you can clap eyes on the Atlantic, and often spot passing pods of dolphins. From classic roast dinners to catch of the day, it’s the perfect spot to while away a Sunday afternoon after a surf on the famous Fistral beach or a windswept coastal walk around Pentire Headland.

lewinnicklodge.co.uk

Summerhouse, Perranporth

Warm up and enjoy wintery beach views from a contemporary dining spot overlooking the waves from a prime cliff-top location. Warm your cockles with soup of the day, before a delicious platter of slow-roasted beef or lamb, with all the trimmings including swede mash, pickled red cabbage and Yorkshire puddings. Or perhaps you’d prefer a baked fish dish or veggie risotto? Whichever you choose, make sure you’ve worked up enough of an appetite to squeeze in a lip-smacking dessert, such as panna cotta or platter of Cornish cheeses.

thesummerhouse.co.uk

The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

Situated in a stunning seaside village, with views to the fishing boats and St Clement’s Rock (where you’ll often spot basking seals), The Old Coastguard is a stylish and laid-back setting to enjoy Cornwall’s finest food and drink. Add to that an award-winning chef, Jamie Porter, serving up three-course Sunday lunches showcasing Cornwall’s finest game, beef and poultry, as well as seafood landed nearby in Newlyn and just-picked seasonal veg. To top it all off there’s some incredible walking territory on the doorstep, such as the six-mile loop to Lamorna Cove, that takes you from boulder-strewn beaches, past Tater Du lighthouse, and through the magical woodland of Kemyel Crease.

oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk

Gurnards Head, Nr Zennor

Minutes’ walk from one of the wildest stretches of Cornwall’s coastline, kick off your walking boots, chill out with the dog at your feet and sample Cornish ales, fine wines and a Sunday roast packed with produce plucked from the coast and countryside. As well as classic beef and lamb dishes, there are modern seafood and veggie dishes, created from seasonal and foraged ingredients. When you’re fuelled up and ready to hit the coast path again, follow the narrow promontory to find the remains of an Iron Age cliff castle (keep dogs on leads), and then wander alongside the crystal waters of Pendour and Porthglaze coves, searching for a legendary mermaid on your way to Zennor.

gurnardshead.co.uk

Star and Garter, Falmouth

An award-winning gastro-pub boasting dreamy sea views, The Star and Garter takes Sunday lunch very seriously indeed. From moorland-aged rump of beef to Cornish roast pork served with the best crackling, all the meat is supplied by renowned local butcher Phillip Warren. And it’s and served with crispy duck-fat roasties, monster Yorkies, silky gravy and a selection of local, seasonal veg. So, bring your best appetite, kickback by the fire and soak up sea views while feasting on artisan ingredients cooked up by some of Cornwall’s most talented chefs.

starandgarterfalmouth.co.uk

The Longstore, Charlestown

Priding itself on serving locally sourced food from the land and sea, The Longstore is a bright and contemporary venue nestled beside Charlestown harbour. Admire the historic tall ships, paddleboard around the bay or a take a coastal walk to Porthpean, before tucking into classic house dishes such as Cornish mussels and crispy squid, and the centrepiece of the supreme Longstore Roast. Low and slow-cooked Cornish beef, slow-roasted rolled pork belly, roast chicken and nut roast, come with all the trimmings you could wish for, including rich red wine gravy, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese, swede and carrot mash, roasted root vegetables, and seasonal greens.

thelongstore.co.uk

Pandora Inn, Mylor

The best way to arrive at this divine estuary-edge venue is by boat, kayak or even paddleboard. But whether you arrive under sail, by bike, on foot or by car, it’s worth making the journey to this timeless 13th century inn on the banks of the beautiful Restronguet Creek. Take a seat on the pontoon and unreel your crabbing line, or choose a cosy nook inside this historic inn to tuck into a classic Sunday roast, loaded with the finest ingredients from Cornish farmers and local suppliers.

pandorainn.com

If all this talk of Cornish roasts has you hungry, check out our last minute availability and head to the coast. Find a retreat in one of our beach locations.

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No Drive Delights: Croyde

Setting out from Serenity on foot reveals a hidden coffee hut, a quiet tree-lined footpath and an adrenalin-spiked coasteering adventure away from the jostling beach crowds…

It’s mid-morning on the late August Bank Holiday in Croyde. The village thrums with the excited babble of beachgoers looking to make the most of the generous surf lapping the shore. We escape the throngs and head into the village centre; its quaint whitewashed stone cottages and thatched roofs teasing stories of a bygone age.

Foregoing the ice cream shops and stores that sell surfing paraphernalia, we opt to amble down the lane behind Billy Budd’s pub to pick up a cortado from The Coffee Hatch. This quirky converted horsebox with comfy outdoor sofas and bench seating is tucked away from the main thoroughfare. We then calmly catch our breath while perusing the limited-edition surf tees and hoodies from Stolen Goods art studio next door.

“We pause to take in the moment, struck that this haven can be found in the centre of a bustling village.”

Caffeine fix found, we meander back towards the beach, following the tree-lined footpath which cuts through the village centre. The path dissects across serene green fields where the only sound is the rustle of leaves and the hypnotic noise of a flock of house martins who duck, dive and dance across the landscape. We pause to take in the moment, struck that this haven can be found in the centre of a bustling village.

Coastline sights

Energised, we follow the coastal path towards Baggy Point which offers exceptional views back towards Croyde Beach. Wave after wave sends holidaymakers bouncing, bobbing and bellowing with delight as they surf, swim and bodyboard on the incoming tide.

The coastline then transforms into a series of folds and fractures with rocky outcrops spilling out into the sea and reaches a crescendo of dramatic cliffs once we cross the headland. We stop to admire the vistas across to Lundy Island and Morte Point, amused by the guttural squawking of herring gulls who skim the cliff face to chastise the humans intruding on their patch.

Glad to be wearing our sturdy walking boots, we plough onwards over stiles and gorse towards the unspoilt oasis of Putsborough Sands. However, its silky white shores are an adventure for another day. Instead we ascend the hills and hedgerows back towards Baggy Point car park.

On the rocks

We find refreshment in the form of a Devon cream tea (clotted cream before jam!) within the beautiful walled gardens at Sandleigh Tea-Room. We then wander back to Serenity to pick up our beach towels and swimwear in anticipation of an afternoon’s rock jumping with Coasteering Croyde Bay.

Blood pumping, we take turns to plunge feet first into a natural swimming pool.”

Kitted out with wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets – and armed with useful safety tips – we walk the few hundred yards back along the path towards Baggy Point. Our instructor Albi guides us down onto the craggy rocks which are to be our playground for the next couple of hours. Taking a few moments to find our feet, we soon scramble along the coast, in and out of gullies, discovering the marine life, fauna and seabirds which call this shoreline home as we go.

Blood pumping, we take turns to plunge feet first into a natural swimming pool. As we surrender ourselves to the briny blue and spring back to the surface, it’s hard not to feel pure exhilaration.

Although the temperature is starting to dip, we give in to kicking off our shoes.”

Dining-out on the dusk

After a day of sea air, it’s tempting to stay at Serenity and pick up a takeaway from one of the seasonal street food vans at our neighbouring campsites. Instead, keen to catch a glimpse of a spectacular sunset, we stroll across the now much quieter beach towards Downend at the opposite end of the bay.

Although the temperature is starting to dip, we give in to kicking off our shoes. Barefoot, the cool grains of sand rub between our toes and sweet sanderlings scurry away from the tide nipping at their heels.

At Downend car park, The Beach Cafe dishes up lip-puckeringly-good Sri Lankan curries during the summer months, which we tuck into, chased with ice-cool beers from Bodhi’s Surf Bar next door. As we gaze out over the horizon, the sun calls time on another day, casting a spectacular glow across the rippling ocean. We take it all in – before slowly strolling back to Serenity.

Quirky coffee stop-offs, havens found, and exhilarating exploration – leave the car behind for the day when you stay by the sea…

What’s on this October half term in Cornwall

October half term is the perfect time to reconnect with family and nature alike in Cornwall. Blustery beaches, lively surf and a jam-packed schedule of family friendly events make half term week one not to miss. See what’s on for October half term 2023 below.

Book your October half term stay with 20% off selected retreats.

Falmouth Oyster Festival

12th – 15th October 2023

This festival celebrates the start of the oyster dredging season. A five day festival packed with cookery demonstrations by leading local chefs, the opportunity to sample the seafood, oysters, wine and local ale. Entertainment includes children’s shell painting, sea shanties, live music, oyster shucking competitions and the Falmouth working boat race.

Image credit: Jamie Johnson

Eden Project Ice Skating

Starting 14 October 2023 until February 2024

Get your skates on, grab a penguin and hit the ice rink at the Eden Project. With music flooding the sound waves, ice sessions for all ages, and sugary hot chocolates to be enjoyed on the sidelines, a spin around the ice rink is a quintessential way to kick off the autumn and winter season in Cornwall.

Minack Theatre

Visit the Minack Theatre, Cornwall’s world famous open-air theatre which is carved into the granite cliff and set in glorious gardens overlooking the spectacular panorama of Porthcurno Bay.

There is a programme of live performances throughout the year, and outside of these performances you can visit the theatre, stand on stage, explore the glorious sub-tropical gardens full of exotic plants and discover the extraordinary story of how it was created.

This October half term, catch children’s shows The Lonely Lighthouse Keeper and Madagascar Junior.

Image credit: Minack Theatre

Hall for Cornwall

Perfect for a rainy day or evening out of the house, Truro’s Hall for Cornwall has an exciting variety of shows, with theatre performances, live music and interactive kids events throughout the year.  This October half term, the line up includes Tom Fletcher’s ‘There’s a Monster in your Show’, James Martin Live, The Manfreds Maximum Rhythm n Blues, alongside Toddler Time which is on every Tuesday morning until December.

‘Pirates’ at Falmouth Maritime Museum

Running until December 2024

Visit the Maritime museum in Falmouth for their latest major exhibition on Pirates! Explore how popular culture has shaped how we think of pirates today and dive beneath the surface to unearth the harsh and terrifying truth.

To find out, immerse yourself in the digital world of the Sea of Thieves game, land on Treasure Island, meet the man behind Long John Silver and dance a hornpipe with Horatio Pugwash before discovering the dark world of the real pirates of the Caribbean.

Book your October half term stay with 20% off selected retreats.

A good lead: recommended days out for your dog

Body surfing, sea swimming, forays into forests and dune roaming – we asked local dog owners and walkers where they go for dog-friendly walks, swims and games.

Among the trees

Katy, owner of the Natural Cornish Pet Shop, based in St Erth, and Doggy Day Care Cornwall, owner of a Collie x Poodle and Samoyed Puppy.

Tail-wagging fun

“We love Respryn, near Bodmin, as there are so many different routes you can take and – whatever the weather or time of year – there is a suitable footpath. It’s also convenient, located midway through Cornwall so is a perfect stop off on a journey to fit in a walk. You can also take the train to Bodmin Parkway.

“Otherwise, outside of the seasonal dog beach ban, we have St Ives Bay on our doorstep: four miles of sandy beaches and cliffs to walk, meander, run and swim.”

Post-surf pup

Image credit: Natural Cornish Pet Shop

“Both girls are very active and love the water and spending time at the beach or in the summer keeping cool in any forest with a river.

“Artemis, our Collie x Poodle, loves to body surf; she’ll run into the surf, swim out to fetch her ball, and then cruise back to shore using the waves to power her return.”

Water bowl respite

“At Respryn there’s The National Trust Cafe at Lanhydrock just up the road, and closer to home in St Erth we have Birdies Bistro, a fantastic lunch spot and completely dog friendly.”

Splashing about

Lowenna, @cornwalllover on Instagram and Facebook, is often posting updates from her travels around Cornwall accompanied by her black Labrador Luna.

Tail-wagging fun

“Luna’s favourite place to walk is the Gannel in Newquay. She likes to run between the boats at low tide, swim in the estuary at high tide and explore all the nooks around the woodland areas.”

The walk is always different with new highlights each time but water here is really calm, so she can always spot her ball.”

Swimming the Gannel

Image credit: @cornwalllover on Instagram

“She loves anywhere that has water and sticks. She goes wild for wave jumping in the ocean, as well as swimming in the estuary.”

Water bowl respite

“During spring, summer and early autumn, grab a bite to eat at the Fern Pit café, which closes for the winter on 30th October. Their crab sandwiches are famous and the café boasts the best views in town overlooking the Gannel estuary and Crantock beach. Be sure to visit at high tide so you can watch the traffic of kayakers and paddleboarders float by.”

Dog-friendly dunes

Michelle, owner of Muddy Paws Cornwall, dog-walking, pet-sitting service and eco-friendly pet shop, has plenty of experience taking entire packs of dogs out to have fun around Cornwall.

Tail-wagging fun

“Perranporth dunes is so big, there’s lots of room for dogs to chase and play, plus free parking and water. You can also walk all the way down to the beach which at the far end is open all year to dogs. They can run, do lots of playing and even have a swim.”

Larking about on the dunes

Image credit: Muddy Paws Cornwall

Water bowl respite

“Perranporth is also a dog-friendly town which even has an ice cream shop that sells the best doggy ice cream!”

Find places to stay, footsteps from the beach where dogs are warmly welcomed…

The forgotten corner of Cornwall

A guided walk on the Morwenstow cliffs by David Myers

The phrases “off the beaten track” and “hidden gem” are often used to describe Cornish beaches and villages, which, upon arrival to the teeming carpark, are evidently anything but. However, Cornish wildnerness guide David Myers would like to introduce you to a place which might well be Cornwall’s best representation of the above terms.

There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of Morwenstow, the wild and windswept coastal parish at the extreme North end of the county, and there’s a good reason why – it’s literally not on the map (well, a lot of them!). The postcard below is a great example: the 7-mile stretch north of Bude has been chopped off, an unwieldly inconvenience to the map maker.

This isn’t a negative, far from it. It’s a unique quirk about the area which only adds to its feeling of remoteness. An hour’s drive to the nearest dual carriageway, and a further half-hour more to the closest motorway and proper train station, you really have to make an effort to get to this place. But those who do will be rewarded with some of the most unspoiled, stunning and quiet stretches of coastline in the South West. On a sunny August bank holiday, if there are more than 5 people on some of the beaches it’s classified by the locals as busy.

There are no settlements on the Morwenstow coastline, just a string of remote beaches and coves, towering clifftops and rugged coastal scenery. The only building you will encounter is a tiny cabin, constructed in 1843 by an eccentric vicar from the salvaged timbers of a ship wrecked on the jagged rocks far below. It’s been standing there defiantly for the past 180 years, surviving all manner of storms the Atlantic has thrown at it, and serves as a visual reminder to the area’s wild history of shipwrecks, piracy and smuggling. Even the local pub, the Bush Inn, owes its name to a code the smugglers used to distinguish friend from foe.

Hawker’s Hut by David Myers

That’s not to say the coastline is all that this area has to offer. You can head inland up one of the many deep, wooded valleys, surrounded by ancient oaks. It’s a paradise for walkers and trail runners, with the vast network of paths leading into the parishes of Welcombe and Hartland, forming a network of hundreds of miles of adventure, where you will most likely not encounter a soul.

Bluebell lined woodland trail by David Myers

If cycling is more your thing, the quiet country lanes make an excellent way to explore the area. An electric bike, hidden beaches, a 13th century pub and a tearoom all combine to make an unforgettable day out.

If you’d to experience perhaps Cornwall’s best kept secret then visit www.davidmyers.co.uk or Instagram @davidmyersguide. David is a wilderness guide and Morwenstow native who offers guided walking, trail running and electric bike trips in the area, for people who want to experience the quieter side of North Cornwall and Devon. From easy one-hour history walks, to challenging all-day and multi-day adventures, there’s something for everyone.

Discover Sennen

Sennen has it all. A cool, laid-back surf vibe meets traditional fisherman’s cottages and bobbing boats; dolphins dive in the rolling surf; cold pints and pub grub are served at 17th century pubs; and kids and hikers alike soak up the rays along the long stretch of coast.

We recently set off from Gwynver Beach House to explore the area, but you can park at any of the three village car parks (or Gwynver beach car park) if you’re visiting for the day.

See our Relive video from the day.

Let’s go…

Start at Gwynver

To begin your Sennen adventure, set out from Gwynver, a rugged sandy beach with dramatic panoramas from the cliffs above. If you’re staying at Gwynver Beach House, take the short walk from the bottom of your garden, or park up at Gwynver car park and take the steps down to the sand. Be sure to stop for photos at the top, though: this spot offers breathtaking views.

Gwynver beach

If you’re craving some peace and quiet, Gwynver beach is the spot for you. Whether you’re up for picnicking on the sand, catching some waves on your surfboard, or simply basking in the sun’s warmth, Gwynver offers the ideal setting to unwind and recharge. Flanked by sloping cliffs and rocky coastal path, this beach offers a sheltered sunbathing experience.

Coast path

Once you’ve cooled down in the blue waters, head out along the coast path, marked by nature trail signs, which winds around to Sennen Cove. This path is slightly rocky and rugged, with a bit of clambering involved, but its more than worth it for the views as you make your way around towards Sennen.

Dolphins are known to populate this spot, so keep your eyes peeled as you stroll.

Sennen Cove

You’ll arrive at Sennen Cove through the small sand dunes and sea grass. Here, you can stop for another beach nap or paddle, hire surf equipment and take to the waves, or tuck into some snacks and drinks on the sand. This cove is perfect for kids, with its small beach streams, plenty of wet sand for bucket and spade play, and gentle waves between the lifeguard flags, great for bodyboarding.

Sennen village

From the sand, you’re close to any kind of traditional beach food or drink you fancy. Walk just a few steps up to The Old Success Inn, a 17th century pub with a large beer garden overlooking the sea. Here, you can sip some local ales, tuck into a pub lunch, and dolphin watch under a parasol.

Head to the Round House & Capstan Gallery, a unique circular art gallery with lovely views through the crooked windows. Here you can pick up some local artwork to take home with you, or get inspired to do some painting of your own during your stay.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Sennen without enjoying some fish and chips. Tuck into the very best locally caught haddock, with lashings of salt and vinegar, either in one of the old-school seafront diners or taken away and enjoyed on the sand.

Day trips nearby

Sennen is in a prime position in West Cornwall, a short drive from some of Cornwall’s most famous attractions and some lesser-known beauties. If you’re staying here for longer, plan a day out and see what’s nearby.

Land’s End

Just a pebble’s throw away from Sennen, Land’s End is an iconic landmark that marks the westernmost point of mainland England. Take a stroll along the cliffs and snap some photos at the famous signpost – it’s one for the Cornwall bucket list.

Minack Theatre and Porthcurno

Discover the magic of the Minack Theatre, an open-air amphitheatre perched on the cliffs overlooking Porthcurno beach. Starlit evenings are best spent watching a show here, snuggled under a blanket.

Porthcurno beach below is a dream on a summer’s day, with hues that echo the greens and blues of the Maldives.

Mousehole

A short drive from Sennen, Mousehole is probably the closest you’ll get to the fully traditional fishing village atmosphere. Cobbled streets conceal tiny art galleries, delis, a local post office and makeshift plant stalls. You may also be able to purchase the catch of the day from a fisherman if you time it right.

Retreats in Mousehole.

Penzance

This beachy art deco town is home to a colourful array of bars and restaurants, alongside a lido and geothermal pool for 1950s style bathing.

Visit Sennen and stay in one of our retreats nearby, with easy access to beach life.

Watch and act

Sleeping by the sea means catching a wave at any time when conditions allow, early, late or later still. This is the #beachoutofhours. But before pulling on your wetsuit and reaching for your board, take a few moments to read the surf…

Such is the whimsy of the British weather that you never quite know what to expect when you peel back the curtains from the cosy embrace of your seaside bed. While a day lounging on the beach with a well-thumbed paperback fares better when the sun is sparkling, the sea’s there to be enjoyed come rain or shine.

In fact, when it comes to surfing, a touch of mizzle can actually improve conditions, says Charlie Unsworth, who works as an instructor at Croyde Surf Academy in north Devon.

“The rain can actually help the surf as it ‘grooms’ the waves,” he says. “It can patten them down into a smooth state, making it a nice clean ride. You’re wet already, so a little bit of rain doesn’t hurt.”

Ideally, you want a unified wave – so one straight line, not little waves coming in from all angles. That tells you the surf is clean and going to be easier to surf.”

Wave wisdom

Before you spring into your neoprene, however, spend a few moments casting your eye over the horizon to gauge the state of the waves.

Catching a wave in Croyde Bay

Image credit: Lou Pamment @lou.lives.big

“Ideally, you want a unified wave – so one straight line, not little waves coming in from all angles. That tells you the surf is clean and going to be easier to surf.”

When it comes to wind, preferably you want it to be offshore, delaying the break of the wave and keeping it glassy. Charlie says: “Look for a steady blowing wind, ideally not over 15mph, otherwise you end up battling the wind and weather rather than surfing.”

Follow the locals’ lead

Tim Heyland has been surfing the beaches of Cornwall and Devon for over 50 years. For surfing novices, he recommends getting up early and keeping an eye on the traffic.

“A cheat’s way to read the surf is to look at the number of boards heading to the beach. If you see the car park filling up with surfers, you’ll know there’s going to be good waves.

Obviously a calm day is preferable but those are never guaranteed. Last summer I’d just got in the water at Trevone when a freak hailstorm hit. It was wild but also hilarious.”

“Another tip is to have your surf early in the morning, as there’s very little wind first thing. As the land heats up during the day, the wind generally picks up. It then falls away again in the evening, so before sunset is another good time to get in the water.”

Trevone Bay at low tide

Image credit @steph__andr

Easy access

For people with disabilities, there’s more than just the weather and the groundswell to take into consideration.

“My advice would be to go in the sea just before high tide,” says adaptive surfer and open water swimmer Issy Kingdon, who surfs with The Wave Project. “You’ll have less distance to travel across the sand and you can enjoy it for a good half hour before the tide starts to recede again.”

While beach wheelchairs are available, they tend to book up quickly during the high season. Issy therefore recommends looking for beaches with slipway access to the sea. “Trevone Bay near Padstow is a good example of an accessible beach as you can drive right down and get directly into the sea at high tide” she says.

“Nothing beats going to the beach to look at the conditions for yourself,” says Tim. “An app might say the surf is ‘poor’, but you can still have fun on little waves.”

“Obviously a calm day is preferable but those are never guaranteed. Last summer I’d just got in the water at Trevone when a freak hailstorm hit. It was wild but also hilarious. As long as it’s safe, you’ve got to make the most of it!”

On RNLI beaches, surfing zones are marked out with the black and white flags, helping surfers know where to paddle out and letting you know that lifeguards are on hand to answer questions and help when needed.

Surf trackers

If you can’t see the surf there and then, apps such as Surfline and Windy provide up to date reports, including information on surf height, swell, wind direction, wind speed and tide times.

While the data is usually pretty accurate, it pays not to be too reliant on technology.

“Nothing beats going to the beach to look at the conditions for yourself,” says Tim. “An app might say the surf is ‘poor’, but you can still have fun on little waves. Or, if it really is all over the place, swap your surfboard for a bellyboard and have a play in the white water.”

However, if the wind is in excess of 30mph or the waves exceed six feet in height Charlie recommends keeping your feet on dry sand: “There’s a phrase, ‘If in doubt, don’t paddle out’. It’s a good one to stick to if you are having second thoughts about getting in the water. Always play it safe rather than take a risk.”

Image credit: Charlie Unsworth

The #beachoutofhours means taking advantage of the conditions whenever they’re right. Find your place to stay to watch the waves and act when the timing suits…

No drive delights: Portreath

From Glenfeadon Castle, without a car, it’s an early morning coast walk in search of a tidal pool, then kayaking to a secret cove for a picnic lunch…

It’s early August. Storms have swept the UK for the past few days, and the news shows Cornwall’s beachgoers swapping the swimsuits and sunbathing for wave-watching in waterproofs. Today, however, it’s a different story. With the sky over the historic harbour town of Portreath a perfect blue, the rising sun bowls its light down the valley, bouncing it off white walls and windows. The beach looks incredible in the sun.

“Down on the beach, we watch a dog walker being pulled by a tangle of pugs, and then ask her how to get to the tidal pool.”

We’re up and out early today, armed with a plan: a bracing dip in the tidal pool that hugs Portreath’s harbour, then the coast path to Porthtowan and back – all before the seasonal front of windbreakers, body boards and beach mats blow in.

We walk past sleepy cottages to a soundtrack of birdsong, through the arch of the old stone tramroad bridge, and across the empty car park. A cold breeze wakes the lungs.

Down on the beach, we watch a dog walker being pulled by a tangle of pugs, and then ask her how to get to the tidal pool. “It’s down them steps,” she says. “But the one at Porthtowan is better.” Given we can still see our own breath, this information feels timely. We decide to walk first, and earn a less bracing dip further round the coast.

Abundant beauty

We’re soon winding up the hill to the start of the South West Coast Path, just past the Pepperpot, an old landmark for passing ships that was once a coastguard’s lookout. Within minutes of going off road, we’re handed a breathtaking gift: as the land falls away under our feet, a crescent of untouched golden sand reveals itself far below, its scattered rocks calling up through the clear blue waters. We fall into the fantasy: imagine that paradise all to ourselves.

It’s cold, but you have to savour that moment when your head goes under; when time, with all its corners, dissolves.”

Not that we’re feeling crowded. The first time we see other souls, it’s to exchange small talk about how happy they are that they’re going down Ulla Steps – the near-vertical old stairway we just climbed. We’re too out of breath to point out they’re about to have to climb another set we just descended. Later, we’re given a couple of Hobnobs each by a group of women with hiking poles and bright backpacks. We take a snack break on a headland above Sally’s Bottom, another magical cove, and watch the gannets dive.

Tidal pool

We pass Wheal Tye, breathing in the history of the area’s tin mine ruins, and soon find ourselves nearing Porthtowan. A steep rugged descent, and we’re back down to earth, right by the beach. Here, surfers carve elegant lines that mimic the aged hills they’re facing. We’re too early for a coffee at the beach-side Blue Bar. Instead, we scramble over the rocks looking for the sea pool, and find it nestled at the base of the cliff. It’s cold, but you have to savour that moment when your head goes under; when time, with all its corners, dissolves.

“We stop to drift. Time stops again. The only sound is the water lapping – and the dull thud of an errant paddle on plastic.”

The circular route back winds us through country lanes. We peer over farmhouse gates at chickens and family trampolines, and feel a kinship with the t-shirts finally getting to hang in the sun. An unusually long van is parked in a lay-by, its owner sits shirtless, smoking outside. “Morning!” he shouts. “Lovely, innit. I’m just sat here chilling.” His dog suns itself in the middle of the road.

Soon enough, we find ourselves in the woods near Portreath, having joined the coast-to-coast mineral tramway, a popular cycle route that stretches all the way to Devoran. It’s a surprise to realise it’s only lunch time. We begin to discuss food options, keen not to pop this idyllic bubble we’ve created. That’s when we remember the cove. After a coffee and pastry pitstop, we pick up a couple of pasties and shuffle over to the hire centre to see about renting kayaks.

In the shallows, the boarding process is mercifully brief. Soon, we’re like two old sea dogs on our two-seater, albeit with woefully coordinated paddle strokes. Pushing out past the old harbour wall, at the foot of the giant cliffs, we stop to drift. Time stops again. The only sound is the water lapping – and the dull thud of an errant paddle on plastic.

Soon we’re at the cove, dragging our craft up the sand. We unpack our lunch, and sit in the sun.

Unfolding afternoon

By the time we return to the castle, we’re giddy but exhausted. All that sea air takes it out of you. We make a date: later, we’ll wander through the back gate and up the hill, past the knotty old trees, woodland camps, and the trickling stream, to cap the day eating seafood beneath the setting sun, up at the Terrace restaurant.

But first, we find the perfect way to fill the luxurious gap before we have to move again. We go out to the book cabinet outside, open the flimsy latch, and take out a well-thumbed volume – promising to return it before we go.

With that, we settle in for the rest of the afternoon: feet up on the sofa, cool Cornish cider in hand, reading aloud the opening lines of another new adventure. “One mid-winter day off the coast of Massachusetts, the crew of a mackerel schooner spotted a bottle with a note in it…”

Early morning rambles, paddling to paradise, and uncovering hidden tidal pools – leave the car behind for the day when you stay by the sea…

Arts on the beach at Watergate Bay

Head to Watergate Bay on the 9th and 10th September for a free family weekend of theatre, aerial performance, dance, music and craft workshops inspired by the ocean. Arts on the Beach 2023 is a celebration of creativity, community, imagination and ocean culture, set against the mesmerising backdrop of Watergate Bay.

Discover roaming sea giants and sailors’ love songs, mermaid’s tales and shoreside silent discos. This event, new to Watergate Bay for 2023, is brought to you by the team behind Polo on the Beach
and the Watergate Bay events calendar.

Book a retreat in Watergate Bay to experience the weekend in full.

The programme

Mirroring the many moods of the ocean, September’s line up will ebb and flow against its dramatic backdrop – from a lively programme of dance troupes, aerial performance, live music and interactive theatre, to getting hands-on with bubble bikes, lantern and willow building, sea-themed arts and crafts, and dancing workshops. Expect large-scale puppetry from Autin Dance Theatre, dance and parkour from Prodigal UPG, roaming ‘land based synchronised swimming’ from Cscape’s Bathing Belles, aerial shows, stilt walking captains and inspired choreography born from the sea. Workshop sessions will see beach-goers making a giant willow sea turtle with City of Lights, creating mermaid tails with Beach Guardian, pedal-powering bubble bikes and getting stuck into sea crafts with Blystra Arts. As the evenings draw in, the beach will light up with silent disco headphones on Saturday and the Old Time Sailors’ stirring sea shanties will echo from the cliffs on Sunday. The programme is brimming with imaginative performances and runs throughout the day from 11am on Saturday – then all over again on Sunday.

It’s set to be a lively, fun-filled and exciting weekend. Will Ashworth, Watergate Bay Hotel founder and executive director, said about the event:

“We’ve always loved creating inclusive events on the beach for our wider community, as well as visitors. Thanks to additional support from Visit Cornwall, being able to provide this exciting new event for people to come along to for free means everyone can be part of something special.”

Line up

Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 September
From 11am

Performances

• Out of the Deep Blue by Johnny Autin Dance Compan –
puppetry/dance
• On the Strandline by Prodigal UPG – dance/parkour
• Sea Dogs by Prodigal UPG emerging ensemble – dance
• Hall for Cornwall Youth Dance Company present DAWN choreography by Rob Mennear
• Bathing Belles by Cscape – dance/performance
• Tipping Point by Off the Wall – aerial show – Saturday only
• Captain O’Goldie/ Detrius of the Deep by Hotch Potch Theatre –
roaming on stilts
Participation workshops
• City of Lights – two-day build of a willow sea turtle and end
performance
• Blystra Arts – two days craft tent with four artists offering sea/
eco-friendly activities and pedal powered bubble bikes
• Beach Guardian – beach clean and mermaid tail workshops
• Watergate Bay Kids’ Zone Beach School

Music

Saturday 9 September, 5-7pm – Silent Disco
Grab an LED headset and be part of one of the UK’s largest silent
discos at this unique dancing venue right on the beach.
Sunday 10 September, 5-8pm – Old Time Sailors
A merry band of musical marauders, ready to lure audiences back
in time on an immersive journey of dance, song and 19th-century
knees-up shenanigans. 17 musicians playing over 30 songs, will be
roaming the tide line.

Find out more about the event here. We’ll see you on the beach!

Fancy a long weekend packed with oceanside entertainment and creativity? Book a self-catered retreat by the two miles of beach and enjoy two days of sea-themed, sustainably minded festivities.

Newquay Wild Activities

“The minibus is buzzing with conversation as we drive the family group back to their hotel. As the youngest son gets out, he hugs the guide and says, ‘I want to be a marine biologist just like you.’”

We recently caught up with our friends from Newquay Wild Activities, who gave us a run down on their latest Rockpool Ramble on Fistral beach….

Image credit: David Kirwan

The day started when Liz picked them up three hours earlier from Watergate Bay. A lovely group down on holiday and booked with Newquay Wild Activities to experience a rockpool ramble. The van pick up means they can leave their cars in the car park and not worry about navigating the busy Newquay streets. They arrive at Esplanade Green overlooking the world famous South Fistral Beach.

Image credit: Neil Wilkinson

Here they meet their guides, two passionate locals who are as excited as the group to share and explore the rocky shore.

There are some amazing pools on South Fistral that contain a wondrous number of species – each with their own story to tell. Even the seaweed has some secrets to share, if you look close enough. A multitude of shells cling to them for security such as the iridescent blue ray limpet as does the beautiful Stalk Jellyfish.

Stalk Jellyfish by Ivan Underwood

Blue Rayed Limpet by Zeni Hayton

The group wander their way down towards the surf to look at the deeper pools and rocks covered in thousands of mussels and barnacles, always keeping an eye out for wildlife passing by in the bay. Crabs are discovered, fish swim by and shrimps come and play on their toes. Starfish of all types are found – they are incredible creatures that eat algae while clambering over rocks. Did you know they can lose a limb for an easy getaway if they are ever in danger?

Spiny Starfish and Cushion Star by Gwynnie Griffiths

As the tide exposes more rock, anemones begin to close to protect themselves while they wait for the protection of the water.

Anemone by Josh Symes

The group are enthusiastically hunting for more animals as Liz returns with their pasty and drink. A perfect spot to enjoy some sustenance before the slow meander back to the steps.

Amazingly, as they clamber their way off their beach, more wildlife is spotted – a Stone Chat just hanging out on the brambles!

Stone Chat by Josh Howells

There is so much to explore on Newquay’s shores. Liz and the group spend the drive back talking about everything they saw. The guides log all the wildlife information ready to send to the record centre which the group helped to collect (they are now citizen scientists!) and the guides get ready for their next group – this time… a Wildlife Walk around the headlands of Newquay to spot some of the bigger, more elusive wildlife.

Grey Seal by Adrian Langdon

Newquay Wild Activities is a brand-new Social Enterprise set up by Liz and Laura in 2022 – it stemmed from a decade in the marine conservation sector in Cornwall, a fabulous network of friends and colleagues and a yearning to show tourists and locals that Newquay has so much to offer.

Discover what lies beneath our rockpools and the wildlife that shares our shores. Book onto a Rockpool Ramble or a Wildlife Walk with mini-bus pickup included. Learn how to collect valuable scientific data that can help to inform conservation research and national policy. Explore the north Cornwall coastline with experts on hand to guide you.

For more information visit Newquay Wild Activities for the summer dates and activities. Including the spectacular night-time rambles – see what happens in the cover of darkness!

Anemone at nightAnemone by night, Josh Symes