Category: Attractions

The best golf courses in Cornwall

Play golf where the land meets the sea at one of Cornwall’s scenic golf courses, with big skies, expansive seas and premium landscapes suiting golfers of all abilities.

We’ve curated a list of the top 5 golfing destinations in Cornwall that promise not just an exceptional game but an unforgettable experience against the stunning backdrop of Cornwall’s coastline.

Perranporth

Perranporth Golf Club is a haven for golf enthusiasts seeking a dynamic course set amidst the mesmerising dunes. With breathtaking views of golden sands, this course caters to all skill levels and offers some of the finest links golf on the north Cornish coast.

Find a Perranporth retreat

Bude & North Cornwall

The Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club, with its links-style layout, promises an elegant and challenging round seconds from Crooklets beach. Surrounded by panoramic views of the countryside and the water, this course is a testament to Cornwall’s golfing prowess.

Find a Bude retreat

Fistral

Fistral Beach is renowned for its world-class surfing, but did you know it’s also a hotspot for golf? The Newquay Golf Club at Fistral offers a unique golfing experience directly next to the stunning coastline. Discover why Fistral is not just for surfers but also a perfect destination for golf enthusiasts.

Find a Fistral retreat

Carlyon Bay

For those seeking a championship-level course in a luxurious setting, Carlyon Bay Golf Club is the epitome of golfing excellence. Nestled in the lap of luxury, this course offers a refined golfing experience on the Carlyon Bay clifftop. With beautifully manicured fairways and highly advanced professionals on site, you’re guaranteed a premium experience.

Find a Carlyon Bay retreat

Trevone

Situated along Cornwall’s rugged north coast between Harlyn Bay and Padstow, Trevone Bay Golf Club offers golfers a unique and picturesque setting. The course, with its undulating landscape and panoramic views of the Atlantic, provides a challenging yet rewarding experience. After a day on the greens, spend the evening on the sand or relaxing in your retreat for the ultimate golf-beach package.

Retreats nearby:

Windmill View, Trevone

No 6 Treglos, Constantine Bay

Find a retreat by one of Cornwall’s finest golf courses and enjoy the best of surf and sun.

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.

Must See Places in Cornwall | Top 10 List

Beyond Cornwall’s sandy beaches, you’ll find exquisite gardens, cultural attractions and a rich history. If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall for the first time and aren’t sure on the best places to visit, we’ve produced a list of the top 10 must-see places in Cornwall, ensuring you won’t miss a thing on your holiday.

Find out why Christmas time is the best time to visit Cornwall and some of our holiday retreats to stay in at Christmas time.

The Eden Project

A unique and innovative eco-project, the Eden Project is an absolute must-see on your visit to Cornwall. This stunning global garden consists of tropical biomes the size of 30 football pitches, including the rainforest biome, home to 1000 species of tropical plants, a fully running waterfall and a suspended canopy walkway. Adjacent to this you’ll find the Mediterranean biome, filled to the brim with spiky cacti and ancient olive trees. The site also has an impressive stage where the Eden Sessions are held, seeing performances from world-famous musicians, an ice rink in winter and a science centre featuring fascinating and educational installations.

Image credit: Matt Jessop via Visit Cornwall

South West Coast Path

Another unmissable activity is the South West Coast Path. Stretching for 630 miles and wrapping around the Cornish coast, it is an unforgettable trail featuring some of the most spectacular coastal vistas in the country. If you’re staying by the beach, you are bound to be close to a stretch of the path, on which you can set out on a variety of walks past dramatic cliff edges, fields of sea pinks and secret coves. All of our retreats are within walking distance to the coast and in easy reach to the coast path, meaning you can hop on it and head out on an adventure in no time.

St Michael’s Mount

Set off Marazion beach is this must-see tiny island, featuring an ancient castle and a cobbled causeway that disappears under the tide twice a day. When the tide is out the causeway is exposed, meaning you can take the 10 minute walk across to the castle. If you’re planning to get back to the mainland on foot, you’ll need to check the tides– the tide floods in faster than you might imagine, so always leave yourself a healthy margin for error. When the island is cut off by the tide, small boats run between the pier at Marazion beach and the harbour on the Mount. These run throughout the day in spring and summer but less frequently at other times.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Cornwall isn’t all just sandy beaches and sparkling oceans. Inland from the shores you’ll come across gardens rich in history and lush vegetation. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are perhaps Cornwall’s most famous gardens, and were rediscovered and reawakened following WW1.

Image credit: Toby Strong

Tintagel Castle

For breathtaking panoramas and untouched history, head to this sleepy Cornish town on the North coast which conceals a dramatic historical castle behind its village streets. You can walk up onto the cliff paths and have access to the castle, where you can uncover the tales of King Arthur.

Image credit: Matt Jessop via Visit Cornwall

Tate St Ives

Looking to get your fix of art during your stay in Cornwall? Head to the county’s best art gallery, the Tate, for a creative experience. It’s located in St Ives, the heart of the artistic scene in Cornwall which is known for its unique light which casts a soft blue glow off the sea. Here, sculptor Barbara Hepworth made some of her most influential work, much of which is showcased in the Tate and the nearby Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Minack Theatre

Watch a play before dramatic clifftop panoramas at the Minack Theatre, an impressive open air theatre situated above Porthcurno beach. If the weather is obliging, the Minack feels like a tiny Greek amphitheatre; the sea here seems bluer than elsewhere in Cornwall, the sand of Porthcurno beach below appears whiter.  The theatre was carved from the unrelentingly hard granite of the Cornish coast by Rowena Cade; it took many years of hard physical labour through the harsh coastal winters to construct and is a monument to dogged perseverance. The story is told at the Minack’s visitor centre, which is well worth a look even if you don’t see a play.

National Trust sites

Cornwall is home to countless National Trust sites, from stretches of coast path to historical houses and gardens. Our particular favourites are Wheal Coates mine in St Agnes, the Roseland peninsula, Lanhydrock country house and Kynance cove in the Lizard. Browse their website to find your nearest National Trust site- they make for a great day out.

Surfing at Fistral beach

Fistral is the nation’s surfing capital and is known for its consistent waves, intense sunsets and lively atmosphere. When visiting Cornwall, it’s highly recommended that you try your hand at surfing – there are plenty of places in the town and on the beach where you can hire equipment and book onto lessons. Or, just sit back on a summer’s evening and watch the surfers rolling in when the swell is rising – it’s truly a must see.

Chasing waterfalls

Alongside acres of beautiful woodland, there are a handful of waterfalls dotted around Cornwall, often concealed deep into nature trails. Visit St Nectan’s Glen, near Tintagel and Boscastle, an area of woodland bursting with mystical tales of piskies and fairies. Here, you will find St Nectan’s Kieve, a spectacular sixty foot waterfall seen through a hole in the rocks. Or, visit Golitha Falls near Liskeard, a cascading waterfall set in a wooded valley.

Interested in finding the best walks in Cornwall? Check out our blog on our favourite autumnal walks.

Our top things to do in Cornwall this Autumn

Summer is coming to a close, but autumn in Cornwall has its own magic. Quieter beaches, glowing sunsets, balmy sea air and coastal walks on cliff paths or rural fields with crunchy leaves underfoot.

Cornwall offers something for everyone, no matter what time of the year, and autumn is a perfect time to experience nature do its thing once the summer crowds have dispersed. We hope this guide gives you plenty of inspiration when holidaying with us throughout the next couple of months.

Visiting with a large group? Discover our large holiday homes perfect for big families or friend groups.

Browse our beach locations to find your perfect autumn stay. 

Go foraging

Make the most of the late summer bounty that can be found in Cornwall’s woodlands and hedgerows. From blackberries and Hawthorne berries to rosechips, hazelnuts and chestnuts, there’s always hidden treats to be picked.

If you’re looking for a little guidance on your forage we recommend Fat Hen, a wild food and cookery school in Cornwall. They run a variety of unique foraging courses, including a seaweed course, and you can then keep your produce to cook up right on the sand. The flavours of nature are unmatched…

Take a surf lesson

If the waves are too busy for you in the height of the summer, autumn is the perfect time to get suited and booted and ride with the locals. Hire your wetsuit and board from a local surf school such as Newquay Activity Centre, Wavehunters at Watergate Bay or King Surf at Mawgan Porth, with lessons included for all abilities.

Fancy staying in Watergate Bay? Check out our luxury holiday properties in Watergate Bay, Newquay.

Wild swimming

Want to enjoy the ocean but don’t fancy the fast-paced nature of surfing? Autumn is the perfect time to take a leisurely dip in Cornwall’s cool blue oceans, where you can take slow breaths as you gently float atop the water. The sea temperature remains warm throughout September and October, having been gently heated by months of summer sun, making these months ideal if mid-winter dips take your breath away.

Read our guide to wild swimming in conversation with Co Founder of Wild Swimming Cornwall, Lydia Paleschi.

Walk the South West Coast Path

With over 300 miles of stunning coast path to explore this Autumn, visitors are really spoilt for choice on which direction to head in. Whether its the rugged north coast and its hidden coves or the tropical south coast, you’ll find something different and exciting each turn you take. And with all of our properties walking distance from the water, you’ll have easy access to the coast path from your front door.

Interested in finding the best walks in Cornwall? Check out our blog on our favourite autumnal walks.

Choose the perfect path for you here.

Storm watch with a hot chocolate

If the weather has cooled a little for your stay, don’t panic. There’s nothing better than hunkering down and watching the perfect storm whilst sipping on a delicious hot chocolate…with extra toppings of course. Our top spot for this is The Beach Hut at Watergate Bay, where you can indulge on the sweet taste of cocoa and cream in with a front row view of the surfers braving the cold.

hot chocolates

Discover a new beach

Explore Cornwall’s beaches this autumn, when you’ll have more of the sand to yourself. Walk the shell-dotted shorelines until you find the perfect nook to sit back, relax and listen to the sights and sounds of the Atlantic ocean. Pack a beach blanket, swimsuit and a good book – it’s all you need to while away hours.

Browse our different beach locations and pick your favourite.

Visit one of the Great Gardens of Cornwall

Cornwall’s not only known for its stunning beaches, its magical gardens are home to a wealth of exciting, rare and beautiful plants and trees just waiting to be explored. Head to The Lost Gardens of Heligan to discover higgledy allotments, greenhouses bursting with herby aromas, wonky pumpkins sprouting from the ground and the hidden sleeping giant dusted with moss.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Dog friendly attractions in Cornwall

Bringing your dog to the coast is great for all sorts of reasons, the obvious one being the beach – a pup paradise. However, there’s plenty more for you and your four-legged friend to see and do when staying by the sea. When you stay in one of our paw-friendly holiday lets, you can explore all sorts of dog-friendly attractions in Cornwall. From the Eden Project to National Trust gardens, here are some of our favourites.

Thinking about bringing your dog on holiday? Check out our dog-friendly holiday properties.

Trelissick, Feock

Home to extensive woodland and park trails nudging the River Fal, Trelissick is high on the list of great days out with dogs. With mile-upon-mile of rolling green, woodland trails and a sheltered beach for splashing around, there are plenty of walks to choose from – with a map in the car park so you can choose your terrain and how far you want to roam. Refuel with coffee and cake in the dog-friendly courtyard café, and have a nose in the arts and craft gallery. If you’re feeling energetic and want to explore further, hop on the King Harry Ferry and float over the Roseland Peninsula.

Check out what Falmouth has to offer by staying in one of our bespoke retreats in Falmouth.

Image credit: National Trust

Eden Project, St Austell

Since Cornwall’s biggest visitor attraction opened its doors to dogs, they can join you on adventures along miles of pathways around the tiered gardens, admire the iconic biomes (from the outside) and join you for treats in the undercover eating area. There are a few ground rules to follow – you will need to keep your dog on a lead, and with you, during your visit (you can’t just tether them to a tree and head inside the biomes). However, if you want to take your dog back to your vehicle for part of your visit, there are car parking spaces with a shelter for dogs, one with a water tap.

Image credit: Matt Jessop via Visit Cornwall

Trebah Garden, Helford Passage

Bound beneath canopies of sub-tropical foliage that tumble to the edge of the Helford Estuary, where there’s a divine sandy beach perfect for picnics, stone skimming and throwing sticks out into the calm waters for dogs to retrieve. Families with dogs will love this natural playground, and back at the top of the valley (through the bamboo jungle and the giant Gunnera passage), the Planters Café and picnic area welcomes dogs. There’s water bowls and complimentary poop bags too.

Train to St Ives

Dogs are welcome on one of the UK’s most scenic train journeys from St Erth to St Ives. During the short journey you won’t be able to peel your eyes from the panoramic seascapes, so make sure you seat yourself on the right hand side of the train on the way out to get the best views. Once you’ve done a twirl of St Ives and had a pasty and ice cream by the harbour, you can follow the South West Coast Path an easy mile back to Carbis Bay, before hopping back onboard the train to your starting point. Or, if you and your pup have the stamina, head west from St Ives and hike the six miles to Zennor, looking out for the legendary mermaid and finishing with a well-deserved pint in the Tinner’s Arms.

Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

If you don’t mind keeping your dog on a lead, a day out at the Sea Life Trust’s seal sanctuary is a fascinating day out for families and wildlife lovers. Enjoy pretty walks along the Helford Estuary, pause for picnics with a view, and get up close to all sorts of animals including seals, otters, sea lions, penguins, ponies, goats and sheep. The main purpose of the sanctuary is to rehabilitate seals rescued around the Cornish coastline, and you can witness rescued seal pups dipping and diving their way to recovery, as well as learn what to do if you find a seal stranded on the beach.

Wheal Martyn Museum and Country Park, St Austell

The UK’s only China Clay museum isn’t only home to hands-on exhibits and audio-visual displays delving into Cornwall’s fascinating history. It’s also home to 26 acres of dog-friendly country park, with woodland walks, nature trails and Cornwall’s largest working waterwheel. Once the dog’s been walked and the kids have run off steam on the commando-style assault course, relax for a taste of the county’s local produce served in the Victorian remains of china clay setting tank.

Image credit: Wheal Martyn

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel

Bring your imagination and your dog (on a lead) across the new footbridge to the 13th century ruins of Tintagel Castle, perched on a wave-lashed granite promontory on Cornwall’s north coast. Once you’ve come face-to-face with a bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur, it’s impossible not to get swept away by local myths that link Tintagel to his birth. Back on the beach you can hear your echo in Merlin’s Cave and tuck into locally sourced food and drink at the beach café, before following the footpath back to the Arthurian-themed village. If you want to stretch your legs further, strike out along the coast path to the rugged Trebarwith Strand beach.

If you need any more temptation to bring your pup to Cornwall, read our top dog-friendly restaurants.

To find a beachside retreat at your favourite dog friendly beach, browse our locations and keep an eye on our special offers page for the latest deals and discounts.

How Many Beaches Are There in Cornwall?

Cornwall is famous for its beaches and coastal path, bordered on all three sides by stretches of sand. Its coastline also differs dramatically depending on where you are in the county – the north coast is exposed to stronger swells, creating rugged cliffs and great surfing beaches, whereas the south coast is generally more sheltered and features untouched and pristine coves.

But how many beaches are there in Cornwall?

From swathes of sand spanning miles along the coast to hidden beaches only accessible at low tide, Cornwall’s coast comprises over 400 beaches. We’ve created a guide to the best beaches in Cornwall, whether you’re looking for a family cove, dog-friendly beach or a watersports spot. So on your next visit to Cornwall, you’ll be able to find the right beach for you.

Interested in staying in our most luxurious holiday cottages? Check out our luxury coastal cottages.

All of our retreats are within walking distance of a Cornish beach. Find your ideal beach from our 33 locations, or browse all beach properties with a sea view.

Secluded coves

Cornwall is unique in its varied coastline and unusual rock formations, which creates secluded caves with beautiful structures. More than simply a flat open beach, these coves are the perfect places to visit for finding hidden sun traps, nooks for picnics and pools to swim in.

Our south coast favourites include Kynance Cove in the Lizard Penninsula and Pedn Vounder, near Porthcurno, both of which are widely regarded as some of the most Instagram-worthy beaches in Cornwall due to their mesmerising rock structures and tropical blue water. If you’re on the north coast, try Little Fistral for a more secluded feel, just along the headland from the main beach.

Check out more of what West Cornwall has to offer and explore our holiday lets in The Lizard Peninsula.

Pictured: Pedn Vounder

Best beaches for watersports

A Cornwall beach holiday is a great place to pick up some new skills in the ocean. The north coast in particular offers a beginner’s surfer haven, with Watergate bay and Fistral beach producing consistent surfing conditions. Or, try your hand at kite surfing in the Atlantic breeze. For a gentler option, try stand up paddleboarding or kayaking on the calm waters of Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth.

Discover Falmouth’s beaches like a local with our insider guide, offering everything you need to know for a memorable seaside escape along the Cornish coast.

Pictured: Watergate Bay

Best beaches for swimming

Wild swimming has massively grown in popularity over recent years, and Cornwall has an array of bays, coves and tidal pools perfect for a cold water dip.  It’s generally best to choose somewhere calmer and away from the main swell, as the sea can be unpredictable. Some popular spots include Newquay harbour, Nanjizal, the natural rock arch near Land’s End, and the River Fowey. Always check tide times and safety advice before dipping, and never dip alone.

Pictured: Newquay Harbour

Best beaches for families

What does a family beach look like? To us, it’s a curve of soft sand for castle building, a shoreline for paddling and shell collecting, a sea safely watched by lifeguards, and perhaps a gentle river or stream for little feet to splash about in. This scene comes a reality along the Cornish coast, with the likes of Porth beach, its neighbouring Mawgan Porth and Carlyon bay all popular family beach choices.

Find a family retreat.

Pictured: Carlyon bay

Dog friendly beaches

Last but not least, Cornwall is a paw paradise, with miles of sand and rural space for your four legged friends to run about in. Although some beaches have seasonal dog bans in place, there are plenty which welcome dogs all year round. Some of our favourites include Perranporth beach and Watergate bay, both huge beaches which at low tide reveal endless space for dog walks.

Find a dog friendly retreat here.

Pictured: Watergate Bay

See below for some beach retreat inspiration for your next visit to Cornwall.

Cornwall’s Wild Larder

At a time when the seasonality and provenance of our food are becoming evermore important, people are opening their eyes to our edible landscape. Cornwall is a foodie haven renowned for its abundance of fresh ingredients plucked from the coast and countryside, so it’s little wonder that the shoreline and hedgerows are bursting with them. Cliff-tops are thriving with samphire, gorse flowers and wild garlic, boulders are strewn with edible seaweeds and hedgerows are bursting with all sorts of berries and herbs.

It’s not often that people compare Cornwall’s landscape with the shelves of a supermarket, but whether you want to make chutney or serve up a three-course feast, expert forager Caroline Davey can show you where to find an array of ingredients in nature’s larder. “It’s about using foraged foods like any other ingredients you would buy from the supermarket, and making interesting, delicious dishes with them,” says Caroline.

Fancy staying in a holiday retreat with a hot tub? Check out our cottages with a hot tub for a relaxing getaway.

A keen cook with a background in ecology and botany, Caroline started supplying local restaurants with foraged ingredients back in 2007, and by 2008 she had launched Fat Hen – her own foraging and wild cookery school. Caroline’s renovated barns tucked in the wilds of West Cornwall are the perfect base to bring people together to enjoy the Great Outdoors, go foraging and create fabulous feasts from nature’s bounty. This isn’t foraging for survival’s sake. Greens, herbs, salad, veg, seaweeds, flowers, seeds and roots are cooked up into restaurant-worthy dishes, sometimes topped up with seafood from the local fishermen. “People start identifying edible plants in a bunch of greenery or seaweed and realise not only that they can eat them, but that they actually taste really good,” says Caroline. “The profile of wild food is changing. It’s not just eating wild food that’s important; it’s the process of foraging for our own ingredients that is emphasising our connection with food and the landscape. When you get down to the beach and you’re out foraging you’re living so much in the moment and everything feels so good.”

SEASIDE FORAGING

Anyone can go out and forage for ingredients along the shoreline – seashore plants are very distinctive and quite easy to identify with the help of a guidebook to wild ingredients. Caroline recommends River Cottage’s Edible Seashore.
The coastline is a great place to find seaweed, samphire and sea beet, all delicious served up with line-caught mackerel or foraged mussels. Then you can scour the woodlands and hedgerows for berries, edible flowers, three-cornered leeks and nettles.

Six wild ingredients to forage for in Cornwall

ELDERFLOWER – the taste and scent of English summer. The sweet flavour of elderflower makes delicious cordial and non-alcoholic elderflower champagne’, and can also be used in salads and dressings.

NASTURTIUM
Part of the watercress family, nasturtiums grows so vigorously in Cornwall that some people consider them to be a weed. The leaves and petals have a peppery, tangy flavour and add wonderful colour and punch to a summer salad.

APPLE MINT
A versatile ingredient for cocktails and summer barbecues. Apple mint adds a zingy flavour to salad dishes, cocktails and meat. Or you can simply pour boiling water over a sprig for fresh mint tea.

BLACK MUSTARD
The strong and peppery leaves can be used for frittatas, salads or as a cooked green. Use the flowers in a salad or a Bloody Mary.

ROCK SAMPHIRE
Named after St Pierre (the patron saint of fishermen), samphire is delicious pickled, in a salsa verde, in fritters or alongside fresh fish.

MUSSELS
Our favourite food to forage for has to be mussels. Pick them off the rocks at the lowest tide and steam them in white wine with garlic and cream. Don’t pick them after rain or near a river-mouth and only from September to April.

FAT HEN – www.fathen.org, 01736 810156

Check out our holiday properties in Mousehole to experience everything Penzance and the area has to offer.

Unearth fascinating finds and foraging adventures with Beach Retreats’ insightful guide.

Chasing waterfalls in Cornwall

The ocean isn’t Cornwall’s only watery wonder. Checkout these six stunning waterfalls

Fancy staying in a holiday retreat with a hot tub? Check out our cottages with a hot tub for a relaxing getaway.

St Nectan’s Glen, nr Tintagel

Veer inland from beautiful Bossiney Cove and Rocky Valley, to explore the magical trio of waterfalls at St Nectan’s Glen. At the heart of this leafy vale you’ll find a 60-foot waterfall thundering through a rock arch. Legend says that this sacred site was used as part of a ritual to cleanse King Arthur’s squires and turn them into knights. Experience the power of the waterfall from the shallow pool, then push on past the main waterfall to discover a secondary waterfall, before crossing a walkway to a third hidden fall.
www.st-nectansglen.co.uk

Golitha Falls, nr Liskeard

Tunnel through a wooded valley alongside the tumbling River Fowey, following trails through Golitha Falls Nature Reserve. Children will love exploring the terrain and hunting for Cornish piskies as they scale along tree trunks, tip-toe across stepping-stones and stomp over bridges. Your adventure will eventually lead you to a waterfall cascading down the gorge, but there are plenty of places to unpack a picnic in a fairytale glen en route.

Tregardock Beach, nr Port Isaac

Tackle the descent to one of Cornwall’s wildest beaches, and you’ll be rewarded with the raw beauty of soaring cliffs, sea caves and sandy expanses. Keep your eye on the tide as you scour the rock pools and trace the shoreline to the northern end of the beach, where you’ll find a waterfall flowing over the mouth of a shallow cave. Rest assured it’s worth the 15-minute walk off the beaten track to reach this low-tide gem, just make sure you get up early to bag one of the few parking spaces along the farm lane.

Learn to embrace every weather condition and maximise your experience with our expert tips.

Lansallos, West Polruan

Stretch your legs along the 20-minute trail from the church in Lansallos village to reach a hidden cove. Children will love following the activity points along the stream, making their way to this idyllic beach with a waterfall that once powered an old mill. Known as Reed Water, the falls tumble onto the sand and rocks of this stunning, south-facing cove that’s made for swimming and family picnics.

Eden Project, St Austell

The world-famous Eden Project needs little introduction. Step into the tropical rainforest and discover the waterfall that splashes its way from the very top of the biome and through the heart of the awe-inspiring jungle. Follow the higher path and cross the bridge to feel the cooling spray, and find out how this unique eco attraction harvests rainwater to irrigate the plants, top up the waterfall and create the humidity of the rainforest. Even if you’ve visited Eden before, the ever-changing seasons, exhibitions and family trails make it one to return to at any time of year.

Pentargon, Boscastle

Follow in the footsteps of Thomas Hardy as you strike out along Beeny Cliffs to find the spectacular Pentargon waterfall that plunges 120ft through a hanging valley to the shoreline below. It’s little wonder that Hardy and his first wife, Emma Gifford, fell in love as they explored the romantic scenery around beautiful Boscastle. Peer down from Fire Beacon Point to spot seals sunning themselves on the rocks below, soak up spectacular views of the harbour, and head back to Boscastle to dip into its quirky cafés, bewitching history and castle ruins.

Explore the enchanting village of Boscastle in North Cornwall with Beach Retreats.

10 Must Visit Natural Attractions in Cornwall

Want to explore more of Cornwall? Check out our favourite autumnal walks in Cornwall.

Hell’s Mouth, nr Godrevy

Stand atop craggy cliffs, gazing a dizzy 300 feet down to waves crashing against the rocks below. Just north of Godrevy lighthouse, Hell’s Mouth is a place of untamed beauty; where ships have foundered, cliffs have crumbled into the ocean, and fulmars dance on currents of air rising between rugged ledges. Close to the haunted Deadman’s Cove, this is a staggering location to clap eyes on Cornwall’s coastal panorama at its wildest.

St Nectan’s Glen, nr Boscastle

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and Cornish piskies as you explore the magical Rocky Valley and St Nectan’s Glen. Park at Trevethy (between Tintagel and Boscastle) and walk via St Piran’s Church, following the River Trevillet through the leafy glen to a thundering 60ft waterfall. It’s believed that, as part of a ritual to turn them into knights, King Arthur’s squires passed through the rock arch and dropped into the plunge pool of St Nectan’s to be cleansed.

Bedruthan Steps, nr Mawgan Porth

Dubbed Britain’s equivalent of Australia’s Twelve Apostles, here a series of mussel-clad towers rise from golden sands. Many visitors simply stare at these rock giants from the cliff tops, but it’s worth waiting for low tide to descend the 140-something steps and experience the immensity of the scenery with your toes in the sand. After the calf-busting walk back up, you can reward yourself with a Cornish cream tea at Carnewas Tearooms.

Porth Island, Newquay

Protected from the Atlantic swell by the rugged promontory of Porth Island, Porth Beach is popular with families for swimming, SUP-ing, rock-pooling and picnics. But step over the footbridge onto Porth Island and you can explore a far more rugged domain that was once an Iron Age settlement. Peer down into the wishing well pool, soak up stunning views of Newquay’s coastline and follow the spit of land to the blowhole, where clouds of sea spray explode from the rocks at mid-tide.

Brown Willy, Bodmin Moor

A huge contrast to Cornwall’s coastal wonders, head to the wild territory of Bodmin Moor to climb the 420m to the top of Cornwall’s highest peak – Brown Willy. The rolling moorland is littered with prehistoric remains, and once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with far-reaching views of the countryside and coast.

Pedn-Vounder, Treen

If you can brave a knee-wobbling descent and don’t mind mingling with the naturists, at Pedn-Vounder you can take a dip in an iridescent-blue lagoon surrounded by white sands. A low-tide beach backed by towering cliffs, this breath-taking beauty is overlooked by the huge granite boulder of Logan Rock, and the sparkling water is some the cleanest, and clearest, in the UK.

The Rumps, nr Polzeath

If you want to escape the crowds and blow away the cobwebs, strike out along the coast path out of New Polzeath, and head for the twin-headed promontory of The Rumps. Far from the beach brigades, here you can discover the remains of an Iron Age fortress, capture far-reaching views of the coastline and lookout for puffins on The Mouls (the island that lies off the eastern headland). Just make sure you hold onto your hat on a windy day.

Nanjizal, nr Land’s End

About a mile from Land’s End and only accessible on foot, Nanjizal is a wild and secluded cove where the sea laps beneath the Song of the Sea rock arch. When winter swells rage it’s an awesome sight to behold and you’ll probably be in the company of more seals and sea birds than humans; while on calm summer days coast path walkers trickle by and are lured into the sea caves and the turquoise plunge pool beneath the arch.

Treyarnon Tidal Pool, Treyarnon

This natural pool carved into rocks hemming Treyarnon beach, is a picturesque place to take a dip without having to battle the surf. Paddle, rock jump, do a few laps, or simply explore the surrounding rock pools, before basking on the boulders like seals, to warm up before a picnic on the turf-topped cliffs.

Cape Cornwall, nr Pendeen

Avoid the camera-wielding crowds at Land’s End and head for nearby Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic currents divide. Here you can climb to the landmark chimney atop a rocky peak, and enjoy views of Land’s End, Brison Rocks and the World Heritage mining coastline, with little more than sea birds for company.

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Feeling the love at Harbourside Cottage in Boscastle

Hear how Helen from Beach Retreats got on during her stay at Harbourside Cottage in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Picturesque Boscastle sits on the dramatic North coast of Cornwall, where two rivers meet the sea. This little inlet was naturally shaped into the perfect escape from rough seas for local fishermen and maybe even smugglers in days gone by. Today it’s a quintessentially Cornish village, a haven for walkers enjoying the South West Coast Path, and for those that want to dip their toes in the water while enjoying the beach that appears in the harbour at low tide.

This cute little village is actually pretty tough, having been decimated by severe flooding back in 2004. Looking at the river today it is hard to believe it could ever have been so destructive.

 

Harbourside Cottage miraculously escaped the floods, sitting just a few steps from the riverside on a quiet side street of character cottages. This cosy coastal hideaway sleeps 2 and also welcomes dogs, who can enjoy the secluded decked garden along with you, or take a short stroll to the river for their daily paddle. The property itself has everything the weary traveller needs on arrival, including plenty of tea and coffee and fresh milk, perfect for a quick cuppa in the garden before heading back out to explore.

Once we’d had our fill of our first harbour views, we headed back to the cottage for a barbeque in the garden, making use of the fully equipped kitchen before retiring for an early night in anticipation of the following day’s adventures. The double bedroom at Harbourside Cottage is spacious for a quirky cottage and has views out to the harbour. The high quality white bedlinen and soft fluffy pillows were so inviting and we soon dropped off to the distant sound of the running river.

In the morning we enjoyed the compact yet spacious feel of the cottage while getting ready for the day ahead. We almost wished it was winter so we could make use of the wood burning stove- this would be such a cosy retreat in the colder months. In the summer the garden becomes a sun trap and is the perfect private space. The quirky decorative pieces and quality furniture and furnishings really make this place feel like home.

Explore the enchanting village of Boscastle in North Cornwall with Beach Retreats.

Out and about

The first thing you should do when arriving in Boscastle is to walk down the length of the harbour walls and take a peak over the cliffs to what’s beyond- you might be lucky enough to catch the gig boats rowing in and out or a fishing boat or hardy kayaker navigating the deep channel. Alfie the dog very much enjoyed a splash in the harbour!

We also took the opportunity to explore the shops and cafes, heading first to the National Trust Visitor’s Centre which has an eye-opening exhibition on the floods of 2004, and an adjoining café with outdoor terrace and delicious cakes, perfect for elevenses. We also took a 10 minute drive to nearby Tintagel to take a look at the ruined castle, commonly thought to be associated with King Arthur. The whole place has an aura of mystery and intrigue due to the associations with Merlin and witchcraft, which spreads all the way back along the coast to Boscastle which is home to the National Witchcraft Museum. We couldn’t resist a visit here when we got back, and it was indeed quite spooky!

 

Another must-do is to head out for a coastal walk on the South West Coast Path. Coast path walks from here can be challenging but you will be rewarded for your efforts with some spectacular scenery. If you’re bringing your four-legged friend make sure to keep them on a lead near the cliff edges. We headed up to the coast watch station on the headland, a 20 minute walk from the harbour heading west towards Tintagel, from which we enjoyed far reaching views before heading back to the village.

If it’s beaches you’re after, head for the nearest secluded bay at Bossiney, just a 10 minute drive away. This secret spot is only accessible at low tide and requires a bit of a hike from the nearest parking spot, but when you make it down to the beach you will be amazed at the unspoilt beauty and private feel- only the intrepid make it here! A little bit further along is Trebarwith Strand, another lesser known spot only accessible at low tide, but well-appointed with a pub, café and surf school. Or you could take a 20 minute drive in the other direction to Widemouth Bay where you can enjoy plenty of golden sand all day long.

Food and drink

Directly opposite the witchcraft museum is the very crooked Harbour Light tea garden, perfect for a cream tea or a pasty lunch amongst the hustle and bustle of the day trippers, or for a more relaxed, away-from-it-all feel you can head to The Riverside Hotel which has a secluded riverside terrace for alfresco eating. Dinner here was a very laid back affair, with lots of fresh, locally caught sea food on the menu. Top-notch friendly service, and dog-friendly in the daytime and out on the terrace too.

There are many other options in Boscastle, including the 16th century Wellington Hotel, Sharon’s Plaice for freshly made take away pizza or fish and chips, The Toby Jug café for a pit stop lunch and traditional Cornish pub The Cobweb.

Looking to travel a bit further away from Boscastle? Check out our top 5 restaurants in Watergate Bay.

Highlights

    • Being 10 steps from the river- Alfie the dog loved it
    • The well-appointed cottage- a real home away from home.
    • The rugged coastal scenery- sitting on the cliff side listening to the waves booming in the sea caves beyond the harbour walls at low tide.