Category: Coastal wonder

How to spend your two free nights in Cornwall

You know that feeling when your holiday is coming to an end, yet there’s still so many things you want to do?

We feel you. That’s why, this year, you don’t have to worry about your time running out too soon when you book a stay with us this winter. When you book three or five night break from November until March (excluding school holidays), enjoy two extra nights on us.

Find out more about booking your stay here.

Because more time means more freedom to enjoy Cornwall, the way you want to.

Keep an eye on our socials over the coming weeks, where we’ll be hosting a series of competitions giving you the chance to win some great prizes to enjoy during your two free nights.

In need of some more inspiration? Here’s a few suggestions on ways to make the most of your two free nights by the sea.

Discover unbeatable savings and unforgettable experiences with Beach Retreats’ exclusive special offers.

Explore the South West Coast Path

Cornwall has over 300 miles of coastline, just waiting to be explored. From your retreat you’ll have easy access to the South West Coast Path, where you’re guaranteed incredible vistas and untouched wildlife no matter the direction you go in.

South West Coast Path are inviting any keen walkers and coast path lovers to become a member. A full year’s membership includes a copy of their handy guidebook of coastal walks, full of the best trails and detailed maps of the coast. This year, use your two free nights to explore more of Cornwall’s coastline, with their knowledge and expertise helping you to discover lesser-known routes, hidden coves, secret wildlife spots and more.

With your membership, you’ll receive monthly e-newsletters packed with coast path inspiration to be used for your next visit, and exclusive member discounts at major outdoor retailers. You’ll also become part of a community that works hard to preserve our beautiful coastal paths for future generations to enjoy.

Become a member here.

Check out our locations on the South West Coast Path and explore our St Agnes holiday cottages.

Cook up a storm

Make the most of your self catering retreat and its fully equipped kitchen, by cooking a delicious feast on one of your two free nights.

This is made easy by Stein’s at Home boxes, which deliver the excitement of a chef’s kitchen to your doorstep. The cook-at-home meal boxes have been pre-prepared by Steins chefs, and simply require finishing off in your kitchen by following the easy cooking instructions.

The delicious options include a three course lobster thermidor box, with a fresh scallop starter and decadent chocolate pave for dessert. Or choose from a vegetarian Indonesian curry box, autumn afternoon tea, weekend breakfast box and more.

Tuck in to these classic dishes in the comfort of your holiday retreat and enjoy your extra time with a full belly.

rick steins at home box

Go surfing

If you haven’t hit the surf yet, this is your chance to make a splash and try one of Cornwall’s most popular pastimes before you leave. From the surfing capital of Newquay to the more mellow waves of the south coast, Cornwall is endowed by enticing water on every coast. And in winter the swell is more consistent and powerful, yet less crowded, making it a great time to learn.

Book onto a private session with Wavehunters and ride the waves at Watergate Bay or Polzeath, with the support of their expert instructors. They’ll supply all your kit, including high-tech wetsuits, gloves, booties and hoods, so you’ll barely even notice the cold air and water temperatures. Whether you’re a total beginner or want to fine-tune your surfing skills, the session will be tailored to you, and all ages are welcome.

Book your session here and spend your extra time in the ocean.

Bring your pup

Let your dog take the lead on a pup-friendly holiday by the sea. With two free nights, your furry friend can join you in exploring more of the coastline from one of our dog friendly retreats.

As the summer ends, the restrictions on which beaches you can visit with a dog start to end too, meaning there’s plenty of sweeping bays or quiet coves to explore with your dog.

To keep your pup sweet during your strolls, why not try a selection of Forthglade’s natural dog treats? The range of natural, soft bite treats will make your pup’s stay as special as yours, with plenty for them to chew on throughout your two free nights. Mix and match with peppermint and parsley fresh breath bites, post-beach swim reward treats made with chicken and liver, and calming herbal treats to soothe your pup into a slumber after a busy day of coastal walking. Browse their range here.

See the sunrise on the beach

Everyone loves a sunset, and there’s no doubt that Cornwall throws a blazing sundowner show on its north coast beaches. But how about getting up for the sunrise instead? Many of our Beach Retreats on the south coast are perfectly situated for you to pad down onto the sand, coffee in hand, to witness the sun peaking above the horizon and lighting up the ocean in the early hours of the morning. So set your alarm, take a coffee and a camera, and hit the beach for golden hour.

Photo: The Penthouse 4 The Bay, Cawsand, South Cornwall.

4 The Bay

Turn your back on the sea and head inland

Holidays in Cornwall aren’t just about the beach. Turn your focus away from the sea and you can discover some incredible natural gems inland. Explore the wild terrain of Bodmin Moor where you can climb Cornwall’s highest peaks of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, and witness Bronze Age and Neolithic sites including stone circles, quoits and settlements. Or why not enjoy a day out in Cornwall’s woodlands? Pack a picnic and spot squirrels at Tehidy, or keep your eyes peeled for Cornish piskies as you explore magical valleys on the way to St Nectan’s Glen on the north coast, or Golitha Falls near Liskeard.

Eat seafood in a fishing village

The seafood landed in Cornwall is some of the best in the UK – and every holiday by the beach warrants at least one helping of fish and chips. To really soak up the fishing heritage and get your chops around the freshest catch, make sure you visit a quaint Cornish fishing village, where you can tuck into the freshest catch with a view to the day boats that bring it ashore. Some of our favourite spots include The Lugger in Portloe, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, The Mariners in Rock and Tolcarne Inn, nestled by the harbour in Newlyn.

Photo: The Boathouse, Newquay, North Cornwall.

The Boat House

Hop aboard a ferry trip

Messing around on boats is all part of the Cornish lifestyle. And in a county steeped in maritime heritage and surrounded by the ocean, one of the best ways to experience Cornwall’s glory is on the water. Hop on the Black Tor ferry to float from Padstow to Rock, take the scenic King Harry Chain Ferry to the Roseland Peninsula, or ride on the Cawsand Ferry from a serene beach to the heart of Plymouth. FalRiver Links runs a network of ferries on and around the River Fal throughout the year, including a river cruise from Falmouth to Truro and crossings from Falmouth to Flushing and St Mawes.

Photo St Mawes, Roseland Peninsula.

Falmouth harbour

Go on adventures in autumn gardens

Crunch through golden leaves, climb trees and tunnel through autumn foliage that tumbles to the water’s edge. Some of our top gardens for wild winter walks include the National Trust’s maze of woodland at Lanhydrock, the sub-tropical landscape of Glendurgan, and Trelissick’s stunning 500-acre estate on the banks of the River Fal. Another favourite with families – and dogs, too – is Trebah Garden, where you can make your way through a sheltered valley to a little cove that’s perfect for skimming stones. Out of all of the county’s garden wonderlands, the Eden Project is still the mega-star and all-weather haven, where you can wander through a rainforest, bask in the Med and visit a Western Australian garden in the iconic, sky-scraping biomes.

Photo The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey, south Cornwall.

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Make the first footprints in the sand on a secluded beach

There’s nothing more exciting than discovering a secret cove, or a secluded stretch of sands where your footsteps are the first to mark the ebbing tide. And once summer’s bucket-and-spade brigades have left, it’s much easier to find a little piece of paradise to yourself. For a nudge in the right direction, seek out The Strangles, a mile from Crackington Haven, Leggan Cove, tucked beneath rugged cliffs on the Lizard Peninsula, or Duckpool, just north of Bude. Or be adventurous and unfold an OS map, pinpoint a tiny cove and veer away from the main tourist tracks to discover your own secret cove.


Book a 3 or 5 night break and get an extra 2 nights free. This offer is available from November to Easter (excluding school holidays).

To claim one of these offers, book a 5 or 7 night stay and use code 5FOR3 or 7FOR5 on the checkout page, or book by telephone on 01637 861005.

You can arrive on any day of the week, as long as the entire stay falls within these dates.

A handful of properties are excluded from this offer, see individual property pages for further information.


Take a look at our favourite ‘must sea’ retreats and explore our other holiday lets.

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

What to See & do in Porthleven? | Full Guide

Planning a trip to Porthleven and wondering what to see and do there? We’ve got you covered. This pretty harbour town has a thriving foodie scene, sandy beach and a working harbour, perfect for watching the boats bob in and out from one of the harbourside pubs. Here’s our top things to see and do in Porthleven.

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

Drink at The Ship Inn

This traditional, 17th-century pub feels like you’re stepping back in time – that is, until you sample their fresh, modern menu. With traditional pub décor and an excellent view of the harbour, this cosy pub is made for whiling away the day sipping your pint of choice and admiring the harbour activity. Spot seabirds in the summer or hide from the storms in the winter, which often see waves crashing over the harbour walls. This old fisherman’s haunt is the best place in Porthleven to eat, drink and relax, no matter the weather.

Take a leisurely walk through Porthleven, discovering its picturesque harbour, stunning coastal views, and charming village atmosphere in Cornwall.

Photo credit: Ed Perkins

Eat fish and chips at the harbour

Tuck into the freshest caught fish, battered to perfection and adorned with as much salt and vinegar as you like. Fish and chips are best enjoyed right by the sea, and Porthleven’s harbour wall is an ideal spot for soaking up the bustling atmosphere as you eat. Head to Porthleven Fish and Chips or The Top Chippy to get your fix. Just watch out for hungry seagulls!

Wild swimming

Porthleven has many sheltered spots for a dip to cool off in the summer months, or, if you’re brave, during winter. Wait for high tide and head in off the harbour slipway, when the fishing boats will be far out to sea and you can enjoy a calm pool to splash about in. Or, head to Porthleven beach to get your fix of the vast Atlantic ocean – lifeguards patrol here in the summer months, making it the safest choice.

Dine at Kota

Kota means ‘shellfish’ in Maori, and you may recognise head chef Jude, who is half Maori, half Chinese Malay, from his appearance on BBC’s Great British Menu. Kota serves up the finest of local produce with a signature Asian twist, and is the ultimate fine dining experience in the area. Expect tempura oysters, crispy monkfish and seasonal greens in seaweed butter, enjoyed with handpicked wine pairings. It’s a must visit.

Watch the sunset at Rinsey Head

Enjoy panoramic views of the Lizard and Land’s End and soak up a kaleidoscopic sunset at Rinsey Head, which you can reach in a circular walk along the coast path. This walk is beautiful at any time of day, but a post-dinner stroll will reward you with the most vivid pink and orange skies as the sun rolls behind the horizon. It’s a great dog walk, too, as long as you keep your pups on the lead when on cliff path.

Go crabbing off the harbour wall

Pick up a bucket and line and wait for high tide to do a spot of crabbing off the harbour wall. This is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, and you may choose to make it a competition of who can catch the biggest! When you’re done, safely return your crabs to the ocean and reward the family with an ice cream from one of the nearby parlours.

Keep an eye on our special offers page for the latest deals and discounts on Porthleven retreats.

Explore our luxury Praa Sands holiday cottages in West Cornwall with Beach Retreats, offering stunning coastal views and serene retreats for a relaxing getaway, just a 15 minute drive from Porthleven.

Refresh and restore with land&water

Introducing land&water, the range of natural bath and body products you’ll find in most of our Beach Retreats properties…

A wide sandy bay on the North Coast of Cornwall; a place where invigoration and calm, alert and serene are endlessly intertwined.

Winding along the cliff path, gazing at isolated patches of sunlight on the sea. Floating ‘out back’ beyond the whitewater, waiting to catch an unbroken wave. Curling in a window seat with a book, while a storm rages outside. Showering after a swim, before sunset dinners and stargazing on the decking…

This ‘active relaxation’ lifestyle that sparked the land&water collection has its roots at Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall; land&water founder Pix Ashworth’s family’s hotel. As well as appreciating time out on the beach and cliffs herself, Pix has spent many years witnessing the joyful “warm glow” radiating from Watergate Bay guests after days swimming, surfing or walking on the beach.

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

“It’s a real honour to see people at their most happy and carefree, coming inside after days in the sea air,” she says. “They have that warm glow about them; that natural relaxed feeling, as well as the exhilaration from being active amongst the elements.”

And so Pix set about capturing that feeling; to, quite literally, bottle it.

Created in collaboration with leading apothecarist and perfumer Richard Howard, the land&water collection translates this emotion – and its distinctive blend of invigoration and calm – into its natural bath & body products.

Each recipe uses natural essential oils and actives to evoke the therapeutic benefits of time in the elements, recreating the fresh skin invigoration we feel on the shoreline. The whole collection also embodies painstaking care for the environment that has inspired it.

Like that warm glow, the land&water collection has since radiated out to other locations with similar outlooks, communities and values – whether in the mountains of the Lake District, country gastropubs, London boutique hotels, or national department stores.

The places may vary, but the feeling is always the same…

The blend of invigoration and calm is at the heart of the land&water collection. Created in collaboration with a leading apothecarist and perfumer, land&water products capture this emotion with a blend of buoyant, exhilarating citrus and serene, green and woody notes. Using a 100% vegan palette of fruit, flower and plant essential oils, as well as botanical actives identified through the latest advances in bio-technology (including moisturising and rejuvenating samphire, spike moss and sea buckthorn extracts), land&water blends carefully chosen ingredients with insight, imagination and scientific expertise.

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

Featuring in most of our properties, Beach Retreats has chosen from the land&water collection: a stimulating hand wash for day-seizing hands, an invigorating zesty body wash, fresh mint, mind-clearing shampoo and moisturising conditioner for high tide hydration.


As the spark that lit the land&water fire – shaping its philosophy, product concept and very existence – nature is what land&water holds most dear. The brand is committed to treading as lightly as possible on the natural world that has so inspired it – from the sustainable, vegan ingredients it selects, to its 100% post-consumer waste recycled bottles.

The brand has invested in sustainable practices from day one, selecting partners and suppliers whose principles chime with its own, and giving painstaking consideration to its ingredients, manufacturing processes and packaging.

Every product contains:

– Ethically sourced ingredients, 100% cruelty-free

– Only natural, botanical materials in all skin formulations

– High quality essential oils used sensitively and in meaningful quantities

– The full collection is suitable for vegans

– All products are made in the British Isles

– land&water’s packaging ethos centres on re-use, recycle and refill

To sample some land&water for yourself, browse their website here. Or, head to one of our retreats and try it out in a self-catering property by the coast.

Embark on a journey to unlock the tranquility of coastal living with our guide to Ocean O’Clock, where every moment is embraced by the soothing rhythm of the sea.

What is the Nicest Beach in Cornwall? Our Top Picks

Want to know the nicest beach in Cornwall? Well, you’re in luck – there are plenty to choose from. In fact, there’s so many beaches in Cornwall (over 400) that we can’t pick our favourite. Cornwall’s position means it has coastline facing different angles of the ocean and therefore its landscape is dramatically varied. This creates different kind of beaches – the north coast tends to have more surfing beaches, flanked with high cliffs, and benefits from spectacular sunsets, whereas the south coast is more sheltered, with more rugged clifftops and hidden sandy beaches.

We’ve picked our favourite from the north, west and south of Cornwall, ready and waiting for you to visit on your next Cornwall beach holiday!

Want to stay in a luxury holiday house with a view of the sea? Check out our cottages with sea views.

So, grab the beach towel and flip flops, and we’ll see you down on the sand.

The nicest beach in north Cornwall

There were many contenders for this one. The north coast is home to the likes of Newquay, Padstow, Watergate and Bude, all areas with world-famous beaches. But there’s one beach which just had to be crowned the nicest – Fistral beach.

Want to stay in Newquay? Have a look at our luxury holiday properties in Newquay.

A long stretch of golden sand, grassy sand dunes, consistent waves and ruby red sunsets – what’s not to like?

We’ve also got a variety of retreats dotted around Fistral, some with views of the water- find them here.

The nicest beach in south Cornwall

The south coast has it all, from quiet bays in the secluded shores of Downderry, breathtaking cliffside scenes at Whitsand bay and vibrant marina life in Falmouth.

Our favourite, though, just has to be Gyllyngvase beach. Just a short walk from the main Falmouth town centre, this cove is the perfect combination of silky sand and a blue sea which sparkles in the summer sun. Gylly’s often calm water conditions makes it a picturesque spot for stand-up paddleboarding, allowing you to admire its beauty from out on the water.

We’ve got a selection of retreats in the Liner, an elegant development overlooking the beach, meaning you can sit back on your own private balcony and gaze out to sea. Browse our Gyllyngvase retreats here.

The nicest beach in west Cornwall

We love west Cornwall for its undisturbed wildlife and untouched coastline. Home to the much loved towns of Hayle, Sennen, Mousehole and St Ives, this area is truly a gem when it comes to beautifully preserved natural landscapes. Choosing the nicest beach is a difficult task when it comes to west Cornwall, as they are all so uniquely stunning.

But there is one beach which stands out, with its impressive three mile stretch of golden sand impossible to ignore. It is, of course, Gwithian beach in Hayle. This large, open expanse of beach is perfect for dog walking, horse riding and even kite flying, and offers the freshest sea air you could possibly breathe in. For the ultimate Cornish beach experience, look no further.

Find a retreat in Hayle here and stay moments from one of the nicest beaches in Cornwall.

Browse our other beach locations to discover your favourite beach, and keep an eye on our special offers page for discounted stays by the sea.

Explore the 10 best beaches to surf in Cornwall, where perfect waves and stunning coastal scenery promise an unforgettable surfing experience.

Q&A – Wildlife Conservation Biologist & Photographer

Wildlife conservation biologist and photographer Kaushiik Subramaniam was drawn to documenting life below the surface by his research and the technical challenges of photographing below sea level – a unique sensory experience…

Want to stay in a luxury holiday house with a view of the sea? Check out our cottages with sea views.

How long have you been taking photographs of the underwater environment and what locations have you photographed in?

I’ve been photographing underwater since 2018, while doing research for my Masters degree thesis on whale sharks, and since then I have shot underwater in the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka and, at the moment, in Mexico.

Image credit: Kaushiik Subramaniam

When did you decide this is something you wanted to do and what do you think attracted you to this work?

I’ve always felt comfortable underwater and it went hand-in-hand with my research. It’s something completely different to topside photography; there’s a lot more involved. Conditions are always changing underwater, minute to minute, and can be completely different depending on what light is being shot through the water, for example. It can be dangerous and exciting, on top of thinking about composition. That’s part of what drew me to it, alongside my fascination with underwater life.

“For the most part, I feel that underwater is a much calmer place than on land. A lot of people that scuba dive and freedive have that in common: a feeling of peace and tranquillity underwater.”

What affect does being underwater have on your senses?

It’s difficult to explain but it is almost like some senses are muted underwater and some are heightened. Hearing can be muted or dulled down but there are noises: fish make clicking sounds and even coral on a reef makes noise.

Eyesight is very important; although, the light can play tricks on you in the water and it’s not always easy to judge depth properly. So, it does take a bit of getting used to.

How do you approach photographing wildlife underwater?

First and foremost you’re trying to find the animal then you have to think about composition and lighting. It’s not like on safari where you can move a car to get the right shot. You are being moved by the ocean, sometimes against the current and really all kinds of different things can go wrong when you’re trying to get the shot you want. It’s a mix of waiting and being proactive to find the shot.

You’re also aiming to have minimal impact on wildlife behaviour so you are documenting wildlife in as natural environment as possible. Trying not to create stress and that varies not only between animal but also individual to individual within a species.

“To be able to see them in our waters was incredible They are really elegant, beautiful looking sharks and very fast too. So to have one stick around me and my camera was amazing.”

Just because a text book says a species is ok with people being nearby, it doesn’t necessarily mean the individual animal follows that. You have to approach it slowly and keep your distance, judge how the wildlife is reacting to you. It’s very obvious normally, when wildlife doesn’t want you around it. An animal will try and get away, as far as possible, and chasing it is almost the worst thing you can do.

What senses do the underwater animals you’ve encountered use around you?

In UK waters, I have spent the most time with grey seals and they are quite intelligent mammals. In many ways they behave like underwater dogs. The way they look at you. The way their eyes move. They are such curious little things and very sneaky. They will be behind you, keeping an eye on you. Then they will come closer and have a nibble of your fins, play with you. Being in the water with seals is so much fun.

Image credit: Kaushiik Subramaniam

On the other hand, shark species will keep an eye on you from a distance. For example, tiger sharks in the Maldives are big enough to know you are not a threat to them and they will look at you in the eye try to figure you out. The level of curiosity can vary from individual to individual, some will even prod you with their nose. Like other sharks they also rely heavily on their sense of small and electro receptors. Cameras give off more electrical impulses than humans, so sharks can be attracted to the equipment we shoot with.

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

“Going out with a friend snorkelling on a shallow reef (a ridge of rock, coral or sand near the surface), wherever it may be, you can find incredible wildlife.”

Can being underwater ever be an overwhelming sensory experience?

For the most part, I feel that underwater is a much calmer place than on land. A lot of people that scuba dive and freedive have that in common: a feeling of peace and tranquillity underwater. It certain conditions it can be overwhelming; I was recently in the water with 15 tiger sharks and it was hard to know where to look!

What have been some of your most memorable encounters with underwater life?

I did a long spell researching whale sharks out in the Maldives and had a number of incredible encounters with them. They’re the biggest fish in the world with stunning patterning.

I was also lucky enough to swim with blue sharks. When we think about UK waters, sharks aren’t the first things that come to mind but we are very lucky that we have a rich abundance of shark species around the UK.

Image credit: Kaushiik Subramaniam

Blue sharks are very much endangered across the world unfortunately, the victim of shark fining and the shark meat industry. To be able to see them in our waters was incredible. They are really elegant, beautiful looking sharks and very fast too. So to have one stick around me and my camera was amazing.

I’ve recently been freediving, and photographing wildlife from the surface, in Mexico. At this time of year, grey whales migrate down from Canada to Mexico, where they calve. In this protected environment they are very curious and playful with humans. They will come next to the boat and look at you in the eye. The mothers almost encourage calves to come and interact with the boat, and you have these 40ft wales under your boat pushing it up and down, playing hide and seek. It’s a very unique experience!

Image credit: Kaushiik Subramaniam

What tips do you have for anyone interested in exploring the underwater world either for the experience, or to capture the experience through photography?

Going out with a friend snorkelling on a shallow reef (a ridge of rock, coral or sand near the surface), wherever it may be, you can find incredible wildlife.

With scuba diving, sorry for the pun, I would say just take the plunge. You can do a DSD, Discover Scuba Dive course, so you don’t have to have a qualification you just have to do one pool session and then you can go out for a shallow dive. Depending on the location, you can see incredible things and that might give you the push you need to do your certificates and increase your ability in the water.

If you want to do photography, it’s important to be comfortable in the water first before you put a camera under the water. You want to be able to concentrate on the photographs once you are confident with diving.

Image credit: Kaushiik Subramaniam

Discover Kaush’s work here, and follow his underwater adventures on Instagram.

Find a retreat near Cornwall’s underwater worlds and browse our special offers.

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.

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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.

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Pictured: Watergate Bay

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

A dawn paddle

Credit Harvey Betham 1

Photographer Amy Bullock took her camera out on a paddle board to explore the Gyllyngvase coastline at dawn, with the help of the team at Wesup…

Image credit: Harvey Bentham

For Amy, capturing photographs on a familiar stretch of coast from a new perspective was something of an adventure: “Launching the boards out onto the bay as the sun was coming up, there was definitely a bit of anxiety and lots of excitement”

Meeting at Wesup HQ on Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, just before dawn, Amy, stand-up paddle board novice Ellie, and Wesup Gylly director Harvey Bentham set out to capture on camera an exploration of Falmouth’s coastline.

“It’s always the best time to go out and get some photos,” says Amy. “The light makes everything look great, especially in Falmouth which gets such great sunrises.” Despite knowing the coastline well, seeing it from the water was a new experience:

“There’s lots of coves and little caves all around the coastline, especially as you go around to Pendennis. You can’t see any of this from up on the cliff; you wouldn’t know it was there.”

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Meet at first light and readying for launch, 06.30 Wesup, Gyllyngvase

The team warmed-up with board preparation, went through paddle techniques and how to enter the water, while watching some fellow early paddle boarders set-off across the glassy sea.

Paddles at the ready, 07.30

Credit Harvey Bentham 2

With fresh morning air, and the sun rising, it’s time to head into the glistening waters. A few more paddle lessons out on the water before exploring the coastline, from Gyllyngvase towards Castle Beach and beyond to the Pendennis headland.

Image credit: Harvey Bentham

Discover more of Cornwall with our favourite places to watch the ocean and go sea spotting.


A beach reached only from the water is perfect for a stop off, to brew a morning coffee and take a break in the sunshine. After collecting washed-up rubbish to dispose of safely and recycle, and a stone skimming competition, it’s time to paddle back to Gylly.

Bullock Amy Stranger Collective March 22 51

Return paddle, 10.00 to 11.30

With thoughts of why isn’t every morning filled with such a blissful sunrise activity, the team paddle into the headwind back to Gyllyngvase Beach, joined on the water by gig rowers and the odd inquisitive cormorant. Back at Wesup Gylly HQ, the beach is now a hive of activity as swimmers, walkers and paddle boarders make the most of the spring sunshine.

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

Stay footsteps from Gyllyngvase beach.

Natural signs – In the sky

Coastal conditions can be unpredictable: sunny one minute, stormy the next. We show you how to forecast what’s coming by immersing yourself in the environment around you…

In the days and weeks leading up to a holiday, how many times do you hit the refresh button on your favourite weather app in the hope of a bright, sunny forecast for your trip? What to pack, days out and activities are almost always planned around what the weather is expected to be like.

But should you plan your break purely on a meteorologist’s weather forecast? As we’ve all had the pleasure of, weather is often a localised and transient thing. Like the sand beneath our feet, it’s always moving, always changing.

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“We always notice when bad weather hits us but if we can watch the progression of clouds in the few hours before, we can predict when the bad weather is coming.”

Rather than stake all your holiday plans on the weather forecast, created by analysing streams of data, why not step outside. Stop, listen and observe your surroundings. It could tell you a whole lot more about what’s about to happen than a regional weather forecast.

Direction of travel

An easy way to tell if there’s going to be a change in the weather is to check the wind, as Tristan Gooley, natural navigator and author of The Secret World of Weather explains:

“The best thing you can do is to take note of where the wind is coming from. It’s one of those things that doesn’t take much time – you could do it after breakfast, lunch and dinner – just check where the wind direction is coming from and if it has changed quite a lot, by more than 90 degrees, you can be pretty sure that a weather change is on its way.”

To gauge the wind direction, find a visual anchor, like a flag, if it’s blowing south east, the wind is coming from the north west, and so on. You could also try feeling the wind direction, Tristan writes in his weather guide. In open ground, close your eyes and turn your face until you feel the wind on both cheeks. Then, raise your hand to chop the air slowly, moving it until you feel the wind cooling each side equally. When you open your eyes, you’ll have a sense of where the wind is blowing from.

Next, take a look up at the clouds. Seeing how they move and change on any given day is also a good indicator of what weather lies ahead.

“We always notice when bad weather hits us but if we can watch the progression of clouds in the few hours before, we can predict when the bad weather is coming,” says Tristan. “If we look at the very highest clouds, the cirrus – the wispy, feathery, candyfloss style of clouds –they’ll start to build in number ahead of bad weather.”

Keep a mid-afternoon eye on what the cumulus clouds are doing, too. These are the fluffy, marshmallow style clouds with flat bottoms.

“Tall cumulus clouds usually indicate that the cloud is just dumping it’s rain on you and then the shower will end, whereas a thick stratus blanket of unbroken cloud across the sky indicates blanket rain.”

“If they’re getting smaller, it’s a sign that the weather will continue to be quite fair for probably the next 24 hours,” he says. “But if they’re getting taller it’s a sign of moisture and instability and things are going to get worse.

“The rough rule with cumulus clouds is if they’re taller than they are wide and they keep getting taller, then you’ve probably got some rain showers on the way.”

Showers pass

Hear the pitter patter of rain on the window on the first day of your holiday? Don’t feel disheartened; it could just be a passing shower. Again, you can tell if the rain is passing through by looking at the shape of the clouds.

Tall cumulus clouds usually indicate that the cloud is just dumping it’s rain on you and then the shower will end, whereas a thick stratus blanket of unbroken cloud across the sky indicates blanket rain. This will be slow moving and could last several hours – meaning you might need to put the day’s beach trip on hold.

Not that a bit of rain need be a barrier to having fun in the sea, particularly if you’re out for a surf. The main weather that will impact the surfing conditions is the wind, but even that you can work around, if you know what you’re looking for.

Weather moves

“As a surfer you can generally find a nook to work with the weather,” says Rachel Murphy, founder of Women and Waves, a surfing society based in Newquay. “It’s not all about where you are, but asking yourself where the weather is going to be good for surfing. You move around with the weather.

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Credit: Women and Waves, @catgram810

The ideal conditions for surfing are light offshore winds, where the wind blows from the land out to the sea. This creates clean, glassy waves. Onshore winds often create broken, messy waves that are more difficult to surf.

Most surfers rely on websites like Magicseaweed and Windguru for surf forecasts but Rachel reckons the best way to determine the forecast is to get outdoors. She says: “When I walk outside, I can generally feel what the wind direction is just from the temperature.

“If there’s a cluster of birds sitting on the beach, check out the direction they’re facing too. If they’re facing one way that’s a pretty strong sign that’s where the wind is coming from.”

“If it’s northerly and bitter then you know the wind is onshore, which isn’t great for surfing on the west coast of Cornwall. Whereas if it’s a warm wind, under 10mph, you know the surf will be clean and nice. You can feel that just on your face.”

Credit: Women and Waves, @catgram810

Animal instincts

Tuning into the sound of the sea can also help you determine what the surf might be like. “You can sometimes hear a big groundswell when you’re near the coast,” says Rachel. “I can hear it first thing in the morning when I’m walking my dog. She doesn’t like it. She must feel the rumbling or vibrations that we can’t. So I can tell if there’s a big groundswell if she’s a bit apprehensive.”

It’s not just dogs that can alert us to incoming weather. If you’re on the beach, watch what the birds are up to.

“So if you see cirrus clouds during the day and then a halo around the moon later that evening, that’s a very strong sign rain is coming.”

“The vast majority of birds are land based,” says Tristan. “They range further from home when the weather is set fair and come closer to home when there’s bad weather on the way.

“If there’s a cluster of birds sitting on the beach, check out the direction they’re facing too. If they’re facing one way that’s a pretty strong sign that’s where the wind is coming from. If they change direction that means the wind direction has changed and it’ll probably be raining by sunset.”

The night before the day

When the sun does set after a busy day on the beach, a final tip for forecasting the next day’s weather is to take a look up at the moon to see if there’s a halo around it.

“The halo shows there are cirrostratus clouds, which mean a warm front is on the way,” says Tristan. “So if you see cirrus clouds during the day and then a halo around the moon later that evening, that’s a very strong sign rain is coming.”

Come rain or shine, the best you can do to make the most of your time by the sea is to have an awareness of the weather but not become a slave to the elements.

“You have to take the weather forecast with a pinch of salt and go with what you’ve got,” advises Rachel. “There’s never going to be a perfect day…just enjoy whatever the day brings.”

Find out more with:

The Natural Navigator

Women & Waves

Experience a surface-level change of pace, and enjoy slowing down and savouring the simple joys of coastal living along the Cornish coast.