Category: Coastal wonder

Five New Year coastal walks

Start the New Year with a walk along the Cornish coastline.

Find out why New Year is the best time to visit Cornwall and some of our holiday retreats to stay in for the New Year.

New Year is the perfect time to visit Cornwall. The quiet beaches offer miles of walking while the clifftops provide spectacular spots to watch the sunset.

Wander cobbled streets to find harbourside villages decorated with Christmas lights and the warm glow of a crackling log fire from an ancient pub. After all, a brisk walk along the coast should be rewarded with a hot beverage (or alcoholic drink).

With 300 miles of coastline wrapped around the peninsula, Cornwall offers many idyllic paths to walk. From Porthleven to Loe Bar and Port Quin to Port Isaac, there are several locations to choose.

Discover the rugged beauty of Cornwall with our top five coastal walks. Holidaying with a dog? We have some fantastic dog-friendly properties to choose from.

Enjoy exploring Cornwall’s coast with two free extra nights, when you book three or five nights with us. Walk more miles along the south west coastal path, catch a morning wave or soak-up the sea views.

Boscastle Harbour

0.7 miles Boscastle Harbour

The charming village of Boscastle is sheltered in the steep sided Valency Valley. It is one of Cornwall’s most romantic places, with impressive scenery and dramatic clifftops.

The walk starts at Boscastle car park, across the bridge and over the river. Walking alongside the river, you’ll pass ancient white-washed fisherman’s cottages. The coastal path leads you towards the sea, where you can look out onto the natural harbour and beyond to the horizon. From this spot, you will be able to see the meeting point of the two deep valleys.

Make your way back through the village, past the Boscastle Fishing Company, and head towards the Cobweb Inn for a well-deserved drink.

Carbis Bay to St Ives

1.9 miles
carbis bay

Just a 5 minute walk from 4 Godrevy Court and 4 Seas Reach is Carbis Bay. Often described as the Caribbean with its white sand and turquoise water, this large sheltered beach boasts calm bathing waters, flanked either side by green woodland.

Awarded its Blue Flag status year after year due to its clean water conditions, Carbis Bay is the perfect base for families and water sport enthusiasts. Wake up New Years Day and plunge into the ocean with a family dip, before stomping out on the coast path to near by St Ives and its collection of beaches, cafes, shops, restaurants and galleries.

Thinking about staying in St Ives? Have a look at our luxury St Ives holiday properties.

Porthtowan to Chapel Porth

3.4 miles Porthtowan beach

Trek the rocky coastal path, which leads-up onto the cliffs, and discover spectacular views across the Atlantic.

Carpeted with heather and gorse, the path between Porthtowan and Chapel Porth offers walkers perfect spots to watch the sunset.

The walk starts at Porthtowan and follows a steep path to the remains of an engine house at Wheal Charlotte. From here, the route crosses the copper lode and descends to Chapel Porth.

On the route back, why not stop off at Blue Bar on Porthtowan beach for a drink and a bite to eat.

Wheal Coates to St Agnes Head

1 miles Wheal Coates, St Agnes

(Image taken by Matthew Jessop, Visit Cornwall).

Walk within the tin mining landscape, against the backdrop of the Atlantic sea.

Starting at the Wheal Coates car park, walk through the gap within the hedgerow. Stroll down the rocky path towards the tin mine ruins of Wheal Coates.

From here, take the coastal path towards St Agnes Head, which is lined by blue heather. Listen to the rumble of the sea below as you zig-zag along the wild route. You’ll come across old tin mine buildings to explore as you make your way to the Beacon. A lone chimney and a large granite boulder will be on your path. Read information about tin mining and the surrounding heathland on the boards.

When you have reached St Agnes Head, take a moment to look back across the coastal path. You will see engine houses standing proud in the distance.

Watergate Bay to Porth Beach

3.6 miles Watergate Bay coastal path

Enjoy a brisk walk along the coastline from Watergate Bay to Porth beach.

From Watergate Bay car park, ascend the coastal path onto the cliff. Follow the path around and look below onto Watergate Bay beach. The path then continues along the coast, where you can hear the crashing of the waves below.

Walk past Fruitful Cove and Whipsiderry beach.

Whipsiderry is a quiet a beach, boasting rockpools and caves that are worth exploring. Sheltered by enormous cliffs, access to the beach can be negotiated by steep steps with railings down the cliff face.

Continuing along the footpath, you’ll find the remains of an ancient settlement. To explore the ruins, follow the footbridge across to Porth island. At the end of the island there is a blow hole, which is quite spectacular on windy days and best seen at mid-tide.

Join the coast path to Porth beach and head across to the Laid-back coffee shop to relax after your walk.

Embark on a scenic adventure with our guide to the circular walk from Trevone to Padstow, showcasing the breathtaking landscapes of Cornwall.

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Watergate Bay to Porth Beach walk

View Watergate Bay in all its glory with its exceptional facilities including the Extreme Academy, which offers a great range of adrenaline sports, great lifestyle shopping, and the legendary Beach Hut. After a bite to eat, strike out along the South West Coast Path and head to neighbouring Porth beach. 

Miles: 1.7
Time: 0:37 minutes

Porth Beach

Start off on the coast path above Watergate Beach, a two-mile stretch of golden sand. Warm and cold Atlantic currents converge here, giving rise to a wide range of marine plants and animals. Herring gulls and fulmars nest above the high water mark, and clumps of tufty pink thrift abound on the cliffs.

Visiting Cornwall for a romantic adventure? Check out our romantic cottages.

The rock pools are home to many molluscs and algae, as well as the astonishing shanny fish, which can survive out of the water for brief spells. Look out for bottle-nosed dolphins and harmless basking sharks out in the bay.

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

Turn left on the Coast Path and follow it back to Whipsiderry, where some of our favourite north Cornwall views, never disappoint.

The island near the steps on Whipsiderry Beach is Black Humphrey’s Rock, which is riddled with old iron mine workings. A couple of adits emerge near the steps, and some of the boulders on the beach contain iron ore.

There are some impressive caves this side of Trevelgue Head. White marble was once quarried in the pillared Cathedral Cavern, which has a number of tunnels leading away from it, and it is still possible to see a shaft in the roof and drill holes in the walls. Another large cave is Banqueting Hall, also known as Concert Cavern, where candlelight concerts have sometimes been held.

Check out our top 5 restaurants in Watergate Bay.

There is also a spectacular blowhole, just opposite the island, which can be reached by crossing the bridge. Around the time of half-tide the air in one of the caves is so violently compressed that it forces a jet of water through a blowhole in the cave with a thunderous roar that sounds like an old steam train suddenly emerging from a tunnel.

Fuel up on coffee and deck yourself out in the latest coastal style at Roo’s Beach and stroll along the golden sands of Porth beach before heading back to your swanky abode. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, head to the pub on the beach – The Mermaid, where they serve pizzas in the beer garden, local ales and a full lunch and evening menu.

Search self-catering holidays at Porth and Watergate Bay.

Paddleboarding in Cornwall

What better way to explore the craggy coastline of Cornwall than afloat on a paddleboard?

Tone your core and hone your balance as you glide from bay to bay, via smugglers’ caves, hidden coves and secret lagoons, peering down into the blue abyss to see jellyfish, crabs and shoals of fish. You might even snag a mackerel on a hand line or spot a seal on your tail.

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

Far from being solely a sublime summer sport, stand-up paddleboarding can be enjoyed all year round in Cornwall. In fact, autumn is one of our favourite times to launch from the crowd-free beaches, while the ocean is still warm and teeming with wildlife. Even on a crisp mid-winter’s day, in a decent wetsuit you can enjoy a paddle in a sheltered cove. Whether you pack your own inflatable paddleboard, or hire one or set out with an expert guide, paddleboarding is the perfect way to twist your perspective on the stunning Cornish coastline. Look from the outside in, and get your fill of fresh sea air, as you propel yourself across the water, interacting with your natural surroundings.

All of our Beach Retreats are a pebble’s throw from the coast, making it easy to enjoy a stand-up paddleboarding adventure from your doorstep. And in these crazy times, it’s more vital than ever to immerse ourselves in nature, embrace the seasons and stay active, in order to boost our mental health and happiness. As soon as you cast away from the stress of the daily grind on a paddleboard, your mind and body tunes into the sights and sounds of the coast, and the rhythm of your paddle, while developing your strength, endurance, balance, coordination and agility.

Expert SUP coach Dom Moore, of the Surf Sanctuary at Fistral beach, waxes lyrical about the benefits of paddle boarding in Cornwall: “SUP tours are a great way for newcomers and families to experience paddleboarding and discover the beautiful wilderness of our coastline.” Get away from it all and get to grips with the basics on a two-hour tour, or learn everything you need to know about paddle boarding on a two-day Atlantic Expedition. On the latter not only can you explore different routes and take your skills to a new level, you will also learn about the tides, the wind, the moon, how to read maps and apps, and safety and rescue techniques.

With over 400 miles of coastline to explore in Cornwall, there are so many paddleboarding routes and beaches to choose from. Make sure you take a dry bag, a picnic, and a mobile phone, and always check the weather, wind and swell forecast before you go. Never launch a paddleboard in offshore winds.


Gorran Haven

Launch from the historic harbour at Gorran Haven and nudge around the coast to the deserted Vault beach. If you’ve got enough paddle power and the wind and currents are in your favour, push on around Dodman point, where you’ll often encounter seals on the way to Hemmick beach.

Cast away with Haven Kayaks.

Holidays near Gorran Haven.

Gorran Haven

The Helford Passage

Time your trip with the tides and float along the Helford River, exploring hidden creeks and spotting plenty of wildlife on route. Families might like to try a 2.5-hour tour onboard an 8-man Mega SUP.

Cast away with Ocean High.

Cawsand Beach

The calm and sheltered waters lapping Cawsand are the perfect territory to get your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Nail the basic techniques with a SUP lesson, or join a full- or half-day guided trip to explore sea caves and secret coves.

Cast away with Cawsand Kayak Hire.

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Carbis Bay, St Ives

The sheltered, sub-tropical Carbis Bay is a divine location to cast off on a stand-up paddleboard. Explore the nooks and crannies of the coastline, gaze out to Godrevy lighthouse, and moor up on the St Ives’ beaches for food and refreshments.

Cast away with Ocean Sports Centre.

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The Gazzle and The Gannel, Newquay

Discover crabs and blennies hiding in the nooks and crannies of Newquay’s sheltered ‘Gazzle’ area, or float along the serene River Gannel spotting little egrets, greenshanks and other birds that flock to the rich pickings of the salt marshes.

Cast away with The Surf Sanctuary.

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Want to stay in Fistral? Have a look at our luxury holiday cottages in Fistral.

Wildlife to spot while paddleboarding in Cornwall…

Seabirds – lookout for the black and white feathers of Guillemots clinging to the sea cliffs the distinctive orange beaks of oyster catchers, the graceful shags and cormorants perched on the rocks, and gannets diving deep below the surface for fish.

Mackerel – the blue and green tiger strips of mackerel can be seen shimmering beneath the water in huge shoals in spring and summer. Throw out a hand line and catch one to put on the barbecue for dinner.

Spider crabs – easily recognisable by their red shells and long limbs, spider crabs have a claw-span up to 80cm and live up to 40 years.

Seals – the most frequently sighted mammals in Cornwall, seals are playful and inquisitive, s they’re likely pop up and eyeball you as you paddle by.

Dolphins – the most magical sight is a pod of dolphins, their fins dancing above the waves.

Discover adrenaline-pumping adventures and unforgettable experiences with Newquay’s wild activities.

Find your place by the sea with a self-catering holiday in Cornwall.


Bringing our favourite Whistlefish artwork to life

Have you been to any of these Cornwall locations?

Chances are, you’ve stepped into one of our Beach Retreats and spotted a beautiful piece of artwork from Whistlefish. Whistlefish supports artists locally and nationally, handpicking a selection of their favourites in traditional, contemporary and modern artistic styles.

Below we will be sharing some of our favourite pieces, pairing them with our must do activities in the locations painted. If you like any of the artwork shown, click the photo to each print and head over to their online shop or visit one of their galleries across Cornwall and Devon.

How many of these locations have you explored?

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

Camel Estuary

We just love walking the coast path that follows the Camel Estuary. Start off in Rock (home to two of our luxury Beach Retreats) and walk around to Daymer Bay and onto Polzeath. For a truly unique experience, like no other, jump on the ferry that pulls into Rock Road, and sail over to the opposite side to the estuary to the picture perfect Padstow Harbour. Here you’ll find a wonderful collections of shops, galleries (including our go to Whistlefish store) restaurants and bars. Tuck into some fish and chips on the harbour wall, but be sure to watch out for those pesky seagulls.

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Camel Estuary – Whistlefish



If we could show you what paradise looks like in Cornwall, this would be it. Porthcurno is located in west Cornwall, close to Land’s End and is an artists dream to paint. It’s azure blue waters, wild flowered clifftops and rock formations attract visitors all year round. Walk the clifftops over to Pedn Vounder and Treen, if you’re lucky you may even spot the wild ponies that roam here.

The famous Minack Theatre is located opposite the beach, perfectly carved into the cliffs. Take a seat in the cliff-side amphitheatre to watch one of their plays, a unique experience you’ll never forget.

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Cornwall Path – Rick Smith

Want to explore more of Cornwall? Have a look at our Sennen holiday properties.

Mother Ivey’s Bay

Soft powder sands, turquoise waters and the most stunning surroundings. Mother Ivey’s Bay is a quiet beach all year round, tucked away behind Trevose Head near Padstow, with the headland to the north and cliffs to the rear providing this beautiful beach with plenty of shelter from the wind. Parking is a mile away at Harlyn Bay, making this a little more difficult to get to, but if you have time, the coastal walk is breathtaking and having a beach to yourselves is certainly a reward for the walk.

Grab a photo of the lifeboat station that is located here.

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Mother Ivey’s Bay – Whistlefish


Fistral beach

You should have all heard of the world famous Fistral beach in Newquay. Described as Cornwall’s surfing capital and home to some of the most popular surfing competitions in the world. Ramble along the coast path to neighbouring Little Fistral and home to where Newquay Activity Centre offer a fantastic selection of activities.

For some fun that involves the whole family, we recommend the Family Fistral Rangers, a unique exploration of Newquay’s incredible coastline, pitched to suit all ages. They combine the skills of surfing, bodyboarding, eco coasteering, rock pooling and beach safety on the stunning shores surrounding the Fistral coastline, to create a family adventure like no other. The coastal weather and sea state dictate the activities but our instructors are fully qualified in delivering super-fun sessions with embedded ocean safety, heritage and wildlife lessons.

Find out more on what Newquay Activity Centre have to offer.

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Fistral Beach – Whistlefish



Oh sweet Marazion, home to the majestic St Michael’s Mount, our favourite National Trust attraction. Take the journey over to the unique tidal island and breathe in the sea air. Scented with springtime blossom or summer herbs, view the collection that includes puya, aloe, and agave rearing out of the bedrock, with succulents forming hot spots of suprise throughout the garden.

The castle itself has shades of the past in every room and new discoveries waiting around every corner, dig deep into the Mount’s history, experience a different kind of family home or simply let your imagination run wild.

Book tickets online ahead of your visit.

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St Michael’s Mount – Simon Harmer


Watergate Bay

With two miles of golden, wave-lashed sands flanked by cliffs flecked with sea pinks and gorse, it’s little wonder that surfers, dog walkers and beach lovers flock here for the fusion of wild scenery, rolling waves and beachside restaurants.

A true haven on the edge of the UK’s surfing capital, Watergate Bay was once a hot spot for dedicated surfers awaiting the Atlantic swells. But in recent years it’s stepped up to cater for the well-heeled wannabe surf gang, who can hit the waves and return to the creature comforts of swanky beachside accommodation, and dine in some of the region’s foodie hotspots.

Here our go to activity is to dine at Emily Scott Food, watch the waves roll in and grab an after dinner cocktail at the iconic Beach Hut.

View our Watergate Bay Beach Retreats.

Watergate Bay – Whistlefish


Wheal Coates Mine

For a real Cornish experience we highly recommend a visit to Wheal Coates Mine in St Agnes. Located on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, this is the most photographed former tin mine in Cornwall. Park at Chapel Porth Beach car park and step onto the coast path following the ebb & flow of the ocean. If you have time, pack up a picnic and perch in front of the mine with a traditional Cornish pasty or a cream tea (jam first of course).

Love ice cream? The beach below is famous for its ‘Hedgehog ice cream’. Enjoy a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, with a large dollop of clotted cream rolled in caramelised hazelnuts or fudge. Sounds delicious right?

View our St Agnes Beach Retreats.

A Sunny Day at Wheal Coates – Georgie Harrison

Capture Cornwall’s beauty with our guide to the most Instagrammable locations!

View the full collection of Beach Retreats in Cornwall.

To see more artwork from Whistlefish visit their online shop. 

Walk through Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay

Surfing hub and stylish beach resort, Watergate Bay effortlessly flaunts the chic coastal lifestyle.

With two miles of golden, wave-lashed sands flanked by cliffs flecked with sea pinks and gorse, it’s little wonder that surfers, dog walkers and beach lovers flock here for the fusion of wild scenery, rolling waves and beachside restaurants.

Visiting Cornwall with an electric car? Check out our holiday lets with electric car (EV) charging points.

A true haven on the edge of the UK’s surfing capital, Watergate Bay was once a hot spot for dedicated surfers awaiting the Atlantic swells. But in recent years it’s stepped up to cater for the well-heeled wannabe surf gang, who can hit the waves and return to the creature comforts of swanky beachside accommodation, and dine in some of the region’s foodie hotspots.

Watergate Bay

View Watergate Bay in all its glory when you walk from neighbouring Porth beach. Fuel up on coffee and deck yourself out in the latest coastal style at Roo’s Beach, then strike out along the rugged promontory of Porth Island – where you can find the remains of an Iron Age castle and witness the sea spraying from the blow hole at mid tide.

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

At low tide you can descend the steep cliff staircase at Whipsiderry and make sandy footprints all the way to Watergate Bay (just be careful not to get cut off by the tides). However, the best views are captured from the coast path, which hugs the cliffs and boasts breath-taking views of Newquay and the North Cornish coast.

Once you get to Watergate Bay, there are plenty of places to pause and immerse yourself in the surfy vibe. Try an array of watersports – from surfing to hand planing – at the Extreme Academy, and pop into the Shop on the Beach to get all the kit you need for a day at the seaside.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes down to places to eat with a sea view. Local food hero Emily Scott will be serving locally sourced produce in rustic dishes at Emily Scott Food. For something more laidback, grab a table at the Beach Hut for seafood and extreme hot chocolates with sandy toes. Or for a fusion of American cuisine and classic Cornish ingredients, opt for Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel. Also in the hotel is the Living Space, which is a divine spot for coffee, sharing platters and classic dishes with expansive ocean views.

Hot chocolate at Watergate Bay

Keep your eye on the local events calendar during your visit, as Watergate Bay has become a buzzing venue for all sorts of events and entertainment. As well as being the site for Boardmasters – Europe’s largest surfing and music festival, it’s also host to a drive-in cinema, SUP championships, a speed hill climb and a pumping New Year’s Eve party.

Being a vast, dog-friendly beach there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and get away from the crowds. Wait for the tide to ebb and walk to the North end, where you’ll find turquoise rock pools teeming with blennies, crabs and other sea critters. Take the South West Coast Path north and you can follow two miles of eye-popping scenery to the next sandy runway of Mawgan Porth. Keep your eyes peeled for rare seabirds and dolphins at Beacon Cove – coastal wildlife flocks to this pristine and inaccessible beach.

Experience the magic of the season and discover festive nights at Watergate Bay.

Book a self-catering holiday in Watergate Bay.

5 webcams to watch in Cornwall

Stay close to Cornwall wherever you are with some of our favourite beachside webcams

We appreciate you are missing our amazing Cornish beaches at the moment, so we’ve handpicked five webcams that allow you enjoy a sneak peek at some of your favourite locations.

To see more of your special place by the sea and to keep up to date with all things Beach Retreats follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

Watergate Bay

Home to many of our contemporary self-catering holiday homes, you’ll find plenty to watch at Watergate Bay no matter what the season. See the local surfers catch a morning wave, watch wild swimmers take the plunge and spot wind surfers and dog walkers in abundance. This webcam is positioned at The Beach Hut, one of our favourite go to places to grab a bite to eat as the sun sets.

Watch Watergate Bay webcam.


Whitsand Bay

With its dramatic scenery, craggy cliffs and long stretch of golden sand, Whitsand Bay is located in south east Cornwall and is home to six of our contemporary coastal cabins. Surf brand Magic Seaweed have placed a webcam here for locals to check the surf before heading down the winding paths and cliff. This beautiful stretch of Cornish coast is bound by the Lynher and Tamar rivers, the Hamoaze and the sea. Known as Cornwall’s ‘Forgotten Corner’, Whitsand Bay is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Watch Whitsand Bay webcam.


Fistral Beach

If you miss jumping from bed to board and need a quick surf fix, this Fistral beach webcam will certainly do the trick. Known as one of Cornwall’s top surfing spots, Fistral is home to countless surf festivals, Rick Stein’s Fistral, The Fish House, Fistral Surf School and our luxury beachside apartments and houses. Watch the surfers head in at sunrise or catch a famous Fistral sunset. This large beach is dog friendly all year round, so you’ll certainly see some wagging tails.

Watch Fistral Beach webcam.

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

Interested in finding out more about Newquay? Discover what to do in and around Newquay.

Rock Beach

From bobbing boats, to kayakers and stand up paddle boarders, Rock in north Cornwall is an exclusive watersports destination giving you plenty to follow when missing your Cornish slice of heaven. The beach provides a long expanse of golden sand at low tide, leading round to Brea Hill and the popular Daymer Bay. Watch the world go by and start planning your next adventure to one of our brand new Rock properties, Bijou and Ferrypoint.

Watch Rock Beach webcam.


Minack Theatre and Porthcurno

Take a peek at Cornwall, way down west and watch the waves crash against the cliffs at the famous open air Minack Theatre. Its backdrop can’t be beaten with Pedn Vounder and Porthcurno’s white Caribbean like sand and crystal clear water. Keep your eyes peeled between May and September and sit back whilst a live theatrical play takes place.

Watch Minack Theatre webcam.

Weekend retreat in Cawsand


CawsandLocal blogger Hayley Spurway and her family cast away to Cawsand for a weekend…

Following the directions along narrow, winding streets to reach The Penthouse 4 The Bay, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you might end up driving straight into the sea. It’s only just before you hit the shoreline that you turn into an underground parking lot beneath a brand new complex of beachside apartments: one of which was our weekend pad.

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


While the boys’ jaws dropped at the technical bling and bunk beds – with a PS4, bedside screens and all the gadgets they’re not allowed at home – I was stunned by the eye-popping views and our proximity to the big blue and. A serene ocean-scape flooded through every window, with a pop-out balcony in my penthouse suite, where I could soak up said views and listen to the meditative echo of the waves in a private sanctuary, squirrelled away from the rest of the house. I even had control of my own Sonos sound system, so with excitement levels running high and the boys already commandeering the soundtrack downstairs, I cranked up my own tunes, took a deep breath of briny air, and kicked back on the plump cushions scattered on the bed. Bliss.


Ensconced in the coastal lifestyle, our hectic pace of life quickly adjusted to the beat of the ocean and the steady ebb and flow of the tides. We eased open electric blinds to watch the sublime sunrise over Plymouth Sound, where sailing boats crossed the watery border between Devon and Cornwall. Our bare feet padded across the sand and along the cobbled seaside lanes, on the way to buy fresh sourdough bread from The Old Bakery – ready for breakfast after an invigorating sea swim. Skimming stones for the dog to chase, splashing in the shallows and swimming out to sea until the cold water prickled our skin, sparked a hearty appetite for coffee and eggs, served back on our balcony overhanging the sea.

Take a scenic walk through Lynton and Lynmouth, exploring their charming streets, historic landmarks, and breathtaking coastal views in North Devon.


Although we were content to while away hours in our beach pad – playing snakes and ladders and scrabble, and gorging on Cornish cream teas (the ingredients thoughtfully provided by the owners) – it was time to breakout on some family adventures and explore this divine and ‘forgotten corner’ of Cornwall. So, fresh Cornish pasties in hand, and with the dog in tow, we climbed aboard the little Cawsand Ferry, which puttered to and from the beach, right outside our door.

Explore the picturesque village of Cawsand in South Cornwall with Beach Retreats, offering charming cottages and stunning coastal views for a relaxing getaway.

Passing maritime and military landmarks, we crossed the watery border into Devon, tracking a course towards the iconic Smeaton’s Tower – a lighthouse that was originally built to deter sailors from Eddystone Reef, then moved stone by stone Plymouth Hoe in 1884. Climbing the lighthouse tower is just one of the amazing things to do once the ferry moors in Plymouth, and another family favourite is a visit to the largest aquarium in the UK. However, after a ramble along the Barbican, we stepped into the fascinating Mayflower museum, took a twirl along the hoe, and tucked into fish and chips. By then is was already time to hop back on the ferry for a bumpy crossing back to Cawsand, which was swiftly followed by a sundowner at The Bay, basking in the last glimpse of the autumn sunshine.


Despite a tempting menu at The Bay bar and restaurant, we chose to head back upstairs and make use of the high-spec kitchen in our penthouse. After all, what’s the point in residing in a stylish beach house if you don’t make the most of it? Whether you want to throw a dinner party or cook up a hearty family feast, the kitchen is well equipped for all occasions. And whether you’re cooking, chilling out on the sofa, or sitting at the dinner table, the views from the open-plan living space far outdo those from the restaurant downstairs (even if our food wasn’t as high calibre as the seafood-biased menu being served there).


The beauty of being able to bring your dog to stay at The Bay is that are so many walks on the doorstep. From October to Easter you can pad straight out onto the dog-friendly sands with your morning coffee, while neighbouring Kingsand beach is paw-friendly year round. Keen for a picturesque Sunday stroll, we made tracks along the South West Coast Path, following chestnut-littered paths beneath woodland canopies, to the Rame Peninsula.

With the trail never veering more than a pebble’s throw from the water, we peeped through the autumn leaves to sailing boats on Plymouth Sound, before emerging at the historic Penlee Battery. This made the perfect spot for a picnic, while the kids made the most of nature’s playground, clambering on craggy rocks where fishermen lured Sunday lunch onto their lines. The coast path continues all the way to the chapel perched on the tip of Rame Head, or you can follow a circular route back to Kingsand.


Staying at The Bay, there’s no need for a car to enjoy plenty of family adventures by ferry and foot. However, the whisper of a wave on nearby Whitsand Bay was enough to nudge us to start the engine, and explore the sweeping expanse of coastline wrapping its way back towards south Cornwall. Winding along mile-upon-mile of wave-lashed coastline, it makes an epic road trip through a landscape that echoes with history and legend. It’s thought that Freathy Cliffs are still haunted by the ghost of a smuggler named Silas Finn, who betrayed his friends to save himself from the authorities.

Sitting beneath the cliffs at Eddystone Beach Café, we watched the surfers who now flock to this coastline in place of the smugglers and seafarers of days gone by. It’s the juxtaposition of past and present – the meeting of a rich heritage and state-of-the-art living – that makes this ‘forgotten corner’ of Cornwall so magical. And as the sun went down on our weekend away, we felt relaxed and rejuvenated, having been immersed in the history and beauty of Cornwall, all from the comfort of a contemporary beach house.


The Penthouse, 4 The Bay, The Bound, Cawsand
Sleeps 8 in 4 spacious bedrooms with en suites

Book a stay at The Penthouse 4 The Bay in Cawsand.

King of the Surf – Pete Abell, Day in the Life of

Do you dream about making a career out of living by the beach and surfing? We catch a few waves with Pete Abell of KingSurf, to get the lowdown on running your own surf school in Cornwall. But before you read on, check this video showcasing a typical day in the life of a surf instructor.

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL OCTOBER DAY when I paddle out at Mawgan Porth to meet Pete in the waves. When there’s 2-3ft clean surf, there’s nowhere better to meet a surf instructor than in the very territory that set his path to running one of the best surf schools in Cornwall. As he rides wave after wave, chatting enthusiastically between each ride, Pete’s passion for surfing and the ocean shows no bounds. Eventually I persuade to get him to return to dry land, for a coffee and chat.

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“Every morning when I wake up, I look out the window to see if the sky’s blue and the surf’s good. I get the coffee machine going, check the waves and the flag on the back on the surf school, to decide whether it’s worth leaving the wife and the baby to head in for a surf before I’ve got two or three lessons to teach. I often wake up 5am, and once I’ve looked outside I can’t get back to sleep if the conditions are good – I just want to be out there in the waves.”


“I’m actually just a regular Dad – a family man. As I’ve got older I’ve found myself getting up less and less for those early surfs. I end up playing with the baby and wooden train set instead. I do try and get a surf in for myself every day if I can, but most mornings my wife and I walk up to the top of the cliffs together to get a better view of what the waves and banks are doing from a higher point of view. If it’s looking good, we’ll come back, have breakfast and get in.”


“I live right beside the surf school, in Mawgan Porth. Which is great in the winter when you can just pop down, do your lesson or have a surf, then get warm again. And it’s easy to nip down and get the boards out to be geared up and ready for the first lesson each morning. But sometimes in the summer you can end up spending all your time at work. I spend practically all my time in Mawgan Porth – work there, sleep there, socialise there – it’s a great community. I can go six weeks without leaving the valley. If Tesco didn’t deliver I wouldn’t eat.”

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“My father took me to Mawgan Porth when I was eight and we borrowed some foamies to mess around in the waves. As soon as we got home to Gloucestershire I craved being back by the beach, even at that young age. Whenever we went on holiday to the beach I’d spend about 10 hours a day in the sea. We had family holidays all over Cornwall, but as soon as I got my driving licence I always returned to Mawgan Porth. Eventually it became my home. And now the time’s come for me to pass that love for the ocean onto my own son, Marlon. He stood up on his first wave at Mawgan Porth when he was 11 months old.”


“Surfing’s become so popular now. We run two or three surfing lessons a day. We don’t want our group sizes to get too big, so we keep the ratios down by running three, or even four lessons a day. We put everyone in groups that suit their ability, and try to keep that personal experience. Mawgan Porth beach is so wide at low tide, that even if there are three groups running simultaneously, you feel like you have plenty of space.

We’ve got huge boards and high-tech kit, so everyone’s got a 99% chance of standing up in their first lesson. Our main aim is make sure you ride your first wave and are stoked. But we also ensure we teach you about staying safe in the ocean.

I love watching people progress, then see them come back with their own board (I’ll even take them to the shop to make sure they get the right board to suit them) for the odd advanced lesson. It’s not just the physical progression; what I love most is when I see that I’ve made surfing a part of someone’s life.”


“Look at us – we’re sat here in short sleeves, balmy sunshine, just out of the sea. September and October are the best months ever in Cornwall, and May and June are epic, too. The best advice I can give to families and couples that don’t have to fit in with school holidays, is to come down before and after peak season. In fact, the most under-rated season in Cornwall is winter. It’s just so good – there’s no one here, it’s half the price to stay anywhere, there are no queues, you can book a table at any restaurant, and the waves can be amazing. We run winter surf camps – including food, surf forecasting and video analysis – that we can run from your Beach Retreat. It’s a huge step up from a regular surfing lesson.”


“Bad weather can make surfing even better. And it’s way more fun than playing pitch and putt in the rain! When you head out in the wind and rain, I know you’re committed and that you really want to learn to surf. I would – hand on heart – say that I can keep you as warm in the winter as I can in the summer. Sometimes even warmer. We’ve got 5mm wetsuits, hoods, boots and gloves. A bit of wind and blown out waves aren’t going to affect you if you’re just learning. And if you’re intermediate and looking for green waves to progress on, we’ll take you to a more sheltered beach. Being on the outskirts of Newquay, we’re so lucky to have access to beaches for all different conditions.”


I used to listen punk or heavy metal to get me amped for surfing. But now I go surfing just to glide around on the waves and I don’t push myself. So I prefer to listen to something mellow like Ben Howard instead. I go out to be at one with the sea and in harmony with nature. The older I get the less waves I want. To let someone else go and catch the stoke is almost as good as having it myself.


I love the surfing and beach lifestyle here in Cornwall. The pace is less hectic and the nature of life is less competitive. People pay thousands of pounds to come down and live the lifestyle that we live every day… the surf, the laid-back social life and the sundowners. 99% of my life revolves around surfing. We’re so lucky to call this place home.

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School’s out and Surf’s Up

Hit the waves with a surf break in Cornwall…

So far this summer, Cornwall has been blessed with sunshine and swell – which means plenty of surfers are flocking here with their boards, ready to enjoy the waves from sunrise to sunset. Here are some of our favourite surfing beaches on the doorstep of our Beach Retreats:

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Watergate Bay

The home of Beach Retreats HQ and one of the most consistent beach breaks in Cornwall, Watergate Bay is one of the most popular surf spots on the outskirts of Newquay. When the swell forecast is good make sure you’re up at dawn if you want to beat the crowds, or stay in until the sun sets over the corduroy lines peeling in from the horizon. If you need to hone your surfing skills you can book a session with the experts at the Extreme Academy, or hire any kit you need if you don’t have your own. Check the waves from one of our apartments nudging the ocean.

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Fistral Beach

Hailed as the surfing capital of Britain, Fistral is where many of Cornwall’s pro surfers cut their teeth. Its world-class waves lure surfers from far and wide, with plenty of peaks for all abilities to spread out across the bay. With a line-up of surf outlets and surf schools to get you looking the part and chasing your own surfing career down the line, it’s the place to become a bona fide surfer. Between sessions you can eat and drink in swanky beach bars, or escape the crowds and soak up the action from one of our apartments overlooking this legendary surfing location.

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Mawgan Porth

A short hop north of Newquay and much less crowded than the likes of Fistral, Mawgan Porth is home to a tight-knit surfing community. Its sandy runway is a swell magnet and the surf breaks on all tides, so whether you want to catch green waves or practise on the white water, there are always waves to be ridden. Get to your feet under the tutelage of one of Cornwall’s best-loved surf schools – Kingsurf – and grab any kit you need from the huddle of surfside hire shops and surf stores. When you’ve had enough of beach life, retreat to your beachside house, just minutes away and dry off in front of the log burner or bask on the balcony.

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Summerleaze, Bude

At the hub of Bude’s vibrant surfing community, Summerleaze beach offers a series of peaks to choose from and is a great location for beginners to hit the waves. In one of Cornwall’s top surf towns, it’s little surprise that it gets super crowded in summer, but if you opt for lessons with Bude Surfing Experience, Scott Marshall and his team will find the best peak for your ability, help you hone your surfing technique and offer you a hot shower at the end of your session. Veer just over mile inland from the crowds and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own family pile at Wychwood Lodge, where you can sink into the hot tub, curl up by the log burner and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle between surf sessions.

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Choose a self-catering house, apartment or penthouse at The Dunes behind Perranporth beach, and enjoy easy access onto a two-mile stretch of dune-backed beach. From the northern end of Perran Sands, all the way to the more sheltered Droskyn, which is protected by the cliffs at the southern end, there are plenty of peaks so you can spread out from the crowds. Just be aware of rips and if you need some know-how get some lessons with Perranporth Surf School.

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With easy parking, beachside amenities and peaks that work on all tides, Porthtowan is a popular spot with all levels of surfers. It can be a punchy break, but as the tide drops you can shift onto the (sometimes) more mellow waves at Lushingtons at the southern end. Tris Surf Shop has been in town since ’72, so it’s our go-to for lessons, gear and advice. Once you’ve got spaghetti arms and can surf no more, head back to The Beach apartments and while away the day watching the waves from balcony, or head to the surfside Blue Bar for a pint and a legendary burger.

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Whitsand Bay

While the south coast isn’t renowned for its surf, when the swell wraps around the tip of the rugged Rame Peninsula, Whitsand Bay’s four miles of golden sands are blessed with plenty of peaks where surfers can get their fill. From the decking or living room of Alpha, a two-bedroom cabin perched on Freathy Cliff, you can check the surf and wait for the waves while you relax on a sun lounger or on the sofa. And when the surf’s up, simply grab your board from the surfboard storage area and skip down the steps to the sea. If you need equipment or lessons tap up the Adventure Bay surf school, and if the waves are flat you can take the plunge on a thrilling coasteering trip instead.

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A short hop from Land’s End, Sennen Cove is the breeding ground of a tribe of committed and talented surfers. A series of sand-bottomed peaks (watch out for rocks at the southern end) pick up any swell, so you can often find a wave here when no other spots on the north coast are working. Hit the surf with the British pros at Smart Surf School and kick back at Sea Salt, our new property perched above Sennen Cove, where you can eyeball the surf and the turquoise hues of the ocean from the comfort of your living room.

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Dive into the exciting world of alternative surf activities in Cornwall and discover new ways to enjoy the waves.

Surf Safely

    1. Use lifeguarded beaches and surf between the black and white flags, as this is where the lifeguards have designated as safe to use. A red flag indicates that it’s unsafe to enter the water.
    1. Be careful of rips – strong channels of water that can drag you quickly out to sea.
    1. Don’t drop-in on other surfers – if there is a surfer already on the wave, don’t try to catch it. The surfer who takes off closest to the peak (where the wave breaks) has the right of way.
    1. Don’t get in the way and don’t ditch your board – if you let go of your board to dive under a wave it may hit another surfer.
    1. Respect the locals and be friendly in the sea – it makes surfing much more fun.

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Chasing waterfalls in Cornwall

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

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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.

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.

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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.