Category: Festive

Shoreside inspired drinks

Christmas cocktail nights, seasonal hosting, or settling down with a warming drink over ice on a dark evening, add some coastal flavours and inspiration to your glass…

House seaweed bitters for umami notes, gin that could only have been made in St Ives or an oakwood and sea rosemary, alcohol-free, take on an after-work classic. What will it be?

Only in St Ives

St Ives Gin came into existence around six years ago in a restaurant looking out to St Ives harbour, says Tim at St Ives Liquor Company (Silco): “Considering the amount of G&Ts we sold and the fact we made everything else ourselves it made sense to make our own alcohol.”

Image credit: Silco St Ives Gin restaurant

What started with a locally-sourced and made gin has expanded to nine drinks: other gins, liqueurs and ready-to-drink cocktails are now on the menu at Eat Silco.

Image credit: Silco St Ives Gin

“From day one, we’ve foraged for botanicals from the surrounding area. No air miles, sustainable, and, so, competitively priced,” explains Tim.

The west Cornwall coastal stars of the show at Silco are bladderwrack seaweed and the shoreline plant samphire. “Their minerality and salinity really balance drinks nicely,” says Tim.

“We have always used gorse in our drinks; we find the slightly bitter coconut flavour works so well in cordials and infusions. We also use seaweed to add an additional umami note.”

Spritz sans-alcohol

Days spent in the north Cornwall surf as instructor and evenings at work in London bars led Alistair Frost and Ed Grieg-Gran to create Pentire, a maker of non-alcoholic spirits, aperitifs and cocktails founded on botanical flavours native to the Cornish coast.

And Pentire has just released its own sea-influenced take on an after-work classic, originating from Italy: the spritz. Like other Pentire drinks, this one has been “crafted in collaboration with some of the world’s best bartenders, who share our love for the outdoors,” says Alistair.

Image credit: Pentire Coastal Spritz

The Pentire Coastal Spritz aims for a balance of natural bitter flavours and refreshing coastal tones, taking the company’s signature coastal blend and combining it with tastes of blood orange, sea rosemary and oakwood.

The core flavours in Pentire drinks came together during experiments in a kitchen in Port Isaac, after Alistair’s discovery – with the help of a botanist – of 1000 different plant species growing along just one Cornish headland.

“It’s a naturally bitter and refreshing aperitif,” says Alistair.

Foraged cocktails

At Tom Thumb cocktail bar in Newquay the drinks menu is currently all about the RNLI with a selection of sea-themed spirits ready to mix. These reach further along the coastline to the Channel Islands, including Salcombe Island Street Rum and a Tidal Rum from Jersey.

 Image credit: Jamie Mitchell, Tom Thumb

The ingredients that go with the spirits though come from much closer to the bar. “We always forage for local ingredients,” says Jamie. “We are blessed to have many naturally occurring products to use along the coast. We have always used gorse in our drinks; we find the slightly bitter coconut flavour works so well in cordials and infusions.

“We also use seaweed to add an additional umami note. The added saline from seaweed also brings underlying notes and can add another element to the drink almost as if its seasoning the drink for us.”

On the current lifeboat-themed menu is The Oggin (an old maritime word for the sea). “We infuse gorse and cacao nibs through a pear cognac, and add a number of other ingredients all bought together by our house seaweed bitters,” says Jamie.

Another drink on the menu takes its name from an active member of the Newquay RNLI. The Dangerous Bri is a cherry-flavoured carbonated Negroni, made with Tidal Rum and a kelp seaweed dilution.

A measure of coastal plant-infused spritz with soda, something stronger with seaweed bitters or the fresh taste of the sea with tonic, just some of the shoreside inspired drinks produced and mixed around Cornwall. Why not add a splash of coastal wonder to your drinks line-up this festive season.

Festive Nights at Watergate Bay

From 1 December, Watergate Bay is lighting up with a festive spirit. From new shorefront dining experiences, wreath making, Champagne tasting, live music and a dozen Christmas trees each telling a different story, discover the advent of Festive Nights on the beach this December. Here’s what’s on at Watergate Bay this Christmas.

Find your retreat by the bay

Twelve Trees of Christmas

Pearly oyster shells and bee-friendly flower seed packets, beach-found Lego bricks and hand-tied botanical decorations – this year the iconic Christmas trees around Watergate Bay will do more than just look beautiful; they’ll be telling stories too. Twelve Trees of Christmas draws on twelve different friends, partners, suppliers and team members, each will decorate a tree in their own unique way. Expect sustainable, organic displays from Emily at 3 Acre Blooms; recycled, repurposed decorations from Beach Guardian; botanical aromas from land&water, and coffee card baubles from Origin Coffee Roasters.

If you’re staying in the area, be sure to wait until dusk and experience the trees as they light up by the ocean.

Craft workshops

Through December Watergate Bay Hotel is hosting a full calendar of winter events to spark that Christmas feeling, including hands-on wreath making, monoprinting and calligraphy workshops. Feel festive whilst crafting a perfect gift to take home to a loved one- book your session here.

Zacry’s on the sea wall

From the start of December, the popular modern dining hub of Zacry’s is moving to the seafront position down on the sea wall, directly overlooking the tidelines of Watergate Bay. Tuck into a seasonally changing three-course menu, bringing the best of Cornish sea, sky and field to the table. If you’re staying with us in the area this winter, be sure to book your table.

Curry Fridays at The Beach Hut

Warming spices and local hero ingredients, head to The Beach Hut for their new Curry Fridays. Every Friday through November and December they’ll be cooking up authentic Indian feasts, with lively Bengali curries, and all of the extras; lemon turmeric rice, warm chapati, spiced carrot pickle, onion bhaji and quince ‘mango’ chutney.

Book your retreat by the bay and experience the seasonal magic of North Cornwall

Celebrate by the sea

Create new family traditions and truly memorable festive moments. Coastal celebration brings the awe-inspiring and restorative power of the sea to your Christmas and NYE…

Winter might mean wet weather, temperatures that bite and short, dark days, but that doesn’t mean you need to steer clear of the seaside.

In fact, a coastal festive break might be just what’s needed to break out of the yearly cycle of heaving crowds in shopping centres, the last-minute panic buying, the relentless sounds of devices come Boxing Day and wondering how to make December 31st special.

“An afternoon on a beach you have all to yourselves, before climbing into an outdoor hot tub back at your retreat as the sun sets.”

Image credit: Mia Rumble

Create your klys

The Cornish word for cosy or snug, klys can loosely be equated with the Danish concept of hygge – a way of life that embraces cosiness, warmth and good times with friends and family, with the help of scented candles, cashmere socks, twinkling fairy lights and anything else that says cosy to you.

“Think rugged coastal walks, cliff views and the ocean stretching out before you, ending in a warm and welcoming 12th century pub with delicious local food and drink.”

Where klys differs, is the role the beautiful Cornish wilderness has to play. Immerse yourself in the raw elements of our winters outside, before heading indoors to warm your soul in front of a log fire and a hot cup of cocoa.

Think rugged coastal walks, cliff views and the ocean stretching out before you, ending in a warm and welcoming 12th century pub with delicious local food and drink.

Or an afternoon on a beach you have all to yourselves, before climbing into an outdoor hot tub back at your retreat as the sun sets.

Celebratory splash

It might seem ridiculous – or completely insane – to plunge into freezing water when the mercury is dropping rapidly outside, but the effects of cold water are well known. Chief among them, that natural high thanks to the heady rush of chemicals, endorphins and hormones circulating around your body, lifting your mood, making you feel alive. Really alive.

Image credit: Mia Rumble

That cold rush surrounded by Cornwall’s varied and beautiful coastal landscapes is an unrivalled feeling.

Local favourite locations include Christmas day gatherings in Sennen Cove, Porthtowan beach and Coverack harbour on The Lizard, where you’ll be joined by other brave souls.

Don’t stay in too long, be aware of how you’re feeling and prepared – with warm clothes at the ready for when you get out. For cold water novices, check out the Outdoor Swimming Society and RNLI guidance.

Auld Lang Syne to a new scene

From assembling, hand-in-hand on a deserted beach at midnight to usher in the new year to gathering round a fire with the sound of the sea in the distance, the ocean is an epic backdrop for special celebrations.

Image credit: Mia Rumble

It’s a time of high drama at sea, with waves crashing into harbour walls and barracking monumental cliffs. Sealife of the most epic proportions can also be spotted in winter months, so keep those eyes peeled for fin or humpback whales cresting the surf.

“Think celebratory evenings filled with talk, laughter, insight and meaningful connection.”

Make a visit to some of the most impressive vantage points we have, like Cape Cornwall – exposed to the full might of the Atlantic and part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

Or share warming refreshment and celebrations at your retreat, while drinking in the expansive sea views – so you get the best of both worlds.

Deep connections

It’s Christmas Day afternoon or post New Years’ Day lunch. You’ve eaten too much, you’ve drunk too much, and now you’re slumped on the sofa in front of the TV surrounded by your family and friends. No-one’s really talking to each other. Sound familiar?

What if, you swapped the TV for a crackling fire with a sea view or candle-lit coffee table? Like staring at the sea or the stars, flickering flames are mesmerising and elemental. And in the winter months, they can be a source of warmth, literally and figuratively.

Think celebratory evenings filled with talk, laughter, insight and meaningful connection. Play cards or be more profound: explore your family’s or friends’ deeper selves: what are their private joys, fears, regrets and hopes? What do they wish they could do in a utopia and why? Celebrating by the sea could turn out to be more surprising than you expect.

Gather and celebrate on the beach or find just the place to huddle up for the festive season.

New Year in Cornwall

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

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

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

Dress up for a street party, St Ives

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

harbour beach st ives

Watch fireworks over Newquay Harbour

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

Have a New Year’s day sea swim, Bude

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

Dine by the sea

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

Enjoy a beach walk

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

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

5 retreats for Christmas

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

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

Ellenglaze, sleeps 10, Holywell Bay

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

Gwynver Beach Cottage, sleeps 10, Sennen Cove

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

Gwel Teg, sleeps 12, Porth

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

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

Swell, sleeps 8, Falmouth

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

Seamist, sleeps 16, Watergate Bay

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

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

New traditions

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

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

Christmas morning sea swim

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

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

Christmas drinks

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

Christmas Day coastal walk

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

Beach scavenger hunt

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

Stargazing on Christmas Eve

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

Seafood dinner

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

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

Image credit: Graham Gaunt photowork

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

National Trust at Christmas

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

Here’s a run down of what’s on.

Find a festive retreat in Cornwall

Cotehele

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

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

Trelissick

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

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

Lanhydrock

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

Trerice

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

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

Godolphin

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

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

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