Category: Like a local

Walk through Porthcothan

Meander down flower-lined paths, across white sand and above tropic-like lagoons on this short scenic stroll.

Lowenna from our marketing team takes us on a walk-through from Porthcothan Bay to the mesmerising Trescoe Islands.

It’s the morning of April 13th, and the spring sunshine feels surprisingly warm on my face as I head through the gate into the National Trust fields overlooking Porthcothan, where this walk begins. The fields gently slope towards the strip of sea in the distance, and acres of yellow of gorse beyond contrast with the bright blue of the sky. This view would make for a perfect painting, with its pops of primary colours. I can smell the sea breeze from here, its salty whisper inviting me towards the sand. When you depart on this route, be sure to stop and indulge in this moment- the feeling of promise at the beginning of a walk, when you can see the ocean that awaits.

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Crossing green grass, you will be led down a winding coastal path, the gap between you and the sand below marked with a row of white hawthorn blossom. You will then cross a small bridge onto the bay, or if you fancy it, bare your feet and paddle through the gentle river. I reach the main stretch of beach and delight in the serenity of it- the skies are clear and it’s a popular time of year for holiday makers, yet the bay remains almost empty except for the occasional dog walker in the distance.

The walk across the bay is the perfect time to delight in the little things- the ebbs and patterns that the tide has formed in the sand, the geometrical structure of the rocky cliffs that line the cove, the odd gull soaring high in the sky. Head towards the left-hand side of the beach, where you can follow the cliffs around the corner and find the hidden coves which lie tucked away.

Out to sea, you can see Porthcothan’s iconic rocks and islands, striking in their stand-alone structure. This part of the beach starts to feel more like a Greek island, with its rich turquoise water and rocky sea stacks. It’s crucial to do this walk at low tide, when the water grants you entry to the secret lagoon behind Trescore Islands. At high tide, the vast swathes of sand disappear but the headlands protect the sea from the ocean swell, meaning the water is generally calm.

Explore Cornwall’s best seafood restaurants, where fresh catches and coastal charm promise an unforgettable dining experience by the sea.
There is a footpath here which is only accessible at low tide and leads you towards Trescore Islands, the end destination of this walk. I clamber up, excited by what might await on the other side of the scattered cliffs. The coastal breeze which meets you as you stand atop the cliff is refreshing under the heat of the spring sun. This path joins the South West Coast path, and in just a few meters, the lagoon of Trescore islands comes into sight. The tide must be fully out to be able to access the pool at ground level and swim in the water, so clear that you can see patterns of rocks and sand on the seabed.

After taking in the tropical feel of this private corner of the beach, I begin to head back along the coast path. However, if the beauty of this scenery leaves you wanting more, the walk can be continued along the South West coast path, where you can head North to Constantine Bay or South to the iconic Bedruthan steps. Feeling hungry? Just follow the coast path inland to find Porthcothan Bay stores, where you’ll find fresh takeaway food alongside surf hire, local produce and gifts. Tuck into a hot, foamy coffee and flaky pastry to refuel and delight in the peace and quiet that Porthcothan has to offer.

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Slow travel in Cornwall


On the upside, this crazy year has given us all many reasons to stay closer to home and slow down a little. And being a destination that doesn’t involve hopping on a plane to get to Cornwall’s culture, landscape and remoteness makes it a place that goes hand-in-hand with the art of slow travel. So, here are some of our favourite places to ditch the car and reconnect with yourself, with each other and with nature at your own pace.

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Care free adventures in Cawsand


Once your feet hit the sand, these waterside villages and your pace of life will quickly re-adjust to the ebb and flow of the tides. Take a step back in time in this ‘forgotten corner’ of Cornwall, where you can wander the coast path to historic landmarks or hop aboard a ferry and witness the county’s maritime heritage from the water. Why not wake up with a sunrise sea dip, skim pebbles in the twinkling bay, then follow the cobbled lanes to The Old Bakery for a loaf of fresh sourdough that you can unpack on a picnic at Rame Head?

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Soak up eye-popping scenery in Portloe

With little to do except stroll, swim, eat and gawp at its pristine beauty, the seaside hamlet of Portloe is an idyllic location to ditch your keys and lap up life in the slow lane. Get a mighty dose of Vitamin Sea, rub shoulders with local fishermen and dine on the their catch in historic smugglers’ hangouts. Flaunting Cornish culture and eye-popping coastal scenery in bucket-loads, for its diminutive size, you’ll feel a million miles away from the maddening crowds. In spring, wafts of coconut-gorse infuse the air as you stroll along the coast path to Portholland’s duo of beaches. Or you might prefer to castaway on a paddleboard to spot seals and seabirds.

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Crabbing and coastal rambles in Mousehole


Hang a crabbing line from the harbour wall and watch the watery world go by in a place dubbed ‘the loveliest village in England’ by Dylan Thomas. Tuck into potted Cornish crab accompanied by locally brewed ales in the The Ship Inn – a place frequented by Thomas – before rambling onto Lamorna Cove, where he also stayed with his girlfriend Caitlin. As you pass the iconic Tater Du lighthouse, tunnel through the enchanting Kemyel Crease woodland and emerge at Lamorna’s quayside. It’s easy to see why Dylan Thomas fell so deeply in love with the landscape – and indeed his girlfriend, who he subsequently married. Whether you walk the coast path, or take a cruise aboard where the skipper regales tales of smugglers, shipwrecks and pirates, you’ll no doubt fall head over heels for this place, too.

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Shell-hunting and sandboarding in Holywell Bay


Get lost in miles of dunes and glide down their sandy peaks, onto a crushed-shell beach perfect for hunting sea glass. At low tide explore the sea caves in search of the ‘holy well’ that gave the beach its name, and when westerlies bring white horses scudding across the Atlantic, seek shelter in the towering dunes. As soon as you clap eyes on the twin peaks of Gull rock, you’ll recognise the bay for its part in BBC’s Poldark hit. And whether your toes are in the sand or you stomp the coast path to Kelsey head, it’s easy to imagine Ross Poldark galloping along the shoreline, and Demelza wistfully picking sea pinks on the cliff tops.

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Cycle coast to coast from Portreath


Exploring Cornwall under pedal power is a great way to get under the skin of the landscape and culture at your own pace, while cunningly avoiding the holiday traffic. There’s a web of mineral tramways criss-crossing some of the county’s richest mining heritage in West Cornwall, our favourite of which is the Coast-to-Coast trail. Freewheel along 11 miles of off-road trails from Portreath harbour on the north coast, ticking off sea views, woodland, engine houses and quarries, on the way to the sublime estuary-edge Devoran on the south coast.

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Rockpooling on Downderry beach

Kick off your shoes, grab a fishing net and bucket, and pad along Downderry’s sand and shingle shoreline on the ebbing tide. Here, in the shadow of the sea cliffs, you can squander hours searching the rock pools for the likes of starfish, anemones, crabs and blennies. Don’t lose track of time if you want to pad barefoot all the way to Seaton, as you don’t want to get cut off by the incoming tide. At the very eastern end of the beach you’ll find more than nature baring all, as it’s a popular naturist hangout.

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Chase waterfalls at Rocky Valley

BoscastleFeel the embrace of nature as you turn inland from the rugged North Cornish coast and follow a magical glen all the way to a thundering waterfall. Explore ancient woodland alongside the River Trevillet to reach the 60ft St Nectan’s Glen, serenaded by birdsong, the whisper of the water, and the mythical fairies and piskies believed to inhabit one of Cornwall’s most spiritual sites.

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Check out our other locations and other retreats across North Cornwall.

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Want to learn more about how to make the most of your travel? Read our blog on how to do slow travel.

Cornwall in Autumn

Things to see and do in Cornwall this Autumn…

The ocean’s still warm, the surf’s pumping, the beaches are crowd-free and the gardens are aglow with golden hues. We love autumn in Cornwall. From coast path rambles and blackberry picking, to action sports and ales by crackling log fires, here are some of our favourite activities for autumn breaks by the beach.

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Go blackberry picking on the coast

Breathe in the fresh sea air, soak up the stunning coastal scenery and forage for the juicy fruits of autumn. Whether you take punnets full back to your Beach Retreat and conjure up a crumble, or snack on them as you stroll, you’ll find hedgerows everywhere packed with wild blackberries throughout September and October. Some of our favourite places to fill our buckets with nature’s bounty include the dramatic, calf-busting terrain between Bude and Morwenstow, the coastal trail stretching from Cawsand to Rame Head, and the lush flanks of the Roseland Peninsula.

Find out more about foraging in Cornwall.

Suit up and take the plunge

It’s taken the whole summer for the ocean to warm up – and it’ll take a good few months for it to cool down again. So autumn is a great time to hit the waves – whether you go surfing, swimming or make a splash on a coasteering adventure. Tap up one of the experts in Cornwall, we love the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay and Kingsurf in Mawgan Porth. There you’ll get kitted out with super-warm wetsuits, snuggly surfing booties and high-tech boards, so there’ll be no stopping you riding the waves whatever the weather.

If you fancy a close-up, adrenalin-fuelled view of the coastline, book a session with King Coasteer and swim, climb and cliff-jump your way around the coast in the safe hands of a coasteering guide.

Discover coastal bliss in Cawsand, South Cornwall, where tranquility meets adventure

Sip on local ales beside a crackling log fire

When you’ve had a blast outdoors in the autumn breeze, there’s nothing better than hunkering down by a log fire in a cosy local pub. One of our favourite autumn walks is from St Ives to Zennor – an eye-popping six-mile stomp ending at the cosy Tinners Arms, where you can sip a well-deserved ale under low beams beside the roaring fire. Not many pubs in Cornwall can match the 700-year history of this traditional inn, which was built in 1271 and much loved by author DH Lawrence. However, a couple of other places we love to warm our cockles by the fire include the Driftwood Spars brew pub tucked beside Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, and the 13th century Pandora Inn, with its port holes looking out to Restronguet Creek.

Visiting Cornwall in the Autumn? It’s the perfect time to visit our favourite Sunday Roast locations.

Get lost in Autumn gardens

Crunch through the golden leaves, swing through the trees and follow tunnels of autumn hues that tumble to the water’s edge. Just in the National Trust stable you can explore the magical woodland of Lanhydrock, the sub-tropical landscape of Glendurgan and Trelissick’s stunning 500-acre estate on the banks of the River Fal – and that’s just for starters. Another favourite with families – and dogs, too – is Trebah Garden, where you can follow colourful foliage to a sandy cove. Or tunnel through bamboo, banana palms and gigantic rhubarb plants, to ancient woodlands and water meadows at the historic Lost Gardens of Heligan. Out of all the county’s garden wonderlands, the Eden Project is still the mega-star, where you can wander through a rainforest, bask in the Med and visit a Western Australian garden in the iconic, sky-scraping biomes.

Explore the English Heritage

From the twin castles of Pendennis and St Mawes, to mysterious stone circles such as Chysauster, there are plenty of English Heritage sites to discover across Cornwall. One of the attractions topping our radar this year is Tintagel Castle, where you can step across the new bridge from the mainland, to reach the castle ruins perched on a rugged island. Indulge your imagination in tales of King Arthur’s magical conception here, listen to your echo in the eerie Merlin’s Cave, and discover the history of a place that has posed as a major trading port, a prosperous Dark Age settlement and a magnificent fortress. Regardless of its enthralling past steeped in myths and legends, it’s also a gob-smacking location to roll out a picnic rug on the headland, spot seals and seabirds, and explore sea caves and rock pools.

Find out more about English Heritage sites in Cornwall.

Find your perfect Beach Retreat this Autumn.

Meet artist Jo Downs

Jo Downs

Jo Downs’ handcrafted glasswork of echoes the beauty and hues of Cornwall’s landscapes and reflects her passion for the coastline.

Imagine a lifestyle entrenched in the beauty of Cornwall’s spectacular coast. Well, for designer Jo Downs, that’s what the daily grind is all about – as she captures the light, colour and detail of this county in her beautiful, handcrafted glasswork. We meet Jo at her Launceston studio to discuss her endless creativity and 25 years of dedication to her craft.

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I never doubted I’d be an artist. From childhood, I sketched, drew, and had plans to be a potter. But glass, it seems, had other plans for me. I first tried fusing glass at university, and the glorious lump of colour I created got me totally hooked. I couldn’t get over the brilliance and beauty of it. A whole world of creativity opened up to me right then, and I’ve honestly never looked back.”

Jo Downs


I started my career at the deep end, designing large scale installations for hotels and cruise liners. Creatively, it was thrilling, but technically it was very demanding and really taught me the art of perfecting fused glass. Big ideas are no good if you can’t make them a reality for your client. You need to perfect the skill and understand the science that brings the beauty out in fused glass. It’s such a unique material.”


I came to Cornwall in 2001 and it totally changed my life. The visual inspiration here is endless, and it’s something I’ve poured it into my work ever since. I walk and run on the coast, and my home looks out over the sea, so I’m surrounded by the details and textures of Cornwall every day. Anyone who loves my work loves Cornwall – their passion is the same as mine – and it’s a passion I really love sharing.”


I opened the first Jo Downs Gallery in Padstow in 2005, and now have galleries in St Ives, Fowey, Tintagel, and Launceston (and also one in Surrey). They’ve become a real icon of the Cornish high street, with window displays that showcase all the dazzling colours of the coast, and I’m so proud of that. They’ve allowed me to showcase my large-scale work, and a range of smaller ‘take home’ pieces that celebrate the beauty of Cornwall.”

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Jo Downs Padstow Gallery


My studio is my sanctuary. It’s state of the art – not like thefirst little kiln I had in my bedroom when I was a student – and that luxury allows me to really push the boundaries of what’s possible in fused glass. My work is about capturing beauty in glass, and my studio is the perfect space to think, to draw, and to test out ideas in the kiln, with the radio on and my Jack Russell, Izzy, by my side.


I’ve designed lots of collections, but of course I have my favourites. ‘Cornish Pilchards’ is the most recognised and perhaps the best-loved of my designs, and celebrates its 10th anniversary this year! And my wall-mounted Shoaling Fish and Leaf collections were a real game changer for me, and have led to so many wonderful spin offs and bespoke designs, including a stunning range of chandeliers.”


Creating bespoke work is my favourite thing to do. It’s a special thing to design a one-off commission for a unique space. People express their individuality through their design choices, and a commissioned piece is the ultimate example of that. If I can spin my client’s aspirations into a spectacular glass installation or artwork, I will, and if somebody says it’s not possible, I’ll have tons of fun proving it is!”

Embark on an adventure chasing waterfalls in Cornwall, discovering the hidden natural gems and breathtaking cascades of the region.

Images from an installation at Dragon House, Mawgan Porth.

Beach Retreats Top 2019 Instagram moments

As we say goodbye to 2019, we look back at some of our most memorable Instagram moments from the team at Beach Retreats, past guests, bloggers and photographers using #beachretreats. We hope to welcome you all back in 2019 for another memorable stay.

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Tintagel Castle in north Cornwall just got better with their brand new footbridge, recreating the historic crossing from the mainland to the headland. Would you brave the drop?

We enjoyed a day in sunny St Ives earlier this year, walking the coast path past its picture-perfect beaches. Look out for our brand new property nearby joining in 2020, 4 Godrevy Court in Carbis Bay.

It’s no surprise that Fistral Beach is one of our favourite go to sunset locations. Pack a picnic and watch with your loved one on the headland, or dine alfresco at The Stable, Fish House or Fistral Beach Bar.

Newly decorated for 2018, The Penthouse at Coast (sleeps 6) offers fantastic sea views, with the golden sands of Porth beach as its back garden. Can you imagine relaxing on this balcony watching the world go by?

Look out for our brand new film in 2020, where we showcase the beautiful harbour town of Porthleven. Home to our Tom’s Cottage, guests can enjoy amazing surf here and dine at Kota Kai or Rick Stein Porthleven.

Another photo taken while we were filming at Porthleven earlier this year. Look over the wall above the beach and you’ll often be greeted to calm and crystal clear waters, perfect for a morning swim, kayak or SUP.


Ramble along Treen Cliffs and  you’ll be greeted by some beautiful wild horses (and very friendly). We enjoyed a spot of lunch here while overlooking the insta famous Pedn Vounder and Porthcurno beach in west Cornwall.

From Treen cliffs to Porthcurno. Here the water is often a Caribbean blue with pristine white sand, making it a popular choice for photographers in the summer months.  We recommend a visit during autumn or spring.

Quite possibly the best sunset we witnessed in 2019, here’s Mawgan Porth and our friend Pete from King Surf Surf School. We enjoyed a day filming and were treated to this at the end of the day. See our range of family properties.

Instagram loved our sunset taken above overlooking the brand new Dunes development on Perranporth beach in north Cornwall. All our properties here come with private balconies perfect for those all important sundowners.


A brand new location coming to the Beach Retreats portfolio in 2020. Duporth is a private beach located close to the Poldark famous Charlestown Harbour and Carlyon Bay. Guests staying here will have a private key for beach access.

Skyline is one of our top properties, popular with large families with its short walk to the beach, large garden, games room, private balcony with ocean views and log burner for cosy winter nights. What more could you ask for?

Known as the home of Doc Martin, Port Isaac is always making hearts swoon with its old white washed fishermen cottages, picturesque harbour and towering cliffs. We recommend walking to nearby Port Gavern.

Our followers loved the idea of traffic-free coastal escapism at its finest, while cosying up in this perfect little cabin clinging to the cliff above Whitsand Bay. Could you see yourself waking up here in 2020?

There’s something charmingly simplistic about Praa Sands. A long stretch of white beach with a cafe, surf school and a classic seaside shop selling buckets and spades. Our guests loved hearing about it on Instagram.

Pedn Vounder on a normal day gets heads turning, but we absolutely loved (and so did you) this perfect sunset shot taken by Stephen Kiley on Instagram. So much so, this post reached nearly 24,000 Instagram users!

Chapel Porth beach is a short drive from our St Agnes properties. Famous for its hedgehog ice creams, this is a popular location for local surfers. Their famous ice cream comes with clotted cream and chocolate and nut sprinkles.

Take a look and book our self-catering properties at Porthtowan, or talk to a member of our team on 01637 861 005.

It’s impossible to name just one thing, the hot tub, the view, the five acre garden, the incredible sense of space, the impressive design. Everything about this property is inspiring and that’s why you all loved it so much.

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


Rockpooling Checklist

Top tips for Rock Pooling in Cornwall.

Your Beach Retreats guide to all there is to know about rock pooling in Cornwall.

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When to go

You can rockpool all year round in Cornwall. Wrap up in winter and pick a sheltered shore, or visit in summer when marine life is flourishing.

Where to go

Watergate Bay, Porth and Whipsiderry, Newtrain Bay near Trevone and Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes are all great spots for rockpooling, but any beach with a rocky shoreline is good. Our harbours are also brilliant for crabbing.

Check the weather

The best rockpooling happens on calm, sunny days at low tide when parts of the shore normally covered in water are exposed. Plan your visit by checking a local tide table online and move inland as the tide pushes in.

What to pack

Many people think you need a net to go rockpooling, but you don’t. One of the best ways to enjoy the shore is to peer into a rockpool and wait. With patience you’ll be treated to a natural display of the fascinating and tough creatures that live here. If you do use a bucket be careful not to overcrowd it with creatures. They can overheat and run out of oxygen.

Walk to Watergate Bay

Follow the seashore code

    • Respect the seashore creatures, handle them as little as possible and always put them back where you find them.
    • Take photos home, not animals.
    • Put overturned rocks back carefully as you found them.
    • Take any rubbish home with you.
    • Keep safe on the seashore, check the tides and keep away from the cliffs and waves.

Top Tips

Look for a shore with small rocks covered in seaweed and start by investigating underneath the water’s surface. Lift the rocks carefully and you may find crabs, cushion starfish and even snake pipefish and Cornish sucker fish.

Watch your fingers

Take care when picking up crabs! If you do want to handle one, use your index finger and hold it down by pressing onto the center of its shell – you’ll have plenty of time to get your fingers around the sides behind the claws. Grip it firmly. You’re less likely to get pinched holding a crab like this. Don’t be tempted to pick up a crab by putting one finger underneath.

Once you have understood all the above, you’re ready to begin your rockpooling checklist. Here are 10 creatures to look out for.

    1. Cornish Sucker Fish -Look under rocks in pools close to the shore. It has modified fins that act like a suction pad.
    1. Broad Clawed Porcelain Crab – A small hairy crab that lives upside down beneath rocks on the low-tide shoreline.
    1. Worm Pipefish – Related to the seahorse this worm-like creature is actually a fish
    1. Snakelocks Anemome – Don’t be fooled by its pretty fluorescent-tipped stinging tentacles – it’s a carnivorous predator.
    1. Common Shore Crab – These small shore crabs have incredible colours which they lose as they grow older.
    1. Star Ascidian – Beautiful, small and squidgy star-shaped sea squirt colonies found on the rocks and seaweed.
    1. Montagu’s Blenny – A small warm-water fish with a cockatoo crest on its head.
    1. Celtic Sea Slug – Also known as a liquorice sea slug, it is often found on the rocks between Holywell and Polzeath.
    1. Blue Rayed Limpet – A tiny but beautiful limpet that only lives on seaweed – not rocks.
    1. Giant Goby – Only found in the south, they can grow up to 29cm in length. If you find one please put it back and report it to Cornwall Wildlife Trust – they are a protected species.

Dive into the fascinating world of marine life with our Rockpools Revealed guide, and discover the hidden wonders along the shoreline.

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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.

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

Lansallos, West Polruan

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

Eden Project, St Austell

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

Pentargon, Boscastle

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

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

Cornwall’s most Instagrammable locations

We predict that these Cornish spots will be popping up on our feeds…

Last year it was Pedn Vounder and Kynance Cove that captured the Insta crowds and went viral on social media. So what are the most Instagrammable locations of Cornwall in 2019?

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Port Isaac

The home of Doc Martin is a picture-postcard Cornish village flaunting cobbled streets, cream tea cafés and sublime sea views. We’re so used to seeing it on our TV screens that we half expect the Doc to come dashing down the winding streets to the harbour, where fishing boats putter in to deliver fresh catch to Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants. With wild Cornish cliffs that yawn in each direction, it’s little wonder that the Doc chose to live here, and less wonder that we’re so fixated by his appearance on our TV screens – who knows if it’s Doc Martin or Port Isaac that’s the real star of the show.

Find a self-catering holiday in Port Isaac.

Bedruthan Steps

Dubbed Britain’s equivalent of Australia’s Twelve Apostles, us mere mortals are dwarfed by the towering rock stacks rising from the sands of this craggy cove north of Newquay. Stand atop the cliffs and you can watch the waves carving the granite turrets, said to be the stepping-stones of a legendary giant. Or wait for low tide and descend the cliff steps to pad along the white sands, peering down into the rock pools and up to the peaks of these barnacle-clad skyscrapers. Don’t be content with taking in the view from the coast path with the rest of the camera-wielding visitors, plug on along the coast path to Park Head, passing ancient burial mounds and the ruins of a cliff fort, while keeping an eye out for seals and seabirds.

Find a self-catering holiday near Bedruthan.

Wheal Coates

Climb the rusty-red backs of the cliffs from Chapel Porth beach, to reach this iconic engine house that casts a shadow over the wild Atlantic waves. As you explore the coast path you’re setting foot in some of Cornwall’s richest mining history, while below the pumping surf breaks are known as the legendary ‘Badlands’. While the waves aren’t the territory of beginners, when you descend the pristine cove of Chapel Porth, you’ll discover the perfect spot for rock-pooling as the tide ebbs, and make sure you stop for a famous hedgehog ice cream in the National Trust car park.

Explore further from Chapel Porth & take a look and book our self-catering properties at Porthtowan, or talk to a member of our team on 01637 861 005.

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Perched atop a sea-lashed promontory and swathed in Arthurian legend, Tintagel Castle has been a crowd-puller ever since tourism came to Cornwall. With its magnificent ruins and immense bronze statue of King Arthur looking out to sea, we expect the fortress to be high on our social media scrolls when it re-opens this summer, following the construction of a new footbridge. Touted as the birthplace of King Arthur, it’s impossible not to get swept away by local myths as you listen to your echo in the eerie Merlin’s Cave and step foot in the remains of a majestic fortress and a prosperous Dark Age settlement.

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Jubilee Pool, Penzance

Cornwall’s art-deco lido has graced the screens of our social media feeds ever since it was renovated after storm damage in 2014. One of the world’s most scenic lidos, its eye-catching design and turquoise waters are hemmed by Mounts Bay. Re-opening again this summer after the development of a geo-thermal project, an area of the pool will be heated to a steaming 35C later in the year – so it’ll no longer be the territory of just hardy cold-water swimmers. In fact, you don’t even have to take a dip to enjoy the lido, simply bask on the terrace or take a seat in the year-round café and soak up the views.

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Find out about Sennen, near to Penzance, in our blog all about the area.

Holywell Bay

Having scored a starring role in the BBC’s recent Poldark hit, the breath-taking beauty of Holywell Bay needs little introduction. As soon as you clap eyes on the giant sand dunes and the twin peaks of Gull rock, you can imagine Ross Poldark galloping along the shoreline, searching for Demelza wistfully picking sea pinks on the cliff tops. Despite is fame, Holywell still keeps the crowds at bay, and makes the perfect beach for hitting the surf, collecting shells and exploring the sea caves in search of the ‘holy well’. You can also follow the coast path to Kelsey Head to spot seals and seabirds.

Find a self-catering holiday in Holywell Bay.

Huer’s Hut, Newquay

In the 19th century the town ‘huer’ would stand in this little stone hut on Towan Headland, crying, “Heva, Heva”, to alert the fishermen when shoals of pilchards were spotted in Newquay Bay. Having been restored in recent years to ensure Newquay’s history and heritage is not forgotten, this little whitewashed hut is a great spot to step back in time, gawp at the panoramic coastal views and see if you can spot shoals of dolphins of mackerel coming into the bay.

Find a self-catering holiday near the Huer’s Hut.


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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Five ways to explore Cornwall’s coastline, from its beaches and estuaries to its paradise islands…

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Freewheel through woodland valleys, hop aboard one of the UK’s most scenic railways or see the coastline from the perspective of the seabirds – there are plenty of ways to soak up Cornwall’s sublime scenery. These are some of our favourites:

Skybus to the Isles of Scilly

Gliding at cloud level, looking out to the five main islands and 140 uninhabited islands and islets that make up the Isles of Scilly, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were arriving at a Caribbean archipelago. Travelling in a small 8- or 19-seater plane is all part of the adventure of reaching these paradise islands, especially if you’re used to the likes of a Boeing 747. The bird’s eye view of the Cornish coastline surpasses the inflight entertainment of regular air travel, and within 20-30 minutes you’re swooping onto the island of St. Mary’s, just like one of the many seabirds that far outnumber residents in this magical destination.

Stay at one of our holiday lets in Watergate Bay or Mawgan Porth and you’re minutes’ away from Newquay Airport, where you can catch a flight to the Isles of Scilly.

The Train to St Ives

Bag a window seat on one of the UK’s most scenic railway journeys, and gaze out to the eye-popping scenery that lured so many artists to St Ives and its surrounds. Hugging the banks of the Hayle estuary and the coastline, during the 15-minute journey you’ll be mesmerised by the scenery – from bobbing boats and beautiful beaches, to seabirds and surfers. Once you disembark above the white sands of Porthminster Beach there’s plenty of time to take a stroll around the island to spot dolphins, visit the world-famous Tate St Ives gallery and dine in a Michelin-star restaurant, before the return journey.

St Ives Train

Stay at one of our Beach Retreats in Portreath and it’s just 20 minutes’ drive to St. Erth, where trains depart to St Ives every 30mins (peak times).

Cruise along the Atlantic Highway

Join the convoy of V-Dubs with boards strapped to their roofs and hit the Atlantic Highway from Bude to Newquay. Snaking along the coast between pumping surf spots, foodie meccas and rugged beaches, make plenty of pit-stops to surf-check from wave-hewn headlands, explore the remains of Iron Age castles and dine in harbour-side hamlets such as Padstow and Port Isaac. Once you reach Newquay don a wetsuit and hit the waves before watching the sunset over the Atlantic with a locally brewed tipple in hand.

Stay in Bude or Whitsand Bay and follow the Atlantic Highway (A39) to the surfy hub of Newquay.

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

The ferry from Cawsand to Plymouth

Slip seamlessly from beach life to city life aboard the passenger ferry from Cawsand to Plymouth. One minute you can be hunting for crabs and critters in the rock pools of a smugglers’ cove; the next you can be aboard The Western Maid, sailing towards the vibrant waterfront Barbican. After a twirl around Plymouth’s shops, iconic maritime landmarks and culinary hotspots, you’ll be ready for the 30-minute boat cruise back to barefoot beach life at Cawsand and Kingsand.

Stay in Whitsand Bay, a 10-minute drive to Cawsand or in Cawsand itself, where you can catch the ferry to Plymouth (Easter until October).

Cycle the Camel Trail

Trace Cornwall’s watery landscape inland as you follow 18-miles of disused railway along the banks of the Camel Estuary to the flanks of Bodmin Moor. Starting from Padstow, the Camel Trail is an easy-going cycle route that takes you to the market town of Wadebridge, on past the famous Camel Valley Vineyard and through fairy-tale woodland all the way to Bodmin Moor. Whether you complete the route or simply pedal your way to Wadebridge and back, you’ll build up a hearty appetite, ready to fuel up in one of Cornwall’s finest foodie outlets when you get back to Padstow.

Stay at our Beach Retreats in Rock and you can hop on the ferry to Padstow, hire a bike from Padstow Cycle Hire and freewheel along the Camel Trail at your leisure.

10 things to do on a rainy day in Cornwall

As much as we love wall-to-wall sunshine, Cornwall’s weather is known for being fickle. You can be in a bikini one minute, and sheltering under an umbrella the next. Perhaps that’s why wetsuits are such popular attire. When it’s raining one of the best places to be is in the ocean – seeing as you’re going to get wet anyway. But when the weather doesn’t inspire you to take the plunge into the waves, here are some of our favourite things to do on a rainy day in Cornwall.

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

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

You don’t have to get wet – or even dip a toe in the ocean – to come face-to-face with Cornwall’s marine life. Undercover at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, you can encounter the likes of sea cucumbers, spider crabs and sea turtles, in displays that take you from the craggy Cornish shores to exotic coral reefs. You can watch the giant octopus at feeding time and learn more about the sea creatures through informative talks, but the highlight is the underwater tunnel where you can eyeball stingrays, reef sharks and all sorts of colourful fish.

Tell me more:, 01637 878134

When can I go? Daily 10am–5pm

How much? Adults £11.30, 3-12 £8.75, Family from £39.10. Online discounts available.

Eden Project, St Austell

Needing little introduction, the Eden Project is Cornwall’s megastar attraction. Take an educational trip through the natural environment inside its iconic biomes, as you wander through rainforest canopy, listen to stories in the Med and find the Kangaroo Paw plant in the Western Australian garden. Twirl around the ice rink in the winter months, discover all sorts of activities and indoor exhibits in The Core, and tuck into seasonal dishes and finger-licking ice creams. You can even hop aboard a dry carriage of the tractor train to travel up and down the quarry from the biomes to the entrance and gift shop.

Tell me more:, 01726 811911

When can I go? Open daily, except Christmas days and a handful of days in Jan & Feb.

How much? Adults £28.50, 5-16s £15, U4’s free, Family £75. 10% discount online. Membership from £50. Local’s passes available.

Flowrider, Retallack Resort

If you don’t fancy braving the Atlantic waves in the rain, don a wetsuit in the heated changing rooms at Retallack Resort, and learn to surf on Cornwall’s only FlowRider. Get to grips with riding the simulated wave by swooshing down the face on a bodyboard, before progressing to a stand-up board and practising your surfing skills. A fantastic family activity whatever the weather, you can surf year-round and even hit the waves by night under floodlight.

Tell me more:,

01637 882400

When can I go? Year-round

How much? Sessions are £25pp and riders must be over 107cm tall.

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno

Once the largest telegraph station in the world, it was here at Porthcurno that the first undersea cable was laid in 1870. Explore WWII tunnels, follow quiz trails and enjoy hands-on exhibits that introduce you to Cornwall’s fascinating history at the centre of the communications revolution. Discover the science behind telegraph communication, find out about the people who put the ideas into production, and how this tiny place changed the world forever. Footsteps from Porthcurno beach, you can also dash out onto the pearly sands between rain showers, and also make sure you visit the nearby Minack Theatre.

Tell me more:, 01736 810966

When can I go? Open daily 1 April–1 Nov; Sat–Mon 2 Nov–27 Mar.

How much? Adults £9, U18s £5.50, U5’s free. Family Pass £26.

Carnglaze Cavern, Liskeard

Take a self-guided underground tour of this former slate mine and discover three huge caverns and the shimmering turquoise waters of a stunning subterranean lake. History and adventure are firmly undercover as you burrow 1500-metres into the hillside and 60-metres below ground level, into these fascinating caverns on the edge of Bodmin Moor. You’ll find out how miners used their ingenuity and skills to mine slate from the heart of the caverns, and at the end of the tour you can take some memorable family photos with a backdrop to the magical emerald lake.

Tell me more:, 01579 320251

When can I go? Open daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

How much? Adults from £7, 3-15’s £5, family from £20.

National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

One of Cornwall’s most popular rainy day attractions, here you can shelter from the rain while immersing yourself in the maritime scene and getting a hands-on experience of the county’s nautical lifestyle. Experience oceanic adventures while keeping your feet on dry land: take the helm of a model sailing boat, checkout the underwater gallery and witness a magnificent array of exhibitions and interactive displays including an exploration into the sinking of the Titanic. In the heart of Falmouth – home to the world’s third deepest harbour – there’s no better place to lap up the maritime heritage of Cornwall and beyond.

Tell me more:, 01326 313388

When can I go? Open daily 10am-5pm, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

How much? Adults £13.95, U18s £6.50, U5s free. Pay once, get in free for a year. 10% discount online.

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

Bodmin Jail, Bodmin

From the execution pit to the cells, find out what life was like behind bars in years gone by. Both educational and eerie, this fascinating granite jail, built by the prisoners themselves, stands as testament to Cornwall’s penal life. Follow a tour through six levels of this historical building, experiencing the sights, sounds and even the smells of life in jail. If you’re brave enough to enter one of Cornwall’s most haunted buildings after dark, book a ghost tour or a seat for a scary movie night.

Tell me more:, 01208 76292

When can I go? Open daily except Christmas Day.

How much? Adults £10, 5-15s £7.50, U5s free. Families £32.

Poldark Mine, Helston

One way to avoid the rain is to step into the shoes of a miner and head underground. Much of Cornwall’s historic mining territory has become a designated World Heritage Site, and at Poldark Mine you can burrow underground for a guided tour. Go back in time to the 18th century, as you venture through several levels of the Wheal Roots Tin Mine – a prosperous mine in the 1700s. As well as learning all about Cornwall’s mining history from a unique perspective, you will also be stepping foot into one of the iconic locations that stars in the recent BBC adaptation of Poldark.

Tell me more:, 01326 573173

When can I go? Weds– Sat, Apr– Oct

How much? Adults from £19.60, kids £6.60-£14.60. No U4s on the tour.

Tate St Ives, St Ives

One of our favourite rainy days out starts with a scenic train ride from St Erth to St Ives. Once you’ve soaked up the eye-popping sea views that have lured so many artists to this fishing village since the 19th century, disembark beside Porthminster Beach head to the Tate St Ives. Just standing in the entrance and listening to the waves echo on the doorstep, or sitting in the top floor café enjoying the coastal views, is a sensory experience. Not to mention the three floors of art exhibitions (often associated with Cornwall and the coastal environment) as well as family trails and activities that encourage all ages to enjoy a hands-on art experience

Tell me more:

When can I go? Daily – check website for summer/ winter hours

How much? Adults from £9.50, U18s free. Local’s pass £5.

Lizard Lighthouse, Lizard Peninsula

Step foot on the tip of Lizard Peninsula and you’re on the most southerly point of mainland Britain – and while there’s no doubt the UK’s southerly point serves up whopping amounts of landscape drama, in the rain you won’t want to stand there and lap it up for long. However, dive under cover in the heritage centre at Lizard Lighthouse and you can enjoy much more than the incredible scenery from the top of the tower. Sound a foghorn, track ships and learn Morse code, as you play lighthouse keeper in this stunning landmark that has been beaming ships to safety for over 250 years.

Tell me more:, 01326 290202

When can I go? Check website for seasonal opening hours

How much? Adults £8.50, U16s £5.50 for the lighthouse tour.

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Check out our blog on our favourite holiday properties to storm-watch.