Category: Team news

Arts on the beach at Watergate Bay

Head to Watergate Bay on the 15th and 16th June for a free family weekend of theatre, aerial performance, dance, music and craft workshops inspired by the ocean. Arts on the Beach 2024 is a celebration of creativity, community, imagination and ocean culture, set against the mesmerising backdrop of Watergate Bay.

Discover roaming sea giants and sailors’ love songs, mermaid’s tales and shoreside silent discos. This event is brought to you by the team behind Polo on the Beach
and the Watergate Bay events calendar.

Book a retreat in Watergate Bay to experience the weekend in full.

It’s set to be a lively, fun-filled and exciting weekend. Will Ashworth, Watergate Bay Hotel founder and executive director, said about the event:

“We’ve always loved creating inclusive events on the beach for our wider community, as well as visitors. Being able to provide this exciting new event for people to come along to for free means everyone can be part of something special.”

The itinerary

Find out more about the event here. We’ll see you on the beach!

Fancy a long weekend packed with oceanside entertainment and creativity? Book a self-catered retreat by the two miles of beach and enjoy two days of sea-themed, sustainably minded festivities.

Vote for Beach Retreats in the 2023 British Travel Awards

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Time flies and it doesn’t feel like 2 minutes since we won Gold at the British Travel Awards at Battersea, London in November 2022.

We won with your help and vote for which we are so grateful. And now we want to retain the accolade in the ‘Best Company for UK Holiday Home Rentals’ category as voting opens for the 2023 awards.

Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw for some amazing holidays:

  • A £5,000 Greek island getaway.
  • A £4,000 European villa holiday.
  • A cruise around the fjords of Norway.
  • A European river cruise.
  • 8 days at Lake Gard in Italy.
  • and many more…

Find out more

We love and live by the coast; beach life and creating special memories for all of our guests is our driving force.

For you time on a special beach means many different things; adrenaline pumping surf sessions, wild swimming, long walks surrounded by the senses, family time exploring rockpools, or cocktails in a beach bar as the sun sets.

And these uncertain times, downtime surrounded by rolling surf, towering cliffs, or picture postcard bays takes on extra meaning.

We will always look after you before during and after your time with us. Your support gives us the motivation and passion to keep doing what we do, providing unforgettable beach holidays and sharing our love for the sea.

Please give us a few seconds of your time and vote for Beach Retreats as Best Company for UK Holiday Home Rentals.

Find out more


We’re proud to be sponsors of The Wave Project

We’re proud to announce that we’ve recently become a sponsor of The Wave Project, a nationally-reaching surf therapy charity which was founded in Cornwall.

Our monthly donation will support projects in the South West, and allow the team to continuously respond to situations quickly and efficiently, ensuring that young people have help and support when they need it most.

This can include anything from paying for transport to and from the sessions, funding one to one adaptive surfing lessons, and waiving the Surf Therapy referral fee for young people who might otherwise fall through the gaps. Read more about the fantastic work The Wave Project does below.

About The Wave Project

With projects across Cornwall, but also extending across the UK, The Wave Project is a lifeline to young people across the country.

Supporting children and young people who experience a range of physical and mental health issues, social deprivation, or social isolation, the Wave Project facilitates a range of activities, including year-long surf therapy courses which aim to help participants build self-esteem, develop resilience, and make friends.

A Surf Club is in place for those who have participated in the Surf Therapy courses, along with a Beach Therapy Programme which blends surf therapy and education to help pupils who have found engaging in school life a challenge to get more inspired and motivated to learn.

Firm believers that surfing is for everyone, the Wave Project has also acquired the necessary skills, training and specialist equipment to deliver safe and enjoyable surf lessons for those with physical disabilities from its Adaptive Surfing Hub in Croyde, North Devon. Later this summer, they will also start offering adaptive surf sessions from Watergate Bay in Cornwall.

The nationally award-winning surf therapy courses are free of charge for participants and their families. This means that the charity wholly relies on donations from its supporters to fund the activities, which are run by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Newquay project co-ordinator Fred Andrews said: “­­­We’re immensely grateful to supporters like Beach Retreats for their donations, which allow us to run the activities our communities across the UK have become so reliant on over the last ten years.”

Watch a video on the brilliant work The Wave Project is doing to support children and young people below.

Why we’re supporting The Wave Project

With over 240 properties on Cornwall’s coast, the beach is in our DNA, so it feels only natural that we support a longstanding Cornwall-founded charity like The Wave Project, helping them to deliver lifechanging therapy and courses to young people in need.

Andy, our MD said: “We’re proud of our coastal heritage and want to give back to the community, supporting young people’s physical and mental health, and driving awareness of water safety.

“We’re very excited to see how this partnership unfolds, and we can’t wait for our teams to get stuck into volunteering for this fantastic charity.”

For more information about the work the Wave Project is doing across Cornwall and the UK, visit their website.

Lia Leendertz Q&A: on seasonal energy, hibernation and klys

We spoke to The Almanac author Lia Leendertz about tuning into the season, how she makes home more klys in the winter and the magic waiting to be discovered above us and below our feet in coming months…

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

Photography by Kirstie Young

One of your intentions behind writing The Almanac is to “provide a set of keys to unlock various aspects of the seasons and help us all appreciate the moment we are in, rather than stumbling, blinkered, through the year.” Why do you think it’s important to avoid such stumbling?

We can live like that and a lot of us do. I probably do too. I’m not coming at it from the point of view that I am living fully in the moment all of the time.

But it is about mindfulness, about living in the moment, and experiencing things more fully than you might otherwise. That always has benefits mentally. I think there is so much to be appreciated about our seasons. On this island, we have relatively extreme seasons, we have a full range and it actually changes very frequently. And each month is actually pretty distinct. By February, the light is starting to come in and that there’s a hopeful, seed-sowing feeling and by March we’re fully into the anticipation of spring.

There are lots of marvels to be found right there in front of you that are a really lovely thing to appreciate once you tune into it.

Fancy staying in Padstow? Check out our luxury holiday lets in Padstow.

How does The Almanac help us experience more when we’re outside?

One of things I try to do with looking at the stars is to show that this big cosmic universe is literally right there. Take the bright planets, they can be spotted from the most rubbish of skies; you could be in a city centre and look up and see Mars.

“You’ll be able to look up at the night sky with a basic pair of binoculars and glimpse Saturn in all its glory.”

Being able to appreciate that even in our most urban environments and, then my goodness, in more rural places, like Cornwall, which are so great for seeing the stars. In all of these places you can tune into this big cosmic stuff and little, minute stuff in nature. It’s just so exciting, I think.

What are some of the smaller, unnoticed elements of the year you look at in the latest edition of your book?

Coming up, it’s those signs of spring that you can’t help but feel uplifted by, it’s quite ludicrous almost.

In December it can feel like winter is going on forever, all mud and sticks and then these little shoots come pushing through and it’s just irresistible, that feeling of hope, that the world keeps on turning is so reassuring: a little signal from the future, a pointer saying here it comes, all that good stuff, warmth, light, flowers, and buzzing bees, it’s all coming. Also the effect that the lengthening days has on us is irresistible. It takes me by surprise every year.

“We shouldn’t be fully emerging until early February, or early March. We should be tending to our energies in that way.”

And what about later in the year?

The theme for the 2023 edition is the solar system and zodiac – I’m looking at the stories behind the zodiac too.

I’ve been saving it up, because this is a particularly good year for spotting the planets. Sometimes they will line up with the sun so you can’t really spot them. But this year is going to be a really good year.

August is going to be really spectacular. Saturn is going to be at opposition; that’s basically when we are at our closest to it in the cycle, both on same side of sun, at our closest point. When we are looking at the night sky, the sun is shining on Saturn, sort of like a full moon. At the same time the rings are going to be open, be at their most visible. You’ll be able to look up at the night sky with a basic pair of binoculars and glimpse Saturn in all its glory.

There are other opportunities to see the planets just by looking up at the night sky with your own eyes, but Saturn is the big one for 2023.

“There is light coming and there are more active times coming, but this isn’t them, so let yourself have it.”

With klys, Cornish for snug and cosy, we’re looking at how the time we spend outside makes the time indoors more convivial and cosy during the winter months. Is that something you can relate to? 

Winter is when I most want to go for long walks and want to be outside, striding through the countryside, putting some distance under me, getting air into my lungs. I walk a lot more now that I’ve got dogs. Owning dogs, you don’t really get a choice, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like – the horrible wet weather or those lovely, crisp, fresh winter days.

What I have written a lot about in the 2023 edition is the idea of the cycle of the year in terms of our own energies. So in January and February allowing ourselves to be the mammals that we are, to hibernate a little, and not feel we have to thrust ourselves into the business world.

Holywell Bay

Of course, we do have to, but to try, within that, to find ways of being peaceful and calm, recognising that real need to not do the new year, new you thing. This is an entirely inappropriate time of year to be doing that!

“I make quite free with the candles these days. I try and light them every tea time and actually breakfast time as well.”

This is the hunkering down time, hibernation time. We shouldn’t be fully emerging until early February, or early March. We should be tending to our energies in that way. When you’re not out and about doing that active stuff, it’s about really allowing yourself to sink into that, in order to set ourselves up for the year ahead. There is light coming and there are more active times coming, but this isn’t them, so let yourself have it.

How do you create klys feelings inside at this time of year? 

I’m a big fan of candles perhaps even more so than fires. I feel like candles can give you a lot of that sort of atmosphere, that cosiness.

I make quite free with the candles these days. I try and light them every tea time and actually breakfast time as well. A breakfast candle is really gorgeous. It’s not about saving candles for best. Every day, and every morning, while it is still dark early in the morning; it doesn’t take any more time and just makes you settle in and feel: ‘ok, I’m allowed a little magic moment even in the most everyday of times’. Whether before you rush out to work or getting the kids to school, it’s a little, special cosy moment. So, yes, making free with the candles at all times.

We’ve looked at how connecting with the natural environment through foraging can bring something special to the table at this time of year. Do you have a foraging tip for right now?

Every week I go on woodland walk nearby and every week at the moment I’m scouring the ground looking for wild garlic shoots because they will start to come up really soon. They’re such an amazing and easy plant to forage, and so abundant when you find a patch.

It’s also very easy to identify, by smell as much as anything and has loads of uses. You can make very easy pesto and add it to bread, You can use it like chives and chuck it into all sorts of recipes. It’s a really good gateway plant into foraging generally. And a really nice sign the world is turning the way we want it to. I love the way that wild garlic just can’t resist, even if it’s so cold, if daylight is increasing it’s coming up, no matter what

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

Receive seasonal updates and more from Lia on Instagram, and find a copy of The Almanac 2023 here.

Find your klys retreat and embrace the seasons by the shoreline.

How to spend your two free nights in Cornwall

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

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

Find out more about booking your stay here.

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

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

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

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

Explore the South West Coast Path

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

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

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

Become a member here.

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

Cook up a storm

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

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

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

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

rick steins at home box

Go surfing

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

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

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

Bring your pup

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

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

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

See the sunrise on the beach

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

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

4 The Bay

Turn your back on the sea and head inland

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

Eat seafood in a fishing village

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

Photo: The Boathouse, Newquay, North Cornwall.

The Boat House

Hop aboard a ferry trip

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

Photo St Mawes, Roseland Peninsula.

Falmouth harbour

Go on adventures in autumn gardens

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

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

Lost Gardens of Heligan

Make the first footprints in the sand on a secluded beach

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


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

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

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

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


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

Interior Design Masters Winner | Get the Look

Get the look of Interior Design Masters winner Banjo Beale’s winning prize contract design!

We were so excited to unveil Interior Design Masters winner Banjo Beale’s redesign of Winnow, the prize contract for the show. Winnow is our self-catering retreat at Watergate Bay, and Banjo’s vision for the new design was all about sustainability, using a mix of antique, vintage and upcycled furniture mixed with recycled and natural fabrics and textures to create the finished product. The transformed space is a light-filled, warm and inviting coastal haven, which tells a story of the wild Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding rugged cliffs through its outdoors-inspired interiors.

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

We’ve got all the details from Banjo about where he sourced some of his furnishings, so you can get the look yourself.

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

1. The brown wooden chairs in the living room are made from pineapples, a signature piece from Pinatex Pineapple Leather.

2. The lounge light shades which can be seen being used by Banjo in Interior Design Masters, are from Ferm Living.

3. The metal chairs in the living room are from Ferm Living.

4. There are two stunning photography Prints, one in the living room and one in the kitchen by Kara Rosenlund.

5. The upholstery for the living room daybed was made by Poh Maluna.

6. The framed seaweed prints are from Molesworth and Bird.

7. The llustrations in the living room are by Sam Scales.

8. The sofa was custom designed by Banjo and made by Claytons Upholstery.

9. The linen curtains are from Ada and Ina Fabric.

10. The signature lobster cushion was a collaboration with Amy Davies Design.

11. The most comfortable chair in the property – the studio Chair was from Buchannan Studio.

12. The dining table was ordered from Galvin Bros.

13. The dining chairs surrounding it are Zara Home.

14. You’ll find plenty of Turkish Urns and Pots in the kitchen made by Lots of Pots Gatwick.

15. The shades above the kitchen island were ordered from International Art and Antique Fair.

16. Many of the plants are were sourced by Banjo from Columbia Road Market, including the Coco Palms, Bird of Paradise and Kentia Palm.

17. The kitchen cupboards are made from rough sawn oak by local carpenter.

18. The grass lamp on the kitchen counter is from Abigail Ahern.

19. The outdoor table is perfect for alfresco dining and was made by Sustainable Furniture.

20. The outdoor chairs were locally made by Mena Woodwork.

21. The wallpaper found in the wc was custom designed by Amy Davies Design.

22. The bedheads were custom designed by Banjo with the yellow and green bedhead fabric from Fermoie.

23. Here you’ll find the brown wooden pineapple chairs again, from Pinatex Pineapple Leather

24. More plants from Columbia Road Market.

25. The bedside tables were purchased from Ceraudo.

26. The bedroom lamps are Kalinko.

27. The Jack & Jill bathroom taps and concrete sink were designed and purchased by Cast Iron Bath Company.

28. The bathroom tiles can be found at Mosaic Factory 

29. The antique brass handles and power points throughout are from Corston Architectural.

What have we missed?
Contact us if you’re keen to know more about a particular piece.

Get inspired by our interior designed retreats in various beach locations around Cornwall, and keep an eye on our special offers page for your next stay.

Indulge in luxury with our Penthouse Edit, showcasing the most exquisite coastal retreats for an unforgettable stay along the Cornish coast.

Interior Design Masters winner Q&A

Light. Colour. Character. The winner of this year’s Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr knows what it takes to bring a space to life. And, he tells us, it all starts with a story…

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

From the salty sea-dog sister of Laurence Llewelyn Bowen kicking back in a shepherd’s hut, to a drunken botanist making a country house hotel his home, Interior Design Masters’ 2022 winner Banjo Beale’s fictional characters kept us entertained and enthralled throughout this year’s show.

The BBC One series hosted by Alan Carr saw eight contestants compete over six weeks to impress design judge and former editor of Elle Decoration Michelle Ogundehin, in the hope of winning a contract to refresh one of our Beach Retreats at Watergate Bay.

Inspiring the designs he brought to life in each episode and driving him to seek out the vintage finds, unique styles and problem solving mindset that saw him take the Interior Design Masters crown, imagination has always sat at the heart of Banjo’s spaces.

And the property redesign he tackled as his prize was no exception. Tasked with refreshing Winnow, a four bedroom Beach Retreats at Watergate Bay, Banjo played with natural textures, bountiful light, bright colours and one-off salvaged pieces to weave a story that sings from the moment you walk in the door.

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

Fresh from applying the last lick of paint, we caught up with Banjo to tell us more about his Interior Design Masters experience, the insights he learnt and the things he discovered about design, creativity and Watergate Bay through the process.

To see Winnow in full, click here.

Congratulations! How does it feel to be the winner of this year’s Interior Design Masters (IDM)?

I’m buzzing to have won IDM. It was a rollicking rollercoaster around the country that ends in gorgeous Cornwall… or is it just the beginning?

What were your expectations of the show before you took part?

I expected an adventure and what I got was so much more. I got well out of my comfort zone, tried things I’d never dream of and in my pursuit of that perfect wow piece, I travelled the length of breadth of the country, picking up a vintage canoe in Grimsby, ripping out port hole windows from a boat in Brighton harbour and driving eight hours for a vintage parasol from Ibiza.

An incredible apprenticeship I’d call it, albeit with cameras in your face and Alan Carr heckling you but I got to hone my skills and create some crazy spaces, from dangling a canoe from a Cotswold cabin to now, designing a holiday cottage in Cornwall.

Which was the most challenging brief you tackled in the competition?

I had no idea just how intense pulling together a whole room would be. I am not a natural born planner, it was a challenge, pulling everything together from the paint down to the last screw. I am more of a dreamer than a doer, but I quickly learned to get my hands dirty, solve problems fast and keep moving. Plus, for someone like me, forever hunting that elusive vintage piece, it meant lots and lots of driving.

Any moments that really stand out for you, perhaps a turning point, a challenge you overcame, something funny and/or unforgettable?

It was the in-between moments where the magic happens. The characters you meet on the road and the friends who become family, from the contestants to the crew. For me, the most incredible moment is seeing the owners reaction to their space transformation. These businesses are their livelihood and that’s a lot of pressure. But to see tears of joy and to know you’ve changed their life a little bit, you can’t beat that feeling.

What would you say is your signature style as a designer?

Natural, vintage and reclaimed with a healthy dose of greenery is my signature style. I enjoy natural textures and pieces with character, particularly primitive design. On the show, I was stretched to embrace more colour and although I really enjoy a neutral design story, I found colour unlocked a new world for me.

I’m also really inspired by storytellers like Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl, people who create imaginary worlds and bring them to life. I live in my own dream land half the time, so I love creating a little bit of make believe in spaces. Every space I tackle now I like to create an imaginary character and bring their world alive with objects, art and history. When I’m shopping or hunting for treasure, it helps me get into their mind, whether it’s an 18th century drunk botanist or an 18-year-old party girl from Manchester.

My other design inspiration is my granny friend, or Franny as I like to call her. She built the cheese farm we live on and at 83 years old, she has taught me many amazing things from weaving willow, making pottery, and caring for tropical plants (in Scotland!) in her giant glass barn. She is always dreaming and always scheming.

What was the most valuable piece of feedback or insight that you got from Michelle Ogundehin and the other judges and how has it influenced your process and thinking as a designer on your work at Winnow?

I absorbed everything Michelle said to me. I wasn’t on the judging sofa too many times so I consumed lots of her writing and Instagram advice, from learning what a muddy green is to creating a healthy space. One piece of advice she gave was to make it warm, and I really brought that to my Beach Retreats space at Watergate Bay. I want people, in summer or winter, day or night to feel a summer glow in their holiday home. From the cushions to the lighting, my space is a little ray of sunshine.

What’s next for you and how has IDM and the process shaped those ambitions and plans?

I’d love to continue creating spaces and sharing stories. Design doesn’t have to take itself so seriously so I want to make characterful spaces for colourful characters.

About the Beach Retreats project

What excites you most about working with Beach Retreats?

I had never been to Cornwall before this project and I have to say, I get it. It’s all about the location and I was so inspired by the natural surroundings, bringing the outside in and creating a truly special holiday destination where people can come back down to earth.

What were your first impressions of Winnow and the setting?

Winnow was an amazing blank canvas. The bones of the building were great, perched on top of a hill overlooking cliffs. An architecturally designed building, with gorgeous natural light is a dream brief. My challenge was to create a space that was just as good inside, as Cornwall is outside.

From where have you drawn inspiration for the project?

Watergate Bay is a kaleidoscope of natural colours and textures. The wild Atlantic coast, craggy clay cliffs, wildflowers and sandy beaches inspired my natural colour palette and texture story.

Throughout the show, Michelle and the other judges spoke about showing your design story, a continuous thread of an idea across the space. What’s the story you’re telling with Winnow and how does your design realise it?

I started in Montauk, upstate New York, a seaside town with sloped roofs, modernist buildings and lots of creative types. I added a dose of Cornish seaside with intricate fine art photography of seaweed and shells and layered this with found art, objects and textures. My character? You know when you are a kid and you have one mate with just the coolest parents, well they were my imaginary client. An artist and a marine biologist who travel the world, collecting art and ephemera, and always land back in Watergate Bay in their large seaside abode, where their children, grandchildren and dogs reunite, sharing seafood feasts at long tables and reading in pillowy armchairs and daybeds.

How have you incorporated sustainability into your design?

I like to avoid big box stores and always hunt for reclaimed pieces first. I adore re-imagining unexpected things into useful objects, like my dining room lampshade I found at a market that was once a Hungarian chicken coop. If I buy new, I like to look at natural materials or interesting, forward-thinking brands like my living room chairs which are made of Pineapple leather. Pinatex take discarded pineapple tops and turn them into the most amazingly realistic leather like material. My other chairs are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Winnow is your first commercial project, what’s been your biggest learning / surprise?

Interior Design is 99% logistics. The project stretched me from being a dreamer to a doer and unlocked the list maker in me. It taught me that with time, a trusting client and a brave outlook, I can create spaces that are a little bit magic.

About interior design

What are your top tips for giving your bedroom the feel of a holiday home?

Make it warm. Add natural textures like linen, rattan and wood and layer that with lots of cushions, relaxed furniture and art that talks to your favourite location.

Beach Retreats is all about being by the coast and living the outdoor lifestyle, are there any quick and easy ways to bring this vibe into interior design for the home?

The coast offers endless inspiration. For me, I wanted to create an outdoor living room inside. Charred timber cladding is typically seen on the exterior of a building so I brought it inside and in doing so created a natural, textural element that drew the eye back out to the view.

What’s the one thing worth splurging on and what can you save on?

I like to mix high and low pieces. From vintage market finds that cost a dime, like my coffee table and Hungarian chicken coop light shade to designer pieces like my pillow armchair from Buchannan Studio and my bespoke table Galvin Bros and outdoor chairs from local maker, Mena woodwork.

What differences are there in designing a holiday space and the home?

A holiday home should make you feel refreshed, recharged and relaxed. Why should you limit that to your holiday? Why not make a holiday at home with your design choices?

To see Winnow in full, click here.

Check out some of our luxury retreats fit for a king, featuring pools and indoor pool rooms.

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.

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


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.”

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

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.

Christmas in The Village, Watergate Bay Cornwall

Wake up to the beach on Christmas morning with a stay at one of our eco lodges in Watergate Bay…

Fancy staying in a holiday retreat with a log burner? Check out our cottages with a log burner for a cosy getaway.

Book a Christmas stay at one of our Village properties in Watergate Bay and guests will arrive to a decorated Christmas tree and a bespoke luxury hamper, lovingly put together by The Cornish Hamper Company. Your festive hamper will include a selection of delicious chutney’s, flavoured cooking oils, Cornish Sea Salt, mince pies, Fairings Biscuits, crackers, chocolates and a Christmas pudding.

Properties included in this Christmas promotion are listed below, the price for the week is £42 pppn (£1465):

Merryn sleeps 5
Mawgan sleeps 6
Issey sleeps 5
Agnes sleeps 5
Erney sleeps 5
Minver sleeps 5
Ives sleeps 5
Mawes sleeps 5
Blazey sleeps 5

Book your Christmas stay.

The Village development is just a 2-minute walk to the golden sands of Watergate Bay and its collection of restaurants including The Beach Hut and Wax Watergate Bay who have a special Christmas lunch offer running throughout December. Guests will also be a stone’s throw from Watchful Mary, a brand new continental style-bar located on the sea wall. Stop off here Christmas Day between 12-4 for a cocktail or glass of fizz after your blustery morning walk.

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

After you have enjoyed your Christmas Day lunch in your property why not walk the coast path to nearby Mawgan Porth, or for the more energetic walk to the legendary Bedruthan Steps a little further afield.

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

Terms and conditions:

    • This special offer is only valid on new bookings for The Village properties only, booked between 8th November – 10th December 2019
    • No cash alternative.
    • The Christmas tree will be artificial and decorated for your arrival.
    • Some products within the luxury hamper may vary from the above description.
    • This special offer will end 10th December 2019

Keep an eye on our special offers page and book your stay at Watergate Bay this Christmas. 

Beach Retreats set the record for most visited Cornish beaches in one day

On 21st June 2018 (the Summer Solstice) we proudly set the record of visiting the most Cornish beaches in one day. Visiting 47 beaches across the county, we started at sunrise at 5am in Cawsand and ended just in time for a beautiful sunset at 9.30pm in Bude. Our activity marks the beginning of our new partnership with the South West Coast Path Association, with donations being taken to support our record attempt.

Our partnership with South West Coast Path Association

With more than 400 miles of Cornish coastline and over 300 beaches in Cornwall, we broke past our target of visiting a minimum of 40 Cornish beaches to raise money for the Path’s “40for40” campaign. The campaign is a bid to raise £40,000 by the end of October 2018 to celebrate its 40-year anniversary. As part of the partnership, we sponsored the Association with £2,500 and have challenged the public to match this through donations, setting a fundraising target of £2,500.

Why we love the South West Coast Path

With 161 holiday properties located all along the coast, we want to do our bit to support the charity, which sees nearly nine million visitors enjoy the Path and the many beautiful beaches it overlooks each year. We know the Coast Path and the beautiful Cornish beaches are cherished by our guests and residents of Cornwall, so not only do we want to celebrate the amazing beaches and the breathtaking walks right on our properties’ doorsteps – we also want to ensure we’re raising awareness and supporting the maintenance of these areas, so they can continue to be enjoyed for many, many more years to come.

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

Our 47 beaches

Below are all the beaches we visited on 21 June.

1 Cawsand


As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. Beautiful lighting at Cawsand to start the day off. Cawsand is located on the Rame Peninsula next to its neighbouring villages Kingsand. The sheltered bay looks out of Plymouth Sound and has lots of rockpools perfect for young families.

2 Whitsand Bay


Home to many of our coastal cabins, Whitsand offers three miles of golden sand backed by high cliffs and vegitation. Dogs are welcome here all year round due to the beache never being too crowded. Go rockpooling, enjoy a morning job and build sandcastles.


3 Looe


Lovely Looe is just a 30 minute drive from our Whitsand Bay properties and is a great spot for families wanting to explore. Many come here for a spot of crabbing, to walk the Banjo Pier or for the annual Looe Music Festival where you’ll be spoilt with great music, food and Cornish ales.

4 Charlestown


Used for many filming locations including the latest series off the BBC One Poldark, Charlestown is an example of a late Georgian working port, built in 1791. Walk the harbour wall, enjoy one of its fantastic eateries or head to beach and watch the fishing boats come and go.

Check our Charlestown holiday properties.

5 Porthpean


With soft white sand and clear waters, its no surprise this is a family famourite. The cliffs to the east of the beach are used nesting birds, great for those that want to see some wildlife during there stay. Its shallow waters make this a great spot for swimming in the warmer months.


6 Pentewan


Fancy a bit of sea kayaking? This beach is perfect for just that. Bring your own or hire a kayak from Pentewan Watersports and enjoy a gentle trip along the water. The beach is half a mile long and is south east facing, receiving plenty of sunshine throughout the year. There’s even free parking.

7 Portmelon


Accessible from Gorran Haven or Mevagissey via the South West Coast Path, this sand and shingle beach stays relatively quiet throughout the summer months. At high tide the beach is completely covered, leaving lots of fantastic rockpools just waiting to be explore. Parking is limited.

8 Gorran Haven


Two miles south of Mevagissey, Gorran Haven beach sits in a pretty fishing village and is popular with families and kayakers. It has a beach car park for your Cornish ice cream and pasty fix, as well as parking for up to 500 cars just 400 metres away. Dog friendly all year round, please keep on leads.


9 Porthluney


Privately owned, this golden sanded beach boasts a striking backdrop with the magical Caerhays Castle and Gardens located right behind it. Its visitors often enjoy a morning exploring the castle before heading to the beach for a Cornish picnic and an afternoon dip. Dogs welcome all year round.

10 Gyllyngvase


We absolutely love this beach in Falmouth, located just 200 metres from five of our luxury apartments.  It’s also home to the Gylly Beach Cafe, serving delicious local produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll spot many giving stand up paddle boarding a go, due to its calm and shallow waters.

11 Swanpool


Described as a ‘delightful swimming cove’ by some, Swanpool beach is located on the outskirts of Falmouth with perfect water conditions for SUP, Kayaking and wild swimming. Enjoy a spot of lunch in the cafe, or why not have a round of crazy golf, fun for all ages.


12 Maenporth


Perfectly located near a wooded valley, a few miles west of Falmouth, Maenporth’s beautiful scenery and shallow waters make it a perfect beach for all to enjoy, with a mixture of sandy shores and rock pools. Look out for the Ben Asdale, a famouth shipwreck only visible at low tide.

13 Kennack


With its large expanse of sand, shallow stream and plenty of rockpools, Kennack Sands is the perfect spot for those with little ones in tow. Build a sandcastle as the tide goes out, discover new sealife creatures or walk the south west coast path for awe-inspiring views.

14 Cadgwith


With its small fleet of fishing boats, the beach here is still very much the centre of it all when visiting Cadgwith village. Walk south along the coast path and you’ll reach the Devil’s Frying Pan, a 200 foot deep hole in the cliffs formed many years ago when a cave collapsed. Toilets, cafe and shop nearby.

15 Kynance


One of Cornwall’s most photographed locations, Kynance has become one of Cornwall’s most ‘Instagramable’ locations. Owned by the National Trust, its famous for its white sand, turquoise sea and large rock stacks. Make sure you try a Cornish cream tea at kynance Cove Cafe.

16 Porthleven


Its long stretch of sand and shingle is three miles long, reaching Loe Bar and Gunwalloe Fishing Cove. Many surfers flock to the right hand side of the harbour wall as its considered one of the best reef breaks in the UK. There is a great choice of resturants nearby including Rick Stein’s Porthleven.

17 Praa Sands


Praa Sands (pronounced pray) is best known for its white sand and powerful waves making it a very busy beach in the summer months. The sand stretches between Hoe Point in the west and Rinsey Head in the east, offering fantastic coastal walks from either side.

18 Mousehole


One of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages, Mousehole harbour and its small beach is located just a few miles from Penzance. The beach is known to be very safe for families and is surrounded by a stunning backdrop of yellow lichened fishermen’s cottages, shops and restaurants.

19 Porthcurno


Porthcurno is truely worth a fun filled day out, not just because of its beautiful crystal clear waters and white caribbean looking sand, but because the world famous Minack Theatre is right on its doorstep. Enjoy a bite to eat and catch an afternoon show in the open air theatre.

20 Pedn Vounder


Accessible by climbing down the rocks, Pedn Vounder beach is described as ‘paradise’ and Cornwall’s secret ‘Caribbean’. At low tide, the water is perfectly calm, leaving a ring of sand creating its own second island in the centre of the beach. Also known as a popular nudist beach.

21 Sennen


As you approach the village it’s not long before you spot the huge blue rollers heading towards the shore which makes Sennen Cornwall’s most westerly surf hotspot. Along the seafront you’ll find plenty of cafes, pubs, restaurants and galleries.

Find out more about Sennen in our blog all about the area.

22 Porthmeor


Just one of St Ives’ beautiful beaches, Porthmeor beach is located below the famous Tate St Ives gallery. Porthmeor is also St Ives’ most dramatic beach facing the full force of the Atlantic Ocean and flanked by rugged headlands. This beach wins its Blue Flag status almost annually.

23 St Ives Harbour


Part harbour, part beach, this bay has plenty going on, both in the working harbour and the town behind. At low tide stroll around to neighbouring beaches, or perch yourself near harbour pier at high tide. Bobbing boats, old fishermen’s houses, this is the perfect spot for watching the world go by.

24 Porthgwidden


Known as one of the cleanest beaches in the South West with its Blue Flag status, Porthgwidden benefits from being more sheltered than all the other St Ives beaches. Facilities include pretty beach huts and a splendid cafe overlooking the beach. Please note there is no lifeguard cover here.

25 Carbis Bay


Another award-winning beach near St Ives with a Blue Flag status, this white sand beach is privately owned by Carbis Bay Hotel. The beach rarely has any surf, making it the perfect spot for families with toddlers in tow. Take your camera, it’s surrounded by beautiful sub-tropical plants.

26 Gwithian


Blasted by the breeze off the Atlantic, the magnificent beach at Gwithian Towans is always a colourful scene of windsurfers on the water. The constant swell of the Atlantic Ocean brings in surfers all year round and is a well know breeding spot for colonies of seabirds.

27 Godrevy


Godrevy is one of Cornwall’s most popular sunset spots, with an iconic lighthouse and island creating a stunning backdrop. Located directly next door to Gwithian, it makes up one of Cornwall’s longest stretches of sand at low tide. There is a lovely cafe and plenty of parking nearby.

28 Portreath


Made up of soft golden sand and shingles on the shoreline, Portreath is popular with both families and surfers throughout the year. There are two surf shops and an amusement arcade located on the seafront, as well as a bakery, cafe, tearoom,  parking and toilets.

29 Porthtowan


Boasting a Blue Flag status and located between St Ives and St Agnes, Porthtowan is set within a World Heritage Mining area. Here you’ll find many unused historic engine houses which are perfect for exploring, along with rockpools at low tide for the little ones.

30 Trevaunance Cove


The main beach in St Agnes and dog friendly all year round, this pretty little cove is backed by high cliffs with fantastic amenities including a shop, pub, cafes, parking and toilets. Here you’ll find plenty of caves to discover and a pretty coast path leading you to Trevella, the next cove along.

31 Perranporth


Located on Cornwall’s rugged north coast and making up three miles of beautiful golden sand, this popular beach boasts its very own natural sea pool, great snorkelling, plenty of surf and a bustling town filled with quirky shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Don’t forget to buy your ice cream.

32 Holywell Bay


Just three miles from Newquay is Holywell Bay, one of the main filming locations for the BBC One series Poldark. Its Gull rock stacks in the centre of the sea are one of the most photographed rocks in Cornwall. The beach is backed by golden sand dunes creating plenty of fun for the whole family.

33 Crantock


Dog friendly all year round, Crantock beach is best known for its crystal clear waters and shallow stream as the Atlantic Ocean meets the River Gannel. Here you’ll often see kayakers and stand up paddleboarders at high tide. The perfect beach with small children and fury friends.

34 Fistral


World famous because of its pumping surf and annual surf contests, Fistral beach is Newquay’s largest and most popular. It’s recently become a fantastic foodie destination with the likes of Rick Stein Fistral, The Fish and The Stable on its doorstep. The beach is just a short stroll from the town centre.

35 Little Fistral


Lesser known, but adjacent to Fistral beach is a small sandy cove where the locals bathe. With rockpools galore, hidden caves and a coast path walk to a high peak, you’ll be mesmerised by the panoramic views surrounding this beach. Toilets are nearby and there is plenty of parking nearby.

36 Towan


Home to the iconic house on the island, Towan beach is in Newquay’s town centre and is always bustling with plenty of families playing ball, building sandcastles and munching on Cornish pasties. Newquay harbour is next door to the left, with Great Western beach on the right.

37 Great Western


If you like your burgers then this is the spot for you. Head to Slope Restaurant on your way down to the beach and check out their fantastic food and drinks menu. The beach itself is surrounded by cliffs and rocky inlets, set inbetween Towan beach and Tolcarne. Be aware there is no parking here.

38 Lusty Glaze


A beautiful horseshoe shaped bay privately owned with plenty to offer. The restaurant and bar is popular all year round with live music and delicious food and throughout the summer, visitors can enjoy the late night sundowner sessions with great acts from all over the world. There are lots of steps to get down to it.

39 Porth


With many of our stunning self-catering properties located here, this is sure to be one of our favourites. Watch a Cornish sunset, walk the bridge to porth island and splash around in the shallow stream. Amenities nearby include a little tea room, cafe, shop and the Mermaid pub directly on the beach.

40 Watergate Bay


Just three miles from Newquay and a short drive from Mawgan Porth, you’ll find the large golden sanded beach, Watergate Bay. We have 50 beachside properties here giving out guests plenty of choice when finding their perfect holiday home by the sea. Restaurants and cafes nearby.

41 Mawgan Porth


Sheltered by steep cliffs either side, Mawgan Porth beach is 4 miles from Newquay and its hustle and bustle. This is a great family beach with lots of rockpools, caves and even a large stream running down the southern side of the beach. If you love seafood, be sure to check out Catch Seafood Restaurant.

42 Porthcothan


Dog friendly all year round and one of the BBC One Poldark filming locations, its not wonder this beach is a haven for dog lovers and families. At low tide you’ll be treated to plenty of secret coves and inlets, giving you the freedom and space you don’t always get on a Cornish beach.

43 Trevone


Ever seen an 80 foot Cornish blow hole? Trevone near Padstow has just that.Formed by a collapsed sea cave and can be seen on a sloping field above the east side of the beach, many visitors come here for a photograph opportunity. The South West Coast Path leads you to plenty of awe-inspiring views nearby.

44 Rock


Across the estuary from Padstow is the little well known town of Rock. The beach here provides a long expanse of golden sand at low tide, leading round to Brea Hill and the popular Daymer Bay. If you prefer to sit back and relax while enjoying the finer things in life, Rock has a great choice of sophisticated eateries.

45 Polzeath


Polzeath is a haven for surfers and beach lovers alike. There is a sand and shingle beach, situated at the mouth of a river and backed by interesting cliffs. Amenities here are great, including the Waterfront Polzeath restaurant, toilets and a coast path leading you back to Rock, Daymer Bay and the Camel Estuary.

46 Widemouth Bay


Filled with beautiful rock formations at one end and golden sand and shingle at the other, this beach offers something for everyone. Go rockpooling, jump from bed to board and enjoy a surf, or visit one of the cafes dotted around the shoreline. Widemouth Bay is just a short drive from Bude town centre.

47 Crooklets


Last but by no means least is the lovely Crooklets beach. Backed by pretty beach huts, with a coast path leading you directly to the natural Bude Sea Pool, this is a firm favourite for our guests staying in Bude. be sure to stop off at the local cafe for a delicious Cornish ice cream.