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Walk through – Crantock to a mystery location

We’re always on the lookout for quiet beaches and hidden coves at Beach Retreats. Well, we found a new favourite spot on our latest walk from Crantock, two-miles south along the coast from our properties at Fistral Beach in Newquay. You’ll have to find it first though…

Poly Joke to Crantock walk through

From Fistral and East Pentire headland you have two choices – Newquay for the fun and frolics of a busy seaside town, or head south to the quieter Gannel Estuary and Crantock Beach. On this day, we chose the latter.

You can drive to Crantock or, for an adventure, take the Fern Pit Ferry across the Gannel which operates from May through September. When the tide is out there is a footbridge which can be used free of charge.

Poly Joke to Crantock walk through
Poly Joke to Crantock walk through

Crantock’s expansive sandy beach waits at the other side of the water with tranquil bathing by the river (the National Trust car park is behind the dunes). Make for the cliffs at the southern end for shelter on a windy day.

Continuing along the headland you’ll find C-Bay Café Bar & Bistro with unsurpassed views back over Crantock Beach, open for pancakes in the morning and lots of tasty options for lunch and dinner. Further into the village you’ll find the well-known Bowgie Inn, ‘the pink pub’. Andy has owned the pub for more than 43 years, which is much loved for coffees by the roaring fire, wines on the sun terrace, home-cooked food and bouncing live music nights.

Poly Joke to Crantock walk through
Poly Joke to Crantock walk through
Poly Joke to Crantock walk through

But the real treat of our walk through is Porth Joke beach, also known as Polly Joke. Accessed via the coastal path or inland via Treago Farm and Camping (there is small car park at the end of a very long track), you’ll be rewarded with a small, attractive and tranquil cove. Children will love exploring the caves, rockpools and stream and paddling in the sea while parents can enjoy doing not a lot.

Pack a picnic for the day as there are no facilities here.


Book your self-catering holidays in Cornwall with Beach Retreats.

The British Family Beach Holiday Research & Numbers

Five sandcastles, four tantrums and eight ice creams (two of which are dropped) – our research reveals British seaside holiday habits for the 21st century.

The British family beach holiday by numbers

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. That’s according to our survey which you may have spotted in the national press.

Walking along the pier and building sandcastles emerged as the most popular family seaside pastimes in the survey which compiled the experiences of 2,000 families and compared it with a survey conducted 30 years ago.

Andrew Easton, business manager for Beach Retreats said: “Around half of British families will be taking a staycation in 2016 and the appeal of the British beach holiday stronger than ever.

“Documenting your beach holiday with photos, social uploads and selfies is now a typical part of a beach holiday, but it’s great to see that outdoor activities, discovering the beach, are still so important to families.”

The British family beach holiday by numbers

Here are a few of our favourite findings:

The average British family holiday involves a three-hour journey, four tantrums and two days of rain

One of our favourite things about UK beach holidays is the sea air – with three quarters of people (73%) saying it’s what they love most about the seaside

Children ask “Are we there yet?” five times and parents enjoy only two lie-ins, but do get at least 16 hours as a family on the beach

Whilst on holiday, half (54%) of British families will watch a sunset, almost a third (29%) will have a barbecue on the beach and 22% adults will try a local craft ale

Buckets and spades are top of the list for beach essentials

Taking a phone to the beach is more important than a towel for four in 10 people – while one in four parents will obsess over the perfect beach selfie

Eight ice creams are eaten per person, although two will be dropped

Families will also have to contend with three occasions of seagulls swooping in, five sandcastles are built and three inflatables are blown up by puffed-out parents

Parents will normally get less than two and a half hours to themselves most days but will manage three quiet drinks over the holiday

More than two thirds (69%) of families will not head to the beach without at least one weather-proof essential such as a windbreak, full waterproofs or an umbrella

Traditional British beach behaviours are still as popular as ever, with building sandcastles (69%), digging holes in the sand (61%) and exploring rock pools (58%) listed as the most popular things to do beside the seaside

Families will play two board games and visit two holiday attractions together on holiday

Thankfully, only 4% of people wore a hankie on their head to protect them from the sun and 2% ate jellied eels while on holiday.

Find a retreat in one of our beach locations, and browse our special offers page for the best deals.

Five properties closest to the beach

It’s no secret that we love the beach here at Beach Retreats. And you can’t get closer to the beach than these five properties.

Coast 2, Porth

2 Coast, Porth

Distance from the beach: 0 metres!

When we say ‘the walk to the beach’ this barely ranks as a walk! All that separates 2 Coast from the sand on Porth Beach is a lovely private terrace and stretch of lawn. Make space on the private terrace for BBQs, grab your board from the lockable surf store and roll onto the beach from this contemporary ground floor apartment. Two bedrooms, sleeps six.

Book your stay at 2 Coast, Porth.

Coast 2, Porth

Atlantic View Widemouth Bay

Atlantic View, Widmeouth Bay

Distance from the beach: 10 metres

Away from the crowds but with direct access onto the beach and Widmeouth Bay’s iconic Black Rock and rockpools out front, Atlantic View is hard to beat in terms of location. But it rules in terms of luxury and eco-credentials too. Think high-spec interiors, full-width balconies, large-ensuite rooms, open-plan living and log burners in each of the six self-catering holiday lodges, all of which are completely reliable on renewable energy.

Book your stay at Atlantic View, Widemouth Bay.

The Beach, Porthtowan

The Beach, Porthtowan

Distance from the beach: 10 metres

Life is better at The Beach, consisting of five contemporary apartments looking down onto Porthtowan just metres below. Watch the tide come and go, indulge in a spot of people watching from your balcony, or explore the coastal path on your doorstep. When the surf picks up, grab your board and head down the path to the water before rinsing down afterwards in your outdoor shower.

Book your stay at The Beach, Porthtowan.

Waves, Watergate Bay

Waves, Watergate Bay

Distance from the beach: 100 metres

All of the best bits of Watergate Bay on your doorstep from a modern collection of one, two and three bedroomed apartments at Waves. The beach is your playground with watersports featuring large, but fine food is also the order of the day here The Beach Hut and Zacry’s restaurants overlooking the sand. Don’t forget to check out Watergate Bay Hotel’s swim and dine or day membership offer to make use of its blissful swim club facilities.

Book your stay at Waves, Watergate Bay.

Cliffside, Whitsand Bay

Cliffside, Whitsand Bay

Distance from the beach: 130 metres

Embrace cabin life at Whitsand Bay while the sea laps the shore as the bottom of the cliff. Cliffside takes in 180-degree sea views stretching all the way to England’s most southerly point, The Lizard, some 60 miles away in the distance. Our happy place is throwing open the bi-fold doors onto the decking – the perfect spot for morning coffee or sunset drinks.

Book your stay at Cliffside, Whitsand Bay.

Search for your beachside holiday with Beach Retreats online.

Royal Cornwall Show – 9-11 June 2016

Where else could you see an RAF Falcon display, edible bug eating and sheep shearing? At Cornwall’s largest annual event of course.

The Royal Cornish Show near Wadebridge is celebrating its 223rd year next week – and we can think of the same number of reasons for why.

The main draw of the county’s biggest annual event is still the fact it’s a top agricultural show, attracting increasing numbers of animals entered into hundreds of classes. Dog and goat sections; rare breed classes. A top flower show and thriving countryside area. Rabbits, cage birds, cavies – even bees get noticed here!

It’s also full of exhibits and exhibitions, Cornish-grown and produced food and drink, music and a packed schedule of entertainment happening in and around the main ring.

Interested in farming? Not interesting in farming? Enjoy crafts? Planning a wedding? Need to entertain the kids? Is woodland your thing? Whatever your interest, The Royal Cornwall show has something for everyone.

20 things to see and do at the Royal Cornwall Show, by the West Briton

The Grand Parade
All animals large and small come from far to compete.

Mouth-watering food and drink
Eat, drink and be merry with 60 local produces within three marquees.

Fun dog show
1,000 wagging tails will compete in the show’s canine section over three days.

The RAF Falcons
Dropping in on all three show days will be the military’s best parachute display team.

Sheep shearing
Well it wouldn’t be an agricultural show otherwise would it.

Edible bug challenge
Are you brave enough to take on the challenge?

Cornwall’s Young Farmers
The show is a big event for Cornwall’s next generation of farmers.

Titan the Robot
At eight-feet tall, he’s hard to miss.

A record number of goats will be competing at this year’s show, but we like it most when the kids come out to play on the Sunday.

Scarecrow Trail

Join the trail and find the scarecrows scattered around the ground.

Relive WW1
Get inside a trench and find out what life was like on the front line.

Live music

The Grenaways, Wadebridge Town Band and the Whippletree Ceilidh Band feature in the line-up this year.

Sheep dog handling

Katy Cropper, the first female winner of One Man & His Dog, and her 13 year-old daughter Henrietta (the youngest One Man & His Dog competitor) will show off their skills.

Cornish wrestling

The men and women of Cornwall have been ‘hitching’ for hundreds of years.

Vintage fun fair

A helter-skelter, ferris wheel and Victorian gallopers are in town.

Show jumping
Edge-of-your-seat stuff in the main ring.

Cheeky Gnomes
Gnorbet and Gnigel have been let loose in the show. You’ve been warned!

Morris Dancers
From traditional to contemporary. Plus on Sunday they’ll invade the avenues.

The Flower Show
One of the finest shows around with several Chelsea Flower Show medal winners participating.

Equine stars of Poldark

The BBC Poldark horses and riders will stampede into the main ring.

Want to #behere? Book your self-catering holiday with Beach Retreats.

The Cornwall Business Awards

Beach Retreats were delighted to win the accolade of Excellence in Digital Marketing at the 2016 Cornwall Business Awards.

The prestigious event was hosted by BBC Radio Cornwall’s Daphne Skinnard, and the award presented by entrepreneur Levi Roots of Dragon’s Den and Reggae Reggae Sauce fame at St Mellion International resort in South East Cornwall.

Beating off stiff competition to win the category, Beach Retreats innovative use of story telling wowed the judges. The company created a collection of short films inviting viewers to embrace the Cornish beach, the vistas, sights and sounds – the public has been encouraged to escape and engage using the social hashtag #behere as part of the marketing campaign.

The integrated approach generated some great results; Beach Retreats reported a record-breaking year for bookings and saw an overall increase in occupancy rates throughout the year, with the summer months at 100% and repeat booking significantly higher than predicted.

Beach Retreats business manager, Andrew Easton, said:

“We were delighted just to be shortlisted for the award, with such strong business talent nominated from across the county, to win has felt amazing!

Beach Retreats has always looked to experiment and innovate with marketing; our aim is to reflect how holidays in Cornwall make our guests feel – we believe the beautiful beaches and stunning coastline are how memories are made. To receive recognition for this best digital marketing award is a real honour”.

The annual awards are organised by Cornwall Development Company to highlight Cornish business talent.

Watch the films on our Vimeo channel.

For owners: talk to us about holiday letting your Cornish place by the sea.

Walk through – Boscastle

We take a walk on the wild side at Boscastle, a place where moorland meets the sea.


There are many sides to Boscastle on Cornwall’s far north coast: picturesque fishing village, medieval settlement, artist’s muse. It all makes for a very interesting and beautiful place for a self catering holiday.

Once offering shelter to sailors along a wild and intimidating stretch of coast, Boscastle’s dramatic coastline and quaint old buildings are the main attraction. The latter is immediately apparent as you begin to wander around, with characterful cobbled streets, wonky roofs, stone buildings and watermills lining the river before leading you towards the ocean.

Self catering holidays in Boscastle

Self catering holidays in Boscastle


Today, a few handsome day boats bob in the harbour. But Boscastle was once a thriving port – in one year alone nearly 200 ships called on their way through delivering supplies from including timber from as far as field as Canada.

Boscastle’s tortuous harbour entrance means that sailing vessels always required assistance to enter, usually by ‘hobbler’ boats manned by oarsman and other men on shore tethered to the boat with ropes.



Goods were eventually hauled up its steep hills by teams of horses once kept in what is now the youth hostel. Other buildings such as the lime kiln and blacksmith’s forge can still be seen around the harbour today.

You can discover more about Boscastle’s history and dramatic landscape which is all detailed in the National Trust’s fantastic modern visitor centre located in the heart of the village. You also be surprised to learn how much community life is thriving since the devastating flood a decade ago. There are plenty of craft shops and cafes to visit, feeding and watering artists who have been inspired by its remoteness and rugged beauty.


With King Arthur’s Tintagel just down the coast, this is also a land of myth and legend. Housing the world’s largest collection of witchcraft artefacts and regalia, the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle has been entertaining visitors for more than fifty years.

Self catering holidays in Boscastle

Self catering holidays in Boscastle


Self catering holidays in Boscastle

Walking towards the sea, the imposing cliffs of Penally Point and Willapark guard either side of Boscastle harbour. Watching the boiling seas around the Island of Merchard between the two – and the two blowholes spitting out at low tide – it’s not hard to feel the otherworldly aura of this stretch of coast.

The best way to finish a walk-through Boscastle is to continue along the coast path, past stomach dropping steep cliffs, up to the white-washed lookout tower. From here there are fantastic views of the coast all the way down to Tintagel – guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away.

Search for your self catering holiday in Boscastle with Beach Retreats.

Gourmet Picnics to order

Cycle out on the coastal path or head to the beach, spread out a blanket, and enjoy a Gourmet Picnic in some of Cornwall’s most fabulous locations.

Brought to you by the team behind Amélies Restaurant in Porthleven, Gourmet Picnics are handmade to order by their team of artisan chefs from their coastal HQ and delivered direct to your holiday accommodation. Designed for parties of four or more, this is shared gourmet dining for the great outdoors made easy.

Choose your menu below then place your order by calling the team on 01326 653653. Picnics must be ordered 72 hours in advance of when delivery is required and are for a minimum of eight people.

From the Sea – £60pp
To Start
Lime and coriander crayfish tails
Marinated dill and white wine prawns
Potted crab with melba toast

To Follow
Smoked mackerel and bulghar salad
Dressed Cornish crab with lemon mayo
Marinated chargrilled tiger prawns with chilli, garlic dip

To Finish
Chocolate dipped strawberries
Pimms and mint jellies

From The Land – £58pp
To Start
Figs and prosciutto with balsamic
Homemade scotch egg with turmeric mayo
Slow cooked ham with grain mustard

To Follow
Spiced chicken drumsticks with harisa dip
Marinated Cornish beef with beetroot and horseradish chutney
Summer poached chicken salad with chilli, garlic dressing

To Finish
Meringue, crème fraiche and marinated berries
Sea salt petit fours

From the Field (our vegetarian option) – £50pp
To Start
Goats cheese, spiced beetroot and watercress
Antipasti; roasted sun-blushed tomato, artichoke hearts and marinated olives
Parmesan twists with garlic crème fraiche

To Follow
Cous cous and roasted vegetables stuffed pepper
Harissa marinated haoumi kebabs
Caramelised onion tart with gruyere

To Finish

Strawberries and Cornish clotted cream
Mini fruit tarts

Drinks menu

Half bottle red wines
Marques De Caceres £12.00
Boujoulais Bourisset £12.50
Colin Bourisset Fleurie £15.00

Half bottles of white wines
Marques De Cacares £12.00
Rose D’anjou £13.00
Chablis Laroche £15.00

200ml mini prosecco bottles £9.00
Half bottle Laurent Perrier champagne £22.50

Mojito jam jar
Bacardi, fresh lime juice, mint leaves, sugar, soda £4.50
Amélies jam jar
Vodka Chambord, homemade strawberry, jam, cranberry juice, lime juice, sugar £5.00
Bloody Mary jar
Tomato juice, vodka, lemon Worcestershire sauce and miniature Tabasco sauce to make your own heat! £5.00

Non alcoholic drinks
Watermelon and lemon jar Lemon, fresh mint and watermelon freshly made to order in jam jars £4.00 (add vodka for £1.00)
Proper lemonade Homemade cloudy still lemonade in glass bottles £3.00
Elderflower cordial Elderflower, lemon and vanilla cordial Bottled to order in Italian glass bottles £3.50

Search for your self catering holiday with Beach Retreats.

The Canteen at Maker Heights

Ex-River Cottage chef Nick’s new laid-back café-come-restaurant is serving up a treat near Whitsand Bay.

Only inquisitive and curious diners make it to The Canteen at Maker Heights, off-the-beaten-track and at the top of the last hill on the Rame Peninsula before you meet the River Tamar. We like it that way, and we think the team running it likes it that way too.

We visited The Canteen after a friend’s recommendation, nearly missing the turning on the road between Milbrook and Cremyll. Housed in old barrack buildings with breakthtaking views down towards the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand lapping the water below, visitors on the benches outside are making the most of spring sunshine with sunnies on and a coffee in hand.

Inside, Nick’s team cook fresh, vibrant home cooked food from their small home-sized kitchen. The busy team are beavering away in the open-plan setup as they overlook long tables of families tucking into hearty Sunday roast, rib of beef and shoulder of pork, plus all the trimmings.

The menu is small but perfectly formed – four starters and five mains – but I’m tempted with the veggie options and go for a taster board of frittata, hummous, falafel Scotch egg and homemade break with a three beet, mozzarella and walnut salad.

The food is rustic and definitely nods to chef Nick Platt’s time at River Cottage, except the menu here is very good value. We also should mention that the kiddies menu has just been given a special mention in the Sunday Times as one of their favorite places in Cornwall to take children to eat.

I leave feeling good from the inside out before heading off for a walk down to Mount Edgcumbe and Cremyll Ferry

The Maker is only open on weekends during the winter and seven days in the summer. It’s always best to book to avoid disappointment.

PS. Keep an eye out too for the Maker Sunshine Festival Sessions throughout summer, family friendly events with live music and good food.
The Canteen at Maker Heights is a ten minute drive from our self-catering properties at Whitsand Bay.

Walk through – Cremyll Ferry to Royal William Yard

A walk-through Cornwall blog with a twist – a ferry across the River Tamar for a coffee in Devon!

Royal William Yard

Full to the brim after a hearty lunch from The Canteen at Maker Heights, we embark on one of our favourite and most varied walk-throughs to date – just a ten minute drive from our properties in Whitsand Bay.

Perched on the hill overlooking sea and river and the fishing villages of Kingsand and Cawsand a couple of hundred metres below, the views from Maker near Torpoint are awesome.

The Canteen at Maker Heights near Whitsand Bay

We leave our car here and pass through green fields and pathways towards Maker Church before descending into Mount Edgcumbe and Cremmyl. It’s a half an hour walk downhill, but if you don’t fancy the walk back up the hill later you can park in the pay-and-display in Cremmyl.

An enormous part of the 865-acre Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park is free to explore, including the formal gardens, amphitheater, Orangery Restaurant and avenue, while The House and Earl’s Garden charges admission from March until September. There are plenty of spots for picnics along the shoreline with views over the River Tamar towards the military dockland in Plymouth.

Mount Edgcumbe

Mount Edgcumbe

Mount Edgcumbe

Mount Edgcumbe

Mount Edgcumbe

At the foot of Mount Edgcumbe is cremyll Ferry, a small foot ferry making trips every half an hour to Admiral’s Hard near Royal William Yard on the outskirts of Plymouth. A couple of city cyclists take their bikes back home after a day on the Cornish hills while children wave at the military boats and sailers floating by.

Cremyll Ferry

Cremyll Ferry

Cremyll Ferry

Royal William Yard

Cremyll Ferry

The ten-minute crossing provides a fish-eye view of Royal William Yard’s impressive architecture, considered to be one of the most important groups of historic military buildings in Britain. Disused for a long period of time, the Grade 1 former Royal Naval victualing buildings once used to store supplies for naval ships are once again alive with cafes, bars, restaurants, museum, art galleries, offices and residential spaces.

Royal William Yard

Royal William Yard

Royal William Yard

Royal William Yard

Mount Edgcumbe

We stop for coffee and cake at Royal William Bakery, but there are plenty of places to try including River Cottage Canteen, Wildwood, Wagamamas, Prezzo, Le Bistrot Pierre, Las Iguanas and more.

It’s easy to loose track of time wandering the buildings and shoreline here – just remember to check the time of the last ferry back!

Cremyll Ferry is a ten-minute drive from our self catering properties in Whitsand Bay.

Porthleven Food and Music Festival 15-17 April

If there was ever an excuse to eat yourself silly, drink yourself merry and dance around a pretty harbour, Porthleven Food & Music Festival on Friday 15, Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 April is it.

If you haven’t visited the pretty fishing village of Porthleven on Cornwall’s south coast then this weekend during the lively Porthleven Food and Music Festival is your perfect opportunity.

Lining the harbour will be more than 120 local food and craft exhibitors, street food stalls and music stages alongside a big chef’s theatre hosting celebrity chef demos from names such as Antony Worral Thompson, Jack Stein, Francis Quinn (winner of the Great British Bake Off) and lots more. Fill your shopping bags with local produce and eat and drink yourself silly. You’ll find us by the fish BBQ.

From start to finish there’s lots of reasons to join the party, not least live music from classic and county to rock and reggae. Art exhibitions, kids activities and a few surprises will be happening across the weekend, with a huge firework finale bringing things to close on Sunday. For the first time a fringe Literary Festival ‘Food for thought’ will also take place featuring authors, writers, poets and performers.

For a full list of what’s on visit

PS. The theme for 2016 is Mad Hatter’s Tea Party so join in the fun and put your best hat on!

Search for your self-catering holiday in Porthleven with Beach Retreats.