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Showstopping hot chocolates in Cornwall

Hunker down this season with a hot chocolate and beachside views.

The sweet glug of hot chocolate, topped with sprinkles and enjoyed with sticky fingers and a coastal view. With the arrival of autumn, it’s time wrap up, get cosy and search for a showstopping hot chocolate (with extra marshmallows of course). We’ve sampled the best hot chocolates in Cornwall to give you a head start – here’s our top five.

The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay

Towered with whipped cream, marshmallows and extra-large buttons, it’s no surprise that the Extreme Hot Chocolate is a firm favourite in the bay. Choose from classic marshmallow, orange or Oreo, or go vegan in keeping with The Beach Hut’s 50% plant-based approach, with oat milk, dairy-free Oreos, orange buttons, and oat milk squirty cream.

Stay in Watergate Bay.

hot chocolate held in hands

Hungry Horsebox Co., Hayle

Where better to sip a hot chocolate than out in the elements, the wind whipping around your woolly hat and sea foam in the air? Hungry Horsebox, situated on the rugged Gwithian Towans beach in Hayle, have made their Ultimate Hot Chocolate a permanent addition to their menu, and it’s a delight. Topped with wafer rolls, smarties, caramel chunks and a stick of toasted marshmallow, it’s bound to get you warmed up, no matter the weather.

Stay in Hayle.

Gylly Beach Cafe, Falmouth

Just a stone’s throw from our luxury Falmouth apartments, Gylly Beach Cafe is one of our go to eateries in Falmouth, not just for food, but of course their signature hot chocolate. With the choice of alfresco dining or comfortable seating inside, Gylly Beach Cafe is open all year round and located directly on the beach. Be sure to ask for whipped cream, marshmallows AND chocolate sprinkles.

Stay in Falmouth.

hot chocolate on a table

Poldhu Cafe, Poldhu

If it’s choice you want, then it’s choice you’ll have. Poldhu is a secret cove located on the beautiful Lizard Peninsula in south Cornwall. Its cafe is known as the heart of the beach, famous for its Poldhutastic Hot Chocolates and rightly so. Whipped cream and marshmallows come as standard, with a choice of five brand new chocolatey toppings including Malteser, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Dairy Milk Buttons, Mini Eggs and Oreo. We know, our mouths are watering too.

Find a Poldhutastic Hot Chocolate.

Book your Autumn retreat at one of our beach locations, and keep an eye on our special offers page for seasonal discounts.

The Watering Hole, Perranporth

If you’ve been to The Watering Hole, then you’ll know that Perranporth boasts some of the most amazing sunsets. Pack some blankets, get the family together and dine alfresco with one of these bad boy hot chocolates. Perranporth beach is also home to The Dunes, a brand new development of contemporary self-catering apartments.

Stay at The Dunes.

hot chocolate with marshmellows

What to do in Bude, Cornwall

Thinking of booking a trip to Bude and not sure the best things to do around the area? We’ve got you covered. Bude is a stunning seaside town, with two beaches, Crooklets for surf and sunbathing and Summerleaze for dipping in the sea pool. Beyond its sandy beaches there’s also a buzzing foodie scene, array of quirky independent shops and plenty to do. Here’s our ultimate guide of what to do in Bude.

Browse our Bude retreats.

Swim in the sea pool

On the soft sands of Summerleaze beach you’ll notice a glistening blue slick of water, dotted with swimmers and the odd bobbing gull. Get closer and take a dip in this sea pool, where the water is always calm and the air fresh and salty. A semi-natural pool, this is the perfect spot for a free, safe swim, especially if you have the little ones in tow.

Bude beach yoga

Rise with the first light of dawn and stretch it out. There’s nothing more invigorating than being in harmony with nature, your lungs full of sea air, the only sound the distant crash of waves and your bare feet in the silken sand. Claire Jennings is an established yoga teacher and runs sessions on Crooklets beach in the mornings and at sunset.

Learn to surf

Fancy getting your heart beating and your adrenalin pumping? Grab a board and take to the waves with Big Blue Surf School, where qualified instructors will show you the ropes of this invigorating sport. Situated on Summerleaze beach, you’ll experience the north coast’s consistent swell, and are sure to be standing up in no time.

Image credit: Big Blue Surf School

Dine at Temple

After a day on the beach, there’s nothing better than heading back to your self-catering holiday retreat for a shower to freshen up before going back out for an evening of fine dining. Try Temple, a beautiful dining spot which serves up simple dishes made with fresh ingredients. Sample small plates of braised fennel, BBQ’d mushrooms, daily fresh fish and porchetta with courgettes and picked shallots, washed down with your choice of white or red.

Sundowners at The Beach at Bude

Bude’s north coast position means it benefits from dramatic sunsets which sink behind the horizon directly before your eyes. Head to The Beach at Bude, a hotel bar and restaurant with a front facing outdoor terrace, to enjoy sundowners with a sunset view. Will it be a light and refreshing mojito to cool down in the summer heat, or a negroni the colour of the sunset sky?

Walk to Widemouth Bay

If you fancy stretching your legs, the nearby coastline towards Widemouth Bay is not to be missed. The walk is three miles along the rugged coast path, and features stunning panoramas and breathtaking sea vistas. If you go in summer, you’ll also spot wildflowers dotted along the cliffs. You may also be lucky enough to see some wildlife, such as sea birds and seals, along the way.

Find out more about Bude and see our retreats below. Keep an eye on our special offers page, too, for the latest deals and discounts. 

EWWines for summer time

We caught up with our friends at EWWines, who’ve come up with a discounted case of wines to be delivered straight to your holiday home.

Summer time – the time to be active or kick back and relax. Cornish holidays are all about long coastal walks, sunset drinks, surfing and time outside in the fresh sea air reconnecting with friends and family.

To help with the excitement, we believe a new approach to wine is needed to accommodate your summer palate and seasonal food.

We’re excited to introduce our coastal wine cases for Beach Retreats customers to enjoy whilst on holiday.  These cases are wines with a coastal influence, handpicked from around the world of wine. The coastal factor in wine terms often brings cooling influences to vineyards, which slows ripening significantly and helps to preserve natural acidity for you to enjoy in your luxury coastal retreat.  Choose Red, White or Mixed (3 White and 3 Red). Three fantastic opportunities to taste some of our hand selected range with fantastic savings for you, couriered to your door to start your holiday right!  Browse our coastal cases here. 

At checkout, use code BEACH22 to receive an exclusive 10% off these cases as a thank you. This enables our Coastal Cases to be couriered to your holiday property for £70.95, or utilise our click and collect service from our Indian Queens store for free, making your case just £63.

The Wines

Our first suggestion has got to be THE wine of the summer. Tiny, tiny production so grab yours whilst you can!  We’re excited to introduce Lost in a Field “Frolic” Pet-Nat by Tim Wildman MW and winemaker Daniel Ham (Offbeat Wines). It’s summer in a glass.

What is a Pet-Nat?  Short for pétillant naturel, this is an old method in which at its simplest the fermentation is interrupted and the wine is bottled and sealed which traps carbon dioxide as the fermentation resumes (hopefully). The wines are therefore mostly unfiltered with visible sediment and often lower alcohol and pressure than for example a traditional method sparkling wine such as Champagne are to be expected.

Frolic is an excellent addition to any mixed case and a welcome addition to a beach gathering or party.  This wine has a fantastic story and has firmly shined the spotlight on “British Heritage Vines” and celebrates small scale hobby vineyards at the same time, creating a community project, the Lost Vineyard Preservation Society.  Check out Jancis Robinson’s recent article whilst sipping a glass of Frolic in the sunshine!

Another of our favourite tipples is Bosue Vineyard Rose 2019.  Paul the winemaker was recently in-store for a free tasting session, so we took the opportunity to ask a couple of questions because they too do things a little differently. We discovered that their tiny 550 bottle production of this wine is 100% Regent, a modern hybridised variety mentioned above with no reserve wine. Paul riddles and disgorges by hand in small batches. Riddling and disgorging started in April 2022.  This means there is almost two years on the lees, more than double the requirement for wine labelled “Quality Sparkling Wine” in England which adds a subtle character to the wine of toast and pastry. Rhubarb, cranberry, redcurrants and tart raspberry on the nose with a delicate rose and leafy character and the toasty layers too. The acidity is high and the red fruits are crunchy and bright, almost like biting into a crisp pink lady apple.  Super refreshing on a summer’s day with a little sweetness on the finish.

We also have an incredible range of spirits, with something for every occasion from premium Mezcal, Rum, Whisky and much more. However, a gin that we could not recommend highly enough is the Loveday Golden Hour Gin.  This is a pink gin like no other, delicious, fresh, bitter-sweet, and a little floral. Our perfect serve would be over ice, with a premium tonic of your choice and a slice of grapefruit whilst watching the sunset.

Another gin which screams of summer to us is the Wrecking Coast Clotted Cream Gin. It’s made with 100% Cornish strawberries freshly pressed from the renowned strawberry fields of Boddington’s Berries, with no added sugars, flavourings or sweeteners. Our Perfect serve: pour over plenty of ice and top with either an elderflower tonic or lemonade, garnish with fresh sliced strawberries and allow the flavours to combine so you can enjoy the taste of summer in your glass! 

Our Wine Emotion machines have been repaired and reloaded with 16 wines, with summer in mind. We’ve wines from the Loire, Greece, Italy and Chile, just another reason to come in-store and taste with our in house WSET Certified Educator, for free. Why not discover something new, or revisit an old friend?

Tasting Sessions

In August we continue our Free Producer Tasting series with a Cornish brand in-store most Fridays or Saturdays! 

Sat 6th Aug, Rosemullion Distillery – Andy, 10:30am to 5pm

Fri 12th Aug, Wrecking Coast – Avian, 12:30 to 5pm

Sat 20th Aug, Curio Spirits 12:30pm to 5pm

Summer Dish Ideas

Here’s a few of our favourite summer dish ideas with a wine suggestion or two from our hand selected, extensive range;

Barbecued Lamb, new potato salad, garden greens. We recommend shoving garlic cloves and rosemary into incisions across your joint, rubbing in olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper before BBQing at approx. 180 in a roasting pan with a generous glug of red wine until the meat is at 60 degrees, and rest for 15 mins. Pair with something that starts with fruit and finishes with pepper, such as cooler climate Syrah. Or, for something with bolder fruits and a fresh herbaceous lift to finish choose from Cabernet Sauvignon or a Cabernet style Zinfandel. If the sun is shining, a quality Provence should also not be overlooked. The Garriques or dried herbs and red fruits will complement the lamb very well indeed. AIX Provence Rose from Maison Saint AIX would be a fantastic pairing. It’s tasty, generous and elegant too. Your only problem is you might need a larger format (We stock 3L Double Magnum bottles too!) because it’s a perfect wine to drink all day long!

Try a Tabouli packed with garden peas, summer chard or spinach, courgette, cucumber, dill, parsley and a touch of goat’s cheese crumbled on top. Our perfect wine suggestion would be the new in Cote Mas Sauvignon Blanc Vermentino 2020 to complement the dish perfectly. With unique aromas of flowers, peach and pear, it’s generous on the palate, just like the sunshine that blesses it’s vineyards! The rich flavours pair perfectly with the earthy quinoa and floral, citrus and herbal notes perfect with the summer vegetables and the bright acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the goat’s cheese. This pairing is so delicious it’ll keep you reaching for your glass!

Browse our beach locations to find your perfect retreat and favourite beach to sip your wine on, and keep an eye on our special offers page for the latest discounts.

What to See & do in Porthleven? | Full Guide

Planning a trip to Porthleven and wondering what to see and do there? We’ve got you covered. This pretty harbour town has a thriving foodie scene, sandy beach and a working harbour, perfect for watching the boats bob in and out from one of the harbourside pubs. Here’s our top things to see and do in Porthleven.

Drink at The Ship Inn

This traditional, 17th century pub feels like you’re stepping back in time – that is, until you sample their fresh, modern menu. With traditional pub décor and an excellent view of the harbour, this cosy pub is made for whiling away the day sipping your pint of choice and admiring the harbour activity. Spot seabirds in the summer or hide from the storms in the winter, which often see waves crashing over the harbour walls. This old fisherman’s haunt is the best place in Porthleven to eat, drink and relax, no matter the weather.

Photo credit: Ed Perkins

Eat fish and chips at the harbour

Tuck into the freshest caught fish, battered to perfection and adorned with as much salt and vinegar as you like. Fish and chips are best enjoyed right by the sea, and Porthleven’s harbour wall is an ideal spot for soaking up the bustling atmosphere as you eat. Head to Porthleven Fish and Chips or The Top Chippy to get your fix. Just watch out for hungry seagulls!

Wild swimming

Porthleven has many sheltered spots for a dip to cool off in the summer months, or, if you’re brave, during winter. Wait for high tide and head in off the harbour slipway, when the fishing boats will be far out to sea and you can enjoy a calm pool to splash about in. Or, head to Porthleven beach to get your fix of the vast Atlantic ocean – lifeguards patrol here in the summer months, making it the safest choice.

Dine at Kota

Kota means ‘shellfish’ in Maori, and you may recognise head chef Jude, who is half Maori, half Chinese Malay, from his appearance on BBC’s Great British Menu. Kota serves up the finest of local produce with a signature Asian twist, and is the ultimate fine dining experience in the area. Expect tempura oysters, crispy monkfish and seasonal greens in seaweed butter, enjoyed with handpicked wine pairings. It’s a must visit.

Watch the sunset at Rinsey Head

Enjoy panoramic views of the Lizard and Land’s End and soak up a kaleidoscopic sunset at Rinsey Head, which you can reach in a circular walk along the coast path. This walk is beautiful at any time of day, but a post-dinner stroll will reward you with the most vivid pink and orange skies as the sun rolls behind the horizon. It’s a great dog walk, too, as long as you keep your pups on the lead when on cliff path.

Go crabbing off the harbour wall

Pick up a bucket and line and wait for high tide to do a spot of crabbing off the harbour wall. This is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, and you may choose to make it a competition of who can catch the biggest! When you’re done, safely return your crabs to the ocean and reward the family with an ice cream from one of the nearby parlours.

Keep an eye on our special offers page for the latest deals and discounts on Porthleven retreats.

Dogs love the seaside and Cornwall has plenty of it. Make it not just a holiday for you, but your dog too, with our top reasons to bring your pup.

Dogs love the seaside – it’s a fact. And Cornwall has plenty of it, making it the perfect holiday destination for you and your pup.

But beyond the sandy beaches for your dog to run freely across, there’s so much more about Cornwall which dogs will love. If you’re wondering what to do with your dog in Cornwall, we’ve got you covered.

Make it not just a holiday for you, but your dog too, with our top reasons to bring your four-legged friend to Cornwall.

Their first run on the beach

The best dog walks are those with large, open spaces for running around. However, if you live in a city, you’ll likely not have any water for your pup to splash around in, let alone a sandy beach for your dog to enjoy.

The beach is a magical place for anyone, and this includes your dog – if you’ve ever watched your dog take its first steps on the beach, you’ll understand. They simply can’t get enough of the sand to roll about in, the waves to play with and the space to run across. Taking your dog for their first beach day, first sea swim and even first sunset is an experience to be had, as you watch their tails wag and eyes light up with joy. Find your favourite dog friendly beach and see it for yourself.

Beyond the beaches

Cornwall isn’t just beaches, though – it’s a full-on dog paradise. With endless woodlands, rural space, open fields and the entire South West coast path, there’s so many different terrains for you and your pup to explore. Just remember to keep your dog on their lead when walking the coast path and through fields where you may encounter wildlife, such as cows and sheep.

Dog friendly attractions

Cornwall is a very dog friendly county, and welcomes pups in many of its attractions. There is a laid back vibe here and this extends to dogs, with most cafes and pubs and some restaurants welcoming dogs. Some even have their own doggy menu for your pup to try! Here’s our favourite dog-friendly places to dine.

You can also bring your dog to many day trips around the county, such as various National Trust sites, the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Find more dog-friendly attractions to have the best time with your pup.

Quality time

When you come on holiday to Cornwall, you take some time out to relax, be with loved ones and make memories. Why not share this precious time with your dog, too? There’s no need to leave them behind, especially during the out of season months when the weather is cooler, the coast is quieter, and many beaches remove their dog ban. Cool off at the beach, explore a garden or attraction together, and most importantly bond with your pup, giving them the time and attention they may miss during busy, working life!

Pup-friendly properties

A self-catering holiday in Cornwall is perfect for a dog, with your own private space for them to roam freely, nap and relax after a busy day of playing fetch and chasing waves. Many of our retreats are dog friendly, meaning there’s no need to leave them in the kennels. We’ve plenty of properties which also have enclosed gardens for your dog to safely enjoy and outdoor showers, great for rinsing sandy paws. All of our retreats are also walking distance to the beach, making that morning dog walk easy.

Find your favourite dog friendly beaches by browsing our locations, and keep an eye on our special offers page for our best dog friendly Cornwall holiday deals.

Natural glow

Among the slippery rocks and swaying seaweed of Cornwall’s many coves and rock pools lie bright colour shows and surprising shimmers of pinks, yellows and greens. From cunningly disguised crabs and solar-powered slugs, to UV discoveries and night swims in a sparkling sea, we talked to rock-pooling expert Heather Buttivant about what to look out for…

The coastal waters of Cornwall are micro worlds of amazing creatures and plants in a collage of colour that isn’t always obvious, but can be a dazzling discovery for any intrepid beach explorer.

Image: Crantock, Cornwall by Hydro Motion Media

“I grew up on the north coast of Cornwall and spent a lot of my childhood on beaches,” says Heather. “I was always completely fascinated by the weirdness of that world, and by the colours. Collecting shells was a massive thing as a kid, and I’ve returned to it as an adult. It’s become my world again.”

While she isn’t a formally trained marine biologist, through courses and working alongside experts, Heather has developed an expert eye and brought this to her enthusiasm for rock pools. She posts about her discoveries at the Cornish Rock Pools website, and has written two books Rock Pool: Extraordinary Encounters Between the Tides, and Beach Explorer: 50 Things to See and Discover.

We have many brightly coloured anemones, like the wonderful strawberry anemone, then there are yellow and orange cup corals, which are the jewels of the rock pools.”

“I wanted to share my excitement about all of this marine life with people who aren’t scientists,” she explains. “It seemed to be a gap; there was very little around that was designed to tell people about our fascinating marine life – especially the marine life we have around Cornwall.”

Colourful coral

Image: Scarlet and gold star coral (Balanonphyllia) by Hydro Motion Media

Striking colours can be uncovered just below the surface, from brightly coloured anemones – like “the wonderful strawberry anemone” – to yellow and orange cup corals, “the jewels of the rock pools”.

“We also have a massive variety of seaweeds that come in a huge range of colours, from reds to browns to greens,” she continues. “My favourite to show children is rainbow wrack; in the water it’s the most wonderful iridescent turquoise colour. But out of the water it just looks a dull green-brown.”

Shimmering swimmers

If you’re exploring deeper rockpools or have a mask and snorkel to hand, many species of fish can be found close to the shore. The corkwing wrasse builds its seaweed nest just offshore, while the young of the larger ballan wrasse – also sometimes seen in rock pools – are a bright emerald green.

Another fish you might catch sight of in shallow waters, pouting or bib, is a deep coppery colour with three or four vertical bands that shimmer in the light shining down through the water. They like mixed rock and sand habitats, as well as ship wrecks.

Image: Pouting (Trisopterus luscus) by Hydro Motion Media

They might not sound like the most appealing discovery, but unlike their garden-dwelling namesake, sea slugs actually take on an infinite variety of colours. They’re not easy to find, but if you’re lucky to discover one you may be surprised at these “tiny beacons of yellow, green, orange, purple or red” – “It can become an obsessive hunt,” says Heather.   

Like their fellow rockpool creatures, sea slugs are often coloured to match the seaweed, rocks or encrusting animals in their habitats – and will change colour as it goes, or after a meal. “The great grey sea slug feeds on anemones; after it’s eaten, it’ll turn the red or pink of the anemone it’s just eaten – and also retain some of its stinging cells, keeping them as a defence on its back,” Heather explains.

 “They just look like another rock covered in seaweed until they get up and run off.”

Image: Solar-powered sea slug (Elysia viridis) by Hydro Motion Media

Some species of crab also take to wearing their habitat, by attaching pieces of sea sponge to their shell and limbs or using little ‘Velcro-style’ hairs to drape themselves in seaweed. “They just look like another rock covered in seaweed until they get up and run off,” says Heather.

Night and day

A lot of sea creatures are more active at night, so a rock-pooling expedition by torchlight may reveal more than on a sunny beach afternoon – with an added sense of adventure to boot.

Along Cornwall’s south coast, it’s also possible – though rare – to see the bioluminescence (also known as sea sparkle and phosphorescence) created by planktonic algal blooms, shining out from the water. Nothing beats a night swim (stay safely within your depth) under the stars above, with the sparkling sea glinting between your fingertips as you stroke through the water below. These areas of phytoplankton are naturally occurring, generally in mid-late summer or early autumn, and are not harmful to the coastal environment.

 “Nothing beats a night swim under the stars above, with the sparkling sea glinting between your fingertips as you stroke through the water below.”

A far more common phenomenon revealed by an ultra violet (UV) light (if you happen to have one, or join an organised tour) is the fluorescence that specific marine life creates by re-emitting sunlight at a different wavelength. The snakelocks anemone shines neon green under UV light and some species of crab appear blue. 

Making discoveries

“Just take the time to go slowly, look closely at pretty much any rock pool and you’ll start to notice the animals there,” Heather recommends. “But bear in mind that these things are quite well hidden!”

These creatures are best observed in their natural environment, so resist the temptation to catch them in a bucket if you can – or at least make sure your bucket is full of seawater, and that you put them back in the same place you found them before you leave. Animals can also be easily injured, so avoid using nets if possible.

Prawns and blennies will swim over to have a look if a camera is in the water, and it’s not that unusual to see two hermit crabs having a fight,” notes Heather. “These things are absolutely fascinating to watch.”

Image: Hermit crab (Pagurus bernhardus) by Hydro Motion Media

One of the best ways to make discoveries is to join a tour. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust organises beach events throughout the year, and there are also local conservation groups running rock pool activities across Cornwall.

Find tips on Heather’s website, and pick up a copy of her books in bookshops around the county and online.

Style your home with Cox & Cox

Looking to breathe new life into your home interiors? Cox & Cox create furniture and home décor designed to give you that refreshed feeling, transforming your space into a calming haven. 

We recently spoke to Creative and Product Director Dani Taylor about her top picks from the upcoming Autumn collection, and how you can make your home feel welcoming as the seasons change and you begin to spend more time indoors.

“Retreating indoors is an exciting shift that brings the opportunity for rewarding seasonal updates. As our homes are doing more but remain our retreat from the world, we look at evolving our style for multi-functional use-not changing it- because home is the welcome familiar as soon as the front door opens. Here’s my shortlist for versatile living, so that you always feel good arriving home, what ever the floorplan.”

Shop the Cox & Cox collection here.

Here’s Dani’s top picks:

NEW Amelie Chest of Drawers – £1795

This fantastic looking sideboard will work as you change rooms, or when you move–it suits a variety of uses. I imagine it in a compact hallway, affording ample surface for styling as well as essential storage-it can adapt into the living rooms or bedrooms when you grow as a family.

Brass Double Bulb Wall Light – £75

If you want to add a reading nook or study area into a room, then a successful way to mark the spot is with lighting. Our plug-in wall lights are a super easy way to be versatile with your space because they don’t need to be wired. 

Maroq Golden Rubber Doormat – £30

Alongside our classic door furniture, we now have an extensive range of doormats so that giving that first impression of your style couldn’t be easier-a simple but easy way to refresh your home for the season.

NEW Cane Webbing Armchair – £895

For multi-functional spaces to work well it’s good to clearly zone by function. This occasional chair works really well in an open plan space because its feature cane webbed back is made for being on show.

Linden Brass Full Length Mirror – £225

With a slender, antiqued brass frame and large mirrored surface, our statement full length mirror will make the perfect addition to your bedroom or hallway, making any small space feel instantly larger.

New Ada Dinnerware from £55

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons– I enjoy creating a cosy home that’s welcoming to guests, which is why it’s the right time to invest in dinnerware- the versatile Ada dinnerware will complement your pared-back cosy style in autumn and still look fresh in spring. Available by style in sets of four.

Browse the full Cox & Cox collection here.

Sensational sea


Image credit: Dive Newquay

Read three perspectives on the sensory power of the sea, from deep sea diver to experienced mariner to wild swimmer…

Throughout time and place, the sea has had a powerful effect on humans. Its dazzling forms and mysterious depths have seeped into culture, enchanting, thrilling and calming at once.

Whether the crash of the waves on the beach or the glow of the red sun rising over a rippling cove, it’s impossible not to feel the effects of the water.

Dynamic feelings

Jack Carter from Boscastle sought out solace in the sea during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when his first child was born. He opened his own marine touring business to combine his love for both boats and the Cornish coast. Despite these potentially stressful demands, he said “I just can’t seem to be stressed when I’m working at sea every day. For me, it’s the environment I relate to best; I’m in my element.”

“So here, there’s the Irish Sea, the Atlantic and the English Channel, creating some of the world’s biggest tides ripping through the area, along with crazy currents and tidal waves.”

Jack has spent 15 years at sea and some of his favourite moments are witnessing storms, describing feeling both humbled and charged by the water’s immense energy and power. Experiencing the emotions the sea can inspire was behind Jack’s decision to set up Coast Boat Trips.

Image credit: Coast Boat Trips

“We do the tours between Lands End and Cape Cornwall; it’s a really unique area of coastline. The word ‘cape’ literally means where multiple water bodies collide. So here, there’s the Irish Sea, the Atlantic and the English Channel, creating some of the world’s biggest tides ripping through the area, along with crazy currents and tidal waves. The area is just so dynamic.”

“And when you’re out on the boat you can also see the cliffs from another angle and they’re dramatic and incredible in themselves. It’s where an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.”

Going deeper

From thrills above the water to the mystery below, Joe Gurney has been working as a scuba dive instructor at Dive Newquay for the last eight years. He describes the sensation of diving as “weirdly feeling as if you’re flying down there.”

“If you get a clear day, with the sun coming in right, the water is turquoise blue and everything is illuminated on the coral, it’s just amazing.”

While beginners dive to 10m, Joe recently went to 65m in his deepest dive yet. He was aiming to explore one of Cornwall’s 3000 shipwrecks, a ship that sank to the seafloor in 1888 after crashing into the headland near Fistral beach in Newquay.

Image credit: Dive Newquay

 “Shipwrecks are kind of mysterious, especially if there’s lots of plankton it can be pitch black. But it’s like a whole different world and there’s so much marine life sheltering in the wreck, as well as different types of coral that you just wouldn’t see in shallower waters.

“The UK  is pretty underrated I think. If you get a clear day, with the sun coming in right, the water is turquoise blue and everything is illuminated on the coral, it’s just amazing. I’ve also had dolphins doing somersaults in front of me and an inquisitive seal nibble my flipper.”

The effects of exploring the depths are clearly visible for those who try it. “Everyone who comes up from their first dive is beaming from ear to ear,” says Joe.

“it’s my playground, where I go to connect with my inner child, whether that’s snorkeling, seeing different animals or splashing around with friends.”

Water therapy

Lydia Paleschi believes cold water has a healing effect. A founder of Wild Swimming Cornwall and author of ‘A Guide to Wild Swimming in Cornwall’, she swims without a wetsuit all year round, come rain or shine. She said: “The sea has always been a backdrop for me growing up, but it wasn’t until I left Cornwall that I realised how special it is and really started to crave it. When I went through a rough patch with my mental health, I found coming home and going swimming really, really helped.”

Image credit: Wild Swimming Cornwall

Lydia describes being in the sea as a type of therapy that brings many other feelings, from creative inspiration to the feeling of being part of a community. She explains how cold water swimming has a physiological reset effect, as blood rushes from the brain to warm the core.

“I love to sea swim after a run because of the explosion that happens on your skin with all your nerve endings being activated. Each time you go in, you build your confidence and feel proud of yourself; I call it my arena for confidence building.

“But, at the same time, it’s my playground, where I go to connect with my inner child, whether that’s snorkeling, seeing different animals or splashing around with friends.”

Like a reflection, the sea can be something different to everyone. Whether you’re after a new thrill, a sensory overload or a peaceful escape, there is something for you in the sea’s wonderful expanse of possibility. 

Stay footsteps from the beach, minutes from the sea

Carlyon Bay beach guide

Summer days await at Carlyon Bay, an up-and-coming location which breathes a new life into the conventional beach day. With calm water and a tropical backdrop, this hub of activity has something for everyone. So, dive in and see what Carlyon Bay has to offer….

Browse our Carlyon Bay retreats to experience beach living at its best.

Theatre on the sand

Wildworks new show, I AM KEVIN, is coming to Carlyon Bay for two weeks, from Saturday 6 to Saturday 20 August. It’s entertainment, right here on the sand.

I AM KEVIN is an outdoor promenade show, directed by Mydd Pharo and created with the communities of Cornwall. It is suitable for ages 12+, perfect for a family day on the beach. Dark, humorous, fiery and honest… ‘I AM KEVIN’ is a provocation to rediscover the power and possibility that lies beneath the surface of us all. This summer, Wildworks invites you to let your imagination run wild on a journey of impossibility. It’s a bedtime story to set the world on fire.

Ensure to follow Wildworks on all their social media platforms to catch a glimpse of the show and stay updated on all things I Am Kevin.

Tickets start from £14. Book now at

Beach yoga

Where better to channel your inner peace than on the beach? Start your day with lungfuls of sea air and the sound of the waves, helping to clear your mind and energise your body. Every Saturday you can join Beach Yoga with Emma, just £10 per person with under 14’s half price. Emma runs a 60 minute restorative guided practice which will strengthen your muscles, stimulate your metabolism and increase serotonin levels. Each session is then followed by an optional sea swim.

Book with Emma here.

Image credit: Elm Yoga

Food pop ups

Every summer, Carlyon Bay hosts a vibrant pop up food festival, serving up the tastiest street food and fresh sea food. Sample world flavours and local vendors, from the Harvester Seafood Shack, Jasper’s Kitchen for stonebaked pizzas, and gourmet burgers. Best enjoyed in your hands, on the sand. 

Keep up to date with what’s on here.

Image credit: Harvester Shack

Live music

To accompany your beach evenings is a busy schedule of live music throughout the summer. Enjoy a variety of bands, DJ nights and acoustic performances from local musicians, the perfect entertainment whilst you enjoy a chilled drink on the sand as the sun goes down. Find out more about what’s on here.

Jet skis

See the coastline from a new perspective and get your heart beating in the ocean spray. Cornwall Waverunner Sarafi’s mini jet ski safaris are an adrenalin-filled way of exploring the bay, with the chance of spotting sealife such as dolphins, sunfish and seals. You can choose to ride solo or share with a friend and head out with the guidance of an experienced instructors, who will show you the ropes of riding the jet skis and take you on the best routes round the shores. Just remember to hold on tight!

Waverunner mini jet ski safari

Swimming and snorkelling

Carlyon Bay is on the south coast, meaning it benefits from generally calm waters and minimal swell. This makes it the perfect spot for wild swimming and snorkelling, the perfect activities to get closer to nature and indulge your senses in the sea. We’d recommend dipping at first light, when the beach is quiet and the sky is still streaked with the pink and orange hues of sunrise. It’s beach bliss.

Read our blog on wild swimming here.

Find a retreat in Carlyon Bay and experience it for yourself.

Vote for Beach Retreats in the British Travel Awards

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve been nominated for Best Company for UK Holiday Home Rentals in the prestigious British Travel Awards.

Our devotion to the coast has always been our driving force, inspiring us to do what we do – provide the best beachside holidays in retreats less than a mile from the coast, all year round.

Show your support and give us 10 seconds of your time and vote for Beach Retreats as Best Company for UK Holiday Home Rentals.

Since we started out 13 years ago, we’ve believed in the power of beach living and we know the feeling that being footsteps from the beach can bring. 

For each of us, a beach means different things. It can be time to relax, or get your pulse racing. It can be contemplation alone, or bringing people together. It can be riding waves in the water or building castles in the sand. It can be stormy or sheltered, cliffs or dunes, river or sea. For guests, finding the right beach, theirs to enjoy whenever and however they want, changes everything. And that’s why our selection of handpicked properties never fail our guests, many of which return every year to their new favourite place by the sea.

We pride ourselves in choosing the most pristine properties, equipped and ready for beach living, all within walking distance to the best beaches around the Cornish coast. 

To continue to grow as a company after an unprecedented couple of years has affirmed our belief in the pull of the ocean which continues to tempt guests back to its shores, year after year. We’ve got you, our guests, to thank for our continued success. Your support, like a breath of fresh sea air, gives us the motivation and passion to keep doing what we do, providing unforgettable beach holidays and sharing our love for the sea.

Vote for Beach Retreats by clicking below.