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What to do when you see a seal pup in Cornwall

Cornwall is teeming with grey seals, but in winter you might come across seal pups stranded on the coastline in difficulty.

On your rambles along the South West Coast Path, it’s always a delight to spot the whiskered nose of a grey seal break the surface. You might even be lucky enough to have a close encounter with one of these majestic mammals when you’re swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking or surfing. Or spot one in the wake of a fishing boat chugging into a harbour with fresh catch.

Seals are one of the most frequently sighted marine mammals in Cornwall. However, as winter approaches, large numbers of seal pups are found stranded on Cornwall’s beaches or hauled out on rocks, due to malnourishment, injury, or being washed up in stormy conditions. And while it might be your natural instinct to herd them back into the sea in the hope of re-uniting them with their families, many of them need care and attention before being able to survive back in the wild Atlantic Ocean.

For over 60 years the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek has been a rescue facility for seal pups and injured seals. Much more than a visitor attraction where you’re guaranteed a close encounter with seals, here you can witness them dipping and diving their way to recovery, learn all about the species, and see lots of different marine wildlife including sea lions, otters, penguins, crabs and starfish. As well as seeing the seals in all stages of recovery, you can watch a practical demonstration about handling and rescuing seal pups – which is a starting point if you do come across one stranded on your beach wanderings.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescues more than 75 pups in need every winter. Adopting decades of experience, a team of experts administer care, lifesaving medication and even vital surgery, to enable the seals to recover and be released back into the wild when they are ready to fend for themselves once again. The sanctuary also provides a permanent home to any seals with ongoing medical issues that prevent them surviving in the ocean.

A day out at the Seal Sanctuary is an eye opening, entertaining and educational day out for the whole family. Here you trace the steps of seals in recovery – from the most recently rescued pups undergoing care in the seal hospital, to those in their final stages of rehabilitation in the convalescence pool. You can also come nose-to-nose with seals, sea lions and penguins in the underwater viewing areas.

While you can support the charity by visiting the sanctuary and donating to support the seal pups, you can also help by taking the right steps if you do come across a stranded seal pup on the beach. Firstly, do not approach the seal – and make sure you keep dogs and children away from it. Seals are wild animals and will defend themselves aggressively if they feel threatened, so keep your distance and observe the seal pup to assess whether it is in need. Seals regularly haul out on our coasts – it is part of their normal behaviour and therefore finding a seal on the beach does not mean there is necessarily a problem.

Signs that a seal needs assistance include:

Abandonment or separation
If you see a seal with a white, long-haired coat in the autumn/winter, then it is probably still suckling from its mother. Check the sea regularly for any sign of an adult seal.

Signs of malnutrition include visible ribs, hips and neck and baggy, wrinkled skin.

Bad health
Signs of ill health can include coughing and sneezing, noisy and rapid breathing, or thick mucus coming from the nose, wounds or swellings.

Injury or entanglement
Seals often get tangled in fishing gear and other debris. While heavy commercial gear is obvious, monofilament nets and line are hard to see when they are caught around the neck, flippers and body.

If you do find a seal pup in distress or need, these tips from the Seal Sanctuary and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue will ensure you do all you can to facilitate its safe and effective recovery:

Keep your distance
Take a good look to ascertain if the pup is alone, unwell, malnourished or injured.

Don’t touch the pup
It is a wild animal with sharp teeth. A mother may reject her pup if it smells of people, so keep downwind and (if possible) out of sight.

Don’t chase the seal back in the sea
A white-coated pup spends most time out of water. All seals haul out onto land to rest, digest and socialise all year round.

Do something about it
Phone the Cornish Seal Sanctuary for expert advice on 01326 221 361, or British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765 546, giving an accurate location.

More information
Seal Sactuary

Put Seal Pups First
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is part of the SEALIFE Trust charity and couldn’t do their vital work without the support of the public.

Each seal pup costs, on average, £2000 to rehabilitate, not including special cases. Due to difficulties faced following the Covid-19 pandemic, the sanctuary has launched a Put Pups First campaign to supporting the seal pups through a difficult situation, provide advice and information to the public, and help the Cornish Seal Sanctuary continue their work.

Donate here.

Walk through Portloe

Flaunting buckets full of Cornish charm and enveloped in eye-popping coastal scenery, Portloe well deserves its reputation as one of the ‘least spoiled and most impressive Cornish villages’. Here are some of our must do’s while staying in any of our Portloe self-catering cottages.

A true hideaway, even the likes of Dawn French and David Cameron have been know to squirrel themselves away here, rubbing shoulders with the local fishermen as they unload their catch or enjoy a pint after a day at sea. With a historic harbour and a sheltered little beach that exposes a small stretch of sand as the tide ebbs, there’s simply no reason for the crowds to descend on this picture-postcard village, making it a genuine escape from the tourist honeypots.

You could bring a picnic and hit the sand at low tide, but why not treat yourself to a front-row view of this Area of Outstanding Beauty from The Lugger, where you can dine on the likes of lobster, fresh fish and other finger-licking Cornish produce? Now one of Cornwall’s finest restaurants, The Lugger was once a smugglers’ haunt, and in the 18th century the innkeeper was sent to the gallows for smuggling French brandy.

While you dine overlooking the harbour where many of the ingredients are landed, you might also recognise the scenery from classic films including ‘The Camomile Lawn’ and ‘About Time’. If you prefer a valley view in a more casual pub atmosphere, bag a table in the garden at The Ship Inn, originally a 17th century fisherman’s cottage that’s still decked out with maritime memorabilia.

Once you’ve set eyes on the stunning surroundings, it’s only natural that you’ll want to get out and explore. Sheltered by Nare Head and Dodman Point at either end of Veryan Bay, the water is usually calm enough to castaway on a paddleboarding or kayaking adventure. Paddle around Nare Head into Gerrans Bay, or spot seals on your way around Dodman Point, to land on the paradise (and naturist spot) of Vault Beach.

If you prefer to explore on foot, strike out south along the cliff tops for 2.5km to Nare Head, rambling past a restored Cold War Nuclear Bunker and soaking up panoramic views of the Roseland Peninsula and out over the Whelps Reef. If you nudge on a little further you can bask on the perfect crescent of sand and shingle that’s Carne Beach, making sure you have a pit stop for homemade cakes at the Tea by the Sea van if it’s open. Other beaches nearby include Gorran Haven as pictured below and Hemmick beach.

Heading north along the South West Coast Path from Portloe, it’s also about 2.5 miles to Portholland’s duo of beaches, backed by the only surviving mediaeval coastal farmland in Cornwall. Rest on the secluded grey-stone and sand coves, and tuck into a slice of cake served from the kitchen of one of the waterside cottages. If you’re looking for a longer coastal route, keeping going to the tip of Dodman Point, spotting seabirds and looking out for the whiskered noses of seals popping up between the rocks below.

While there’s little to do except eat, stroll, soak up the scenery or get your fill of Vitamin Sea, that’s the beauty of Portloe. It really is a low-key and divine little corner that’s been left to its natural charms. Yet while it’s tucked away, it’s not inaccessible from some of Cornwall’s more popular attractions. Being on the Roseland it’s only a short drive to the sailing hub of Portscatho, the much-lauded foodie hotspot of the Hidden Hut at Porthcurnick Beach, and the historic Caerhays Castle. Or, if you want to stray from the beaches, you’re not far from the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.

Search self-catering holidays in Portloe.

Walk through Watergate Bay

Surfing hub and stylish beach resort, Watergate Bay effortlessly flaunts the chic coastal lifestyle.

With two miles of golden, wave-lashed sands flanked by cliffs flecked with sea pinks and gorse, it’s little wonder that surfers, dog walkers and beach lovers flock here for the fusion of wild scenery, rolling waves and beachside restaurants.

A true haven on the edge of the UK’s surfing capital, Watergate Bay was once a hot spot for dedicated surfers awaiting the Atlantic swells. But in recent years it’s stepped up to cater for the well-heeled wannabe surf gang, who can hit the waves and return to the creature comforts of swanky beachside accommodation, and dine in some of the region’s foodie hotspots.

View Watergate Bay in all its glory when you walk from neighbouring Porth beach. Fuel up on coffee and deck yourself out in the latest coastal style at Roo’s Beach, then strike out along the rugged promontory of Porth Island – where you can find the remains of an Iron Age castle and witness the sea spraying from the blow hole at mid tide.

Porth beach

At low tide you can descend the steep cliff staircase at Whipsiderry and make sandy footprints all the way to Watergate Bay (just be careful not to get cut off by the tides). However, the best views are captured from the coast path, which hugs the cliffs and boasts breath-taking views of Newquay and the North Cornish coast.

Once you get to Watergate Bay, there are plenty of places to pause and immerse yourself in the surfy vibe. Try an array of watersports – from surfing to hand planing – at the Extreme Academy, and pop into the Shop on the Beach to get all the kit you need for a day at the seaside.

Watchful Mary

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes down to places to eat with a sea view. Local food hero Emily Scott will be serving locally sourced produce in rustic dishes at Emily Scott Food. For something more laidback, grab a table at the Beach Hut for seafood and extreme hot chocolates with sandy toes. Or for a fusion of American cuisine and classic Cornish ingredients, opt for Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel. Also in the hotel is the Living Space, which is a divine spot for coffee, sharing platters and classic dishes with expansive ocean views.

Beach Hut

Keep your eye on the local events calendar during your visit, as Watergate Bay has become a buzzing venue for all sorts of events and entertainment. As well as being the site for Boardmasters – Europe’s largest surfing and music festival, it’s also host to a drive-in cinema, SUP championships, a speed hill climb and a pumping New Year’s Eve party.

Being a vast, dog-friendly beach there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and get away from the crowds. Wait for the tide to ebb and walk to the North end, where you’ll find turquoise rock pools teeming with blennies, crabs and other sea critters. Take the South West Coast Path north and you can follow two miles of eye-popping scenery to the next sandy runway of Mawgan Porth. Keep your eyes peeled for rare seabirds and dolphins at Beacon Cove – coastal wildlife flocks to this pristine and inaccessible beach.


Book a self-catering holiday in Watergate Bay.


Taste of Cornwall

A veritable foodie paradise, Cornwall is home to an array of ingredients hailing from the land and sea, as well as artisan producers and talented chefs. Many of Cornwall’s best restaurants have adapted to the new ‘normal’ by providing takeaway and delivery services. So you can tuck into the finest foodie experiences without having to eat out in busy restaurants. These are our favourites:

North Cornwall

Fees Food, Rock

Kickback in the comfort of your luxury holiday home and tuck into home-cooked dishes without having to lift a finger. Choose from zingy curries to a hearty Cornish fish pie or classic lasagne ready for the oven, or order a delicious feast ready for the barbecue – from marinated lamb to seafood flipped straight from the fishing boats. For the ultimate treat you can even order a three-course Summer Menu cooked and ready to eat, which is the perfect option for a no-fuss dinner party in your Beach Retreat.

fees food

Saltbox Street Kitchen, Wadebridge

Love street food? Grab a takeaway from a hub of foodie vendors serving global dishes from a hip shipping container venue in the centre of Wadebridge. Craftworks serves up classic American favourites from burgers and burritos to dirty fries, and Woody’s serves up artisan Italian pizzas, while SpiceSea serves curries made from Cornish ingredients and the Laidback Coffee Company takes care of coffee and cake.

Trevisker’s Kitchen, Padstow

You can’t come to Cornwall without having fish and chips on the beach; so why not make it the freshest catch from local fishermen that’s cooked by talented chef Henk de Villiers Ferreira? You might also like to include a bottle of Cornish sparkling wine or locally brewed lagers and ales with your order. And if you’re not in the mood for fish and chips, Trevisker’s Kitchen also serves up curries, steaks, pizzas and delicious deserts. Not forgetting the gin jugs made with locally distilled gin.

Wild Bake Pizza and Street Food, Wadebridge, St Columb, Bodmin, Nansledan

Less is more, and that’s certainly the case with Wild Bake street food, which uses simple ingredients and methods that go back to nature. Take a seat in nature’s dining room, and tuck into a pizza made from natural ingredients and cooked over a wood fire. Popping up in town locations across North Cornwall, you can take your pizza home to enjoy by the fire, or to the local beach to dine with the sunset.

The Taco Boys, Polzeath

Burritos and beers on the beach sound like the perfect recipe for summer? From hangover cure breakfast burritos to stuffed tacos and sweet treats, The Taco Boys have got it all on tap in their trailer at Baby Bay in Polzeath. If it’s high tide or raining you can pick up a takeaway from their base at the Portreath Bee Centre, and home delivery is available in the Polzeath, Rock, Wadebridge, Port Isaac and Bodmin areas.

Mor Grazing, Newquay

Strike out along the coast path to a secret beach, armed with a backpack stuffed with the finest picnic produce. Mor Grazing deliver breakfast boxes, cheese and grazing boxes, as well as sweet treats and other freshly picked foodie delights. So all you have to do it stroll to a picturesque location, roll out your picnic blanket, pop the cork on your favourite tipple and feast on the finest foods while enjoying the scenery.
Insta: @morgrazing

The Cornish Food Box

As an alternative to a supermarket shop, arrive to a smorgasbord of fresh Cornish ingredients plucked from the coast and countryside. From just-picked veg and salads to ready meals and deli produce, The Cornish Food Box selects and delivers an authentic taste of Cornwall to your holiday home. And you can get £5 off any order over £50 by using the code: BEACHRETREATS

The Cornish food box delivery


South Cornwall

The Pier, Falmouth

Make a pit stop on the pier in Falmouth and enjoy the best pancakes in town while watching the boats sail by. What looks like an average breakfast café from the outside, flips out takeaway boxes stuffed with American-style pancakes, served with artisan coffee. Choose from favourites such as Nutella, berries or banana pancakes – a finger-licking start to any day by the ocean.
Insta: @thepierfalmouth

Philleigh Way, The Roseland

Drawing on the rich produce from its surroundings, Philleigh Way lures foodies from all over the nation to its cookery school where you can get to grips with Cornish farmhouse-style cooking, using recipes and techniques handed down through generations. Now you can cook the ‘Philleigh Way’ in the comfort of your Beach Retreat with a DIY recipe box, or scrap the cooking process entirely and order one of their pre-cooked meal box, which include full Sunday roasts.

Sam’s on the Beach, Polkerris

Sam’s on the Beach is famous for its huge bowls of steaming Cornish mussels and delicious stone-baked pizza, served with a view over the glassy waters of Polkerris beach. There are few better locations to come to shore after a swim, kayak or paddleboarding adventure, and enjoy a toes-in-the-sand takeaway. And if you’re out exploring further afield on The Roseland Peninsula, keep an eye out for the Sam’s on the Roseland pop-up that’s opening this summer.

The Mussel Shoal
Delivery and takeaway

Based on the harbour in pretty Porthleven, The Mussel Shoal is a simple café kiosk serving delectable French bistro-style cuisine including squid, clam chowder and moules frites. As well as crisp white wines perfectly matched to the food. Dine on the harbour wall and soak up the scenery, book to eat out on a pontoon in the harbour, or simply relax and enjoy the treat of having your food delivered to the door. Also, look out for their pop-ups in St Ives.

West Cornwall

Blas Burgerworks, St Ives

Possibly the best burger takeaway in Cornwall, the legendary Blas Burgerworks hasn’t had to change much to fit in with the ‘new normal’. Call ahead and collect mouth-watering stacks of fresh Cornish ingredients from a little hatch beside the harbour. This isn’t just a café for carnivores – there are veggie and vegan options galore, with the likes of blackbean burgers, halloumi burgers and mushroom burgers.

Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn

It’s a few years now since celeb chef Ben Tunnicliffe transformed this waterside boozer into a prime location to tuck into seafood flipped straight off the fishing boats in Newlyn harbour. What’s more, in the process it’s retained in the fuss-free ambience of a traditional village boozer with local ales and ciders on tap. However, if you don’t want to huddle in under the low ceilings or bag a seat on the terrace, there’s also a modest takeaway menu, changing with the freshest catch of the day.

Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, Newlyn

Footsteps from where much of Cornwall’s fish is landed, you can expect to find the freshest seafood takeaway in town. Choose from crispy sole with Katsu curry sauce, to crab nachos or classic fish and chips, and dine on the promenade looking out to the ocean where the star ingredients were caught. There are always a couple of delicious deserts to choose from, too.

Scarlet Wines, St Ives

Fancy the finest world wines being delivered to your door by bike? If you’re staying in and around St Ives, Scarlet Wines will deliver your favourite tipples by e-bike or mini van. Simply browse the wine list, email your order and relax in the comfort of your garden or luxury accommodation, ready to pop your cork.

Memories that last a life time

Make memories last a lifetime and capture those special moment with photographer James Darling.


All Beach Retreats guests will receive a unique 20% discount on his family photography packages to all clients.

In a normal year as a photographer James would be booked up all summer photographing weddings in Cornwall and large corporate events – but 2020 is anything but a normal year. Large gatherings are still prohibited so major corporate events have been cancelled and his weddings have moved to 2021, giving him unusual availability this summer. A positive from Covid-19 (and you’ve got to take the positives) is that 2021 is already shaping up to be super-busy.

So this is the chance to book James as your 2020 photographer for that family shoot and have a lasting memory of that precious family time in sunny Cornwall. That longed-for holiday at the beach here and an escape from the restrictions of the long spring Coronavirus lockdown. James can be there to record all those little moments as beautiful timeless photographs. A mix of natural portraits, lit portraits, action, moments…and of course the ubiquitous group photographs.

His family photography packages include 2-3 hours coverage, around 50-100 7×5 inch prints, high resolution USB and/or online gallery with image download facility – and a book-style album if required. He asks for full payment to book the date, which is transferable if required due to weather/illness etc (and his diary permitting) until the end of 2021.

James will adhere to current restrictions and the photoshoot must be in Cornwall. He’ll also maintain social distancing – even on a normal photoshoot he doesn’t generally get closer than two metres (and don’t worry, he has telephoto lenses!) The photography shoot should ideally be outside and he is happy to wear a face covering for your safety. He will of course update this as restrictions are (hopefully) eased.

It’s been a long and difficult time being trapped in lockdown and watching the pandemic spread across the world. But surely this period has shown how important family time is and how precious childhood is. Holidays have never been so important – or needed.

Please get in touch with James on 07799 674826 or visit if you’d like to find out more or to book your family photoshoot and he’ll see you on the beach!

Give me space

Personalised itineraries for your self-catering holiday in Cornwall.

Do you want to immerse yourself in Cornwall’s carefree coastal lifestyle with a range of unique experiences that easily adhere to social distancing measures? Family Surf Co. creates bespoke GIVE ME SOME SPACE itineraries, which take care of everything from your food deliveries to outdoor adventures. Activities range from private surfing lessons and SUP surfaris to coasteering and mountain biking, alongside foodie experiences from a full grocery shop to pop-up restaurant experiences in the comfort of your Beach Retreat.

Experts in the local area and in the business of creating tailor-made holiday experiences focussing on the beach lifestyle, Family Surf Co. recognised a need to change what’s on offer for your self-catering holiday in the aftermath of Covid-19. “Surfing and beach life remains at the heart of what we offer”, states founder Hayley Lawrence, “but our new GIVE ME SPACE itineraries focus on keeping your distance and staying safe while enjoying the best of Cornwall.”

give me space

Perfect for families coming on holiday to Cornwall, all of the activities enable you to have maximum fun in the Great Outdoors, while adhering to social distancing guidelines and staying away from the crowds. Think private surfing lessons followed by a gourmet picnic delivered to the beach, or a coasteering adventure to reach the lesser-explored terrain where the land meets the sea.

With self-catering properties being the perfect space to enjoy Cornwall’s smorgasbord of delicious food without going out, Family Surf Co. will deliver the finest food to your property – from grocery shopping (picking on the best local produce where possible), to home-cooked dinners, perfect picnics and pop-up restaurant experiences in your accommodation. From fizz and chips to brilliant barbecues, your menu is covered.

Each itinerary is tailor-made for your requirements and location, and will also suggest self-guided ideas from secret beaches for wild swimming, to wide-open spaces where you can make the most of your self-catering holiday while staying away from the crowds.

View a 3-day sample itinerary here.

Get in touch with Family Surf Co. for the perfect itinerary for your holiday in Cornwall.
07497 456156

Top tips for staying away from the crowds:

Get up early to explore Cornwall before everyone else. Or have a lazy day and head out to later to enjoy an evening adventure and sunset on the coast.

Don’t head to the usual spots – get out a map and discover places off the beaten track.

Leave the car at home and venture out on foot or bike. This way you’ll avoid the busy car parks and find footpaths and coves away from the busiest attractions.

Stay local – don’t feel like you have to explore the whole of Cornwall on your visit, you’ll find plenty to do right on the doorstep. This year is all about micro adventures.

Enjoy fun-packed holiday activities from a safe social distance

These days we all want a bit more space on our self-catering holidays. Not just a stylish and private space to come home to after a day on the beach, but a good deal more space while we’re out and about having fun. And while two metres is the socially acceptable distance between people, we’ve come up with plenty of things to do where you can enjoy a lot more space than that. Try some of our favourite outdoor activities and you might find yourself miles away from other people, with only wildlife for company.


Learning to surf used to involve joining a beginner group and sharing the waves. Not any more. Enjoy one-to-one tuition and private family surfing lessons with an instructor to yourselves. Not only will your personal surf coach help you to really ramp your skills and get you riding waves like a pro, they will also take you to the best spot for your ability and find a quiet peak away from the crowds. Strict social distancing measures are in place at our local KingSurf surfing school in Mawgan Porth or , to ensure a safe and spacious surfing experience.

Jump on.


Since the 16th century, visitors have flocked to the UK’s beaches to reap the health benefits of a dip in the sea. In recent years wild swimming has experienced somewhat of a resurgence, but if you veer away from the more popular beaches there are still plenty of spots to swim with just the sea life. Amongst our favourite places to go wild swimming in Cornwall is the serene Helford River, where you might even spot seahorses and you wend along the estuary from Mawnan Smith to Port Navas. Or, if you take a dip at Rinsey Cove you might be lucky to spot a cheeky seal or two. If you prefer the safety of a tidal pool, head to Treyarnon or Porthtowan and seek out the rock pools as the tide ebbs.

Safety tip: If you go wild swimming make sure you always check the tides and currents, go with a swimming buddy, take a floatation device and never dive from the rocks.

Dive in.


How would you like to castaway and explore the coastline under paddle power, safe in the hands of a qualified lifeguard and personal guide as you glide from cove to cove? On a two-hour private coastal tour you’re likely to encounter more wildlife than people, as you immerse yourself in the natural surroundings, bask in the natural sunlight and enjoy a non-contact ocean sport. Learn how to paddle in the natural elements of the tidal flow and sea breeze, getting a great core workout. Discover crabs and blennies hiding in the nooks and crannies of Newquay’s sheltered ‘Gazzle’ area, or float along the serene River Gannel spotting little egrets, greenshanks and other birds that flock to the rich pickings of the salt marshes.

Stand up.


Swim through gulleys, explore sea caves and leap from rocky ledges on a coasteering adventure. In the hands of experts you can safely explore the territory where the land meets the sea, encountering sea life from starfish to seabirds. Taking small groups of up to five people, Newquay Activity Centre have adapted all of their watersports sessions to adhere to government guidelines and maintain the two-metre social distancing rule.

Go adventuring.


Cornwall is blessed with miles of traffic-free cycling routes, criss-crossing diverse terrain from World Heritage Mining sites to coastal trails. One of the lesser known ones is the circular Goss Moor trail – an easy-going 12km cutting through a stunning nature reserve. With no gruelling hills or cars to worry about, you can focus on spotting the flora and fauna. And while most cyclists hit the busier Camel Trail and mountain biking trails, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter too many other cyclists on this tranquil cycle path.

Pedal power.


Reconnect with nature and get a blast of briny air as you step foot along some remote sections of the South West Coast Path and stray from the crowds. In West Cornwall, lap up bucket loads of landscape drama as you trace the wave-lashed cliffs – past engine houses and Iron Age castle ruins – on the way to Cape Cornwall. Once thought to be the westerly tip of England, this wild promontory is more remote and dramatic than the more accurate Land’s End, and standing above the crashing waves where the Atlantic meets the English Channel, you’re likely to spot more seabirds than people. If you’re in North Cornwall, set out from Duckpool, just north of Bude, and tackle some of the most undulating and staggering sections of the coast path towards Morwenstow.

Step up.


Leave the shoreline behind and explore some of the most pristine and historic areas of Cornwall in a kayak. Launch from the Lizard Peninsula or Hayle harbour, and learn about the wildlife and natural history of the area, as you discover the beauty of the coast with local experts. The sit-on-top kayaks are super stable and easy to paddle, and your fully qualified guides will run you through the safety procedures and ensure you get to grips with basic techniques before hitting the open water.

Paddle away.

Stay at Home Holidays in Cornwall

There’s no doubt that the face of self-catering holidays in Cornwall has changed in the aftermath of COVID-19. But you can still enjoy the perfect stay-cation or work-action in one of our luxury retreats. With the beach on your doorstep you can step straight out onto the coast for a blast of briny air or a saltwater dip, then hunker down in your private space and make the most of your home by the sea.

SkylineHere are some things we love staying in for on holiday:

Quality time with friends and family

Friends on the beachThe best way to catch up with family and friends is to spend time together in a home-away-from-home. When everyday tasks and distractions are left behind, there’s more time to talk, play and relax together, without the pressures of the chores, work and the daily grind. Make yourself at home in one our stylish properties designed for relaxation and leisure time, and you’ve got all the luxuries and entertainment you need to chill out and enjoy time with each other.

Relax and recharge

Bask in Cornwall’s sub-tropical climate, soak up a mighty dose of vitamin sea, and take time for lazy mornings or afternoon siestas. Wind down to the rhythm of the ocean, pad along the shoreline and hunker down by the log burner with a bottle of red wine and platter of Cornish cheeses. In recent years holidays have evolved into time spent cramming as much as possible into our time off, but having space and time to rest and recharge your batteries is what vacations should be about. So make the most of some R&R in your stylish coastal holiday pad.

Eat gourmet food

Cornwall is renowned for its smorgasbord of delicious food plucked from the coast and the countryside. And you don’t have to step foot in a restaurant for a gourmet spread and excellent service. Make the most of having time to cook up a storm with the best Cornish ingredients, or kick back and tuck into home-cooked deliveries from talented local chefs. From breakfast platters and fresh produce, to slap-up dinners from local pubs and pop ups, all sorts of lip-smacking cuisine and can be delivered to your door.

Try new hobbies

PhotographerHave you ever wanted to try watercolour painting, play guitar or take up yoga? When you’re at home there just seems so little time to take up new hobbies. But once you escape from your daily routine and workaday, there’s much more time to tap into your creative mind and try new things. While you’re taking a break in a Beach Retreat, why not pick up a paintbrush to commit coastal scenes to canvas, craft jewellery from your beachcombing finds, or write a song inspired by the landscapes around you?

Kickback for a guilt-free Netflix binge

Want to catch up on the latest box set or do you have a list of movies you’ve never got round to watching? Once you’ve had a blast of sea air and watched the sun go down on the beach, holidays are a great time to stay in and catch up for a guilt-free media fest. Whether it’s podcasts, Netflix or the latest Box Office hit released on DVD, our properties offer the most stylish lounge spaces and family entertainment systems; so get cosy and grab the popcorn.

Make a playlist

How often do you hear a song you love on the radio, scribble down the name and plan to make it part of a playlist one day? Or hear a tune that takes you back to halcyon days? With time on your hands you can finally take the time to make a playlist of your favourite songs – from chill out tracks to tunes that make you want to dance your socks off. You could even take the time to go through your bulging online photo and video library, and put your memories into photo books and movies.

Take a workation

In an era when the boundaries between home and work are more blurred than ever before, why not mix work and leisure on your self-catering holiday in Cornwall? All of our Beach Retreats are decked out with high-tech facilities, so you’ll have everything you need to run an efficient home office while enjoying time by the sea.

Soak up a different view


chamge your perspective

Spending time in a different location gives you time to soak up a different view. This doesn’t only mean a change in scenery, but also inspires a shift in perspective. It’s often only when we’re away from home and our usual routines that we find the time to reflect and make fundamental changes in our lives that make us happier.

Big Spaces

Hitting the beach is going to be a bit different this summer. With some lockdown restrictions lifted and everyone keen to hit the Cornish coast, it’s time to re-think a typical day out. But there’s no reason you can’t feel carefree and have all the fun while staying safe and abiding by social distancing measures. We’re experts in beach life and know every nook and cranny of Cornwall, so we’ve got some great ideas about how to enjoy the natural environment in wide-open spaces.

Poly Joke to Crantock walk throughSecret Beaches

If you’re going surfing or bodyboarding with your family, make sure you head to one of the lifeguarded beaches. But if you want to dip your toes in the breakers and unpack a picnic in a secluded cove, wander off the beaten track to discover some of Cornwall’s more secret beaches. You don’t have to stray far from the heart of Newquay to find the cobalt waters of Polly Joke, backed by miles of rolling heathland. Or nudge north from the main beach at Crackington Haven to witness the staggering rock stacks of The Strangles. Another of our favourites is Nanjizal, a mile or so from Land’s End, with its crystal clear waters and magnificent rock arch. Get an OS map, make it an adventure, and check out a few more of our secret beaches here.

Chasing Waterfalls

The beach isn’t the only place to enjoy the Great Outdoors and dip your toes in the water. Why not head away from the coastal honeypots and explore the woodlands and waterfalls? Tunnel through a wooded valley alongside the River Fowey and you can climb trees, tiptoe across stepping-stones and cross little bridges on the way to the magical Golitha Falls. Take the plunge in one of the pools, picnic in a shady glen and hunt for Cornish piskies in the fairytale landscape.

Bodmin MoorGet High

Climb the peaks of Rough Tor and Brown Willy, and you’re bound to leave the crowds far behind. Rising from the wild and spacious territory of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall’s two highest peaks offer a different perspective of the coast. At just over 400m above sea level, you get eye-popping coastal and countryside views and can see the beaches of the north and the south coasts from a bird’s eye view. To reach the peaks it’s a relatively easy stroll across the rolling moorland, where you can also witness ancient sites including stone circles, quoits and the remains of Bronze Age settlements.

Free Wheeling

Instead of sitting around on the beaches, get in the saddle and hit some of Cornwall’s cycling trails. While the Camel Trail is perhaps Cornwall’s best-known biking route, it does get busy, so why not head out along the web of mineral tramways criss-crossing the county? Of these the Coast-to-Coast between Portreath and Devoran is our favourite. Tick off sea views, woodland, engine houses and quarries, as you follow 15 miles of disused mineral tramways through a World Heritage Site, from the Atlantic coast to the south coast. With plenty of off shoots and sections to play or picnic, it’s definitely a route where you can escape the crowds and reward yourself with a sundowner on beach at the end.

Coast PathThe South West Coast Path

Most of our properties are just footsteps from the South West Coast Path, where you can step out and enjoy the sea views and salty air, while only passing a few other souls on route. If you’re staying in Porth or Watergate Bay, stroll along the cliff tops between the two and you’ll spot more seabirds that people. Push on along the rugged section from Watergate to Mawgan Porth, eyeing up coastal views to Trevose Head and beyond. If you’re staying anywhere near Padstow, make sure you stand on Stepper Point and stare across the Doom Bar to Pentire Point and The Rumps. And if you’re up in Bude tackle the challenging coast path towards the border of Devon, stopping to peer out to sea from the Hawker’s Hut, built by an eccentric poet.

Discover more of our favourite walks along the South West Coast Path.

National Trust

The National Trust have started re-opening their car parks, gardens and parklands across Cornwall, where you can delve into the natural surroundings whilst maintaining social distancing. So whether you tumble through sub-tropical foliage to a pristine beach at Glendurgan, hit the bike trails at Lanhydrock or park at Carnewas to clap eyes on the rock giants at Bedruthan Steps, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the natural wonders of Cornwall.

Poly Joke to Crantock walk throughTop tips for staying away from the crowds

  • Get up early to explore Cornwall before everyone else. Or have a lazy day and head out to later to enjoy an evening adventure and sunset on the coast.
  • Don’t head to the usual spots – get out a map and discover places off the beaten track.
  • Leave the car at home and venture out on foot or bike. This way you’ll avoid the busy car parks and find footpaths and coves away from the busiest attractions.
  • Stay local – all of our Beach Retreats are in stunning locations in easy reach of the coast and cafés. Don’t feel like you have to explore the whole of Cornwall on your visit, you’ll find plenty to do right on the doorstep. This year is all about micro adventures.

An Authentic Taste of Cornwall

Shop Local with The Cornish Food Box

As with so aspects of our lives, enjoying a beach break in Cornwall has changed.  Where we go and what we do will be different, but we’re still committed to helping you make special memories in breathtaking surroundings.

So in the first of a series of the new norm, we’re collating the best of Cornwall to enjoy when you stay with us.

The Cornish food box delivery

As an alternative to the supermarket delivery, or venturing into a supermarket when you arrive in Cornwall, The Cornish Food Box have deliver fresh local produce direct to your holiday home.

They are an award-winning company, also with the option to click and collect from their premises on the A30.  The range is comprehensive, with local vegetables, fruit, meat, seafood and ready meals. The range also covers alcohol, a deli, baked goods and some tempting BBQ boxes.

It’s food which is honest, fresh and made with carte and passion.

Tor and the Cornish Food Bax


A taste of Cornwall delivered to your holiday home

PLUS get £5 off any order over £50 by using the code: BEACHRETREATS | 01872 211533

Happy shopping and even happier eating!