Category: Your holiday

7 things to do in Cornwall during Easter

Spend your family holiday on the beach this Easter and enjoy the saltwater lifestyle.

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, there’s an abundance of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Whether it’s a day on the sand or a visit to one of Cornwall’s attractions, here’s our favourite things to see and do during your stay this Easter.

Admire the coastline from the water

You’ll find the ocean-mad team at Newquay Activity Centre togged up in wetsuits and sharing their expert tips in everything from surfing to stand-up paddle boarding 360+ days a year. Take the plunge with them as they coasteer around the coast, paddle their huge super stand-up paddleboard through caves, kayak under the famous bridge as you look up to the house on the island, or take on a family surf lesson. They offer something for everyone.

Book online today.

rockpooling

Walk the South West Coast Path

Walk onto any beach in Cornwall and you’ll spot part of the South West Coast Path to your left or right. Whether you choose to explore the rugged north coast and its hidden coves or the tropical south coast, you’ll find something different and exciting each turn you take.

Find your closest route.

sea view over cliffs

Go rockpooling

Head to many beaches in Cornwall at low tide and visitors will be pleasantly surprised with hundreds of rockpools just waiting to be explored. You’ll be treated to a natural display of fascinating and tough creatures, including the Cornish Sucker fish, Worm Pipefish and the Common Shore Crab.

See the top tips from Dr Ben Holt at The Rock Pool Project on rockpooling and where to go.

family rockpooling

Eden Eggstravaganza

Every bit as good as the hype, the Eden Project is on Cornwall’s essential tick list. Outstanding on a sunny day and a good choice when it rains, Eden is an inspired blend of indoor and outdoor fun. Dubbed the eighth wonder of the world by some, this dramatic global garden is housed in tropical biomes the size of 30 football pitches.

Over Easter, discover dozens of activities, crafts and games for the whole family across a three-week programme.

easter egg

Go Foraging

Make the most of the Spring sunshine and get out and about with a forage that will take you deep into Cornwall’s woodlands, hedgerows and on the coast. From Cornish mussels and rose chips to wild herbs and edible plants, you’ll find plenty of wild foods great for cooking.

Read our guide to foraging in Cornwall, including foraging experts The Fat Hen Cookery School who run local courses.

Image credit: The Fat Hen Cookery School

Heligan Gardens

Cornwall’s not only known for its stunning beaches, its magical gardens are home to a wealth of exciting, rare and beautiful plants and trees just waiting to be explored. Visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan in St Austell over Easter and you will creep past the sleeping giant, skip past the Mud Maid and explore higgeldy gardens filled with wonky veg and exotic plants.

Book your Easter break and be by the shoreline this year.

What to do in February half-term in Cornwall

February. The post-Christmas blues, new working year stresses, and winter fatigue often mean that this month gets overlooked, treated as one final hurdle to get over before Spring begins to bloom.

Here in Cornwall, we see February a little differently.

Empty, windswept beaches. Wild seas. Clear water and crisp blue skies. Rambling coast paths. Nature undisturbed. February showcases the wild, untamed beauty of Cornwall before the summer crowds roll in, and is secretly a loved-by-locals time of year, due to its general calmness, great surf and spectacular scenery.

February half-term is no different, and makes for a perfect time to gather the family and escape to the coast, giving you that much needed rejuvenation after a long winter season. Here’s some fresh inspiration for things to do this February half-term in Cornwall.

Browse our beach locations or our selection of retreats to find your perfect February half-term holiday home.

Surf’s up

February is ideal for getting in the water, particularly if you’re a beginner wanting to avoid the busy summer seas. Most of Cornwall’s surf and watersports schools operate all year round, and provide the appropriate kit for chillier water. Try Newquay Activity Centre, Kingsurf in Mawgan Porth or Big Blue Surf School in Bude for a challenging but exhilarating day mastering your chosen activity.

Image credit: Big Blue Surf School

National Maritime Museum

Head to Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum for a rainy day activity that’ll connect you to our oceans. Their regular exhibitions bring new and diverse perspectives to maritime issues, whilst showcasing Cornwall’s fascinating maritime heritage. With 15 galleries across five floors, you’ll take a walk through history. While you’re here, Falmouth is a great place to grab lunch and wander the quirky boutique-lined streets.

Eden Project

A unique and innovative eco project, the Eden Project is an absolute must see this February half-term. This stunning global garden consists of tropical biomes the size of 30 football pitches, including the rainforest biome, home to 1000 species of tropical plants, a fully running waterfall and suspended canopy walkway. Adjacent to this you’ll find the Mediterranean biome, filled to the brim with spiky cacti and ancient olive trees.

Trebah Gardens

A spectacle at any time of year, Trebah Gardens are worth a visit during your February half-term stay. Trebah is bound beneath canopies of sub-tropical foliage that tumble to the edge of the Helford Estuary, where there’s a divine sandy beach perfect for picnic and stone skimming. Families with dogs will particularly love this natural playground.

Wildlife wonders

Get acquainted with some Cornish creatures, from native baby seals to African lions. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, in Gweek, rescues and rehabilitates over 70 seal pups, which you can see up close. Or, spot them in the wild below the cliffs at Mutton Cove in Hayle, where they often bask on the sand – just be sure to keep the noise down as to not disturb their nap time. For a wet-weather-friendly day out, head to Newquay Zoo to meet over 130 species of the worlds rarest and most endangered animals.

Eat local

Refuel after a wintery walk with soul-quenching food at one of Cornwall’s many gourmet restaurants. From the range of Rick Stein eateries in Padstow, to cosy pubs with great menus such as The Mariners in Rock, take some time this half term to taste the shoreline’s seasonal delights. Many places to eat are kid and pet friendly, too.

Family time

Above all else, a February getaway gives you a chance to be together, away from the chaos of term time routines, work and household chores. Settle into a retreat where everything has been sorted for you, allowing you to truly relax. With games rooms, log burners, lavish dining tables and gorgeous views, cosy evenings in are a delight. Browse our selection of coastal properties just made for family stays.

Book your February half-term retreat.

How to do slow travel

Catching the next train, a walking tour, road trips…how exactly do we slow down when we travel? We spoke to two slow travel writers to find out…

“Like anything in life now, there’s a synthetic version of the thing you’re looking for, and there’s a real version of it. Slow travel is just real travel.”

That’s Dan Kieran’s take on slow travel, something he discovered after an overland journey from London to Warsaw, Poland. That slow travel initiation involved cancelled trains, persuading a train manager to let him board a German train without a ticket, and delivering an impromptu English lesson on a Polish commuter train.

Dan, author of The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel, describes his travel revelation as magical, realising at the time that most holidays involved simply arriving in a destination, rather than really travelling.

“It’s about depth rather than time. It’s about putting yourself in a context that is unfamiliar. So it’s about opening yourself up, not closing yourself down,” he says.

Invitation to explore

For Jo Tinsley, author of The Slow Traveller: An intentional path to mindful adventures, slow travel is an invitation to explore the world at our own pace, “to journey lightly and adventurously.”

Image credit: Graeme Owsianski from The Slow Traveller

“It is the antithesis of bucket list travel, placing spontaneity over a packed agenda and allowing you to travel on terms that are meaningful both to you and to the people you meet along the way,” says Jo.

Reading The Day of the Jackal when I went to Paris, I felt like I was living that book

That sense of exploration means allowing space to connect to a place, “taking time to scratch below the surface of a destination; to build a stronger attachment with, and understanding of, the places we are visiting. This might mean gathering over coffee in a local’s front room; or understanding the connection between local ingredients and place.”

How to slow down

“It’s perfectly fine to have planned elements, but just have something that gives your trip space for the unknown to happen. Do the things you want to do; that’s the point of going, but leave space for serendipity to strike – even if it’s just for a couple of hours,” says Dan.

“More often than not we’d simply pull over when we saw the ‘silhouette of a bather above two wiggly lines’ sign that meant a hot pool was nearby

He also recommends picking up a guidebook. “But I don’t mean normal guidebooks. If I’m going to Berlin, I’ll buy books or novels set in Berlin – I want to feel connected to the city. Reading The Day of the Jackal when I went to Paris, I felt like I was living that book,” he says.

“If I visit the sea, I have to go in the water. I have to walk the coast path. There’s something hugely beneficial in feeling like you know the context of where you are,” he adds.

Image credit: Lily Bertrand-Webb

Jo says that travelling overland – by train, bus, boat, bike or on foot – encourages the exploration of slow travel, but it’s not prescriptive. It isn’t necessarily a question of speed or the length of a trip either.

“It is more about deceleration and reframing travel as a journey – it’s a mindset thing. Once slow travel becomes a mindset rather than a mode of travel, we realise that our journeys don’t need big budgets, long trips or far-flung destinations to be genuinely transformative.”

Journey stories

Jo embarked on an Icelandic holiday without a plan, seeking out the country’s thermal pools. “More often than not we’d simply pull over when we saw the ‘silhouette of a bather above two wiggly lines’ sign that meant a hot pool was nearby,” she says.

As well as following road signs on a whim, she relied on local recommendations and taking spontaneous detours. “Our meandering route eventually led us to the most remarkable pool of the entire trip: Krossneslaug, an infinity pool at the end of a 90km unpaved, potholed dead-end road, which looked out over the North Atlantic, as a gleaming iceberg idled in the far distance.”

It’s always tempting to pack a lot in to a holiday, which is the opposite of that slow travel mindset. Think spending a whole afternoon in one gallery rather than visiting all the top sights in a day, and taking some time to observe the local details where you are, says Jo.

Image credit: Sarah Mason from The Slow Traveller

“When you’re living life doing your normal routine, your unconscious mind is in control. The reason travel is so amazing is you’re putting yourself in a context which is unfamiliar,” says Dan. “That’s what makes it nourishing, because you are conscious of what’s happening to you. That is when you really start to have a fabulous time.”

Slow down and take it all in, footsteps from the shore…

New Experiences in Cornwall

A visit to the unique county of Cornwall is the perfect chance to pick-up a new skill, learn something new, or try something different. It might be an old favourite in a new location, or an untested activity you’ve always hankered after. Here’s a round-up of what to do in Cornwall this year and what your stay by the sea could offer this year…

Discover new skies

Cornwall offers dramatic landscapes for night time adventures. In December 2021, West Penwith was recognised as an International Dark Sky Park, joining Bodmin Moor with this designation and the Dark Sky Discovery Site at Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps where you can see the Milky Way pass overhead.

Image credit: Graham Gaunt Photowork

Spend time on ocean time

Why not take some time out from the normal rhythm of life to follow the beat of the tides? From expansive beaches of golden sand and rocky pools teeming with hidden life to high-adrenaline coasteering and water sports at high water. Then there’s reading the waves as they come and go, learning the natural signs of the sea so you can decide what best suits the day’s conditions, from heading in for a swim to grabbing the surfboard.

Go to the ceramic source

China clay is synonymous with St Austell and its surrounding villages; a rich heritage that’s embarking on an artisan revival. Operating out of St Austell’s newly relaunched Market House, along with a host of other makers, Flookan runs a four-week introduction to ceramics course, in the home of china clay, where you can learn a range of skills for working with clay. There’s also one-off workshops and taster sessions running through the year, with private bookings on request.

Image credit: Flookan 

Seek out supper from the sea

Foraging seaweed can be a sustainable, tasty, invigorating journey into a new cuisine. The Fat Hen offers a two-day course in identifying, gathering, preserving and cooking with 15 different seaweeds. You’ll also learn how seaweed can remineralise the body in baths and skincare products.

Find the vines

Cornwall’s relatively mild climate and long sunlight hours make it one of the finest regions for wine production in the UK. The Wild Wine School near Padstow has a commitment to sustainable viticulture, and deals in wine with distinctly untamed notes: its mission is to share wine knowledge and passion “in surroundings that enliven senses and expand minds, calling on nature to add a technicolour edge to your experience”. In its workshop on Organic and Biodynamic Viticulture, you’ll learn the basic concepts of organic and biodynamic viticulture, “from lunar cycles to the special alchemy of plants”, taste six sustainably produced wines, and have the chance to try making one of the Biodynamic preparations.

Image Credit: Ingrid Pop

Ride the West Kernow Way

An 230km off-road route – funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Experience project – exploring west Cornwall is now fully open. It takes in many of the highlights of the western half of the Cornish peninsula, including the Botallack tin mines, the Bronze Age monument Mên-an-Tol, Land’s End, St Michael’s Mount and Lizard Point. Expect spectacular coastal scenery, hedgerows bursting with wildflowers and ancient tracks across isolated moorland.

Image credit: The West Kernow Way

Explore sea life

Graceful and silent, take to a kayak to explore aquatic habitats and the chance to share secluded coves with seals and cormorants.  Koru Kayaking offer North Coast kayaking around the caves and mining heritage of St Agnes, and the sheltered creeks and coves of the Helford River near Falmouth. For the more experienced, Sea Kayaking Cornwall run a week-long adventure island hopping by kayak around the Scilly Isles.

Image credit: Koru Kayaking

Apnea or freediving, descending under water on a single breath has a long history, with roots in yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. Explore the wilderness underwater with Aquacity, based in the sheltered Porthkerris Cove on the Lizard. Aquacity offer a half-day introduction to freediving from May. There’s also a more advanced course giving an entry-level qualification.

Image credit: Daan Verhoeven

Take the geothermal waters

Jubilee Pool, the striking Art Deco sea water pool on Penzance’s promenade now has its new geothermal pool up and running, heated to 30-35 degrees via its own 410m deep geothermal well. So the pool now offers Geo & Dine, where you can enjoy an evening dip under the moonlight in the steamy geothermal pool, followed by a specially selected, fresh locally-sourced three-course meal. Or try its Geo & Fizz sessions, where you can buy an alcoholic drink from the cafe and enjoy some bubbles in the water.

Find a discounted stay by the sea on our special offers page, and browse our various beach locations to explore a new place this year.

Beach safety in Cornwall this summer

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a trip to the seaside…

We hope you’re excited for your stay by the sea. While Cornwall is generally a safe place, each year there are accidents on our coastlines.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you during your time with Beach Retreats, Newquay Activity Centre have produced some beach safety guidelines for you and your family to follow. Their instructors are fully trained lifeguards and work closely with the RNLI.

Save the image below to your phone and share with your loved ones ahead of your holiday to Cornwall.

You may see a flag with a red stripe on top and a yellow stripe underneath. There will be two of these red and yellow flags on the beach, and these mark out the area that it is safe to swim between. This area will be covered by lifeguards.

Mark Kelly is the Beach Lifeguard Trainer and Assessor at Newquay Activity Centre and says:

“The beaches are busy, and we’ve experienced a big swell recently that has already sadly caused fatalities and rescues. We urge surfers and swimmers to be aware, check the weather, tide and forecast.

For small children, there is also fun to be had in the rockpools and paddling in the shallows. We really hope that the RNLI are able to fully patrol the beaches soon, but we want people to understand how dangerous the sea can be and to stay safe at the beach”.

If you’d like to participate in a safe ocean activity this summer under the watchful eye of a trained lifeguard, or you would like to train as a lifeguard, please contact newquayactivitycentre.co.uk

Dine at your self-catered retreat with Lobster Box

Enjoy all the flavours of fine dining in the comfort of your retreat, without the hassle of food prep and cooking. Lobster Box does all the hard work for you and makes delicious dining easy. 

Lobster Box is a small local company set up by Cam, who chefs up delicious hand-prepared seafood meals.

Lobster Box has an ethos of small batch, hand flavoured, fresh, tasty and super easy to enjoy food. The unique selling point is that the food is already prepped, requiring minimal fuss. The fish is locally caught and Cam’s main supplier works out of Padstow.

Cam’s Seafood Adventures started at the age of 19 on a Deep Sea Trawler in New Zealand. Having grown up in Cornwall as an avid waterman, Cam left his home turf to seek experiences and found himself working at sea. Being around the freshest fish caused him to develop a passion for cooking, and his chef style draws on inspiration from his travels. From curry making tips and secret ingredients used in Sri Lanka, to rustic Boat tucca in Australia, working as a head chef at multiple locations at home and abroad, Cam has a wealth of invaluable experience. In 2016 – 2019 he put his heart and soul into his own restaurant on the Isles of Scilly, somewhat closer to his home of Cornwall.

Lobster Box recipes follow this journey, reflecting Cam’s love of cooking seafood with spice and fruit. Boxes come either ready to eat or ready to finish off at home, with hand flavoured sides and sauces, making them ideal if you don’t want to cook or want to take something out to the beach with you for some sundowners. The ethos is minimum effort, without compromising on texture and flavour.

Cam says “I do believe that it is possible to eat fine seafood without compromising on flavour, as easily as possible, from anywhere.”

And that’s why we love Lobster Box. Fuss free, full flavour food, ready to eat wherever.

Order your Lobster Box to your self-catered retreat and enjoy the best of Cornish cuisine at your leisure.

Cam from Lobster Box is now also running Kooked, a holiday arrival ready meal service. Beach Retreats guests get exclusive Kooked delivery from Thursday – Sunday, and can pre-order a delicious, exclusive fish pie, alongside other tasty options, to be waiting for you in your retreat on your arrival day.

The Importance of Play

Fun, adventure and the childlike nature of play are all important to our wellbeing, allowing us to switch off from day-to-day responsibilities and embrace our inner child. We explore how you can incorporate play into your family holiday, and the benefits this can bring.

When you’re in need of a real break, (like so many of us are right now), holidaying with the kids can be tricky. Their constant energy and endless need to be entertained often means you don’t get much chance to truly relax, and you may find you aren’t quite as revitalized as you’d hoped after a family day on the beach.

However, spending an uninterrupted week on holiday with your children is also an opportunity. A chance to switch off from day to day working life and responsibilities and get back in touch with your own childish side. Children are a great reminder of the importance of play, inviting you to become involved in games, adventure and exploration. Studies show that play for adults helps to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity. It can even improve memory and stimulate the growth of the cerebral cortex. Embrace a playful mindset and view your time away through younger, inquisitive eyes – it could bring a whole new lease of life to your beach days.

Here’s a few suggestions for how to dial up the play in each moment of your beach stay.

Rise

Wake up with the peach tinted rays of the morning sun. Waking early aligns best with children’s’ natural body clocks and gives you a great start to the day, allowing you to make the most of the hours of beachside adventure which lie ahead. Over breakfast, let your children choose the task for the day (set a list for them to pick between if you think it’s too risky) then plan together. Make a scavenger hunt list of things to look out for, play hide and seek with the things you need to pack – if you make the getting ready as much of the day as the outing, you’ll enjoy yourselves from the very start.

Roam

Head out, little feet skipping along dusty paths lined with Cornish montbretia and sea pinks. This is the most exciting moment of the day- when the anticipation for seeing the sea takes over, and you are yet to spot the first glimmer of blue in the distance. Make it a challenge- the first to spot the beach, a surfer, a bird….

Collect

The shoreline and surrounding coast are dotted with treasures- from seashells, flowers and mother of pearl to striped feathers, driftwood and smooth sea glass, start a hunt and see what you can find. Collect as many different things as you can, or pick one category and see how many different kinds of that thing you can find. There are hundreds of different patterned pebbles, types of shells, or varieties of seaweed you can gather and discover once you start to look. Through rockpooling secret ponds, scaling the shore or delving into the flora, collecting seaside treasures is a great way to while away the hours whilst finding keepsakes that hold the memory of these beach days. Whoever finds the best seashell wins!

Picnic

Make sure you’ve packed up plenty of fuel. Find a serene spot overlooking sea views and tuck in. Spread jam and dollop clotted cream on scones, the classic Cornish snack which kids love. Food is all part of the fun, so let the little ones get involved in assembling their snacks- don’t worry about the mess! For more food inspiration, have a look at our Cook and Carry blog with ideas on beach friendly meals that can be easily transported from pan to sand.

Navigate

Help keep the little ones engaged on the walk home by letting them navigate the route. Do they remember any particular landmarks passed on the way? Do they recognise the route they mapped out earlier? Are there any detours or artefacts they want to look at? You could even have a go at reading natural signs- look at where the sun is in the sky and track its movements or examine the sea and how the tide has changed throughout the day. This will engage the kids in the elemental forces at play by the coast, giving them a fuller understanding of what nature can teach us. Read our Natural Signs blog here.

Relax

Once you’ve returned to your retreat, the kids should be tired out. If they still want to play, suggest drawing, journaling or scrapbooking moments of the day, or set up a board game out on your balcony. Your beach retreat is equipped with all the entertainment you need for an evening in, so you can sit back, relax, and indulge in a well-deserved glass of wine.