12th September 2020
The ocean’s still warm, the surf’s pumping, the beaches are crowd-free and the gardens are aglow with golden hues. We love autumn in Cornwall. From coast path rambles and blackberry picking, to action sports and ales by crackling log fires, here are some of our favourite activities for autumn breaks by the beach.
Breathe in the fresh sea air, soak up the stunning coastal scenery and forage for the juicy fruits of autumn. Whether you take punnets full back to your Beach Retreat and conjure up a crumble, or snack on them as you stroll, you’ll find hedgerows everywhere packed with wild blackberries throughout September and October. Some of our favourite places to fill our buckets with nature’s bounty include the dramatic, calf-busting terrain between Bude and Morwenstow, the coastal trail stretching from Cawsand to Rame Head, and the lush flanks of the Roseland Peninsula.
It’s taken the whole summer for the ocean to warm up – and it’ll take a good few months for it to cool down again. So autumn is a great time to hit the waves – whether you go surfing, swimming or make a splash on a coasteering adventure. Tap up one of the experts in Cornwall, we love the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay and Kingsurf in Mawgan Porth. There you’ll get kitted out with super-warm wetsuits, snuggly surfing booties and high-tech boards, so there’ll be no stopping you riding the waves whatever the weather.
If you fancy a close-up, adrenalin-fuelled view of the coastline, book a session with King Coasteer and swim, climb and cliff-jump your way around the coast in the safe hands of a coasteering guide.
When you’ve had a blast outdoors in the autumn breeze, there’s nothing better than hunkering down by a log fire in a cosy local pub. One of our favourite autumn walks is from St Ives to Zennor – an eye-popping six-mile stomp ending at the cosy Tinners Arms, where you can sip a well-deserved ale under low beams beside the roaring fire. Not many pubs in Cornwall can match the 700-year history of this traditional inn, which was built in 1271 and much loved by author DH Lawrence. However, a couple of other places we love to warm our cockles by the fire include the Driftwood Spars brew pub tucked beside Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, and the 13th century Pandora Inn, with its port holes looking out to Restronguet Creek.
Crunch through the golden leaves, swing through the trees and follow tunnels of autumn hues that tumble to the water’s edge. Just in the National Trust stable you can explore the magical woodland of Lanhydrock, the sub-tropical landscape of Glendurgan and Trelissick’s stunning 500-acre estate on the banks of the River Fal – and that’s just for starters. Another favourite with families – and dogs, too – is Trebah Garden, where you can follow colourful foliage to a sandy cove. Or tunnel through bamboo, banana palms and gigantic rhubarb plants, to ancient woodlands and water meadows at the historic Lost Gardens of Heligan. Out of all the county’s garden wonderlands, the Eden Project is still the mega-star, where you can wander through a rainforest, bask in the Med and visit a Western Australian garden in the iconic, sky-scraping biomes.
From the twin castles of Pendennis and St Mawes, to mysterious stone circles such as Chysauster, there are plenty of English Heritage sites to discover across Cornwall. One of the attractions topping our radar this year is Tintagel Castle, where you can step across the new bridge from the mainland, to reach the castle ruins perched on a rugged island. Indulge your imagination in tales of King Arthur’s magical conception here, listen to your echo in the eerie Merlin’s Cave, and discover the history of a place that has posed as a major trading port, a prosperous Dark Age settlement and a magnificent fortress. Regardless of its enthralling past steeped in myths and legends, it’s also a gob-smacking location to roll out a picnic rug on the headland, spot seals and seabirds, and explore sea caves and rock pools.