Weekend retreat in Cawsand
Local blogger Hayley Spurway and her family castaway to Cawsand for a weekend...
Following the directions along narrow, winding streets to reach The Penthouse 4 The Bay, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you might end up driving straight into the sea. It’s only just before you hit the shoreline that you turn into an underground parking lot beneath a brand new complex of beachside apartments: one of which was our weekend pad.
SWANKY BEACH PAD
While the boys’ jaws dropped at the technical bling and bunk beds – with a PS4, bedside screens and all the gadgets they’re not allowed at home – I was stunned by the eye-popping views and our proximity to the big blue and. A serene ocean-scape flooded through every window, with a pop-out balcony in my penthouse suite, where I could soak up said views and listen to the meditative echo of the waves in a private sanctuary, squirreled away from the rest of the house. I even had control of my own Sonos sound system, so with excitement levels running high and the boys already commandeering the soundtrack downstairs, I cranked up my own tunes, took a deep breath of briny air, and kicked back on the plump cushions scattered on the bed. Bliss.
Ensconced in the coastal lifestyle, our hectic pace of life quickly adjusted to the beat of the ocean and the steady ebb and flow of the tides. We eased open electric blinds to watch the sublime sunrise over Plymouth Sound, where sailing boats crossed the watery border between Devon and Cornwall. Our bare feet padded across the sand and along the cobbled seaside lanes, on the way to buy fresh sourdough bread from The Old Bakery – ready for breakfast after an invigorating sea swim. Skimming stones for the dog to chase, splashing in the shallows and swimming out to sea until the cold water prickled our skin, sparked a hearty appetite for coffee and eggs, served back on our balcony overhanging the sea.
Although we were content to while away hours in our beach pad – playing snakes and ladders and scrabble, and gorging on Cornish cream teas (the ingredients thoughtfully provided by the owners) – it was time to breakout on some family adventures and explore this divine and ‘forgotten corner’ of Cornwall. So, fresh Cornish pasties in hand, and with the dog in tow, we climbed aboard the little Cawsand Ferry, which puttered to and from the beach, right outside our door.
Passing maritime and military landmarks, we crossed the watery border into Devon, tracking a course towards the iconic Smeaton’s Tower – a lighthouse that was originally built to deter sailors from Eddystone Reef, then moved stone by stone Plymouth Hoe in 1884. Climbing the lighthouse tower is just one of the amazing things to do once the ferry moors in Plymouth, and another family favourite is a visit to the largest aquarium in the UK. However, after a ramble along the Barbican, we stepped into the fascinating Mayflower museum, took a twirl along the hoe, and tucked into fish and chips. By then is was already time to hop back on the ferry for a bumpy crossing back to Cawsand, which was swiftly followed by a sundowner at The Bay, basking in the last glimpse of the autumn sunshine.
Despite a tempting menu at The Bay bar and restaurant, we chose to head back upstairs and make use of the high-spec kitchen in our penthouse. After all, what’s the point in residing in a stylish beach house if you don’t make the most of it? Whether you want to throw a dinner party or cook up a hearty family feast, the kitchen is well equipped for all occasions. And whether you’re cooking, chilling out on the sofa, or sitting at the dinner table, the views from the open-plan living space far outdo those from the restaurant downstairs (even if our food wasn’t as high calibre as the seafood-biased menu being served there).
The beauty of being able to bring your dog to stay at The Bay is that are so many walks on the doorstep. From October to Easter you can pad straight out onto the dog-friendly sands with your morning coffee, while neighbouring Kingsand beach is paw-friendly year round. Keen for a picturesque Sunday stroll, we made tracks along the South West Coast Path, following chestnut-littered paths beneath woodland canopies, to the Rame Peninsula.
With the trail never veering more than a pebble’s throw from the water, we peeped through the autumn leaves to sailing boats on Plymouth Sound, before emerging at the historic Penlee Battery. This made the perfect spot for a picnic, while the kids made the most of nature’s playground, clambering on craggy rocks where fishermen lured Sunday lunch onto their lines. The coast path continues all the way to the chapel perched on the tip of Rame Head, or you can follow a circular route back to Kingsand.
Staying at The Bay, there’s no need for a car to enjoy plenty of family adventures by ferry and foot. However, the whisper of a wave on nearby Whitsand Bay was enough to nudge us to start the engine, and explore the sweeping expanse of coastline wrapping its way back towards south Cornwall. Winding along mile-upon-mile of wave-lashed coastline, it makes an epic road trip through a landscape that echoes with history and legend. It's thought that Freathy Cliffs are still haunted by the ghost of a smuggler named Silas Finn, who betrayed his friends to save himself from the authorities.
Sitting beneath the cliffs at Eddystone Beach Café, we watched the surfers who now flock to this coastline in place of the smugglers and seafarers of days gone by. It’s the juxtaposition of past and present – the meeting of a rich heritage and state-of-the-art living – that makes this ‘forgotten corner’ of Cornwall so magical. And as the sun went down on our weekend away, we felt relaxed and rejuvenated, having been immersed in the history and beauty of Cornwall, all from the comfort of a contemporary beach house.
The Penthouse, 4 The Bay, The Bound, Cawsand
Sleeps 8 in 4 spacious bedrooms with en suites