Six retreats for storm watching in Cornwall

14th January 2022

Waves whipped up by the wind, rainbow spray flying over harbour walls, crashing swell and whistling gales. Storm watching in Cornwall is a spectacle of the ocean’s unruly power, and watching it is a humbling experience: all there is to do is stand, mesmerised, at how little control we have over nature’s forces.

We’ve chosen six retreats perfect for storm watching, all situated in positions along the Cornish coast that get dramatic swells during stormy weather. Whether you’d prefer a windswept coastal walk watching the waves form far out to sea or would rather recline back in a sea-view hot tub hearing the sounds of the crashing sea below, book a winter stay this year and witness nature at its wildest.

Please note: When storm watching, always stay safe. Don’t close to the water, as waves can unexpectedly increase in size, and always avoid cliff edges and harbour walls during storms.

Credit: @_rtshots

Toms Cottage, Porthleven – sleeps 2

In stormy weather, Porthleven showcases some of the unruliest seas. The Atlantic swell crashes over the harbour wall and clock tower, creating spectacular scenes which have featured on international news. Tom’s Cottage is situated just 500 metres from the harbour, so you will be able to dash out of the front door as soon as you hear the storm brewing and witness its dramatic display.

For a more panoramic view, take a walk along the coastal path to Looe, where you can see the waves far out to sea. Or, cosy up in the Ship Inn, a traditional pub directly overlooking the harbour where you can watch the waves from the warmth of inside, next to a roaring fire and with a drink in hand.

The Liner, Falmouth – sleeps 2-8

With uninterrupted front row views of Gyllyngvase beach and the expanse of ocean from Pendennis Castle across to the Helford passage, our apartments at The Liner are perfect for watching the storm from the comfort of your own seafront balcony. Simply grab a hot drink and sit back with a blanket as the skies darken and the sea comes to life.

Chimneys, Mousehole- sleeps 6

Mousehole is a picture book village in the summer months, with a gentle swell and sheltered harbour. However, when a storm hits, the surrounding ocean becomes wild and the harbour mouth must be boarded up by a gate to block the impact of the waves. The swell has been seen to surge over the harbour wall in the past, crashing onto the sheltered sandy harbour cove and even up onto the car park in previous years. Our retreat Chimneys overlooks the harbour and adjacent rocky beach, the perfect spot for watching stormy seas.

By the sea, Newquay- sleeps 10

Newquay is known for its world class surf and seven beaches and is a destination people flock to throughout the year to catch a wave. Being on the north Cornish coast, it often gets dramatic swells. The most famous is the cribbar, a huge wave just off Fistral headland. By The Sea is a glass-fronted property perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the bay, where you can gaze down at the waves from above. Or, head out on a coastal walk around the headland and watch the few pro surfers attempt to catch the cribbar.

The Strand, Porth – sleeps 6-8 

The Strand is perfectly situated just a short walk away from Porth Island, where at mid-tide you can see the blow hole shoot rainbow sprays of water. Wrap up warm and cross the beach then head up onto the island, where you will cross a unique bridge over the stormy waters and experience panoramic views of the ocean expanse. From the Strand properties’ balconies, you can see a glimmer of the sea, a great indicator of when the swell is surging.

Far Horizon, Downderry – sleeps 8

Finally, for a laid back approach to watching the storm, hop in the ocean front hot tub at Far Horizon, which sits directly above the expanse of sea below. Lay back in the bubbles and settle under the stars for an evening of wave watching with a glass of wine in hand.