It’s time to slow down a gear and shut off for while. Portwrinkle on the western end of Whitsand Bay feels a little like stepping back in time – in a good way. The old 17th century walls of the pilchard cellars and harbour can still be seen today, although now it enjoys a slower pace of life.
With two sand and shingle beaches on your doorstep – Finnygook and Hoodny Cove – how you choose to do nothing is up to you. For families with children it’s all about sand-between-the-toes fun. Come armed with buckets and spades to build sandcastles before waiting for the tide to drop for rock pooling in clear waters.
So clear in fact, the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide awarded Portwrinkle excellent water quality in 2015, making swimming and snorkelling a must. Experienced surfers can get involved too when the surf’s up, taking advantage of the rock-bottomed break. If you like things even quieter, try the western beach adjacent to the quay and harbour, Hoodny Cove.
For days out, watch fishermen reel in their catch in the quintessential Cornish seaside towns of Polperro and Looe or the nearby 18-hole golf course overlooking the sea. The contrasting Mount Edgecumbe Estate and the 10-minute Cremyll Ferry to cosmopolitan Royal William Yard in Plymouth mean you can choose to step back into the ‘real’ world if you wish.
With far-reaching views out to sea from its terrace, the dog-friendly Jolly Roger café is the spot for ice creams, cakes, sandwiches and all-day breakfasts. The Bay Restaurant at Whitsand Bay Hotel has a wide menu for lunch and dinner and Sunday roast. A ten-minute walk away, the newly refurbished Finnygook Inn is well worth a visit, serving good pub. The modern, vibrant (and much reviewed) family restaurant The View overlooking Whitsand Bay is a must for fresh seafood, as is the Squid Ink in Looe.
Dogs are welcome on Hoodny Cove and Britain Cove all year round and at Finnygook off of season from 1 October to Easter Day.
There is a pay and display car park in Portwrinkle with public toilets also nearby. It takes less than five minutes to get from the car park to east Portwrinkle beach with beautiful views across the bay, however steep paths to both Portwrinkle beaches providing difficult access for wheelchairs.