Returning to England, for me, was an extremely hard thing for me to do. It was the middle of winter, I was leaving behind sunny Australia, and I did not want to go back to real life, even if it is only to save to travel again. Fortunately, I am lucky enough that for me, returning home means going to Cornwall. Which really, in all honestly softened the blow enormously. Cornwall is the most southern county on the mainland of England. Known famously for its sandy beaches, the wild coastline of the west and north coast surf. It has been a tourist hotspot in the UK for several years, growing massively in popularity after the financial crisis many years back when people stopped going abroad quite as much for their holidays, and honestly, it has stayed that way ever since. When the sun is out, there is endless choices of things to do, and as a local, having grown up and went to school here, I think I’m qualified to let you in on a few of the best things to do in Cornwall. Beaches are, by far, one of Cornwall’s biggest draws. It is so easy to see why. There is the bustling, easy to get to sea side town beaches of Newquay, where a surf lesson is always a fun activity. The most inviting, crystal clear, almost Adriatic looking sea of Kynance Cove on the Lizard point, where it would be rude not to take a dip. Or the rocky outcrops at Bedruthan Steps, that is also home to a spa and killing sunsets. There are so many beaches around that I’m going to give you a rundown of a handful of my favourites.
Between Fowey and St Austell this little beach is perfect on any summer day. Within St Austell bay and sheltered by the harbour wall it provides some calm seas. Perfect for trying out the water sports hire or lessons available on the beach.
If coastal walks are more your thing than you aren’t short here. To one side you have the walk towards Par, where you can take in the views from the edge of the cliff tops and stop off at a little secluded beach, locally known as Booley. This bit of coast I love being able to grab a kayak or paddle board to go and weave in and out of the rocks with.
The Gribben Head
To the other side, after going through a small section of woodland there is the walk up to the Gribben Head, where you can see for miles. It’s my aunty, who has migrated to New Zealand, favourite place in Cornwall. If you continue this leads you down through Polridmouth and onwards to the popular harbour of Fowey. As well as the water sports hire, there are two places to eat on Polkerris Beach. These being the Rashleigh Inn, and Sam’s on the Beach. Sam’s is a popular restaurant with a few locations around Cornwall. Mainly the St Austell Bay area, but also in Truro. Sam’s does a lot of seafood dishes, along with pizzas and a selection of vegetarian food. If you’re looking for pub food or a drink overlooking the beach, then the Rashleigh has you sorted with plenty of outdoor seating.
Down further west in St Ives, Porthminster is a sheltered, sandy beach within St Ives bay. It’s just too easy to reach via public transport too, which can mean that it can get rather busy, but still worth the journey. The mainline from London runs down through Cornwall all the way to Penzance. To get to St Ives, all you need is to change at St Erth for the branch line. The only other line at the station. The journey alone from here provides some stunning views across the bay. The beach is located just below the train station, so no need to lug your beach bags miles to get there. There are public toilets and a beach cafe where you can easy get some food and a drink. The town centre filled with narrow streets and unique stores is just a short 5 to 10-minute walk from the beach where there are plenty more restaurants and take away places to grab a bite (Would recommend Hubbox if a burger is calling you), shops to browse and art galleries, such as the Tate, to take a wonder round. Porthminster is a lifeguarded beach throughout the summer season, this year, 2019, the dates of this are May 18 – September 29th 10am-6pm as on the RNLI website.
Another beach in St Ives bay. It may seem like two beaches very close together, in fact St Ives bay is huge, one beach alone is 3 miles long. Godrevy is at one end of the Hayle Towans. It has a national trust car park and a surf school. Godrevy unfortunately isn’t as easily accessible by public transport as Porthminster is. You do need a car to get all the way there. Godrevy is a surfing beach as opposed to the other two beaches mentioned, therefore the sea conditions may not be as suitable to younger children or weaker swimmers. Due to the length of this beach it’s also perfect if you fancy a long beach or sand dune stroll. Sand boarding can also be done a little further up the beach in Gwithian, all you need is something to slide down the sand dunes on and you’re sorted. One thing that is worth remembering is that there aren’t any restaurants at Godrevy, so it is more than worth bringing something to eat with you. This part of the coastline is also particularly fascinating on more wild days. Just a little further along the sandy stretch is Gwithian, where on a nice day is a fight to get a parking bay. However, on a stormy day, you would have no trouble getting a space on the front to watch the waves out in the bay from the comfort of your car.
Things to note.
Parking in some spots in Cornwall is notorious, even out of peak seasons. A lot of roads to more out of the way beaches are often single-track roads, meaning you may end up having to reverse down a winding road. A lot of beaches in Cornwall are not dog friendly during the summer season, although may be during the winter season. It is important to remember that not all beaches in Cornwall are RNLI lifeguard patrolled and sea and weather conditions can change rapidly. If you’re in any doubt visit the RNLI website. Always swim between the flags and obey lifeguard instructions and signs, they’re there for your own safety.