8 beautiful places to visit in Cornwall part 2

March 25, 2021

8 beautiful places to visit in Cornwall part 2

In a follow up to 8 beautiful places to visit in Cornwall part 1 here’s another 8, I know, I spoil you. In this travel guide for Cornwall I’m sharing photogenic places and adventurous things to do in the top part of the county. From learning about complex eco-systems in the magnificent biomes of Eden Project to surfing waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean this second part to my Cornwall travel guide will plan out your most memorable trip there.

1. Summerleaze Beach in Bude

Take a day trip over to Summerleaze Beach in Bude where some of the highest summer temperatures in Cornwall are recorded so you can not only catch a great tan (don’t forget to wear your reef safe sun cream folks) but it’s the ideal spot to cool off too thanks to the huge sea pool that sits at the base of the cliffs.

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Bude sea pool is a 91m long by 45m wide semi-natural pool that was built in the 1930s to create a safe place to swim. It is both free to use and unrestricted (unless there’s a pandemic).

For the best position to get a photo of Bude sea pool, head up the path behind the ice cream shops and stand safely at the top of the cliffs above. Hopefully the sun will catch the water for you and you’ll get some beautiful sea sparkles in your photo.

2. Tintagel Castle 

Tintagel Castle is a medieval fort built in the 1200s but ruins onsite are known to date back to the 4th Century AD. Cross a bridge suspended high above rough waters and enter the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Work your way around the one way system that will take you up to the top of the cliff and down to the visitor centre.

If the legend of King Arthur and Merlin tickles your fancy you can also visit Merlin’s Cave, thought to be Merlin’s home, at low tide.

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Land Rovers and step free access is available to most of this heritage site.

If on foot, wear sensible footwear as the ground is uneven and a it’s a trek just to the castle and back from the village alone.

As interesting as the castle ruins are it’s the views of the coastline from them that’s the most photogenic.

Tickets must be booked in advance with English Heritage as they only allow access on a timed schedule. Tickets will give you access to the castle’s remains which offer spectacular views of the rugged area of coastline.

After your visit to Tintagel Castle, potter through the village where you’ll find many tearooms to enjoy a Cornish cream tea in their garden.

3. Port Gaverne

One of my favourite memories from our trip to Cornwall was standup paddleboarding with Cornish Rock Tors at Port Gaverne. 

Our instructor, whose name has sadly escaped me, was the best you could have asked for. Not only did he make sure we knew exactly what we were doing before getting out on the water but he had the patience to let us build up our confidence before we left the port to reach the open water. With him we explored a cave, attempted tricks and even took a moment of calm to practice some yoga – anyone remember Michael doing a headstand on a paddle board out of nowhere when he cannot walk down the street without tripping over?

2 hour sessions are £40 per person and include wetsuit rental.

SUPing isn’t all Cornish Rock Tors offers, they also do coasteering, kayaking and sea swimming. Also they’re a single-use plastic free business with a Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Champion certification, so yay for that!

Save time searching for almost non-existent parking by parking in St. Endellion Car Park and walk 5mins down to Cornish Rock Tors. When you’ve finished paddleboarding, walk to Port Isaac, which is only 10 minutes in the other direction to St. Endellion Car Park for lunch. Port Isaac is where much of the filming for the ITV series Doc Martin took place.

4. Polzeath

Polzeath beach attracts more surfers than you can shake a shortboard at. The large beach and on-beach parking means that the waves are more accessible than some of the smaller, more limited destinations.

For this reason it’s a pretty ideal place to learn to surf and there’s heaps of surf schools to choose from. I will say it gets busier for this reason though so if you seek less distraction look for a quieter location but it is where you’ll find some of the most experienced surf instructors.

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We joined friends on a lesson with George’s Surf School which is considered to be within the “Top Ten Surf Schools in the World” by The Guardian. Their patience and guidance will motivate and comfort you no matter how you progress in your lesson. Your instructor won’t just help you stand but they will also correct you so each time you catch a wave you’re not just standing and falling but actually improving on your technique.

Wetsuits are available to rent for a small fee from multiple vendors on the beach.

Polzeath beach has a community atmosphere that makes you feel like summer will never end. There’s multiple restaurants right on the beach including the hot-spot rum bar out the back of Surfside Polzeath. For beach babe apparel check out Fusion on Dander’s Hill.

5. Newquay

Newquay is a coastal town in north Cornwall that is known best for being a top location for surfing thanks to the strong surf coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay are the two most popular places to surf with Watergate Bay being where the English National Surfing Championships are held every year. Yeww!

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Fancy yourself as a surfer but can’t catch a wave to save your life? I feel you and Newquay is the place for you to kit yourself out in all the surfer themed apparel your heart desires.

Best surf apparel shops in Newquay 

  • Ann’s Cottage Surf Shop

  • Watershed

  • Married to the Sea

  • Northshore Surf Shop

  • The Wave Project – an amazing organisation who offers complimentary surf therapy classes to people with various mental health diagnoses, profits from the shop help to keep those classes funded.

Newquay airport, located 15 minutes outside of the town, has regularly scheduled flights (when there isn’t a pandemic) to Spain, Germany, Ireland, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

Where to stay in Newquay

If you’re happy to spend extra on a beautiful place to stay in Newquay then I highly recommend booking a stay at Tolcarne Beach Village on Tolcarne Beach. 

Tolcarne Beach Village offers four types of rooms: beach cabins, beach houses, apartments and colonial rooms (yeah the name makes me uncomfortable too).

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We stayed in one of the colonial rooms, Ganges Suite and the room is one of the most beautiful and well designed interiors I have ever stayed in. Every detail of the room from the antique dressing table to the record player makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a time gone by. Pop a record on, light the fire, draw a bubble bath and take in the sea view from the balcony whilst you wait for it to fill up. In the morning take a cuppa out onto the balcony in one of their robes and spy on the early rising surfers.

At low tide you can walk into Newquay from Tolcarne Beach.

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6. Eden Project

As an eco-activist who regularly writes about sustainable travel, I’m sure it’s not hard for you to imagine why visiting the Eden Project was one of my favourite things to do in Cornwall. 

The first of two biomes is a humid tropical forest filled with rope bridges weaving you through palm trees, waterfalls, hibiscus flowers and more – it honestly felt like I’d been magically transported back into the Malaysian jungle.

The second biome is a mediterranean South African, Western Australian and Californian climate that boasts a cacti garden, olive trees and even a little vineyard. There’s even a terrace right in the centre where you can sip sangria surrounded by hot pink bougainvillea.

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Within each dome and the surrounding grounds is heaps of information about various threats to our planet’s complex and wonderful eco-systems from mass palm oil farming in South America to bush fires in Australia. The educational material is both informative and easy to digest plus it offers further reading and shares organisations that you can support who are making a difference for all of us and the future of our planet

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What’s better than the entrance being less than £30 per adult (which funds the good work that they do)? The ticket is an annual pass so you don’t have to pay again to return within a year.

PFH Top Tip: 

If you’re visiting on a chilly day, layer up so you can shed one or two whilst you’re in the warm and humid biomes.

Be sure to visit the gift shop for a host of eco-conscious and low-waste products from their very own skincare and kitchenware to reusable nappies and clothing.

7. The Hidden Hut at Porthcurnick

We were pulled to Porthcurnick beach for one thing only and that was The Hidden Hut. Ran by Simon Stallard & Jemma Glass, The Hidden Hut is a beach cafe turned beach dining experience.

If you’re a frequenting reader here then you’ll probably know how much love I have for fish and chips on the beach, but The Hidden Hut elevates seafood on the sand. You won’t find a deep-fat fryer here, instead they cook fresh locally sourced ingredients that the use their outdoor stove and bakery oven to whip up chowders, dhal, grilled fish, briskets, soups, stews, Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, cakes and more.

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The menu changes to cater to seasonal local produce but here’s an idea of what you could expect to see:

  • Wood fried pork sausages served on a tomato and bean salad topped with a rosemary crumb and tomato basil dressing

  • Beef brisket and pork shoulder chilli with feta, jalapeños, sour cream and bulgar wheat

  • Smoked Cullen skink chowder topped with chives, spring onions, sourdough croutons and served with a freshly baked roll

  • Spinach and chickpea dhal with raita, pickled red onions and a coriander flatbread.

  • Roasted onion, leek and cider soup with sage and blue cheese sourdough croutons served with a freshly baked roll.

Good, right?

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Outside of pandemic restrictions, The Hidden Hut hosts a weekly ‘feast night” and “Beach Breakfasts” where they set out a long table on the beach and anyone with a ticket is encouraged to dine socially. You bring the plates, cutlery and wine and they’ll serve the food. 

Thankfully the daily lunch menu doesn’t require booking but to avoid an even longer wait and disappointment if your choice sells out, get in the queue early because that thing will tail down to the beach. Michael got into the queue at 11.45 and was able to see the menu at 12.15pm. By 12.30pm he had returned with the food – take note that this was mid-September and the wait will be much longer during the height of summer.

Come prepared with your travel cutlery and a towel to enjoy your meal on the beach.

How to find The Hidden Hut

The Hidden Hut was originally built pre-war (don’t ask which one, I couldn’t find it) intentionally to be difficult to find.

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Parking is extremely limited for Porthcurnick beach. Arrive early to nab street parking on a road that I can’t even find the name for so I’ve included a screenshot of it below. Once full of cars, the dead-end road isn’t wide enough to turn around so if you have the space when you arrive, park facing the way you came from to save reversing until you reach a driveway to turn in. 

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Take the slipway at the end of this road to the beach and don’t be surprised if you still can’t see The Hidden Hut. From the centre of the beach turn your back to the water and head inland but off to the left where a path will lead you up to this secluded restaurant.

It sounds fussy but it is worth it to eat at The Hidden Hut.

8. Falmouth 

Spend the afternoon in Falmouth where you can enjoy lunch looking out to the harbour and potter around outdoor activity shops in town with a takeaway coffee (they’ll serve it into your reusable cup) from Beacon Coffee. We stopped for lunch at Indidog Eatery where I indulged in an Asparagus grilled cheese sandwich which was the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had (not to mention it’s Instagrammable). Before leaving take a nosy in Falmouth Art Gallery on Webber Street and/or visit the National Maritime Museum.

Part 1 of 8 beautiful places to visit in Cornwall is available here so if you’re planning on booking your staycation in Cornwall, take a look for tips on visiting St Michael’s Mount or swimming in the UK’s most beautiful art deco lido.

Do more on & for the planet, Gabriella

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