Padstow town and harbour. If you're down in Cornwall ... get yourself down to Padstow! It's a great little town full of little streets and shops to explore, and a great harbour in which to sit and watch the world go by. You'll not be disappointed.
There's also a great pizza restaurant overlooking the harbour. It's located in the first floor of a building above an ice-cream cafe.
Padstow is on the north Cornwall coast, across the estuary from Rock. For more info check out www.visitcornwall.com and search under Padstow.
Cornwall is arguably best off-season, and self-catering accommodation is nicer during the odd rainy day. My top tip is to stay slightly out of the town centre (it’s quieter), and the best I’ve found is Four Shores, a Victorian terraced town house, five minutes' walk from the beach. Or ten minutes if you’ve just eaten your second cream tea of the day. Four Shores is one of the most comfortable and best equipped houses I’ve stayed at. There are two double and three single bedrooms, with more showers and WC’s than you can flap a wet towel at. There are quirky details I love: stained glass doors, window seats for people watching, a store room for surf boards and a cute patio. It’s perfect for families and friends, but there is also the chance off-season for couples to enjoy the property at special rates.
01736 798478, fourshores.co.uk
Head south to Cornwall to find a real gem of a canal walk. Bude Canal is different from other canals. Lobster pots are strewn across the bank, seagulls fly overhead, and the Atlantic salt gets deep in your lungs. Wander on a sunny day towards Summerleaze beach, as you head through lock gates onto the golden Cornish sands. The canal is a secret haven from the crowds, with a sea view! Ice creams on the beach finish this perfect summer stroll.
Probably the best views from a pub in Cornwall, beautiful views over the River Fal, Flushing, St Mawes and the ever moving Falmouth Harbour. Live jazz on Sundays, real guest ales, huge and very reasonably priced breakfasts (£3.99) and some very original art on the walls!
There is also free original beach binoculars to gaze at people on their boats or the quaint village of Flushing. A must for all visitors to Falmouth! Kids are also welcome before 7pm.
52 High Street (Greenbank end) Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 2AF
Stay almost anywhere in Cornwall, buy a group saver ticket to St Ives. Park and ride to St Ives, changing at St Erth, where you will be treated to spectacular views of Carbis bay and have a wonderful day out at one of Cornwall's prettiest resorts. It's green, cheap and if the shuttle is delayed you can enjoy a cup of coffee at St Erth station buffet.
Any manned railway station on the Plymouth to Penzance line
Wetsuits for kids in Devon and Cornwall are cheap, they don't need top of the range (usually £35), just get the cheap ones (probably £10 or less). They give them sun protection, keep them warm if they are in and out of the water all day and give a bit of added buoyancy when they are learning to swim.
Get the ones with short arms and legs, you get more use out of them when they are growing fast, but remember to sun cream the lower arms and legs, or do like my kids do and wear a long UV sun suit underneath. Watch out if it's hot, especially if the kids are not going in the water much as they can get very hot with the black neoprene absorbing the heat.
They were the best things we ever bought, my daughter learned to swim in the sea when she was 4 in hers as she felt so confident.
You can buy them in surf shops (expensive), but also in most beach kiosks, bucket and spade shops in town and also in some supermarkets in beach towns. The ones from Decathlon in France are really good, and only 10 Euros.
A beautiful location with the most stunning coastal views. The property is beautifully presented with a lovely large garden for the children and easy access to the beach and coastal paths.
Helford River, Cornwall
This beautiful little chapel is well worth a visit as part of a coastal walk. You can approach it from Daymer Bay, or as we did take the ferry across from Padstow to Rock, walk along the beach and through the sand dunes and golf course, to reach it.
The chapel dates back to the 12th century but until 1864 it was virtually buried by the dunes that surrounded it, and to hold a service the vicar and parishioners had to descend into the sanctuary through a hole in the roof. In the 19th century it was finally unearthed and the church restored.
Today you can find everything you might hope for in an old Cornish church but in miniature; the cut-down medieval rood screen, the mellow wooden pews and the memorials to those who died at sea.
The former poet laureate John Betjeman lived locally and is buried here - he wrote a poem about the church 'Sunday Afternoon Service in St. Enodoc Church'
You can read my account of the walk to the church on my blog"
St Enodoc's church, south of the village of Trebetherick, Cornwall.
England grid reference SW931772
This youth hostel occupies a fantastic position on the cliff above Treyarnon beach, which is only one in a string of perfect beaches nearby.
The hostel is open all year round and especially popular in the summer, but also great for an out-of- season break.
They have a cafe and a bar where you can sample Cornish real ales, or you can self-cater in traditional hostel style. The sitting and dining areas have trendy orange and blue walls, surf boards hanging from every surface and the work of local artists on the walls.
The rooms sleep from 3 to 6 people and are all kitted out with pine bunk beds and cheerful curtains - some even have en-suite bathrooms. It's ideally suited to families, out-door types and surfers.
You can read my review on my blog
Tregonnan, Treyarnon, nr Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8JR, Tel: 0870 770 6076, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perched on the ramparts of historic Pendennis Castle, this charming little cottage offers amazing sea views.
Staying within the grounds offers an amazing opportunity to explore after hours - we loved playing 'King and Queen of the Castle'! This is a really special retreat, lovely and cosy - it is great in lovely weather, but would also be perfect for a romantic winter break looking out over the roaring sea.
www.english-heritage.org.uk/holidaycottages. Booking number is 0870 333 1187
We visit the Lizard regularly to stay with family and trips would not be complete without visiting Roskilly's Farm once or twice. Lovely walks around extensive ponds, woodland and the coastal paths and a working organic dairy farm. Children love seeing the cows being milked - followed by the Roskilly family's homemade ice cream made from the aforementioned Jersey cows.
The Croust House is their lovely cafe with wholesome food (meringue glace with homemade clotted cream, you can't beat it). We even stayed in one of their holiday cottages for a week one year, homely, comfy and very friendly. Also enjoy the Roskilly (grown-up) children's creative work in the furniture and stained glass that abound. Oh, and you can buy a little book on how to make clotted cream.
A few miles south of Truro, hidden in trees above the creeks, is Trelissick. It has beautiful gardens with a nice tea shop and is an escape from the crowds on a week day.
Afterwards, if you leave the car parked and walk down towards the ferry via the road, you can take the footpath north or south along the wooded edge of the river to find many tranquil deserted creeks where you may spot a lone heron. This is a very different side of Cornwall that many people don't see.
4 miles south of truro on the B3289
Just had a week down in Cornwall and enjoyed it as always (slowly uploading photos to flickr if interested).
I will recommend The Lugger Hotel, a lovely little hotel in the secluded fishing village of Portloe. I had the most fantastic crab sandwich and glass of white wine sitting in the sun on their terrace overlooking the slipway. Beautiful
North of New Polzeath is a headland ending at the Rumps Point. From here there are spectacular views up and down the coast. This stretch belongs to the National Trust and there is a car park off a small road going out to Pentire Farm.
The best bar for miles. The food is always fantastically good (try the Blue Burger!!), the view out on to the beach is beautiful whatever the weather and it's such a chilled out place you'll wish you lived there!
East Cliff, Beach Road, Porthtowan. TR4 8AD
AquaSurf B&B is a cool place to stay. Designed for groups - all the rooms have bunk beds. AquaSurf B&B is clean and friendly, with rooms of two to six people.
We had a TV/video in our room, and the breakfast each morning was fab.
It's in a great location, with both the nightlife and the beaches within two minutes' walk.
Bright, friendly vegetarian cafe. Delicious food, the best salads. Really friendly staff, good prices, toys and books for kids and local art for sale on the walls.
Above Richard's Health Food shop, Bread Street, Penzance, Cornwall. Best reached from bottom of Causewayhead. Up the hill from Penzance train station.
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