Finding a desolate Cornish bay on a winter morning, when the tide is out and the sand glitters in the sun, is like discovering buried treasure.
Out of season, as the sun starts to shy away, Cornwall’s beaches become less populated. If you’re up and out early, you’re likely to hit the jackpot when it comes to tranquillity. Especially if you’re in on the secret that is Trevone Bay.
Just over two miles from Padstow, this humble spot is bordered by a towering cliff, with winding steps leading to breathtaking views across the ocean. Unlike its famous neighbour, whose cobbled streets are brimming with eateries and souvenir shops, here, there’s only one beach hut-style restaurant with decking overlooking the bay and a menu of fresh fish, chips and burgers – perfect post-surf fuel.
WHAT TO PACK
Atlanta Trevone Bay
Atlanta Trevone Bay is the only name you need to know. A collection of self-catered accommodation you’ll never want to leave. Each of its properties is unique; the 3-bed house is family-friendly with a large open-plan living area that lends itself well to cosy nights in, while the penthouse apartment is ideal for couples retreating from the city. Every little detail has been considered, from the welcome hamper brimming with local produce to the dressing gowns in the bathroom, and all offer Pinterest-perfect decor and premium amenities. Touches like these make this family-run destination all the more personable.
EAT + DRINK
The beauty of booking somewhere homely like Atlanta is that when the weather takes a turn, staying in with a roaring fire and a box of s’mores is more than ideal. Make use of the fully-equipped kitchen or book a private chef to enjoy restaurant-style food and the best local produce, without having to leave the house.
Elsewhere and in true celebration of the local area, Duchy Grub prides itself on sourcing produce within a four mile radius. Not only is everything fresh, it’s also delicious and the menu’s creativity rivals some of London’s finest. Try the signature hispi cabbage and the catch of the day, but be sure to ask the in-house team for their recommendations. Every ingredient is the best in-season so they’ll know the top dish at any given time.
Fore Street Cafe
Well worth the 20-minute drive, especially if brunch is your meal of choice. It’s run by local born and bred, Simon Thomson, whose goal is to transform the reputation of neighbouring Newquay. Expect classic dishes as well as some unexpected recipes – and a fully loaded plate. In winter, cosy up with a pumpkin-spice latte topped with cream, complete with a side of gingerbread for dipping.
The Pig hotels provide a memorable dining experience no matter which you go to, but Harlyn Bay’s focus is seafood and it’s unlike any other in the litter. Enjoy an aperitif on the terrace and have a wander around the on-site vegetable garden before heading inside to the characteristically homely restaurant for a sample of its tempting 25-mile menu and local wines. Anyone keen to avoid a drink will be pleasantly surprised by the non-alcoholic sparkling wine on offer – the sommelier’s tried and tested approach means it’s one of the best on the market.
Rick Stein takes up a huge amount of Cornish real estate, and the restaurant to head for is the Seafood Bar in Padstow. Unlike the chain’s more prestigious outposts, its come-as-you-are attitude makes piling in after a blustery coastal walk all the more welcome. Paired with a crisp glass of wine and finished with a scoop of clotted cream ice cream from the shop next door, its sharer plate-style menu offers – quite literally – a taste of coastal life, and a recipe for the perfect Cornish afternoon.
Beach Box Cafe
Early start? Head to one of four Beach Box Cafes for decent coffee from the early hours, as well as a range of superfood smoothies. Crack-of-dawn dog walkers or those looking to wander the beach before it gets busy should make a beeline for it, pitching up at one of the open-air benches to watch the sun rise and the world begin to wake.
Dine With Iris
Book an experience with Dine With Iris, whose beach picnic set-ups are like something out of a fairytale. Picture this: fairy lights, grazing tables and scatter cushions to a sunset backdrop and the sound of the sea. Contact them via their website and set up your perfect picnic aesthetic.
Sample local produce and enjoy a well-deserved beer after an active itinerary at the Tasting Rooms on Duke Street. Once an old post office and still boasting some of the original interior features, it’s now a bright and airy space hosting groups of up to eight, as well as guided tastings every Thursday. Those in favour of something more fruity should head there on a Wednesday for cocktail hour.
WHAT TO DO
Take Surfing Lessons
If you can brave the cold waters, hire gear from Trevone Beach Shop and take to the waves in Trevone Bay. Newbies and novices can book lessons with Trevone Bay Adventures.
Walk the coastal path from Trevone Bay to Harlyn Bay and enjoy the vast, ocean views as they change by the hour. There’s little phone signal here, which makes disconnecting from the outside world a whole lot easier – and the chances of stumbling across more than a few other like minded hikers is slim, too. If cold-water swimming ‘floats your boat’, there’s a natural salt-water pool that surfaces at low tide and offers all the benefits of the sea with a little more shelter and a few less waves.
Visit a Lobster Hatchery
In Padstow you’ll find the National Lobster Hatchery whose noble quest is to protect these fascinating sea creatures. They specialise in marine conservation and work towards increasing the lobster population in nearby seas. Stop by during a wander through town and make a donation to a very worthy cause.
In the mood for adventure? Book a sea safari experience with Padstow Sealife Safaris. Those in luck might spot dolphins, porpoises or even (the harmless) basking shark, and it’s fairly common place to get a sighting of the grey seal. Either way, it’s a fun hour out at sea and a chance to see the area from an alternative perspective.
Cycle The Camel Trail
Adventurers keen to cover ground quicker than on foot should visit Padstow Cycle Hire and ride the Camel Trail, which can be broken down into short, medium or long routes depending on preference. Look our for British wildlife, and expect to stumble across a handful of humble drop-in food and drinks spots like the Camel Trail Tea Gardens.