If you ask most people why they come to Cornwall, the chances are the answer will have something to do with the sea. Whether it’s to surf, walk the coastal paths, or just have a traditional seaside holiday, we all respond to its call.
The sea has shaped Cornwall, culturally as well as geologically. For centuries one of the Duchy’s main industries was fishing. The many trading ports around Cornwall placed us firmly on the trade routes – where else in Britain would you find ingredients such as saffron being used in the staple dishes of country kitchens? When we think of Cornwall, we all think of something associated with the coast. Mermaid legends, seafood feasts, smugglers, dramatic lighthouses, Ross Poldark staring moodily into the horizon, all combined to create the Cornwall of popular imagination that brings so many people down here every year.
At The Cornwall, we’re lucky to be just two miles from Porthpean beach. Thanks to Cornwall’s long, narrow shape, we have a lot of coastline (300 miles) for our size, meaning you’re never far from a stretch of sea. How do you make the most of this glorious coast during your stay?
Get right into it. Cornwall is famous for surfing, and you can add all sorts of other aquatic adventures to that. Standing up paddling (SUP) has recently become popular, and you can try everything from coasteering to kayaking (try our neighbours, Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre for family activities). St Ives and Falmouth are just two of the towns offering boat hire – and there are plenty of opportunities to take a trip on one if you don’t fancy skippering your own. Before leaping into the drink, please always check the tide times to avoid being stranded – or on a lesser scale, disappointed.
Eat from it. There are plenty of charter-fishing opportunities across the county, including from nearby Mevagissey. Or, you can just enjoy the fruits of the sea that others have caught – our Arboretum Brasserie has a fresh catch daily from St Ives. Head down to the sea and eat fish and chips on the beach (setting one of your party on “gull watch”) or barbecue some glisteningly fresh mackerel.
Capture it. Artists are drawn (no pun intended) to the Cornish coast, for its colours, unmatched light and changing moods. Visit Tate St Ives or Falmouth Art Gallery, as well as the hundreds of little private galleries. You can book onto an art course, or just stride out with your sketchbook or camera.
Walk around it. The South West coastal path is a 613-mile trail around this end of Britain and we think some of the finest parts are in Cornwall, and you can choose what sort of walk you want to embark on. The paths around the Lizard can be nice and gentle, but the stretch around Zennor in the west is just for those with stout boots and stouter hearts. All sections have lovely coves and beaches to rest and have a refreshing paddle, and it’s rare to walk too far without stumbling upon a café or pub.
Learn about it. To find out more about Cornwall’s relationship with the sea, visit The National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth. From pilchards to pirates, it covers how the sea has influenced this land and its people. Falmouth itself is a great harbour town to explore, with its docks, castle, and atmospheric little corners.
There is nothing quite as summery as a seaside holiday. Whether you want the family fun of the beaches, to have adventure on the surf, or simply to admire the sunset from your favourite table, there is a bit of sea for everybody.