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Cornwall, United Kingdom

Cornwall or Kernow (to locals) is known for its Cornish pasties, beautiful beaches, coastal walks, and of course it's a magnet for swell, providing some of the best surf spots in the UK. Think spending your day catching waves in warm water, relaxing on the beach, drinking good coffee then sharing stories over a campfire to toast the sun disappearing beyond the horizon. Magic.

Cornwall will always hold a special place in my heart. A couple of years ago, in 2018, I spent a summer season in Newquay, working at the Beach Hut at Watergate Bay Hotel, and since then at the earliest opportunity I jump in my car, surfboard in the back, and make the odyssey down to the South West. Just back from a surf trip I thought I ought to share my own adventures from surfing in Cornwall.

While the best waves are undoubtedly in the Autumn and winter months, you can still find pretty good waves in the summer. With water temperatures averaging around 16°C and getting as high as 20°C you will be more than warm enough in a summer suit, or even in a shorty. If you don't already have a surf robe, I couldn't recommend one enough, especially if your planning on surfing a lot in the UK.

If you need to hire a board or wetsuit, or if you are new too surfing and need to book a lesson there are lots on surf schools in town or at the beaches where you can book a lesson or hire equipment. Expect to pay around £35 for a half-day surf experience in Newquay.

There are so many places to surf but some of my favourite spots, in no particular order, are:

  • Watergate Bay

  • Towan Beach

  • Great Western beach

  • Fistral/ South Fistral

  • Polzeath

  • Gwithian

  • Perranporth

  • Sennen Beach

If it's flat there are lots of activities to keep you in the water and active. The gazelle at little fistral is a great adventure swim spot with caves to explore and cliff jumping from 4ft to 35ft. Harlyn Bay is also one of the most beautiful bays just along the coast from Newquay and is a great spot to hire Kayaks or paddle boards to explore the coast with caves and secluded beaches around the corner.

Lusty Glaze Beach is one of my favourite beaches to relax, as a secluded cove towards the outskirts of Newquay it's the perfect spot to enjoy the sun, read a book or jump in for a swim.

Padstow and St Ives are also wonderful fishing ports and harbours and beautiful spots on the coast to visit and explore. St Ives is known for its surf beaches and art scene and you can expect to find lots of stunning art studios and galleries. Both Padstow and St Ives are stunning seaside towns and make for great days out.

If you have time I would also try to make a trip to Carnewas at Bedruthan steps. The dramatic views across the giant rock stacks on the beach provide a breathtaking experience and make it a popular destination to visit. The story tells of a legend giant called Bedruthan who used the beach stacks as stepping stones as a short cut across the bay, and dates to the late 19th-century. Whatever the story the landscape here is associated with shipwrecks and smugglers and provides spectacular views of the stacks with the Atlantic waves as the background.


Best Food Spots/ Bars

Fistral Beach is probably one of the most famous beaches in Newquay, which means it can attract some pretty big crowds. However, beach bar is one of the best spots to enjoy a beer or rattler, Cornish cider, while watching sunset after an evening surf. The Stable, on Fistral above beach bar has some of the best pizza around too.

There are loads of great cafes and food spots in Newquay but some of my favourite are Box and Barber for breakfast and Pavilion Bakery for some good coffee and fresh bread. Shiva cafe is also a great spot and with vegan and veggie options it's perfect for some yummy food, coffee and cake. Newquay harbour has recently been renovated and now has a variety of food trucks and a bar with some tables set up outside, so you can enjoy fresh fish or curry with a beer while enjoying sunset over the harbour. As for bars, I would recommend heading to Lost Brewing Co for good craft beer and burgers, Tom Thumb for yummy cocktails and Whiskers for live music and a dance.

If you are planning on heading to Polzeath make sure to pop into Strong Adolfos on the way. Located at Hawksfield Strong Adolfos is honestly a really cool cafe whose roots are planted in the art, surf and motorcycle subcultures. Expect great coffee, food, cake and really friendly staff. There is also a zero waste shop, plant shop and a Finisterre outlet store.

Last but certainly not least is Scot and Babs at Retorrick Mill. Just off the coastal road at Mawgan Porth Scot and Babs provides a wonderful atmosphere and is super dog friendly. It is situated in a barn with some camp-spots, chalets and fixed caravans surrounded by wildlife and woodland. With a mishmash of furniture, wonderful wood fire pizza and bonfires every Saturday evening you are guaranteed a great atmosphere and wonderful evening.


I feel like I could talk/ write about Cornwall for hours and hours but I best leave this post here, I feel like I've covered everything for a long weekend trip. There is something so special about the South West, it always feels like an escape from the normal 9 to 5 work week, like a true holiday away from the stress of UK life, even though you haven't boarded a plan and shown your passport.

If you're planning on heading south hopefully the swell picks up and the sunsets provide that extra bit of Cornish magic for you.


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