Now that we’re in February, all I can think about is how long it will be until Spring arrives; I’m looking forward to the lighter mornings and evenings and warmer weather! When it hasn’t been absolutely tipping it down outside (yesterday we had a week’s worth of rainfall in one day), I’ve been making the most of the Winter sunshine with some gorgeous beach walks.
Ever hopeful that I will be relocating to the Truro area soon and leaving this part of Cornwall behind (apart from when I come to visit mum and Arwen the cat of course), I have selected my top 5 beaches in South East Cornwall, which I have discovered during the last year or so, as a little tribute to my time spent in this part of Kernow.
I have enjoyed several blustery walks at Downderry during the winter and there are some great rocks to sit on while you enjoy a flask of tea with views of the sea. This beach is popular with dog walkers and is big enough to have a fairly energetic stroll, unlike many of the small beaches in this area. A visit to Downderry wouldn’t be complete without a pint at the Inn on the Shore, also offering a lovely menu including their tasty ‘Inn on the Shore’ and ‘Big Blue’ burgers.
The small car park at Portwrinkle is often at full capacity in the summer, but during the other seasons it’s blissfully quiet. I usually walk down the road to the far end of the beach and then clamber over the rocks back towards the main stretch of sand. There are lots of interesting rock formations here, making it difficult for summer swimming; although there is a small area which is safer and easier for taking a dip. After walking across Portwrinkle beach, I often head to the Jolly Roger Café for a coffee, a cream tea or a spot of lunch. Last time, Matt and I enjoyed panini’s with a beautiful sea view.
In the summer, Seaton is packed with sun bathers and during the winter it is a popular spot for dog walkers and family and friends enjoying a hot drink at the Seaton beach café, which has a massive number of tables outside. It’s a good swimming beach because it’s very calm (being on the south coast) and doesn’t have many awkward rocks to contend with. Just across the road from the beach, there’s also the popular Waves Bar with scenic window seats. I’ve eaten some really good food there before and have also enjoyed some live music.
This has to be the only beach in this area of Cornwall with golden yellow sand. The catch? You have to trudge down hundreds of steps to get to the beach and of course climb back up at the end of your visit. I wouldn’t choose this particular beach for a quick seaside stroll because of it being so tricky to access; it’s also difficult to park sometimes as there’s no actual car park, you have to just find a space on the side of the cliff road. However, if you’re looking for a longer day out and want to take a picnic or BBQ onto the beach and perhaps make a fire, then this one is a grand choice. I went for a swim here last year and had a relaxing sun bathe on the ‘proper Cornish’ sand. If you fancy some pub grub after a day on the beach, you could head down as far as Kingsand (one of the beaches which nearly made my list) and go to the Devonport Inn, a cosy pub just across from the beach.
Situated down a windy, narrow lane just before you get to Looe, this little beach was made for tourists: the only buildings allowed in Millendreath itself are either holiday homes or holiday apartments. This is again a great swimming beach and also a great walking beach, if the tide is out. The Black Rock Cafe is always heaving during the summer months and serves amazing food as well as a great selection of drunks; everything from hot chocolates to sangria. Dogs aren’t allowed on this beach so its the perfect place to take young children; it’s great for paddling and swimming too.
Of course, there is also Looe itself, but it is often overly crowded during high season so I often avoid it at all costs! However, I do highly recommend Sarah’s Pasty Shop on Buller Street; a large steak pasty is best enjoyed with views of Looe beach. Looe is actually where I took Matt on our second date, because there are so many restaurants and pubs there to choose from. We ended up enjoying pints next to an open fire in the Fishermans Arms – perfect.