Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an enjoyable family break a holiday cottage in South Cornwall offers a great way to experience everything the region has to offer, from fun days out to cosy period features and dramatic sea views, there is a lot to offer those looking for a break that has it all.
A food lover’s paradise the Cornish are passionate about their local produce, from freshly caught fish to delicious farm products, Cornwall provides more than just the iconic Cornish pasty and clotted cream. From historic pubs to famous Michelin-starred restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities to savour the incredible food this region has to offer. Take a taste of Cornwall back to your holiday cottage as well by purchasing from the many food markets and farm shops dotted around the area.
With a rich history of smuggling and privateering, Cornwall’s rugged coastline has always lent itself to dramatic stories of Cornishmen beckoning ships onto rocks to plunder their booty and smugglers, using the many caves and coves along the coast to hide their bounty until they could traffic it further up country to sell.
Only a little further along the coast you find the quaint fishing village of Polperro, famous for its seafood where the local catch can be enjoyed in the village’s pubs and restaurants. Perched on the South West Coastal Path, Polperro is perfect for walkers while the village also has its own small beach as well as good access to other beautiful beaches, all within walking distance. Along the traffic free Warren is a row of beautiful white-washed fisherman’s cottages offering spectacular views and period features.
Set on the south-east Cornish coast, Looe is a working fishing port and a vibrant town. With a wide sandy beach and numerous restaurants it is a perfect destination for a Cornish cottage holiday. Providing an interesting array of local shops with opportunities to take boat excursions to spot seals and dolphins, as well as organised fishing trips, there is plenty to pass the time in this traditional Cornish town.
A small town at the head of the River Fowey, Lostwithiel dates back to the 12th Century and is a vibrant and lively community surrounded by breath-taking countryside. There are plenty of walks making their way out of the town and there is also a main line train station allowing you to leave the car behind on days out around Cornwall.
Tucked away on the south coast, a little west of Looe and Polperro, Fowey is one of the county's crown jewels. Well known for its famous regatta and Festival of Words and Music, the coastal town sits on the banks of the deep River Fowey, whose harbour is often frequented by cruise ships, tall ships and a host of sailing boats. There are great places to eat and drink and a lovely range of boutique shops, galleries and better known high-street names.
Over the years artists have flocked to St Ives, making it an international centre for the arts, with beautiful galleries, crafts shops and their very own Tate gallery, this pretty seaside town is certainly an art lover’s paradise. There is lots to see and do here, with an extensive mixture of shops and restaurants, expansive sandy beaches, dramatic walking routes and cosy pubs, the town isn’t just for those of the artistic temperament.
Shiny and new to Cornwall, Indoor Active offers Soft Play as well as Clip ‘n Climb facilities to entertain the kids on holiday in Cornwall. Soft Play for those who haven’t come across it yet is a three-floor purpose-built play area for children from 0-11 years old, and includes a ball pool and double slide for toddlers on the ground floor level, as well as rope bridges, climbing nets and a maze run on the next two levels. It’s free for children under 12 and prices thereafter start at £4. Meanwhile, Clip ‘n Climb next door is a climbing experience for everyone aged four years and up.The clever concept that allows you to simply clip on to an automatic belay system and start climbing without the need for a partner, makes it a safe introduction to climbing that includes challenges designed for physical and mental testing – who said learning can’t be fun? Prices start at £8 and vary according to off and on peak times.
The oldest pub in Polperro, full of historic charm with a hillside garden overlooking the village. Here you will be served hearty homemade meals including fresh seafood, along with a range of well-kept wines, beers and lagers.
The Three Pilchards, The Quay, Looe PL13 2QZ (Tel: 01503 272233)
In East Looe, the beach sits directly in front of the old town, sheltered by the Banjo Pier and overlooked from the east by the hillside of Mount Ararat. A good family beach that has something for everyone, at low tide the sandy location is safe for swimming although it’s recommended you steer clear of the river mouth beyond the pier. The beach backs on to a seafront walkway which runs its length all the way to Second Beach to the east, where it tends to be less busy and it’s good for snorkeling. As it’s in the centre of the town there are lots of facilities and cafes nearby, but in the summer it’s a very popular spot and parking can be tricky, with traffic prohibited during these months, so be prepared for a bit of a walk.
A small and pleasant grey sand beach with rocks exposed at low tide, Plaidy Beach is simply a nice place to visit and take in the scenery. There aren’t any facilities, and there’s no parking nearby so it’s one to reach on foot. There’s a slipway to the beach, but you will have to access it by walking along the coast path, parking at Millendreath or Looe and it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s quite steep from both directions. Millendreath is closer and the walk should take around 20 minutes. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round, so it’s a charming place to take them for a walk while you’re in the area.
Half a mile west of Looe, stretching along the coast, Hannafore Beach is a sandy, shingle bay with a rocky reef and views of St George’s Island. At low tide it’s brimming with rock pools, making it fun and games for the whole family to enjoy, and it’s a wonderful sun trap in summer months thanks to its south east facing position. Because of its location over the river, the beach never really becomes too busy, but equally there aren’t any facilities nearby. It’s popular with dog walkers as it’s amongst the few dog-friendly beaches in the area, and having explored you can extend your excursion to a stroll along the promenade or a potter around the coast path to the wonderfully scenic Talland Bay. There is roadside parking along the sea front above the beach, but it can be difficult to find a space. Alternatively, there is a large car park in West Looe, around 10 minutes away on foot.
Millendreath Beach is a south facing beach at the foot of a wooded valley, in a sheltered cove with soft sand and lots of rock pools to explore at low tide. It’s connected to other nearby beaches by the South West Coast Path. Dogs aren’t allowed on this beach at any time of the year, and there is a reasonably sized car park a few minutes walk away. The beach is popular with families on holiday in Cornwall, and most of the surrounding area is occupied by a holiday park, so there are lot of facilities open to the public.
A small, quiet beach between Looe and Polperro, Talland Bay actually comprises two beaches, one of which has sand both at low and high tide and is good for swimming all the time, while the other is less sandy and is easiest to swim from at high tide. There is a ramp for launching boats from the main beach and there are lots of small coves and tidal pools to swim in as well, so it’s a delightful area to explore in the water. Parking is limited, but there is a small, free car park by the beach and paid parking at The Beach Café, all of which provide easy access to the sand. Thanks to the nearby café, visitors can also benefit from the accompanying facilities, on-site shop, and tuck into Roskillys Cornish Ice-Cream as well.
In South East Cornwall, Polperro is widely thought to be one of the area’s most picturesque fishing villages. Brimming with whitewashed cottages all the way down the harbour, the beach sits in a sheltered position under the cliffs, only visible at low tide and close to the harbour. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular destination and can get busy in the summer months. Dogs are not permitted at the beach during peak season, from Easter to October, and while parking in the village itself is all but impossible, but there’s a large car park about a mile up the valley with a regular shuttle service going up and down the hill.
Between Polruan and Polperro along the coastal path, Lantivet Bay is only accessible at low tide when a sand and pebble beach is revealed. Parking is in the National Trust car park at Polruan, where there are toilets as well, but there aren’t any facilities closer to the beach itself. Dogs are allowed all year round, which is lovely as it’s the perfect beach to incorporate into a walk. The National Trust recommends a charming circular route, starting in the car park and taking in 2.4 miles of beautiful bays and surrounding landscape, and giving you the chance to explore the area with its rich smuggling heritage.
In the heart of Polruan, Back Beach is not short of facilities and nearby shops and restaurants. A pretty little beach that’s popular with families, it has beautiful views across the river to Fowey and is a lovely place to watch the world go by with all the boats pottering along in front of you. It’s predominantly a sand beach, leading to a sheltered section of the river, so it’s good for swimming, but there aren’t any lifeguards around. The only complication for access is that it’s very difficult to park in the village, and it’s a considerable walk down the steep hill from the car park at St Saviours, or a ferry ride across the river from Fowey. Therefore, it’s best to combine a visit with a day exploring the village itself to make the most of it.