Portwrinkle is a tiny seaside village on the South East coast of Cornwall, situated slightly east of Downderry and Looe. Traditionally a fishing village, it still has its harbour today, and you can still see the remains of the 17th centrury pilchard cellars, although they have now been incorporated into local housing. Smuggling was also popular along this stretch of coastline, and the old coastguard boathouse and the cottages which housed the men and their families can still be seen.
The village enjoys spectacular views along Whitsand Bay, and benefits from two main beaches, plus a few more smaller beaches nearby. The largest, sandy beach, Finnygook, is very popular with experienced surfers, and also with families. At low tide plenty of rock pools are revealed, perfect for delving into and discovering an array of fascinating sea life. There is also the fabulous Gook Beach Café, serving a delicious selection of hot and cold food to eat in, dine alfresco, or take away. There is a seasonal dog ban on this beach, however, the slightly smaller shingle beach at Hoodny Cove is dog-friendly all year round.
The nearest shop to Portwrinkle is the Crafthole village Post Office and community store, just half a mile away, where you will also find the excellent Finnygook Inn. A few minutes' drive in the other direction, you will find everything you need in the way of shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants in the neighbouring fishing villages of Looe and Polperro. For fun and educational, all-weather family days out, both the Monkey Sanctuary near Looe, and the famous Eden Project are well worth a visit.
A holiday cottage in Portwrinkle offers a fantastic seaside retreat right next to the beach, with everything else you need to make your holiday memorable within a very short drive.
Not perhaps what you might expect to find in Cornwall, The Monkey Sanctuary is a delightful opportunity to learn about its 36 inhabitants, all of whom have distinct characters and personalities. An active rescue centre dealing with individuals that have often not had a very happy start to life, the priority is always their wellbeing, but it’s also an opportunity for guests to meet them and learn about the organization, explore the gardens and cultivated meadows, shop or relax in the café. There’s also a play area for children, with views of the Cornish coast. The sanctuary is closed on Fridays, but otherwise open from March to September (dates vary from year to year, so keep an eye on the website). Prices start at £8.50 per adult and £5 for children, which entitles you to entry for a whole year.
With the tag line ‘throwing people off cliffs since 2009’, what’s not to love about Adrenaline Quarry? Home of zip wires, coasteering, a giant swing and axe throwing they offer the complete adrenaline experience. Priding themselves on the number of adrenalin junkies, thrill seekers, bold mums and dads, toddlers, grandpas, little boys and girls, and old ladies that flock to South East Cornwall for the chance to fly down a zip wire or power a hovercraft solo around the quarry lake, they like to prove themselves as the place to go for outdoor adventures. Cornwall is home to a wealth of extreme sports and this is a wonderful place to start – they even offer hen and stag parties, or wedding parties for the truly dedicated. Opening times vary throughout the seasons, and prices start at £12.50 per person.
Cornwall’s self-proclaimed ‘top go-karting centre’, Kartworld caters to all ages, with custom tracks and go karts for toddlers, children and adults. If you really want to test your skills, you can even participate in real races! There’s an 800-metre track (plenty of room for overtaking), long, fast, straight sections, and they have an exceptional safety record. You can even print out your lap times to take home. For adults meanwhile, there’s the chance to participate in the grand prix experience. It’s just 45-minutes from Newquay, refreshments and facilities are all available, as well as parking, and prices start at £12 for adults and £8 for children.
The Finnygook is set in a superb position, offering stunning views of the Tamar Valley, looking down over miles of sandy beaches. This friendly pub & restaurant serves local Cornish beers and real ales, and a varied menu of homemade food featuring locally caught fish and the finest cuts of locally sourced meats. Four legged friends are also welcomed.
Finnygook Inn, Cliff Road, Crafthole, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 3BQ (T: 01503 230338)
Traditional Cornish village inn perched on a cliff top, with stunning views of Downderry beach and the ocean beyond.
Local cask ales and excellent locally sourced food with an extensive menu, serving breakfasts, light snacks, cream teas, à la carte meals and carveries in the bar, restaurant, conservatory, or outside decked area. There's also an enclosed lawned garden and children's play area to keep the little people happy.
Inn on the Shore, Downderry, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 3JY (T: 01503 250027)
Excellent bar/restaurant,downstairs dog friendly,upstairs glass fronted with great views across season beach ,a changing menu weekly but all we have tried is 1st class ,also friendly owners ,a must visit
A spacious, grey sand beach that’s popular with families, Seaton Beach enjoys views across the green, surrounding countryside and walks in Seaton Valley nearby. At low tide the beach stretches all the way from Seaton Beach to Downderry Beach. There are facilities close by and there is are two car parks as well as road parking, but it does get busy quickly in the summer. The beach is great for surfing, but do be wary of undercurrents. There’s also a café and beach shop close by as well. Dogs are welcome at the beach all year round.
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Visited Seaton Beach several times during our stay fantastic dog friendly beach with the advantage of having the river as well my dog enjoyed swimming in the sea and the river thoroughly recommend this beach.
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 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.
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One of the many dog friendly beaches we visited lovely coastal walks to Talland Bay the nature reserve island is very interesting great refreshments available and not forgetting the free parking available all day which is very useful.
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.