Winston’s reactivity is so much better now that going away with him isn’t such a worry or a chore anymore. I know how to handle situations and I’m always looking for coastal walks away from the crowds! On this trip, I’m gate crashing with another 2 families as the other Human Woof wasn’t able to come with us this time. So me and Winston are staying in a tent for 5 days. Beaches, sea, paddle boarding and endless coastal walks sounds like absolute heaven.
Pre Trip Planning
If you follow us on socials or read our blogs regularly, you’ll know I’m a Monica. I love to be organised, nothing better than a good list and find out what exactly I want to do and see whilst we’re in Cornwall. I began reaching out to our followers of what their ‘must sees’ were and finding Instagram reels of landscapes I just had to see! I plotted out on a map where all these places where and filtered out the ones that were an absolute must see for us.
Of course there was a what’s app group, because can you even go away anymore without one? We planned food, the convoy, time we’re leaving and I loved it!
So far on the list to visit is;
- Bude (for SUP)
- The group is heading to Tintagel Castle (which I’m giving a miss) and heading down to Bedruthan Steps beach
- Breakfast with my parents near St Michael’s Mount who happen to be on there way home from the Sicily Isles
- St Ives
- Land Ends – to include a coastal walk
- Kynance Cove
- Lantic Bay
I hate packing. I always have that feeling that I’m going to forget something and then end up taking too much stuff. I’ve got all the camping stuff from the loft, checked the tent for poles and pegs and now absolutely freaking out how I’m going to get all of this, my paddleboard, the cases and Winston in my (what now seems) tiny VW Golf. Tetris is a skill.
The weather seems to be turning from the heatwave we’ve had to a mixture of temperatures and possibly rain, also not helping for packing clothes when I have to consider every possible weather season! On a lighter note though, lower temperatures mean I don’t have to worry too much about Winston melting in the heat.
Our plan was to leave early. It could take us up to 6 hours to get to Bude (which was our first stop) so a 3.30am meet for our convoy it was! Thankfully the drive was fab, no traffic and albeit those pesky average speed all the way down the M6 we stopped at Gloucester services to find it didn’t open for another hour. Thankfully the petrol station was open, grabbed a cuppa and a sausage bap before our next stop at Bude.
Thursday – Bude, Bedruthan Steps & the Campsite
We decided to stop off at Bude for some paddleboarding. It was a cute little place but we didn’t do a lot of exploring here, maybe next time! I had taken our new sealion board with us, so I had chance to pump it up, get kitted out and get on the river.
Winston wasn’t so keen on it this time. There were so many ducks, moorhens and geese surrounding us, that with his massive prey drive but thankfully fear of jumping in the water, made paddling slightly difficult!
We then headed to a nearby pub for some lunch before the group split. Majority going to Tintagel Castle, and I took myself and Winston off to Bedruthan Steps.
Bedruthan steps is a place with a stunning beach and famous rocks out of the sand. The place itself is a National trust site, members get free parking, otherwise I think it was around £5. The walk is highly advertised and the path is extremely well kept with even a disability path too which I thought was brilliant.
The views do not disappoint. They appear within minutes of starting the path and leave you stunned as you just take in the sheer size and depth of the landscape. There are numerous viewpoints all the way along this path that quite simply, never get old. There were steps that allowed access to the beach however there were signs to say that these had eroded over the winter and the access was no longer available. I don’t know whether there are plans to replace these but in all honesty, I loved that this place was completely undisturbed and wildlife could enjoy the space again.
I could have sat and looked at this view all day, so I returned to cafe for a well deserved ice cream and a drink, taking in more views!
It was another couple of hours drive from Bedruthan steps to the Tower Park campsite in St Buryan. After an extremely long day, safe to say once we’d put up the tents and had tea, we basically went to sleep! During the night, the wind battered us. I half expected the tent to collapse in the middle of the night and did debate just sleeping in the back of the car! Me and the tent managed the night, Winston snuggled in the duvet with me because even he was cold and we started Friday morning on an even more tired level than the day before.
Friday – Breakfast with the ‘rents, St Ives and Porthminister
My mum and her husband had just come back from the Isle of Sicily on their holidays (and I thought Cornwall’s beaches were awesome, definitely check on Sicily’s!) so we thought it would be nice to have brunch together before they headed back home up North. I booked the Godolphin as we all like our food and drink and due to covid, I was very conscious of getting somewhere booked.
I had Winston with me, and I was absolutely amazed about how well he had been so far. The car journey, seeing a variety of dogs and now inside a restaurant with other dogs in close proximity (this was an area of training I felt we needed more work on!).
Of course we all went for the full Cornish breakfast, OJ’s and hot drinks! The staff in there were awesome. So lovely, amazing to Winston too which for me means more than how they treat me! The food was amazing and in all fairness reasonably priced!! The restaurant sits with St Michaels Mount in their huge windows and the whole vibe of the place was just lovely.
We had a little wander round Marazion including the obligatory walk on the beach. The group were going over to St Michaels Mount and unfortunately during Covid, they are no longer allowing dogs (I do hope this is a temporary thing!) As I wasn’t too interested in the castle itself (this time) I offered to take the other dog we had with us and go out for the afternoon to allow them to go to the island.
After asking for suggestions on our Insta, one of our favourite families suggested I needed to go to Godrevy. And oh my I am glad we did! This again was a National Trust place and around 30 minutes North of Marazion. The path again was well signposted and well kept, making life with now two dogs, much easier.
There is a headland walk as well as various beaches for you to walk down on with a dog ban only between 1st July – 31st August 10am – 6pm (I really like this and will talk about it later!) the beach was glorious. White sand, turquoise waters and absolutely a surfers paradise. The dogs enjoyed life down here for a bit before we wandered up further up the headland.
The next landmark on this headland walk was Godrevy Lighthouse which was beautiful and to the right, the Godrevy sea of purple! The dramatic cliffs and the colour of the sea was just spectacular, and nothing that could ever be portrayed in a photo.
As we walked further up the hill, we came to a viewing point where many people were there with camera’s and although the landscape was pretty, it usually takes more than that to see as may photos being taken as I did. All of sudden, what I thought was a rock, moved and it turned out to be so many seals that I honestly don’t know how I missed them! From this cave suddenly appeared all these seal pups and other seals basking in the sun on the beach.
The couple next to me also then pointed out a Kestrel sat on the cliff edge which was so well camouflaged I wouldn’t have seen it without their indication! I honestly could have sat here for hours just watching the wildlife!
I headed back around the headland to Godrevy Cafe were I had the most amazing sausage, brie and chutney ciabatta and a chai latte. The dogs took a well deserved rest under the table whilst I relaxed in the sun and we plotted our next destination to St Ives.
Godrevy is an absolute must see in my opinion if you head to Cornwall, what a beautiful spot!
Next on our plan for the day was St Ives. We had already heard how difficult it was to park so thankfully to Instagram, a train park and ride was suggested from St Erth and this is exactly what we did. £4 for an adult ticket and it seems children went free. There were only a few stops between St Erth and St Ives and we took our first detour at Carbis Bay.
This beach again had a dog ban between 10am – 6pm from May but we found a place to sit outside at the beach bar and enjoy the view. Carbis Bay Estate had just finished hosting the G7 summit so it felt as though everything wasn’t back to ‘normal’ as yet. The outdoor bar area wasn’t really advertised and it was just a table to order from, the drinks weren’t exactly cold and in all honesty, just not what I expected from such a prestigious place. I wouldn’t hold this against them and would go back however, except the beach and the coastal path, there isn’t really much here. I also need to mention the parking situation and if you did decide to drive and park here, it would cost you £20 per day!
Our next stop was St Ives on the train. Our plan was to eat at the Porthminster Cafe on the beach side. It was dog friendly although there was a 10am – 6pm dog ban on the actual beach. I can’t say I would recommend this café – it was extremely expensive for what it was, food was nice but way over priced! After we ate, we had a walk on the beach with the dogs and then headed over to the main streets of St Ives.
I can’t say I was impressed with St Ives unfortunately. It seemed many places had closed down (assuming due to covid) and I felt like the place looked a bit run down and also packed with people. And not particularly polite people either. I think most people were tourists so I’m certainly not insinuating cornish people aren’t polite, but I just found the whole experience a bit unwelcoming, run down and unexpected. Having said this, I didn’t explore all of it and maybe the other side of the Harbour would have given me a different experience.
We left St Ives and returned to the campsite and after my miles of walking, sought an early night! Thankfully there was no wind so it allowed for a decent nights sleep!
Saturday – Porthcurno and Kynance Cove
We knew the weather for the morning was meant to be good and would turn slightly for the afternoon, so we headed out early to Porthcurno beach. It was a very popular beach and it was a Saturday so the car park and the beach became busy very quickly. This car park only accepts coins only and there’s no app to pay for parking either, so make sure you take cash! The car park is extremely tight, with cars somehow really struggling to get out (personally I thought this was the lack of driving skills rather than the car park design!)
It’s a bit of a walk to the beach from the car park and although going down to beach is fine, coming back up takes a bit more effort!! For this trip, I got into my wetsuit and went for a swim in the sea (I was not brave enough to go skins only!) The current was quite strong, so I had to keep hold of Winston!
The beach itself was lovely, the sand was lovely and soft! There is a bit of a cafe here near the car park but I would recommend taking your own food/picnic/bbq. We didn’t stay here all day as we were conscious of the time and the weather potentially changing. So we made a move onto Kynance Cove which is about an hour from Porthcurno.
As we drove, the clouds rolled in and it half started to rain. Kynance cove is another National Trust site, free parking for members and around £5 for non members. The cove is a walk from the car park, easily signposted and there is a low tide and a high tide route. We headed down the steps (low tide route) and onto the cove. The tide was still relatively in so there wasn’t much sand on show, mainly rocks and boulders. We stopped off in the cafe for some hot drinks and scones and then went onto the beach for a play in the sea.
I took a wander up the hillside and I am so glad I did. The caves and tiny patch of sand on show with the sea either side just showed it’s true beauty. I do wish I had seen this at low tide too and had the opportunity to explore around the caves and bays a bit more. I probably wouldn’t also advise going on a weekend. I walked the high tide route back to the car before we headed back to the campsite for the evening.
Sunday – Nanjizal Beach, Lands End and Sennon Cove
As our plans had changed slightly and the weather had also now changed to just cloudy rather than rain, I’d seen Nanjizal beach and decided it was definitely somewhere I wanted to visit. I hadn’t realised that you couldn’t drive there and after a quick google search, I abandoned my car in a laybay in Trevescan and used my trusty OS map app to get me down the cove. It was about 20 minutes walk down a well kept path before I saw the beauty of this cove.
It was completely enclosed and only one other couple sat on the beach so I was able to let Winston off the lead and have free rein only calling him back when he headed towards the sea, which like Porthcurno had a extremely strong current behind it.
The small cave was beautiful and me and Winston had so much fun digging in the sand, playing with the seaweed and exploring the cave (until I got too scared to go in any further!) as I sat enjoying the view, I got chatting to a group of young girls who were just lovely and restored my faith in humans after my time in St Ives. They had walked from Land’s End and told me to go and do it. It was the motivation I needed!
As I stayed round the cove, I noticed the little seal heads starting to pop up quite close to the waters edge. They were so inquisitive and their cute little faces just popped up every so often, watching what was going on in their cove.
I started to walk to Land’s end to meet the rest of the group and I forgot how incredible it was to walk a coastal path with the sea breeze in my face and the dramatic cliff edges. I kept having to stop to just take everything in and enjoy the view. This is my absolute happy place.
I arrived in Lands End and I knew from my research that it was a bit of weird place and they weren’t wrong. It had some form of ‘village’ in with random shops. The ‘sign’ photo would cost you £10 and the entire area was just a very weird tourist attraction. We stayed for an ice cream and then I carried on walking over to Sennon Cove.
This path seemed much busier that the previous section and I came across another National Trust interest point of a shipwreck. It was incredible to see and not something I expected! I headed onto Sennon Cove where I took a slightly wrong turn off the path, thank goodness again for the OS Map and found my way to fish and chip shop on the front. Ordered my scampi and chips whilst Winston was the goodest of boys waiting outside the shop!
My final task was to walk back to wherever I parked the car! Again, thanks to the OS map and also Apple maps telling me where I had parked my car, it actually didn’t take as long as I thought it would and around 30 minutes later, I had never been so glad to see the car! It had been an incredibly long day, roughly 8 miles walked and I was ready to see our tent!
The weather wasn’t mean to be good for Monday, not ideal when we should be packing everything away, so I decided to pack majority of my stuff now, leaving just the bed, tent and clothes for the following day for Monday.
The weather during the night was so windy and rainy, I laughed at the thought of putting all this away in the morning!
Monday – Lantic Bay and the scenic drive home
We had planned to stop off at Lantic Bay on the route home and I would have taken a slightly more scenic route home. However, the 98% chance of rain for all day and 30mph winds made me change my mind!! I managed to get the tent away and I was soaking! After a nice hot shower and some dry clothes, we were ready to make the long journey home.
I would have loved to have stopped off on the way, but I felt it wasn’t the right time and we’ll save it until next time. It ended up being an incredibly difficult drive home with the rain, the spray, the M5 and M6. If you have never been, make sure you stop off at Gloucester Services (amazing farm shop and not a typical services) for some goodies to take home (scotch eggs, pork pies, olives and cheese for me!) I also somehow lost my credit card here but thankfully not all of my cards so I could buy some stuff.
It’s taken two days for me to fully unpack, wash clothes, dry the tent and clean my car out of all the sand and to find a soaking wet foot mat from the tent in the back of the car. But would I do it again, absolutely.
Dog Beach Ban
As we’re from North Wales, we are very used to having Dog Bans in place from May through to September and in all honesty, it’s highly annoying. We researched the beaches we wanted to visit and which ones were dog friendly at the time of our travels and I found majority of the beaches they only had a dog ban from 1st July – 31st August and only from 10am – 6pm. Others ran from May to 31st August but again, they had the time stamp too.
As a dog owner, I actually really like the time stamp on the ban. Unlike North Wales where there is a blanket ban on dogs on beaches for 6 months of the year, the times allows you to still enjoy the beach with your dog outside peak visitor hours, which also is generally cooler and safer for your dog to visit. I really wish this initiative was taken in other places.
Overall thoughts on Cornwall
I will absolutely be returning to Cornwall, and next time with Mr Woof who missed out this time. There were so many places I didn’t get to visit, so many beaches and more walking miles on that dramatic 630 mile South West Coast path that is something that has now been added onto my ‘to do’ life list!
I think for next time I would prefer to rent a house or similar to give us a bit more freedom for the potential change in weather and in all honesty, not have to take the entire house with me in the car! I would also love to give surfing another go and the flexibility of a house means we can leave Winston if we needed to.
Timing wise (mid June) I thought was nice however. There were areas that were still busy and I would do more research into the more popular areas (Porthcurno beach for example) and made sure we visited them during the week and leave the quieter parts (Nanjizal beach) for the weekend.
I’ve really struggled to put together a must see list out the places we visited because everywhere was stunning, BUT if you are going, I would not miss these places;
- Bedruthan Steps
- Kynance cove
- Nanjizal Beach
I hope you’ve found out blog on Cornwall helpful and please do drop me a message on Insta for new places I need to explore for the next time we’re in Cornwall!