Truly, I love winter in Cornwall. Okay, maybe not the drudgingly moist grey days and pubs shutting at 9pm, but I love the blowy beach days, the endless sky, the careless beauty of the landscape, the extreme hot chocolate variants….
Our winter beach excursions start feeling like a just-landed alien – uncertain of what to do and how it will feel – and gradually ideas and activities unfurl. Each trip becoming as unique as the terrain, tides and weather of the day. The children find things to do, whether it’s rock target practice, sand sculpture, damming, writing names and drawing sports tracks in the sand, rock-pooling or cooking sausages. Eating the handmade pasty or saffron bun you bought fresh from Nelly’s in Lostwithiel while wave watching is part of the pleasure.
If you explore quieter beaches such as Portholland, Palace Cove or Lansallos, you can have a blissfully quiet beach for the day and steal a golden memory from the wrathful winter gods! These days are peaches.
Visit Cornwall estimates there are more than 300 beaches in Cornwall. Here are our top choices for Cornish winter beach footling with families.
1. Portholland – I can’t tell you how much we love this southcoast beach. The huge tidal reach and sheltered, circular shape of the beach mean you need to check tides.
At full tide the beach disappears, revealing its golden sand, fresh and anew as the tide ebbs. You can be the first footsteps on the sand, the first or only family there. Pick up pasties in Lostwithiel as you go, eat it on the beach, splash in the waves, put on spare warm leggings and grab a cup of tea and piece of lemon drizzle cake from the little cottage cafe which opens on Sundays and Mondays through the winter. Even the volunteer-kept toilets are a (rustic) joy. 45 minutes from Tredethick Farm Cottages.
2. Crantock – a windswept north-coast beach. So you can yomp along the South West Coast Path, revel in crashing waves and imbibe a spectacular hot chocolate at the C-Bay cafe. You’re most welcome. 45 minutes from Tredethick Farm Cottages.
3. Readymoney Cove – this is the town beach for the brilliant little seaside town of Fowey. There’s a great little beach shop serving drinks and snacks (open for Christmas, New Year and from mid February). It’s shletered, south-facing and sandy and it’s a ten minute, buggy-friendly walk into the shops and cafes of Fowey. You can drive by road or take the Bodinnick car ferry to reach it from Tredethick. 20 minutes to get to Fowey from Tredethick Farm Cottages.
4. Lansallos – sshhh, it’s a local’s favourite. You can park in the National Trust car park and meander down to the sea. The walk is dotted with the child-friendly activities: a see-saw here, balancing beams there, before opening out onto a sandy-shingle beach bordered by rocks. You can make more of a walk by approaching along the South West Coastal Path from Frogmore car park, enjoying sweeping coastal views and the quieter bays of Palace Cove and Lantivet along the way. 25 minutes drive from Tredethick Farm Cottages.
5. Daymer Bay – more secluded than it’s northcoast neighbours, Rock and Polzeath, Daymer Bay is a glorious sandy sweep at the mouth of the Camel estuary. It’s sheltered, with a gently sloping beach if you decide on a winter dip. 40 mins by car from Tredethick Farm Cottages.