When I was invited to do an Instagram takeover on @Beach Retreats, by visiting one of their gorgeous Cornwall properties, it was a no-brainer. My love for Cornwall is no secret – I’ve already visited Mawgawn Porth last spring, and Fistral beach last autumn, and I’ve been longing to go back.
With our own dog-friendly, self-catered Beach Retreats villa on the beach, it was the perfect base from which to explore the stunning Cornish coast. As our SandAndSea property had three bedrooms we invited old friends to join us for a weekend of surfing, fishing, hiking, shopping, exploring and eating. And in case of bad weather, the property has plenty of board games, DVDs, and Netflix, so our weekend was infallible!
As luck would have it, we escaped London during a cold, wet and grey weekend, and found a heatwave on the Cornish coast. As we drew closer to our SandAndSea property on Porth beach, near Newquay, we left London’s grey skies behind us in the rearview mirror.
We set off from London late Friday morning, and although it was quite a long drive, it was painless. With the radio on, the windows down and two old friends in the back, the time disappeared and we arrived at our home-from-home by late that afternoon – despite a lunch pitt-stop in Dorset to visit Jonathan’s family, and stretch our legs in the fields.
As we pulled up in our driveway the salty sea air filled our lungs, we’d finally arrived! The sun was hanging low, bathing our new home in a warm golden glow. This was to be our home for the next three nights!
Yup, the whole house!
We rushed inside to claim our rooms, dump our bags, and unpack the groceries (and a breakfast hamper which was kindly left by Food4MyHoliday), before catching the last rays of sun on the beach, and giving Flora her well-deserved walk.
As you come in, there’s a large kitchen and dining area on your left, divided by a staircase going up to the bedrooms.
On your right there’s a living space with comfy sofas, a working fireplace and a TV, and behind the dining area are french windows leading out onto a sun-trap terrace (raised so it can catch as much sun as possible).
Upstairs were three bedrooms; two doubles and a twin room with a walk-in wardrobe!
The bathroom was heavenly – with one of those walk-in monsoon type glass shower rooms, and a roll top bath. It was just as big as the bedrooms!
With our bags dumped and the fridge stocked for dinner, we walked down to the beach (just one minute walk – if that!) to catch the golden hour. How stunning is this light?? Play the video:
Flora, who had never been on a proper beach before (and wasn’t too happy about being cooped up in the car most of the day), was overjoyed!
She was one very very happy doggy.
She even made a few new friends!
The tide was really low, leaving us a long stretch of beach to walk down.
As the sun started to slip away it was nearly time to go – but Flora demanded one more game of fetch.
The light alone will have you fall in love with Cornwall and make you seriously consider moving there.
That evening we cooked dinner together in the expansive modern kitchen – such a luxury compared to our tiny London flat – and caught up over a bottle of wine (okay, maybe three) into the early hours.
Waking up to the sound of seagulls and the view of the beach (and on a sunny day too!) was like waking up on Christmas morning – I was so excited, we jumped out of bed and went straight downstairs for breakfast and to plan our first day in Porth.
I had booked a surf lesson at nearby Blue Surf School, but had the morning free to explore Newquay’s old port and harbour.
We parked the car at the old harbour, and walked down to the beach and explored the cliff.
There were Birds-Eye-fish-fingers style fishermen working away on their boats, with dogs running around on the beach and a seal that had made itself at home in the harbour – the whole scene looked like it was straight from the cover of an old Famous Five book.
We walked along the beach, hunting for treasures. Believe it or not, we found shark eggs! I discarded them as funny looking seaweed, but later my friend showed me that they were in fact shark eggs.
One of the fishermen was advertising a fishing trip on his boat; an hour of mackerel fishing for just £7 per person! It was perfect timing as he was nearly ready to go, so we hopped on board and he pulled up the anchor.
The sea was much choppier than we anticipated, but it was certainly refreshing!
Luckily we came prepared with our raincoats!
By the time we got back it was already time for our surf lesson, so we drove straight to the surf school to wriggle into our wetsuits.
Once we were fully kitted out, we were driven down in a surf van to Watergate Bay beach – just one beach over from Porth. We had to leave our posessions behind so I couldn’t take any pictures of the surfing, but here is the ‘before’ picture! You won’t have wanted to see the ‘after’ picture anyway – trust me!
We spent all afternoon in the water, and all of us managed to catch a fair few waves. The waves were only a couple metres tall, so perfect for practicing on! Reason enough to celebrate!
Feeling pretty knackered after walking, fishing and surfing, we lazed out on the terrace for the rest of the afternoon, with some champagne and nibbles, and then homemade burgers.
When it got chilly, we headed inside for more wine and to play board games by the fire. A game of pictionary quickly got very competitive. First of all, what do you think this is supposed to be??
Playing #pictionary and someone draws this. Who can #guess what it is? pic.twitter.com/pEZ3hnLz4c
— Lotte Brouwer (@yespleaseblog) April 22, 2017
It was ‘Achilles heel’, and my opponents guessed it in a second! How??
And then this. Any guesses?
Okay guys. Round two. Still losing. Seriously, what is this supposed to be? Any guesses? #pictionary #guess #helpme pic.twitter.com/SOE3M7drYU
— Lotte Brouwer (@yespleaseblog) April 22, 2017
A hippo. Again, the opposite team guessed it before the pen had even left the paper.
Pictionary is clearly not my strong suit!
This time we hit the hay early – I think we may have been in bed by 11, on a Saturday! All that fresh air, exercise and sunshine had really taken it out of us.
Sunday morning we decided to explore the coast a little more, by walking from the old harbour we visited the day before, and following the cliff edge to Fistral beach where there was a boat race taking place.
Another bright blue day, and with the most incredible views!
We also passed this funny building, which would have anyone believe you were in Greece!
We arrived at Fistral beach and found the perfect lunch spot (at The Fish House Fistral) with a view of the boat race. The boys got really into it, but we were perfectly happy sunning ourselves whilst tucking into rosé and fresh seafood!
Inquisitive birds made sure we didn’t leave a crumb behind!
After lunch, we left the boys to it and Sophie and I explored the beach. It was low tide again, leaving thousands of mussels exposed for the picking. We didn’t pick any – but what a sight!
Flora managed to get herself stranded on the rocks, silly dog! She ended up having her first (involuntary) swimming lesson when I pushed her in.
Soaked, we returned to the boys to watch the final lap of the boat race.
We followed the coast all the way back to the car, and caught the last bit of sun walking along the path next to Porth beach.
It was already our last night, and even though we had managed to fit a lot in, as always it felt like it had come too soon. We made a big seafood paella, and packed up ready to leave the next morning.
As we set off for London the next morning, we said Goodbye for now – I’m sure we’ll be back again soon!