Hidden Gems of Cornwall

Cornwall is renowned for its hidden gems – unspoilt villages and secret coves where you can walk on a beach with only crashing waves for company. On the north Cornish coast there are scores of towns and villages which make the perfect retreat for holidaymakers, even more so if you are visiting outside of the main summer season. One such gem is the coastal village of Rock, which could hardly be less appropriately named as its popularity is largely due to the long stretches of fine sandy beaches washed by the tidal waters of the Camel estuary. Rock has a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, hence its nickname ‘The Kensington of Cornwall’, but if you aren’t taking a break with Hugh Grant or Prince Harry there is also a choice of more affordable holiday accommodation in Rock, particularly if you rent a self-catering cottage for your stay.

Cornwall Rock is rightly acclaimed as one of the major water sports centres in Cornwall with sailing, windsurfing, water skiing and canoeing. There is a thriving sailing school and ski school both operating from the beach near the pontoon and boats can be hired for all water sports, as well as for fishing and bird watching. If you prefer your activities to be on dry land, nearby St Enodoc Golf Club has two challenging courses to offer, plus there is scenic walking country all around the area over coastal and inland routes.


The pretty town of Padstow lies directly across the bay from Rock and the two are connected by a ferry so it is easy to hop across the estuary for a change of scenery. The harbour is undoubtedly the strongest attraction in the town and it is therefore unsurprising that the seafood in this area is legendary. Nowadays many people recognise Padstow from its connection with celebrity chef Rick Stein, whose love for the town led him to set up four restaurants here. Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant is still one of the most famous and desirable places to eat fish and seafood in the whole of Cornwall. For holidaymakers staying in Rock there is a late night water taxi which operates after the ferry closes and enables you to drift back across the estuary after an evening sampling the finest local seafood, bliss.


Nearby Polzeath is home to a fantastic beach and village and is also one of the world’s most renowned surfing destinations thanks to the Atlantic swell that brings in big rolling waves. Polzeath was a favourite haunt of the late poet laureate Sir John Betjeman and is celebrated in some of his verse. It’s easy to see why the unspoilt beauty and rocky coastline of this area inspired him, this is a good area for many types of coastal birds including puffins and dolphins can sometimes be spotted in the bay. Polzeath is a haven for families with its safe golden sands and great facilities, and the surroundings are just stunning with a nature reserve and fascinating rock pools to explore.’

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