Live like a local in Cornwall
With miles of sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and a plethora of quaint independent shops and restaurants, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to Cornwall every year to enjoy a holiday.
However, what is it like to live in the county? For this article, we spoke to some locals who told us exactly why they enjoy living in Cornwall as well as their favourite things to see and do.
Watching the Cornish Pirates play Rugby
Locals love nothing more than cheering on their beloved professional rugby team, the Cornish Pirates.
The Pirates play in the RFU Greene King IPA Rugby Championship and the British & Irish cup in the second tier of English rugby.
Player and coach for the Cornish Pirates Chris Morgan told us that as well as playing rugby he enjoys visiting the variety of beaches throughout the year with his family. He also gave some suggestions on some places to visit where you are sure to make some amazing memories.
Chris said: “There are so many other places to highlight. In the west of the county, Trengwainton Tearooms and the café at Penlee House Museum are very good. 2 Fore Street at Mousehole is a restaurant leader that’s always worth recommending, and of the many pubs, the Logan Rock Inn is certainly worth a visit. While in the area the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno also provides great interest.”
Surfing, Bodyboarding and SUPing
We couldn’t write about Cornwall and not include a segment dedicated to surfing! The county has many beaches where surfers like to visit to catch some waves. The most well-known beach is Fistral in Newquay, however, there are plenty of other hotspots including Gwithian Beach near Hayle, Polzeath Beach in Padstow and Praa Sands Beach in Helston.
Blogger Kate from Crafts on Sea said her whole family enjoys nothing more than pulling on their wetsuits and hitting the waves. She told us: “I like to pretend I’m a surfer but I don’t have the coordination! My kids love bodyboarding which is a lot easier to do but still loads of fun. I love having a go too and we normally try and get anyone who visits to have a try on our boards, just make sure you hire a good wetsuit so you can stay in the sea for as long as possible.”
Kirsty from Salty Songs also enjoys water sports: “Having spent my childhood on the beach and by the sea, I will have to say I enjoy anything water-based. Bodyboarding and surfing are so much fun in the summer months when the sea is a little warmer. We’ve also recently begun SUPing which is easy to pick up and there are lots of hire places around.”
SUPing, otherwise known as stand-up paddle surfing, is a sport where the rider stands on a longboard and using a paddle to navigate through the water. SUPing is a great workout as well as being a calming and serene activity.
Surf schools such as St Ives Water Sports can teach you to ride the waves and be confident in the water in no time. So, when you are planning your Looe and Polperro holidays make sure you book in for a surf lesson or two. Many places also do family group lessons so everyone can join in.
Scuba diving and snorkelling
Fear not, if surfing doesn’t take your fancy there are plenty of other water-based activities to be enjoyed in Cornwall as Nick from The Shellfish Pig explains. “Before moving to Cornwall, I had only scuba-dived in warmer oceans and never around the UK. Since living here, I have had my eyes opened to the incredible diving and snorkelling that is possible and abundant. The diversity of marine life can be breath-taking and there’s always the chance you might end up grabbing something tasty to throw on a beach BBQ.”
Nick went on the explain where his favourite local haunts are: “We could rave on about any number of places across Cornwall when it comes to brilliant food and drink, the standard is so high in this wonderful county.
“As we are based in Penryn we will start with a visit to our hometown and a trip to our beautiful local, Muddy Beach for great food, wine and views. The Wheelhouse is our favourite shellfish restaurant in Falmouth, we even celebrated our wedding there, and Provedore, also in Falmouth, is another at the top of our list.”
Long coastal walks
Cornwall has some fantastic trails to enjoy long and short walks on. The county boasts a 300-mile section of the South West Coast Path which consists of a variety of gentle terrains, breath-taking views over the headlands, estuaries and busy harbours.
Rachel, who blogs at Scrapbook Adventures, said her favourite thing to do is explore the “amazing coastline and beautiful beaches Cornwall has to offer”.
She went on to explain: “I love nothing more than getting out my walking boots and exploring the wonderful views from the coast and breathe in the fresh sea air. Having enjoyed many walks around Cornwall and along the vast coastal path I have been able to see dramatic rugged cliffs and gorgeous sandy beaches, discover private secluded beach coves and witness some brilliant countryside and wildlife.
“Favourite walks of mine include Gwithian and Godrevy beaches where there’s a chance to see the Godrevy seals and the pretty lighthouse, spotting the stunning Cornish mines at Wheal Coates and exploring the wonderful Lizard Peninsula.
“There really is no better way to spend a day in Cornwall than getting outdoors, experiencing amazing coastal views and getting some all-important exercise at the same time.”
Independent cafes – Olive & Co
The county is brimming with quaint restaurants and independent cafes. Many locals favour supporting small businesses to help keep the community alive and vibrant. Choclette from the blog Tin and Thyme told us all about her favourite café to visit in Liskeard.
She said: “Liskeard is somewhere visitors don’t often go, but the town and its surrounds have much to offer. The very best cafe in Cornwall, the Olive & Co, is located there. You won’t find better cakes anywhere, they do a mean lunch with plenty of vegetarian options, and coffee lovers rave about it. Not far away, you have Bodmin Moor with its craggy tors and historical engine house ruins. Golitha Falls, on the upper reaches of the Fowey River, is also a firm favourite. The almost human looking old beach trees are straight out of Lord of the Rings and for the adventurous, the rapids give rise to some lovely swimming pools.”
Visiting the harbourside town of Porthleven for a meal
Porthleven is the most southerly working port in the country and visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the harbour and marvel at the quaint buildings and outhouses.
Strolling through the town is a must when visiting Cornwall, according to blogger Laura from the Cornish Maid Blog: “It’s atmospheric during the winter, offering a dramatic storm watching spot from its cosy cafes and pubs. Porthleven Sands beach is great in the summer, and the Porthleven Food Festival in the spring is not to be missed. There are some fantastic restaurants there too including Amélie’s and Kota Kai.”
According to The Good Food Guide Porthleven is “fast gaining a reputation as the next Cornish hotspot when it comes to food tourism”. The guide stated: “The sea walls are enormous, as is the granite pier, from where the more fearless visitors can watch the spectacular waves. The coastal path running through the village offers breathtaking views of The Lizard and gives walkers a fascinating glimpse into the area’s history with abandoned tin mine engine houses, quarries and an extinct volcano on Tregonning Hill.”
Potluck Cornwall truly is a hidden gem and a great way to properly experience the local way of life. Taor set up the business in 2014 and involves people of all ages and walks of life coming together for “chat and eat nights” as well as a “Potluck” evening. Taor chose the name Potluck because: “Everything I do with the group is potluck. It’s potluck where our next chat and eat nights are held, potluck as to what the establishments can offer us to eat and drink and potluck as to what people bring to our events.”
The group meet twice a month for the “chat and eat nights” and each event is held at a different restaurant or café across Cornwall. The “Potluck” events are when each member brings a home-made dish for the group to share.
When Taor isn’t busy planning her events, she likes to support local businesses by spending time at her favourite eateries. She told us: “If you would like to experience the best cream tea then I highly recommend The Waymarker in Constantine. Rhiannon makes the best sultana and cinnamon scones and Baileys chocolate ones, her afternoon tea experience is incredible, they also do delicious lunches and Sunday roasts.
“Over the last few years, a few Asian street food businesses have started popping up in Cornwall. If you would like a Japanese fix, I cannot recommend Naoko’s Kitchen enough. Naoko does private events as well as pop-ups and sushi making classes. There is also pop-up Punk Thai based in Truro, Amy produces the best Thai food I have ever eaten.”
No matter where you decide to stay when you’re on holiday in Cornwall you are bound to find some fantastic places and make some amazing memories.
Image Credit: Brian Tempest, Potluck Cornwall.