Cornwall may be the UK’s top holiday destination but it’s perfect for short breaks too.
You can pack a lot into a few days by the sea. You can explore beaches, take long walks along the coast, try surfing, visit world-famous garden attractions and eat at acclaimed restaurants.
But a whirlwind visit to Cornwall doesn’t have to be exhausting as there are is also a wide choice of accommodation where you can relax and enjoy your time away in comfort.
Outside the main summer months, may holiday homes are available for short breaks. This is especially true during the winter months (except Christmas and New Year) when some lovely properties can be snapped up at a good price for three or four-day breaks.
So why not escape to the coast for a long weekend or mid-week getaway at these amazing short break destinations in North Cornwall?
Port Isaac is a small fishing village of houses on steep, narrow streets around a beautiful horseshoe-shaped harbour. Made famous in recent years as the fictional village of Portwenn in the TV series Doc Martin, Port Issac is a wonderful place to spend a few days on a short break holiday.
As well as the laid-back beauty of the village itself, the coastal scenery here is simply stunning. Take the steep coast path out of the village in either direction and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the clifftops. The tiny hamlets and small coves of Port Gaverne and Port Quinn are a short walk in either direction.
In the village itself, there are art galleries, souvenir shops, pubs and café’s where you can while away your time. There are also some first-class restaurants including two run by award-winning chef Nathan Outlaw where you can enjoy superbly prepared local fish and seafood.
Padstow needs little introduction as it has been a major North Cornwall holiday decade for decades. This traditional Cornish harbour town occupies a beautiful location on the Camel Estuary, not far from some of Cornwall’s best beaches.
It’s the perfect spot to spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere of this scenic, coastal hotspot. You can take long walks, cycle along the Camel Trail or take a thrilling boat ride to see the pristine beaches, sea life and tall cliffs where the estuary meets the ocean.
Padstow is also a great place to stroll around the streets and browse art in several galleries, pick up a pasty for lunch and book in for an evening meal at one of the high-quality restaurants. Choose from Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 or Prawn on the Lawn, which was recently names Seafood Restaurant of the Year.
If the beach is more your thing, try Trevone. This is a quiet village based around a beautiful, sandy beach. Like our other North Cornwall destinations, Trevone is a coastal hideaway where you can enjoy stunning walks along the cliffs to Stepper Point in one direction and Trevose Head in the other.
Trevone is a relaxing place where you can stroll on the sand and explore the rock pools. If you’re feeling really brave, you can pull on a wetsuit for a swim in the sea or the tidal seawater pool.
There’s a homely pub, as well as a well-stocked shop, in the village and it’s only a few miles to top-class restaurants and cafés in Padstow and St Merryn.
Nearby Harlyn is another tiny village clustered around a sheltered stretch of sand that is popular with surfers. If you want to try surfing on your Cornish short break, Harlyn is one of the best places to learn. Protected from the biggest swells and prevailing winds, the waves here are usually smaller and more manageable for beginners than at other local beaches.
As with other North Cornwall destinations, the walking here is exceptional thanks to the South West Coast Path on the doorstep. And if you want time away from the beach it’s only a short hop to the seaside towns of Padstow and Newquay.
If you fancy a round of golf, make a pilgrimage to one of the top links courses in the UK at Trevose Golf and Country Club. Options for eating out in Harlyn are limited but there are some lovely restaurants nearby including the Cornish Arms and Ivy House, just outside St Merryn.
St Issey is a peaceful village in a quiet countryside setting where you can really get away from it all during your short break in Cornwall. Book into your rural retreat for a few days and then head off to explore the local footpaths and beaches, or venture further afield.
If you’re feeling active, head out on your bike for free-wheeling along quiet country lanes. Or try kayaking or waterskiing on the nearby Camel Estuary or wakeboarding at one of the local cable-tow lakes. There’s also an indoor climbing centre opening soon at neighbouring New Trevibban Farm.
For eating out, head into Padstow or visit the market town of Wadebridge where you’ll find a wide selection of cafés and restaurants. There are also a couple of pubs serving food in and around St Issey.
This is another beach holiday destination on Cornwall’s north coast. Located halfway between Padstow and Newquay, Mawgan Porth is a laid-back enclave with loads going on.
Surfing is one of the main attractions in this area and Mawgan Porth Beach regularly attracts some quality swell. Check-in with King Surf School who will get you riding waves in no time. Or go for a walk along the coast to either Watergate bay or Bedruthan Steps, with its distinctive sea stacks.
There are plenty of great places to eat including the Merrymoor Inn, which serves great food at affordable prices. There’s also the Catch Restaurant, which serves fish and seafood dishes in this eatery by the beach. Or for something extra special head to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen at Watergate Bay for top nosh overlooking the sea.
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