Cornwall is at its most wild and rugged during the winter months when crashing waves and swirling seas whipped up by severe storms batter the coastline. It’s a dramatic time of year to visit the county and experience the thrilling power of the ocean.
Storm chasing has become an exciting activity for thrill-seeking visitors to the county. It’s an exhilarating day out that is best combined with regular stops at cafés to shelter from the elements.
Here are our top ten storm watching spots in Cornwall.
This beautiful bay near Bude bubbles and froths with ocean force during strong storms. Big powerful waves roll into the bay and crash up against the dramatically tall cliffs. Stay clear of the beach on big days and watch from the safety of the bluff overlooking the bay or climb the steep footpath up the hill for a wider view of the raging ocean.
The Rumps are located at the end of Pentire Point headland in Polzeath. Characterised by jagged rocks which rise up like teeth from the sea, it’s a dramatic place to watch a storm unleash its energy and send shards of white water sky high.
It’s a lovely walk from the shelter of Padstow along the coast path towards Stepper Point. Along the way, you can see waves crashing over the infamous Doombar at the mouth of the Camel estuary. Then as you ascend the steep hill to the top of the headland, you will encounter the full force of the storm as waves explode onto the rocky coastline far below.
An equally impressive storm watching location can be found at nearby Trevose Head. This headland juts out into the ocean and acts as a magnet for large waves, which crash against rocks and cover the tall lighthouse with curtains of white spray.
Bedruthan Steps is a beautiful place to visit especially when there is a storm raging. Also known by its Cornish name Carnewas, this stretch of coast is broken up by a series of rocky outcrops which bear the brunt of crashing waves driven by large ocean swells and high winds.
There’s an epic blowhole at the end of the island which puffs out spray as waves race into a narrow inlet at the base of the cliffs. It’s an awesome spot for storm watching as it feels like you’re surrounded by the swirling sea and full power of the elements. The island is accessed by a small footbridge where the waves crash and gurgle through a narrow gully and cover spectators in sea spray.
Cape Cornwall is one of the county’s iconic storm watching locations. Located in the far west of Cornwall near St Just, Cape Cornwall extends out into the deep sea and marks the spot where Atlantic currents divide. As such, storm waves tend to be a lot larger and more savage than elsewhere on the coast. For best views walk up to the old tin mining chimney stack that tops the headland.
This is a wild place to experience a winter storm. Here you can see huge swells engulf the small harbour wall and send sea spray hundreds of feet into the air as waves explode onto the rocks at the southern end of the bay. It’s just around the corner from Lands End so it’s an exceptionally exposed spot that is popular with storm chasers.
During the strongest storms, big waves crash into Penzance Promenade and send arcs of water over the road and passing cars. Positioned just a few feet above sea level at the water’s edge, it can feel like you’re part of the raging ocean. Storm watchers should take particular care here as big waves have been known to knock pedestrians off their feet.
Last but not least is Porthleven on the south coast of Cornwall. This seaside town is usually a peaceful and idyllic location popular with surfers and holidaymakers. But during the winter it is battered by storm waves which crash over the breakwater and throw walls of whitewater higher than the distinctive clock tower at the harbour entrance.
If you’ve been inspired to visit Cornwall for storm watching, you’ll need somewhere warm and cosy to stay when you return from your thrilling adventures. Luckily we have plenty of winter availability at our self-catering retreats in Padstow and surrounding villages, which are centrally located for most of the storm watching spots on this list. Book your winter holiday today!
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