Azure waters, deserted coves and buzzing surf scenes, we have seven of North Cornwall’s best beaches on our doorstep. Expansive golden sand with slow-breaking waves, plus seafood, shops, cafés, bars and attractions make choosing which beach to visit a difficult decision. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite things to do in the beautiful Seven Bays area that we are proud to call home.
The Seven Bays is a necklace of golden beaches surrounded by an array of things to do on a family holiday in Cornwall. All the beaches are within easy reach of Padstow and the surrounding villages, so they’re ideal for family days out in the great outdoors. Castaway on ocean adventures, dine in Cornwall’s finest restaurants, don your walking boots for jaw-dropping coastal walks, or splash down the log flume at a family theme park.
With seven bays to choose from, there’s one to suit your mood every day of the week – and they’re all easily accessible from your holiday cottage in Cornwall. Take your mask and snorkel to Porthcothan, where you can leap off the rocks into the horseshoe pool, discover a smugglers’ cove and snorkel in a lagoon between a huddle of islets. Make a splash in the tidal pool at Treyarnon, learn to surf at Constantine and grab your nets and buckets to go rock-pooling at neighbouring Booby’s Bay.
Scan the horizon for dolphins as you follow the coast path via the lighthouse to the sublime Mother Ivey’s, which is sheltered by the Merope Rocks and makes the perfect place for wild swimming and sunbathing in the pillows of sand. Harlyn is a family surfing mecca with surf schools and board hire at the beach, but when the swell is flat hop on a SUP to explore the bay and rocky headlands. Before you reach Padstow you’ll find the Blue Flag beauty of Trevone Bay, where you can seek out the sea pool and feel the spray from an 80-foot blowhole formed by a collapsed sea cave.
Beyond the sugary sands of the Seven Bays, you’ve got some of Cornwall’s finest foodie hotspots serving up the freshest ingredients plucked from the coast and countryside. Whether you want Michelin-starred dining or to tuck into just-caught fish with the sand between your toes, choose from Padstow’s gastronomic delights or pop-up food trucks beside the beach.
The Pig at Harlyn is obsessed with home-grown produce and all things local, with a 25-mile menu offered in its country-house style restaurant, and Cornish seafood and chargrilled meats served with a sea breeze in the alfresco Lobster Shed. If it’s fresh fish and tapas you’re after, take a trip to Prawn on the Lawn . Dine on oysters, mussels and mackerel in a glorious on-the-farm setting in the summer months, or you can or grab seafood tacos, tostadas and Mexican-inspired treats from their pop-up Taqueria in Padstow.
While there are plenty of Rick Stein’s restaurants to choose from in the harbour town, for family dining try The Cornish Arms in nearby St Merryn. The perfect pit-stop after a day on the beach or sightseeing, this revamped country pub is another venue in the celeb chef’s stable, with a huge garden and everything from traditional British pub grub to local seafood on the menu.
If you want to dine in your holiday cottage gather fresh local ingredients from Padstow Farm Shop or stop in at Trevisker’s Kitchen for fish and chips rustled up using the freshest catch from the town’s fishermen.
If you can wrench yourselves away from the beach, the Seven Bays is crammed with attractions where you can leave your buckets, spades and boards behind. Camel Creek theme park is a popular place for young families, with its rollercoasters, log flumes and giant indoor playhouse. For a family jolly through the scenery, try freewheeling along the Camel Trail – 18-miles of disused railway wending along the banks of the Camel Estuary between Padstow and Bodmin.
If you’re interested in local sea life, learn about the lobster’s life cycle at the National Lobster Hatchery – a conservation centre working to boost the lobster population of Cornwall. If you love watersports hop on the Black Tor ferry from Padstow to Rock and ride the wake with Camel Ski School or feel the wind in your sails on a boating adventure with Camel Sailing and Powerboat Centre.
You don’t have to wander far to witness the staggering coastal scenery of the Seven Bays. Whether you’ve got tots or teens in tow, don your walking boots and strike out beyond the beaches to see blow holes, smugglers’ coves and sea life. Trace the South West Coast Path between Padstow and Trevone, taking in the collapsed sea cave of the Pepper Hole and keeping your eyes peeled for buzzards and seals en route.
Most members of the family will be able to tackle the relatively easy 3.5-mile loop around Trevose Head from Constantine, standing atop the dramatic Dinas Head, admiring the iconic lighthouse and pausing for a picnic on the sheltered golden sands of Mother Ivey’s Bay. If you prefer a longer walk, stretch it out from Constantine to Harlyn, looping back across countryside past the Pig at Harlyn and Trevose Golf Course.
For a really easy walk with knee-high children in tow, stroll from Constantine to Treyarnon, seeking out the tidal pool in the rocks for a family dip as the tide ebbs. Porthcothan to Treyarnon is another easy 3.5-mile return walk, with all the landscape drama of smugglers’ coves and sea-sculpted cliffs above which seabirds soar.
Book a family holiday cottage and find out for yourself why the Seven Bays area of Padstow is such a fantastic family holiday destination. Harbour Holidays offers an exclusive collection of holiday cottages in and around the Seven Bays, where you can easily access the beaches and attractions of the area. Take a break in one of our holiday cottages close to the Seven Bays and plunge into beach life with all the trimmings of family fun and a taste of Cornwall.
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