showcasing the best of the south west

Life's A Beach

Dave Meneer takes Country Calling on a trawl of his favourite places to kick back and sip a beer…

In the last twenty years Cornwall has come from foodie wasteland to a eaterie heaven – the likes of Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and St Enodoc Hotel’s two-star Nathan Outlaw have seen to that (yes that is his real name!). But as well as the finer eateries every beach now seems to have its own beach bar often housed in a more traditional old bathing pavilion or bucket and spade shop; though some like Beach at Sennen are new builds. Many are right on the beach – places to watch the kids or mates surfing whilst not getting your feet wet yourself. Marvellous stuff.

How to find them…well why not start at the top right hand corner – the North East and wander around 400 miles of coastline to the South East near Plymouth; from Devon to Devon…the long way round. There are probably 50 now. Here are ten of the best…

The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay,Newquay …sits under Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and is one of the daddy’s of them all now after fifteen years of trading. Hip, surfy, wonderful food, nice deck on one of the best beaches in the world. We do not exaggerate. www.watergatebay.co.uk

Lusty Glaze, Newquay – not so much a beach bar more a hidden self contained gem. Privately owned cove just off the pace of Newquay; rough and ready unique bar with food cooked by ex Fifteen trainee of the year Arron Edwards; carpark at the top, 200 steps down…and later…back up! www.lustyglaze.co.uk

The Waterfront, Perranporth – the Waterfront is about as on the beach as you can get; lively all day and live music most nights in the summer. (01872) 573167 1 Beach Lane Perranporth TR6 0BQ

Blue Bar, Porthtowan – getting into the badlands of surfing now and one of the oldest of the surfy hangouts; there’s been a bar here for fifty years but it has been Blue for twelve; magnificent sunsets and a laid back vibe make this a real haunt of real surfers. www.blue-bar.co.uk

Sandsifter at Gwithian – a big old barn of a place set back towards the dunes; have a beer and look across to the lighthouse. www.sandsiftercornwall.com

Porthminster Beach Café, St Ives – the best…in the country. A restaurant with a big deck rather than a beach bar but right on the beach with superb food. Think Sydney. And now they have a more beach bar-y little sister the other side of town at Porthmeor beach. Do both and Tate St Ives on the way (which also has a nice café/bar right up top. www.porthminstercafe.co.uk www.porthmeor-beach.co.uk

Beach at Sennen – nearly Lands End but not quite. Nicer, lovely bay. Beach opened in a spectacular new build just back behind the beach five years back. Wonderful. www.thebeachrestaurant.com

And that’s enough of that coast…you now turn the corner and start up 200 miles of the south coast – heading for Plymouth. Softer, greener – think sailing not surfing. First stop…Penzance – check out the Jubilee Pool – an iconic Thirties lido – the best in the country no matter what Brighton says about theirs. And there’s a café there on the terrace to take in all that white and blue. They’re thinking of using water from the hot rocks underneath to turn it into a spa. All year round. Hmmm

Falmouth – two stops. There’s the town and just outside, the beaches. Maenporth has The Three Mackerel atop a small cliff looking right out over the sea and Gyllyngvase beach just down the road has the lovely Gylly Beach Café – big bustling beachside, live music some nights. Great. www.thethreemackerel.com www.gyllybeach.com

Then it’s tricky because there’s a big estuary before you get inland to Truro – Falmouth is the third deepest natural harbour in the world so it needs a big estuary ! Then either drive to continue sea side at St Mawes…or take the King Harry Ferry from just outside Truro across to Philleigh and then you’re on the Roseland peninsula and back on track. And then into St Mawes…no bars but…

Tresanton Hotel – achingly chic they say…and achingly expensive. Grab a drink on the terrace. And right down by the harbour there’s the Rising Sun – pub and terrace right there. Full of boatees – get those rust and navy strides out. www.treasanton.com www.risingsunstmawes.co.uk

Now back up the coast to Polkerris just on the way to Fowey…no better spot than Sam’s On the Beach at Polkerris – an old lifeboat house now a fab casual eaterie drinkerie right on the beach…(as all the best lifeboat stations tend to be!) and next door the Rashleigh a fine pub with big garden/terrace. (Don’t tell anyone else about Polkerris – it’s a secret even in Cornwall, even from the Cornish.) www.samsfowey.co.uk


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