Port Gaverne and Port Isaac
There’s no shortage of sheltered coves within walking distance — the sheltered coves of Port Isaac and Port Gaverne, a ten-minute stroll away, are small, picturesque and family and dog friendly — a great way to while away an afternoon at any time of year. Port Isaac beach has a breakwater, so is generally a calm harbour with picturesque fishing boats dotted around. Port Gaverne beach is flanked by Port Isaac headland and ‘The Main’— Port Gaverne’s headland — which tend to protect the beach from the big Atlantic waves that the North Coast is so famous for.
An inspiration for poet Sir John Betjeman, Polzeath is a wide sandy beach about six miles from Port Gaverne. It is accompanied by a small village of the same name, with plenty of restaurants and amenities to fuel a fun-filled day at the beach. With lifeguards on duty during summer days, several surf schools on hand and plenty of rockpools to explore, Polzeath is the ideal place for a beach day – and make sure you don’t miss the Cracking Crab, with its indulgent seafood lunches and stunning sea views!
About eight miles from Port Isaac and just west of Polzeath is Daymer Bay. This sheltered spot is at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, with calm waters and a long stretch of golden sand, and was one of poet John Betjeman’s favourite locations in Cornwall — it’s not hard to see why. One of this beach’s great features is that it’s dog-friendly all year round, and the wide open space makes it perfect to tire a four legged friend out!
Off the beaten track
Follow the coastal footpath to the east, or drive the road out of Port Isaac, through Port Gaverne and park up at Tregardock Farm. From here, it’s a 20-minute walk and a bit of a scramble over some rocks to reach the sandy, quiet beach of Tregardock — be sure to check the tide’s out! If you don’t fancy the walk, keep driving until you reach Trebarwith, with a pub tucked into the cliff, shop and car park, making it a little more family friendly and accessible (but a bit busier too). Both have an air of the undiscovered about them though, with waterfalls, caves and rockpools to explore, as well as being a little quieter than Polzeath.