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The Helford

The Eastern side of The Lizard

Forming one side of the Lizard Peninsula and stretching to the west of Falmouth, the Helford River is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful and dramatic areas. Here you will find picturesque Cornish villages, scenic wooded creeks, award-winning sub-tropical gardens and access to some of the quieter beaches of Cornwall. The river has a rich history and has long been one of the most important in Cornwall. A few fishing boats still head out to sea from here and it’s a haven for yachts and leisure boating, as well as for wildlife. There are mussel and oyster beds here too plus rich farmland, giving the area a great reputation for food and drink.

Helford is also the name the beautiful and tiny village on the river’s southern bank. On the opposite northern bank of the river you will find Helford Passage, with its stunning, 300 year old pub, the Ferryboat Inn. The two sides of the river are connected here via a foot ferry.

The helford river guide

Shipwrights

Helford Village

The picturesque Helford Village with its riverside cottages, thatched roofs and stunning views is a must-visit wherever in the area you’re staying. A true countryside village, Helford residents are only concerned about the essentials in life – a village shop, cafe, and a great pub… be sure to take the time to visit all three! The village shop is excellently stocked with freshly baked bread, homemade cakes and local farm produce as well as all the basics whilst the Holy Mackerel Cafe, an old church, serves delightful food and show stopping hot chocolates, complete with toasted marshmallows! Spend an evening at The Shipwrights, sit out on the waterside decking as night falls and sample a host of Cornish spirits, local ales and an excellent choice of wines too.

Helford Village may be small but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in quality. In addition to the local establishments, Helford Village offers visitors a certain charm that can only be found in small, rural villages. Sit on the quayside with a crabbing line, watch the sailing club race on the river or explore this beautiful part of Cornwall and the creeks nearby by foot. On a sunny day, the crystal clear water of the river is beautiful, yet if you’re lucky enough to visit on a grey, still day, the atmosphere is simply captivating.

Forever Cornwall Mullion Kayaking

On the water

The sheltered waters of the Helford River are a haven for those wanting to enjoy leisurely watersports – and when the wind picks up, they’re also a favourite with those who are after a little more adrenaline, particularly sailing. There are several sailing clubs in the area, with Helford River Sailing Club situated in the heart of the village offering holiday membership if you really want to get in on the action. They have race nights on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays that are excellent to watch from the pontoon of the local pub, The Shipwrights.

You can get on the water on all different flotation devices – give Sailaway a call in St. Anthony. From sailing boats to kayaks, whether you want an afternoon of fishing, exploring or paddling, they can sort it out for you. Although Sailaway are based in St. Anthony, a few miles away, if you ring and prebook then they will arrange for your motorboat or kayaks to be dropped off at Helford Village for you. If you are after a spot of fishing, you can expect pollack, wrasse, ray or even gilthead bream, and there’s plenty of shore fishing that’s accessible via the coastal footpath from Helford Village. Whatever you love about the water – be that on it, in it or near it – Helford won’t disappoint!

Sea Thrift At St. Ives *2*

Creekside walks and garden exploring...

The banks of the Helford River are delightfully sheltered, allowing flora and fauna to thrive along the coast paths. From woodland carpeted with bluebells in spring, fields bursting with the yellow of daffodils in winter and the scent of wildflowers protruding from hedgerows in the heat of the summer sun, there’s never a lack of colour in this part of Cornwall. It’s unsurprising that it is these creeks that provided inspiration to one of the country’s greatest novelists – Daphne du Maurier. Her popular 1940’s novel, Frenchman’s Creek, takes its name from one such gentle creek just a short stroll from Helford Village.

Of course, if you’re after something a little more rugged then head further around the Lizard Peninsula to the dramatic cliffs of Coverack, Cadgwith and the Lizard Point. With grazing ponies, crashing waves and unobstructed views across the Atlantic, this part of the coastal footpath is sure to blow the cobwebs away. The natural curation of the creek sides is something to be marvelled at, but there are estates nearby that take the gardening to the next level.

Beaches
Kynance Cove The Helford Cornwall

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove is one of Cornwall’s most dramatic beaches. A bit of a walk from the car park, visitors are rewarded with turquoise seas, huge rock stacks and hidden corners of sandy beach (when the tide’s out!) where you feel as though you’re the only ones there. In the winter, grab a hot chocolate from the cafe above and watch the waves roll into this dramatic cove. Dogs are welcome between October and Easter Sunday.

Kennack, Adam Gibbard 1

Kennack Sands

Kennack Sands is a large beach with great amenities. Perfect for families, there’s good lifeguard cover and plenty of space for kids to run. It is actually comprised of two beaches – the one furthest from the car park is a nature reserve and often goes undiscovered by visitors, as it’s hidden behind the hill that separates the two. Well worth a visit (there’s great shore fishing too!). Dogs are welcome between October and Easter Sunday.

Poldhu Cove, Cornwall

Poldhu

Poldhu is a sheltered cove with parking, a cafe and a surf school – and blissful golden sands. With seasonal lifeguards, it’s a great place to try out watersports, go for a paddle or, when the tide’s out, head to the rockpools for some exploring. Dogs are welcome between October and Easter Sunday.

Things to do
Trebah, The Helford

Explore the gardens

The natural curation of the creeksides is something to be marvelled at on the Helford, but there are estates nearby that take the gardening to the next level. Take the ferry across the river and visit one of two sub-tropical gardens, Trebah or Glendurgan, and stroll through the gardens that tumble down to the riverside for a little more exotic horticulture.

Tall Ship Cadgwith

Cadgwith Cove

Make the short trip down the coastal fishing village of Cadgwith one Friday, and experience the atmosphere of the Cadgwith Singers. The sea shanties are brilliant, the beer is delicious and it’s a quintessentially Cornish way to spend a Friday evening.

Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

Seal Sanctuary

The Seal Sanctuary is an excellent day out for families, friends or couples come rain or shine. It’s home to otters, sea lions, penguins and of course, seals, and is dedicated to educating people on the struggles of marine life and why conservation for these seemingly abundant animals is so necessary. Visit the penguins at feeding time, become a keeper for a day and see seals on their way to recovery at the Seal Hospital.

Food & Drink
Kestle Barton Honesty Box AG

Eat local

It is so easy to eat local on the Helford. Choose from the best sausage rolls at Gear Farm, visit Helford Village village shop/deli/bakery, or head to Constantine Stores for a simply unbelievable choice of spirits, wines and beers (as well as local produce and basics!). Mawgan-in-Meneage stores also offers plenty of essentials as well as a ton of local fruit, veg and baked goods.

Shipwrights Arms Helford, Cornwall Food

The Shipwrights

The Shipwrights Arms in Helford Village is a 17th Century waterfront inn, offering local spirits, wines and ales. Perhaps its most surprising offering is the food, however. Whilst local produce is heavily featured, the style of cuisine is very much a fusion. From pub classics like steak and moules frites to divine Thai fish curries and, in the summer, arrive on the pontoon to be greeted by the mouthwatering scent of the outside pizza oven – bliss.

Trelowarren Estate New Yard Restaurant, Cornwall

New Yard

For more of a fine dining experience, head to the New Yard Restaurant in Trelowarren Estate. With an ever-changing á la carte menu, as well as a first-class tasting menu, there’s something for everyone here. It’s an idyllic setting, surrounded by woodland and the grand buildings of the 11th Century estate – the restaurant is in the solid granite buildings of what used to be the stables. If you’re after a more informal affair, throughout the summer New Yard also offers traditional wood-fired pizzas that are to die for!

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