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secret creeks

Helford River Holiday Cottages and Self Catering Accommodation

Our Helford River cottages are situated in one of Cornwall’s most beautiful and dramatic areas. Here you will find quiet fishing villages, ancient wooded creeks, award-winning sub-tropical gardens to roam around and some of Cornwall’s most tranquil beaches. 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, making the area a great place for food and drink.

Helford is also the name of the beautiful and tiny village on the river’s southern bank, a short stroll from our Helford River cottages. 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.

You could stay in

The helford river guide

Aerial view of the Helford River close to dog friendly holiday cottage called Little Wood On The Helford

Helford Village

The picturesque Helford Village with its riverside cottages, thatched roofs and stunning views is a true countryside village, with a village shop, cafe, and a great pub… be sure to take the time to visit all three. The village shop is brilliantly stocked with fresh bread, homemade cakes and local farm produce as well as all the basics, whilst the Holy Mackerel Cafe, housed in an old church, serves delightful food and show-stopping hot chocolates, complete with toasted marshmallows. Spend an evening at The Shipwrights Arms in Helford, sit out on the waterside decking as night falls and sample 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 eateries, Helford Village has 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 the river and nearby creeks on foot. On a sunny day, the river’s waters are crystal-clear but equally captivating on a grey, dull day.

On the water

The sheltered waters of the Helford River are a haven for those seeking watersports from our holiday cottages — 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 in the heart of the village offering holiday membership if you really want to get in on the action.

From sailing boats to kayaks, whether you want an afternoon of fishing, exploring or paddling, the guys at Sailaway St Anthony can sort it out for you and can drop kayaks, motorboats and canoes for you in Helford Village. If you’re 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.

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 and fields bursting with the yellow of daffodils in spring, to the scent of wildflowers in the heat of the summer sun, there’s always something colourful popping up through the soil in this area of Cornwall. It’s no surprise that these creeks provided inspiration to one of the country’s greatest novelists, Daphne du Maurier, whose popular novel, Frenchman’s Creek, takes its name from the creek just a short stroll from the 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 Lizard Point. With grazing ponies on clifftops, crashing waves below and stunning views across the Atlantic, this part of the coastal footpath will blow the cobwebs away.

Beaches

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove is one of Cornwall’s most dramatic beaches. Branded as the ‘most perfect cove’ by the Victorians, its caribbean-like waters, golden sands and huge rock stacks have been attracting people for centuries. Backed by wild open heathland, the caves and rockpools entice adventure-seeking families and its waters tempt surfers and swimmers throughout the year. It’s a popular spot for geologists too — it’s home to rare serpentine rock, known as the ‘rock of a thousand hues and tones’. 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 Sands

Kennack Sands, near the villages of Kuggar and Ruan Minor on the Lizard peninsula, is a large beach with great amenities. It’s perfect for families, and there’s good lifeguard cover and plenty of space for kids to run. Low tide reveals amazing rockpools and there’s a great cafe serving tasty snacks and surf hire just off the sand. It is actually comprised of two beaches separated by huge cliffs and sand dunes — 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, the Lizard, Forever Cornwall cottages

Poldhu Cove

Poldhu is a sheltered cove with blissful golden sands, fascinating rockpools and surf school and hire next to the cafe. 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. There’s a cafe just up from the beach serving light lunches and legendary hot chocolates through a hatch, which you can enjoy on the benches in front. Dogs are welcome between October and Easter Sunday and there’s plenty of parking in the car park over the road.

Things to do
Aquilegia At Glendurgan

Explore sub-tropical gardens

Take the ferry across the river to Helford Passage and visit the sub-tropical gardens of Trebah Garden or Glendurgan Gardens, and stroll through the gardens that tumble down to the riverside for a little more exotic horticulture. Come for the carpets of bluebells and primroses in spring; in summer for the cool and tranquil woodland glades, and ice cream on the beach. At Glendurgan you’ll find a second hand bookshop, plants for sale and a 180-year old maze. Trebah is packed with wild and wonderful flora and fauna, including 100-year old rhododendrons, an award-winning cafe, and a playground for children.

Discover creeks by kayak

Soak up the Helford from the water with Koru Kayaking. Although they’re based in St Agnes, they run guided kayak and paddleboarding trips from a private beach near Mawnan Smith. The two-hour trips are a great introduction to the area: paddle past oyster farms and the ancient oak woodlands that line the Helford and down Frenchman’s Creek, made infamous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name. Fantastic wildlife (sometimes a seal might pop up to say hello), shipwrecks, hidden creeks, and the chance for a dip on sunny days.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary

Located in the quiet creekside village of Gweek, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a great day out. 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 animals is so important. Visit the penguins at feeding time, become a keeper for a day and see seals on their way to recovery at the seal hospital. You’ll need a few hours to wander around the various pools, and there are nature trails, a team of brilliant, informative staff who hold interesting talks about the sanctuary and its inhabitants throughout the day, and a good cafe serving vegan food.

Food & Drink

The Ferryboat Inn

Head over the water to Helford Passage to the Ferryboat Inn. This 300-year old pub, right off the beach, is the ultimate summer dining spot — grab a table out front and watch boats sail lazily past and children play on the beach just yards away. Their ‘farm to table’ policy in the kitchen means everything is as fresh as can be, with things like mackerel tacos, seafood linguine, and an unbeatable fish and chips on the menu. The South West Coast Path runs directly in front of the pub, making this a great refuelling stop for a pint and a plate of their legendary truffle chips. Parking is a short, sharp walk uphill.

Restaurant near Helford River cottages by Forever Cornwall

The Shipwrights Arms

Right on the Helford with sweeping views up and downriver, The Shipwrights Arms in Helford village is a lovely pub for all seasons. Its outside terraces have plenty of room for eating when it’s fine, whilst the beautiful, cosy interiors with log fires are perfect for wintertime.  The daily changing menu features the likes of Kynance crab, lobster, monkfish and mackerel, hauled onto the pub’s own slipway outside, and there are wood-fired pizzas and barbecue evenings on the terraces in the warmer months.

New Yard Restaurant

The beautiful Trelowarren estate, just south of the Helford river, has been in the same family for 600 years. In the old stables at the very centre of the estate is the award-winning New Yard Restaurant. Most of the ingredients for which come straight from the kitchen gardens or are foraged locally (its ethical and sustainability principles have earned it a coveted Green Michelin Star). On the other side of the pretty courtyard is a slightly less formal set-up — The Pantry offers bagels, cakes, pastries, wood-fired pizzas and small plates. Open Weds-Sat only, book ahead for New Yard.