Romantic breaks in North Cornwall
This region may be best known for its spectacular scenery of wide beaches and rugged clifftops, but there’s more to Cornwall’s north coast than world-class surf and golden sands: venture beyond the waves and you’ll find award-winning restaurants and luxury spas, boutique shops and art galleries, and brilliant places to wine and dine, the perfect recipe for those seeking a romantic break in North Cornwall.
A foodie stay in Port Isaac and Port Gaverne
Where to stay
The sleepy fishing village of Port Gaverne is a tiny, timeless village with a pretty sheltered cove and some great places to eat close by. Tucked down a narrow lane leading to the beach are two little cottages for two. With exposed beams, woodburner for cosy nights in and doors onto the courtyard from the bedroom, characterful Torca Cottage is just the ticket for a romantic escape on Cornwall’s north coast. Nearby, cosy Courtyard Cottage is a light-filled, dog-friendly retreat, with stripped floors, a quirky upside-down layout, and cute courtyard garden. The South West Coast Path runs immediately behind the cottages so they’re perfectly placed for hand-in-hand coastal rambles.
What to do
Port Isaac and neighbouring Port Gaverne (a short walk round the headland) are renowned as a foodie destination, so a stay here is likely to revolve around filling your belly. Kick the day off with breakfast (a full Cornish, naturally) at Chapel Cafe in Port Isaac. With a full belly, meander through the town and along the coastal path (shop, swim, sunbathe) to neighbouring Port Gaverne for lunch at the Pilchards Cafe, which serves delicious tapas and flatbreads on its pretty terrace just metres from the sandy beach. From here the route climbs up through the valley behind Port Gaverne — you can easily extend the route here to make a six-mile circular — before descending back into Port Isaac for dinner. You can’t beat the Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw restaurants — choose from Fish Kitchen or New Road at the top of town — or the dog-friendly Angry Anchovy for something a little simpler.
An escape for two in Newquay
Where to stay
This stylish bolthole for two is tucked away on the Pentire headland near Newquay, just a short stroll from the vast sandy expanse of Crantock so you can clamber from cottage to coast in a matter of minutes. Inside you’ll find easygoing, chic vibes, with midcentury furniture and thoughtful touches at every turn, like the bean-to-cup coffee machine, subtle LED lighting, deep sprung mattress and private garden where you can watch the sun sink into the horizon at the end of the day. It’s a peaceful, secluded retreat but you’re an easy walk from bustling Newquay and Fistral beach, the UK’s surfing mecca.
What to do
Newquay shrugged off its reputation as a party capital many years ago and now has a far more sophisticated vibe, and couples will find endless things to do. Start the day as you mean to go on with a relaxing beach yoga session followed by breakfast at Box & Barber, one of Newquay’s newest coastal cafes with an emphasis on organic, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients (their acai bowls and sunshine tofu boxes are to die for).
This stretch of coast is renowned for its big skies and vast stretches of sand, and no doubt you’ll be wanting to make the most of this. Whether it’s surfing, coasteering, paddleboarding or kayaking, there are numerous centres that cater for couples — opt for a couples’ surfing lessons or coasteering session for two provided by Cornish Wave, just off Newquay beach. Or how about packing a picnic with local goodies from one of these local food shops and take to the coast path — you can ramble south round the headlands to Pentire for a drink at the Bowgie Inn near Crantock or head northwards to Watergate Bay and finish with a seafood supper at Emily Scott’s amazing fish restaurant. Newquay is treated to some epic sunsets in the summer so the end of the day should definitely be spent soaking up the kaleidoscopic colours with a barbecue and sundowner in the dunes.
A romantic retreat in Lusty Glaze
Where to stay
Set right by the sea, the beautiful beach apartment of The Pebble is within striking distance of the horseshoe cove of Lusty Glaze, with sweeping sea views, a west-facing sunny patio area and a welcoming open-plan lounge and kitchen area. This is the ultimate pad for a laid-back coastal escape, with heated oak floors, a lawn for al fresco dining and outdoor lounging, and a handy après-surf shower. The South West Coast Path is only minutes away so it’s perfectly placed for coastal rambles, barbecues amongst the dunes and sunset sundowners on the sand.
What to do
The award-winning beach of Lusty Glaze is a sheltered, secluded spot, with a brilliant watersports and adventure centre right on the sand offering paddleboard, surf and abseiling lessons — couples can sign up to a private surf lesson for two, or those after an adrenaline kick can opt for the hair-raising rib ride. There’s some brilliant food available on the beach, from the fabulous cafe and restaurant to the new pop-up — One Twenty Nine — selling everything from roast dinners to Bao buns. Evenings on Lusty Glaze are best spent right here on the beach, soaking up live music at the popular Sundowner Sessions in summer, watching the sun sink into the ocean, or Woodburner Sessions during the winter, where you can wrap mitts round a warming drink and watch the huge rollers out at sea.