Reset 2024: Wellness experiences in Cornwall
After the excesses of the festive period, many of us start the new year with a renewed promise to look after our mental and physical health. Long considered the ultimate place to switch off and unwind, Cornwall has been drawing people to its beautiful coastline and stunning natural environment for generations. If looking after your health and wellbeing is on your list of new year’s resolutions, we show you how to slow down, reconnect and reset through wellness experiences and activities in Cornwall.
Enjoying a bit of pampering on holiday in Cornwall doesn’t have to involve booking yourself into a spa. The skilled team of massage therapists and beauty specialists at Home Spa Cornwall offer a range of treatments, from deep tissue and hot stone massage to reflexology and manicures, and will travel to your holiday cottage to give you and your friends a truly relaxing break.
If you’d rather treat yourself to a session in a spa, there are plenty of places throughout Cornwall that offer day spas, from the wonderful St Michael’s Resort overlooking Falmouth’s Gylly beach on Cornwall’s south coast to the adult-only Fistral Spa in Newquay, which offers an indulgent ‘Twilight & Dine’ after-hours session which includes a two-course dinner. On the west coast, the brand new Una St Ives offers a number of pamper sessions, such as the ‘Morning Half-Day Refresh’ and the evening ‘Starlight Sip and Swim’ session, which includes a 20-minute treatment followed by one of their signature cocktails.
A sauna by the sea
This traditional wood-fired sauna, housed in a converted wigwam, rotates between three coastal locations in Cornwall (Falmouth, Hayle and St Austell), all just paces from the sea, so you can follow your sauna session with a refreshing dunk in the ocean. With space for eight people, Escape to the Sauna is available to rent by the hour, so get together with friends and family for a invigorating coastal session.
Have a detox
Ditch the booze
After the excesses of Christmas, many people decide to cut out alcohol in the new year, but doing ‘Dry January’ doesn’t mean you have to forego delicious drinks altogether. The trend for non-alcoholic drinks has spiralled in the last decade, with a number of Cornish producers setting the trend for botanics-inspired beverages. One of the best in the business, Pentire’s range of botanical spirits use plants native to Cornish hedgerows, such as rock samphire, sea rosemary and wild seaweed. Also in the non-alcoholic beverage market is Wavelength Drinks, whose herb and plant-infused drinks are fermented for 30 days in a brewery on the north coast. For special occasions, Wild Life Botanicals has crafted a range of very low alcohol (0.5 ABV) sparkling wine packed with vitamins, minerals and botanicals, such as lemon balm and damask rose.
Cornwall is made for detoxing. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend travelling to Cornwall without a phone altogether (you never know when an emergency might crop up!), a digital detox is the ultimate way to unwind. Pop phones and tablets in a drawer the moment you step through the front door and focus on experiences that won’t have you reaching for your phone every minute of the day. Spending time away from screens also means more opportunities to connect with the rest of the group, be it family or friends. Spend days by the coast — walk, cycle, swim, wildlife watch — and while away the evenings cooking, playing board games or curling up in a nook or in front of the fire and reading — you’ll find stacks of things to entertain you in all of our holiday cottages.
Mindfulness and creativity
Try forest bathing
Crafting has been proven to be very beneficial for your mental health — being involved with a creative project can slow your heart rate, reduce anxiety and boost your mood, and studies have shown that crafting as a group brings even further benefits. As one of the most creative counties in the UK, Cornwall is packed with places that offer creative courses and workshops — in fact it’s almost impossible to find an arts venue, community space or even a hotel or cafe in Cornwall that doesn’t host workshops at some point during the year!
Some of the biggest names on Cornwall’s art scene are located in St Ives, where you can try pot throwing at Leach Pottery or sign up to one of the workshops at The Tate. The community at Krowji, Cornwall’s largest creative hub, has workshops throughout the year, as does the prestigious Newlyn Art School on the west coast and Penzance’s The Exchange.
Falmouth is another creative hub, with the Inspire Makers in Falmouth, a collective of local craftspeople, holding workshops throughout the year, from jewellery to ceramics. Also in Falmouth is the arts venue the Poly, which hosts an ever-changing timetable of inspiring workshops. The Potager Garden Cafe also hosts some brilliant workshops on dyeing, weaving and silk painting from its cafe near the Helford River. If you’re on the north coast, head to the Wedge Studio in Newquay for ceramics lessons.
Take a cookery class
Philleigh Way Cookery School runs a number of day cookery courses and evening dining demos from their beautiful premises on the Roseland Peninsula, such as Family Pizza Making Day, where you’ll learn how to prepare and bake a pizza, to Mediterranean fish cookery and barbecue cookery. Further south in Penzance, Caroline runs forage and feasting courses at Fat Hen, a wild cookery school, such as the ‘Seaweed Forage and Feast’ where you’ll discover the edible and useful seaweeds that grow along the coast, or opt for the session that incorporates a spa experience on the forage, feast and spa course which culminates at the stunning Retallack Woodland Spa.
The great outdoors
Getting out on the water
Feeling connected to the ocean has been proven time and time again to have a positive impact on your mental health and getting in the sea is, in our opinion, the best way to reset. With the longest coastline of any county, Cornwall offers a huge number of watersports and activities, from surfing on Newquay’s world-class beaches, to paddleboarding or kayaking down the tranquil Helford and windsurfing around the Lizard Peninsula’s craggy coastline. But it doesn’t stop there. If you fancy trying something a bit different, how about snorkelling in South Cornwall, freediving and underwater foraging off Crantock beach in Newquay, or shipwreck diving off the Lizard coast.
Cornwall’s shorelines, craggy cliffs and shallow rockpools are home to some of the region’s most delicious wild edibles. Foraging allows you to connect with the landscape and environment, and is a great family-friendly thing to do. One of Cornwall’s finest foragers, Rachel Lambert‘s leisurely guided foraging walks run throughout the year during which you’ll learn to identify plants, learn how to cook with them and sample some of her tried and tested recipes.
The trend for wild swimming (or ‘swimming’, as its known in Cornwall!) shows no sign of abating, and with its dozens of sheltered natural pools, tidal rivers, beautiful lidos, not to mention the 300 miles of coastline, Cornwall definitely comes up trumps when it comes to the best places for swimming in open water. Some of the best tidal pools include Perranporth, Porthtowan and the tiny little pool hidden along the coast path from Mousehole, whilst the tranquil Helford is an ideal place to get to grips with open water swimming. If you’re less keen on open water but still want to swim in the sea, Bude’s Sea Pool and the Art Deco Jubilee Pool in Penzance are perfect places to try it.