We do Christmas a bit differently here in Cornwall…
Wake up to rolling surf and golden beaches. Go from your bed to your board in seconds. Ride the waves on world-class surfing beaches. Feel sand between your toes and your cheeks glow from the Atlantic breeze. Dine on the ocean’s bounty watching the sunset over the sea.
Here’s 10 of our favourite things for surfing families to do in Cornwall at Christmas:
While we love summer days on the beach and mellow waves, we also love the more challenging winter surf, with the spray in your face and duck dives that take your breath away. Faster take offs, more power in every peak and more speed for manoeuvres, takes your surfing to another level and leaves you feeling invigorated and elated. And with winter wetsuits being so advanced, you’ll hardly feel the cold. Plus, with the line-up is less crowded, you’re guaranteed to catch more waves every session.
WILD BEACH WALKS
Wrap up for a stomp along the South West Coast Path, feel the briny spray of the crashing waves, and go beach combing for treasures left by the winter storms. A wild winter coastal walk will bring a rosy glow to your cheeks, while you lap up the eye-popping scenery and step foot on deserted beaches. Why not try the two miles from Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth, hugging the cliff-tops and keeping your eyes peeled for seabirds and seals at the pristine Beacon Cove along the way?
COLDWATER SEA SWIMS
Take a deep breath and take the plunge for a wild winter sea dip. It’s been proved that coldwater swimming has all sorts of benefits, including boosting your immune system and mental health. It also gives you a natural high and works wonders for your skin. So ditch the wetsuit and try a two-minute immersion in the ocean. Why not try a dip in one of Cornwall’s tidal pools at Bude, Porthtowan, Treyarnon or Priest’s Cove? Please remember to enter the water in safe conditions, go with a friend and be aware of hypothermia and rip currents.
Picnics, barbecues and alfresco dining don’t have to be saved for summery days. Embrace the seasons and pack up a delicious spread for a winter beach picnic, or a pause for a mug of mulled wine on a ramble across the moors. Fill a flask with stew or chilli, to enjoy on a rug with a view, or light a fire on the beach to toast marshmallows and warm a pan of hot chocolate.
With the low winter light and shorter days, we love catching sight of blazing coastal sunsets. As the ‘golden hour’ comes early, the light seems even more dramatic, and the orange hues of the sun seem even more intense as it drops into the ocean. So, whether you’re rolling back along the coast road or eeking out the last light in the surf, make sure you look to the horizon and have a camera at the ready as the sun goes down.
Embrace the power of the elements from the cliff tops, or shelter in a sea-view café, and watch the storms scud over the Atlantic. We love watching winter storms from the Coastguard’s lookout atop Newquay’s Towan Headland, where you can see white caps marching across the horizon and waves breaking on the Cribbar reef.
Winter is our favourite time for brisk beach walks with our four-legged friends in tow. Once the summer crowds disperse and seasonal dog bans lift on 30 September, even more of Cornwall’s beaches open up to paws keen to bound along the shoreline. So, take a low-tide dog walk along Godrevy and Gwithian beaches, walk the length of Newquay’s beaches from Towan to Tolcarne, or take the dog for a sundowner on Porthtowan beach and have a splash in the tidal pool.
FREE-WHEELING ALONG THE CYCLE TRAILS
Get muddy and feel the thrill of mountain biking on woodland trails. For families love Lanhydrock with its skills areas and routes graded for different abilities. Or, for a longer ride hit Cardinham’s Beast of Bodmin ride. You can also choose from a web of Clay Trails covering mid-Cornwall’s china clay country, including the Coast-to-Coast route: 15 miles of flat (ish), mostly off-road trail through a World Heritage Mining Site between Portreath and Devoran.
The beauty of long, dark nights is that they offer much more time to wonder at the incredible spectacle of the stars. So switch your focus from the screen to the stars, as you grab a blanket, get outside and look up. In these crazy times it’s even more important to focus on the amazing things the world has to offer instead of being fixated on all the negative stuff.
Don’t binge on carbs and chocolate; fill your basket with fresh, local ingredients and enjoy healthy recipes that fuel your body and mind for surfing. Cornwall is a foodie mecca and its rich contrast of coast and countryside means that the calibre, and diversity, of the food produced here tops that of almost any other region in the UK.