The epicentre of British surf culture and one of the UK’s favourite family destinations, Cornwall has become a popular place for family surfing holidays. With plenty of waves, stylish surfside hotels and expert surf schools, it’s little wonder that more and more families are turning to surfing as a way of spending quality time together on their Cornish beach holidays.
And with high-tech equipment and snuggly-warm wetsuits, surfing isn’t just a summer activity – you can hit the waves in style year-round; in fact some of the best swells roll in during spring and autumn. This stunning destination is the home of Family Surf Co. and the place we live and breathe the surfing lifestyle with our own families. Read on for our lowdown on the best boutique beach hotels situated by our favourite family surfing beaches in Cornwall.
FISTRAL BEACH, Newquay
Dubbed the surfing capital of Britain, Fistral is where many of the UK’s pro surfers cut their teeth. As well as consistent waves, surf shops and a vast sandy beach, there’s an impressive line-up of cocktail bars and restaurants, including our family favourite, The Stable, the trendy Fistral Beach Bar, and the foodie hotspots of Rick Stein Fistral and The Fish House.
Overlooking the waves at North Fistral, the Headland Hotel has become one of Newquay’s most iconic landmarks. Step inside the striking Victorian design and you’ll find a contemporary haven made for family beach holidays. The experts at the onsite Surf Sanctuary will help you find your feet in the waves, while back at the comfort of your seaside hotel room or cliff-top cottage, you’ve got restaurants and family facilities including a state-of-the-art leisure complex with swimming pools.
WIDEMOUTH BAY, BUDE
Cruise north from Newquay along the Atlantic Highway and hit the waves in the cool, surfy town of Bude. Play on sandy beaches, dine on nature’s bounty, stroll along the coast path and come home to creature comforts in a contemporary cliff-top hotel.
Bude is home to a handful of sandy-bottomed breaks for beginners, of which the rugged Widemouth Bay is one of our favourites. Grab a foamie from the hotel and skip over the cliffs to ride the waves, or take lessons in the hands of the surfing experts at Freewave Surf Academy. When you’re not soaking up the seaside vibes, freewheel into the countryside on a mountain bike, or take a walk along the canal from the historic sea lock, looking for birds and wildlife on the way.
Just a couple of miles over the headland from Watergate Bay awaits the more rugged Mawgan Porth, with its grass roots surfing culture and one of Cornwall’s favourite family surf schools – KingSurf. Book a family lesson, join in twice-daily group sessions or hone your skills with a one-to-one surfing session. Kit yourself up at the surfside stores selling everything you need for gourmet picnics and bucket and spade days, or do the surf check over a platter of fresh seafood at Catch restaurant.
Idyllic family beach days are a cinch when you’re staying nearby at The Park Cornwall, where you can choose to make yourself at home in an eco-cabin, cosy cottage, yurt or caravan. Enjoy all the flexibility of self-catering accommodation, teamed with luxuries such as hot tubs, an indoor and outdoor pool, play areas, soft play, kids trails and daily activity sessions.
Nowhere tees up family surfing and beach-chic accommodation quite like Watergate Bay Hotel. With surf in/ surf out access, the onsite Extreme surfing and watersports academy, and flawless facilities for all ages from tots to teens, here family beach life is an absolute breeze.
Children can join in surf lessons from the age of 8, but having babes in tow doesn’t stop you having all the fun. There’s an Ofsted-registered crèche and kids zone for up to seven year-olds, as well as supervised activity sessions for older kids, so you can take time out to enjoy the waves to yourself – or simply bubble in the hot tub, steam in the sauna or sink into an armchair with a cocktail. When evening comes and you have finally exhausted the pitter-patter of sandy feet and hung your wetsuits in the drying room, rig up your complimentary baby monitor system, or book a private babysitter, and choose which restaurant to wine and dine in.
This sandy cove on the northwest edge of the Lizard Peninsula is perfect for families that love surfing and sandcastles. Home to Dan Joel’s Surf School, here you can get to grips with surfing with the ex-pro, then kickback with a hot chocolate at the Poldhu Beach Café.
Walk back along the South West Coast Path, passing the Marconi Monument (marking the location where the first transatlantic radio signal was sent in 1901), to a divine little cove overlooked by the family-friendly Polurrian hotel. Here you can make yourself at home in a suite or villa, relax beside the echo of the waves, and make the most of family-friendly facilities including swimming pools, a spa and the sea-view lounge and dining room.
Getting here: Fly to Cornwall Airport Newquay and it’s an easy hop to any of Cornwall’s surfing locations. Or enjoy the flexibility of having your own car and enjoy the scenic 4.5-hour drive from London.
Let us plan your family surfing holiday in Cornwall:
Family Surf Co. was set up by two Cornwall-based surfing mums who live and breathe the family surfing lifestyle in Cornwall. Use our expertise to create the perfect family surfing holiday in Cornwall.