My Favourite Places: Rock to Port Isaac
Katy Austin-Waters, of classy self-catering company Latitude50, shares her top spots on Cornwall's stunning north coast. This is insider info, don't go telling everyone!
The population in Cornwall is set to positively swell in the coming weeks (from 500,000 to 5 mil, I read somewhere!) And one area that gets its fair share of the flood, is the deservedly popular North coast. In particular that charmed stretch, from Rock to Post Isaac – via Polzeath. Even I feel like I’m on holiday when we swan up that way for the day. But are there still quiet coves, cosy pubs and coastal-paths-less-travelled to discover? You betcha! You just have to know who to ask.
That’s where Katy Austin-Waters, Sales and Marketing Manager at Latitude50, comes in. From trendy apartments in the heart of Port Isaac to large, contemporary retreats above Polzeath beach, Latitude50 has stunning self-catering in this area sewn up.
So where does Katy recommend for dog walks, pub lunches and a mean rum cocktail? Read on…
Porthilly Cove, Rock
Just around the corner from the well-trodden sands of Rock is a rather fantastic discovery; Porthilly Cove. So magical, Gordon Ramsey has snapped up one of the few plots right above it. A little more estuary than sea and a little more muddy than sandy, Porthilly Cove has an altogether different vibe than Rock beach. It is a place that I like to go to escape the crowds, enjoy a relaxing walk or a dip in the sheltered waters. Dog-friendly all year round, our Miniature Dachshund Luna is in heaven as she can enjoy the water without the threat of waves or sudden drops for her little legs! Porthilly has sentimental value for me as it was the setting for my wedding last year. St Michael’s Church is perched above the sand, separated only by a beautifully weathered stone wall. When the tide floods in, the calm waters of Porthilly are perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking or sailing.
Baby Bay, New Polzeath
As the name suggests Baby Bay is so small and cute you could just put it in your pocket! At high tide this picture-perfect beach is separated from Polzeath and can be accessed via the coast path from New Polzeath. For a change of tempo from the hustle, bustle and surfer vibes of the main beach, Baby Bay is a beacon of tranquillity. I like to go and enjoy an early morning swim with just the gulls for company or a peaceful evening barbecue as the sun goes down. Out of season this has to be one of my favourite spots to walk my dog as it’s usually nice and quiet.
The Rumps, Polzeath
Epitomising the rugged North Cornish coast, The Rumps is a must if you are staying nearby. This has to be one of my favourite coastal walks (see the route here). I never tire of the scenery. Spotting seals and dolphins is a bit of an obsession of mine and if you keep a keen eye on the water you may be lucky enough to spot them. I normally hit The Rumps with a thermos and biscuits. That way I can take my time as there are so many beautiful places to linger and enjoy the view. Look out for Mouls Island, home to Puffins at the right time of year as well as the distinctive Seven Souls rock formation.
This could make my favourites alone for being the coolest hangout in Polzeath but Surfside has some extra special memories for me, as it’s where I met my husband. This iconic building is right on the sand and a dreamy place to hang out and watch the world go by. Not only are all the little details a delight to discover but the locally sourced food is fantastic. Start with the Rock Oysters, followed by the famous Surf and Turf with a side of buttered corn on the cob and double cooked chips. Around the back of Surfside, and what feels like Polzeath’s best kept secret, is the Rum Bar. Head here for live music, rum and reggae roasts. This rustic, pirate-themed bar is the place to be and the rum cocktails are well worth sampling.
Fee’s Food, Rock
The newest addition to the Rock Road, Fee’s Food is a hip deli-cum-coffee-shop. Full of the most delicious homemade produce, from Cornish gelato to the best sausage rolls that I have ever tasted, you can’t fail to make a pit stop here. I love cycling to Fee’s on my bike, stopping for a milkshake and a chat with the staff, then filling my basket with treats for the rest of the day. If you don’t feel like cooking but still want a healthy and wholesome meal then browse the fantastic selection of ready-meals whipped up by Fee herself. The stylish décor is finished with a revolving display of local artwork, all available to buy.
Just around the corner from the famous fishing village of Port Isaac is the small and peaceful cove of Port Gaverne. Here you will find a sheltered beach, dramatic headland and scattering of beautiful whitewashed cottages. This is my go-to place for dog walks, paddle boarding, kayaking and wild swimming. You can hire everything you need from Cornish Rock Tors, which is based here and offers coasteering too. There’s also one of my all-time favourite pubs; The Port Gaverne Hotel and Restaurant. With whitewashed walls and beautiful hanging baskets in bloom, it is all you could hope for in a coastal pub. Sit outside and soak up the sun and village atmosphere or head to Pilchards Café for some live music and tapas-style small plates.
A glistening jewel in the North Cornish coast’s crown; the tiny fishing haven of Port Quin is home to picture-perfect stone cottages, a sheltered cove and the iconic land mark of Doyden Castle. Port Quin has to be of my favourite places to go for a coastal walk or a sea swim in the sheltered bay. Recuperate after your walk with a crab roll or yummy homemade cake from the delightful Salt Pig van in the National Trust car park. Port Quin is not just a must visit in the summer months. In winter you can watch the fantastic show of foamy waves, rolling in and crashing through the rocky inlet from the safety of the headland.
Explore all of the above with a beautiful base to come home too. Latitude50’s collection of quality, self-catering properties span Rock, Daymer Bay, Polzeath and Port Isaac. Rest assured the Latitude50 team are there to play matchmaker and find you your perfect property. In the meantime, check these beauties out…