Porthcothan Mill Cottage

Activities and shopping around the 7 bays

Cornwall’s beaches and headlands are stunning, however north Cornwall also has so much more to offer. From water parks, golf, go-karting, horse riding to shopping, and National Trust houses there is something for everyone.

Local places to visit

Padstow, Port Isaac and Wadebridge are great to just wander around. Padstow and its harbour is a centre for dinghy sailing, with mooring and launching facilities suitable for all types of small boats. A passenger ferry operates between Padstow and the village of Rock, on the opposite bank of the River Camel. While leisure craft are now the main users of the harbour, Padstow has a thriving fleet of fishing vessels, with regular landings of fish, crab and lobsters. This alongside its many shops and restaurants makes Padstow a huge draw for tourists from summer through to winter.  

Padstow is also a great starting point for booking sea safaris, where you can see dolphins & seals, and also for starting the camel trail with its wonderful views across the estuary. Whether you are on foot or hire a bike, the Camel Trail is always top of our list of things to do.  

Port Isaac is a traditional fishing village and is home to the TV series Doc Martin. It's a truly picturesque village with pretty winding streets lined with whitewashed cottages that lead down to a small harbour and beach. The fishing village has a range of shops, cafe’s, restaurants and pubs.

Wadebridge is located a few miles inland on the Camel River estuary and was once famous as a centre for wool production. Wadebridge is the starting point for the most popular stretch of the Camel Cycle Trail. Wadebridge claims it has the highest number of independent shops and boutiques in Cornwall. It has managed to avoid being over-run by high-street chains and so for a shopping trip it's well worth a visit. It has a couple of really good antique shops, alongside a range of independent gift and clothes shops, interior designer home stores, book shop, as well as deli’s and has a great selection of charity shops.  

Historic homes and gardens

There are many historic homes to visit with Prideaux Place just outside of Padstow, The National Trust’s Lanhydrock and The Lost Gardens of Heligan are amongst many local houses and gardens all worth exploring. More locally in St Mawgan there is The Japanese Garden and Bonsai Nursery, considered to be a beautiful and tranquil place to visit.  

Further afield, Tintagel Castle, inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur is well worth a visit with its dramatic views across the sea, ruins of the castle, and its award winning footbridge which spans a 190-foot gorge connecting the two sections of the castle.

St Nectan’s Glen, waterfall and woodland is stunning and is also close to Tintagel, so possibly the two trips could be combined in one day. The glen's most prominent feature is St Nectan's Kieve, a spectacular sixty foot waterfall through a hole in the rocks.

Water sports and outdoor activities

Learning to surf - whether it's using a small body board or a large board, there are a number of ways to learn to surf. Reputable surf lessons can be booked with King Surf at Mawgan Porth, or Waves Surf School which operates from a number of the 7 bays west of Padstow. Many of the local bays will offer places to hire equipment including surf and body boards before investing in your own.  

From zip wires, to a huge inflatable water park, Retallack Water Park will keep the kids and adults entertained for hours.  

Located in between Newquay and Padstow, St Eval Kart Circuit is a massive outdoor 1.2km track which is designed to cater for 7 years olds and above, and for all group sizes. It does not get any bigger and better than this, as it is the UK's biggest children's kart circuit, and the Southwest's largest and fastest adult kart circuit. It is also the only one of its kind in Devon and Cornwall.

For sailing lessons and water skiing, Rock is a haven for water sports.    

And for younger kids, Old MacDonald’s Farm just outside of Porthcothan Bay has a small number of animals to say hello to, plus pony rides, farmer experiences and animal petting and grooming experiences. Also in the garden, is a playground which has children’s climbing frames, swings, slides, trampolines and sand play for both big and little ones. They have outdoor rides on tractors and cars, badminton net, and also a pool table, table tennis, air hockey,  and many other games.

Horse riding on the beach - take a look at Reen Manor Riding stables who provide horse riding on the beach and other options.

Golf and tennis - whether you want a full round of golf or just a relaxed knock up on a tennis court, there is something for everyone. Trevose Head Golf & Country Club provides a championship golf course, alongside tennis courts and outdoor swimming pool. If crazy golf is more your thing, the pitch and putt at Mawgan Porth is highly rated.  

Looking for something more adventurous? Coasteering and sea kayaking is a fantastic way to experience the beautiful beaches and headlands but from a completely different perspective. Swim and leap into rocky coves, and explore caves, or experience wildlife at close hand when kayaking along the coastline. Cornish Rock Tors provides a range of experiences in Port Gaverne, near to Port Isaac.  


Padstow and Wadebridge are the main local towns for shopping. Here is a selection of my favourite off the beaten track places to shop. For clothes, you can’t beat Roos Beach shop in Porth, with its incredible range of American Vintage and other brands. For vintage finds, drop into Angela’s at Prink Vintage Interiors in St Columb Major - the town is also worth exploring with a range of vintage and art shops that have recently opened.    


For local willow craft which you can either buy or make yourself Emma Scott’s Creative WIllow Craft is worth a visit. There are many art galleries in both Padstow and Rock, however just off the beaten track is Clapper Yard Art Gallery and Pottery which has a wonderful selection of paintings and ceramics.

Relaxing and pampering

Both the Scarlet Hotel and Bedruthan Hotel are nearby and provide a range of spa facilities and treatments. Alternatively there is Kerensa, who is a lovely local beautician located just outside of Padstow.

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