The north coast stretch, from Chapel Porth up to St Agnes, with Porthtowan tucked in between, is one of the UK’s areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The granite cliffs are imposing and impressive and the beaches are go-to destinations for surfers – of all abilities. The large beach at Porthtowan is a great spot to surf-watch, especially in the evening when the dipping sun lends a hypnotic air to the water.
Chapel Porth is a much smaller beach, and not being attached to a village, there are not the amenities you might expect. But the outdoor café serves hot and cold food, and a famous, delicious local delicacy: the hedgehog ice cream (but you will have to visit to find out what that is!)
Copper & tin
100 years ago the area was rich in copper and tin – the copper mine at Wheal Town was bringing in £10,000 a week.
But the only signs of that industry that remain are the engine houses dotting the cliff and the old mining tramway. The trail, known as the Bissoe Trail, runs from nearby Portreath through the Bissoe Valley up to Devoran.
A few miles inland is St Agnes, another village shaped by mining history. The area is recognised as a World Heritage Site and from the iconic Wheal Coates engine house to the harbour, there is plenty of evidence why.
Mumsnet recommends: Taking a picnic to watch the sunset, or clifftop walks with older children on winter days
Porthtowan Surf School
All of the surf coaches are accredited lifeguards, and Porthtowan beach is supervised by RNLI Lifeguards, so you’ll be in the safest hands at all times.
Young, old, experienced or complete novice, surf lessons can be half or full day, individual or family packages and summer kids’ programmes run for a full week. All equipment is provided, but bring your own rash vest and wetsuit if you prefer
The Blue Bar, Porthtowan
Cornwall’s original beach bar and kitchen! Serving up great food and coffees – to anyone fresh off the beach. Casual and relaxed, kids and dogs are welcomed and the menu is hearty and varied, with healthy options for kids.
The Cornish Pizza Company, St Agnes
Handmade, organic dough is made daily. Hand-stretched and topped with a special tomato sauce these pizzas have won awards with good reason! Order from the take-away in the village, or look out for the pizza van that delivers to local events and campsites.
Chapel Porth Beach Cafe,
For hot drinks, burgers, soups… and hedgehog ice creams!
Find out where else we go for ice cream here