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Praa Sands

February 2, 2015 No Comments

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The white sands of Praa Sands are popular amongst locals and tourists alike. Located in the sheltered bay between Penzance and the Lizard, Praa Sands is another glistening white beach. Sand dunes back the beach and there is even a crazy golf course on them.

In the summer it is a tale of two beaches: at the east end of the beach you’ll find a quiet place to stretch out and sun bathe in peace; to the east you’ll find shops, cafés and public toilets. The Sand Bar is a Praa Sands hotspot and is a great little stop off for a coffee where you can sit back and soak up the view and fun seaside vibes.

This is a great beach for the kids. If you’ve got a toddler, or a teenager, there’s plenty of entertainment. A small stream running across the sand makes a safe paddling pool while, on the right day, there can be some surprisingly large surf, all watched over by lifeguards during the summer. There is also plenty of space to fly kites, play football or run around and the beach also offers sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, slipways and surfboad hire.

The rocks to the west of the beach hold more than a few local secrets: it’s a fantastic area for coastal exploration. Don a wetsuit and put something on your feet that you don’t mind getting wet, and scramble over the rocks to find some safe areas to jump into the sea, or some hidden coves and caves.

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For the more adventurous there is the hidden Kenneggy Sands Beach. To get there you have to take a short walk west along the coastal path and climb a chained ladder down to the beach itself – this is not one for those unsteady on their feet. The beach is sandy and dog friendly, but the incoming tide can cut you off, if you are not careful.

Porthcurno Beach

January 10, 2015 No Comments

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Nestled and wind sheltered between Cornish cliffs lies Porthcurno Beach. After taking a left turn somewhere west of Penzance, you’ll definitely be feeling a little off the beaten track as lanes coil and snake around, eventually dropping you at the coast. The beach itself has a wonderfully Mediterranean feel, with delicate, fine sand leading down to crystal clear, azure waters, even on overcast days. The sand is mostly made up of broken shells; fantastic for in depth exploring and wandering eyes.

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Recommended in last years Good Beach Guide, Porthcurno is popular with families. With no cafés or ice-cream vans littering the beach, there’s just you, the sand and the sea. A stream flows down one side of the beach, which is perfect for the children to play in and at low tide there are rock pools to explore. Off to the left you can see the huge granite headland of Logan’s Rock in the distance and up to the right, at the top of a winding pathway, sits the internationally renowned Minack Theatre.

To get to the beach from the car park you take a short path past gorse bushes and the reassuringly present lifeguard hut – manned between June and September – before the path drops steeply down to the beach itself. Back at the car park itself you’ll find a café, shop and the public toilets: you’ve got all the mod-cons close to hand without your beach view being ruined.

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Around Porthcurno there’s lots more to do. Logan’s Rock and its 80 ton granite rocking stone is a 30 minute walk up the coastal path, and if ‘getting away from it all’ is what you are after there are lots of hidden coves and beaches on the way – some only bearing sand at low tide.

There’s the Minack itself, which is a unique theatrical experience and would round off a summer’s day at the beach, but there doesn’t have to be a play on for it to be explored – there are opportunities to wander round the stone seats and stage throughout the day.

Porthcurno’s other claim to fame is its importance in British international communications: the first undersea communications cable was laid here in 1870 and stretched all the way from the UK to India. The concrete cable hut, where the cable was connected to a landline is now a listed building and stands at the top of the beach. Back up, by the car park, is the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. I know this sound a bit specialised for most tastes – including the children – but there are loads of interactive exhibitions and things to decipher and is a great way to fill a few hours.

So Porthcurno is more than just a beach experience; it can also be a historical experience, an exploratory experience, and a cultural experience all rolled into one.




Trengwaiton Gardens near Penzance

July 12, 2014 No Comments

Trengwainton Gardens were given to the National Trust in 1961, 25 acres of fairly level paths, mostly accessible to wheelchair users.

Many Cornish gardens are at their best when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom and I am sure this garden would have been beautiful in the earlier months too.  But  I visited this garden in July and was impressed by the cottage garden planting, especially the kitchen garden with all the traditional cottage garden flowers – Sweet peas, Hollyhocks, Corn flowers to name a few and a variety of vegetables.

From the terrace you can see for miles across the sea from St Michael’s Mount to The Lizard.

Small shop and pleasant tea house and walled tea garden – a sun trap.