Activities in Cornwall
Updated: Jan 7
As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall, Jackie King picks out a selection of watersports, nature, cycling and walking.
Not surprisingly, getting out onto the water comes top on most people's holiday itineraries. And it couldn't be easier – with beautiful beaches and coves lining the entire coastline, there are endless opportunities for those that want to get wet.
If walking's more your thing, there are very few paths in the UK better than the South West Coast Path. The path, which hugs the coast for 300 miles, drops down onto coves and beaches and offers sublime sea views from the clifftops. And you don't have to clock up lots of miles either – it's easily accessible meaning you can join it and leave it whenever you want.
Cornwall also has some fantastic cycling routes along disused railway tracks and some more energetic options along the old mining routes. If it's action you want, take a look at these activity providers to help you get the most out of your trip.
Watergate Bay’s two miles of pristine sandy beach are the perfect playground for all kinds of watersports. At Extreme Academy, beginners can opt for surf or kite-surf lessons, or why not try a new craze? Waveski, halfway between a surfboard and a kayak, is quick to master – feel like a pro after just a few hours. Stand-up paddle surfing gives you the thrill of surfing with the added extra of a paddle for balance. Hand planing, where a hand-held mini surfboard – a super-speedy version of bodysurfing! extremeacademy.co.uk
Global Boarders is an eco-friendly surfing company, providing a programme of multi-award winning surfing packages. From corporate surfing weekends and family surfing holidays, they combine top-class surfing instruction with fabulous accommodation, great local food from Ben’s Kitchen (see our Places to eat section), and transfers to and from train/coach stations. globalboarders.com
Encounter Cornwall Fowey Estaury Kayak Trips and Hire
Gliding silently down the River Fowey in a canoe is a magical way to explore the area’s tranquil waters and colourful wildlife. Encounter Fowey offer various trips depending on what sort of experience you’re after: the three-hour trip up River Fowey explores the tranquil creeks and backwaters – perfect for kingfisher and heron spotting. Alternatively, the Harbours and Beaches trip travels from Golant to Fowey, taking in coves and harbours along the way – you may even spot a basking shark. Or why not join the two-hour evening sundowner paddle and soak up the atmosphere at dusk. encountercornwall.com
Cornish Coast Adventures
On a family farm in Port Quin, between Polzeath and St Isaac, two brothers have set up Cornish Coast Adventures, offering kayaking and coasteering around the caves, coves, and cliffs on their stretch of Cornish coast. The sessions are set up for both groups and individuals, and you will explore hidden caves, secluded coves and enjoy scrambling over rocks. cornishcoastadventures.com
The Cornish coast may not be the sort of tropical paradise that springs to mind when dreaming up images of deep-sea diving, but it does offer calm waters, fascinating wrecks, beautiful reefs and an exciting underwater world full of fabulous creatures and colourful fish. Run by a husband-and-wife team who fell in love with the sport after diving on their honeymoon in Greece, Cornwall Divers offers a range of diving courses, from a Padi Open Water course to Rescue Diver, where qualified will learn and practice all the skills needed in a dive emergency. Beginners learn to dive in the indoor pool before venturing out into open water. There’s also a dive shop on site. cornishdiving.co.uk
Loe Beach Watersports and boat hire
From sailing to kayaking to windsurfing, Loe Beach Watersports offers lots of activities to get families and groups of friends out onto the water. There are youth clubs, sailing and windsurfing courses for youngsters, as well as packages for hen, stag and team building weekends. Alternatively, why not hire a boat or kayak and take in the stunning coastline at your leisure? loebeach.co.uk
Newquay has long been regarded as the surfing capital of the UK, so what better place to get to grips with the sport? It’s not all about surfing though – the experienced team also offer kayaking, coasteering, kite sports and climbing, abseiling and scuba diving, so whether you’re happiest out on the water or on dry land, there’s an activity suited to you. Whatever you decide to opt for, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous Cornish views. penhaleadventure.com
Bike Smart Cycle Hire
Bike Smart opened in Wadebridge in 1996 with just 50 bikes which has now increased to a fleet of over 200, fully licensed to hire bikes for use on the Camel Trail, they stock Claud Butler and Land Rover bikes in both mountain and hybrid variety, together with bikes for children. The Weehoo iGO trailers are used for kids who want to come along for the ride and are suitable for 3 – 8 year olds. There are also child seats, Croozer trailers, tandems and specialised cycles suitable for the disabled available. FREE on-site parking is offered to customers hiring bikes for the Camel Trail. bikesmartcornwall.co.uk
For more ideas for green holidays in the area, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall