The seaside resort of Mawgan Porth is located on the rugged coast of north Cornwall midway between Newquay and Padstow, but sufficiently far from both to remain fairly quiet. If you get bored of the karting circuit or playing mini-golf, and if lazing on the gorgeous sandy beach is not for you, here are five more ideas of what to do.
1. Nature watching
With its west facing beach, Mawgan Porth is one of the best spots in Cornwall to see the sun setting.
The English weather is famous for its quirks, and it must be said that this part of the country gets its fair share of storms. If you’re not brave enough to watch huge waves crash onto the shore in bad weather from the great outdoors, indulge in a bit of storm-watching with a nice hot drink from the safety of the village’s only pub, The Merrymoor Inn.
If you’re lucky enough, you may also catch a glimpse of sea-fog rolling in from the Atlantic. Spooky or what?
2. The Scarlet
Want to stay at the best hotel in the country? The Scarlet is a luxury eco hotel set on cliffs overlooking the beach, and a break here is absolute bliss. With only 37 rooms and an adult-only policy, you will get one of the best nights sleep you will ever have. All rooms have balconies with sea views, so the sound of the waves breaking on the beach is your alarm clock.
You’ll pay around £300 per night – steep but just about worth it for what will be one of the most memorable hotel stays of your life. There’s an outdoor reed-filtered natural pool, but if that’s a bit nippy for you then spend time in the heated indoor pool and steam room, before booking a session in one of the two cliff-top hot-tubs.
You can order the drink of your choice and sip away while in the tub – try to book an evening slot to see the sunset. The hotel has a spa for day guests, so you don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy a hot-tub.
The South West Coast Path runs through Mawgan Porth on its 630-mile journey around the whole of Devon and Cornwall (as well as parts of Dorset and Somerset).
Facing the sea, if you walk towards the left you will get to Watergate Bay in 1.3 miles. This stretch of coast is quite heavy going with some steep inclines, so you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of opportunities for refreshments once you get there. The Watergate Bay Hotel is great for a cider stop from its decked terrace overlooking the beach, or the Extreme Hot Chocolates at the Beach Hut are to die for.
If you head right on the cliffs from Mawgan Porth beach, you will get to an icon of Cornwall in 0.8 miles – the legendary Bedruthan Steps. This is a series of stacks, stumps and caves on a perfect golden sandy beach, so-called because they were thought to be stepping stones for a giant named Bedruthan.
Although I enjoyed the original Point Break, I’ve got absolutely no interest in surfing and am not ashamed to admit I don’t know my swells from my tubes. However, I understand Mawgan Porth is one of the best spots to surf and body-board in Cornwall, with strong winds and some pretty huge waves crashing onto the shore.
There are a few places hiring wetsuits, boards and offering lessons but be warned – Mawgan Porth is notorious for its dangerous riptides. There are lifeguards on the beach from April to September, but in October 2014, three people were killed trying to rescue surfers in trouble.
When I was a nipper, one of my favourite hobbies was plane-spotting. I had all the “avgeek” kit – binoculars, transistor radio, book of registration numbers to tick-off – and I look back with fondness at days out with my Dad to Birmingham Airport and the occasional treat – a trip to Heathrow.
If I’d have known about Mawgan Porth back then, I could have indulged in my hobby from the beach. Newquay Airport (NQY) is located about a mile from the shore, and planes take-off and land regularly (although not regularly enough to be a nuisance). This is now the main airport in Cornwall bringing holidaymakers from abroad and those from the UK who don’t fancy the long drive down the M5 and A30. It’s easy to fly to NQY, and then get a five minute taxi ride or hire a car to Mawgan Porth.
Originally an RAF base called RAF St Mawgan, NQY recently decided to drop its £5 per person “airport development tax”, and miraculously Ryanair announced the next day that it would use the airport. In season, Boeing 737s and Dash 8400s can be spotted from airlines such as Ryanair, Flybe, Aer Lingus and Germanwings as well as tiny 20-seater Skybus Twin Otters to the Isles of Scilly.