The UK may not boast the same temperatures as sunny Spain or possess the gastronomic heritage of foodie France. But whether it’s out of necessity, curiosity or national pride, people are increasingly realising that there’s still so much to enjoy about good old Grande-Bretagne.
Particularly in the often idyllic Devon to Cornwall, we boast some brilliant coastal towns and villages that can easily compete with holidays spent on the continent.
With the help of our friends at Luxury Coastal, based in Devon and Cornwall, here’s our top picks of coastal destinations in Devon and Cornwall.
Padstow: Ideal For A Foodie Summer Holiday
Padstow is a charming working fishing port, making it the ideal foodie destination in Cornwall for lovers of all things seafood.
From quirky cafes to award-winning bakeries and Michelin-rated restaurants, this harbour town has views that are as delightful as its culinary scene.
For a fine dining experience, it has to be Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, which offers a modern, playful tasting menu celebrating Cornwall’s frankly world class produce. Celebrity chef Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Rick Stein’s Cafe are also both within the town, earning it the nickname Padstein.
It’s also the start of the Camel trail cycle path. A hugely popular route with all ages, the gentle and scenic bike ride between Padstow and Wadebridge is a succinct way to get some fresh air in your lungs, wind in your sails and, of course, an opportunity to take in some views. Take a walk by the estuary at low tide and you’ll find the saltlands teeming with birds, if nature is your thing.
Ideal Tip: A short 37-minute drive from Padstow (or a 11.7 mile walk) you’ll find Port Issac. If you’re after some top-draw fish cookery, then one of the finest fish chefs in the world, Nathan Outlaw, owns two fantastic restaurants in Port Isaac, making the very most of the area’s finest produce. Which of course equates to some bloody nice seafood.
Mousehole: Ideal For A Sleepy Summer Holiday
Mousehole is a small fishing village and one of the most picturesque spots in Cornwall – and one of the oldest, too.
The guys at Luxury Coastal say, “Arriving in this sleepy fishing village is a little bit like stepping into a fairytale. Found just three miles from Penzance, Mousehole is one of those destinations where time seems to stand still. Boats bob in the harbour, waves lap the beach and cafes serve the catch of the day. If you want to experience the Cornwall of days gone by, this is the perfect place to do it”.
One of the most popular times to visit Mousehole is in the lead up to Christmas when people come to see the famous Mousehole Lights. However, summer is an equally brilliant time to visit, and just perfect for strolling around its narrow streets, taking in some art galleries and enjoying the views across the harbour.
Ideal Tip: If you’re travelling with children, be sure to bring along the children’s classic ‘The Mousehole Cat’, a beautifully illustrated book that tells the tale of a cat and Cornish fisherman braving stormy seas to save their village.
Brixham: Ideal For Beach Lovers
According to Luxury Coastal, one of the nicest things about the beaches in Devon’s Brixham is that the area’s coastline is peppered with little stretches of sand.
The hard part is where to go. However, they tell us that, “For popularity and convenience, it’s got to be Breakwater Beach…with a Seaside Award and a nod in the Good Beach Guide, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best-loved Brixham beaches! And then there’s Churston Cove. The kind of sleepy cove that the Famous Five would have gone crazy for”. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Clovelly Beach: Ideal For An Instagrammable Holiday
Finally, Clovelly is a picture-perfect fishing village in North Devon, brimming with quaint cottages centred around its cobbled main street. This place is picture perfect in the truest sense of the word – in 2020 it was named the most Instagrammable village in the UK, with distinctive cobbled streets, flower-strewn cottages and resident donkeys all playing their part in its unique aesthetic.
As Great British Life explains “Clovelly is privately owned so you have to pay an entry fee, making it one of the most unique places in the country…And then there are some of the most breath-taking views over Bideford Bay and across the coastline, towards the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s easy to see why Clovelly makes it into so many social media feeds”.
Because you can’t spell Clovelly with ‘lovely’, after all!
The Bottom Line
With so much gorgeous coast to explore, defined by both golden sands and quaint fishing villages and towns, why would you ever want to leave Old Blighty?