Insider Guide: What to do in Cornwall this Winter with Natalie & Liv
Insider Guide: What to do in Cornwall this Winter with Natalie & Liv
As the rush of summer is behind us and longer evenings draw in, Cornwall embraces a sense of serenity that fills the air. Heading down to Cornwall for the winter season can be described as the purest form of escape; the intense smell of sea salt and the loud grumble of distant waves will immediately draw you in when arriving at THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay. Our house comes alive when there is a chill in the air and the roaring fires inside become even more welcoming.
Reception Manager, Natalie, has been part of the THE PIG family since the opening of Harlyn Bay in spring 2020. Liv is in the Reception Team and is from Padstow, recently moving back home from Australia. Together, Natalie and Liv have written a locals guide to Cornish days out to show you that Cornwall is not just for summer!
Natalie & Liv outside THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay
Padstow, the bustling harbour town closest to us at THE PIG–at Harlyn Bay is full of delicious foodie finds, quirky art galleries, and cosy corners to hunker down in with a Cornish treat. Nestled in the heart of Padstow is The Tasting Room, home to Padstow Brewing’s award-winning craft beer. The Tasting Room is the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by with a pint of local beer or a cocktail.
If it’s something more creative you’re after, then Rick Stein’s Cookery School offers a variety of cooking courses ranging from half-a-day to two-days of cooking the freshest seafood dishes in town, guaranteed to give you a rumbly tummy!
For the first weekend in December, Padstow Christmas Festival should be in your diary! It is one of the largest Christmas festivals in the Southwest - think lots of warming food, mulled wine, and Cornish artisan producers. Renowned chefs Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth will be hosting four days of festive feasting. THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay’s Head Chef, Adam Bristow, and Group Head Kitchen Gardener, Ollie Hutson, will be there too, sharing the very best seasonal cooking and produce that THE PIG has to offer - click here for all the Christmas Festival details!
A little further from the hustle and bustle of Padstow, tucked away in the Cornish countryside, is Trevibban Mill Vineyard - a gorgeous wine (and cider!) making venue running tours and tastings. This family run business is surrounded by their expansive vineyards and orchards, you can sit back and enjoy the view from their covered balcony with a drink of your choice. You can even try their bestselling wine aptly named ‘Harlyn’ which is an off-dry aromatic white blend.
WATERGATE BAY, NEAR NEWQUAY
Watergate Bay is a 2-mile-long beach which is undeniably one of Cornwall’s best! The beach has ultimate conditions for those wanting to surf, learn water sports or to stroll across the golden sand. Wavehunters Surf School and their experienced instructors run all year round to help you master your technique. To warm up afterwards, head to The Beach Hut for their indulgent hot chocolates.
Watergate Bay Beach
POLZEATH & ROCK
Across the Camel Estuary from Padstow is the surf town of Polzeath. Renowned for its good surf and laid back vibes, it has a a different ambience to Padstow, with lots of cafes, eateries, and surf hire shops. The Atlantic Bar & Kitchen is set up above the beach, with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and is the home of Harbour Brewing - a fantastic spot for a thirst-quenching pint and delicious pizza post-surf! If you are looking for some in-land activity to fill your day, The Point at Polzeath is an open-to-all golf club complete with Padel courts & a challenging driving range. A fun day out for the family, close to the coast, hit some balls, and then head to the beach for some fresh salty sea air.
Rock is a small village which you can access quickly via the Padstow Ferry, or by car (which takes around 35 minutes). Over in Rock you will find water sports, bakeries, fish & chip shops, and The Mariners Pub by Paul Ainsworth. A wonderful place to rest and enjoy the view of Padstow across the estuary, with seriously good food and drink. If the weather allows it, the walk from Rock to Daymer Bay offers amazing views, and if you are keen you can carry on round the coast path to Polzeath.
If a traditional Cornish pub is to your taste, then The St Kew Inn is a short 10 minute drive from Polzeath towards Wadebridge and is a firm favourite within our team. It serves a delicious seasonal menu in a 15th Century pub, with an open fire and friendly staff.
Christmas at The Eden Project – an utterly magical and completely different experience to visiting the biomes during the day. The Mediterranean Biome becomes an enchanted winter wonderland with a big-band orchestra playing seasonal jingles under the lights. The Tropical Rainforest Biome is a beautifully lit, colourful experience highlighting the iconic waterfall. Why not partake in the ultimate winter activity, ice skating! You can skate during 40 minute sessions on their pop-up ice rink
Colwith Farm is Cornwall’s first award winning ‘plough to bottle’ distillery. The Dustow family produces the complete product from their own estate, founded upon five generations of farming history. Join them for a distillery tour and a Gin or Vodka masterclass.
The Eden Project
Bodmin Moor is a breath-taking part of Cornwall, especially in the winter. Bodmin Moor is host to the highest point in Cornwall, Brown Willy, whose summit reaches 1,378ft above sea level. Wrap up in your winter woollies and set off on this challenge. You can complete the torr in 2.5 hours. Afterwards, kick back and relax at The Jamaica Inn, a popular smugglers inn made world famous by Daphne Du Maurier, where you will be welcomed for that post walk pint by the fireplace. There are also plenty of routes to go mountain biking up the torrs for those who are seeking an offroad thrill.
Part of the Bodmin Moors
A cultural hub tucked down on Cornwall’s south coast; Falmouth has the third deepest natural harbour in the world. Falmouth is brimming with foodie delights such as The Verdant Seafood Bar, Gylly Beach Café, and The Star & Garter Pub to name but a few! This town is stacked with pubs, bars, restaurants and has a delightful high street filled with gift shops and galleries to mooch through. Unlike the north coast, the River Fal and the Helford River are calm and flat, perfect for sailing and paddle boarding.
Make your drive south worthwhile and take the ferry from Falmouth to St. Mawes, a small fishing village located at the end of the Roseland peninsula. The village is dotted with picture perfect cottages and far-reaching vistas of sail boats bobbing along the estuary.
A fantastic 13th century pub is The Pandora Inn, the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner on the drive back to the North Coast, situated on the edge of Restronguet Creek. Think flagstone floors, low-beamed ceilings, and a thatched roof.
The Verdant Seafood Bar, Quay Street, Falmouth
Penzance can feel like a long way away from the rugged coastline of the THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay, but the journey is made easy thanks to the main A30 road. We suggest starting your day with a dip in the salt-water geo-thermal Jubilee Pool, which is built into the seawall at Penzance. For those who feel like showing off, a plunge into the (freezing!) cold sea-water pool will put hairs on your chest! Grab a hot chocolate to-go from the Jubilee Pool Café and stroll down the promenade to nearby Newlyn; a fishing port known for catching the best crab in Cornwall. There you will find Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, serving delicious seafood and small plates, a perfect post swim lunch haunt.
Located a short drive round to Marazion is St. Michael’s Mount. This tidal island is home to the historic and impressive castle and garden. Make sure you check the tide times when planning your day as the route across to the castle can be cut off by high tide. If the weather isn’t permitting, you can soak in the sights from The Godolphin Pub which has incredible views across Mount’s Bay.
If you’re visiting at Christmas time, Mousehole (Mouzel) a tiny fishing port, puts on its annual iconic Christmas lights, and as the story goes there is a famous Mousehole cat...
“One very stormy winter, none of the fishermen of the village of Mousehole /ˈmaʊzəl/ in Cornwall have been able to leave the harbour for a long while and the village is near starvation. Tom Bawcock (only called 'Tom' in the book) and his loyal black and white cat, Mowzer, decide to brave the storms and set sail to catch some fish. When the boat hits the storm, it is represented by a giant "Storm-Cat", which allows Mowzer to eventually save the day by soothing the storm with her purring. This purring becomes a song and while the Storm-Cat is resting Tom can haul in his catch and return to harbour. When they arrive back at the village, the entire catch is cooked into various dishes, including half a hundred "star-gazy" pies, on which the villagers feast.”
Fancy a winter getaway to Cornwall? Book here.