A delightful haven on the south coast of CornwallPosted by Rebecca Jackson on Updated on
An insider’s guide to Gorran Haven
The unspoilt coastal village of Gorran Haven sits in a sheltered valley on the south coast of Cornwall. Just off the beaten track, the picturesque settlement remains unchanged by the passing of time. Sheltered by the towering Dodman Point, the lovely sandy cove just below the village is often referred to as the safest bathing area in Cornwall. The calm waters are loved by families, and are perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. With a stone pier transforming the beach into a little harbour, it’s easy to imagine Gorran Haven’s seafaring past. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the few remaining working fishing boats as they return to shore.
With a handful of charming local shops and cafés in the village, you could easily while away long, tranquil days in Gorran Haven without venturing out. However, if you love day trips, this pretty village makes the perfect base for exploring a myriad of Cornish gems on the south coast. With Charlestown, the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan all within a thirty minute drive, you’ll be able to experience an unforgettable taste of Cornwall with ease.
To help you plan your holiday, we’ve put together an insider’s guide to the top attractions near Gorran Haven.
Explore the breathtaking Eden Project Biomes
The world famous Eden Project is nestled in a reclaimed china clay pit, and boats the largest indoor rainforest in the world. The extraordinary collection of plants from diverse climates and environments are housed within two breathtaking biomes. There’s something for everyone at the Eden Project, from summer concerts to exhilarating adventure activities and year-round family events. For the sports enthusiasts, Parkrun is also held at Eden every Saturday morning, and the extremely popular Eden Marathon takes place during October.
Insider tip: in honour of Mother’s Day, all mums and grandmas will get free entry to Eden for one day only.
Taste a piece of heaven at the Michelin Star Driftwood Restaurant
Resplendently placed on the Roseland Heritage Coast, the delectable Michelin Starred Driftwood Restaurant is less than a 30 minute drive from Gorran Haven. This relaxed, unpretentious restaurant is run by Head Chef Chris Eden, and specialises in delicious local seafood and the finest west country meats. Open for dinner every night, exceptional courses such as Helford Crab with White Mooli, 40 Day Old Fillet of Ruby Red Beef and “Thunder and Lightening” Tart, aren’t to be missed.
Insider tip: private lunches at the Driftwood Restaurant can be booked on request for a minimum of six people.
Step back in time and channel Poldark in Charlestown
Just 25 minutes from Gorran Haven, the dramatic village of Charlestown in an unspoilt example of a late Georgian working port. Constructed between 1791 and 1801, you can still see a fleet of square rigger ships at this Grade II listed harbour. The unspoilt sea views and rich seafaring heritage have made Charlestown the ideal backdrop to films old and new. Period dramas such as Mansfield Park and Rebecca have been set here, as well as Poldark, the widely popular BBC series. To discover all there is to know about Charlestown’s history, head to the Shipwreck Centre.
Insider tip: for extraordinary home-made ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt made from fresh, local produce, head to the family-run Tall Ships Creamery. Open all year round, this award-winning shop serves deliciously original ice-cream flavours including Cornish Vanilla, Oreo Ahoy and Lemon Heave Ho.
Wander amongst the mysterious Lost Gardens of Heligan
Only ten minutes from Gorran Haven by car, the mysterious and romantic Lost Gardens of Heligan are open all year round. Genuinely lost in the undergrowth for decades, the hidden gardens were only fully unveiled in 1992. With over 200 acres of gardens to explore, including an exotic jungle, Alpine-inspired ravine, bamboo tunnels and woodland sculpture walk, you’ll easily while away a dreamy day amongst the magical greenery.
Insider tip: the incredible Heligan Kitchen and Bakery serves fresh garden produce and home-reared meat. From hearty breakfasts, traditional Cornish Cream Teas and summer salads, you’ll find delectable treats for all tastes.
Brave the waves aboard the Mevagissey to Fowey ferry
Just along the coast from Gorran Haven is the attractive old town of Mevagissey, once the centre of Cornwall’s pilchard fishery. With a working harbour and a few dozen fishing boats, it offers a snapshot of Cornish seafaring life. You can take the local ferry from Mevagissey, across St Austell Bay to Fowey, where you can explore this contrasting, characterful harbour town.
Insider tip: for the best fish and chips, head to the Sharksfin restaurant in Mevagissey.