Eat, surf and stay in Praa SandsPosted by Perfect Stays on Updated on
A magical and mile-long sandy beach
Situated within Mount’s Bay on Cornwall’s south coast, within an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) Praa Sands' beach is perfect for large families and can easily keep all ages and generations entertained. Small children will have lots of fun building sandcastles and playing in the shallows as the shoreline is great for splashing about in, further out, surfers can take on some surprisingly big waves. Grandparents, meanwhile, will love how flat and easily accessible everything is.
Being on the south coast, the beach witnesses large waves on a good swell, as does neighbouring Porthleven which made the news earlier this year with astonishing images of the storms. On balmy summer days, the shallow waters lap the sands. Local experts Global Boarders Surf School have their HQ at Praa Sands. They have declared it the perfect playground for all abilities and “arguably the number one surfing destination on the south coast.”
The Magic Seaweed Praa Sands webcam gives you a sense of the expanse of the beach and the waves on offer - view it here.
A romantic stretch of coast, packed full of history. West of Praa Sands lies Kenneggy Cove and beyond that Prussia Cove, a sheltered, secretive inlet, once the haunt of John Carter, Cornwall’s most notorious smuggler. To the east is the high cliff scenery of Rinsey Head and Trewavas Head, with its impressive engine houses. Below these cliffs, reached by a steep path, probably cut by smugglers, you’ll find the lovely tidal beach of Porthcew (Rinsey Cove).
Beyond the beach, on either side, the coastal paths rise up to provide spectacular views of Penzance and the Lizard Peninsula. A popular coastal path walk takes you from Praa Sands to Rinsey Head, a gentle stroll to an inspiring cove where no fewer than 23 species of butterfly have been spotted drifting above spectacular rock formations. Ruined engine houses perch dramatically on the cliffs at Wheal Trewavas, while the mine building at Wheal Prosper was used in the filming of the hugely popular Poldark sequel.
There are breathtaking views over Mount’s Bay and in spring the heath and grassland above the cliffs is ablaze with wildflowers. In summer it’s not uncommon to spot seals, dolphins and basking sharks in the water below. This is a good walk for children, who will love the wildlife, the beach and the romance of the old mine buildings.
In the most temperate part of the UK, the South West coast of Cornwall is blessed with tropical climates that ensure a bounty of local produce every year. And with the fresh Atlantic offerings, this is certainly one of Cornwall’s most exciting food scenes. A ten minute drive west to Marazion or 20 minutes east to Porthleven sees several stunning places to eat.
The Godolphin Arms is on the water’s edge of Mount’s Bay, with magnificent views overlooking beautiful St Michael’s Mount. Great for families and large groups, with a good pub menu featuring family favourites such as burgers, fish and chips and a Sunday roast. Walk straight in off the beach to the chilled-out beach bar or linger on the beachside terrace, enjoying a glass of wine and a platter of seafood.
The Guardian’s restaurant reviewer, Jay Rayner describes this family run restaurant as a “small, gloriously civilised restaurant of quiet ambition.” They pride themselves on serving excellent food using fine local ingredients, precisely executed. The wine list has been put together with great thought so it’s easy to match food and wine and the team aim for service that is knowledgeable, considerate and not intrusive.
Watch the boats bobbing in Porthleven Harbour from the glass-fronted restaurant, or enjoy a panoramic view from the terrace. Dine on lobster plucked fresh from the waves, or tuck into one of their sought-after burgers. By day an informal café bar perfect for a seafood lunch, or a light bite and a coffee; at night, tuck into seafood fresh off the boat, share a romantic steak dinner or treat the family to a wood-fired pizza. When the sun sets, the tealights are lit and Amélies is transformed into a relaxed and intimate restaurant on the waterfront.