Whether it’s dining out in bay-buttressing restaurants, doing the downward dog along sandy shores or curling up with a nice cup of tea and a scone – buttered the Cornish way, of course – the ocean seeps into every element of life in Cornwall.
It’s no wonder the Victorian Headland Hotel played host to the child-hating sorceresses for the film adaption of Roald Dahl’s The Witches – the atmospheric building juts incongruously from the craggy clifftop beside Newquay’s famed surfing spot, Fistral Beach.
But upon arrival, the only thing to make us jump is the gleeful delight of a child slapping down playing cards and shouting “SNAP!”. The revolving wooden door opens into a grand foyer where dogs doze next to roaring fires (Newquay is super pet-friendly) and the sea beckons from beyond the bay windows. There’s
a sense we’re already home, even before we’ve nestled into our stately sea-view bedroom.
No trip to Cornwall would be complete without a quick Celtic Sea dip. The hotel’s adjoining surf school, Surf Sanctuary, armours us for the venture, foam boards and all, and two hours of perseverance later (partly ours, mostly our instructor Ben’s) and a millisecond of wobbly standing, we exit, exhausted and exhilarated, and make a dash for the Jacuzzi in the hotel’s state-of-the-art spa. If we aren’t sufficiently unwound already, the bird’s-eye view and tranquil voice of instructor Stretch at Oceanflow Yoga certainly help us rediscover the balance that deserted us in the sea.
Stomachs growling, it’s time to go in search of something hearty and Cornwall has a long history with delicious cuisine, attracting chefs such as Jamie Oliver and long-time Padstow native Rick Stein, to its shores. We head to the former’s offering, Fifteen, which is in, or should we say on, Watergate Bay beach. A social enterprise initiative that’s part of an apprentice chef programme, the open kitchen and ever-changing menu creates a cosy dinner party feel with top-notch nibbles. There’s also the casual Lewinnick Lodge, floating on a sturdy cloud of decking over the Pentire headland with an oceanic menu to fit the most spectacular view.
I hit my fluffy pillow and am asleep before I have time to close the blinds. However, watching the morning waves roll onto Fistral Beach makes for the most pleasant of wake-up calls. (The Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay, +44 163 787 2211; headlandhotel.co.uk)
Aer Lingus Regional flies Dublin to Newquay daily.