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Stay in a stylish hotel and spend days coasteering and stand-up paddleboarding on this adrenaline-fuelled tour.
With its swirling Atlantic waves, sugary blonde beaches and cliff-edged coast, it’s no surprise that Cornwall has become the UK’s surfing capital. It all began with the arrival of four young Australian lifeguards and their boards to Newquay in the 1960s. Today, this county is where England’s South West coastline reaches its wildest (almost 30% of the land here is protected as the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and Cornwall’s famously creative flair invariably infuses the breezy seaside towns and villages – from where you can go hiking, cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding, coasteering, horse riding and more.
“When it comes to outdoor adventure, Cornwall can’t be beaten,” says Mike Young, head coach at Newquay’s Escape Surf School. “The rugged north coast provides year-round options for surfing at all levels of experience, while the more sheltered south coast is ideal for sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and wild swimming. Away from the coast, there’s also hiking, climbing, pony trekking and just exploring the beautiful countryside and moorland.”
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up three adrenaline-fuelled adventures in Cornwall, led by expert local guides, and have combined it with a stylish Victorian-era townhouse overlooking the English Channel for the ultimate post-activity retreat – all bookable right here on Culture Trip…
Clifftop Newquay, on the north Cornish coast, is the epicentre of Cornwall’s surf scene, home to wave-tastic Fistral Beach. Escape Surf School has been teaching the all-season ropes here for over 17 years, with all instructors qualified by ISA/Surfing England. This two-hour small-group session is adapted to your level, paying special attention to safety, and the experienced team chooses whichever beach has the best conditions each day.
Another wonderfully rewarding way to enjoy Cornwall’s coast at a relaxing pace is from a paddleboard. This keen local team (who have their own “board-to-bar” clothing line, too) run fun-filled, environmentally conscious SUP trips on the Fowey estuary, where landscapes melt from salt marshes to sandy beaches and forested slopes. Instructors tailor itineraries to your personal experience, whether you’re a complete beginner or a pro, and this two-hour session covers all the basics to get you started.
It isn’t all about riding the waves in Cornwall. Join a two-hour multi-activity expedition around Newquay’s Towan Headland to wild swim the coastline, explore hidden caves and whirlpools, brave some rock-climbing and, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, go deep-water cliff jumping. These knowledgeable coasteering instructors are all qualified lifeguards, and there are sweeping surf beach views the entire way, as well as historical curiosities to discover, such as relics from WWII.