Cornwall in Winter has an enchanted air. There’s a beauty and magic to the white frosty fields and the mist that clings to the rivers in the morning. The summer crowds have gone leaving behind beautiful empty beaches, deserted cliff paths and quaint old pubs where there’s always a seat by the fire.
It’s empty, peaceful and still, leaving room for it’s mystical, romantic side to emerge. Winter is when mysterious, old Cornwall unfurls – the land of giants and mermaids, and legendary lovers like Lancelot and Guinevere and Tristan and Isolde.
If you’d like to discover the delights of Cornwall in Winter, here are a few ideas…
Wrap up warm, hold hands and go for a walk
Even in the dead of winter, there’s a mildness about the Cornish climate that beckons you outdoors. You’ll find our first daffodils are out in December, the camellias bloom by Christmas, and the Cornish spring arrives in February.
One of Cornwall’s most romantic walks is from Boscastle to Valency Valley and Fire Beacon Point. It’s a hike of 5.4 miles, but so worth it. This walk takes in coastal views, a waterfall, picturesque Boscastle Harbour, a wooded valley and the remote church of St Juliot, rebuilt by Thomas Hardy doing his day job of architect. It was here he met his first wife, Emma, and their romance led to the novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, and some of his better poetry.
Book yourselves in for a couple’s spa
A spa day together is a great way of tuning out the rest of the world and focusing on each other. Many spas have specially designed couples suites with double baths and dual treatment areas, and offer couples massage lessons too.
Add to the romance by choosing a spa with a sea view. The Scarlet Spa offers panoramic views of the crashing Atlantic, so you can relax and contemplate together the drama and beauty of the ocean in Winter. At the Scarlet, you can even enjoy a cliff top hot tub together as you sip Champagne as you watch the waves.
The dramatic rock stacks at Mawgan Porth testify to the power of the waves that have carved out their towering and impressive forms for millions of years.
In really wild Winter, nothing beats the elemental thrill of watching huge thundering seas crash relentlessly on Cornwall’s dramatic coast. Perhaps it’s the humbling sense of our own insignificance that does it. Like cosying up in front of the fire, storm watching puts us back in touch with our primordial urges to find safety and shelter, and – most importantly of all – to find refuge in romance from the spectre of our own mortality.
For a really romantic storm watching experience, try the Ship Inn at Porthleven, The Queen’s Hotel in Penzance, The Minack Theatre Café, Bedruthan Hotel & Spa or the Scarlet Hotel, both in Mawgan Porth.
Explore the cobbled streets together
Winter is, without doubt, the best – the only – time to explore the atmospheric narrow streets of our coastal villages. You can relax and do a bit of shopping free from the crowds and busy roads of high season. You can browse antique shops together at a leisurely pace, pop into a local restaurant or potter around the local museum. Good ones to explore include:
One of those well-kept Cornish secrets, Gorran Haven keeps itself to itself, tucked away as it is on the south eastern tip of the Roseland Peninsula. Most visitors to the county never find it. A lane winds downhill into the valley and to a small harbour and expansive sandy beach. Cliffs tower on either side, adding to the tucked-away romance of the place.
Unspoilt Chapel Amble is at the head of a once tidal stream in the Parish of St Kew. It has post office stores and a good pub. A two mile stroll upstream will bring you to a wooded valley, where nestles St Kew with its 16th Century church, Georgian vicarage and inn.
Constantine is a charming, unspoilt corner of Cornwall dotted with picturesque cottages, woods, wild flowers, historic quays, National Trust gardens – and all within walking distance sandy beaches. For 500 years, the church has looked out over the glorious landscape of the Helford River and its romantic hideaway creeks.