50 things to do in Cornwall

Have you ever put together a bucket list of things you simply have to do in your lifetime? If you’re the adventurous type, then Cornwall is certainly a place where you can try out a whole host of new experiences that will live long your memory. From jumping off cliff tops into the Atlantic Ocean to soaring high above the Rainforest biomes at the Eden Project, there’s so many exhilarating things to do in Cornwall.

To help inspire you on your next big adventure, here’s our 50 favourite things to do in Cornwall…

See a show at the Hall For Cornwall

Hall For Cornwall

Catch some of the top shows touring the UK at the Hall For Cornwall, the county’s premier venue for drama and theatre productions. See some of the biggest names of stage and screen appear on the stage in Truro, which is a wonderful setting to catch a show. Why not combine it with a meal at one of the city’s many top restaurants?

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Take a trip to Land’s End

Lands End

No holiday to Cornwall would be complete without a journey to the UK’s most westerly point – Land’s End. Here you’ll find far more than that famous sign (if that wasn’t reason enough to head West and get the ultimate selfie). Here’s there’s also a mini theme park and it’s also the starting point for some great walks.

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Get swept up in Falmouth Week

Falmouth Week

For sailing fans, a visit to Falmouth for Falmouth Week has to be on your to-do list. Falmouth Week has grown into the largest sailing regatta in the south west with more than 450 yachts racing over eight days along with a lively programme of shore side events. Overlooking the third deepest natural harbour in the world and surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Carrick Roads waterways, Roseland Peninsula and South Cornish coastline, Falmouth’s amphitheatre-like setting is the ideal locale for visitors to enjoy the spectacle.

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See Mousehole’s Christmas Lights

Mousehole Christmas Lights

If you’re lucky enough to visit Cornwall at Christmas then a visit to Mousehole to see the village’s Chrismas Lights is a must. Few places to Christmas Lights quite like Moushole. The Christmas lights in Mousehole are a stunning sight, with floating displays of lights in the harbour and around the streets that are filled with the aroma of mulled wine and festive food. You’ll see a fantastic display of sea serpents, fishing boats and whales colourfully lighting up one of Cornwall’s most welcoming harbours.

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See the spectacular Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps by Paul Watts / Visit Cornwall

Bedruthan Steps is spectacular natural rock formation on the beach on the north Cornish coast. Wow factor doesn’t even begin to cover it. Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps is one of the most popular destinations on the Cornish coast and is an absolute must-see. The landscape is synonymous with shipwrecks and smugglers, and the spectacular clifftop views look out over Bedruthan Steps, where a rank of colossal, pointed stacks march out of the atlantic waves against a dramatic backdrop.

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Do you like ice-cream? Head to Roskilly’s!

Roskillys_ice_cream

Roskilly’s ice-cream is something of a Cornish tradition. Not only does it taste amazing, making you want to eat your own bodyweight in ice-cream after only a few mouthfuls, but you can also see where it’s made. Visit the farm, see the parlour and meet the animals.

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Full steam ahead! Take a trip on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway

bodmin and wenford railway

Take a trip on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway and you’ll be transported back to the golden age of the railways in Cornwall. Special events are also held throughout the year – Steam and Diesel Galas, Heritage Transport Festival, Themed weekends and several family-orientated events, including an “Easter Egg-Travaganza” and the visit of Peppa Pig to Bodmin! Trains operate from Bodmin General – the line’s main station where free car and coach parking is available – to Bodmin Parkway – where connections can be made directly with main line railway services – and Boscarne Junction on the popular Camel Trail.

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Take a tour of an award-winning Cornish vineyard

Camel Valley Vineyard Tours

Did you know that Cornwall produces some of the finest wines in the UK? Camel Valley Vineyard at Nanstallon near Bodmin is famed for its sparkling wines. And you can take a tour of the vineyard to see exactly how it’s made. Their unique tours are relaxed and friendly and the location is stunning; sitting on the terrace sipping Camel Valley wine on a summer’s afternoon is magical. There’s no snobbery here, just a deep and enthusiastic love of winemaking that you’ll find infectious.

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Watch the magical City Of Lights Parade in Truro

lanterns - city of lights parade

For an evening to remember head to Truro for the City of Lights parade. Held in mid November each year, the event sees a dazzling procession of withy and tissue lanterns float through the streets, handmade and carried by professional artists, Cornish school children and local community and youth groups. The event includes the official switch on of Truro’s Christmas lights, plus music and dance from Truro School of Samba and other local bands.

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Go to Boardmasters!

board-masters

Whether you’re an avid festival goer or are keen to go to your first one, Boardmasters is one of the biggest and best – and it’s held in Cornwall every August. Boardmasters is a unique experience, combining a live music festival with extreme sports competitions. Here you can catch Snoop Dogg on stage one minute and head down to see top surfers compete at Fistral Beach the next. An amazing summer time experience…

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Play a round of golf at one of Cornwall’s stunning golf courses

ready-steady-go-golf

If you love golf, and let’s face it who doesn’t, then Cornwall is the place to be. The county is blessed with some of the finest golf courses in the country and, if you feel like testing yourself on some spectacular courses, then you simply have to play a round while you’re here. Head to North Cornwall and play Trevose or St Enodoc or head East and try the Nicklaus course at St Mellion International. You won’t be disappointed.

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Are you ready for Hurling at St Columb Major?

hurling

For something a little different – and by different we mean that you can only see it in Cornwall – head over to St Columb Major near Newquay for the annual hurling contest (just don’t park your car in the high street while it’s going on). The traditional St Columb hurling takes place on Shrove Tuesday and the second Saturday following. The usually rough game is played on the streets and in the surrounding countryside, between the Townsmen and Countrymen of the parish, with the shops in the town barricading their windows and doors to protect from accidental damage, which sometimes occurs. The opposing teams compete to take control of a silver ball and have to get it over the opposition’s boundary to claim victory. It is a truly unique spectacle to behold!

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Discover one of Cornwall’s most beautiful coves – Sennen

Sennen credit Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall

If you plan to explore West Cornwall during your stay then you simply have to visit Sennen Cove. With crystal clear water and the swell coming straight in from the Atlantic, it is a great surf spot all year round. This beautiful coastal village in West Cornwall is situated just eight miles from Penzance and one mile from Land’s End. It is bounded by the sea to the west and bordered by the parishes of St Just to the north, St Buryan to the east and St Levan to the south.There’s a little harbour that supports a small fleet of fishing boats and a long stretch of golden sand at Sennen Cove beach, popular with families and surfers alike.

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Are you scared of heights? Go skydiving over Cornwall

skydiving

Skydiving at Perranporth… OK, this isn’t one for the faint hearted! See Cornwall from a perspective that few will ever see – thousands of feet up in the air! At Perranporth Flying Club their team of experts will guide you through this truly unforgettable experience every step of the way.

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Visit Chycauster

chycauster

Take a step back in time and visit Chycauster in West Cornwall. This Iron Age settlement was originally occupied almost 2,000 years ago and is one of the finest examples of such in the country. The village was made up of stone-walled homesteads known as ‘courtyard houses’, found only on the Land’s End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly. The houses line a ‘village street’, and each had an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms. Today visitors can walk around the village settlement to gain a sense of what the houses would have looked like and how the settlement was laid out. There are also the remains of an enigmatic ‘fogou’ underground passage

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Sea Cornwall’s coast from a different angle – try kite surfing

kite surfing watergate bay

If you’re the sort of person who loves golden, sandy beaches – but find the thought of lazing around sun bathing pretty boring then why not try something altogether more action packed. Kite surfing is one for the adrenaline junkies – the ultimate combination of wind and waves. There’s plenty of places where you can try this sport, including the Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay.

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Try your hand at sea kayaking

sea kayaking

There is little that beats the exhilarating and breathtaking experience of seeing the Cornish coastline from the water. And sea kayaking is one of the best ways to get out on the water. Cornish Rock Tors offer kayaking trips on the north and south coast, where you can paddle to remote beaches, spot wildlife and explore unspoiled scenery away from the crowds.

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Get ready for an adventure on the ocean – try gig rowing!

Gig Rowing

Cornwall is home to the World Pilot Gig Rowing Championships, which take place on the Isles of Scilly each year. But if you’ve always fancied trying your hand at this sport then there are places where you can dip your oar into the waves and see if it’s for you. Newquay Rowing Club offer weekly sessions for new and novice rowers, so head along and see if it’s for you!

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Get up close to the creatures of the deep!

blue-reef-aquarium

If the weather isn’t being so kind then you need an indoor attraction (and one that will keep the kids entertained for hours, right?) Well, a short drive into Newquay and to Blue Reef Aquarium will certainly solve a problem for you and your family. This is a great family day out, where you can get up close and personal to some creatures from the deep – and some from altogether warmer climes too!

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Step back in time at Charlestown Harbour

Charlestown by Adam Gibbard / Visit Cornwall

Charlestown Harbour is an amazingly pristine, unspoiled example of a late Georgian working port. It was constructed between 1791 and 1801 by Charles Rashleigh, entrepreneur and member of the local landowning family, in response to the growth of the growth of the local mining industry. Originally built to export copper and import coal, it was soon being used for the export of China Clay. It is from its creator that the the port gets its name. Today it is used regularly as a film set, with its tall ships used in Pirates of The Caribbean and Poldark.

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Visit picturesque St Ives

st ives

St Ives is a beautiful town on the north coast and is widely regarded as the jewel of Cornwall’s crown. St Ives is the art centre of West Cornwall. Artists were attracted to the area from the 19th Century onwards. In the 20th Century St Ives became a haven for giants of British Modernism, notably Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

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Sample May Day in Padstow

Padstow May Day

If you’d like to sample a slice of real Cornish culture on your holiday then head to nearby Padstow for May Day, or Obby Oss Day as it is known locally. May Day is celebrated in Padstow like nowhere else on earth. Thousands of people flock to the town as the two ‘osses’ – red and blue – dance around the streets in celebration.

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Visit beautiful Boscastle

Boscastle credit Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall

Perched on the cliffs of Cornwall’s north coast is the beautiful village of Boscastle, with is characterful properties and quaint harbour. On a summer’s day it is a picture of peace and tranquillity but one day back in 2004 that certainly wasn’t the case. Torrential rain caused flash flooding that turned the small river that runs through the centre of Boscastle to become a raging torrent – and it nearly washed away the entire village. By some miracle, no one was killed. At the National Trust visitor centre you can learn more about this incredible day – and even watch a video of the daring rescues.

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Discover the legend of King Arthur at Tintagel Castle

tintagel castle

Visit Tintagel Castle and immerse yourself in history, myths and stunning scenery at Tintagel, a place inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur. For centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists and even the brother of a king. See the exhibition and learn more, take a step across the famous bridge or explore the ruins of this cliff top castle!

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Discover new, exotic creatures at Newquay Zoo

newquay zoo

Looking for a great family day out, but don’t want to travel too far? Head down the road to Newquay and visit the award-winning Newquay Zoo. Get up close with some of the worlds’ most exotic creatures and learn more about their natural habitat, as well as the zoo’s outstanding preservation work.

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Follow the Poldark trail!

Poldark holidays in Cornwall at Hengar Manor

Are you fan of TV drama Poldark? Were you left in awe at the dramatic landscapes and seascapes beamed to millions in the show? Well, you can following the footsteps of Ross, Demelza and the rest of the case by walking (or riding) the Poldark Trail. Visit Ross’ house, the amazing tin and copper mines as well as the many other film locations of this popular programme.

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Take a tour of a Cornish brewery

st-austell-brewery

Cornwall is, if you excuse the pun, overflowing with breweries – all producing great local beers (many of which are award winning). Arguably the county’s largest and most successful is St Austell Brewery. You can follow the journey of how this company’s fantastic beers such as Tribute and Proper Job are made with a special brewery tour – you can even design your own label for your own, personal beer!

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Get ready for action – it’s banger racing time!

banger racing at st day

At first glance this may not be something you’d automatically associate with Cornwall, but banger racing is extremely popular here! This all-action sport has a loyal fanbase and you catch this high octane entertainment at the United Downs Raceway at St Day – kids also go free!

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All aboard for a sea safari

sea safari

If you want to get up-close and personal with some amazing creatures from the ocean, including dolphins and seals, then take a sea safari from Newquay Harbour. Explore the North Cornwall Coast and see Newquay like you’ve never seen it – from the sea. Cruise the Hidden coves and secret beaches and meet the wildlife in their natural environment.

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Visit Fowey

fowey harbour credit Barnaclebird photography  / Visit Cornwall

Fowey symbolises Cornwall beautifully – this picture postcard fishing port, with jaw-dropping setting on the seafront, pretty harbour, narrow streets and independent shops is a must visit for anyone taking a holiday in Cornwall. You can spend hours here and it is easy to see why it is so popular. If you’re a bit of a foodie then Fowey is the place for you, with some of the finest restaurants in Cornwall based here.

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Get ready for non-stop fun at Flambards Theme Park!

flambards

For family days out with the kids, Cornwall certainly takes some beating! One of the county’s most popular attractions is Flambards Theme Park. Flambards has just about everything on one site – rollercoaster rides, indoor games and even a soft play area. A great day out for the whole family!

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Take part in the Crantock Big Bale Push

Big Bale Push

For a truly unique experience head to Crantock, near Newquay, in September for the Big Bale Push – just make sure you’re fit and ready for action! You and your friends can take part in this epic test of skill and fitness as you race to push a giant bale around the village in the quickest time possible. It all raises thousands of pounds for great local charities each year!

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These boots were made for walking!

Couple walking their dog on a cCornwall coast path

If you like nothing more than lacing up your walking boots and putting your best foot forward, then Cornwall is the place to be. The South West Coast Path is a must for walkers, with dozens and dozens of miles coastal path to explore, all of which offers truly stunning views out to sea and of the coastline below.

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Enjoy bacon and eggs with a view…

Fifteen Cornwall

Breakfast… such an underrated meal. How great would it be to have chefs at a top restaurant prepare you a sumptuous breakfast while you looked out on a long stretch of golden sandy beach as the Atlantic waves rolled in? Well, at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay you can do just that!

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Check out Cornwall’s only city – Truro

Truro Cathedral by Trevor Burrows

Cornwall may only have one city, but it’s a rather nice one. Truro is the county’s administrative hub, being home to the county council and the county’s main hospital. It also boasts a beautiful cathedral and pretty city centre, with its cobbled streets and preserved buildings. If you’re after a spot of retail therapy, then Truro’s the place to be in Cornwall! Add to this a great mix of cafes, bars and top restaurants and you can see why it is so popular with tourists and locals alike.

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Discover the Lost Gardens of Heligan

lost-gardens-of-heligan

Cornwall is blessed with dozens of fine houses and gardens. One of the county’s most unique is the Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey. As the name suggests, these gardens were a lost, overgrown mess until a group of volunteers happened to stumble across them. After decades of painstaking restoration, they gardens are one of the most popular attractions in Cornwall.

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Visit the Medieval Island castle of St Michael’s Mount

St Michaels Mount credit Matthew Jessop and Visit Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount is arguably one of the most recognisable landmarks in the UK. This beautiful island castle off Cornwall’s south coast is a must visit. You can either walk across the causeway at low tide or take a boat ride across to this Medieval fortress.

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Walk, bike or ride on the Camel Trail!

camel-trail

The Camel Trail is an 18-mile long cycle and walking trail that runs from Padstow to Wenfordbridge, via Wadebridge and Bodmin. Largely traffic free it is surfaced and a virtually level multi use trail which passes through some of the most spectacular countryside in the south west.

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Visit Poldark Mine

poldark mine

Poldark Mine is the only complete underground tin mine in Cornwall that’s open for guided tours. It has been described as one of the most atmospheric mines in Europe. It’s a great day out for the whole family!

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The Doctor will see you now… Visit Port Isaac aka Portwenn

A view across Port Issac

Are you a fan of TV comedy drama Doc Martin? Did you know it was filmed in Cornwall? Well, you can follow in the footsteps of Martin Clunes and the cast of this popular TV programme by visiting Port Isaac (or Portwenn as it is known in the show). This pretty fishing village is well worth a visit, with lots of great shops, cafes and restaurants to sample – as well as a pretty amazing coastline!

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Take a hot air balloon ride over Cornwall

hot air balloon rides cornwall

Do you want to see Cornwall from a different point of view? Why not take a hot air balloon ride and look down on your favourite parts of the county from the air? Enjoy spectacular sunrises or sunsets from the skies high above Cornwall – and with a glass of champagne too!

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Take a trip to the Eden Project

discover-cornwall-eden-project

The Eden Project is one of the most popular and instantly recognisable visitor attractions in the UK. Not only is it a great place to visit if you love plants and have a passion for gardening but here you can also: Watch live music at the Eden Sessions, go ice skating on the rinks in the winter or even take a ride on the zip wire high above the biomes!

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Visit the Royal Cornwall Show

Royal Cornwall Show

If you’re lucky enough to visit Cornwall in early June then you simply have to go along to the Royal Cornwall Show. This 3-day extravaganza celebrates all aspects of Cornish life, with a particular focus on agriculture. Here you can visit the hundreds of stalls and trade stands, visit the exhibition tents, take in the live entertainment or watch the competitive animal classes. There’s so much to see and do here!

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Eat at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow

The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow credit Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall

For many people a visit to Cornwall is all about experiencing something, either for the first time or for something truly memorable. One thing Cornwall has a strong reputation for is its quality food (and top restaurants). One of the best the county has to offer is Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. Dining here is truly an experience to savour, with exquisite seafood dishes aplenty.

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Go Coasteering off the Cornish coast!

Go Wild at Hengar Manor

Would you describe yourself as something of an adrenaline junkie? Do your like your holidays to be action packed? Then why not try your hand at coasteering? This is the exhilarating sport of jumping off cliffs into the ocean and swimming into rock caves. See Cornwall from a different view and travel along otherwise inaccessible stretches of coastline.

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Discover Cornwall’s mining heritage

Wheal Coates credit Adam Gibbard and Visit Cornwall

Step back in time and discover Cornwall’s mining World Heritage Sites. Recognised by UNESCO Cornwall’s mining sites are regarded as significantly important to the whole of humanity. And, as such, some of the sites have been restored and maintained for future generations. Visit sites across Cornwall and West Devon and learn the vital role mining played in the lives of thousands of people.

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Explore Bodmin Moor…Can you find the beast?

Rough Tor Minions on Bodmin Moor credit Matt Jessop / Visit Cornwall

We’ve all heard of the legendary Beast of Bodmin Moor, right? Well perhaps it’s time you explored this rugged landscape, which covers a vast area of north and east Cornwall. A fantastic place for walkers, Bodmin Moor is home to high peaks of Brown Willy and Roughtor as well as the ancient Chessewring and Hurlers stone circles. There is so much to discover in this vast expanse of wilderness.

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See a play at the Minack Theatre

Antony Cleopatra by Derby Shakespeare at The Minack Theatre

For a truly special experience take in a show at Cornwall’s iconic Minack Theatre. This open air theatre is perched on the cliff tops high above the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can watch drama, musicals and opera every summer. There are few more breathtaking places to watch one of your favourite productions…

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Visit Padstow

Padstow by Adam Gibbard / Courtesy Visit Cornwall

A visit to Padstow is a must for anyone holidaying in Cornwall. This beautiful harbour town and fishing port is the perfect place to sample a true slice of Cornish life. Here you can take boat trips out across the Camel Estuary, explore the spectacular coastline, enjoy fabulous food in the many top restaurants or simply wander around the narrow streets and independent shops!

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Go surfing at Fistral Beach

go-discover-surfs-up-surf-school

It has a reputation as one of Europe’s best surfing beaches, and it’s easy to see why. It produces some of the best waves in England and is an extremely popular choice for surfers of all abilities. Even if you’re a complete beginner, there’s plenty of surf schools out there who will teach you the ropes in next to no time.

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