Our guide to holidays in Hayle, Cornwall
Speak to anyone who lives in the West Country and the chances are they’ll have spent at least one weekend embracing the laidback, beachy lifestyle in Cornwall’s Hayle. Just off the beaten track enough to make you feel like a true adventurer experiencing real Cornwall, yet with plenty to see and do in the area, Hayle’s the perfect place for an escape from it all.
This is the kind of Cornish destination where all you need to pack is a pair of flip flops and your sunglasses, and whether you opt for a romantic retreat for two with a beautiful setting or a bucket and spade break with the kids, it’s the kind of relaxed resort where anything goes.
Beaches in Hayle
Let’s start with the area’s biggest draw, the beaches. Hayle Towans (and in case you’re wondering what ‘Towans’ means, it’s from the old Cornish word for Dunes), is a great big stretch of welcoming golden sand that rolls on for blissful mile after blissful mile. Because it’s quite out of the way, Hayle Town avoids becoming too crowded when the sun shines, and this beautiful beach is a popular one with sand buggies and sand yachts. But don’t worry if you’re content to stay on your towel and read a novel while the surfers do their thing in the distance, the beach is the perfect spot for some time out away from the hustle and bustle.
If you fancy trying your hand at surfing, head to the section of the beach known to the locals as ‘The Site’, which is backed by the caravan site tucked away behind the dunes. We have it on very good authority (from our surfers here at Blue Chip) that when there’s an impressive north coast swell and the wind’s due south this is the best spot for a surf in the area. Hayle Towans is more sheltered than its neighbouring surfy spots (Gwithian and Godrevy, and it’s a favourite at high tide. Lifehuards man the beach between May and September.
Things to do in Hayle
Well, we’ve already touched on one of the many things to do in Hayle above, and that’s surfing. Even if you’ve never stepped into a wetsuit, a Hayle holidays makes the perfect opportunity to hire a board, take a lesson or two and see if you’re a natural. Hey, at least you can say you’ve surfed in Cornwall even if you don’t discover a hidden talent…
If you go along to Godrevy beach you’ll find a man with a van who hires out surfing equipment throughout the summer, and there are all kinds of friendly, professional surf schools in the area who’ll be happy to some out and show you how it’s done’ Most of the schools promise to have you standing on your board (in the water, on the sand would be easy) without just two hours of tuition.
And then there are the walks. Hayle was one of the first areas in Cornwall to be recognised with a Walkers are Welcome award, which highlights the resorts in the county that take extra care of their walks and footpaths. So, no matter which season you visit in, you should be able to grab your hiking boots and set about exploring the breathtaking scenery on foot.
There’s a gorgeous walk that takes you to Godrevy, and if you look to the little island just off the shore you’ll be able to see Godrevy Lighthouse. There are some exhilarating clifftop walks around Godrevy, and you’ll be able to admire St Ives Bay from above (it’s also a brilliant angle to get those holiday photos from too).
You could walk from Godrevy headland to Hell’s Mouth, a landscape every bit as dramatic as it sounds. This five mile walk takes around two and a half hours to complete, but if you take your time and the weather’s kind you’ll be rewarded with the kind of views you’ll remember for a lifetime. There’s a café in the car park at Godrevy too, so if you need a cup of something hot to see you on your way you’ll be in luck.
Most of the attractions in Hayle are the natural ones, but for that all-important family day out during your stay it’s got to be Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary. With an enormous indoor play area that’s perfect for wet days when you need to keep the kids entertained for a few hours, this attraction’s also home to tropical gardens dotted with tropical birds, as well as otters, red pandas and all kinds of other friendly animals waiting to say hello. With St Ives within a twenty minute drive from Hayle, you’ll also find Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden within easy reach.
Restaurants in Hayle
Let’s face it, the places to dine during a UK break can make or break the whole holiday, so we’ve put our heads together to recommend some of our favourite restaurants in Hayle. Laura and her husband Ben love The Red River Pub near Gwithian, as not only is the food delicious but they also sell a fantastic range of beers in a relaxed atmosphere. Oh, and the steak’s worth a try too. It’s a good idea to book in advance as this one tends to be busy.
Now, if you’re staying in Cornwall then you’ve got to tuck into at least one treat at a beach café, and Godrevy Beach Café is one of our favourites. Just a pebble’s throw from one of the most spectacular beaches in the region, this chic beach café’s perfect for warming up after a long walk along the shore to blow the cobwebs out. You’ll find everything from hearty meals, light snacks and all the usual seaside faves.