Just ten minutes from Port Eliot, Whitsand Bay is truly one of Cornwall’s hidden gems with four miles of magnificent shoreline, from Rame Head to Portwrinkle and four golden sand beaches – Tregantle, Sharrow Point, Freathy and Tregonhawke – all backed by sheer cliffs. It really is spectacular and on a hot summer’s day it feels like the Mediterranean.
Children can get up close and personal with fascinating sea creatures – such as tiny goby fish, shrimps and crabs (to name but a few) – that thrive in the rock pools dotted around the beach. Out to sea the bay is a popular dive site and when the tide’s in, the constant swell keeps boogie and long boarders happy.
Portwrinkle, once a thriving fishing village where they used to salt pilchards, still has a charming harbour and some remains of the 17th century pilchard cellars.
Two miles further down the coast is Downderry, with a long, south facing, sand and shingle beach with wonderful rock pools at low tide. For surfers there are two notable reef breaks and Bass Rock, a rocky outcrop to the east of the beach, is a popular spot for fishing and snorkeling.
A little tip: if you are visiting any of the beaches near Port Eliot, buy or look up the local tide timetable: some of the beaches disappear completely during the high spring tides that occur twice during a lunar month in the week following the new and full moons. Neap tides, which have a shorter tidal range, occur in the weeks between.