May 19, 2019

Switch-Off Time at Tolcarne Beach

It’s always a good sign when you’re in a cab and the driver starts raving about the place you are heading to. She recognised the postcode instantly: “Oh my god you’re going to Tolcarne beach?” She said excitedly. “My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary there recently. You’re going to love it.”

Hearing the enthusiasm in her voice made me even more excited, even though the gorgeous golden photos on the Tolcarne Beach website was definitely enough to sell it to me alone. When we arrived at the tiny Newquay airport we shared a taxi with a few other people and the minute we started driving down the coastal country-lanes I felt relaxed and far away from the stresses of work.

We flew from Heathrow to Newquay with Flybe*— in the past it’s always either been by car or train. It was good to try it; it was a super quick 45 minutes in the air, but it was quite a long faff getting from East London to Heathrow so I only recommend getting a flight if Heathrow is actually easy to get to. We got the train back to Paddington from Newquay station which was a five-hour train — I preferred getting the train I think (plus Newquay station is 5 minutes from Tolcarne beach), even though it’s a long ol’ train ride. I quite enjoy daydreaming out of the window for hours on end, and luckily I had plenty of podcasts to hand. I think both journeys worked out to be more or less the same travel time.

Tolcarne Beach is a family-owned private beach with long winding steep steps spiralling down to a beautiful beach just off from the main road. There is a little cart available too if you have heavy luggage. It’s such a lovely feeling knowing you are entering a quiet private space away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre and other busy beaches. You follow the green pathway down toward the sea overlooking a curve of beach huts. On arrival, the reception area is there to greet you, a glass hut overlooking the beach with friendly staff checking you in, and we were swiftly given our keys to beach hut 2. I felt in love with our little hut on the beach. It was small but perfectly formed with modern wooden interiors, a gorgeous big cosy bed, wooden surf memorabilia hanging from the walls; a hamper with champagne in and two deckchairs outside. The bathroom is fashionably new with little Molton Brown products. There was something immediately relaxing about having a view of the sea both from the shower and from the bed. Total bliss and very different to my normal Hackney view.

Firstly we went for a walk into the town centre to mooch around and have a look. I remember a few of the pubs and clubs from when I was a teenager in Newquay, but that was certainly a different kind of holiday and one I’m very glad not to be having now. We stumbled across a place called Jam Jar, a teeny tiny little cafe that does healthy smoothies and big tasty bagels. With fairy lights, posters, cosy cushiony corners, and the radio playing, I felt my tense Londoner shoulders drop immediately. Another nice find is a little bar called Tom Thumb, perfect for a quick coffee or if you want to do some a bit of work with your laptop.

There is one restaurant on Tolcarne beach called The Colonial, it is open to the public but I got the impression it is very popular as you won’t get a table if you don’t book. We went there the first night and loved it so much we went back the second, they managed to squeeze us in but we had to go quite late around 9pm. I had the mussels with crusty bread and it was delicious.

We had a really fun day the next day, exploring Fistral beach. I know Fistral pretty well from going there as a teenager and from staying at the iconic Headland Hotel with my family. We walked along the coast, from Tolcarne to Fistral and it took about a half an hour to walk, blowing away the cobwebs with the sea air. We had an early lunch at the Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, overlooking the beach and watching the surfers brave the cold, and watching dogs run around in the sand. I had the prawn and crab linguine (mm I love seafood) and Paul had the superfood salad, and it came with prosecco. Then we went for a full body and scalp massage with hot stones which was super relaxing and we got to use the spa facilities afterwards too. There is also a big pool and jacuzzi/steam room. It can get quite busy on the weekend and so we didn’t stay there too long.

On leaving the spa and stepping outside, the sun had miraculously come out. We walked along the beach and went to The Stable on Fistral and it was full of people boozing in the sun and eating Cornish pasties. It felt like that first proper day of summer. I had to buy some cheap sunglasses from next door and I was kicking myself for not putting SPF on my face. Woops. The sun coming out did prove just how much a bit of sun can totally transform a UK staycation. Of course it would have been nice and relaxing anyway, but when the sky is blue, everyone’s overall mood does change and lift and we got to sit outside for longer.

One of my favourite discoveries of the weekend was a private beach resort called Lusty Glaze. It felt like a total dreamy hidden gem. Again you walk down some private stoney steps and the restaurant is immediately welcoming and beautiful. Inside, there is a giant conservatory overlooking the peaceful beach and live acoustic music with a young man singing classics such as Adele and Fleetwood Mac. I totally understand why so many people choose to have weddings there. Everyone was super friendly and the food was fabulous, we had a classic fish and chips (rude not to). The whole experience was one of the most relaxing weekend escapes I’ve had in a long time.

Huge thank you to Love Newquay and Tolcarne Beach Village for having us to stay and hosting us in return for this blog post and some Instagram coverage. I will 100% be returning to this amazingly peaceful location when things get a bit too much in London again. It’s so so good to know it’s there.

*FlyBe flies year-round between Cornwall Newquay and London Heathrow airport. Flights operates four times a day, seven days a week and are available for booking with one way fares from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Visit www.flybe.com to book and find out more.

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