I know it’s suppose to be British Summer time but when you’re on your jollies and the weather isn’t doing what it’s been ordered to do, you can always rely on a brisk walk along the beach followed by a warming cup of hot chocolate or what ever takes your fancy.
My daughter and a friend a a few years ago sampling one of Cornwall’s great culinary offerings, a hot chocolate almost bigger than her head!
Since the rise of the staycation Britain’s beaches have become better equipped for holidaying family’s and the standard of our beach cafes has improved so much some of them are now bordering on michelin starred!
As owners of a VW camper and until recently two young children( I’m sure they are sleeping in grow bags) most of our holidays have been spent travelling the length and breath of the British coastline and there aren’t many beach cafe’s the Barlow’s haven’t visited. I’m not saying we are experts and there are many more we haven’t frequented, but here are a few of our favourites for any of you visiting our inclement Island this summer.
Starting in Cornwall, a county dear to my heart, there are too many beach cafe’s to name, but by far two of the best have to be in St Ives. The Porthmeor for it’s amazing view of the atlantic, dramatic and compelling when there is a storm brewing. Cosy up inside with a coffee and a cake or on warm evenings, take a ring side seat on the terrace and watch the surfers with a glass of something chilled and order from their outdoor BBQ.
Just around the corner is the Porthminster Cafe. It’s called a cafe and you can eat simply in the day but come evening and this small establishment, right on the beach, turns into one of the best restaurants in the country. If you’re going in the summer, book your table before you arrive, to avoid disappointment, such is their reputation for excellence.
Godrevy Cafe nestled in the sand dunes of Hayle, just before you reach St Ives is another great cafe, buzzing with atmosphere. Take a walk on the stunning beach, visit the lighthouse and then reward yourself with one of their legendary breakfasts.
Another favourite holiday destination of ours is The Isle of Wight. It is much under rated and known mainly for the festival it hosts but there is so much more to this island. It has beautiful beaches, numerous bike trails, lovely towns full of interesting shops and an old fashioned charm rarely found now. It feels like holidaying back in the 1960’s when everything was safe and everybody was friendly, a great destination if you have a young family.
One of the best hidden beaches on the island is Steephill Cove, just next to the famous Botanical Gardens. The Boathouse on the beach serves up what ever the catch of the day is and is famous for it’s sea food, particularly crab. We booked a table a few years back when we were there for the festival with our children and while our meal was being cooked we sat on some deck chairs on the sand watching our kids splash around in the sea. You don’t get many days like that and it is one of my happiest holiday memories. Of course the weather was glorious that day and we were very lucky, but the food was also outstanding, fresh,simple and delicious. The Boathouse only opens at lunch times and covers 30, so again booking is recommended.
A few years back Mr B was quite a surfer, which is how we came to buy our beloved VW van and most of our holidays revolved around where the best surf beaches were located, which is how we came to holiday on the Gower Peninsula one year. I wasn’t impressed with the idea at first, not knowing much about the area but knowing that there was a serious lack of shops, bars and art galleries. Our week on Rhossili Bay however, turned out to be one of our best, most chilled out holidays. As there wasn’t much to do other than surf, we just relaxed in the day and cycled to the pub every night, which was run by Aussie surfers, cooking up amazing food. We stayed on Hillend campsite, which is right on the beach and has a great cafe, Eddy’s serving everything from breakfast, to cakes and vegetarian meals. One of the highlights for me was the gluten free offerings of the chef, who being coeliac himself baked fresh bread and home made GF cakes every day. The cafe is open to the public, you don’t have to be staying on the campsite and again the views are spectacular. Oh and it’s fully licensed, just saying!