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The 2023 bucket list

From wild swimming and sunrise surfs to island parties and coastal challenges, make 2023 a year to remember and be inspired with our Cornish bucket list with a North coast twist.

Take the plunge (and warm up in a beach sauna)

Photo credit: Luke Gartside / C-Skins Wetsuits / Cornish Swim Tours
Photography credit: John Hersey

Whether it's within the beautiful vastness of the Atlantic Ocean or the calm jade waters of a disused quarry, open water swimming can be addictive, invigorating and renewing. It's a way of connecting with the great outdoors, discovering inaccessible parts of coastline, getting closer to wildlife, not to mention, reaping the physical and mental health benefits.

North Cornwall is the ideal place to give this a try with a choice of calm estuary waters at Rock and Daymer Bay or the fun white water at Polzeath. For a guided swim, head to the nearby Port Gaverne and you will be in the safe hands of the Cornish Rock Tors swim guides. You can now warm up in your very own beachside sauna afterwards, found in a variety of locations throughout Cornwall. Saunas by the Sea have one right on Baby Bay in Polzeath available for private hire.

Experience clifftop living

Tristram, New Polzeath
Carn Mar is located right above Polzeath beach in North Cornwall Carn Mar, New Polzeath
Low Cliff Cottage, New Polzeath
The Boathouse, Rock

Experience the dizzying heights of clifftop living on the rugged North Cornish coast. Choose from a range of stunning properties just a stone's throw from the water's edge. Thrill seekers will revel in the choice of watersports and those looking to enjoy a slower pace of life will slip into holiday mode in no time at all with a daily dose of fresh sea-salted air. Here, sunrise swims, long family beach days and dreamy sundowners combine to create holiday memories to last a lifetime.

Party on the island

The Island. Floating in the Camel Esuary. Camel Ski School, Rock, North Cornwall
Stand up paddle boarding in the Camel Esuary with Camel Ski School. Rock, North Cornwall

Floating in the middle of the Camel Estuary and enjoying 360° views of the beautiful surrounding coastline is North Cornwall's best kept secret - The Island. Here you can enjoy a relaxed family BBQ and try your hand at Camel Ski School's full range of activities including wakeboarding, paddle boarding, wake surfing, kayaking, and water skiing. It's the perfect place for a celebration with a twist.

Enjoy a sunrise or sunset surf

Polzeath beach is one of the safest and most reliable surf spots in Cornwall. If your New Year's resolution is to finally master the art of surfing be sure to book a lesson with one of the excellent surf schools such as Wavehunters or George's Surf School. They will have you up and riding in no time at all. You can then go solo and experience the magic of a sunrise or sunset surf with just the gulls for company.

Be the first to stay in the newest property in Polzeath

This year we bring you an exceptional new property. Perched high above the sands of Polzeath Beach, Turnstones offers sublime escapism throughout the seasons where everchanging ocean vistas form your holiday backdrop. Sleeping up to eight, this dog-friendly retreat boasts a bubbling hot tub and designer-led interiors, providing a coastal retreat to rival all others. Available to book from now with summer availability, you could be the very first guests through the door (and be the envy of Polzeath whilst doing so).

Walk the South West Coast Path

North Cornwall boasts some of the most scenic stretches of the famous South West Coast Path. The undulating terrain in places, isn't for the faint hearted but with each dizzying climb, you will be rewarded with another breathtaking view. Challenge yourself to a day's adventure from Rock (through Daymer Bay, Polzeath, Pentire Head, The Rumps, Lundy Bay and Port Quin) to Port Isaac but be sure to book a taxi at the end to take you home!

Stay on location in Port Isaac

Walking around the streets of Port Isaac home to Doc Martin and the Fisherman's Friends, North Cornwall.
Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac, North Cornwall

Now world famous for the Doc Martin TV series and the Fisherman's Friends film, Port Isaac is the ultimate place to explore, spot filming locations and, if you are lucky, get amongst the action yourselves (you may see the doctor himself or one of the Fisherman's Friends in the local pub). This traditional Cornish fishing village provides a beautiful backdrop for your holiday in North Cornwall with an array of tantalising restaurants to choose from including two by Nathan Outlaw.

Get up close to dolphins in the wild

Image courtesy of Wavehunters Marine

Climb on board a Wavehunters Sea Safari from the pontoon at Rock and experience the magic of seeing dolphins in their natural habitat. The trip takes in Daymer Bay, Polzeath beach,The Rumps, Pentire Head and Puffin Island. Depending on the time of year you may also be lucky enough to spot basking sharks, seals, porpoises, puffins, gannets and many other varieties of seabirds.

Set yourself a physical challenge

This year could be the year to challenge yourself to a run or sea swim whilst taking in the beautiful Cornish countryside. Each year the Padstow to Rock Swim, a one-mile open water swim that starts in Padstow and finishes across the water in Rock raises money for Marie Curie. At the Eden Project their marathon and cycling sportive takes in a scenic multi-terrain course and finishes with a pasty and a pint. The Brown Willy Run on New Year's Day is the ultimate hangover cure and takes in seven miles of the moody and historic Bodmin Moor. Brown Willy is Cornwall' highest point and you can reward yourself with a roast lunch at the famous Jamaica Inn.

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