There’s something essentially English about a beach in Cornwall. Maybe it’s in our DNA to hanker after a curvaceous bay with rocky pools brimming with sealife, a goldne beach on which to create transitory castles and a sea that obligingly provides waves big enough to surf on but not too mighty as to put off the paddlers. Our literary heritage is littered with Cornish seascape. The ghosts of Enid Blyton and Daphne du Maurier flit across the sand and Poldark gallops endlessly along the headland.
On a recent visit to the Eden Project, I asked where I could find a good Cornish pub or restaurant by the sea and was directed to Polkerris Beach. Luckily I had a satnav and directions as I would never have come across it by accident. Not far from Daphne du Maurier’s home, Menabilly, this attractive harbour bay, is reached down a narrow lane; vehicles have to be left at a car park a few hundred yards from the shore.
Arriving at sunset, Polkerris Beach was fairly quiet. A few children were still making sandcastles, someone was paddling on a surfboard, a dog leapt about in excited delight and a couple wandered hand in hand across the vivid green seaweed. To the left a group of teenagers were clambering over the harbour wall and there was a lovely view of St Austell Bay towards Black Head and pretty Mevagissey.
The tiny hamlet of Polkerris has a few self-catering cottages, a little shop, art gallery, watersports centre and a pub, the Rashleigh Inn, with a fine ship’s figurehead overseeing the visitors. There’s also an excellent seafood restuarant called Sam’s on the Beach, and I was lucky to get a seat at one of the trestle tables looking out to sea.
What a great choice that was. I ordered the pan-seared seabass with local prawns, crispy seaweed, new potatoes and salad, accompanied by a golden St Austell beer. The seating arrangements mean you may be sitting next to other diners and I was soon chatting to a very friendly couple who live near Fowey and clearly love this picturesque part of SW England.
Obviously popular with families, Polkerris Beach in Cornwall is probably packed during the summer holidays and not easy to get a seat at the table, but on a beautiful evening in late June, it was quite simply perfect …