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Active England’s Top 10 Beach Cafes and Bites in the South West

It’s probably as controversial as the best swimming spots (well maybe not quite!), as outdoor swimmers are passionate about their post swim reward. Cake is part of the ritual and is often reason enough for outdoor swimming – it’s a close run thing with chatting! Never does food taste so good after a swim and we are sure there are certain cakes of choice for the aficionado. Our cakes of choice have to be a fruit cake or banana bread as they taste amazing and can easily be transported with your kit and stored in a dry bag!

Our top 10 covers cafés – some well known and some right off the beaten path, pubs, restaurants for sun-downers and hidden gems such as Sri Lankan curry on the beach! What sets these 10 (and others) apart are the wonderful people that run them, the views and the atmosphere that they create and the opportunity to meet like-minded outdoor souls in relaxed and informal atmosphere. We encourage everyone to swim safely, respect the sea at all times and if in doubt – don’t do it!

Top Ten Beach Bites

  1. Curry on the Beach, Barricane Beach
  2. Thurlestone Beach Café
  3. Port Gaverne
  4. Penzance Jubilee Pool
  5. The Old Bakery at Cawsand
  6. Talland Bay Beach Café
  7. Porthmellin Café, Mullion Cove
  8. The Pilchard, Burgh Island
  9. Porthmeor Beach Café, St Ives
  10. Hidden Hut, Porthscatho

1. Curry on the Beach, Barricane Beach

Barricane Beach Café

Barricane Beach (Woolacombe) for Sri Lankan curry is open during summer and only in good weather; they post on their Facebook Page to let people know if they’ll be running the curries! After a day or swimming or walking, this experience is pure bliss! It’s important to get there before 6pm, and remember to BYO beer / wine and a blanket.

2. The Thurlestone Beach Café

Thurlestone Arch

Great for a coffee in the day and seriously good seafood in the evening. Dine, drink or grab a bite with wonderful views over Thurlestone Arch and Hope Cove.

3. Port Gaverne

Port Gaverne

This is an amazing and quirky pub, with some hilarious locals and wonderful food. No cake options that we remember (except some great puddings!) but great beer and Cornish cider! You can practically swim from their front door.

4. Penzance Jubilee Pool

Penzance Jubilee Pool

With coffee from Yallah Coffee Roasters in Falmouth and truly wonderful cakes, this place exudes 1920’s splendour and style and is well worth a trip in its own right! Check out their site to book.

5. The Old Bakery at Cawsand

Cawsand

This bakery is oddly enough famous for it’s “Snails”. Hot buns that come out of the oven at 9.00am on a Saturday and Sunday – for the perfect post swim snack.

6. Talland Bay Beach Café, Looe

Talland Bay Beach Café

This café tough to get to (best on foot) but worth it for the coffee and a great cake selection. There is also an amazing little church just up from the beach that deserves an exploration!

7. Porthmellin Café, Mullion Cove

Mullion Cove

These guys serve lunchtime pasties on the harbour wall that are pretty unbeatable. Nothing says English holiday like a pasty on the beach. They can run out of food later in the day, so don’t get there too late!

8. The Pilchard, Burgh Island

Pilchard Inn

Accessible only during low tides – this has been a great pub for the last 700 years! For those looking for a high-end pit-stop or dinner, sophisticated cocktails also available at the 1920’s style Burgh Island Hotel next door.

9. Porthmeor Beach Café, St Ives

Porthmeor Beach Café

With a beautiful view over the beach and good all round food at anytime of day, if you’re in St Ives this cafe is a must-visit. It’s best to pre-book or avoid lunchtimes when it can get quite busy!

10. Hidden Hut, Porthscatho

Hidden Hut

This incredible hut really is hidden from view! They serve seriously good seafood and have a great atmosphere. They don’t take bookings so it’s best to get there early for lunch!


Active England’s swimming holidays are the perfect balance of exploration and relaxation, immersing guests in some of the most iconic swims and walking trails throughout Cornwall. Join one of our friendly groups, meet like-minded people and discover new and iconic swims – from the water up! And of course, what’s a swim without a cake or coffee afterwards!

Our wild swimming holidays are for all types of swimmer – from the ‘dippers’ and the head-up breaststrokers to the 10k warriors – we have a number of different swims planned every day of our tours. Swim in deserted coves, inaccessible by car, walk to hidden beaches which look like the Caribbean, dip or dive in sea pools at low tide and visit some of the iconic swims which are fast becoming bucket list “must swims”. 

Take a look at our most popular Cornwall and Devon Wild Swimming Holidays!

Cornwall Wild Swimming – 6 Day Holiday

Cornwall Swimming – 3 Day Wild Swimming Weekend

Devon Wild Swimming – 6 Day Holiday

Devon Swimming – 3 Day Wild Swimming Weekend

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Walk Coast to Coast – 14 to 18 Day Self-Guided