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Great for surfers!
Member Name: kingfisher111
Date: 24/08/08, updated on 05/03/12 (208 review reads)
Advantages: lovely beach
Disadvantages: busy and expensive
We have recently returned from a week's holiday in Polzeath in Cornwall. Unfortunately for us, even though it was August, it did rain heavily every day but I'll try not to let that colour my judgement!
Polzeath is on the North Cornish coast and is fairly close to Wadebridge and about twenty miles from Newquay. The centre of Polzeath is not vey big at all and is situated on a small headland. It's just over an hour's drive from Exeter which is very easily accessible from the M5.
When you first drive into Polzeath from either direction you come down a steep hill and what will strike you above all else is the extremely busy beach whatever the weather! The beach at Polzeath really is a surfer's paradise and the whole beach is filled with surfers or body boarders. This is all very well if that is what you are in to, but if you are looking for the sort of beach for children to play happily with buckets and spades there are probably others that are more suitable. We found this with our girls although there is a small stream running onto the beach and that is quite good for children to play and dig in the sand.
Being a surfer's beach most of the shops and kiosks are geared up to selling and hiring wetsuits and these seemed to be quite reasonable rates for hiring although better if you wanted one for the whole week. The waves are really quite incredibly which really does make it excellent for surfers, but as a parent of fairly young children the waves did make me feel slightly nervous. That with the sheer numbers of surfers on the beach meant I felt the need to watch the girls very closely and this did not make it a very relaxing experience for me at all. However, if you have the energy to walk just around the headland there is a much more secluded beach there. Also, the waves are magnificent to watch and it really is a beautiful place. There is also a nature reserve and apparently sometimes you can see dolphins from the beach - I suspect at less busy times you are likely to be more successful with spotting the wildlife! It's also worth noting that the beach is constantly manned by lifeguards (during the high season) although luckily when we were there we did not see them have to rescue anyone.
Aprt from the beach there is not a great deal of other attractions in Polzeath but as it's not far from Wadebridge you can visit places like the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre, Crealey Adventure Park and it's only about fifty minutes drive from the Eden Project. Basically it's not too far from any of the major Cornish attractions.
If you are looking to eat out in Polzeath you are quite likely to be disappointed as there is not much choice and they more seem to go for the fast food and chips variety of catering. A lot of the accomodation in Polzeath is camping or caravan sites. We stayed at the Valley Caravan Park which is ideally situated in the centre of Polzeath and one of the few places where you do not have to walk up a steep hill to get too. There are also a couple of Supermarkets - a Spar and a discount supermarket - neither of which seemed that cheap. However Wadebridge is only a few miles away and there you will find both a Lidl and a Co-op and these are probably better places to stock up at if you are self catering.
I think that Polzeath is an excellent place to go to if you are into surfing. If, like us though, you are not, you are probably best to look for a different type of coastal resprt which provides more of a family beach. Also, as it is quite a small centre, the options when it is raining are limited. The centre does also tend to feel quite claustophobic with tons of people milling about.
Apparently Polzeath was one of Sir John Betjeman's favourite places - interesting then that he chose to write about Slough and not Polzeath!
I did like Polzeath but I don't think I would stay there again unless I really wanted a serious surfing holiday. However, after our very wet rainy experience we are more than likely to go abroad next time!
Summary: A haven for surfers!