If storm watching is your thing, we’ve prepared a top-ten list of the perfect spots to experience wild weather in Cornwall. Although Cornwall sometimes experiences storms on the south coast, it’s really the north coast that sees more of the exciting weather due to the prevailing south-westerly wind, so you’ll likely notice that many of these spots we’ve recommended are nestled on the north coast.
Why storm watch in Cornwall
Boasting a dramatic, rugged coastline nestled in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall is possibly one of the most exciting places for the thrill-seekers among us to get outside and experience a wild Cornish storm. While Cornwall has a reputation for its beautiful beaches, epic landscapes and tasty pasties, it also just so happens to be one of the most exciting places to be during stormy weather in autumn and winter. Walking in wild weather, taking in the atmospheric scenery and refuelling at one of Cornwall’s many cosy pubs, is a tonic for the soul just as much as spending a day rock-pooling on the beach and bathing in the summer months.
Following the heavy storms Cornwall experienced back in the winter of 2013/2014, this part of the South West has attracted more interest from ‘storm chasers’ over the years. Known as ‘St Jude’s Storm’, this world-famous event happened in October of 2013 and was the wildest weather to hit the Atlantic coast of western Europe since experts began recording storms back in 1948.
Whether you’re sitting in a car with a cup of something warm or taking the kids out in waterproofs for an exciting day out, storm watching in Cornwall is a popular pursuit all year round.
Preparation and safety
Wrapping up warm and wearing waterproofs is absolutely essential for storm watching in Cornwall: the wrong clothing will likely cut your storm-watching adventure short. And experiencing a Cornish storm safely is absolutely paramount: be sure to do a full risk assessment before picking your perfect storm-watching spot and make sure you are a safe distance from the ocean at all times. Always check the Met Office for weather warnings before you go and take advice from the local police and coastguard before setting out on your storm-watching adventure.
Of course, if being in the thick of a spectacular storm doesn’t appeal, you can still curl up under a blanket with the family in your cosy cottage and watch the waves crashing against the coastline with a cup of something toasty and a delicious slice of cake.
Whether you opt for indoor viewing or an exciting outdoor adventure, don’t forget your camera: you’ll want to look back on your wild-weather holiday snaps just as much as the beach-day ones.
This busy fishing village is possibly one of the best places for storm watching. You may well recognise this part of Cornwall due to it featuring regularly in the national media with iconic shots of the church being battered by the water. Although Porthleven is a fantastic place to experience a storm from the harbour, it is important that you take extra care as it can be easy to get caught out in larger swells. You can pick up a coffee locally in the village and, for the die-hard pasty connoisseurs among us, a pasty from Ann’s Pasties on Fore Street takes some beating.
To experience storms coming in from a southerly or south-easterly direction, Marazion beach car park provides the perfect spot. You can watch from the comfort of your car with a cup of takeaway coffee from Jordan’s Cafe located in the car park, or for the more adventurous thrill-seekers, a bracing walk along the cycle trail that links to Penzance will give you an even better view.
This popular part of Cornwall offers an exciting spot to watch the storms from the safety of your car. Drive to the car park at the eastern end of Sennen village and take in the stormy conditions. Those with a more adventurous disposition can walk out to Maen Cliff Castle which sits to the west of Sennen on the coast, before returning back to the car park and visiting Sennen Cove Cafe for a spot of lunch. If you can’t make it to the area, then the next best thing is to watch the storms from our live webcam!
Cape Cornwall and the surrounding coast provide another excellent spot to view exciting storms from the safety of your car. There’s a National Trust car park where you can park up and take in the stormy conditions. If you are looking for an even better view, you can head out onto Cape Cornwall itself but please stay on the coast path for your own safety. The village of St Just is a short distance away and offers a selection of cafes and shops to pick up supplies for lunch. The Cook Book Cafe is a particular favourite among locals and holidaymakers alike, and for good reason.
Located at the far north-eastern end of three miles of sand that stretches all the way from Hayle, Godrevy is a fantastic spot for storm watching. Go beyond the main National Trust car park and head on towards Godrevy headland opposite Godrevy Lighthouse. From there you can easily view some of the most spectacular weather conditions. To fully experience a dramatic storm, follow the coast path on foot to get a higher view. You can walk up to Mutton Cove to see the seals before returning to your car and heading back to the main National Trust car park to visit the five-star-rated Godrevy Cafe for a delicious lunch.
Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes
Although you tend to need bigger storms for this northerly facing beach to provide storm-watching entertainment, it’s definitely worth a visit. In the right conditions you will see some of the biggest waves along this section of coast from the viewing area above the beach. You’ll also witness some of the area’s big-wave surfers braving the conditions to get a ride of a lifetime. However, care must be taken and it’s important that you don’t go down to the beach itself in stormy conditions. For local refreshments, the Driftwood Spars offers a cosy spot to warm up by the fire and enjoy some local cuisine.
To experience the epic North Atlantic rollers come in, Droskyn offers the perfect spot to view some pretty dramatic weather from the safety of your car. Although there is plenty of seating at the clifftop, you may find the conditions are particularly bracing so you might opt to stay in your car before driving down into the village and picking up a pasty from one of the local bakeries. Alternatively, head down the hill to The Seiners Arms for a pint of local ale and a generous bowl of chips.
Pentire headland, Newquay
Situated to the west of Newquay, a drive up to the car park at the Pentire headland is well worth a try. From here you’ll be able to see across Crantock Beach from your car, or you can walk out to the end of the headland to get fantastic views looking both ways down the coast, towards St Ives in the west and Trevose Head in the east. For a filling lunch or warming cup of tea, Lewinnick Lodge is perched on the edge of the cliff and offers a varied menu. If you can bag a window seat then you are in the perfect location to continue your storm-watching adventures.
To experience some pretty epic weather, take your car to Treyarnon Bay and park up before walking across the headland to Constantine Bay. The coast path here provides a safe route to view the storms as they roll in. For those with a more adventurous spirit, take a walk out towards Trevose Head nearby but be sure to keep to the coast path for your own safety. Local amenities are thin on the ground at this spot so it’s worth packing up a picnic to keep the hunger at bay.
Located near Bude, Crackington Haven is a great spot to go storm watching. Strong waves crash up against the cliffs with some force, so be sure to take your camera to get a snap of the action. Although this is a good spot for experiencing stormy conditions, it’s important to avoid the beach if the weather is particularly challenging. For a safer spot, follow the footpath up the hill to get a better view of the stormy seas, before heading down to Haven Beach Cafe for a spot of lunch and a warming cup of hot tea.
Offering myriad locations to take in some of the most exciting weather conditions you’ve ever seen, Cornwall is a fantastic place to visit all year round. Be sure to check the conditions and local advice before you head out on your adventure and be prepared with the right clothing and equipment. As the old saying goes: ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing’. If you get it wrong, you’ll risk cutting your storm-watching adventure short and missing out on the action.
Once you’ve had your fill of thrilling weather, head on back to your cottage to warm up by the fire and have a siesta. Because, if you ask us, that’s the best part of going on any wet-weather adventure.