Perranporth, meaning ‘Saint Piran’s Cove’ and taking its name from the patron saint of Cornwall, is a small seaside resort beside the Cornish holiday behemoth of Newquay and a perfect escape for self catering cottage holidays.
A popular family getaway, Perranporth is famous for its surf. Situated just a few miles down the coast from England’s surfing Mecca, Newquay, the rip currents of the three-mile stretch of beach create some interesting flat-sided waves that, on a good day, have been known to curl and snarl like the rips of the Pacific.
However, Perranporth is much more than just a stop along the surfing landscape. Nestled away in the sand dunes which stretch for almost a mile inland are the ruins of the 7th century church that Saint Piran founded. Swallowed almost a thousand years ago by the consuming sands, it was unearthed again hundreds of years later and is seen one of the true relics of Celtic Cornwall and a herald of Perranporth’s ancestry. The church was lost again in the early 1970s, but it has not been forgotten, as the local council and conservation societies aim to make it accessible once more to the public in the near future. The attractive ancient ruins and weathered rock are, however, still a staple attraction and lend a peerless view over the dunes which stretch into a gently rolling sea backed by sunsets that pierce through the arches of rocky outcrops.
Perhaps just as scenic are the rolling waves of the Atlantic that crash onto the fine, uncluttered beaches. The magnificent sand dunes that stretch back almost a mile from the coast provide a perfect playground for those interested in exploring the adjoining cliff sides, naturally formed rock arches and stacks.
Another result of the deep and mysterious history of the area is Perranporth’s inter-Celtic annual festival, Lowender Peran, which traditionally draws in a crowd from the six neighbouring Celtic nations alongside a plethora of international revellers. The festival is a celebration of Cornwall’s unique traditions and heritage in music, dance, song and its rich practice of storytelling, which stretches back over tens of centuries. The festival is a registered charity that was set up to recognise the deep historical and cultural links of the area. First started in 1978, it has grown in popularity and its stature continues to increase year after year.
Further south, the cliffs slope and plunge into the ocean and suddenly you are faced with the towering height of Cligga Head, 232 feet high and a must-see attraction of astounding natural beauty and cultural significance. The nearby mine helped to kick-start the tin industry in Cornwall in the 1800s and announced the second coming of Cornwall as a major county in Britain. Just aside from Cligga Head there are a vast range of cottages, holiday homes and private rentals that are a mere stone’s throw away from all of the attractions that Perranporth offers.