The allure of the Cornish coastline has long drawn visitors from far and wide. And the small, yet quaint, little villages of Rock and Porthilly are no exception. Located near the iconic beach of Polzeath, these little seaside villages are full of cobbled lanes, ancient churches, and quirky eateries. Here’s a quick guide to Rock and Porthilly…
The North Cornish fishing village of Rock is located a small way down the coastline from the iconic beach of Penzance. Popular with surfers, walkers, and holidaymakers alike, there is nothing quite as refreshing as soaking up the salty sea air and enjoying a stroll along the azure blue sea. Although the nearby beaches are all sandy, Rock is apparently named after a nearby quarry.
Situated just across the Camel estuary from the famous town of Padstow (there’s a nearby ferry that can take you straight there), the village of Rock is populated with shops, art galleries, and independent restaurants.
Rock Address Book:
As a result of being a tourist hotspot (particularly for Londoners), there’s no shortage of eateries and chic restaurants in Rock. Here’s your guide to the very best places you must visit and eat at in Rock:
The Rock Inn: Complete with an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy drinks, snacks and cooked food in the summer (or other months if you’re brave enough), Rock Inn is the perfect place to relax with friends and watch the waves rolling in.
Porthilly Gallery: Located on the road between Rock and the nearby hamlet of Porthilly, you’ll find the charming studio and gallery of Porthilly Gallery. All paintings are by local Artist Jethro Jackson, and you can often see him at work in the gallery.
Rock Beach: Overlooking Daymer Bay, you’ll find Rock Beach. Golden sand, small waves and a sheltered spot from the sea mean that this beach is the perfect spot to sunbathe, enjoy a picnic, or simply to relax.
Rock Sailing and Waterski Club: The sheltered nature of Daymer Bay and its surrounds mean that sailing and other water sports are popular in the area. Many visitors head to Rock specifically for the purpose of water sports and the Rock Club is a great place to start.
From coastal walks to paddling in the sea, Daymer Bay is the place to be. Just a short five-minute walk from the village of Rock, you’ll approach the golden sand and gentle waves that make Daymer Bay a paradise for beach lovers. There are fewer waves here than in nearby Polzeath, which explains why the beach is less touristic (and as a result, you’ll have much more space to yourself).
St Enodoc’s Church
No guide to Rock and its surrounds would be compelte without mentioning the small church of St Enodoc. Overlooking the entirety of Daymer Bay, the St Enodoc Golf Club has been listed as #99 in the world by ‘Golf Digest’. It also consistently ranks in the top golf clubs in the UK to play at in various other magazines. But for those of us who prefer history to playing golf, there’s something of much interest in the very heart of the 18 hole course. For it is here, among putting greens and little flags that you’ll find a church dedicated to St Enodoc.
Once upon a time, the sand dunes surrounding St Enodoc’s moved on a whim. They were not held in place by the position of the golf course as they are today but instead moved with the elements and seasons. The church proved difficult to maintain and was left abandoned and covered by sand for decades.
It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the church was uncovered and restored once more. Today, St Enodoc’s is a popular wedding venue and is a great example of Cornish architecture at its finest. The iconic British poet John Betjeman (former poet laureate) is buried in the church’s graveyard, overlooking the sea below.
Just a little down the road from Rock, you’ll find the quaint little hamlet of Porthilly. Though Porthilly comprises of little more than a church, shop and a few houses, the quaint hamlet is well worth a visit… If only to check out the scores of hydrangea bushes lining the houses and the ancient church quite literally on the fringes of the water.
The well-worn paths of Porthilly have been trekked for centuries, and there’s nothing more satisfying than walking on the flattened stones that people have been walking along for centuries. Of particular note is the path leading to the St Michael’s Church.
Just a quick note on the locations. With all this being said, the popular nature of Rock and Porthilly among London visitors means that Rock prices can be much higher than other Cornish towns and villages. If you’re looking for somewhere just as charming, but a little less expensive, then you’ll find the largely unspoilt fishing village of Port Isaac a little down the coastline. Although I loved my visit to Rock, Port Isaac remains my all time favourite Cornish Village!