Area info for guests

Scroll down for info on local services, places to eat, things to do and more...

Porthtowan village nestles in the cliffs on the spectacular north west Cornwall coast, in the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Area.  Porth literally means ‘cove’ and towan means ‘dunes’, which is a very apt description of the village and its glorious beach.  The area has a relaxed beach vibe and is more laid back and less developed than some of the other popular north coast resorts.

Everything you need is available in the village, just a short stroll from Seashells – local shop for basic supplies, The Unicorn pub, Blue beachside bar/restaurant, Porthtowan beach café, beach shop, surf school, ice-cream parlour and playpark for the little ones.  Tesco is a 10 minute drive away in Redruth and offers home delivery.

Village life revolves around Porthtowan’s beautiful blue flag beach, which is lifeguarded in the summer months and has separately flagged surfing and swimming areas.  At low tide the sand stretches for miles – all the way along to the neighbouring cove of Chapel Porth on very low tides.  The beach is bordered by great rock pooling and there is also a tidal sea pool for a quick dip or splash about.  Surf lessons and hire are available in the village and other coastal adventure sports are provided in nearby Trevaunance Cove.

Porthtowan is right on the spectacular South West Coast Path, which takes you to the coastal village of Portreath to the West, or to Chapel Porth and on past the iconic Towanroath engine house to lovely Trevaunance Cove to the East.  The area is rich in tin and copper mining history and this is reflected in the landscape, in particular at Wheal Charlotte on the coast path to Chapel Porth, where nothing grows even hundreds of years after the mine closed, due to the heavy metals still present in the soil.  There is even an old engine house in the centre of Porthtowan village, which has been converted into a spectacular holiday home.

St Agnes village, with its little craft shops, restaurants and lovely church, is a 5 minute drive from Porthtowan.  The Cornish village of Mithian, with it’s historic pub (The Miners Arms) and houses, is also a short drive away.  There is also a very good indoor skate park in Mount Hawke, reputedly the best in Cornwall.

There are numerous beaches in the area, including the popular resorts of Perranporth, Newquay, St Ives and Falmouth, as well as lots more breathtaking cliff walks where sightings of seals, dolphins and basking sharks are not uncommon.  The cathedral city of Truro is also a short drive away for shopping and theatre.  Family attractions close by include the Cornish Cyder Farm and historic East Pool Mine (National Trust). 

Slightly further afield are the spectacular cliff top open air Minack theatre, beautiful St Michaels Mount (National Trust) and the fabulous Eden project, among other attractions.  Please see the next section for details of all these fabulous days out and more.




Local services

The nearest convenience store is on Beach Road, the main road into Porthtowan, about a three minute walk from Seashells.  This sells the basics and a small selection of frozen meals, fruits, vegetables, wines and beers.

You will find further supplies, including local farm produce, in St Agnes, a 5 minute drive from Seashells.  Turn left out of Porthtowan at the end of Beach Road and head along the coast road through Towan Cross and on to a crossroads.  Turn left at the crossroads, left again at the next junction, and follow this road into St Agnes.  There is a carpark clearly signposted on the left as you drive into the village.

The nearest supermarket is Tesco in Redruth, about a 10 minute drive away at Tolgus Hill, TR15 1AX.  It offers online shopping with home delivery.

Slightly further away, there is a Morrisons in Pool (Pool Rd, Newtown, SY16 3AH).

There is also a Tesco Extra in Pool (Industrial Estate, Station Rd, TR15 3QJ).

There is a large Sainsbury’s in Truro (Treyew Rd, TR1 3XL). 



Great places to eat


Seasmiths ( offer delicious fish and chips to take away in Beach Road, Porthtowan, next to the village store and just a few minutes walk from Seashells.  It is best to put in a Click and Collect order through their website as they are often very busy and unable to take walk-in orders. 

The Fisson Chip Shop is at Churchtown, Saint Agnes, TR5 0QW, Tel 01872 553513.

China Palace in St Agnes (Peterville, TR5 0QU, tel 01872 552688) is a Chinese restaurant and takeaway in the centre of the village (

The Cornish Pizza Company ( offers delicious gourmet pizzas in St Agnes at 68 Vicarage Rd, TR5 0TH, tel 01872 553092

The OSBK Smokehouse ( delivers traditional pub classics with locally sourced ingredients straight to your door.


Pubs, bars and restaurants…

The Blue Bar, Porthtowan ( is in a great location right on the beach - you can watch the sunset over the sea while enjoying your drink or meal.  They often have live bands and DJs in the evenings.  Children are welcome until 9pm.  They offer good pub/bar food although it gets very busy and there can be delays, and it is not possible to book.

The Unicorn, Porthtowan ( is a fabulous place to eat with a great atmosphere and menu featuring lots of local seasonal produce.  It is located next to the playpark if you’d like to keep your little ones amused.

Porthtowan Beach café ( offers light lunches and delicious snacks.  Watch out for their themed gourmet evenings in season.  We particularly recommend Friday burger night but they also do Thai or Mexican feast night, paella night and much more. 

The Victory Inn (Towan Cross, TR4 8BN, tel 01209 890359) is at Towan Cross between St Agnes and Porthtowan and is reportedly a very friendly pub with good food and lovely beer.

The Tap House, St Agnes ( is a lively bar/restaurant in the centre of the village with good food and a good atmosphere.  Children are welcome until 9pm.  Booking is recommended – telephone 01872 553095.

Schooners, St Agnes ( is on the beachfront with spectacular views over Trevaunance Cove.

Genki ( is a gorgeous little café on the way down to the beach in St Agnes, serving freshly prepared light meals, cakes, snacks, coffees, fresh smoothies and juices.  Seating is mostly outdoors in their garden although there are a few indoor tables.

Driftwood Spas, St Agnes ( is a historic and very atmospheric pub, restaurant and hotel with a garden and fabulous sea views from their restaurant area.  It gets very busy and often has bands on at the weekends. Children are welcome until 9pm.

St Agnes Hotel, St Agnes ( is a pub, restaurant and hotel with outdoor seating.  It has a good atmosphere and delicious, reasonably priced Sunday lunches. Booking is recommended - telephone 01872 552307.

The Railway Inn, St Agnes ( is a lively pub at the top of the village with reasonably priced pub food.  They have various events through the week and often live bands at the weekend. Children are welcome until 9pm.

The Miners Arms ( is an atmospheric gastropub in the historic Cornish village of Mithian.




Things to do and great days out

There is plenty to do in Porthtowan, and you could spend your whole week just pottering around on the beach, strolling the cliff path and enjoying the local restaurants if you prefer to leave your car at home.  If you would like to venture further afield, this section contains a list of things to do and great days out in the local area.


Nearby resorts and great day trips

St Ives has a gorgeous harbour, beautiful scenery, great beaches and numerous individual shops and restaurants and is a real favourite, but can get very busy especially in peak season. 

The north coast resorts of Perranporth and Newquay offer fantastic beaches and a relaxed café culture to enjoy while you soak up the sun. 

For shopping, restaurants and theatre, head to the beautiful cathedral city of Truro.

For more great beaches, boat trips, maritime attractions and spectacular scenery Falmouth ( makes a great day out. 



There are some spectacular cliff walks right on your doorstep, from a gently stroll to Chapel Porth for ice cream to a proper day hike to Trevaunance Cove or Portreath and back, or even all the way to Godrevy to view the lighthouse and the beach where the seals have made their home (luckily there is a café and a bus back from Hells Mouth at the end!).

 You will find a detailed map of the local area with the leaflets at Seashells.  See and for details of more great walks in the area.


Adventure sports

If you fancy trying your hand at surfing, Tris surf shop ( near the beach in Porthtowan offers surf hire and lessons for all ages.  You can often book in the shop on the day but during peak times it might be advisable to book early as they like to keep groups small to ensure quality tuition.

Eskinzo ( also offer surf and stand up paddleboard lessons from their base in the Unicorn car park in Porthtowan.

For the more adventurous, Koru Kayaking ( offer kayaking tours and Coastal Rush ( offer coasteering from Trevaunance Cove, a short drive from Porthtowan at nearby St Agnes.

For any budding or serious skateboarders, Mount Hawke Skate Park ( is an undercover skate park for bikes and scooters, reputedly the best in Cornwall.

The Track ( is a fun and exciting bike park for all ages and abilities, located just outside Porthreath.

Elm Farm bike hire ( offer quality bike hire and info on local cycle routes, including the popular Coast to Coast and Mineral Tramways trails, which take in lots of interesting mining heritage.


Family days out....

Healy’s Cornish Cyder Farm ( is just up the road from Seashells – wander round the orchards, ride a tractor, see how local cider is made and maybe enjoy a little taste!

St Agnes treasure trail ( is a murder mystery trail around St Agnes, a great way to explore the village (download online – a small charge applies).

The famous Eden Project ( is a fantastic attraction for adults and children alike, with its tropical and Mediterranean biomes, acres of outdoor gardens, beautiful and fascinating displays, activities for children and lovely café and shop.

Lands End ( offers the opportunity to see the spectacular westernmost tip of mainland UK and also includes a visitor centre, café and shop.

Roskillys Farm ( offers the opportunity to wander round the farm where lovely Cornish ice cream is made, and of course sample the end product! 

Callestick Farm ( also makes delicious Cornish ice cream and makes an enjoyable day out.

Lappa Valley stream railway ( offers train rides, play areas, nature trails, crazy golf and more at the end of your ride on a traditional steam train.


Gardens, historic buildings and Cornish heritage

Geevor tin mine ( is the largest preserved mine site in the country, in the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage area.

Poldark Mine ( is the only complete tin mine in Cornwall open for guided underground tours.

East Pool Mine ( is another historic metal mine in the heart of nearby Pool, run by the National Trust. 

Levant Mine ( is also run by the National Trust and is spectacularly located on the cliff edge to the west of St Ives, with tunnels that run for 100s of meters out under the sea.  This mine offers the opportunity to go underground and view the head of one of the mineshafts, which is a great draw for the children.

There are a number of other National Trust properties in the area ( 

Trelissick house and gardens are on the banks of the beautiful Fal river (you can take a lovely ferry ride from Truro or Falmouth if you fancy it) and offer acres of little paths, beautiful and relaxing gardens, wonderful views over the Fal estuary and the chance to visit the spectacularly sited house with its amazing views. 

Trengwainton gardens are near Penzance and again offer spectacular views and peaceful surroundings.

Glendurgan gardens are on the banks of the beautiful Helford estuary – you can wander down to the little beach at the mouth of the estuary and take a walk up to lovey Helford Passage, and even take a ferry over to the gorgeous village of Helford itself.  Children and adults alike will love the historic hedge maze.

Godolphin House is also near Penzance and offers the opportunity to wander round this historic building.

St Michaels Mount is in a spectacular location in Mounts Bay and has some beautiful gardens and the historic building offers amazing views.  You can walk across the causeway at low tide or enjoy a boat ride when the tide is high.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan ( near Mevagissey makes a great day out, with their huge sub-tropical plants and long rope bridge in the ‘jungle’, historic orchards and kitchen garden, lots of trails and activities for children, lovely café and shop.

Trebah garden ( is another sub-tropical garden with a secluded beach in the beautiful Helford estuary.

Pendennis Castle ( is a historic castle run by English Heritage, situated in a spectacular location at the mouth of the Fal estuary in Falmouth.



The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth ( is a very interesting museum for all things sea-related.  It has some fascinating and ever changing displays,  great activities for children, café and shop. 

The Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno ( offers a fascinating insight into where the first transatlantic cables were laid and the telecommunications age began.


Animals and wildlife

The Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay ( is a great attraction next to the beach with some fantastic fishy displays.

Newquay Zoo ( has hundreds of species, childrens play areas, animal feeding times and a good café and shop.

Paradise Park ( is a wildlife sanctuary, gardens and indoor play barn near Hayle.

The Screech Owl Sanctuary ( is another wildlife park with some lovely owls and attractions for children near Newquay.

Dairyland Farm World ( offers a good day out for the little ones with indoor playbarn, outdoor rides and play areas, activities for children and the opportunity to watch the cows being milked.

The Seal Sanctuary ( offers the chance to see the seals and learn about the wonderful wok of the sanctuary in rescuing and rehabilitating them.


Adrenaline fun days…

Flambards theme park ( and Camel Creek adventure park ( (formerly Crealy) offer a fun day out for all ages.

Waterworld Newquay ( is a great fun pool for kids (and adults!) of all ages.  There is also a very good trampoline park at the site.


A bit of culture....

Tate St Ives (, the famous gallery in lovely St Ives, is well worth a visit to see their great collection of work from artists in the local area.

The Hall for Cornwall ( offers great shows for children and adults in the beautiful cathedral city of Truro.

The Minack Theatre ( is the dramatic amphitheater hewn into the cliffs near Porthcurno and offers day and evening performances for children and adults, or you can just visit to admire the spectacular location and fantastic engineering involved in building this great theatre.

WTW Cinemas ( are based in Truro and Newquay if you fancy taking in a film.



More useful info

For more information don’t hesitate to drop me a line or see some of the useful information sources below.

Seashells on Facebook ( has up to date info on the area, places to eat and things to do.

Visit Cornwall ( is the official tourist information site for Cornwall.  It is a fantastic, high quality site with a wealth of information about all things Cornwall.

Porthtowan Beach Association ( has all the latest news and info about Porthtowan's beautiful beach and the village beyond.

Porthtowan webcam ( allows you to check out the surf from your living room – not that you need the webcam to do that if you are at Seashells.

Cornwall beaches ( is a very useful site with info about all Cornwall's beautiful beaches.

RNLI beach safety advice ( has important information about how to stay safe on the beach.

Best days out Cornwall ( has information on all the best places to be!

Eat Out Cornwall ( has more details on great places to eat out in Cornwall.