A Valentine’s trip to the far west: Beautiful Sennen Cove, Cornwall

I love Sennen. Love, love love. My favourite beach in the world? Gwenver, just across the bay from Sennen Cove. Yup.
sunset dog running sennen cornwall
I think I first went to Sennen in 1999 with my oldest friend Caroline. We took our surfboards, hers ‘Big Red’, mine ‘Swirly Purple’ that each matched our little cars. The first time I stood at the top of the path looking down to Gwenver beach I felt like I’d come home. Ever since then we’ve camped at Trevedra Farm, partied at the then Whitesands Lodge youth hostel, and now we’ve graduated to a gorgeous cosy cottage overlooking the sea. Sennen Cove is top of my list of places to ‘go on holiday’ in Cornwall: it’s a long way down (almost at Lands End) so it still has the sleepy, off the grid, “closed up for the winter” surfy vibe of Cornwall of 15 years ago.
Lands End Valentines day sign

So of course, for our first Valentine’s day as a marreeeed pair, I wanted to take my beau there for the weekend.

We drove down on Friday after work, and arrived to a lowering gunmetal sky with the whole bay awash with white water. We stopped in the road to take a picture: we’d seen no cars for a few miles. The feeling of reaching the last outpost of peace and extreme cosiness before falling into the Atlantic was just marvellous.

Where we stayed: Cormorant Cottage

Tents are not an option in February so I found the gorgeous Cormorant Cottage, an old fisherman’s terrace of 6 overlooking the sea. To find it you go beyond the lifeboat station, past the Roundhouse and on to the carpark, where the road ends and the coast path begins. The neat little cottage with its open fire, well planned kitchen and amazing shower (a treat for us, our shower at home is still attached with an elastic band) was just what we wanted. They’d even put fresh flowers out and a pint of milk to welcome us.


sennen from hill view cornwall
We’re a bit stupid though, and headed straight for the pub. The Old Success Inn has had a dramatic facelift recently, all painted white and pale blue, with bright lights over the bar for a beach hut feel. Last time it was mostly brown and lovably dingy and we crowded round the window to watch dolphins jumping in the bay outside. There seems to be some controversy over this makeover, but really, there’s not a lot of choice. It’s such a friendly and cosy pub, with little kids and other dogs wandering over to make friends, and everyone nodding and smiling at each other as the pub slowly filled up.

Views from our weekend in Sennen Cove for Valentines weekend 2015

Why romance is better without Rattler

I say we’re stupid because we don’t learn from our mistakes. We’re idiots. Why? Because Rattler. The devil’s juice. So delicious. So crisp, so much better than any other ciders. Not sippable – only gluggable. So evil. After half a pint we started shout-talking, by the end of the first pint I was ravenous for a second. We gleefully swilled down two pints laughing, talking nonsense and rocking about in our chairs before lurching home for our Marks & Spencers feast. So, so drunk. It is not romantic to be drunk, with slightly undercooked fish pie smeared down my top, dancing to Liberty X in front of the fire, while my dear husband passed out on the sofa. Rattler. It’s not the first time. It’s not even the fifth or sixth time things have gone wrong after Rattler.

cliff walk to lands end

The monstrous hangover I faced on Saturday morning threatened to derail the romance weekend further. The Peeb had also got confused about ‘no Valentines presents’ and thought that also meant ‘no cards’. It never means that. Valentine’s cards are the best card of the lot, especially when they include a hand written poem. (His did.) Moving on from that, we got our boots on and set out on the coast path right outside the front door and walked round to Lands End and on to Nanjizal or Mill Bay. Stunning. We saw a big grey seal just hanging out in the surf.lands end coast path view

Monstrous hangover beaten by Bloody Mary

We turned inland, and found our way to The First and Last Inn because they were the only pub around showing the rugby. We arrived at 2:03pm so the “kitchen was closed”. We made lunch out of a Bloody Mary for me, a couple of rank pork pies and Dairylea slices (unexpectedly delicious) from Costcutter. And a bag of salty peanuts… Happy Valentine’s Day. Two good things happened in the pub: the Bloody Mary trounced my hangover and we won the game.

hill run down to sennen cove cornwall

We headed back down to Sennen Cove, along the path opposite Costcutter, and cut across to come down over the huge dunes to the beach. Sprinting down a steep sandy path is the best fun: the fastest, most effort free, crazy-legged run down to the beach.happy beach dog sennen cove sunset


After our sunset walk and dog party, we stopped in the pub for a pint of Strongbow, then headed home to the cottage to watch The Bodyguard (my first time. Loved it). Having an open fire is so atmospheric – it crackles and pops and whumfs. And was bloody hot. Fantastic.

lands end sunset cornwall The weekend continued in this way, with the wind dropping and sun shining on us on Sunday. We sat on the beach being gently warmed by the rays in the morning, ate the pretty good carvery at the Old Success Inn, napped blissfully in the cottage, and listened to the sea breathing the Lion’s Breath. It was a beautiful weekend that felt like a proper holiday.
lifeguard hut sunset sennen cove

Thank you for reading. If you have lovely Sennen memories / Rattler confessions / Liberty X dance tips, please drop me “just a little” note in the comments below. x

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