At the northern end of the Rame Peninsula (a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the bustling town of Torpoint offers excellent views of the River Tamar and across the water to the bright lights of Plymouth. Known as the gateway to Cornwall, it provides an ideal base for holidaymakers wishing to explore both South Cornwall and Devon.
Read on to find out why we think Torpoint is so special and discover a few local secrets to help you make the most of your stay.
About the town:
A holiday in Torpoint offers a multitude of things to do, whether you are travelling as a couple, a family or a group of friends. Explore the maze of winding narrow streets in the centre of the historic town with its independent shops, cosy pubs and fine restaurants, wander along the old marina which holds regular races during the yachting season, or head to St John’s Lake on the outskirts of the town, where walking and swimming are popular.
While many villages and towns on the South Cornwall Coast have been developed for tourism, Torpoint remains quiet and distinctively Cornish, with many residents still speaking the county’s ancient language. Surrounded by unspoilt countryside and with easy access to some of Cornwall’s most beautiful beaches, plus the likes of Looe, Fowey and St Austell all within an hour’s drive, this lovely town is a great place to spend a South Cornwall holiday.
Just under 5 miles from Torpoint is Whitsand Bay, a 4-mile stretch of golden sandy beaches - a popular haunt with surfers and great for family days out. Running from Rame Head to Portwrinkle, this group of beaches are considered one of Cornwall’s hidden gems and are rarely ever crowded. At low tide, the sweeping stretches of sand offer opportunities for walking, jogging, building sandcastles and rock pooling, whilst the constant swell keeps surfers happy. Between May and September, there are also lifeguards on duty if you fancy a swim in the turquoise waters.
Within 10 miles of Torpoint are Cornwall’s most easterly beaches - Cawsand, Kingsand and Downderry. Cawsand and its neighbouring beach Kingsand are both a mixture of sand and shingle and each has its own facilities, perfect for families. Kingsand is particularly renowned for swimming and boating with some great rock pools to explore. It is also one of the best places to scuba dive in the South West, with the sunken HMS Scylla (an intact warship at 113 metres long) having created the first artificial reef in the UK. For snorkelling and fishing, the beaches at Downderry are also well worth a visit.
Because of Torpoint’s great location, you might find yourself torn with how best to spend your time. You could follow the South West Coast Path discovering picture-postcard Cornish villages such as Kingsand and Cawsand with their pastel-painted fishermen's cottages, sheltered beaches and ancient harbours or you could head out to some of the local historic attractions, subtropical gardens and stately homes.
When you fancy a night on the town or a shopping expedition, simply swap the countryside for the city and hop aboard the ferry to Plymouth in Devon – it’s free for foot passengers and there is a small charge for cars. There is something for everyone in Plymouth, whether you delight in a swim at the Plymouth Tinside Lido - a beautiful 1935 Art Deco pool, take a gin tour and tasting at the Plymouth Gin Distillery, or visit the National Marine Aquarium with over 4,000 animals to see.
On a fine day, the woodland and riverside trails of the National Trust's Antony House and Gardens in Torpoint are a wonderful place to make the most of the sunshine. Edged with colourful rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias, this is a day out in Cornwall that keen gardeners will love. Plus, you may recognise the gardens from the 2010 adaption of Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton. Over the last two decades, interesting pieces of contemporary sculpture have been added to the garden, including a ferocious looking Green Man, by Cornish sculptor Tim Shaw. If you have time, step inside the mansion and admire the Carew Family's impressive collection of art, furniture and textiles.
Alternatively, you can take a walk through 865 acres of beautiful grounds and deer park belonging to the impressive Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park. Family and dog-friendly, there are open greens and beaches for laying down a blanket and picnicking, plus nationally important formal gardens to discover. This is one of Cornwall’s finest country estates and one of only three Grade I listed gardens. A tour of the manor house is a great way to explore the ancestral home of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe, perhaps dressed as a Tudor as you take advantage of their dressing up collection!
The food and drink:
There are many great places to eat in Torpoint. A good place to start is the Wilcove Inn, a traditional and friendly country village pub, with views across the Tamar. They have a great reputation for delicious pub food prepared with fresh ingredients from the surrounding fields.
Another place to dine on your Cornish holiday is The Canteen at Maker Heights, a laid-back cafe in a stylish old Nissan hut serving hearty breakfasts, rustic Sunday roasts and vibrant homecooked lunches. Situated off the beaten track and at the top of the last hill on the Rame Peninsula before you meet the River Tamar, this Torpoint restaurant isn’t an easy one to get to, but we think this is all part of its charm! Due to its popularity and limited opening hours, you will need to book well in advance.
Just 3 miles from Torpoint in the little village of Antony is The Carew Arms, a seasonal, local, field-to-fork pub, farm shop and café. The mouth-watering menu includes dishes such as artisan fish pie, Tribute battered fillet of locally caught haddock and Robert Trevarthen’s 8oz ribeye steak.
The Rame Head Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty contains the 800-acre Mount Edgcumbe Park, Maker Heights, Rame Head itself and the picturesque villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, offering a plethora of scenic walks.
A stroll up to the chapel at Rame Head is one of the local’s favourite walks. There is a car park at the Coastguard Lookout and then the footpath takes you right up to the chapel where the coastal views are simply breathtaking. A short loop will take you around the headland, which is a great place for bird watching especially in autumn. Plus, on a day with good visibility, you should be able to see Eddystone Lighthouse.
Whether you bring your own bike or hire one locally, there are lots of cycle trails to enjoy around the Peninsula. There are short routes at Mt Edgcumbe or if you want to venture further, the cliff road from the top of Downderry and back around Whitsand Bay is particularly spectacular.
The Rame Peninsula has a lot to offer holidaymakers with its beautiful sandy beaches, small fishing villages and endless possibilities for water sports and outdoor adventure. Our self-catering accommodation in Torpoint places you in the heart of the beauty where you can soak up the ocean views and surrounding scenery.
Torpoint holiday cottages are a great choice if you want to explore the spectacular coasts of South Cornwall and Devon. Bring the whole family to one of our large holiday homes in Torpoint complete with all the mod cons and homely touches or choose one of our chic one-bedroom apartments or quaint fisherman’s cottages for the ultimate romantic getaway.
Inspired to take a holiday in Torpoint? Browse our fantastic range of cottages in Torpoint to discover your perfect getaway.