Bedruthan Steps


By Richard Burton, May 5, 2011
The beach: huge stone steps rise up from vast areas of sand

The beach: huge stone steps rise up from vast areas of sand

A stone's throw from arguably the most spectacular beach in Britain sits a hotel that shares its name. But while Bedruthan Steps the beach is a spectacular feat of nature, its namesake is an altogether more low-key and unfussy family retreat.

It's the sister to the Scarlet, the eco-spa that's been grabbing a lot of attention a few yards further down the hill towards the altogether more traditional beach at Mawgan Porth. The Scarlet is the one to go to as a couple, ideally, flying into Newquay airport, a couple of miles along a few twisty lanes. This is the one you bring your kids to, driving south from Padstow.

It is a serious place for children; clean, unfussy and child-focused with a network of activity rooms knitted into the fabric and Ofsted-registered clubs. Outside, there's a play area with a mini football pitch and climbing frames. You can even take a room facing the beach, sit yourself next to the floor-to-ceiling windows and watch them play in the grounds.

From the outside the place looks a little dated. A low sprawl with a car park that spreads itself across the back and to either side belies a neat minimalist interior with rooms decorated in simple creams and browns: comfy, not luxurious.

There are apartments and villas, complete with their own sun-bathing balconies, if you want to nudge your way a little more up-market and a number of family-free rooms and an adults-only lounge.

The hotel: comfy, not luxurious. But with views across the bay

The hotel: comfy, not luxurious. But with views across the bay

Mawgan Porth itself is a quiet two-horse hamlet but Jamie Oliver's restaurant, 15 is only 20 minutes away at Watergate bay to the South, Rick Stein's Seafood restaurant is about the same distance north at Padstow.

As for the beach, it gets its name from the huge slate outcrops scattered along the sand, said to have been placed there by a giant of the same name for use as stepping stones.

The steps refer to the huge number you need to negotiate, at quite a steep incline and with the safety of a metal banister, to get down. A word of warning, if you have a problem with heights, you may find the climb back daunting.

Within the grounds of the hotel is The Surf Club where private lessons are given by Johnny Fryer, the current British Champion.

The club also offer nature walks to "secret" areas where you take swimming lessons at low tide.

RATES: £296 per person for three nights
TEL: 01637 860555

Last updated: 11:57am, May 5 2011