This week’s local guide is Laura from the Cornish Maid blog, where she writes about her favourite beaches, camping trips, festivals and coastal walks in Cornwall. We’re looking forward to learning more about her hometown, Hayle, so let’s get started…
1. So, you live in Hayle, Cornwall. Why do you love it so much?
I grew up in Cornwall and spent a lot of my childhood on the beautiful Cornish beaches. However, because it was so normal to me, I didn’t really appreciate the amazing county that I lived in. I moved away for a few years for university and different jobs, but when I moved back to Cornwall a couple of years ago, I found a whole new appreciation for my home. After living in cities such as Bristol and London, I was finally back by the ocean where I belong!
The best thing about living in Cornwall, the tip of the UK, is that you are never very far from a beach. The county is narrow, so even if you live in the middle of the countryside, you are never more than 16 miles from the sea! I adore my hometown of Hayle in particular because I can walk to the beach. I can be by the sea in minutes! Plus, Hayle Bay has three miles of golden sand, which you can walk across all the way to Godrevy Lighthouse when the tide is out. The views are incredible.
But it’s not just a boring seaside town. There’s plenty going on. We’ve got lovely bars and pubs, delicious restaurants, watersports galore, gyms, supermarkets, ice cream parlours, fish and chip shops and even an outdoor swimming pool. There’s live music events and the annual Hayle Fest. But most of all, I love being at the beach, walking on the sand dunes and body boarding in the sea.
2. The Foundry is your favourite neighbourhood. Why is that?
We don’t really have neighbourhoods, but Hayle is split into two halves: the Copperhouse side and the Foundry side. These names go back to the 17 & 1800s when Cornish mining was at its peak. In other words, the Poldark days! During the mining boom, Hayle had two of the three largest mine engine foundries in the world.
Copperhouse was so named as it was the site of the copper smelters for the mines in the area. Foundry was named so because it was the location of the first iron foundry in Cornwall, which built the largest steam engines in the world during the industrial revolution. So Hayle has a lot of history! I live at the Foundry end, so that has to be my favourite! It’s a safe and friendly area and all of our neighbours are lovely, plus it’s a two-minute walk from the Salt Bar, my favourite hang-out….
3. Where do all the cool kids hang out in Hayle?
Definitely the Salt Bar! There are a few pubs in Hayle and a few restaurants as well….but Salt Bar is where it’s happening! Best of all, it’s just down the road from my house. They have an awesome menu with the best burgers, delicious Cornish seafood, tapas, sandwiches and grills. They have a really good cocktail list as well. Plus, lots of choices of beers, ciders, wine etc. Salt Bar also has regular live music and a really cool atmosphere where you can just relax and unwind after a busy day at work or a day at the beach.
If I had to pick a second choice, it would be The Bluff pub on the clifftop overlooking the sea. This is definitely a better location in terms of views, but is really busy with visitors during the summer, whereas Salt Bar is more of a local’s place. However, if it’s a clear evening, The Bluff is the place to go to watch the sun set over the sea with a nice cold pint.
4. Where could we buy the cheapest food and drinks in Hayle?
Brewers Fayre! This is an English chain of restaurants and there’s one on the main Hayle roundabout, close to the Hayle shopping centre which has a Next, Marks & Spencers and Boots. If you don’t have the cash to splash, you can get a decent sized meal and drinks for a more reasonable price than anywhere else.
Alternatively, head to Philps pasty shop. Philps make THE BEST pasties in Cornwall, another reason why Hayle is so great! A standard steak pasty will only set you back £3 and it’s a true taste of Cornwall. They have veggie and gluten-free options now too. Cornish pasties are best enjoyed with a sea view, so why not take it down to the beach and have a Cornish picnic?
5. What is the best thing to do when it’s raining in Hayle?
One drawback about living in Cornwall is there’s not much to do when it rains! We usually just head to the pub for a few drinks and a game of cards. For families on holiday in Cornwall, the Paradise Park Jungle Barn is a great place for kids to let off steam.
Alternatively, you can get the train or a bus to St Ives (which takes 15-20 minutes) and head to the Tate Gallery or the Barbara Hepworth sculpture museum. St Ives is the artist’s paradise of Cornwall. The spectacular views of the harbour and St Ives Bay have inspired countless artists’ work. Explore the narrow cobbled streets and quirky gift shops and then, it has to be said, head into a cosy Cornish pub to shelter from the rain! I’d recommend the Lifeboat Inn or the Sloop Inn, both situated on the harbourside. If the weather clears up, grab an ice cream or some fish and chips – just watch out for those pesky seagulls!
6. Are there any unusual attractions/activities you recommend?
I mentioned Paradise Park Hayle earlier, but aside from the Jungle Barn, the park has lots of tropical birds, including parrots, flamingos and penguins, as well as red pandas, miniature donkeys and more! Country Skittles is also a cool place to go. It’s an old English game, which is a bit like bowling but the ball doesn’t have any finger holes!
Other activities I’d recommend are the watersports, particularly as Hayle has such a big beach and a river. You can go canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, body boarding, surfing, or just go for a dip in the sea or at Hayle outdoor pool!
7. Where can we learn more about you?
You can keep up to date with my Cornish adventures including coastal walks, music festivals, camping trips, my favourite beaches and more at cornishmaidblog.com. You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram
Thanks for the interview guys and let me know if you need any insider’s tips about Cornwall! I go to lots of different places on my adventures and don’t just stay in Hayle 😊
Thank you for letting us interview you, Laura! We must say, you’ve sold us Cornwall just on the Cornish pasties by the sea. We’ve never had a Cornish picnic before!