Falmouth: St Michael’s Resort Paddleboarding Retreat

Jun 23, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

Early June I headed down to Cornwall for a paddleboarding retreat staying at St Michael’s Resort in Falmouth, hosted by paddleboarding / SUP supremo Brendon Prince (more on Brendon later).

Beautiful Gylly Beach – less than a 5 min walk from St Michael’s Resort

Back in April, I was having a wanderlust moment and in need of a getaway. However, owning horses means it’s not quite as easy to get away, but thankfully my very supportive dad was on stand-by to help feed, muck standbyhand graze them while I escaped for the weekend. I know I’m very fortunate to have his support and to make breaks like this possible.

Anyhow, during my research for weekend paddleboarding breaks in the southwest, an ad popped up from St Michael’s Resort on Instagram (and then Facebook) – perfect paid social advertising (I appreciate these things having worked in Digital Marketing for nearly 3 years at Screwfix). To start with, it all sounded too good to be true and I even called the hotel to check the details before booking.

Friday – Day 1

So, I headed the 150+ miles from Dorset to Falmouth on Friday morning, ready to meet with the rest of the weekend paddleboarders.

How much does one pack for a weekend on the water – asking for a friend?

On arrival and checking into my cosy double room I was greeted with a wonderful and generous goodie bag from the hotel – a lovely, branded jute bag, containing a cosy gym hoodie, waterproof phone case and snacks for the trip. A great way to set the tone for the stay.

Cosy double room with goodie bag

Before meeting up in the Locker Room with the rest of the guests, I headed for a walk along the beach which is less than a 2 minutes’ walk from the hotel. I walked along part of the South West Coastal Path from Gylly Beach to Swanpool – which is about half a mile, so only a 10-minute walk or so and a great way to breathe in the fresh air.

Walk from Gylly Beach to Swanpool

Back to the hotel to meet my fellow paddleboarding buddies for the weekend and our host Brendon Prince – who you may know from his Long Paddle adventure when he paddled around our island nation in 141 days covering 4000 miles on a paddleboard – go check out his website documenting The Long Paddle –  www.thelongpaddle.co.uk and www.brendonprince.com

Once we were all acquainted, our group of 4, plus Brendon headed down to Gylly (or Gyllyngvase beach) for our first adventure – mastering the Mega SUP! I must admit I was a bit nervous, having never been on one before, but needn’t have been. With Brendon’s guidance, we were up and away moving around the board – jumping in and out of the sea and coverer 2 ½ km.  A great way to break the ice between us all and find our sea legs again.

A Mega SUP adventure

For dinner, we ate in the Brasserie on the Bay restaurant and as part of the package could have anything off the menu and three courses. As you’ll see from my food snaps – it was delicious.

Food glorious food

Food glorious food

Saturday – Day 2

Being in a coastal town I forgot quite how noisy the seagulls could be and soon discovered I had some seagull chicks right outside my room. So rather than stay in bed, I decided to get some fresh air and go for a morning sea dip – which was glorious and bravely dipped under – which is quite a turning point for me who usually worries about my contact lenses or hair!

Early bird catches the calm seas

Breakfast was in Nourish a newly refurbished restaurant in the hotel and we were lucky over the three days to have it to ourselves in the morning. Again, we were very spoilt for choice with breakfast and I worked my way around the different egg options from Royale, Benedict to Smashed Avo.

Eggs Benedict

Our first paddle boarding session was just off Gylly Beach to test our skills and pick up tips from Brendon. Conditions were calm, sunny and perfect paddling weather. Felt very lucky to have a play on Brendon’s actual Long Paddle hard board – was super cool to think the board has been all round the UK coastline and seen all weathers, conditions, wildlife and mysterious things – which I can not disclose. IYKYK!

Step back turn

Step back turn

Brendon’s board

After a delicious lunch in Nourish, we headed out for a paddle over to Pendennis Castle. Conditions in the afternoon had changed and as we paddled along the coastline had to navigate the wind – great for the arms and also a sense of satisfaction, that we could do it. We had a play in some cool caves near Pendennis Castle before making our way back and covered about 4km.

Cave hunting

Cave hunting

Made it to the bottom of Pendennis Castle

Made it to the bottom of Pendennis Castle

Before dinner 3 of us had a delicious yoga session with Becky from St Michael’s Resort in a quiet spot on the rooftop looking down to the sea. It was the perfect chilled stretchy yoga session we needed after a busy 24 hours using all our muscles paddling (and eating).

Roof top yoga views

Evening dinner – again was divine. I can see why people love coming to this hotel just for the food oh and they have a great local cider called Gylly’s Gold cider.

Day 3 – Sunday

The long SUP adventure day! After an early-ish breakfast at 7.30, we headed off from Gylly Beach towards Maenporth about a 4km paddle weaving along the coastline, stopping at beautiful deserted beaches and checking out caves with the most stunning turquoise water. I felt like I was abroad in my t-shirt and shorts. Who needs to jump on a plane when you have beautiful beaches like Cornwall?

More cave hunting

More cave hunting

After a coffee stop on the beach at Maenporth we headed back to Gylly and were greeted by some pesky headwinds, with a stop and breather at Swanpool we then slowly headed back to Gylly Beach. I don’t think any of us really wanted the paddle to end – although lunch was beckoning!

We had a well-earned lunch in the boujee Nourish restaurant before an afternoon at the largest Hydrothermal pool in the southwest with over 21 stations from saunas, steam rooms, cold water plunges and a spa garden. My favourite must have been the hot tub whilst making the most of the 2 for £15 cocktails and drinking my first Aperol Spritz of the year. And yes, I did have a go in the cold plunge pool which was rather refreshing after the garden sauna. The hydrothermal experience was part of our package, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is on holiday in the area or staying at the hotel.

Spa and Aperol - what more could you want?

Spa and Aperol – what more could you want?

Our last dinner was in Nourish for the evening and we feasted on the yummiest of pizzas – it felt very much needed after a busy day of paddling and pootling in the spa. A great way to end the weekend.

Day 4 – Monday

On Monday the weather conditions were sadly against us for one last paddle, so we resorted to a final Cornish sea dip. I popped to the Health Club for a few pool lengths and sauna afterwards before we had our final breakfast in Nourish and made our farewells.

I must admit I felt slightly emotional saying goodbye to everyone – maybe tired from a very active weekend, but also felt like one of those experiences which awaken you and teach you a lesson to enjoy every experience that comes your way.

I hope you enjoyed my Falmouth write-up, I’ve included some helpful links below, and would 100% recommend to anyone (and already have at work) to visit and check out their retreats – they’re great value for money and organised by a wonderful team. And you never know I might see you there!

Helpful links:

If you like this travel write up, check out my other travel blogs which include Crete and Sardinia with more to come.

Becky x

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