Three Mile Beach

nr Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from Book from £285 per night

On one of Cornwall's longest and loveliest surfing beaches, a collection of super-chic & cosseting houses (for 4-10), perfect for families and friends

This bold and innovative beach hideaway, which spent four years in the making before opening to great acclaim in summer 2021, started out with a question: what is the best place in Britain for kitesurfing? Asking the question was Craig Burkinshaw, intrepid explorer, watersports fan, and founder of Audley Travel. And the answer – clearly – was here, on Gwithian’s 3 mile-long, west-facing beach in St Ives Bay. It's true. The waves roll in with a deliciously dependable surf, the west wind blows with beautiful predictability, the shore is endlessly sandy, with bobbing seals and secluded cliff-backed coves to shelter in.

So with his partner Jo, who has a handy eye for interior design, they bought a field above the bungalows of Gwithian's Towans ('sand dunes' in Cornish), and set about building 15 of the most cosseting, uplifting and stylish beach houses you can imagine. Think Bondi surf chic, with colourful touches from Mexico and Morocco, plus every conceivable creature comfort – from wine fridges to private sauna and hot tub on your sail-shaded deck. Naturally, surf lessons, boards and wetsuits are on hand, along with private chefs, boat trips and pretty much anything else you desire. With two, three or four bedrooms each, these houses are the ideal spot for some laid-back beachside luxury with your family (including four-legged friends), or for a very special get-together with mates.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • The houses are supremely well equipped and easy on the eye: a lovely spot to hole up and chill out, any time of year
  • An on-site food truck offers world cuisine from tacos to Thai; private chefs and DIY pizza ovens are available too
  • That beach: huge and sandy, with rock pools, surf schools and life guards – and 3 miles long is no exaggeration
  • Even if you’re not into surfing, there’s tons to do: coastal walks, St Ives’ boutiques, trips to St Michael’s Mount, Mousehole or Land’s End
  • It’s open all year, with flexible arrival days and discounted off-season rates (great for a cosy winter escape)

Lows

  • The houses are quite close together, and only half of them have sea glimpses
  • It's on an exposed hillside which catches the prevailing west wind
  • There’s no pool or spa on site: this place is about getting back in touch with nature, wilderness – and each other
  • Minimum stay of 1 week in summer holidays
  • School holidays get booked up quickly: plan ahead – and go for it!

Best time to go

There's no doubt that this place is best in summer, but holiday weeks get booked up very early. If you can find space, go for it. Otherwise May and October half-terms are lovely - quieter, often sunny - and Easter holidays are an option too (the sea is bracing, but wetsuits are on hand). Couples and friends who are not tied to school hols will love May-June or September-October: our favourite times. And don't rule out a winter stay: it's cosy with underfloor heating, woodburning stoves, hot tubs and private saunas for warming up after a bracing walk (or dip!).

Our top tips

One evening - perhaps Sunday or Monday when the food truck is closed - do book their DIY pizza kit. With an outdoor pizza oven, ready-to-roll dough and lots of delicious toppings provided, all you (and the kids) need to do is get creative with flavours ... and have a domestic bake-off! It was one of our highlights - and very fair value when compared to eating out.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Luxury Beach Houses
  • 2-4 bedrooms each
  • Self-catering; dining options on site
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Jacuzzi
  • Bicycles Available
  • Surfboard & wetsuit hire
  • Beach kit & games
Room:

Rooms

Airy, spacious, bright, with uplifting splashes of colour and a superb level of equipment and thoughtful detail - these houses are simply gorgeous. After 48 hours, my wife declared (somewhat pointedly, I thought) that she could happily spend the rest of her days living here.

The open-plan living-dining spaces invite lazy relaxation, with white-washed timbers, high eaves, a wood-burning stove, and tassly rugs on polished cement floors. The dining table and kitchen island allow for sociable cooking, while a vast sofa with colourful cushions and smart TV take care of rainy evenings. Jo has done a great job mixing locally sourced furniture with mementos of their world travels. Local basket lampshades, porthole windows, redecorated surfboards and Mexican hats combine to feel exotic without being over-styled.

Bedrooms - two, three or four per house - share the same airy white look, with divinely comfy mattresses, fluffy robes, cute storage niches and fun artworks. Angled slatted shutters and tight-sealing windows ensure a sound night's sleep; electric Veluxes come with rain sensors in case you leave them open. The master double bedroom in each house has an ensuite shower room, while the main bathroom boasts an eye-catching double-ended nickel tub alongside a walk-in wetroom (and lovely ethical toiletries courtesy of Cornish Land & Water). Other rooms can be set up with twin or double beds; some boast an additional futon on a the mezzanine reached by a steep ladder - fun for older kids, not great for toddlers, though easily closed off.

The cherry on the cake is an outside deck packed with fun stuff; a private hot tub, sauna-in-a-barrel, Fatboy hammock and deckchairs, and a sail canopy for shady outdoor dining. So long as you don't expect a rolling lawned garden, or direct sea views, you won't be disappointed here.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Iron
  • Jacuzzi
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

Each house has a beautiful and beautifully equipped kitchen. To give you a flavour: wine fridge, chunky Procook pans, blender, food thermometer, stylish Smeg toaster and kettle in duck-egg blue, plus practical stuff like garlic press, plastic glasses for outdoors, tupperware for leftovers. Try as we might, we couldn't think of anything missing.

A generous welcome tray is packed with Cornish goodies, from gingerbread to seaweed thins to scones with clotted cream and jams. There's bread, butter, tea and coffee for your first breakfast, spices and oils for the first dinner, and in the fridge a selection of tipples for in between.

But actually it might be a while before you get cooking, because the on-site food truck offers a changing menu of world cuisine. Tacos on Tuesday, Thai on Thursday, curries on Saturday - the innovative dishes are fairly priced and can be delivered to your door. On Sunday - Monday, when it's closed, we highly recommend booking a DIY pizza kit, including oven, ready-to-roll dough, sauces and toppings; great fun, and with material for 12 pizzas, nobody will go hungry!

If that sounds like hot work, book a private chef. Craig and Jo have road-tested a bunch and chosen three, one of whom - an ex rugby player - learned his (second) trade at Rick Stein's and Paul Ainsworth's No. 6 in Padstow. Or head out to one of west Cornwall's many and varied eateries, from beachside fish-n-chips or crab shacks near Hayle to AA-rosetted posh-nosh in St. Ives or Porthleven. The in-house guide has tons of suggestions.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Toaster
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The seemingly endless, wide, sandy beach is perfect for volleyball, frisbee or just splashing around; parts of it are dog-friendly
  • Besides kite-surfing and surfing, it's a great spot for kayaking, SUP and other water sports; equipment can be pre-booked, with tuition via their neighbour, Global Boarders
  • Stunning coastal paths lead to Godrevy Point for dramatic cliffs and seal watching
  • Too tame? Book a coasteering adventure, clambering up rocks and leaping in: a great family leveller
  • Or try zip-lining (over the Eden Project), cave adventures (St. Just), hang-gliding, even parachuting
  • There's horse-riding near Hayle, golf (4 courses within 30 mins), sport fishing, or award-winning foraging walks with Rachel Lambert - just ask reception for details on any of these

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing

Kids

This is a wonderful place for a beachy family holiday: learn to surf, head out on SUPs, picnic on the dunes, spot seals - it's the stuff future memories are made of. Each house has 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, plus extra mezzanine-level futons if needed. There are board games, books, beach toys and baby equipment (some provided, some available as extras).

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two-bedroom houses (which are essentially three-bedrooms with one room closed off) are perfect for a family of 4-5, with one double room and one twin (plus an extra futon at mezzanine level). The three-bedroom houses are great for larger families or teens who want separate rooms. Each has one double room and two double/twins, plus 2 extra futons at mezzanine level; you could even squeeze two families in. (Note: the two 'Dune' houses have only 1 futon, but a larger terrace). But better for two families or a multi-gen family are the four-bedroom houses, for obvious reasons.

All houses can fit 1 or 2 cots, and are dog friendly.

Baby equipment:


  • High chairs
  • Plastic plates & cups
  • Baby pack (prebookable at extra cost): steriliser, bottle warmer, Nutri Bullet, baby bath, toilet seat, step, changing mat, Tupperware

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Smart TV & Freeview
  • Books & board games
  • Buckets, spades, frisbee, beach cricket & football provided
  • Beach volleyball (prebookable at extra cost)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Surf lessons, boogie boarding
  • Wildlife tours (butterflies, seals, birds etc)
  • Boat trips
  • Country Skittles (Hayle); skittles, pool tables, air hockey, table football
  • Geevor Tin Mine: tunnels, gold-panning, Virtual Reality tours
  • Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary (Hayle): penguins, otters, birds of prey, indoor play

Families Should Know:

The mezzanines in each house are accessed by a steep ladder (which can be easily blocked off with a guard). You'll need to watch your own children on your house's deck, which has a hot tub (with cover), sauna and barbeque.

Distances:

  • Hospital: 6km / 15 mins (Hayle)
  • Supermarket: 4km / 8 mins (Loggans)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Three Mile Beach is in Gwithian Towans, on St Ives Bay in Cornwall.

By Train:
Take the London Paddington - Penzance line and get off at St. Erth (5+ hrs), from where it's a 10-minute taxi ride; or get off at Truro and hire a car (a 40-minute drive).

By Car:
From London or the Midlands, it's around 300 miles (5+ hours' drive) via the M4/M5 to Exeter and then the A30 to Hayle. The last 2 miles are on a small country lane. Each house has its own parking spaces. If you want to hire a car, see our recommendations.

By Air:
Newquay Airport (45 minutes' drive) has some domestic flights; otherwise fly into Bristol (3 hours' drive) or London Heathrow (5 hours).

Detailed directions are provided when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Newquay 56.0 km NQY
  • Bristol 280.0 km BRS

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.5 km

Rates for Three Mile Beach

Arriving on: