Where: Penrose Campsite, Porthleven, West Cornwall.
How much: £5 per adult/ £2.50 per child NB: Open July and August only!
Campfires: Yes, please use previuosly burnt fire circles. There are plenty.
Fire Wood: Reconstituted fire logs sold on site. Personally prefer to get some real wood, but a perfectly acceptable alternative and probably more environmentally friendly.
Facilities: Toilets, showers and washing up sinks all in block in first field. Well maintained but basic.
I choose this campsite as part of my never ending endeavour to find campfire camspites within walking distance of a beach. It is true that you can walk to Porthleven beach from Penrose, but it is a bit of a walk and the way back is extremely steep. However, the campsites does offer lots of space in three large fields. One of which also provides fabulous views over the sea. As always we were seduced by the views and paid the price in terms of windiness and a fair trek to the toilets. We would probably do the same again though!
Please note Porthleven is a good surfing beach, but can be a bit rough for a young family and the beach towards Loe Bar is treacherous, swimming is not recommended here. However, Praa Sands, a lovely family friendly beach, is nearby. Also check out Dollar Cove and, my favourite, Kynance Cove.
Porthleven is a really beautiful harbour village with some lovely shops (including as small supermarket and a post office) and a good selection of restaurants, pubs and cafes. I can especially recommend Kota Kai with spectacular views over the harbour, a great children’s play room and a very lovely Thai inspired menu.
The campsite also lies right next to the Penrose Estate, a National Trust parkland including access to the large lake Looe Pool. Well worth an explore, especially if things are a bit windy on the coastal side. Access is free, there is also a NT house with, of course, a cafe!
The facilites are basic but kept clean and both the shower and toilet cubicles have lots of space. The showers have plentiful hot water and there is a good number of them. There is also a seperate shower area for cleaning wetsuits.
Each evening the friendly owner comes around to collect payment, apart from this there is no management around. The site had a lovely genuine feel, offering all that a basic camper could require plus lots of space and beautiful views over the sea. All this plus the very reasonable price make it a spot very well worth visiting. Even large family groups can happily settle into their own corner of a field without seriouly impacting the peaceful feel of the site. However, do be aware of the possibility of strong winds and do check in advance that she has space as she takes care not to overcrowd.