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Discover Perranporth, UK, With Bex From YHA Perranporth

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Bex from YHA Perranporth

Describe your city in 3 words?

Chilled, surf, beach.

When you have visitors, where do you take them first thing?

If the weather is good, just outside the hostel for  the view! Here we can point out a great walk along the cliff, The Watering Hole pub on the beach, and of course the surf and the 3-mile-long sandy beach. It always leaves people amazed that they picked such a good place to stay. If the weather is bad… the big window over looking all of the above!

Why do you work in a hostel?

I’ve always traveled and stayed in hostels since I was, well, 6 months old, Perranporth YHA being the second hostel I EVER stayed at! So hostels have become something I really know. A love of travel helps, and meeting new people is always fun. I have to admit that sometimes I have to remind myself that, funnily enough, I don’t REALLY have a degree in bog scrubbing… but working in a hostel is a good stop gap until I manage to get paid enough money for what I really want to do (professional illustrator). The pay is ok, and I get a wonderful amount of time off to do my own thing, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is shining.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?

If it’s “on” season, then no doubt at work in the hoste!! Otherwise, it’s good to head down to Falmouth on the south coast It’s an art student town and there are loads of good pubs. Lots of folk music and open mics to be found.

Best local drink?

The Watering Hole! It’s the only pub on the beach in Britain (ON the beach, not next to it!). Great to sit outside and watch the surf if it’s still light, and quite often there are bands on. This September Wheatus are playing!

YHA Perranport
The view out of my second home, up on the cliff. Life is sweet!
The perfect day in your city?

Wake up to a view of the sea (yes, yes…) sun shining, a good healthy breakfast whilst watching the afore mentioned sea and having a natter to someone else, no doubt about the sea, then once the tide is right and whatnot, jumping into the sea for a surf! Good couple of hours out there, then back for a hot and powerful shower (or a cold one with a view outside), down the hill into town to grab a pasty from the butchers, plus a bottle of cider from the Co-Op if you’re not adverse to drinking before evening, sit on the beach in the hopeful sun doing some people watching – it’s always good to have company at this point. Bit of a snooze (lets hope the sun stays)… the evening… hmm… a good meal with friends followed by a few drinks & a game of Scrabble! It’s a chilled out life round these parts.

Best viewpoint to see the whole city?

Just outside the hostel, or from the other side of the beach in the sand dunes.

Cheesiest attraction that you can’t help but love?

Healeys Cyder Farm. It’s a short bus journey (you could also walk) from Perranporth itself, but well worth it due to free samples of all the ciders and wines you lay your eyes on, plus a (often horny) horse, and a bunch of peacocks.

 24 hours in Perranporth?

Get a surf lesson with the Perranporth Surf School, then take a walk along the cliff towards the next village along (St Agnes). Top it off with a few drinks on the beach.

YHA Perranporth staff
My manager Phil and I jumping up and down on our cliff. Phil is the only other person I work with at this hostel, and a fellow surfer! Photo used with permission from photographer Alison Petty.
Best advice concerning the weather?

In general, Cornwall really loves having ridiculously changeable weather. It loves to rain, it loves to have high winds, but it also loves sunshine. Be prepared to be cold and wet The best thing to do in this situation is to curl up in the common room with the view and a good book, or jump in the sea – you’ll be wet anyway! And then there is the sun… sun cream! I’ve seen too many people having their holidays ruined by sunburn.

How many days should be planed to visit Perranporth?

If you’re coming to surf (which lots of people DO do), then I’ll say 4-5 nights. This means that if the surf is ever not good on one of the days, then there is always a chance it’ll be ok the next! Or if you’re learning to surf, it gives you a good few days to get things right. If you’re just generally exploring then I’d say keep it to 2-3 nights and move on to one of the other Cornish hostels, so many beautiful sights to see.

Best advice about public transportation?

The only public transport round here is buses. They’re generally on time, once or twice an hour. Pick up a little timetable. Or walk!

Best monthly or yearly events?
  • St Piran’s Day (on the 5th March) is when everyone in the surrounding area gets together to celebrate the patron saint of Cornwall. There is always a moving play which moves across the beach and sand dunes, and lots of beer and cider drinking.
  • Lowender Perran is a Celtic folk music festival held every mid October. There are bands and dances… and it’s not just for older folk, though you will definitely see your fair share of beer bellies, good beards, and tap shoes.
  • At a nearby beach (Chapel Porth), the World Bellyboarding Championships are held every June. Now THESE are something to go to!
What surprises visitors when they get to Perranporth?

It’s not a constant party zone. We may have a big surf culture, and yes we are sort of near Newquay, but there are no clubs and there isn’t much else to do! Some people come thinking that there will be young sexy people everywhere and beach raves.

Best day-trip from Perranporth?

Go west along the coast to other towns and villages, such as St Agnes (which has a great pub called the Driftwood Spars). Walk as far as you can and get the bus back. Alternatively, you could get the bus down to St Ives which is a great (and pretty famous) town full of art culture and crazy seagulls.

Fun fact about your town that no one would have guessed?

Perranporth is where the patron saint of Cornwall, St Piran, supposedly first landed. He was rejected from Ireland for being an alcoholic, amongst other things, and floated (or some folks say surfed!) across the sea on a millstone. He then was washed up into the sand dunes at Perranporth (you’ll find a couple of buried churches there, plus a big old Celtic cross!).

Common room at YHA Perranporth
Wetsuit related ridiculousness in the common room at YHA Perranporth. Those big windows look right out across the 3-mile-long sandy beach.
Cheapest meal around your hostel?

On the rocks down the bottom of the cliff, get mussels! Some people have also gone so far as to forage seaweed & other plants growing around here…

The only dessert you should have in Perranporth?

Go to Planet Ice on the main street. It’s an ice cream shop with a super array of different flavours, all from local creameries (Roskillys is the best company). Flavours to choose?! Ohh… apple crumble, salted caramel, orange and mascarpone, blackcurrant cheesecake… you better hope you aren’t dairy intolerant!

How do you keep your sanity?

Sunshine and surf, plus a good many snoozes in the back of my van!

The weirdest questions you’ve been asked about Perranporth?

If the sea ever comes as high as the hostel. This is pretty weird since the hostel is up on a 25 metre high cliff. We do get a fair amount of sea spray though. My van always has a salty coating.

YHA Perranporth Hostel
YHA Perranporth, basking in sunshine!
The most inspirational traveller you’ve met?

This would be a friend of mine I met up in Scotland. I love the way he always seems to throw his whole heart and soul into everything he does, whether it be living in a tree house community to save a forest, or writing poems.

Coolest feature of your hostel?

The view, and failing that, the tiny-ness of the place! It really is very small. Small and cosy, being blown about by crazy Cornish winds.

For more info about the YHA Perranporth, check out their website.

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The Hostel Worker

I once asked a fellow hostel worker if he was still sane after working in hostels for so many years. His response: "Well, sane is another word for boring." Here's to many more hostel years!

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