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Active holidays: water sports

Canadian canoes on Pont Pill in the Fowey estauary, Cornwall. © John Millar

Canadian canoes on Pont Pill in the Fowey estauary, Cornwall. © John Millar

So many of our  National Trust holiday cottages are in fantastic waterside locations – next to beaches and up on cliffs, tucked away by creeks and rivers and beside peaceful lakes. Our guests love walking along the banks and beaches and taking in the tranquil views, but why not try getting out on – or in – the water for a new perspective on the landscape around you. 

If you’re a keen surfer – or just fancy having a go – you’ll find some beautiful cottages located right next to some of the National Trust’s top surfing beaches. Llangennith near Rhossili is one of the best-known surf spots in the country. Put yourself in prime position to catch the waves with a stay at The Old Rectory, overlooking the sands of the stunning Rhossili Bay.

Or head over to the Isle of Wight to sample the surf at Compton Bay. 1 and 2 Compton Farm Cottages are just a short walk from this top-notch beach, and are the perfect spots to dry off and relax after an active day in the waves.

If you’d rather stay on top of the water, you’ll find cottages around some of the National Trust’s top 10 places for canoeing and kayaking, including Windermere and the Fal estuary.

Explore the water at your own pace: a selection of cottages have their own jetty or quay and welcome guests to bring their own canoes or small boats. Paddle around Windermere from High Strawberry Gardens, head off on the Lough Erne Canoe Trail from Erne View and Alder Cottage at Crom, or meander around the Fal estuary from Quay Cottage.

If you’re a beginner or are just looking to hire a boat for the day, look out for organised trips and guided tours in many top paddling locations. Enjoy an active holiday in one of our cottages at Stackpole in Wales, and take a sea kayaking lesson at the Outdoor Learning Centre. Or escape to lovely waterside cottages such as Mohun and The Farm House Pont Pill in Cornwall, and enjoy guided paddles around the quiet creeks of the Fowey.

With so many cottages in fantastic locations, you’re sure to find your perfect spot for a holiday by the water. Check out our activities page for more details on water sports opportunities.

Our selection

  • The exterior of Stackpole Cottage, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire © Alice Johnston

    Stackpole Cottage

    Pembroke , Pembrokeshire

    A traditional stone farmhouse in one corner of a courtyard complex close to the sea.

  • The exterior of Erne View, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh © Chris Lacey

    Erne View

    Newtownbutler , County Fermanagh

    Great views of Lough Erne from this cottage in a small complex on the Crom Demesne.

  • The exterior of Pont Creek Cottage, Pont Pill, Cornwall © Mike Henton

    Pont Creek Cottage

    Lanteglos-by-Fowey , Cornwall

    A simple stone cottage just a few feet from the edge of a secluded creek.

  • Exterior of The Old Rectory,Rhossili,Gower,South Wales © Mike Henton

    The Old Rectory

    West Gower , Swansea

    An unsurpassed location above the huge expanse of sandy beach at Rhossili Bay.

  • The garden and exterior of The Water Tower, Trelissick, Cornwall  © Mike Henton

    The Water Tower

    Truro , Cornwall

    A distinctive former stone water tower with an intriguing interior.

  • Low and High Strawberry Gardens, Hawkshead, Lake District, Cumbria © Mike Henton

    Low Strawberry Gardens

    Hawkshead, Lake District , Cumbria

    A charming cottage just ten yards from the edge of Lake Windermere.

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