Helford river is one of my favourite places in Cornwall, and exploring it from the water is always the best experience!
A few years ago I was invited on a press visit for a Helford kayaking tour with Koru Kayaking at Budock Vean hotel, and was very excited when the lovely owner, Hetty, got in touch again about trying our their new experience – a SUP (stand up paddleboard) tour of Helford with their new brand – Koru SUP!
Koru Kayaking have locations both at Trevaunance Cove in St. Agnes (for a North coast paddle) as well as the beautiful private cove at the bottom of Budock Vean hotel’s subtropical gardens and have recently launched a new guided SUP experience from here too. This experience is 2 hours long and costs £45pp, with a maximum of 5 people in a group (or you can book a private group session for £200 too), and their lovely instructor, Emma, will give you a full safety briefing and introduction on paddleboarding, and will tailor the route for all abilities.
The sun was shining as we arrived and the water was beautifully calm, so once we’d got changed and Emma had shown us how to get on the boards and different types of strokes, we were all standing up in no time, even though we had mixed abilities in our group! It was lots of fun getting used to paddling around the boats in Port Navas creek, before heading out across the river.
Emma was a great instructor and told the group lots about the local area as we paddled along, and I love how she also taught us how to get back on the board properly if we fell off too! None of us actually fell off, but in previous paddleboarding lessons I’ve never had anyone actually tell me the best way to get back on so I definitely appreciated that.
We could not have picked a more perfect morning to head out – as I say the sea was beautifully flat, and Helford was glistening in the gorgeous turquoise green colour that I love so much about this area. We crossed the river to the Lizard side and headed down to the famous Frenchman’s Creek.
This tiny secluded part of Helford river was the title and topic of the well-known historical romance novel, ‘Frenchman’s Creek’ by Daphne Du Maurier*. I’ve personally never read it, but every time I visit this area of Cornwall (including the quaint Helford village and surrounding coves), I always think that I should. There’s something so magical about it!
Exploring this creek from the water is heavenly. It’s so untouched that all you can hear are the sounds of our paddles hitting the water and the occasional heron or egrets cawing as they fish for their dinner. A couple of open-water swimmers swam past us and we saw a couple gliding along on their SUPs but apart from that it’s totally remote.
It was getting warm in the sun, so we paddled around to a hidden cove and jumped in the water to cool down and just float in the peace and quiet.
Heading back across the river to the hotel, we were met with an unexpected Easterly wind, which was quite hard to paddle against alongside the incoming tide, but our instructor Emma was so helpful even set us up in a SUP tandem so we could all paddle together to make it easier.
Once we were back in Port Navas creek the wind disappeared and we floated back to the land, tired but exhilarated from our stunning trip.
We got changed and walked back up through the hotel’s lush gardens to enjoy some lunch on their terrace. Budock Vean is a 4 star hotel set on a 65 acre estate with restaurant, spa, golf club, holiday apartments, and of course their gorgeous gardens leading down to the river.
The restaurant offers lots of different options, from lighter lunches and small plates, to Cornish classics like fish & chips, and vegan / vegetarian options too.
After our workout on the water we all fancied something hearty; Frankie and I went for crab sandwiches with chips, Niki and Amy chose fish & chips, and Lowenna chose the beef burger. All were super tasty, and our crab sandwiches were satisfyingly thick and juicy!
Overall we had an amazing day, and I can’t recommend Koru Kayaking / Koru SUP enough for a magical adventure on the water – they’re so lovely and Helford river is such a unique and memorable location.
Find out on the Koru Kayaking website, or check out Budock Vean’s site for dining and stay information.
* We were given a complimentary tour and lunch in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own – we had a great time :)
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