Surf Bay, Cornwall

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surf bay cornwallA surfing-inspired bar and restaurant in Cornwall is helping to change perceptions of holiday parks


Sipping cocktails on a bar terrace, watching the sun go down over the dunes: it is not the typical image of an English holiday caravan park. Leading operator Haven, part of Bourne Leisure, has invested £2million in transforming a former nightclub at Perran Sands Holiday Park into Surf Bay bar and restaurant. Located near to dunes only eight miles from the surfers’ paradise of Newquay, it has taken its inspiration from the locality in both its design and menu.

Haven brought in leading bar and restaurant designer Leisure Concepts to create the 400-seater venue, formerly the Surf Rider nightclub. It features tables shaped like surf boards, a screen showing surfing videos and mannequins in beachwear above the back-bar as a tribute to Baywatch.

Baywatch themed  beach bodies above the bar

Pieces from Geometric Furniture were used throughout including sofas, tub chairs, lounge chairs and low stools in the lounge area and aluminium and timber dining chairs and bar stools and planked-effect tops in the dining area, with a mix of bleached, gun-metal, cream, pebble, lime wash and weathered finishes.

Stone flooring and natural timber finishes throughout have been sourced locally, with a freshness that fits into Haven’s “Breath of Fresh Air” ethos. Pride of place is Alfie, a classic VW campervan that has been transformed into a dining space. “It is a celebration of what this area is all about,” says Haven’s retail development manager Mick Newton.

Many of the ingredients in the food have also been sourced locally, whenever possible, such as the fish and chips made with Cornish beer batter, fresh brown crab, roasted hake loin and seafood mixed grill. There is an open kitchen so guests can see the chefs at work. “We wanted to showcase the food which is a statement of confidence of where we are with our food offering and our abilities as a team,” Mick explains. Along with Haven’s 35 other holiday parks, the hot drinks offering has been upgraded, with Surf Bay using bean-to-cup machines and Rainforest Alliance-accredited coffee from Colombia, Brazil and Vietnam.

Haven has also introduced cocktails at Surf Bay after sending its staff on a masterclass with Revolution bars, sponsored by supplier Matthew Clark. For now, there are six cocktails on the menu, all classics such as a Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitan and Mojito. “To start off with, we wanted to do a few well rather than introduce a huge list,” Mick explains. Alongside this, beers and ciders are supplied by Carlsberg UK plus the addition of Doom Bar ale from Cornish brewer Sharps. There is also a good selection of wines and premium spirits.

With an outside bar and grill, Surf Bay is ready for a long hot summer, if it should come. After Haven’s investment in the stylish South Beach Café at its Devon Cliffs park in Devon last year, the company is committed to moving with the times. At the launch of Surf Bay in March, Visit Cornwall’s head of tourism Malcolm Bell praised the new bar and restaurant, saying it “further proves that holiday parks have come a long way from those Hi-de-Hi days”.

Surf Bay, Perran Sands Holiday Park, Perranporth, Cornwall TR6 0AQ Tel: 01872 573 551 www.haven.com

surf bay outside

Who did it
Design: Leisure Concepts
Furniture: Geometric Furniture
Outside furniture: Eden Contract Furniture, Poly-Wood
Lighting: Chantelle Lighting, Lightique, R&S Robertson, Original BTC, Lux Lighting, Collingwood Lighting
Flooring: Karndean
Stone flooring: Keystone
Carpets: Newhay
Decking: Millboard

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Bar magazine.

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