The vast expanse of sand that constitutes Polzeath beach was framed by a bright October sun reflecting back on the light blue, often turquoise, sea, almost empty save a few dog walkers. Except if you looked closely you could spot the black bobbing mass of surfers in the water waiting to catch that elusive wave, whatever the weather.

Rewind a few months and I’d vowed never to return to Cornwall in peak season, unable to park, move or find a space on the beach, fed up with the battle, the hassle, the hustle.

And yet here we were with the whole place to ourselves, gulls wheeling overhead, cafes opening their awnings hopefully, keen to entice the remaining intrepid visitors, now that all the tourists have gone home.

And what better time to visit than this? When the sun is still shining but the grockles have gone home.

We were staying at the St Moritz Hotel and Spa just outside Polzeath, which boasts indoor and outdoor pools, sea views, some wonderful cliff walks, a Cowshed spa and a top notch restaurant and bar.

Our junior suite faced the sea, with the added bonus of a tiny sitting room and sun loungers outside, plus our own beach hut to store our swimmers in.

The outdoor pool was still open, as was its accompanying restaurant which served some wonderful lunchtime pizzas.

In terms of activities, we’d left it suitably vague, wrapping up warm for a bracing walk to Polzeath around the corner as soon as we arrived, looping back on ourselves to wander in the opposite direction all the way to Rock, and Padstow opposite. What a view.

Booking daily surf lessons with Wavehunters for the kids in Polzeath was our first commitment.

We were also talked into their boat trip in a rib from Rock which took you out past The Doom Bar sandbar, site of 80 shipwrecks and the inadvertent inspiration for the beer of the same name. Then up to Puffin Island where we glimpsed seals watching us carefully from the rocks, a fruitless hunt for dolphins, all of which was a good way to spend an afternoon and introduce us to the coastline.

Dinner that night in the Shorecrest Restaurant we feasted on mussels from nearby Porthilly, some wonderful steak, prawns, cod and rarebit, followed by a sleep enhanced by the noise of the surf outside.

Entirely reinvigorated, rested and relaxed we then returned to Polzeath for their two hour surfing lessons, a massive success thanks to the patient instructor Will. The children were instantly hooked.

Then back for a swim in the hotel pool while I checked into the Cowshed spa, anyone familiar with the brand and product will know I was in for a treat, my facial so relaxing I actually fell asleep.

And so we spent our days surfing, walking, relaxing, eating in the many pubs and restaurants dotting the coast, returning to the hotel to shower, dress, recoup, regroup and then trot off for dinner there, meeting up with friends, where everything from the gin to the cheese was local.

The long weekend provided just the restorative break we needed, returning home not only addicted to surfing but rested and realigned.

So we will return to Cornwall, most certainly, but not until the crowds have abated, the beaches emptied and the tourists packed up and gone home.

We are definitely an out-of-seasoners now.

  • St Moritz Hotel. Apartments. Villas. Trebetherick, Cornwall, PL27 6SD
  • Rates range from £110 in low season in a Cosy Room, to £470 in high season in a Sea View First Floor Suite.
  • The hotel also boasts self-catering properties on site including 32 villas, and 13 apartments and penthouses.
  • or Phone: 01208 862242