Tubestation, Polzeath

In a nutshell:

–non-profit organisation serving the local community since 2006

–an outstanding surfing cafe and church

–come here for lively chatter and a game of Pictionary

Fittingly set in a place of worship, the Tubestation heralds everything to do with surfing. Regardless of your surfing beliefs, it is done in such a way that you will welcomed with open arms and may indeed find yourself converted by the end of your visit.

Situated right opposite Polzeath beach, the Tubestation sits on top of a little grassy mound and unsurprisingly it has established itself as part of the bedrock of the surfing community here. It was set up in 2006 and is now a church and a cafe, but above all, it is a place for the community, whatever your beliefs.

“Along the wall, a log fire gently burns, inviting cold, wet surfers – still in wetsuits and bare feet – to be enveloped by its warmth”

Enter its hallowed doors and it is immediately a feast for the senses. Surfboards line the ceiling, chilled electronic beats from the speakers underpin the lively chatter, waves are painted on the walls, a projector screen plays footage of surfing, and rugs, sofas and tables scatter the room in a joyously haphazard way that encourages friendliness amongst all. At the far end of the room is a skating ramp and today, a man sits in the middle of it on a microphone updating us on the surfing competition going on outside. Along the wall, a log fire gently burns, inviting cold, wet surfers – still in wetsuits and bare feet – to be enveloped by its warmth.

I couldn’t work out whether this felt more like a clubhouse for the surfing community or a coffee shop. The community here takes over and I mean this in the best possible way. It made me think back to when coffee shops first sprang up in England and part of their raison d’etre were to stimulate debate, to encourage conversation between all who entered and by doing so, an organic coffeehouse community formed.

At the beginning of my visit, I was struck by the dichotomy between the nods to Christianity and the nods to surfing all being merged together. A picture of Jesus sat to a weathered trunk covered in a fishing net; surfing merchandise on show next to the the hymn plaque with the WiFi code on; a Christian cross carved in the middle of the skating ramp. It refreshingly goes against the rather overly done rustic, minimal feel that most independent coffee shops seem to be doing at the moment. Everything is surprising and far from conventional, and an effortless authenticity permeates throughout.

“Everything is surprising and far from conventional, and an effortless authenticity permeates throughout”

The food:

Right next to the vinyl collection, the delicious cakes are on show which are all made in the kitchen here. The popular hot food menu offers stuff you’d be ravenous for after a session on the waves: when I went the specials were a vegetable dahl and a choice of sandwiches also made in the kitchen. (The cheese and chutney sandwich was brilliant, as was the dahl.) As a person allergic to nuts I was really excited to hear that there were no nuts in anything that day. Particularly rare in independent coffee shops.

The coffee:

Very good. I had a flat white which was great: the milk was perhaps overly done which made it quite hot, but a great flavour. What they do well here is the balance of flavours, and this may be down to their secret weapon: their very own coffee called Tubetime which is roasted locally in Polzeath by Hands-On Coffee. They also have guest coffees too.

All in all:

I wouldn’t recommend coming here with the purpose to work on a weekend. It is a lively vibe, and conversation, gatherings and activities are the primary concern. But whatever your reason, or your beliefs, or your choice of water-based hobbies, just take my word for it and go. If you don’t, it would be like not visiting a pyramid if you went to Egypt; not going on a gondola if you’re going to Venice; not trying to see the Loch Nees Monster if you’re at Loch Ness. By no means am I saying this is a tourist thing to do, but it seems to me the quickest way to have a good time and get swept up by the awesome community here.

Things to know:

-dogs welcome

-WIFI

-wetsuits welcome

-great vegan options

-Music: background chilled beats

-Open Tuesday-Sunday 10-4pm (Breakfast until 11:30am; lunch served from 12pm)

-Website: https://tubestation.org

-Address: Polzeath, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL27 6TB

Recommended places nearby:

George’s Surf School

Ann’s Cottage (surf shop)

Trewornan Manor (B&B)


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