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Things To Do

Below are a list of activities available in the area, please click on the activity you are interested in for more information.

Beaches - All of the local beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag in the last eight years that we know of.

Fishing - A popular local pastime, you can even buy bait in the local supermarket along with your shopping.

Eating Out - Just a small selection of restaurants in the area.

Golf - Information about local golf courses. (I’m assured that any golfers will understand the jargon!)

Horse Riding - Many centres locally.

Markets - There is a market available every day of the week, including Sundays if you are prepared to travel.

Nature - Bird watching, Wild Flowers and Stars.

Shopping - This depends on how serious a shopper you are, local shops are worth a look or La Glacerie won’t leave you disappointed. Don’t forget many close for lunch!

Tourist Train - A unique experience and well worth the trip.

Walking - Lots of routes and well marked.

Cycling - Perfect for all levels. We even have a cycle route from Cherbourg available.

Water Sports - This coast is well known for water sports, La Rozel and Sciotot a few minutes along the coast.

The Normandy Peninsular - Other things to see within the Normandy Peninsular

More information available from the Tourist Office


The beaches in the area are all European Class A and very clean. Certain sections have summer lifeguards, others carry warnings that they are unsupervised and swimmers are asked to comply with normal safety rules about not swimming alone.

A number of the beaches north of Barneville fall into this category although they are beautiful, they are hidden away from passing traffic on the main through roads so are never crowded even during the peak season.

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The beach at Surtainville offers possibilities for surfcasters, as does Sciotot bay (might be a bit difficult in August) and Siouville. For those who don't like to work that hard there's easier fishing in the sandy estuary at Portbail, the harbour wall and rock arm at Carteret, the harbour at Dielette and the rocks at Siouville.

If you fancy a trip to St Vaast on the east coast - famed for its oysters - there's a long harbour wall to fish from and you won't lack for company.  Barfleur, though with a smaller harbour wall, is also good.

There is freshwater fishing available in trout lakes in the area but you will need to enquire about a licence to fish them.

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Eating Out

Hotel de Paris
Opposite the church in Barneville. Friendly, good value restaurant.

Hotel –Restaurant de la Marine
The white hotel on the front at Carteret. Rated by locals as the best restaurant in the region. The chef has a Michelin Star and when you eat here you can understand why.

Menus start at just under 30 euros but you would pay considerably more for this standard of cooking in the UK. Small but exquisitely tasting portions and presentation. Superb service in an elegant restaurant. Highly recommended but you must book.

Les Pieux
Restaurant de la Paix
Opposite the post office at the far end of town. Good value set price menus. The fish soup is very good.

La Taverne
Near the chateau gateway on place Ste Anne. 4 course menus start at 9euros. Amongst the starters, the Tarte Taverne, made from potato and local Trappist cheese, is delicious. Meats are cooked over a wood fire.

Le Donjon
Opposite La Taverne, another very good value eating place. Set price menus similar to La Taverne plus brasserie type dishes, omelettes etc.

Le Relais du Cotentin
As you enter Bricquebec, turn right i.e. “Toutes Direction”. Turn left at the bottom of the hill. Just past turning on right for Saint Sauveur. “Le Relais” is the single story building on the left. Good value set price menus.

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There are 3 nine-hole courses within a 30 minutes drive of Surtainville
St Jean La Riviere
links, par 66 (4754m)
overlooks the Channel Isles
10 minutes drive from Surtainville

links, par 72 (5060m)
on Utah Beach
30 minutes drive across the peninsula

Cherbourg, La Glacerie
parkland, par 72 (5662m)
on high ground behind Cherbourg with spectacular views over the Napoleonic harbour 25 minutes from Surtainville

All offer 9 holes or a day ticket and are very flexible about coming and going in the day. E.g. 9 holes in the morning to get the measure of the course, a good lunch in the local bar, followed by 18 to walk it off!

A little further afield, 1 hour + drive, are

18 holes, par 68, 4897m
by the sea

18 holes, par 71, 5834m 9 holes, par 33
by the sea

Omaha Beach
Championship course 27 holes
overlooks the beach

All courses welcome visitors. You will probably need to book Omaha and Granville. A call to any will help in case there is a local competition being played.

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Horse Riding

There are some excellent centres in the area. St Jean-de-la-Riviere caters for all levels of riding ability. The more experienced rider can also take the horse along the beach at certain low tides. The local beaches are where a lot of the Normandy trotting horses are trained.

There is another riding school on the Bricquebec-Barnville road and a modern equestrian centre in Les Pieux. This also caters for all levels of rider from the complete novice upwards. A number of events are hosted here during the season.

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Monday Bricquebec (famous cattle market)
Tuesday Saint-Lo, Cherbourg
Wednesday La-Haye-du-Puits
Thursday Coutances Cherbourg, Carteret (summer Season)
Friday Les Pieux, Valognes
Saturday Barneville, Cherbourg Periers

All of the local markets offer the chance to buy locally grown produce as well as fruit and vegetables from other regions of France. There are many stalls selling fish and seafood, caught in the waters around the peninsula.

During the summer markets there are also likely to be craft stalls selling pottery and copper made in the Norman style.

The majority of markets close at midday, some may stay open a little longer. It pays to get there early – just as the locals do. If there at lunchtime sample the sausage and frites from one of the stalls, an inexpensive and delicious lunch!

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Numerous species of birds can be found in this area from the large birds of prey to the smallest tits. The one thing that is often commented upon is the vibrant colours and markings on the birds. In the area by the dunes you can watch the cormorants marking and swooping to their catch. Other birds logged by Guests include: Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Kestrel, Sandpiper, Curlew, Thrush, Wren, Robin, Pheasant, Snipe, Egret, Hoopoe to name a few.

Wild flowers in the hedgerows, again are so colourful and varied, a walk in the lanes just to look in the hedgerows is an experience.

No light pollution, so when the sun goes down after a spectacular sunset, you can clearly see the brightness of the stars.

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One of the best shopping centres in Manche is the Cotentin – Glacerie Centre to the South of Cherbourg.

There is a vast choice of smaller shops within the Auchan complex including a chemist, a perfumery, a hairdressing salon, leather goods and a florist. Cash machines are also available here.

The smaller specialist shops are worth a look at. Leather goods and perfumery on special offer can be cheaper than advertised in UK High Street outlets or on-board duty-free shops. The small clothing shops also offer fashion bargains of good quality clothing and the jewellers have a good range of inexpensive gifts to take back home.

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Tourist Train

The tourist train, on a Tuesday, from Carteret to Portbail market, is well worth a trip. Stopping the traffic at junctions is an experience you will never forget, and the commentary is of a local nature, explaining who’s waving at the tourists on the train, who’s washing is on the line !!!!!!!!! Drinks are available on board and you can order a lunch, which is served on the return journey.

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There are three sets of walking routes available for the keen rambler. One concentrate on the immediate area of Barneville, the second on the area in and around the medieval town of Bricquebec, about ten miles drive from Surtainville and Barneville, and the third is specific to the conservation area of the dunes between Carteret and Les Pieux. The walks are fairly clearly marked. Some are quite difficult and they range from 3 km to about 20 km.

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This area challenges every level. Lots of flat routes locally, some easy hills, some much more of a challenge. Some of our guests have cycled into Carteret, I haven’t made it over the hill to Baubigny, having to stop half way up and walk. (Bob is at the top by now and waiting for me to join him.) There are some hills that we look at and turn round to go back. Sunday is the popular cycling day, with many clubs, of all ages, out and about.

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Water Sports

The water sports available in the area include windsurfing, clubs available with tuition by qualified instructors, swimming, either in the sea or at the indoor pools at Les Pieux, rowing clubs and so on.

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The Normandy Peninsular

All within an easy driving distance are:

The D-Day landing beaches
Abbey of Mont-St-Michel
Bayeux Tapestry
Calvados and Cider Museum and Farms
Art galleries and museums of all types
Many châteauxs, churches and museums

Visit Tourist Information for more ideas and special events.

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