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Shopping in Cornwall

Christmas in Cornwall

December 20, 2019 No Comments

Christmas is in full swing here at Cornish Holiday Cottages HQ, we thought we would share with you a few of our favourite things to do in Cornwall this time of year as well as some of the local food and drink we will be treating ourselves to this holiday season. Wherever you are this Christmas, be it Cornwall or somewhere else, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Food and Drink

An image of the Star and Garter in Falmouth lit up for Christmas
The Star and Garter in Falmouth

Tinkture Cornish Gin

Presented in a beautiful glass apothecary bottle, Tinkture Cornish Gin is handcrafted in the South West using organically grown David Austin Roses – yes you heard correctly! This delicate pink gin is certainly going on our Christmas list this year, and you’ll find it served in delicious cocktails at The Star and Garter on the High Street. Any gin-lovers to buy for this year? Why not treat them to one of Tinkture’s limited-edition gin filled baubles? The bottles are perfect to keep and upcycle into something beautiful or why not refill with a Tinkture refill gin pouch?  


Anyone who knows us will tell you that we love chocolate. Local artisan chocolatiers, Chocolarder have created what can only be described as chocolate slabs of goodness, in more ways than one! Their 72% Ashaninka Dark chocolate is delicious and about as ethical as you can get, fairly traded, vegan, and produced in partnership with rainforest charity Cool Earth.

Stones Bakery

Stones Bakery is our go-to bakery for anything from their own homemade artisan breads, cakes and even delicious hand stretched pizzas. We can’t walk past this festive season without popping in for a coffee and one of their homemade mince pies!

Things to Do

An image of Falmouth High street with Christmas lights in the snow and children playing the the snow
Festive scenes in Falmouth

Christmas at Trelissick

The National Trust’s Trelissick House and Gardens are full of colour this Christmas. Wander the halls and rooms of this beautiful Georgian House, adorned with festive decorations and be transported to Christmas time in a bygone era. Wrap up warm and take a stroll through the estate’s woodland garden, with trees a-glow it looks truly breath-taking.

Mousehole Christmas Lights

If there is ever an excuse to get into the festive spirit, take a trip to one of Cornwall’s most picturesque fishing villages for a spectacular Christmas lights display. Illuminated figures including boats, Christmas trees, sea creatures and, of course, the Mousehole Cat – take to the water in a magnificent display which lights up the harbour, attracting visitors from far and wide.

If you’re in Cornwall for New Year and looking for more of a low-key way to celebrate, the harbour will still be alight. Take to the beach to toast in the new year, or duck into a nearby pub for a celebratory glass!

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Get inspired by Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum Cornwall and it’s festive Lights and Lanterns take on Christmas this year. Learn how to make macramé lanterns or help to create a flotilla of paper lit boats at the museum’s Christmas workshops. Alongside the festive fun, don’t miss out on wandering through the Museum’s 15 galleries and take a trip to the lookout tower for those extra special panoramic views over Falmouth.

Princess Pavilion

Get swept up in this festive Cornish version of the classic tale of Long John Silver, naughty pirates and of course, buried treasure! Brought to you by Miracle Theatre and showing at The Princess Pavilion in Falmouth, this is one for the whole family to revel!

Foraging walk on Gyllyngvase Beach

Are you here on 28th December? Turn a winter beach walk into something spectacular and let Matt from Cornish Wild Food lead you on an unforgettable wild winter forage along Gyllyngvase Beach. Learn about different edible plants and seaweed that embellish our Cornish coastline. You may even finish your exploration with a delicious wild feast using the collective goods found on your adventure!

Falmouth’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display

Pendennis Castle’s New Year’s Eve firework display is not one to be missed. If you are staying in Falmouth over the New Year you might choose to hunker down in one of our waterside homes with a bottle of bubbly and revel from afar. Certainly, some of us will be wrapping up warm and heading out to find ourselves the perfect viewpoint, maybe we will see you for a mulled wine!

Cornish Sea Salt Company

September 29, 2015 No Comments


The story of Cornish Sea Salt starts on the windswept coastal paths of the Lizard Peninsula and the exposed remains of an Iron Age salt works. Tony Fraser, Cornish Sea Salts founder, was exploring the site when somewhere in the back of his mind a light bulb went off. So with little experience, but determination, a great idea and a little investment, The Cornish Sea Salt Company was born.

11 years after their first production and sales, Cornish Sea Salt is going from strength to strength. They’ve new products in the pipeline – not all of them food based – are selling in Waitrose, are exporting to 16 different countries and are looking to break into the American market next. We even spotted their eye catching logo on the shelves of a tiny deli near Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District.

We here at Cornish Holiday Cottages were lucky enough to be invited on a tour of Cornish Sea Salt’s factories last week and found ourselves fascinated by an industry that hasn’t been present in Cornwall since the mid 1800s.

Director Philip Tanswell was our guide for the day and is a wealth of knowledge on all things salt: from the beginnings of the company, the content and purity of the water, the engineering involved in salt’s extraction to the minerals in, and the taste of, their products. We’re not going to lie, some of the more technical aspects may have flown over our head, but we’re now considering ourselves bonafide experts on all things sodium chloride.

The salt works are a 20 minute drive from Helston, down some of the smallest country lanes on the Lizard, winding down to the coast. As we arrive, we pass an old MOD building which is where they used to test torpedo speeds during World War II and the now defunct Dean Quarry.

As we pull up to the plant, a mere 8 metres from the sea shore, Phil explains to us the unique qualities of the salt extracted at the site. With currents coming in off the Atlantic and the cleanliness of the water, the salt is naturally white: there’s no bleaching in the Cornish Sea Salt process. Water is pumped into the factory from a small pump nestled into the coastal rocks and from there is sent through a series of pumps and into the salt extraction units. This bit is hush hush and is the main difference between Cornish Sea Salt and their competitors.

From there we donned hairnets and boiler suits – plus a very flattering beard mask for myself – before we were ushered in to the evaporation room. Here there are trays of briny water evaporating away for salt extraction. There are several different types of salt extracted here: on the surface you get the light, fluffy gourmet flakes, which are perfect for sprinkling over your food; next you get the more cube-like crystals, soft and perfect for crumbling into recipes and as a table salt.


One of the unique selling points is the natural and environmentally friendly nature of their product. The company has a very good idea of the mineral content of the waters they extract from and as it’s an unrefined product it’s all in the tub, along with the salt. This means that it retains over sixty naturally occurring trace elements such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

One of the tanks had turned a milky colour. It’d been over-evaporated and when this happens the salt is useless or bittern. It happens occasionally. Phil tells us to dip our fingers in: the flavour is incredibly bitter and, to paraphrase, is akin to horse-urine. Not that any of us on the tour have any experience in that department. In comparison the rest of the tanks have a mild, smooth saltiness to them – much like the final product.

From here we were driven to their mixing and packaging plant.  A farm building that is close to bursting at the seams with activity. It’s a sign of a company that are good at what they do – and getting better. They have a passion for all things salty. They also have a community spirit and are looking to make connections with other local businesses, such as the Cornish Seaweed Company.


Although they aren’t open to the general public, a coastal walk along the coast from Porthallow to Coverack will take you right by the factory, as well as the towering port walls of and abandoned quarry port.


To sample some of Cornish Sea Salt wares and taste what all the fuss is about head to almost any local deli near our holiday cottages, Waitrose, or maybe even you own local deli.



December 8, 2014 No Comments

Cornish high street

Remember that lovely little shop in that quaint harbour town you visited while staying in your Cornish Holiday Cottage in the summer? There was that perfect Christmas present there, wasn’t there? If only you’d bought it then and there.

Last week we hinted at something Cornish that would help with your present buying from out of county; something that will give you hope if you’re wanting something unique and Cornish. That thing is thecornishhighstreet.com

With a mission to help small independent Cornish designers and producers reach a larger online audience, The Cornish High Street aims to put you in contact with products special, unique and unavailable elsewhere.

The site was founded and created by Jenny Pickles and Emilie Calhaem. Who met at a Crowdfunder event and bonded over their love of the county’s artisan food brands and a desire to find a place for designers, creatives and artists to come together online. In interviews the pair have said: “We as a company do the hard work, promoting the site, developing customer loyalty so that producers and designers can concentrate on doing what they do best, making and designing more beautiful things.”
The online shop carries lots of one of a kind items like pendants and jewellery, changing on a regular basis, as well as sections specifically for men, women and children. You can even have traditional Cornish pasties delivered right to your door via FedEx, made the morning of delivery and ready to eat upon their arrival. Some of our CHC customers claim that they’ve managed to reach London with a still warm pasty.

In the long term, the pair wants to build on ‘Cornwall’ and ‘Cornish’ as a national brand and “further promote all the things that Cornwall has to offer.”
From our perch, here at Cornish Holiday Cottages, we feel that they’ve only really begun to scratch the surface of the creativity and produce we have down here, but they are off to a good start. And with your support they could build a lucrative co-operative away from the mass-marketed world of the high street and the shopping complex.

Just in time for Christmas too: they have a dedicated Christmas section of the site. They themselves have said it best: If only we had more time to potter about and explore all that’s on offer.

Cornish Craft and Gift Fairs

November 28, 2014 No Comments

shutterstock_christmas decor-cornwall

We’re experiencing a pressureless hinterland at the moment. I’m talking about Christmas of course. December the 25th is still miles away and it feels like giving it your full attention now is like caving in to the onslaught of high street consumerism and belittling the event itself.  But, alas if we don’t keep half an eye on it now, it’ll rear its horns and we’ll be back to the mid-December dash that we’ve promised ourselves we’ll avoid this year.


This weekend is the perfect opportunity to grab some unique stocking fillers at Truro’s Made In Cornwall Christmas Fair: a five-day extravaganza that takes place from Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th November.


Closer to home, this Saturday sees the opening of Penryn’s Christmas Pop-up shop, on Islington Wharf. Islington Wharf is a small, hidden Penryn gem, housing one of our best-kept-secrets in ‘The Wharf’, a Spanish tapas restaurant, who do great king prawns and fried calamari, as well as a fish-mongers, and a deli, for those of you who fancy cooking with local ingredients while on holiday. The Pop-up shop itself is a quiet celebration of local produce and crafts with hampers of mixed food items, cushions, prints, woodcarvings and clothing.


A personal favourite on the gift front this year is produce by the Cornish Ketchup Company. For not much more than a bottle of Heinz, this small, growing business offer an intense variety of flavours. I think quite a few non-Cornish relatives of my own will be getting a bottle this year.


So, there are no excuses for not getting ourselves Christmas ready at a more leisurely pace this year. And for those of you who are reading this away from Cornwall, but with something Cornish in mind this Christmas – watch this space. We’ve just caught a glimpse of something that may hit the spot, but more on that next week.


Did you know Cornwall is the largest creative hub outside of London?

October 7, 2014 No Comments

Falmouth-cornish holiday cottages-42

Falmouth has always been an arty place, and since the expansion of the School of Art to Falmouth University the town is alive with creativity.

There are many ways to get involved whilst down on holiday, with local markets selling homemade items and an abundance of independent shops selling locally crafted goods. The high street also hosts many art galleries, selling small cheaper prints to extravagant paintings and pottery.

Take a trip to the old cinema ‘The Poly’ in the center of town, with weekly changing exhibitions and evening events from shows to art house films and new to 2014 their very own tearoom upstairs. The building itself is very impressive with high ceilings and beautiful features, with ever changing exhibitions you never know what you may find!