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Cornwall: In the Know

11 of the Best Cornish Country Pubs- with fires!

November 6, 2019 No Comments

As the nights draw in and the mercury creeps lower and lower, we’ve enjoyed being reacquainted with one of the loveliest experiences that winter brings, and apparently so have you!

Last week we asked our Instagram followers for recommendations of the best Cornish pubs with a warm fireside, and they sent us their top tips for places to warm up, perhaps after a long walk or a winter dip in the sea.

So without further ado, here are the best pubs in Cornwall with a cosy fireside, as chosen by you!

The Gurnards Head, Zennor (or thereabouts)

It’s just outside Zennor, but really the Gurnards head could be in the middle of nowhere. With dramatic cliffs to walk along before settling down, and accessed via one of the most beautiful roads in the UK, you’ll have much to discuss beside the fire.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtQnoH2HhqG/

The Pennycomequick, Falmouth

A firm Falmouth favourite with a wonderful fire and a perpetually jolly atmosphere. We love a little snooze in the fireside armchairs after one of their fantastic Sunday lunches, and the fact that our dogs can curl up beside the fire makes it feel even more like home…

The Star and Garter, Falmouth

Between us, the team at Cornish Holiday Cottages have spent a few evenings (and afternoons!) cocktail in hand beside this very same woodburner. After a walk along the harbour or a windy boat trip a visit to the Star and Garter in Falmouth is just the tonic…

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4NcnsDnFo6/

The Ferryboat, Helford Passage

A walk along the Helford River just wouldn’t be complete without stopping into the lovely Ferryboat Inn. A beautifully decorated space with a super fire to warm any cold hands beside.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsdubffHFAY/

The Trelowarren Arms

Recommended by one of our local neighbors, and affectionately known as the ‘Trelly’, this is a real country pub if ever there was one!

The Punchbowl and Ladle, Penelewey

A gorgeous thatched country pub perfect for winding down after a walk around Trelissick, the National Trust property alongside the river Fal. This recently renovated watering hole is perfect for warming up during winter.

Harbour Inn, Porthleven

Renowned for bracing winds and crashing waves during the winter, there can be few places where a warm fireside is more necessary than Porthleven!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4WwWNiAI5s/

The Victory Inn, St Mawes

Tucked up along one of many opways and alleys in St Mawes, this secret gem might only be familiar to the curious among us. As the oldest pub in St Mawes, and with a cosy fireside to boot, this is a great place to pop into after a ferry ride over from Falmouth.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfvWgL0n7qS/

The Red Lion, Mawnan Smith

Luckily for us this 15th Century pub is a very short walk from our offices – we can see it’s thatched roof and chimney from our desks!

The Royal Standard, Flushing

A perfect place to stop off and warm up after a walk along the banks of the River Fal, with great food too!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkfGj6Fnc46/

The Pandora Inn, Restronguet

Popular throughout the summer for an incredible pontoon for dining at sunset, the Pandora Inn cannot be overlooked during the winter months. With flagstone floors and low beams, this traditional thatched Cornish pub is a cosy delight.

If there is somewhere extra special that we’ve missed, of you would like to join the conversation and let us know what you think, we’ve love to hear from you! Let us know on instagram – @cornishholidays

Wild Swimming in Cornwall

August 2, 2019 No Comments

During these warm months, windows are open to tempt a breeze and here at Cornish Holiday Cottages we are looking at creative ways to keep cool.

Recent talk of the health benefits of wild swimming has brought about a new appreciation for our closeness to beautiful bodies of water. It seems strange to call it ‘wild swimming’, when for so many of us living in the Falmouth and Helford river area it’s simply ‘swimming’. Such is the way of life here in Cornwall, that it is routine to take to the ocean before or after work, during lunchbreaks, or when really you just meant to exercise the dog.

To be in the water is to be untethered. Phone, wallet and keys left on the shore allow a rare opportunity to simply be.

We can only tell you of the incredible feeling swimming in open water brings and urge you to be brave – after that initial chill you’ll find your muscles soothed, circulation increased, your mind clear and your soul revitalised. Below are a few of our recommendations of our favourite ‘wild swimming’ spots in Cornwall.

An evening at Maenporth

1. Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

At first light on Gyllyngvase Beach, you’ll see swimmers of all ages taking to the water before work or school, the bravest of the bunch swimming all year round, even through the depths of winter. Some swim for companionship, others are solitary swimmers having a moment of escape. Gyllyngvase Beach offers safety in the water with an RNLI lifeguard during the summer months.  Go as early as you can for maximum atmosphere.

2. Grebe Beach, Helford River

The Helford River provides many a sheltered spot for swimming and it’s branching topography results in places for the water to reach warm temperatures. Grebe Beach close to Durgan holds a special place in many of our hearts. A favourite for a sundowner BBQ and a swim of an evening.

3. Maenporth, Near Falmouth

Maenporth beach with it’s golden sands is perfectly positioned to catch the very best of the sunlight rising over the horizon in the morning. Or with the Maen Valley behind creating the perfect channel for the evening sun to filter through, there are few places better than here for sheltered swimming in the ocean.

4. Castle Beach, Falmouth

For a peaceful dip within walking distance from your holiday home in Falmouth, the little coves to the left of Castle Beach are perfection, facing south to allow you to bask in sunlight after you exit the water.

5. Nansidwell Beach, Mawnan Smith

At high tide here the unique landscape creates calm, clear shallow waters (apart from in an easterly) and wonderful views over to Falmouth, with the lighthouse of St Anthony Head visible on the horizon.

The beach opposite Pedn Billy Boathouse -ideal for wild swimming

As with any outdoor activity, do make sure you are safe whilst you enjoy your wild moment with nature…

Holiday cottages available to rent from us here at Cornish Holiday Cottages which are perfect for a wild swimming holiday in Cornwall are

Where to find a good coffee

November 25, 2017 No Comments

Have you heard the news? Three coffee’s a day are good for your health, that’s happy news for an office of coffee drinkers.

Here are a few of our favourite places for coffee near us:

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Espressini

Taking coffee loving to another level, choose from different beans and get a yummy cake to match.

Potager

Sit by the log burner in the greenhouse and sip on your delicious coffee. The perfect place to read the paper or catch up with friends.

Provedore

Delicious coffee in a lovely cosy café, try their latte bowl.

Wild Vibes

Based on the edge of Argal Reservoir, great coffee and views go hand in hand. This is also a great spot for a dog walk.

Cornish Maid

For a hearty Cornish welcome visit Sarah at the maid. Locally made cakes and coffee made with love.

And if you want to make some good coffee at home, why not buy some locally roasted Yallah coffee beans from just down the road.

SPACE Make-Share-Eat-Breathe

August 2, 2017 No Comments

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Hello, I’m Polly Radford, a Cornish artist, food lover and creative PR person, who now runs ‘SPACE’… a little, local company offering creative escape days for busy people, anyone in need of some time out.

Space, it’s what we all crave, right?!. That’s why we love Cornwall. My creative escape days offer you the chance to truly relax, retreating from everything for a day, to my beautiful garden studio, near Mawnan Smith. Hidden away from the business of life, work, children and all the other things that seem to make modern life so hectic. We come together to make things, share a nutritious two course lunch and indulge in a professional massage from the brilliant local masseuse, Sally.

My creative escape days are primarily about relaxation, so not a  craftworkshop per se, or lessons in how to create a beautiful piece of art. I offer an alternative to a spa day… less expensive and far more relaxing. Imagine a selfcare package where you arrive in a quiet space, have a coffee, chat over some making options, share inspiration with others, indulge in a tasty two course lunch and then unwind with a massage, some yoga or a guided relaxation session.

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Whether making coil pots from clay, imprinting leaves and cow parsley to make tiles, cutting your own lino prints, or therapeutically arranging found slate and sea glass beach treasures to create a take away wall hanging, you will find that engaging your hands in the simple task of making, will quickly and naturally relax you. Creative activities are proven to reduce stress and increase your positive state of mind. Selfcare is no longer simply about nipping down to your local beauty parlour for a manicure or pedicure,a spot of craft with like-minded individuals can be far more relaxing and indulgent. Throw in a head massage and some rich chocolate brownies and what could be better?!

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In the spring, you might even find yourself taking a short stroll into the woods, as a group, to gather wild garlic, returning to the garden studio to turn it into jars of wild garlic pesto, orhand printing your own labels with lino cuts you’ve designed yourself (with my help if you like). Making, be it arty or culinary is at the heart of all space days and evenings. We can do virtually anything your heart desires in order to help you to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Space days run on Tuesdays all year round, as well as on the occasional weekend and evening. I also run candle lit space nights throughout the Autumn where you can make sea glass Christmas decorations and cards, while enjoying a light supper and glass of mulled wine in the garden studio. You can book your own private space session if you have a minimum of four people. These work brilliantly for birthday parties and hen dos or for an alternative evening out with friends wanting to get together, and catch up, away from it all. To book a place on any of my space days or night, please call me on 01326 372444 or book via my Facebook page. See you soon!

Upcoming Space sessions:

Tuesday 15th August 10-3 ish

Tuesday 22nd August 10-3 ish

Tuesday 12th September 10-3 ish

Tuesday 20th September 10-3 ish

 

Spring Time in Cornwall

March 18, 2016 No Comments

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People don’t realise quite how early spring starts in Cornwall. To be honest, Cornish holiday Cottages had no idea quite how early the spring starts either. Apparently it’s been spring in this fair county since Wednesday 10th February this year. Who knew?
Well, the good folk at the Great Gardens of Cornwall knew. Each year they measure the coming of spring through the flowering of the Magnolia campbellii champion trees, which are found in several Cornish gardens and are spring’s early bloomers. They’re not just any Magnolias. There are seven specific trees from seven different gardens around the county.

Spring in Cornwall is officially announced once all seven of the Champion Magnolia campbellii trees have at least 50 blooms. These seven trees are spread out across Cornwall and can be found at Caerhays Castle, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Gardens, Tregothnan, Trengwainton Garden, Trewidden Garden and Trewithen.

This is the fifth year spring has been declared in this way for Cornwall, and this year it has been officially recognised as an indicator for spring nationally. The group even presented Downing Street with a bouquet from one of the seven trees.
Great Gardens of Cornwall chairman, Charles Williams, weighed in: “Cornwall’s magnolias are multi-prize winning and truly stunning. This year the magnolias are particularly early and they are a sight not to be missed. We encourage all those interested in seeing Gardens in full bloom to come down and see the great Gardens of Cornwall,”

The drive

The drive

It’s a surprisingly early start to spring, but Cornwall’s nature is known to spring into life a full month before the rest of the country.
The drive into Mawnan Smith and the Cornish Holiday Cottages offices is currently lined with a parade of Daffodils. That’s one of our first signs of spring. But down at Glendurgan and Trebah Gardens fresh leaves are adorning the trees and solitary birdsongs are already transforming themselves into a cacophonous dawn chorus. Spring truly in the air now is a great time to visit these sub-tropical paradises brimming with bulbs, herbaceous, grasses, shrubs and exotic plants.

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We can’t talk about spring in Cornwall though, without talking about Enys Gardens. Each year the site bursts with a profusion of bluebells adorning forest floors. It’s an event not to be missed. They start sprouting at the end of April, but they’re beauty is short lived and they are usually gone again by mid-May. It’s a fleeting visit. Enys’s bluebell festival begins on the 29th April and ends on the 8th May.

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The gardens and historic houses dotted around Cornwall are beautiful. There is simply no better time to visit than in spring. Whether you find yourself in an independently owned garden or a large National trust Estate, you’ll find everything from traditional vegetable patches and knot gardens, to huge rolling meadows, ancient woodlands and riverside paths.

Springtime Guided Walks

February 22, 2016 No Comments

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Springtime holidays in Cornwall are an opportunity to explore the county during a period of growth and rebirth. It also brings the Falmouth Spring Festival, which runs from the 10th to the 28th of March. One of the best thing about the festival is the abundance of guided walks on offer through out the festivities.
Seashore Foraging – Thursday 10th March only
Starting at Gyllyngvase Beach and taking in 2 miles of coastline with some rock-pool scrambling, this tour will teach you how to identify edible plants and forage safely and legally. There will also be some prepared wild nibbles to start you off.

The session starts at 10.45am and lasts for an hour and a half. It costs £35 for adults and £25 concessions. For information call Rachel on 01736 361454 or email rachel@wildwalks-southwest.co.uk
Through Falmouth Town – 10th, 16th, 22nd March
This one and a half hour walk through the centre of Falmouth is led by renowned guide, Paul Simmons, who runs walkitcornwall. This tour will lead you through 350 years of Falmouth in an informative and entertaining manner, taking in the odd ghost and cannibal tale along the way.

The walk begins at the Maritime Museum at 5pm. Call 07714084644 or email info@walkitcornwall.co.uk
Poldark’s Falmouth – 11th, 19th, 25th, 26th March
This tour is bound to be popular so booking is advised. Winston Graham’s Poldark novels dealt with smuggling, shipwrecks, riots and the packet ships of Falmouth. The walk links these themes to specific sites in Falmouth.

The walk begins at the Maritime Museum at 5pm. Call 07714084644 or email info@walkitcornwall.co.uk
Explore Mawnan’s Coast – 12th, 19th March
Take in the Helford river, woodlands, hidden valleys, historic trackways and the SW Coastal Path with Explore in Cornwall’s Steve Crummay. There’s a wealth of history and wildlife to explore in this 3.5 mile walk.

Starting at Mawnan Church car park, the walk begins at 10am and takes approximately 4.5 hours. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50 for concessions. Contact 01736 740234 or email info@exploreincornwall.co.uk

Helford and Gillan Creek – 13th, 19th March
Across the river from Cornish Holiday Cottages, Gillan Creek sits in a relatively unexplored part of the Helford Estuary. On this walk you’ll be taking in ancient western oak woodland looking for a wide range of wildlife in stunning coastal and estuarine habitats. There will be otters and wintering bird life to look out for in the river, creeks and coast.

Starting at Helford Car park, the walk begins at 10am and takes approximately 4.5 hours. Tickets cost £5 or £2.50 for concessions. Contact 01736 740234 or email info@exploreincornwall.co.uk
Free Nordic Walking Trial – 18th March
Nordic Walking is a full body, vigorous walking experience using poles. You build up rhythm linking the swing of your arms to smooth pelvic motions and stride length. If that sounds like your idea of fun, then there’s a free try out at Trelissick Gardens with an INWA Instructor.

Starts at 11am. Contact Kate Jackson on 07540 478919 or email walkkernow@gmail.com
Campus Critters Walk – 19th March
Explore the biodiversity of Penryn Campus under the guidance of experts on bird, mammel, insect and plant identification. If the spring weather permits the guides will also attempt some live animal captures as well.

This free walk starts at the reception of Penryn Campus at 7.30am. They’ll even provide you with a warm beverage. Contact Caitlin Kight on 01326 255166 or email c.r.kight@exeter.ac.uk
Ghost Walk Of Falmouth – 27th March
Led by author and ghost expert Ian Addicoat, this spooky walk takes in Falmouth locations that are steeped in ghostly tales. Addicoat has appeared on GMTV and Mot Haunted, so it’s a good opportunity to hear through provoking stories from an entertaining guide.

This evening walk starts at 8.30pm and leaves from the Maritime Museum. It costs £6 for adults and

Cornish Days Out: Land’s End

November 26, 2015 1 Comment

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Land’s End is one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions almost by default. In ancient Greek times it was referred to as ‘Belerion’ place of the sun and the phrase ‘land’s end’ itself carries an almost mythic weight. The thought of perching yourself at the edge of mainland Britain, staring off into the vastness of the ocean, knowing that the next land mass is North America is an enticing, profound one – well, it would be if it wasn’t for The Isles of Scilly being just beyond the horizon.

As a tourist destination, there’s a lot crammed onto the last few metres of Cornwall and it has certainly updated itself since the last time Cornish holiday Cottages visited.

Parking costs £5, but essentially, that’s all you are committing yourself to if you just want to walk along the clifftop, pose by the infamous Land’s End/John ‘o Groats signpost or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. There are some interesting attractions though, especially for children, and you can buy tickets for each one individually, if you want to mix and match. But Cornish Holiday Cottages and family tried them all out for you.

First up was the 4D Cinema Experience, ‘The Lost World’, a dinosaur themed experience which sees you flying with pterodactyls, outrunning carnivorous dinosaurs and being thrown around in your seat. There are also, inexplicably, bubbles descending from the ceiling. The children all loved it, almost as much as the 31 year old man who went with them. Good timing with the recent release of ‘Jurassic World’ too.

Next we headed to ‘Arthur’s Quest’, a series of interactive exhibits or maze – I’m not entirely sure what to call it – in which Brian Blessed bellows at you to save King Arthur from a dragon. This one’s definitely not for small children and it reminded me of a fair ground haunted house. At times it was macabre, at others it was humorous, but mostly it was Brian Blessed shouting. Loudly. Bloody appendages hung from the walls and ceilings, there was a hall of mirrors, a dragon and what can only be described as a dad-dancing suit of armour in vibrating chains. Our 10 year old boy couldn’t stop laughing at that one, but he was also impressed by the bloodiness of the whole thing.

As a respite from all the horror there’s The Shaun The Sheep Experience which is strictly for the younger children, although we all found ourselves engrossed in the sets from previous Wallace and Gromit films and the insight into Aardman Animations’ development that we saw.

200 metres away from the main visitors centre lies Greeb Farm, a typical Cornish coastal small holding with chickens, rabbits, calves and goats. Essentially, a small petting zoo. At certain times of day there are even opportunities to hold iguanas and other small animals. Unfortunately, not while we were there though.

For those of you heading down towards Penzance and beyond for the day, Land’s End is more than just the last piece of the mainland and is a nice place to while away a few hours. Cornish holiday Cottages recommend pairing your visit with a trip to Porthcurno beach, as we did, or heading to St Ives to mingle amongst the shops.

https://www.landsend-landmark.co.uk/

Trerice in November

November 2, 2015 No Comments

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This weekend Debbie ventured over to Trerice near Newquay in the November sunshine (where did October go?).

Run by the National Trust from now it is only open at the weekends throughout the winter.

Read more on the website here.

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Winter Surfing

October 30, 2015 No Comments

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Cornwall is the unofficial home of UK surfing. Since Australian lifeguards brought their boards to Fistral, in the sixties, the county has become synonymous with waves, campervans, and beach culture.

And little wonder. All but surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with hot summers and an abundance of beautiful surf spots – offering everything from peeling point breaks to barrel-throwing slabs – Cornwall is perfectly suited to the sport. Consequently, the industry has carved out quite a niche here; equipment and hire shops, surf schools, shapers, and international competitions thrive during the summer months welcoming the hordes of up-country surfers, eager to dive into the beautiful Cornish waters.

The thing is, summer surf in the UK is actually pretty poor. Long flat spells are interspersed, intermittently, by lacklustre lines and only the very occasional good, strong swell. Unsurprising then that most committed surfers look forward to autumn and winter.

While the water gets significantly colder and the weather can be decidedly bleak, the intrepid off-season surfer is rewarded with more consistent waves and more sparsely populated line-ups. In the darker months, it’s not uncommon to have lesser known surf spots all to yourself. Of course, it’s true what they say about safety in numbers – it’s not advisable to surf quiet spots if you are unfamiliar with the rocks, tides, and currents. That stuff is tres dangereux to beginners.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the gear which served you well through tepid summer months will likely be inadequate for the colder part of the year – unless, of course, you were over-prepared for summer. Crucially, you will need a winter suit, with 4-5mm of neoprene on the torso. And, when winter proper hits, and the air temperature is lower than that of the sea, you’ll also be grateful for gloves, boots, and a hood.

Amateur surfers may also be forgiven for overlooking wax grade. The optimum board wax will remain tacky in the water and, since the water temperature changes significantly, so too must your chosen wax. UK winters require ‘cold water’ wax which is unsuitable for summer use due to its low melting point. Likewise ‘cool water’ summer wax might be hard to apply and not tacky enough in winter.

There may be a certain degree of testing your mettle against the conditions, but it’s worth it. Your nose may run, but in the snugness of your winter wetsuit, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the waves and the space and variety you get from October onwards. It’s one of our favourite reasons to be in Cornwall all year round.

A Celebration of Autumn at Enys Gardens

October 21, 2015 No Comments

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It’s A Celebration of Autumn down at Enys Gardens this weekend. In the house they have been sweeping out the chimneys in order to light some warming and crackling log fires: the perfect backing for some light music and some tasty seasonal food.

Dotted around the house will be a large number of local craftsmen with a whole range of local, artisan gifts and products. Jimagination Creations’ [http://www.jimaginationcreations.com/shop/4585410684], with a range of bespoke woodwork products, will be just one of the 40 exhibitors on show.

In the gardens it’ll be a parade of vintage vehicles and a few Halloween treats. From classic cars to vintage tractors there will be lots to intrigue the family petrol head.

They haven’t forgotten that it’s Halloween either. A creepy Halloween trail will wind and snake its way through the woods in order to spook foolhardy youngsters. And for the competitive amongst you there’s the chance to enter a pumpkin carving competition. Just bring your most ghastly of carvings along with you.

Enys’ fine gardens are noted in the 1709 edition of Camden’s Magna Britannia and are considered to be one of the oldest gardens in Cornwall. From its inception Enys stayed in the family for over 300 years, but as the family’s fortunes changed, Enys became derelict. In 1980, when the estate was inherited by Prof. G.L. Rogers, a recovery programme was instigated.  He increased the number of garden staff and endowed a charitable trust in 2002, known as The Enys Trust, to secure the long-term future of the garden. It’s a slow process and funding is hard to come by, but The Trustees aim to restore the garden and house to its former glory and its events like this that are helping to fund that goal.

The Autumn Celebration is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm and is £3 for adults.

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