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Secret Cornish Gardens

August 25, 2020 No Comments
Beneath the Gunnera at Trebah

The famously mild Cornish climate allows plant life more familiar with the sub-tropical to thrive on British soil. So renowned, some Cornish gardens are household names. Once presumed lost to the annals of time, The Lost Gardens of Heligan were rediscovered and restored to glory. The Eden Project, built into a disused quarry is world famous for the extraordinary biomes.

Whilst The Eden Project & The Lost Gardens of Heligan make for a brilliant day out, it’s the secret gardens that delight the budding botanist within us. These lesser known slices of paradise, away from it all, make discovering them something to whisper about. Below we have listed a few of these, but let us know if you’ve discovered a new favourite garden on your travels through Cornwall.

Lamorran Gardens

From Falmouth a boat trip to St Mawes leads to Lamorran Gardens, one of the best-kept secret gardens in Cornwall. The terraced Italianate garden where views of the sea are framed by Corinthian columns transports you to the Mediterranean.

Enys Gardens

Tucked away just outside of Penryn, a visit to Enys Gardens during the spring is unforgettable. A carpet of Bluebells surrounds an old manor house with charm and mystery in abundance. At Enys, landscaped grounds extend into a woodland that becomes wilder and more magical with each and every step.

Tremenheere Sculpture Garden

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

The natural and creative worlds converge at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens just outside Penzance. Wander through acres of landscape dotted with immersive works by artists such as James Tyrell and Richard Woods, admiring beautiful plants as you go before stopping off at the cafe serving brilliant food.

The National Dahlia Collection

En-route to Tremenheere you pass the National Dahlia Collection– where you can roam through hundreds of varieties of this special plant, often without another soul to be seen. See everything from the trendy Cafe au Lait Dahlia to pom-pom varieties.

Trebah Garden

Trebah Garden on the Helford River might not be such a secret garden thanks to a recent feature in Vogue Magazine, but it’s our favourite. The way the garden winds down to a private sandy beach immersing you in the sub-tropical flora is almost mesmerising. Trebah features in our short video clip below- where you can see just some of the magic to be found there.

Properties in our portfolio for garden lovers;

The Coach House in Mawnan is set within established gardens of a beautiful country house beside the Helford River.

The Calamansac Estate in Port Navas is set within 50 acres of grounds, carpeted with Bluebells and Anenomes in the spring.

Gwel an Dowr in Polwheveral Creek opens out onto a rose garden.

A quick guide to the Cornish Language

August 25, 2020 No Comments
Sampling some traditional Cornish fare on Falmouth Harbour

On holiday in Cornwall, chances are you might bring back more than just a souvenir when you return home. The famous Cornish dialect is known all over the country thanks to TV shows such as Doc Martin or Poldark and during your stay chances are you’ll pick up new words to add to your vocabulary.

Useful Cornish Phrases

Dreckly

Cornish for ‘I’ll get to it when I get to it’, this useful and very non-committal phrase for an undefined unit of time can be used for anything from promises to finish the washing up to getting the homework done. Said to be from the English word ‘directly’.

Ansom

An affectionate greeting that can also be used to describe a job well done. Loosely based on ‘handsome’, but a few letters short.

Proper job

Similar to ‘Ansom’ this phrase conveying satisfaction or contentment can be used to oneself when taking the first sip of a cold beer after a busy day or paired with a high-five after completing a perfect sandcastle. Use in conversation next time you want to convey something along the lines of ‘brilliant’.

Bird

Used interchangeably with “Darling” or “Love”, this term of endearment is one of our favourites.

Wasson

“What’s happening?”, “What’s the news?” or simply “How are you doing?”

Diddy?

This contraction of “Did he?” can be used to say things like “Is that true?” “Did you?” or “Did he?” and is usually accompanied with a raised eyebrow or two…

Helpful Cornish Words

Although there are some turns of phrase to hear when you are down south, did you know that Cornish is more than just a dialect? The Cornish language dates back to Celtic times, and you can see evidence of it all over Cornwall in place names and street signs.

We’ve put our heads together and compiled this list of our favourite Cornish-language words that might just be useful to use on your next holiday to Cornwall.

Sea – Mor

Beach – Treth

Boat – Skath

River – Avon

Harbour – Porth

Falmouth – Aberfal

Seaside – Trethvor

Dolphin – Pyffyer

Fish – Pysk

Seal – Reun

Seagull – Golan

Swimming – Neuvya

Ice-cream – Dehen rew

Sandcastle – Kastel tewes

Holiday Home – Chy golyow

View – Gwel

Cheers! – Yeges da!

I love you – My a’th kar

Family – Teylu

Mum – Mammik

Dad – tas

Dog – Ki

Cat – Kath

Elbow – Elin

Arm – Bregh

Do you speak English? – A wodest’ta kewsel Sowsnek?

Try slipping some of these words into your next conversation!

Safe at Home Activities For Easter Weekend

April 8, 2020 No Comments

We know more than anyone how disappointing it is not to be able to go on holiday this Easter. We’ve done our best to think of a few things that might help to keep you and your family entertained while you stay safe at home.

Below you’ll find a few ideas of how to while away the long weekend, from creative crafts to tasty cookery. Why not download and print the activity pack using the button below, and spend the weekend offline? We’d love to see how you get on, so please share your attempts at any of these activities over at @cornishholidays on Instagram, or @CornishHolidayCottages on Facebook.

This Easter lets also take a moment to think about our older and perhaps more isolated friends and family, giving them calls to check in on their health and sharing a few laughs along the way.

Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter. Stay well and and have fun.

Love, Emily and the CHC team x

What’s in bloom?

Easter is the time when Spring really gets it’s groove on. We’d love to know what you can spot growing outdoors.

Play eye-spy with us and see if you can catch a glimpse of any of these spring flowers from your window, garden or on your walks this weekend. We’ve included the Latin names here, see if you can learn them and impress those around you!

  • Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora)
  • Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
  • Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus)

How to pull off the best egg hunt…

We asked our in-house Easter ‘eggs-pert’ Rosie (aged 10 and a bit) to share her top tips for an egg-hunt in the house or garden.

Rosie’s guide to egg hunts

  • Don’t put them where dogs can get to them.
  • Put them in a shady space so that they don’t melt.
  • Remember where you hide the eggs otherwise you might not be able to find them again.
  • Don’t buy the eggs too small or they will be very tricky to find.*
  • Buy fair trade wherever possible.

*Parents heed caution with this particular tip… we suspect it may be a clever ruse for even more chocolate this Easter…

Make an embossed fish ornament…

This easy little craft can be made with just a few things that you might already have in your kitchen! Use an empty tube of tomato purée to make this lovely little fish to hang inside your home. If your tube of puree is full, perhaps making this is the perfect excuse to have pizza for dinner…

What you’ll need…

  • An empty purée tube
  • A pair of scissors
  • A spoon
  • A biro
  • Someone to help you if you are young (or clumsy)

How to do it…

Take your empty tube of purée and carefully cut off the top and the bottom (you might need someone responsible to help you with the sharp edges)

Cut one of the long edges of the tube so that you can unfold it into a flat piece. Rinse it and you’ll see the inside is golden! Using the back of a spoon smooth it out all nice and flat.

Print out or copy our drawing of a fish and using a biro trace around the outline on top of the metal. You’ll see the outline transfer to the metal. Carefully cut out the fish shape.

Smooth your shape down with a spoon again and go over the template again to add some detail. Make sure you put in an eye, some scales, and the detail in the fins!

Finally, make a hole in the fish and tie on some string. Your ‘golden’ fish is ready to hang pride of place, or to dangle over your veg patch to protect seedlings.

Bake an Easter cake

A tasty way to spend time at home this Easter, we’ve adapted this recipe from one we found on BBC Good Food. You might already have some of these ingredients lying around at home. For this recipe you’ll need…

For the cake

  • 200ml vegetable oil
  • 250g plain flour
  • 6tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 280g soft brown sugar
  • 250ml milk (add 1tbsp lemon juice to this before you begin)
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

For the frosting…

  • 150g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 4tbsp milk

Method

Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line two round cake tins (about 20cm wide is best). Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and a large pinch of salt to a bowl. Whisk it all up and squeeze any big lumps of sugar through your fingers. You should end up with a mix a bit like sand.

Add a spoonful of lemon juice to the milk, and after waiting about 5 or so minutes whisk the oil with the milk in a jug. Stir in the vanilla and eggs, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix until there are no more streaks. Split the mixture between the tins and bake for 25 mins. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 mins, then transfer to wire racks to cool down.

To make the icing, beat the butter, cocoa, icing sugar and milk together until smooth, adding a splash more milk if it’s still to thick. Stacking the sponges with icing in between, topping with more icing. For an extra touch, put some chocolate or mini-eggs on top!

Colour-in Cornwall

Oh dear, it looks as though someone left their stargazey pie out on the table, and it’s been spotted by a hungry cat. Save the image below to print off to colour in. We’d love to see some grown-ups have a go with this too!

We hope you all have a lovely Easter at home, and have fun with these activities.

A winter evening in Durgan on the Helford River

January 20, 2020 No Comments

As a winters day draws to a close, a hush envelops the Helford. The only sounds are those of waves rocking pebbles on the shore and a cormorant splashing as he catches dinner in the last of the light.

All year round, the hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River has an enchanting draw- nestled as it is against the water, cocooned by woodland. Durgan was originally a collection of fisherman’s cottages, and protected from over development by the hard work of the National Trust, it timelessly remains one of the most idyllic waterside villages in Cornwall with just 17 properties.

Guests staying at our cottages in Durgan often regale us with stories of swims before bed or of taking their morning coffee down to the water, enjoying the peace and quiet before the day ahead.

Upriver from Durgan you’ll find the villages of Helford Passage and Helford, along with various inlets and creeks like Frenchman’s Creek, made famous by Daphne Du Maurier in her novel of the same name.

On a clear evening the crisp light that you only see in winter makes marvels out of the everyday, and even things like lobster-pots become beautiful. The waters of the Helford River run clear even in the winter.

The occasional walker will pass by with a nod and a smile as if to say ‘we are both here, both so lucky’… and aren’t we just.

Holidays on the Helford River are inspiring and rejuvenating all year round. To see our cottages in Durgan, click here and start planning your holiday to this beautiful and secluded part of Cornwall.

2020 Bank Holidays in Cornwall

January 10, 2020 No Comments
Children and a dog running through the woods at the Calamansac Estate in Cornwall on the Helford River near Falmouth.

We’re all back into the swing of things after the Christmas holidays and coming around to the idea of it being a whole new decade. One of the lovely things about early January (when our New Year’s resolutions are still clear in our minds) is looking forward to what the year ahead will bring. Spring lies just around the corner and 2020 is set to be one very exciting year!

For many of us filling in our new calendars, we’ll be jotting down dates and starting to get excited about the many bank holidays coming up in the New Year. There are eight bank holidays in England and Wales this year, and those planning a holiday to Cornwall might want to think about booking over a bank holiday weekend to take advantage of an extra day without taking away from their annual leave.

In Cornwall, the bank holidays often mean getting outdoors and a day on the beach might be just the thing we need.

During the Easter weekend we can start to see Cornwall beginning to blossom, and in May the two bank holidays serve as a taste of the long summer holidays that lie ahead. Our bank holidays offer precious time to wind down with loved ones and enjoy some adventure time.

Visitors to Cornwall for the early May Bank Holiday, which takes place on a Friday this year, will enjoy the fact that it falls on Helston Flora Day. This dancing festival dates to pre-Christian times as a way to welcome in the summer. Dancers line the streets and even dance in and out of houses!

Falmouth’s Fal River Festival falls this year upon the late May Spring Bank Holiday. This ten-day celebration is a community festival with over 150 events varying from the Arts to gig racing.

See below a list of UK Bank Holidays for 2020, and start planning your holiday in Cornwall!

  • 1st January 2020 – New Years Day
  • 10th April 2020 – Good Friday
  • 13th April 2020 – Easter Monday
  • 8th May 2020 – Early May Bank Holiday (VE Day)
  • 25th May 2020 – Spring Bank Holiday
  • 31st August 2020 – Summer Bank Holiday
  • 25th December 2020 – Christmas Day
  • 28th December 2020 – Boxing Day (substitute day)

Whilst you have your calendars and diaries are open, make a note of these other key dates in the Cornish Calendar, and plan your holiday accordingly!

  • Valentine’s Day: Thursday 14 February 
  • St Piran’s Day: Thursday 5 March
  • St Patrick’s Day: Sunday 17 March
  • Mothering Sunday: Sunday 31 March
  • St George’s Day: Tuesday 23 April
  • Father’s Day: Sunday 16 June
  • Halloween: Thursday 31 October 
  • Bonfire Night: Tuesday 5 November

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?  

Chocolarder

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!

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!

1. 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.

2. 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…

3. 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…

4. 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.

5. 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!

6. 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.

7. 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!

8. 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.

9. 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!

10. 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!

11. 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