Our guide to self-catering Cornwall holidays
The nation’s fallen back in love with Cornwall recently, thanks to Poldark. Sunday nights have become all about sweeping sea views, horses galloping across heather-covered moors and sunsets behind harbours, and those of us who have long been fans of the region know that it’s every bit as beautiful as it looks on screen. Click here to discover the filming locations that made Poldark a sensation.
Our favourite places to visit
Whether you grew up making memories in Cornwall with your mum and dad or you’ve yet to discover this unique part of the country, there’s no place quite like it. With a landscape that’s inspired novelists, artists and even starred in the new series of Poldark, a holiday in Cornwall is all about nature at its most beautiful and doing what you love.
If you’ve been following Poldark’s adventures so far then you’ll be no stranger to the jutting headlands, the windswept cliffs and the sun-dappled heather that graces the peace and quiet of the moors. And all we can say is that no matter which part of the county you head for you’ll find its unspoilt beauty stops you in your tracks time and again.
We all have our favourite places to visit in Cornwall, and you can choose from whitewashed harbour towns where life is all about the catch of the day (such as Padstow and Looe), the ever-energetic Newquay with its wide sandy beaches and laidback surfing lifestyle and the solitude of the countryside on Bodmin…there’s a corner of Cornwall to suit every kind of holiday.
The best beaches
What’s a stay in the West Country without a day on the beach? Cornwall has more sandy coves and popular beaches than you can shake a spade at, and with a coast that stretches for more than 250 blissful miles it’s the perfect spot for a family break by the sea. The region has an impressive smattering of Blue Flag beaches to its name, but half the fun can be finding the ones off the beaten track and escaping the crowds during your visit too.
Some of the best beaches in Cornwall (in our humble opinions at least), include the ever-popular surfing epicentre that’s Fistral Beach, Porthmeor Beach in the beautiful St Ives (did someone say “white sand and clear waters”?) the unspoilt Chapel Porth Beach in St Agnes and of course, Newquay’s Watergate Bay.
Now don’t be put off by this next bit if you’re about as familiar with a surf board as you are with a unicycle…the main beaches are dotted with professional surf schools that welcome people of all ages and all abilities to get on a board and surf like a local. They even promise to have you stood up on it within two hours of learning.
Diet or no diet, Cornwall folk love a hearty meal, and that means plenty of restaurants boasting the fresh catch of the day and, more often than not, a view you’ll remember for a long time to come.
If you’re a fan of the celebrity chef then you’re in luck, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay offers fine dining with a view and Rick Stein’s stuck close to his roots with his empire of Padstow restaurants perfect for visiting foodies.
Padstow’s got something of a reputation as a foodie haven in Cornwall, and it’s also home to Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, a friendly restaurant with a setting in a Padstow town house that dates back to the 18th century. With art decorating the walls and a contemporary twist to the menu, this restaurant offers an experience as well as fine dining.
We love the fact that the restaurants in Cornwall tend to make the most of the area’s local produce, so expect the locally caught catch of the day if you opt for seafood, and the flavours of the seasons in most of the restaurants’ dishes. It’s not all about the famous faces that serve up dishes across Cornwall though, no matter which part of the county you visit you’ll stumble across the kind of cafes you’ll return to every day of your stay.
What to do
If you’re imagining Cornwall as all sandy beaches and lazy days then don’t be fooled, there are plenty of days out that’ll keep the whole family entertained. If you’ve never visited the Eden Project then make it top of your list, this St Austell inspiration of an attraction isn’t only home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest but also the UK’s longest zip wire.
Over in Gweek the Cornish Seal Sanctuary welcomes abandoned and injured seals until they’re restored back to health, and they always welcome friendly faces who come and say hello during a stay nearby. If you fancy watching a production in a cliff face then the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno always wows first-time visitors. This open air theatre’s carved into the cliff face, so every production’s set against the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic right behind the ‘stage’.
Even if you’ve yet to set foot on Cornish soil then we’re sure you’ll have heard the tales of King Arthur, and Tintagel’s every inch the romantic ruin that keeps the legend alive. High above the crashing waves below, the castle’s owned by the English Heritage and welcomes the curious and the energetic all year round to clamber its crumbling walls and see if they can find any truth behind the tales.
The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden’s housed in the sculptor’s former studio in St Ives, so fans can see the place where she created some of her finest work. Now owned by the Tate St Ives, the museum’s open all year round and (the Tate St Ives closes between October and May).
Now they’re a laidback bunch in the South West, so when it comes to dog friendly Cornwall beaches, attractions and places to eat, owners have more to choose from than they can shake a stick at (sorry…). Dozens of the beaches welcome dogs throughout the year (always double check though as some operate seasonal bans), the most famous one being Fistral Beach in sunny Newquay.
You’ll find your best friend’s more than welcome at many of the county’s attractions too, including Trebah Gardens, the world-famous Eden Project and Pendennis Castle just to name a few to get you started. If you’re looking forward to exploring some new walks with your pet while you’re in Cornwall too then bear in mind that most pubs welcome them inside and out, and there’s often a dog bowl for thirsty walkers too.
Cornwall holiday cottages
We have hundreds of Cornwall holiday cottages that have been carefully chosen by our experts to offer the wow factor. There are choices for those of you who wouldn’t dream of leaving your dog behind, stylish apartments so close to the sea that you can check the tide before hitting the surf, and cosy cottages in some of the county’s most tranquil countryside.
For new mums and dads embarking on that first break together as a family there are choices from our Baby Blue Chip collection, a selection of properties kitted out with everything you need when travelling with your new arrival (click here for more information). So if you’ve decided that your next escape should be to Cornwall, all that’s left to do is click the ‘properties’ tab above to start your search for the perfect home from home.