Both the north and south coasts of this much-loved county have seen a plethora of new launches and offers for 2017. Words: Nicola Smith
Cornwall has always had a certain magic, with many people returning for their holiday year after year. Indeed, Cornwall was named Best UK Holiday Destination in the British Travel Awards 2016 for the eighth year in a row. But this beautiful county doesn’t rest on its laurels. We look at what’s new – and why people will continue to flood back to the Cornish coast for a break in 2017…
One Cornish icon which has seen new life breathed into it is the impressive Art Deco Jubilee Pool in Penzance (jubileepool.co.uk). Built in 1935, it has weathered many storms, not least the battering of 2014, when granite slabs were lifted by ferocious waves, and changing rooms and terraces were demolished. In May 2016 this much-loved venue – and the UK’s largest surviving seawater pool – re-opened following a £3m refurbishment. It now includes a partially heated section, warmed by geothermal energy, and is a stunning place for a dip, whatever the weather. The pool re-opens for the 2017 season in May.
If swimming is your thing – or you want it to be – you may also want to try one of SeaSwim Cornwall’s three-day open-water swimming breaks (seaswimcornwall.co.uk). The company launched in 2016 and will hold courses out of Penzance and St Agnes this year. Guests can receive coaching while completing a swim around St Michael’s Mount or exploring some lesser-known bays around the rugged coast.
Of course, there are more relaxed ways of enjoying Cornwall, too. On the north coast, The Bedruthan Hotel near Mawgan Porth has just opened a pottery studio with expansive sea views (bedruthan.com/pottery-studio). Courses range from six weeks to taster sessions. What better way to put Cornwall’s wealth of clay to good use?
Photo: TCM Photography
There are more artistic happenings down at tiny St Just, near Land’s End, where local (but nationally renowned) artist, Kurt Jackson opened phase two of the Kurt Jackson Foundation Gallery in September 2016. The first show in the huge space is an array of surf-inspired paintings collectively called ‘Following the Surfer’.
If you’re looking for somewhere different to stay, there have been a host of new hotel and B&B openings and refurbishments. Renowned chef Paul Ainsworth opened his Padstow Townhouse (paul-ainsworth.co.uk/ padstow-townhouse) with six sumptuously furnished suites that combine the 18th-century quirks of the building with modern touches such as smart TVs and superfast broadband. Guests are also invited to explore the cheeky Kitchen Pantry, complete with honesty bar, while Ainsworth’s Michelin-starred restaurant, No 6, is within shouting distance.
A short hop down the road in Broad Street you will also find Rick and Jill Stein’s latest venture, Ruby’s Bar, (rickstein.com/eat-with-us/rubys-bar) which opened in May 2016. It is the perfect hideaway to sample one of the numerous Cornish gins on offer.
If you’re searching for a staycation hotspot for your Cornish break, try these top Cornwall hotels.
Meander along the coast to perennial favourite, St Ives, where not only can you rest your head in the stunning new Sands Studio (sands-studio.co.uk) – a compact but airy one bedroom apartment that is the brainchild of nearby Trevose Harbour House, and offers breathtaking views over St Ives Bay – you can also rediscover Alba (alba-stives.co.uk), situated in the former lifeboat house overlooking the harbour. This restaurant had an extensive makeover in 2016 and now offers fine dining upstairs and a ‘slice of New York in Cornwall’ downstairs at its A Bar, a modern cocktail lounge which serves craft beers to boot.
While you’re in the area, call into Carbis Bay for a bite at The Gannet Inn (gannetstives.co.uk), which was opened last summer as sister venue to The Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa. Its menu abounds with classic favourites, with the lunch offer including thick-cut Newlyn crab sandwiches and Cornish sausages with mashed potatoes. If you decide to make a night of it, book a cosy but luxurious Spot the Gannet room with its sweeping coastal views.
While the north coast has been busy, the south coast has been no slouch either. Falmouth has seen the addition of a number of open-plan suites with huge windows framing views over the bay. Part of The Falmouth Hotel, the self-catering apartments (falmouthselfcatering.co.uk) are just a stone’s throw from both Castle Beach and Gyllyngvase Beach, with its arc of golden sand. If an upmarket B&B is more your thing, try the retro chic Chelsea House (chelseahousefalmouth.com), which opened last summer. Six of the nine rooms have sea views – all have DAB radios, a range of coffees and even fresh milk in the fridge. Try the king luxury en suite room, which has a private balcony with views across to Pendennis Castle.
Nearby is The Working Boat (theworkingboat.co.uk), beneath the historic Greenbank Hotel. This rustic pub has views across the sea to the pretty village of Flushing, and offers everything a waterside pub should – wooden floors, comfy seats, 15 beers and ciders on tap, good food (try Granny Alice’s Fish Pie) and private pontoons for seafaring patrons. There has been a pub on the site since 1876, oystermen, and the two year renovation project begun in 2015 has successfully combined history with modernity.
There are plenty of ways of working up an appetite too. Walk It Cornwall (walkitcornwall.co.uk) has launched a new Maritime Trail around Falmouth’s historic quays and streets, while not far away on the Helford River, Koru Kayaking (korukayaking.co.uk) now offers Early Riser voyages – 90-minute kayak trips from the Budock Vean Hotel up the river to Frenchman’s Creek, made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name.
Another place synonymous with du Maurier is Fowey. Last summer it saw the transformation of a traditional pub into Havener’s Bar & Grill (havenersfowey.co.uk), which boasts good Cornish fare. Fish features heavily – think local mussels, crab claws and oysters – and there are glorious river views. Just down the road The Old Quay House (theoldquayhouse.com) was extensively refurbished in 2016, with the new owners working closely with Kieron Cockley from local interiors shop, Brocante. Gone is the old nautical theme and in its place comes more contemporary luxury with subtle nods to the hotel’s coastal setting. New head chef Richard Massey also arrived in June 2016, bringing his modern British style all the way from the Isle of Skye. It seems Scotland’s loss is Cornwall’s gain…
Photo: Ram Associates