Archive for category Cornwall

A Varied Beach Assortment for All in Cornwall

Cornwall has over 250 miles of coastline, including around 400 beaches. With such a varied landscape and different conditions, this means the choice of beaches is really wide, with something to suit everyone, from family-friendly, to rugged and solitary.


North and South

Cornwall’s North Coast is exposed to the Atlantic swell and so has many beaches ideal for surfing. By contrast, the South Coast is more sheltered and includes characterful coves, estuaries and harbours.

With this much choice, your selection of beach may be down to what you want to do there, as well as location.


A Selection of Cornwall’s Best Beaches

Gyllygnvase Beach, in Falmouth, is a firm family favourite. This comes from its many facilities, which are the key to keeping your kids entertained. They’re not going to settle for lazing in the sand with a book, so with its beach volleyball facilities, bouncy castle and a paddleboarding school, Gyllgnvase has enough to occupy them and help them burn off all that holiday energy.

In St Austell, Pentewan Beach provides a half mile stretch of sand, in front of Pentewan Sands Holiday Park. There’s free parking here, along with local facilities in the local village square, including a pub and shop, and a kiosk on the beach.

The north-west facing Treyarnon Bay is the setting for a picturesque sandy cove, popular with both families and surfers.

On the North Coast, Perranporth Beach is an immense, golden sandy stretch that’s always popular with families. There is a nearby surf school and a beach café, and the beach is easily accessed from the nearby village.

Sennen Bay is a distinctive white crescent of sand on Cornwall’s North West Coast, part of Whitesand Bay, and it’s the nearest village to Land’s End. The beach is large enough not to feel overcrowded, even at its busiest, and there are numerous access points to it.


Secluded Charm

With so many beaches, Cornwall has it share of secluded inlets and hidden coves, full of character and off the beaten track. Many retain a kind of timelessness because they feel so impervious to change.

Penberth may be the most unspoilt cove in Cornwall, lying at the bottom of a sheltered, wooded valley. There are a few traditional stone fishermen’s cottages and the cove itself is a good starting point for coastal walks.

On the Lizard Peninsula, West Cornwall, you’ll find Mullian Cove, home to a working, fishing harbour, and flanked by robust sea walls for storm protection. It’s dramatic to look at and provides close by access to the sheltered sandy beach at Poldhu Cove, ideal for families.

There are two beaches at Cadgwith Cove, separated at high tide by The Todden, a small headland. The cove is full of Cornish character with its original stone and thatch houses and the Cadgwith Cove Inn, thought to be over 400 years old.

This is only a small snapshot of the many different beaches that Cornwall has to offer, helping to make it a great destination for exploring and enjoying the English coast.

From Science Fiction to Science Fact: The Eden Project

Inside a massive crater, surrounded by green countryside, is a very futuristic looking complex with two huge enclosing, steel-framed structures comprising hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal plastic cells. These twin biomes are like giant greenhouses; the largest simulates a Rainforest environment, the smaller a Mediterranean. This is the Eden Project, a few miles from St Austell, and one of Cornwall’s leading visitor attractions.


The Eden Project’s Atmospheric Attractions

Tim Smit first conceived The Eden Project in 1995, earmarking a giant, 160 year old, disused clay pit for its location. The project was eventually opened in 2002, combining a pioneering visitor attraction with an educational charity and social enterprise.

The large Tropical Biome is 180ft high and covers 3.9 acres. It houses tropical plants and trees, and is both warm and humid. By contrast, the smaller Mediterranean Biome has a much dryer heat and is used for growing plants such as grape vines and olives.

The Eden Project also has outdoor gardens and a covered educational and exhibition space known as the Core.

As a visitor experience, the Eden Project is unique, being artificial yet encouraging people to experience a relationship with nature. It manages the difficult trick of being entertaining and educational at the same time. You can delve into the information about our dependency on the environment, or you can just soak up the atmosphere and the impressive scale of the whole thing. Lovers of gardens and plants will find plenty to fascinate them, and kids plenty to distract them.

It has plenty of on-site facilities, including restaurants and cafes and gift shops. It’s architecturally stunning and artistically stimulating, home to vivid sculpture and art.


Events and Entertainment at The Eden Project

The Eden Project hosts special events all year round, such as dinosaur invasions and adventure activities, including zip wire rides.

Those looking for something less frantic can enjoy Mediterranean-inspired dining on the Mediterranean Terrace (naturally) on selected evenings during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months.

The Project is also home to the famous Eden Sessions outdoor concerts every June and July. These are essentially a series of live mini-festivals held in the setting of the Eden Project, combining stunning natural acoustics with the imposing backdrop of the lit-up Biomes. Artists who have appeared here include Pulp, Muse, Mumford & Sons, The xx, Elbow and Elton John. Just remember to book well in advance if you want to combine the Eden Sessions with a self- catering holiday stay in Cornwall.

Why Visit Cornwall for a Cornish Pasty?

Have you ever wondered, when eating something, about its authenticity? Take the Cornish pasty, for example. You can get a pasty probably almost anywhere in the UK, but how much different might the genuine article taste in Cornwall itself? The Cornish pasty has an interesting history that ties it very much to a time and place, and it has a proud tradition that is carried on in how it is prepared and cooked.


The History of the Cornish Pasty

The Cornish pasty may well be one of the earliest convenience foods, designed to be portable, practical, and eaten away from home. The spread of its popularity arose from the growth of tin mining in Cornwall in the 19th century.

The pasty was an ideal shape to be taken down the mines as food for the workers, adults and children, who laboured there. One theory has it that the thick crust of the pasty was used as a handle for carrying it, and then thrown away once the bulk of the pasty had been eaten. This makes the Cornish pasty a kind of pioneering edible lunchbox.

The original pasties were designed to be an economic way of eating food, in the days when mining families would have been very poor. The contents were made up of vegetables only, including potato and swede. The addition of meat was a later addition. Recipes would have been family affairs, passed down from mother to daughter, which means that there probably is no definitive Cornish Pasty recipe.

Nowadays, it’s established that a genuine Cornish pasty should contain a minimum of 25% vegetables and 12.5% meat. The filling should only consist of the following: diced or minced beef, sliced or diced potato; swede and onion; and seasoning, mainly salt and pepper.

The pasty is slow-baked and it can consist of shortcrust, rough puff or puff pastry. Its distinctive D shape comes from the crimping of the pastry on one side. A Cornish pasty can only be known as such if it is produced west of the River Tamar, in the county of Cornwall. This is legally protected.


Where to Buy a Cornish Pasty?

Obviously when visiting Cornwall, the pasty is a mainstay of many a high-street baker, but just as obviously, you want to enjoy the very best quality pasties Cornwall can offer if you want to experience the genuine article.

The Cough Bakery in Padstow, the Crantock Bakery in Newquay, Crib Box in St Austell, Etherington’s in Redruth, Proper Cornish in Bodmin and St Agnes Bakery are just a few of the many places you can buy a genuine Cornish pasty.

Always look for the badges of the Cornish Pasty Association and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) when intending to buy.

You don’t have to go to Cornwall for a genuine Cornish pasty, but the right setting can only make the experience of eating one that much more enjoyable.

St Ives: Charm, Culture and Character by the Sea

The town of St Ives in Cornwall is a hub of cultural activity and it’s a glorious holiday destination, repeatedly voted the best seaside town in the UK. With its picturesque harbour, sandy beaches and galleries and exhibitions, St Ives has so much to offer to visitors, from traditional seaside activities to sightseeing, shopping and world-class art.


Beach Life

One mile east of St Ives is the northeast-facing Carbis Bay Beach. This is one of Cornwall’s top five beaches, with a 2013 Blue Flag rating. It’s sheltered and peaceful and so ideal for families. Edged with a mile of sandy beach, the sea here is a glorious turquoise shade and is great for swimming in. The Carbis Bay Hotel owns the beach, and here you can take a break from the sun with an afternoon Cornish cream tea.

You’ll find Porthminster Beach a short walk from the centre of St Ives. This is a crescent-shaped area of sandy beach with a fabulous view across the bay to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for Virginia Wolfe’s pioneering novel “To The Lighthouse”. Again the waters are calm here, which means the beach is great for families with young children. Nearby is the award-winning Porthminster Beach Café, where you can enjoy delicious, locally-grown and sourced produce.

Porthmeor Beach is also close to the centre of St Ives, and attracts both swimmers and surfers. This popular stretch of sand is close by to the Tate St Ives Gallery and holds a Blue Flag award, reflecting its water quality and sound environmental management.

The smaller St Ives Harbour Beach is a great stopping-off point from exploring the town centre. Take a break, enjoy the harbour view, sample an ice cream, but watch out for hungry seagulls!


A Town for Culture and Discovery

St Ives is an area of quite stunning natural beauty, which explains why it’s been attracting artists since the mid-19th century. JMW Turner was an early visitor. Since then it’s become a true artists’ colony, with numerous galleries. It’s also home to Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The Tate St Ives opened here in 1993 and the gallery marks St Ives’s importance as a centre of art on the international stage. It’s also home to many significant works from the St Ives School of painting, dating from the mid-1800s to the present.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is an exhibition space for the work of one of Britain’s most important twentieth-century artists. It was originally the location of Trewyn Studios, where Barbara Hepworth worked and lived with her husband the artist Ben Nicholson from 1939 onwards until she died in 1975. A selection of Hepworth’s key bronze, stone and wood sculptures is on display here, along with archive material consisting of drawings, sketches and notes.

St Ives town centre is also great for chance discoveries, with its maze of  cobbled streets and old fishermen’s cottages. You’ll also come across plenty of independent shops and galleries, and interesting places to eat.

St Ives is a busy holiday town, but it retains a magnetic charm, combining a very Cornish heritage with an almost tropical feel.

Father’s day, teddy bears, pints and scarecrows

Scarecrow picture by Flickr user Tim Green

Scarecrow picture by Flickr user Tim Green

This Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s shaping up to be a lovely weekend for lots of activities!

It’s a special Father’s Day teddy bear picnic at Newquay Zoo on Sunday. Great fun for the family and fathers get special half price entry. Children under 15 will get in for free if they bring their teddy bear for the picnic! Face painting will be available throughout the day, and find out about the animals at the daily keeper talks.

Dads go free at Newquay‘s Blue Reef Aquarium this Sunday. Learn about the roles of fathers in the ocean, from dedicated seahorses and not so dedicated sea turtles.

How about a pasty and a pint courtesy of Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh? Dads will also be able to have a go at some falconry or have a blast on the Red Rocket.

This weekend is the annual Scarecrow Festival in Devon‘s East Budleigh. Expect all the lovely festivities, foods and drinks from a normal village fete, but with a surreal but wonderful display of scarecrows throughout the village!

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Cornwall most family-friendly destination in the world

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

That’s right, our beloved Cornwall has been voted the most child-friendly holiday destination in the whole world, with Devon, Somerset, Dorset and the Isle of Wight also appearing in the top ten.

The results are from a recent poll of 2,000 parents by an international lettings agency, with Cornwall recommended as the best place for family-friendly holidays. The news comes shortly after Cornwall was granted national minority status within the UK, officially recognising it’s distinct culture and heritage.

Top priorities to ensure the best child-friendly holiday included nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters, and a shallow sea. Half of the parents polled said the ideal holiday destination must have nice beaches, and 28% said kids’ swimming pools are essential.

Cornwall pipped Orlando in Florida to the top spot because even though Orlando boasts vast theme parks and near-perfect sunny weather, it was marked down for the long flying time of around nine hours.

The study also found that the ideal length of time for a family holiday would be around 10 days, and travelling time to the destination would be under five hours.

Other UK destinations to feature in the top 50 include West Wales, the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and the Scottish Highlands.

The results are unsurprising to us at Holiday Cottages, where we have holiday accommodation at all of the high-ranking areas voted on in the poll.


Top Ten Child-Friendly Holiday Destinations

1. Cornwall, UK

2. Orlando, USA

3. Devon, UK

4. Majorca

5. Costa Del Sol, Spain

6. Isle of Wight

7. Menorca

8. Dorset, UK

9. Somerset, UK

10. Tenerife


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May special offers

The Easter and school holidays may nearly be over, but with two more bank holidays coming up in May then why not take a mini-break in the West Country and save your work-entitled holidays for another time? Our friends at Helpful Holidays have plenty of special offers on for bookings throughout next month, so you’ll also be saving cash as well!

Gulworthy J35

J35 Gulworthy

Save 20% on the remaining weeks of May, including both bank holidays at The Granary (J35) near Gulworthy, a hamlet three miles from Tavistock. This single-storey cottage (sleeps 4) is converted from an old granary on a 250 acre dairy farm. Inside, enjoy open-plan living/dining/kitchen and French windows to terrace; two bedrooms – a double, and one with two singles; and a bathroom (suite plus hand-shower). A good spot for relaxing, listening to birdsong and avoiding the rush of everyday life.

P326 view from top bedroom

P326 view from top bedroom

Or how about saving 20% on this three-storey cottage in Port Issac P326 (sleeps 7) on week commencing 17th May? The exceptionally pretty fishing village is famously the setting for popular TV series ‘Doc Martin’. The property has four bedrooms, two doubles, a twin and a single. There is a lovely, sunny living room with a bay window with a sea view, a kitchen/dining room, upstairs bathroom and downstairs shower room.

P306 waterside views

P306 waterside views

Another 20% saving on week commencing 24th May at Little Petherick, North Cornwall P306 (sleeps 4) a peaceful location just two miles from Padstow. There’s an enclosed, waterside, decked terrace and a first-floor balcony to enjoy the views. A ground floor twin bedroom with en suite shower room; an open-plan living/dining/kitchen. French doors to the terrace and stable doors to a little summer room with foldaway chairs and more French windows to decking. The first floor has a double bedroom with balcony and a bathroom. Neat and compact; a lovely, peaceful waterside spot, excellent for walking or cycling.

For these and more holiday cottages, visit the main website.



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Cornish people granted minority status in UK

Cornish people have been officially declared as a national minority group along with the Welsh, Irish and Scots.

Now recognised alongside the more established members of Britain’s Celtic fringe, the Cornish will have the same rights and protections made under the European convention.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK.”

The status is a victory for campaigners, as the last three attempts to include the Cornish in the Framework Convention were previously unsuccessful.  Contributory factors to the recent success included the 84,000 people who declared themselves “Cornish” in the 2011 Census, and a further 41% of pupils in Cornwall’s schools that described themselves as Cornish in a 2011 school survey. Also, the Cornish language is enjoying a robust revival with 557 people claiming the Celtic dialect as their main language; a language which until 2010 was classified as extinct by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Dick Cole, leader of the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for a separate national assembly, told The Independent: “We are absolutely elated. The fact that Cornish culture, language and identity is now formally a national minority on a par with the Welsh, Scots and Irish is fantastic. We shall savour the moment.”

Cornwall is valued at £75bn (0.6%) of the economy, with a £1.1m average annual tourism revenue. 

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Easter availability in the West Country

There is still time to book a break away for this Easter. Here are a few holiday cottages in the wonderful West Country!

Q10 - View from the balcony

Q10 – View from the balcony

Q10 - spacious living/dining/kitchen area

Q10 – spacious living/dining/kitchen area

This absolutely stunning custom-built detached house (sleeps 8) is positioned on a quiet, private lane on the northern edge of Mawgan Porth. The village has pubs, restaurants, deli, wine bar and beach shops clustered around a beautiful cove. It’s great for bodyboarding, and close to pony-trekking and golf. It’s also not too far from other magnificent beaches and international surfing facilities at Newquay (airport).

The property (Q10) is full of large windows to showcase the view and let light stream in to the generously sized rooms. The living/dining/kitchen area of this house is upstairs to take advantage of the wonderful sea views. Downstairs are four bedrooms (two double, two twin) with three en suite bathrooms and French windows to the garden. Everything about this property is sleek and modern in design for a comfortable holiday.


R54 - kitchen/living room

R54 – kitchen/living room


R54 - view from patio and garden

R54 – view from patio and garden

Another holiday cottage from Helpful Holidays is this large detached bungalow (R54) (sleeps 6) in the hamlet of Freathy overlooking the fine sandy beach of Whitsand Bay. It has a sunlit living room and fitted kitchen and glazed doors to the patio and peaceful garden. There are three bedrooms, two double, one twin, and one bathroom and a shower room. An excellent holiday home with good links to nearby Plymouth.


L153 - view from the front

L153 – view from the front

L153 - inside/outside dining

L153 – inside/outside dining


Perfect for a group or large family in the South Hams is this large, split-level, detached house (L153) (sleeps 12) with panoramic views over the bay to Burgh Island. Just 200 yards up from the magnificent sandy beach in Bigbury-on-Sea stands this contemporary home designed with the latest green technology. The interiors are light, bright and spacious. Consisting of four large en suite bedrooms (three twins, one double) on the lower ground floor, and another huge master bedroom with walk in dressing/cot room and en suite bathroom from the hall. A light-filled kitchen/dining room with glossy, modern units and a kitchen island. Through to a large living area with floor to ceiling glass doors here and in the kitchen to give panoramic views and access to the deck and steps down to the garden, hot tub and little summer house, plus much, much more.

These are just a few of the stunning properties still with availability for the Easter holidays, so make sure to visit the main site to discover even more!

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Eggcellent Cornwall this Easter

Eggs in basket picture by Flickr user cyanocorax

Eggs in basket picture by Flickr user cyanocorax

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us! So, if you still haven’t planned your activities, here are a select few of the things going on in Cornwall with suggestions of where to stay nearby.


National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth 5th-21st April

Inspired by the new Smuggling exhibitions, enter the smugglers’ den to make your own flintlock pistol, pop-up smuggler and secret chest with a concealed compartment. Plus, search for the concealed contraband hidden around the Museum with the Free Traders’ Trail. Plus, on Easter weekend, make your own bunny and chick masks and pour your own mini chocolate Easter egg.

Stay at this spacious first floor apartment situated in a prestigious waterside development on Falmouth Harbour (sleeps 6).

Wild Futures, Looe 5th-21st April

Take a tour of the monkey enclosures and learn about these fascinating creatures at the Monkey Sanctuary. You can also take a gentle stroll around the woodland gardens, and let the children swing like the monkeys in the play area. Have lunch at the award-winning Treetop café and when the day is done, go back to this lovely 4 bedroom house (sleeps 8) with views over Looe Bay and out to sea.

Eden Project, St Austell 5th-25th April

Chocolate Unwrapped is the Eden Project’s festival telling the story of chocolate, how it was found and how it became so popular in Europe. Visitors will be taken on an interactive journey through the Rainforest Biome to see real cocoa trees and meet characters along the way. Children can also make their own chocolatey creations, and adults will be able to take special chocolatier workshops.

Eat your chocolate delights back at this newly refurbished 3 bedroom house (sleeps 6) with stunning views over St Austell Bay.

Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park, Wadebridge 5-21st April

The Park is unveiling a £300,000 investment in attractions for the 2014 season. One of its most exciting projects is a new area for toddlers and pre-school children open in time for the Easter holidays. Swampy and Dina Land is a 2,000 sq m enclosed area with rides and play areas for children under the age of five.

Stay at this 2 bedroom apartment (sleeps 4)  with a sun trap patio situated in the idyllic hamlet of Little Petherick. Close to the famous Camel Trail and the fishing village of Padstow.

Newquay Zoo, Newquay 5th-20th April

With a programme of family activities including duck races, egg hunts and animal workshops, there’s lots to do at the Newquay Zoo. On 14th April Michaela Strachan will be there with her Wild Adventures Show, which visitors can go to at no extra charge. On the Easter weekend there is an egg trail in the Dragon Maze, and don’t forget to join the Easter Bunny tea party at 1pm on Sunday 20th April.

Close to Fistral beach and Newquay town centre, stay at this 2 bedroom mews house (sleeps 4). Perfect for beach holidays and a spot of golfing.

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel 18th-21st April

Get hands-on with history this Easter weekend. Young adventurers will be needed to crack clues and explore hidden corners of Tintagel Castle on this exciting quest. Those who succeed will receive a delicious chocolate reward.

Take your prize home to this smart detached cottage (sleeps 6) a mile west of Tintagel.

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