A WEEKEND IN | CABANA TRAVEL | WORLD OF CABANA

 

With its sweeping coastlines, atmospheric fishing villages, fantastic food scene and proud artistic traditions, Cornwall, on England’s South West coast, is a must-visit for anyone looking to refresh and restore. Eleanor Cording-Booth and Camilla Frances share highly curated insider tips, highlighting stylish new restaurants, postcard-pretty villages, historic houses and artist’s studios.

 

BY ELEANOR CORDING BOOTH & CAMILLA FRANCES | TRAVEL | OCTOBER 2023

Barbara Hepworth's studio, St Ives © Eleanor Cording-Booth

 

Where to Stay

Atlanta Trevone: There can be few more atmospheric places to stay in Cornwall than Atlanta Trevone, a collection of beautifully-designed houses and cottages overlooking the sea at Trevone Bay, near Padstow in north Cornwall.

Of Atlanta’s six properties, the jewel in the crown is surely The Net Loft, a former fisherman’s house that brings an elegant New England aesthetic to Cornwall. With its shiplap-cladded walls, fresh coastal colors and brass, nautical-inspired accents, the interiors reference an imagined captain’s house - a nod to The Net Loft’s maritime history and the property’s dramatic sea views. Designed by UK-based studio, HÁM Interiors, The Net Loft also features locally sourced antiques, playful artworks, vintage textiles and a huge outdoor bath. It’s one of Cornwall’s most exciting new accommodations, and a truly atmospheric place to escape to. CF

 

The Net Loft: a former fisherman's house, reimagined by HÁM Interiors © Oliver Graham

 

Homes from Home: Cornwall is full of stylish hotels, but Cabana's favorite way to explore the region's beaches and beautiful villages is to live like a local in a carefully chosen home from home. With their huge selection of design-conscious retreats, from romantic spa-like huts for two, to grand coastal estates and artist's studios turned pool houses, Unique Homestays and Boutique Retreats have some of the best accommodation out there (you can even pre-book all the luxuries of a hotel).

In the pretty hamlet of Trebadunnon (north Cornwall), you'll find Firefly, a luxury woodcutter's cottage with an earthy back-to-nature charm, and the Wool Shed, a rustic-luxe bolthole with a delightful courtyard garden, while Falmouth (west Cornwall) is home to a divine Georgian townhouse, Packet House. CF

Hotels: And if you'd prefer the 24/7 comforts of a hotel, look no further than The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Padstow Townhouse and Watergate Bay Hotel (north Cornwall) and The Idle Rocks and Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes (south Cornwall).

Where to Eat

Coombeshead Farm, LewannickThis idyllic farm and restaurant with rooms isn’t on the north coast, it’s almost exactly in the middle – just off the motorway – but that’s why it makes a delicious pit stop en route (pre-booking is essential). Set in 66 acres of woodland and meadows, Coombeshead grow, preserve, bake or rear everything that appears on their set three-course menus. The food is sensational and their sticky homemade sourdough could bring a tear to your eye. ECB

Four Boys Cafe, RockHop on the ferry from Padstow to this relatively new cafe overlooking the sea. A low-key triumph in small-plate dining; sandy tourists (and their dogs) jostle for space in the busy, informal dining room. Eat scallops, fried hake buns, nectarine salad and lemon tart at the counter by the window. The setting might be easy-going but don’t be fooled – the cooking is refined. ECB

Mackerel Sky, NewlynSandwiched between Penzance and Mousehole, the pretty harbour town of Newlyn – made famous by the Newlyn School of Art – plays to its strengths with the freshest, straight-from-the-boat fish at Mackerel Sky. With two locations on the same street (and an identical menu in both), swing by for lunch and eat as much as you can muster but skip dessert and grab a clotted cream ice cream from Jelbert’s next door – it’s a Cornish institution. ECB

Roundhouse, Penzance: This tiny coffee shop occupies a former toll booth in historic Penzance, and is so small that you could probably hold hands with three friends and encircle the whole thing. Don’t visit hoping to hide from the rain, but do grab an outside bench and enjoy excellent coffee, sandwiches and cakes that would stand up against any hip city cafe. ECB

 

Four Boys Cafe, Rock © Eleanor Cording-Booth 

 

The Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick Beach: This once-lesser-known food hut, nestled in the hills above beautiful Porthcurnick beach, has grown in size, scale and reputation over the last few years. While no longer hidden, its menu still offers fresh, local seafood with seasonal twists, alongside delicious, heartier dishes - curries, stews, chowders - and coffee, cake and ice cream. It's worth the trip for the sea views alone; there can be few lovelier spots to enjoy 'fast food'. CF

Outlaw's New Road & Outlaw's Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac: As well as having a great name, renowned chef Nathan Outlaw, a protege of Rick Stein, has two leading fish restaurants in Port Isaac, an almost unfathomably quaint fishing village in North Cornwall. Both serve excellent seafood, but we particularly love Outlaw's Fish Kitchen, set within a 15th century cottage in the heart of Port Isaac harbour. CF

Potager Garden Cafe, Falmouth: This once-abandoned plant nursery has been transformed into a glorious light-filled restaurant - in the central greenhouse - that makes the most of its wild, botanical roots. The food is superb, and seasonal, and the space also plays homes to regular events and workshops, including basket making and silk painting. Open Thursdays to Sunday, booking essential in high season. CF

Paul Ainsworth at No6, Padstow: One of the best spots for fine dining in Cornwall, Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No6 serves local, seasonal food in a beautiful Georgian townhouse in the heart of Padstow. CF

 

Chapel Street, Penzance © Eleanor Cording-Booth

Where to Shop

Chapel Street, PenzanceNot one shop but a whole street, this is a hub for the best independent and vintage shops in Penzance. Highlights include homeware and gifts at Handworked, antiques and vintage at Daphne’s and deli treats from the pantry at 45 Queen Street – a cafe and shop tucked away just off Chapel Street. And don’t leave the street without a glance up at the brilliantly over-the-top and colourful Egyptian House. Not that you could miss it…  ECB

Leach Pottery, St IvesMore than just a shop, Leach Pottery (co-founded in 1920 by English potter Bernard Leach – often described as the ‘father of Studio Pottery’) is one of the most influential pottery studios in the world, making it a mecca for ceramicists and collectors. You can take a guided tour of the museum or book a pottery class before treasure-hunting for memento coffee mugs in the shop. ECB

Morgans, Falmouth: A family-run gallery in a beautifully renovated Georgian townhouse in Falmouth. It's a wonderful space, full of striking art and handmade ceramics from a top roster of local Cornish artists (almost all of which are available to buy). CF

 

Cornish fishing villages © Unique Homestays

What to See & Do

Tremenheere Sculpture GardensOn a beautiful day, there are few places better than Tremenheere Sculpture gardens, which is just outside Penzance. The sheltered valley where it sits is thick with sub-tropical planting and paths that weave up the steep hillside, with the sea glittering in the distance. You’re rewarded at various points not only with contemporary sculptures dotted throughout the garden’s 22 acres but also with postcard-perfect views across to Saint Michael’s Mount. ECB

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St IvesIf you visit St Ives, don’t miss the former home and garden of acclaimed British sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Pre-book tickets and enjoy a moment of calm in the artist’s light-filled workspace. The garden studio with its medley of sculptures, potted plants and dusty, splattered work jackets is particularly inspiring to see. ECB

Coastal path walk from Padstow to Trevone BayIf you plan to dedicate a full day to walking, take the coastal path from Padstow to Trevone Bay, the view of craggy rocks, crashing waves and unreachable bays to one side and long grass and wildflowers blowing in the wind to the other is breathtaking. You can make it a circular loop by cutting through fields via a snack refill at the excellent Trevone farm shop. If you want to extend your stroll, stop for a paddle in the natural sea pool at Trevone Bay and then continue along the coast path to Harlyn Bay, where there’s a Pig hotel (see Where to Stay) for locally sourced grub and drinks in the garden. ECB

 

Trevone Bay © Eleanor Cording-Booth 

 

Tate, St Ives: No visit to St Ives would be complete without a visit to the Tate Gallery (sister gallery to London's Tate Britain and Tate Modern), which is housed in a wonderful domed Art Deco building overlooking Porthmeor Beach. The gallery's location reflects St Ives' history as a meeting point and creative hub for major 20th century British artists, among them Mark Rothko, Patrick Heron, Alfred Wallis, Ben Nicholson and, of course, Barbara Hepworth. Tate holds many of their works in its permanent collection, as well as visiting exhibitions. CF

The Lost Gardens of Heligan: A 200-acre network of magical gardens, woodland walks and farmland, reputed to be Europe's largest garden restoration project. The gardens feature thousands of species of flora and fauna, from Maori-carved tree ferns to an Alpine-inspired Ravine, and a 'jungle experience' replete with sub-tropical plantings, bamboo tunnels and a suspended rope bridge. CF

Village Visits: Cornwall is home to some of England most's picturesque and historic villages, complete with centuries-old fisherman's cottages, windswept inns, winding cobbled streets and tiny Beatrix Potter-style doorways. Village hopping around Cornwall - for this, a car is fairly essential - is a real pleasure. Some of our favorites include: Boscombe; St Agnes; Newlyn; Sennen; Penryn; Mousehole; Polperro; Mevagissey; Porthleven; St Just; Fowey; Charleston; and St Mawes. CF

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CONTRIBUTORS

Eleanor Cording-Booth is a freelance interiors editor and designer of wavy lampshades. Follow Eleanor on Instagram: @aconsideredspace
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Camilla Frances is Cabana's Digital Editorial Director. Follow Camilla on Instagram: @housetowrite

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