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With miles of coastline, picturesque fishing villages and lush countryside, Cornwall is a unique slice of paradise on the southwest coast of England. You can’t get any further west than this independent county, which is famous for its world-class surfing, Cornish meat pies and wild scenery.
Cornwall has a rich history, with folklore and legends of King Arthur and Tintagel. You’ll find that the way of life here is a little different than the rest of the UK, and that’s something that Cornish people are fiercely proud of. The area has a sub-tropical climate, making it the UK’s sunniest destination and perfect for a summer escape without leaving the country. This warmer climate means that exotic plants and wildflowers cover the entire region. Plus, those milder water temperatures make swimming in the blue seas of Cornwall a must-do.
Arts and culture are king here, with highlights including outdoor theatres (the Minack Theatre is carved into the cliffs at Porthcurno, with a spectacular ocean backdrop); art galleries galore and literary events. Food is also a huge draw here, with Cornwall’s local recipes, produce and harbour towns inspiring many celebrity chefs. Traditional Cornish food includes meat pies, clotted cream, fudge and ales, but the cuisine here isn’t limited to just that. Some of the UK’s top chefs have set up restaurants here, such as Padstow-based famous chef Rick Stein.
There’s over 300 beaches in Cornwall, from Atlantic Ocean surfing hotspots in Newquay to sheltered coves and golden sand. Outdoorsy folk will also love the various walking trails here, with miles and miles of cliff and coastline walks to discover. Top places to visit in Cornwall are Padstow for its incredible restaurants, St Ives for arts and culture and Penzance for its history and charming village feel.
Despite feeling a million miles away, Cornwall is easy to get to – from London by train, you can get to Truro in about 4 hours and 20 minutes.
This 4-star hotel on Porthminster Beach overlooks postcard-perfect St Ives Harbour. With just 52 rooms, St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa has an intimate, boutique vibe and most rooms come with a sea view. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and bar serving fresh local cuisine and is in a perfect location to further explore the region.
For relaxing within the hotel, the luxury spa features four seven treatment rooms, a swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a sauna, a steam room, an indoor relaxation area and outdoor sun terrace, and a fitness centre.
The St. Mawes Hotel is located on the beautiful Roseland Peninsula in South Cornwall. Each of the 7 rooms are individually designed and have a unique coastal charm, some with pretty harbour views.
Despite its small size, this cosy hotel has everything you need for a relaxing escape in Cornwall. There’s a popular restaurant and bar (dog friendly!) that serves Italian-style dishes with Cornish ingredients. For rainy days, spend an afternoon at the hotel’s ‘hidden cinema’. It has 25 soft leather reclining chairs, fluffy blankets and refreshments including ice cream, popcorn and a fully licensed bar.
This fun ‘n’ funky hotel has 22 bedrooms eclectically decorated by local artists and a 3-bedroom Georgian cottage. It’s located on historic Chapel Street in Penzance and is just a short stroll to local pubs, shops and the seafront, with views of St. Michael’s Mount. Rooms are snug and cosy, with limited edition art prints – some have log burning stoves and bathtubs.
A highlight of Artist Residence Cornwall is the adjoining clubhouse, which has a smokehouse, bar, garden and lounge. A roaring log fire is always burning to greet guests back from a windy coastal walk and the kitchen serves up a homey menu of local produce.
Padstow Harbour Hotel is a 4-star renovated Victorian boutique hotel with harbour views, perched above the fishing port of Padstow. All 58 individually-styled rooms come with nice little luxuries, including free gin & sherry. The hotel’s restaurant, bar and terrace has stunning sea views and a delicious menu of local produce.
Bonus: this hotel has the only heated, outdoor pool in Padstow and dogs are welcome in allocated dog-friendly rooms!
This elegant cluster of beautiful whitewashed buildings owned by British designer Olga Polizzi, who turned the former yacht club into a boutique luxury retreat on the waterfront in St Mawes. There’s 30 rooms and suites, decorated with Cornish art and antiques. The hotel has a spa and its own Mediterranean-style beach club.
Guests can enjoy fresh fish in the hotel’s renowned restaurant and sail trips around Falmouth Bay with a picnic on the hotel’s 8m luxury yacht.
More of a ‘restaurant with rooms’, this is one of the best places to stay in Cornwall for a relaxing break. Coombeshead Farm is a guesthouse and working farm with nine lovely rooms in a 16th-century farmhouse. It has a uniquely homey atmosphere, where dinner is at the same time for all diners each evening in their restaurant barn. It’s the food that attracts guests far and wide, with a ‘no menu’ menu of ingredients from the farm’s 66 acres.
If you want something different, this won’t disappoint.
Merchants Manor is a boutique country house mansion in Falmouth with a fantastic spa and wellness focus, including a barrel sauna, steam room, 13-metre heated indoor pool and hydrotherapy tub. Rooms have art by local artists, duck-down duvets and walk-in showers.
The hotel is set within award-winning sub-tropical gardens, where you can enjoy a glass of wine; there’s also two eco-friendly self-catering residences in the gardens, each with its own hot tub terrace. The restaurant at Merchants Manor is also a key highlight of any stay.