Sandy beaches, romantic ruins and fantastic food – what’s not to love about Cornwall? Explore the West Country from these family-friendly hotels
The Nare, South Cornwall
If Cornwall’s north coast is all about surf, the south coast is all about beauty. The insanely pretty village of Veryan on the Roseland peninsula, near beautiful St Mawes, is green and lush with exotic-looking fauna. The Nare is brilliantly located directly on Carne Beach, a vast expanse of sand and sea that’s picture-book perfect. The Nare is a quirky and characterful privately owned hotel with a lot of personality. Owner Toby Ashworth is on-hand to welcome guests in person, while every inch of wall space is taken over by his mother’s extensive and diverse collection of art.
Our family room has French windows on two sides allowing us to step directly into the gardens and the beach beyond. The view is stunning. The children sleep in a cosy cabin at the back; we have a seating area, a hugely comfortable bed and a spacious bathroom.
Afternoon tea is an institution here. It’s served daily on the dot at 4pm with a spread of cakes and scones (it’s almost a requirement that you eat at least two). There are two restaurants, one formal and the other more casual – food is high-class hotel fare.
WHAT TO DO
As well as the beach, there are indoor and outdoor pools and a tennis court too. Resident artist Jeanni is on-hand with art classes for all levels – we spent a happy morning learning to paint seascapes in acrylic and came away with new-found skills. But the best activity here is the espionage adventure. Ashworth’s enthusiasm for an elaborate scheme that invites guests to follow a series of clues – including a trip to St Mawes castle in his boat, the Alice Rose – is infectious, and we spend a happy afternoon deciphering codes and hunting for information, all of it leading to the discovery of a Russian mole among the hotel staff.
The Rosevine, The Roseland Peninsula
Also known as “the big house by the sea”, the Rosevine is a home away from home, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere and friendly, personable staff. Located on the south coast of Cornwall, close to St Mawes and Truro and within a few minutes walk of a beautiful sandy beach, it’s a boutique apart-hotel made up of 15 apartments and a four-bedroom self-catering house. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and with a swimming pool and Michelin Guide restaurant on-site, it’s the ultimate in casual luxury. And it’s dog-friendly to boot!
A stone’s throw from the hotel is Porthcurnick beach, an idyllic sandy spot that is perfect for sunbathing, play, dog walks and exploring rock pools. It’s also the home of the Hidden Hut, a secluded but always-busy café located in a wooden hut just off the beach on a National Trust cliff path. The hut serves delicious food and drinks from local suppliers – Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, homemade cake and specials served in recyclable lunch boxes. It’s one of Cornwall’s best-kept secrets and a must-visit spot if you’re in the area.
The food at The Rosevine is very good. So good, in fact, that there’s no real need to eat elsewhere (bar a couple of visits to the Hidden Hut). The hotel serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon
tea and dinner in its intimate, informal restaurant. The dinner was among the best we’ve eaten in years – local produce, a modern menu, tasty food. There was a brilliant kids’ menu too – not just the usual pasta and chips options.
Super child-friendly yet not overwhelmingly so, the Rosevine has family holidays covered. There’s a playroom complete with TV and DVD player, a climbing frame and slide in the garden as well as a chest of outdoor toys, a football net and ping pong table. Then, of course, there’s the indoor swimming pool, in which we spent our mornings. A range of baby and children’s equipment is available to borrow and the children’s menus are served from 5.30pm.
As well as a playroom there’s a separate adult lounge (adjoining the playroom, so your little ones are always within earshot) for relaxing in, complete with log-burner for cooler days. The swimming pool is exclusively for adult use between 7-8pm and, though there’s no spa, there is a treatment menu – allowing you to book indulgences to your room in advance.
THINGS TO DO
Take a short walk along the coastal path from The Rosevine to the nearby village of Portscatho for a potter around and a drink in the local pub, or drive over to the pretty coastal village of St Mawes, check out the castle then hop on a ferry for the 20-minute journey to Falmouth.
A family apartment on a room-only board basis at The Rosevine costs from £119 per night. Minimum stay 4 nights during July and August.