Today, my dear friend Sarah, who lives inLondon with her husband and her two little girls, Emma and Pia, will take you to magical Cornwall and give you all her tips for a wonderful travel with your kids….
A beautiful and rich article!
I first visited Cornwall with my husband shortly after being engaged. I immediately loved the charming fishing villages, long sandy beaches, unending countryside and above all beautiful, unique light. Now with two little girls, Cornwall was an obvious choice for a calm, family friendly Easter break destination. We decided to settle on the region’s wild Atlantic coast. Cornwall has its own take on the English countryside, with its mix of wilderness and coast line, exactly what we needed to escape our far too busy city life.
WHERE TO STAY
Whilst I love hotels for their luxury and convenience, we felt that a home would be more convenient with the girls. They could make as much noise as they possible wanted, keep their routine in the evening and not be tired going back to nursery after the break. I discovered Kid & Coe and was eager to try their family friendly holiday approach. The Kid & Coe website has several options for Cornwall. Our pick was the Hobbacott Lane Residence, a picturesque 18th century cottage with crooked walls, windows overlooking green pastures, cosy nooks, a garden and an interesting mix of modern and vintage design. I particularly enjoyed cooking hearty meals on the large range cooker, gazing at the sun setting over the adjoining fields.
The cottage came equipped with a highchair, a cot bed for our toddler and plenty of toys and books. The girls loved it. The views, in particular, were a big hit. Every morning, they would rush to open the shutters and say hello to the cows in the nearby fields, an activity which was carried out several times throughout the day…
The owners Andrew and Rebecca strove to give us a lovely stay, checking in a few days early to get everything set up to our liking and leaving detailed tips on local shops, restaurants and must-see sites.
It is worth noting that our residence had rather steep ungated stairs, which could be dangerous for toddlers. We had to keep an eye on the girls whenever they were upstairs. There is a door to the stairs downstairs.
If you prefer staying in a hotel, I recommend The Tresanton. We had stayed there in our aforementioned visit and had a lovely time. I have great memories of scrabble battles by the fire, glass of rosé in hand and of magical dinners in the beautiful restaurant downstairs, its bay windows overlooking the bay and the tables lit only by tea lights.
The hotel is positioned in the pretty port town of St Mawes, on Cornwall’s calmer southern coast. A former yachting club, it was converted into a hotel from a cluster of old houses in the fifties and then transformed into the chic and understated destination it is now. The rooms are tastefully decorated in a style staying true to its coastal location, with a mix of antique pieces and Cornish art. The hotel prides itself on welcoming children and offers a playroom, garden, private cinema and kid’s club during the summer months. Hunter boots and crabbing nets are provided for little adventurers.
WHERE TO WANDER & EAT
With two young girls – Emma is three and a half and Pia almost two – our priority was to rest and recharge with some relaxed lunches, visits to charming villages and walks on the beach.
Padstow is a working fishing village known for its picture postcard harbour and food scene, most notably Rick Stein’s two restaurants.
We tried his fish and chips shop. I had never seen such an extensive fish and chips menu, with a choice of no less than seven varieties of fish, battered, fried or grilled. My husband and I made the very classic choice of battered haddock and fries, which you must have with malt vinegar in the pure British tradition ! While I am not a fan of fish and chips, I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate flavours and lightness of what I always considered an unrefined dish. The girls had cod goujons and chips, of course and enjoyed drawing and playing with the restaurant’s toys.
If in Padstow, I recommend walking up the path bordering the river Camel and to the beach. You will be able to enjoy a quintessentially Cornish view of brightly coloured boats sailing down the estuary to the turquoise sea. The view of the ocean once you reach the top of the hill is truly magical.
The walk will leave you craving for a delicious Cornish ice cream, an institution here in Britain as Cornwall is famous for its deliciously rich clotted cream. There is a newly opened Kelly’s of Cornwall parlour on the port.
A word of warning, do not take your pushchair ! Clovelly is a charming pedestrian only fishing village untouched from the fourteenth century. Its white cottage lined steep cobbled street leads to a tiny harbour. As no vehicles are allowed access, groceries and other goods are transported by sledges pulled by donkeys, although the donkeys now mainly give rides to little adventurers during the school holidays …
There are not many refreshment options in the village apart from the pub on the harbour and a small tea room half way down the village’s main and pretty much unique street. The tea room, with its pink walls and old-fashioned pictures and furniture, feels like a postcard from forty years ago. There, you will be able to enjoy a homemade ploughman’s platter – a plate of cheddar cheese, chutney, coleslaw and salad – cheese and baked beans jacket potato or the ever so classic cream team with strawberry jam and of course delicious Cornish clotted cream. Clovelly is actually located in Devon and so you probably ought to apply the cream before the jam on your warm scone (in Cornwall you would apply the jam first and then the cream, an important distinction I am told).
On your way back to Cornwall, stop by Sandymouth beach and enjoy its beautiful sandy beach lined by tall white cliffs. It is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches of Cornwall. The beach is a popular surfers’ spot, as many on the region’s Atlantic coast. Note the beach is best enjoyed at low tide and accessed via a steep and narrow path with some steps. If the walk back up the steep path has tired you, there is a cafe at the top waiting for you.
As a special Easter Sunday treat, we had lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant, where he trains his apprentice chefs against a backdrop of a spectacular two mile sandy beach. Due to its orientation – it faces directly the Atlantic ocean – the beach is particularly popular with surfers, which makes for a mesmerising scene during lunch, especially for a three and a half and two year old. Booking is essential.
St Mawes is another postcard pretty fishing village, with pastel coloured cottages lining its beautiful coastline.
I recommend stopping for a long lunch or dinner at the Tresanton restaurant. The tongue and groove wall, mosaic floor and floor to ceiling windows are the perfect backdrop for a delicious meal of seafood to start with, fresh fish prepared simply and homemade ice cream and sorbet to finish with. Booking is essential.
The village is the starting point for several walks along the coastal paths, notably a three-mile stroll past St Mawes castle – built by Henry VIII – and through the fields beside the sea to a beautiful church dating back to the fourteenth Century.
If you are after art galleries, then St Ives is the place for you. The small town boasts ten art galleries including Tate St Ives, one of the four Tate Galleries in the world alongside Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London and Tate Liverpool. St Ives is also a well-known foodie destination with some of the best restaurants in the region.
Other popular sights include the Eden Project, a botanical garden on the Southern coast of the region which notably boasts the largest indoor rainforest in captivity and Tintagel Castle, a medieval fortification located on top of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic. Although very close to Bude, we decided not to visit the castle as we had been told it could be dangerous with toddlers, the site being poorly secured. A very good reason to come back to this beautiful region in a few years time once the girls are a little older.
To know a bit more about Sarah…
Sarah is the Parisian born founder of Sept Septembre, an interior design practice based in London where she lives with her husband and their two young daughters Emma and Pia. Sept Septembre strives to create calm and graceful interiors to enhance the beautiful and individual in day to day living. You can follow her family’s adventures and get an insight of Sept Septembre’s work on her instagram account @sept_septembre.
Many thanks to Sarah for this wonderful article which is a journey by itself! So eager to visit Cornwall as a family!
Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did… See you next week for a post about soft bed linen for kids…
Have a lovely week,