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11 ways to have fun on your Summer Cornish stay-cation

Forget about the chaos of short haul flights and cramming everything into your hand luggage. Head west instead. Here's some fun things to do and places to stay with last min availability.

WHAT TO DO: Check out Cornwall’s ancient spiritual side

West Cornwall has more ancient spiritual sites than any other part of the Duchy and has drawn artists and creatives for centuries inspired by more than just the unusually clear light. From St Michael’s Mount to the Merry Maidens, Mên-an-Tol (above) to Carn Euny, there’s plenty to explore. Or, head to the local galleries to see work by the artists inspired by the area including Jupiter Gallery and the Newlyn Exchange, both in Newlyn, as well as the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham exhibition at the Tate St Ives.

WHERE TO STAY: The Bowery, Newlyn

This stunning Victorian terraced pile in Newlyn, near Penzance is new to the books at Cornish Secrets and sleeps six across two floors with a covered veranda with an original tiled Victorian floor at the front of the house, overlooking the gorgeous Cornish garden.

Last min availability: 14 – 17 August or 24 August onwards

WHAT TO DO: Stand Up Paddleboarding

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Take to the calm flat south Cornish waters for the best views – hire standup paddleboards, receive expert tuition and even join a guided SUP tour of the local coastline and the Helford River with Little Wolf Adventures, right from the hotel’s Bream Cove. This scenic stretch of coastline is home to pretty coves and wildlife from seals and dolphins to oystercatchers. Venture south towards Rosemullion Head and the Helford River, an important area of marine conservation.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Hotel Meudon, Mawnan Smith, Nr Falmouth

Hidden along a quiet country lane at Mawnan Smith between Falmouth and the Helford River, Hotel Meudon is the only hotel set in nine acres of Cornish subtropical gardens. We also loved the restaurant and chic cocktail bar – check out our review here.

Rooms available throughout August, from £618 per room (based on two people sharing) for two nights B&B.

WHAT TO DO: Find Cornwall’s filming locations

Doc Martin has just wrapped up the final filming of the last series, the new Fisherman’s Friends film hits cinemas on 19 August and countless Rosumund Pilcher novels have been translated for the small screen. See how many locations you can find yourself around the coast – Port Isaac is a pretty good place to start!

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: The Terrace, Port Isaac

New to the books at Latitude50 this year is The Terrace in Port Isaac with views across the harbour. Sleeps 10 across 5 bedrooms and benefits from that coveted bonus of ample parking!

Last min availability: 7 nights from 12 August

WHAT TO DO: Offshore Snorkelling

If lazying about on the beach at Talland Bay itself (above) seems too tame, head to Sea Explorers at Millendreath Beach for an afternoon snorkelling offshore with the aid of the battery powered, buoyant swimming aid. It is one of only two places in the whole of the UK where sea horses can be spotted in the wild.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Talland Bay Hotel, Porthallow, Nr Looe

Tucked away on a secluded stretch of south Cornish coast, Talland Bay Hotel is a luxury country house hotel by the sea. Boasting a captivating cliff-top setting at Porthallow between Looe and Polperro, the hotel is just yards from the South West Coast Path and Talland Bay beach – a smugglers cove in years gone by. 

Settle down and enjoy the jaw-dropping view from the nearest sun lounger. Sip on one of our cocktails, artfully blended by the Talland Bay team. And look forward to the most exquisite food conjured from the fields and sea by the kitchen team. Then retire for a blissful night’s sleep lulled by the sound of the waves and the ocean breeze. 

Last min availability: Talland Bay Hotel is offering a 25% discount on all remaining rooms in August, from £250 per room per night B&B

WHAT TO DO: Take an Art Course in artist’s mecca St Ives

Capture the unforgettable essence of St. Ives harbour and town, its buildings, cottages and cobbled streets that have changed little over the centuries on this three day course with renowned art school, St Ives School of Painting. Taught by artist Hilary Jean Gibson you’ll visit the more familiar sites of the town alongside hidden gems. Learn about St Ives’s fascinating history as a hub for artists and visit some of the famous locations where artists lived and worked and create annotated studies before returning to the studio to develop larger pieces in pen, ink and wash.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Little Lobster, St Ives

Immerse yourself in the little streets of St Ives that you’ll be capturing on the course by staying on one yourself. This charming bijou studio annexe is one of St Ives’ most romantic cottages. Beautifully positioned along The Warren – one of St Ives most famous historic cobbled streets – it’s just a few minutes’ stroll from the the harbour and beaches, of which you’ll see from this stunning apartment.

Last min availability: 11-15 August, sleeps two

WHAT TO DO: Visit Lamorran, Great Gardens of Cornwall, St Mawes

The Great Gardens of Cornwall (GG) are a group of 13 of the best-known, largest, most historically and horticulturally important gardens in Cornwall – ranging from some of the most well-known (Eden, for example) and National Trust gardens, across to some hidden gems, like Lamorran on the Roseland at St Mawes. Designed to create an intimate garden very much in the mould of Mediterranean gardens with water ever-present both as a backdrop to the garden and with running water featured in the many pools and streams, many features are included to divide the garden into intimate compartments.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Bora Gwel, Falmouth

Just across the water in Falmouth (get the ferry over to St Mawes and back) you’ll find this gorgeous 4-bedroom Falmouth townhouse which has just been added to the portfolio, translated as ‘dawn view’ in Cornish. This charming cottage faces the rise and fall of the sun as it journeys from dawn to dusk over the changing harbour. Bora Gwel’s location is perched high above the lived-in layers of Falmouth town’s lanes and flaunts magnificent sea views. Dog friendly.

Last min availability: 20 August – 3 September (2 weeks). From £2,091 for 7 nights, including a 20% discount.

WHAT TO DO: Spa, lunch and music, Sunday Session

The Sunday Sessions at Una near St Ives are legendary. Lunch is served from 12pm-3pm with live music from 2pm – expect folk or chilled rock music with a Cornish link. Choose your dish from the Gozney wood-fired roast (vegan and veggie options too) plus a cocktail if you want. Team with a visit to the spa in the morning – swim in the 15m x 12m heated infinity swimming pool, relax in the jacuzzi / steam room, or book a spa treatment.


You won’t have to walk far as you can hire one of the resort’s 29 lodges – a blend of one, two, three and four bed properties with solar panels, sedum roofs and cedar cladding as well as lamb’s wool insulation and triple glazed windows – a main Atrium building with a spa, leisure club and award-winning Una Kitchen. Includes leisure club access. Dog friendly.

Last min availability: 12 – 19 August, from £600 for three nights in a One Bedroom Lodge, and from 27 -31 August from £480 in a One Bedroom Lodge.

WHAT TO DO: Eat and drink in Padstow

Eat your way round foodie Padstow – don’t miss Prawn on the Farm just outside Padstow as well as their little Mexican/Cornish style pop-up in town, as well as Paul Ainsworth‘s No6, Stein‘s Seafood Restaurant, and then jump on the ferry and head over to Karrek at St Enodoc’s in Rock (book the water taxi home).

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: The Grain Store, Padstow

This contemporary property is right on the water at Padstow with the most amazing harbour views which are visible from the living area and the master bedroom – you’ll also find a further two bedrooms, open plan living, fully fitted kitchen plus dining room table and the property even comes with it’s own parking space, which is handy. No dogs, children 8+ only.

Last min availability: 19-26 August

WHAT TO DO: Immerse yourself in a waterfall

Set in ancient woodland very close to Tintagel you’ll find this magical 60 foot waterfall at the end of a winding walk. If you bring a towel you can even take a dip before heading back to the coast for a visit to the castle, or to the sandy beach at Trebarwith (low tide only).

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Fentafriddle Lodge, Trebarwith Strand

A charming, bijoux bolthole just above Trebarwith Strand with stunning sea views makes a calming retreat for sole wonderers, or couples looking for a peaceful retreat. Pet free.

Last min availability: 29 Aug – 12 Sept


WHAT TO DO: Enjoy the late summer gardens at Cotehele

Cotehele terraced garden

Head over to the gorgeous National Trust property at Cotehele and catch the last of the summer flowers and admire the laden orchards before the autumn harvests. Cotehele is a Tudor house with Medieval roots, plus you’ll find a working mill on an historic quay, a glorious garden with valley views and an extensive estate. It’s artist Thomas Thrussel’s favourite walk, which you could also try.

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: Pentillie Castle, Saltash

Hire your very own Cornish castle for a few days. One for larger family groups or invite friends to join (sleeps up to 22!). Steeped in 300 years of history, this beautiful house is nestled within a 1,500 acre private estate and boasts extensive mature gardens bordering the River Tamar – and eagled-eyed viewers might recognise Sir James Tillie’s mysterious mausoleum and the picturesque Bathing Hut on the river quay from Rick Stein’s recent visit on his BBC2 show. Your exclusive hire gets you 11 bedrooms, some with four-poster beds, and 55-acres of woodland gardens means you can walk to your hearts content without leaving the estate. Dog-friendly.

Last min availability: 4 – 6 September

WHAT TO DO: Sea kayaking

Another lovely way to see the coast line and enjoy the clear calm waters of the south coast of Cornwall is by kayak. If you’re lucky you may even spot a seal!

WHERE TO STAY NEARBY: No3 The Old School House, Cawsand

No 3. The Old School House sleeps six across three stunning double bedrooms and is literally on the beach (it used to be 17th century ‘pilchard palace’ and has now been lovingly renovated into boutique luxury). If you can tear yourself away from the sea views over Cawsand Bay and Plymouth Sound from the window above or the balcony, the kayak, paddles and life jackets are all included and you can launch directly off the beach below.

Last min availability: 23 – 30 Sept and 30 Sept- 7 Oct

All bookings of a week or longer for No. 3 The Old School House quoting Muddy Stilettos will find a Cornish Muddy Stilettos Hamper- worth £100 at the property on arrival.

All dates correct at time of publication but please contact and check directly

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2 comments on “11 ways to have fun on your Summer Cornish stay-cation”

  • Ruth Shepard August 8, 2022

    Where is the 60 foot waterfall that you refer to near Tintangel please?
    Sounds amazing….
    Kind regards.

    • rachelbuchanan August 8, 2022

      Hi Ruth – it is St Nectan’s Glen. I’ve updated with a link.


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