Marine Villa

Charlestown, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from £185

A beautiful 2-3 bedroom holiday house on an ancient quayside, perfect for friends or families (sleeps 4-6, or up to 10 with garden rooms)
Arriving in Charlestown on the south Cornish coast, you could think you'd fallen into a time machine and gone back to the days of pirates and skulduggery. A pair of historic tall ships are moored in the tiny harbour, and as a World Heritage site, development has been kept firmly at bay. Thankfully though, Antonia and David (who also own several smaller cottages in Charlestown), were able to take this Grade II-listed house and give it a contemporary makeover to create one of the most immaculate, bijou house rentals that we have seen in Cornwall.

The handsome double-fronted Georgian house overlooks the quayside - masts and rigging fill the windows - and it's 2 minutes' walk to Charlestown's pretty, shingly coves. With 2 double bedrooms plus an optional kids' room, as well as 2 separate studio rooms in well-screened gardens, it’s ideal for a group of friends or an (extended) family wanting a stylish base to explore Cornwall for a week (or less, in low season).

From a suntrap garden, the halls leads into an elegant sitting room, with 2 sofas and a gorgeous fireplace. The sunlit dining room, with its oak table for 6-10, is great for lazy breakfasts or candlelit suppers, and the kitchen is small but perfectly kitted out. Expect vast beds clad in White Company linens, rolltop cast-iron baths, a clean white decor and a liberal sprinkling of antiques, Cornishware crockery, designer prints and funky shell-filled lamps.

Highs

  • Ideal with a baby or pre-school kids - a full array of kit awaits and you're within toddling distance of a shingle beach (sandy at low tide, with superb rock pools)
  • Spotlessly clean and well kept, with incredibly thoughtful details, from OS maps for keen hikers to a wide-ranging film collection for those rainy days
  • The kitchen is very well equipped, with lots of Bosch, Dualit and JosephJoseph
  • South-facing courtyard garden with table and chairs - ideal for dining alfresco
  • An easy drive to Cornwall's top attractions: the Eden Project (10 mins), Mevagissey and the Lost Gardens of Heligan (15 mins), surfing in Newquay (30 mins), Rick Stein's restaurants in Padstow (40 mins)

Lows

  • Generally a 7-night minimum stay (changeover day is Friday) during July and August.
  • No proper twin rooms, though the kids room can be set up with 2 tiny single beds
  • If not renting the additional Studio and separate Cabin, other guests may be staying in them, though they are very well screened (you probably won't even be aware of them)
  • Note the strict cancellation policy

Best time to go

The villa is open all year. High season is May-September, and Cornwall's beaches can get busy in July-August (school holidays), though Charlestown remains pretty quiet. If at all possible, come in June or mid-late September, after the schools go back. Having said that, each season has its charms. We visited in March and enjoyed the beach in early spring sunshine, and the house (roaring fireplace, DVDs and hot soaks) when the last winter squalls raced by.

Our top tips

You'll need to bring shampoo (only soap is provided) and spices/oil (the only condiments provided are salt and pepper); other than that, Antonia has thought of everything! There are torches, alarm clocks, maps, board games, books, DVDs, beautifully sharpened pencils, and a full range of kids stuff.

If you visit the Eden Project, go early, avoid weekends, dress lightly, take water and leave the Tropical Biome till last as it will leave you hot and sweaty (especially if you climb up to the viewing platform!)

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa (sleeping 2-8)
  • 3
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Maid on request
Room:

Rooms

The 2 double bedrooms are light and spacious, with sea-facing windows and a fresh, all-white decor. You get super-kingsize beds (no twins), top-quality White Company bed linen and towels, plus hypo-allergenic pillows and duvets on request. Expect antique chests of drawers, beautiful paintings of the sea, artfully placed sea urchin shells. Both ensuite bathrooms feature a roll top bath with shower (either overhead or separate), organic soaps (not shampoos, though) and a hairdryer.

Attached to one bedroom is a small study / kids' room which can be set up with one or two tiny beds for children up to 5 ft (1.5m), or one bed plus one cot. We came with parents-in-law and our young son, and the set-up was perfect.

Downstairs there's a bright sitting room with 2 sofas, a lovely hearth for winter fires, a digi TV-DVD (plus a second in the dining room) along with a great range of DVDs, from Planet Earth to Coen Brothers.

If you need more space, book the adjoining Studio, which has a double bed, shower room and its own entrance from the back garden (plus a connecting door). It's the most stylish little granny flat imaginable! And there are further options, including the Cabin tucked away in gardens to the rear (and described separately here).

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Digital radio
  • Digital TV
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet
  • Woodburner stove

Eating

The kitchen is quite small but fantastically kitted out, with a brushed steel gas range, Bosch microwave, Dualit toaster, Magimix kettle, small fridge/freezer, Smeg dishwasher and a washer/dryer. Cornish crockery sits in the cupboard along with Joseph Joseph chopping boards, AGA pans, casserole dishes, mixing bowls, a whisk, grater... even a steriliser and handheld blender for those with little ones.

Organic tea, coffee, sugar and milk (half fat and full fat) are provided, as are eco cleaning products and dishwasher tablets, but you’ll need to bring the rest. There are several supermarkets within a short drive (Sainsbury's and Tesco can deliver, too), and the cheerful Orange Farm stall opens on the quayside on weekends, selling excellent local cheeses, fish, veg and meat.

For a delicious, no-effort-required dinner without leaving the house, ask for Antonia's Great Grub menus - prepared meals like homemade fish pie that just need popping in the oven - ideal for your arrival night (book ahead). Otherwise, in Charlestown, Charlie’s comes recommended for its chunky doorstep sandwiches, mouthwatering cakes and scones. The pub on the quay (The Pier House) offers decent crab sandwiches and unbeatable sea views from its terrace; and there are Thai, Chinese and curry takeaways too.

Further afield, Cornwall boasts some top chefs, including Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth in Padstow, Jamie Oliver's Fifteen near Watergate, or Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock (all about 30km, advance booking required).

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Meal delivery service
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There's a coastal path to hike, a shingle beach to play on, tall ships in the harbour to gaze at, and a Shipwreck and Heritage Centre with an incredible collection of all things nautical (open March-October)
  • Charlestown is perfectly positioned for day trips to one of the top tourist attractions in the country: the Eden Project, 10 minutes' drive away, which is an astonishing biosphere and eco-education centre housed under giant bubbles, with regular music and arts events (Keane, Kaiser Chiefs, Oasis, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Basement Jaxx have all performed here), and an ice rink in winter; very popular with families
  • Thanks to its microclimate, Cornwall has some stunning gardens including the National Trust's Trellissick near Falmouth, and the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan outside the charming harbour town of Mevagissey (15 mins)
  • Take surfing lessons at Constantine Bay, windsurfing lessons at Polkerris, try waterskiing at Rock, or go sailing in a traditional clinker river boat; details await you in the villa
  • Drive to beautiful beaches for sailing, kayaking or just swimming and sunbathing; it gets surprisingly hot in summer. Porthpean is a busy family beach with sand and rock pools
  • Golfers can play on a superb green at St Endoc, St Mellion or Trevose
  • Arty types will love the Tate at St Ives, or the many galleries in Padstow; stop for a Rick Stein's fish and chip lunch while you're there
  • The award-winning Maritime Museum in Falmouth (1 hour) is well worth a visit
  • Antonia can arrange for a beauty therapist to come to the house for massages and treatments

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

Children are warmly welcome at Marine Villa, and there is a superb array of equipment, especially for pre-schoolers. The only downside is that neither of the double bedrooms can be set up with twin beds, but the add-on kids room can be set up with 2 tiny single beds (or 1 single + 1 cot).

There's plenty to do with kids in Cornwall, even if it's raining, and it's a fantastic place to visit time and again. Among the things we love about the place is rock pooling at Charlestown, crabbing off the harbour wall while eating ice creams and kayaking at Lostwithiel. And just down the road there's a great toy shop.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting by qualified CRB-checked teaching assistants (who are also mums) can be arranged.

Baby listening:

A baby monitor is available (a Tomy Walkabout Digital) that works everywhere in the property.

Baby equipment:

  • Steriliser
  • Stair gates
  • Changing mat
  • Playmat
  • Travel cot
  • Highchair
  • Maclaren buggy
  • Socket covers
  • Baby bath
  • Potty
  • Blackout blinds
  • Bumbo baby seat

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Baby-friendly meal facilities include a food processor, microwave and baby crockery and cutlery. Mum-friendly arrangements include the option of a visiting chef, takeaways nearby and cafés and restaurants that are child-friendly close by too.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Children's DVDs

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The Shipwreck Centre (1 min walk)
  • Eden Project (10 min drive)
  • The Tortoise Garden (10 min drive)
  • Summer maize mazes near Padstow and Saltash
  • Treasure hunts in Newquay and St Ives
  • The Lost Garden of Heligan

Families Should Know:

Do take care of the furnishings and knick-knacks - a lot of care has been put into this place's decor. Be aware that Charlestown harbour has lots of unprotected drops. There's a mobile signal everywhere and the closest nappy stop is 2 minutes away.

Distances:

  • Airport: 35 minutes (Newquay)
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Train station: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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