Polurrian on the Lizard

Mullion, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Book from Book from £149 per night

A spectacularly sited Cornish coastal hotel, reinvented as a boutique haven, with great family facilities and a spa

A spectacularly sited Cornish coastal hotel, reinvented as a boutique haven, with great family facilities and a spa

Perched on top of a cliff facing the silvery seas and setting sun, this handsome Edwardian building has been around for over 100 years. And it has welcomed its fair share of notables, including Marconi who sent the world's first transatlantic radio signal from nearby Poldhu Cove. But in 2011, it was reborn as a determinedly 21st-century, and unashamedly family friendly, boutique hotel.

Its 40 or so bedrooms and 6 villas sport a pale olive-and-grey palette, with Flos pendant lights and chrome rainshower heads, while its airy common rooms gleam with newly revealed pitch pine floors and bright chartreuse cushions. The lunch and dinner menus feature Med influences (cassoulet, beef carpaccio) alongside classic Cornish mussels and local rump steak. There are good childrens facilities too - games areas, huge gardens, play area, 2 pools: a fantastic complement to the Lizard's sandy beaches (one of them 5 minutes down a stepped path), and subtropical gardens. It's a place to delight kids of all ages, while giving parents a rare reminder of that stylish, indulgent lifestyle they feared they had left behind forever.


  • The location: a prime, west-facing spot on the lovely Lizard peninsula, near the pretty harbours of Mullion and Porthleven
  • The facilities: two games areas, Elemis spa, indoor pool - plenty to keep both you and the kids amused if the weather turns - plus an outdoor pool and a tennis court for dry days
  • The villas are perfect for parents plus children, and excellent value too (book them early!)
  • We loved the Vista lounge, with deep sofas, a wood stove and lazy chairs looking out over shimmering seas


  • Recent guest feedback has been mixed, citing slow service or confusion, and poor maintenance, but plans are afoot for a big 6-month refurb from September 2022
  • During school holidays, the hotel is full of families; don't go if you want a quiet, romantic break. Outside term time, it's popular with (mostly older) couples
  • The food, though mostly good (superb fish, good breakfasts), had some lapses during our stay
  • With more than 40 rooms and red-carpeted corridors, it feels more 'hotelly' than some of our smaller Cornish properties

Best time to go

The year is clearly split into 2: school holidays, when most of the rooms are booked by families, and the rest of year, which attracts a mix of older couples and parents with toddlers or babies. The sea and outdoor pool are normally swimmable from late June to early September. Spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) are great for coastal hikes without the crowds. You should be prepared for rain at any time of year, though the Lizard is one of the warmest spots in Britain.

Local festivals include children's dances on Flora Day in Helston (early May), Porthleven's raft race (last weekend of September), Mazey Day in Penzance (23 June) with crowds of pirates carrying ships on their shoulders, Falmouth Oyster Festival (mid October) complete with cookery demos, boat race and children's activities, and Obby Oss Day in Padstow (1 May), when a large black-caped "animal" is led on a jerky dance by a teaser who prods him with a padded stick.

Our top tips

You don't need to bring much - almost everything is provided (racquets for the tennis court, DVDs for your room, baby equipment, pool towels, board games etc) - but do bring your swimmers for the indoor pool, and maybe a short wetsuit for sea swims. Birders should bring binoculars, hikers the 1:25,000 Explorer map of the Lizard (and your National Trust card for parking at Kynance Cove).

You can do a lovely pushchair-friendly 2-3 hour walking or cycling route from Penrose to Porthleven. Park at Penrose Manor House (at a right bend midway from Helston to Porthleven), follow the path down and right (south), past the outhouses, and along the western edge of The Loe lake to the sandy strip of Loe Bar (lovely beach); and then northwest along the South West Coastal path into Porthleven (look out for nesting peregrine falcons along this stretch). There are buses back to Penrose, or you can follow a small lane (Cooper's Lane) from the first houses of Porthleven (1km).

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 41 rooms and 6 villas
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • WiFi
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available


The 40 or so rooms are arranged over 3 floors, including some on the ground floor (for the less mobile) and some under the roof (which have the best sea views), and the 6 villas are in a separate wing. The sea views are what it is all about - sometimes turquoise, sometimes silver or glinting orange, always fringed with the foam of breaking waves - and it is amply worth paying the small supplement for them.

All accommodations are dressed in standard boutique clothes - a muted palette of greys, creams and olive green, with colour from a red blanket or chartreuse cushion, and a splash of designer style from white-balloon Flos lights and low slung Wegner oak chairs. We slept well, on thick mattresses with a chunky topper and half a dozen pillows; and washing was a pleasure, with generous bottles of Voya toiletries and a choice of tub or overhead rainshower. There's plenty of wardrobe space too.

Rooms are divided into 3 categories - inland, seaview and superior (like seaview, but larger). Most are around 20 square metres - neither big nor small - though a couple have narrow beds as opposed to the more common queensize.

In addition there are some lovely family rooms with 2 bedrooms (1 double, 1 twin) sharing a bathroom. We stayed with our son in #105, a lovely first-floor room if you can get it, with corner views to the sea. A couple of the family rooms have bunks instead of twin beds; #207 is on the top floor, with lofty views straight out to the Atlantic and a cosy kids room lit by a skylight window.

There are also 6 new 3-bedroom villas which are another great option for families. They each have lovely sea views, calm and stylish interiors, under-floor heating and full kitchens for self-catering. Note that one of the bedrooms can be set up as a twin.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Family friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • IPod dock through TV
  • Iron (on request)
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV


The hotel offers a full restaurant service (breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus all day snacks and drinks, but no bar) in an airy, sea-facing dining room with parquet floors, white walls and high ceiling fans. The fare is what you might call Cornish meets Med, almost all of it sourced from local suppliers. Menus are a la carte (following mixed feedback about the fixed menus).

Certainly the salt-baked sea-bass I had on my first evening was one of the tastiest and softest fish dishes I've had all year, and my amaretto peach tart with Roskilly's ice cream was not far behind (though my wife's zabaione semifreddo was a bit mushy). Beef carpaccio and rump steak (from nearby Goonhilly Downs) also got a thumbs up, and it was nice to see squid and Cornish blue cheese salad making an appearance.

Needless to say, there is also a kids' menu, offering a familiar range of pasta, pizza, sausages or fish and chips (superior goujons and chunky chips). We actually preferred to order a starter from the main menu for our son - pea soup and smoked chicken salad both went down well, and felt somehow healthier.

Breakfast - part buffet, part served - is good too, especially the syrupy figs with rhubarb yoghurt, the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, and the crispy pancakes with raspberries; though, if we're being picky, it would be nice to see a wider range of breads. But staff were always open to requests, and quick to bring high chairs and borrow pens from reception to keep littl'uns amused while waiting.

The self-catering villas have full kitchens, complete with hob, oven, fridge, coffee maker, microwave and dishwasher. Don't feel like you have to cook though; you still get full access to the hotel's restaurant and facilities.

If you want to head out, there are pubs and a restaurant in Mullion (2km), and more in Helston (10km) and Porthleven (15km). Just north of Mullion, the Poldhu Beach Cafe gets rave reviews for its beachfront pizzas and fish'n'chips - a great lunch stop if you're walking the coastal path - as is Polpeor Cafe on the tip of the Lizard.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Family friendly
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options


  • At the hotel, you've a choice of indoor or outdoor swimming, pool, Wii or board games, table tennis or tennis, plus a spa and a playground
  • Just below the hotel is the cliff-ringed cove of Polurrian, with rock pools, gleaming sands at low tide, and surf-friendly waves at any time; a great spot for splashing, swimming, frisbee, running with the dog
  • Book horse rides along this beach
  • Wild swimming, rock pooling for conservation, surfing, kayaking and coasteering are all at hand
  • This is on the South West Coastal path, so follow it south towards the Lizard, passing glorious beaches (Kynance Cove is a favourite) and dark serpentine sea cliffs lashed by waves
  • Or north past Poldhu Cove (where Marconi sent his first transatlantic signal from) to the sandstrip of Loe Bar and the pretty harbour of Porthleven
  • Explore the disused tin mines of Poldark, made famous in a BBC series, which has exhibits, family-friendly activities including gold-panning and a ghost tour
  • A mile away is Mullion Golf Club, the most southerly golf club in Britain, with 18 often windswept holes and long sea views
  • Further afield near Land's End, Porthcurno boasts a glorious, sheltered cove and the open-air Minack Theatre
  • Staff can arrange crab and lobster chasing trips with local fishermen; kayaking or motor cruising up the Helford river; surfing tuition and board hire with a friendly instructor; or a day out on a skippered 33-foot yacht
  • And there's lots more too, from a chocolate factory (in Trenance) to a seal sanctuary (at Gweek), not to mention gorgeous gardens at Bonython (a short hop away) and Trevarno (near Helston)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Playground
  • Pool table
  • Private guided tours
  • Rock pooling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing


Children are welcomed with open arms at Polurrian Bay, and will find all manner of complimentary games and entertainments to amuse them, We were particularly impressed with our pre-arrival email asking which of the many bits of child equipment we would like awaiting us.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

The villas are also great for families after added privacy. They each have 3 bedrooms - one of which can be set up as a twin - and full kitchens for self-catering. The family rooms are ideal if you can get one, with 2 bedrooms (1 double, 1 twin) and a shared bathroom (tub and shower); you can also put a cot in most. For older kids, there are pairs of communicating rooms with their own small hallway - though these are more expensive. For a couple with 1 baby, most normal double rooms have space for a cot.


Babysitters can be booked at reception.

Baby listening:

You can use the hotel's baby listening service for free when dining in the restaurant.

Baby equipment:

A vast range, including:

  • Baby baths
  • Bottle/food warmers
  • Bumbo seats
  • Changing mats
  • High chairs
  • Night lights
  • Potties and children’s toilet seats
  • Step ups
  • Sterilisers

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

Children's meals:

There's a kids' menu with the usual suspects - pizza, pasta, sausage, fish goujons with chips - though we found that the adult starters worked well as children's mains, and were tastier

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playground with slide, swings, ladders
  • Shallow section in the indoor pool
  • Pool table (older kids only)
  • Table tennis
  • Wii and Playstation consoles (older kids only)
  • Various board games in the Snug
  • Fairy Garden
  • A range of children's DVDs to borrow

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Surfing with local surf school, kayaking, paddle-boarding, coasteering
  • Beach survival skills, wild swimming, rock pooling for conservation
  • Adventure playground and boating lake at Helston
  • Tour of Poldark Tin Mine (with evening "Ghost Tours")
  • National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek
  • Go crab chasing with local fishermen

Families Should Know:

The beds are quite high (but bed guards are available on request). Parts of the grounds are stepped - not ideal for toddlers


  • Airport: 1 hour
  • Beach: 10 mins' walk
  • Shop: 5 mins' drive
Kid Friendly:


Polurrian on the Lizard is in southern Cornwall, by the village of Mullion on the west coast of the Lizard peninsula, which is about 30km (20 miles) east of Penzance.

By Car
The easiest way to reach the hotel is by car, and of course this will also allow you to explore the area more easily. It's about 4 hours' drive from Bristol, and 6 hours from London. You'll need to bring your own leads and adaptors for charging your car on a cable via the reception window. If you do need to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.

By Train
Regular daily trains leave London Paddington and Bristol for Truro, Redruth and Penzance stations, all 3 of which are about 20 miles from the hotel. One of the most romantic ways to travel is on the sleeper train from London. On arrival, taxis should be available outside the station, or the hotel can book one in advance at competitive rates. Otherwise, from Truro, buses leave from just outside the station for Helston, where you can change and catch another bus to Mullion.

By Air
There are regular flights from London Gatwick and Stansted to Newquay Airport, which is 45km (30 miles) away. For a list of airlines serving this airport, click the links at the bottom of this page. The easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport is by car, but the hotel can arrange a taxi for you at competitive rates if you want.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around


  • Newquay 45.0 km NQY
  • Bristol 300.0 km BRS


  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 2.5 km
  • Restaurant 1.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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