Best of all are lofty views over the jade-green waters and bobbing boats of St Mawes. One of south Cornwall's prettiest villages, it's compact enough to walk to 3 beaches, yet big enough for 2 pubs, a lovely deli, some stylish shops and an intriguing 16th-century castle. You can jump on a ferry to Falmouth's entertaining Maritime Museum or the rugged headland of St Anthony, charter a yacht or power boat, or stay in and sample some of Amanda's fantastic concierge services - sublime massages, art lessons, gourmet dinners - at the hands of wonderful locals. And that, above all, is what guarantees that most magical third ingredient: unforgettable memories.
- Expect the best here: goosedown duvets, drench showers, high tech sound- and ents systems, superb coffee machines
- And for children too: handpicked toys, dressing up boxes, dedicated TV/film rooms, charming babysitters, even a snooker table in one house
- We loved the calm, chic interiors, with cheerful flashes of colour on a pristine white base
- Amanda recommends top chefs, beauticians and watersports: she's road-tested them all and generously books them at cost price
- The 2-bedroom cottage is more modest, with compact bedrooms and no garden (but this is reflected in the price)
- Drivers take note: the smaller 5-bedroom house is reached by a steep narrow lane, and only has space for 1 car
- As you might expect, they require weekly stays in summer (and at least 3 nights at other times)
- Eco-warriors may feel overwhelmed by the quantity of scatter cushions, fluffy towels and electric appliances
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury house rentals
- 3 houses for 4-12
- Self-catering (chef available)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Pool Table
- Trampoline (2 houses only)
The two wonderful 5-bedroom houses are perfect for a multi-gen group or 2-3 families holidaying together, while the more compact 2-bedroom cottage will suit a couple or a family with 1-2 children.
All are stylish and superbly equipped. Beds (mostly kingsize) come with Hypnos mattresses, goosedown duvets, Egyptian cotton sheets and an embarrassment of pillows; we slept like babies! Bathrooms (all ensuite, except in the smallest house) are equally spoiling, with fluffy towels, fancy toiletries and sleek double-ended tubs or wetrooms with drench showers.
Generous sitting rooms come with deep leather sofas, a vast satellite TV, a separate sound system, and just enough arty touches to feel homely: Cornish watercolours on the walls, perhaps a driftwood sculpture or a giant jar of sea urchin shells. The two 5-bedroom houses get a second sitting room (with its own TV for squabble-free viewing), and a woodburner for cosying up on cooler evenings.
These are fantastic houses for any season or weather, with plenty of books and games (handpicked for your children's ages), a film library, Wii, fast WiFi, and the option of in-room massages or private chefs. The larger 5-bedroom house even has a games room with table tennis and snooker, not to mention rolling lawned gardens with glorious views and sunloungers for warmer weather. The other 5-bedroom house boasts a full-width terrace overlooking St. Mawes' bustling harbour (and a smaller garden), while the 2-bedroom cottage has a sea-facing terrace large enough for al fresco dining (but no garden).
- In room treatments available
- Tumble dryer
- Washing machine
Each house has a beautifully equipped, spacious kitchen and a choice of indoor or outdoor dining areas. We were frankly staggered by the level of equipment in ours: 2 fridge-freezers, a temperature-controlled wine-cooler, a Sabatier knife set, food processor, silver napkin rings, and no fewer than 3 coffee gadgets (Nespresso, plunger and built-in machine).
It's enough to make you want to enlist the services of a professional chef and, as luck would have it, Amanda has 4 up her sleeve. On our first evening, Haydn Treneary spoiled us with seared scallops washed down with chilled prosecco (a gift when you book through i-escape), herb-crusted rack of lamb on sweet potato purée with asparagus-prosciutto parcels, and glorious mini-portions of lemon posset and chocolate brownie to finish. The little ones got their own menu. It was all as delicious as it sounds, and no more expensive (split six ways) than dining at Treneary's alma mater, the Tresanton.
For the ultimate lazy start, Amanda can arrange a local lady to rustle up full cooked breakfasts, using eggs from her own farm and bacon from a neighbour's. But we were happy with fresh pastries from the deli and excellent lemon curd from the castle's gift shop. Amanda is happy to arrange pre-arrival shopping, including locally prepared frozen dishes.
The village has a small supermarket, 2 pubs, a fish and chip shop and 2 prestigious hotel restaurants. Alternatively, head out to The Driftwood (9km) for Michelin-starred cuisine, or to quirky Melinsey Mill (12km) for home-fired pizzas, light lunches and cream teas.
- Chef on request
- Coffee maker
- Dinner by arrangement
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Kids' meals
- Lunch by arrangement
- Meal delivery service
- Restaurants nearby
- Shopping service
- Welcome hamper
- St Mawes has 3 small tidal beaches, perfect for crabbing among rock pools or dipping in the shallow, sheltered waters
- Stroll to the harbour for pretty cafés, galleries and boutiques, including the très-chic Onda run by Charlie Polizzi
- Visit the town's perfectly preserved circular castle built by Henry VIII, with salvaged cannons and fortified sea walls
- Follow the estuary path to St Just in Roseland and picnic in its idyllic, magnolia-canopied churchyard (which John Betjeman called "the most beautiful on earth")
- With the help of a shuttle boat, hike to the sea-washed lighthouse of St. Anthony's Head, or further to Porthcurnick beach
- Kids will enjoy bustling Falmouth (30 mins by ferry), with its naval port and excellent Maritime Museum
- Garden lovers should head to the Lost Gardens of Heligan (30 mins' drive), magical in early / late summer; or the world famous Eden Project with its rampant jungles housed in giant bubble domes (45 mins)
- If that's not enough, Amanda can arrange art lessons, beauty treatments, sailing excursions and even power boat trips
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Art classes
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Pool table
- Private guided tours
- Table tennis
All the houses are great with children. The 5-bedroom ones are perfect for an extended family (or two), or multi-generational groups: we stayed with young kids, friends and grandparents and it worked a treat. There's plenty of space for all to do their own thing, and the gardens are a godsend in good weather. The 2-bedroom house will suit for a family of 3-4 who don't require lots of space.
Family friendly accommodation:
All houses are extremely family friendly, but the larger 5-bedroom house has the bonus of wonderful gardens with shrubbery dens, and two family rooms for 4-5 (handy for parents who want to share with their little ones). Cots and high-quality blow-up beds are available in all houses for free.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms
Amanda can arrange local CRB-checked babysitters, including those with their own children (and therefore lots of experience!).
- Bottle warming
- Night light
- Stair gates
- High chair
- Pushchair to borrow
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The private chefs are only too happy to create special menus for little ones.
Kids Activities on site:
- Games, puzzles, toys and books
- Child-friendly films
- Dressing-up box (our son unexpectedly emerged for dinner as Spiderman one evening)
- A trampoline may be available at the largest house - ask ahead
Kids Activities nearby:
- 3 tidal beaches, perfect for crabbing or beachcombing (bucket, spade and nets are provided)
- St. Mawes has a castle and a playground
- Older children might enjoy sailing, kayaking or paddle-boarding with the local watersports teacher.
- Falmouth has a child-friendly Maritime Museum; the remote controlled toy yachts were a highlight for our son
Families Should Know:
The gardens in the larger 5-bedroom house are sloping. The beaches facing the Channel can have a swell, but the waters around St. Mawes are quite sheltered.
- Airport: 30 miles / 50 minutes' drive (Newquay)
- Hospital: 45 minutes' drive (St. Austell / Truro)
- Shops: 5 minutes' walk (St Mawes)
The houses are in the town of St Mawes on Cornwall's south coast, a short ferry ride across from Falmouth. The 2-bedroom is right in the centre, the smaller 5-bedroom is a few minutes' walk above the centre, the larger 5-bedroom is on the edge of town near the castle.
> Google map of all houses
Newquay (47km away) and Exeter (162km away) are the nearest airports. Exeter has better links from other cities within the UK and Europe, but if you're coming from further afield you'll probably arrive at Bristol (260km) or London Heathrow (440km away). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
We'd recommend driving here. Otherwise, taxis are available from the local airports.
St Mawes Hideaways is 2.5 hours south of Bristol and around 4.5 hours from London. The simplest routes from London are M4, then M5 to Exeter or M3 then A303 to Exeter. From Exeter take the A30 across Dartmoor and down to St Mawes. For car hire see our car rental recommendations.
The nearest rail station is Falmouth Docks from where you can get a ferry ride across the bay. You can also get a train to St Austell which has regular, direct services from Bristol, Exeter, London Paddington - see Seat 61 for more details.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Newquay 47.0 km NQY
- Exeter 162.0 km EXT
- Beach 1.0 km
- Shops 1.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km