“Exquisite tiny-house rentals in a seaside Cornish village, ideal for a small family or romantic break (sleeps 2-5)”
You enter THE COTTAGE through a door flanked by brass ship lanterns - a nautical theme runs throughout - and find yourself in a small kitchen with luxurious underfloor heating and top quality equipment for self-catering. Next door is an oak-floored sitting room with a tiny sofa and a wood-burning stove. The TV has a built-in DVD player, and there's a stack of DVDs to keep you entertained in the evenings. Stairs lead up to a peaceful master bedroom at the front, with an oak-framed king, and a tiny second kids bedroom at the rear, whose raised cabin-style bed is in honesty too small for a couple, but would suit an older child perfectly. Luxurious beds feature high on our holiday wishlist, and these get full marks, with top-quality bed linen, and hypo-allergenic pillows and duvets on request. As with all of Antonia's properties, there's lots of lovely detail in both bedrooms - hand carved lamps, antique drawers, fresh flowers, seagrass flooring - and there's an overriding feeling of calm and peace, so you'll sleep deeply. We loved the spoiling bathroom, with its cast-iron tub, or an overhead shower if you prefer. Organic soaps are provided.
OLIVIA'S COTTAGE is slightly more spacious and perhaps a tad lower in spec, but otherwise bears all of Antonia's hallmarks: clean fresh design, funky vintage finds, and extremely intelligent use of space. Downstairs is a compact kitchen, an L-shaped bathroom with tub and wetroom, and a good-sized sitting room. Upstairs you get 2 double bedrooms, one with a harbour-facing window and kingsize bed, the other a small double. Outside is a small suntrap garden, which somehow manages to harvest the Cornish sun but not its wind.
BLOSSOM COTTAGE, next to Olivia’s, shares a similar layout, although it has a third single bedroom suitable for a child.
Couples wanting a snuggly hideaway will love THE CABIN, tucked in leafy gardens behind Marine Villa. It's actually 2 small cabins - one glass-fronted living area with L-shaped sofas, bar-style seating and a diminutive kitchen, and one sleeping cabin with a cosy, yacht-like double berth and a slate-floored shower room - which are linked with a sail-canopied patio for al fresco dining. This, and the very private lawned gardens, make it a gorgeous summer option, though it does come with woodburner, radiators and goosedown duvets for winter stays.
The Cottage's lovely kitchen is small but fantastically kitted out. There's a Smeg range cooker with a ceramic hob and gas oven, Bosch microwave, Dualit toaster, Magimix kettle, Bosch dishwasher and small fridge/freezer. Cornish crockery sits in the cupboard along with Joseph Joseph chopping boards and bread bin, AGA pans, casserole dishes, mixing bowls, even a whisk. A steriliser and handheld blender are supplied for those with little ones. In the old laundry - one of 2 outbuildings - you'll find a Bosch washing machine and dryer, overhead airer, Belfast sink, iron and ironing board. There's a narrow table for 4 in the sitting room, plus outdoor furniture. Have a Pimms in the flowered garden out front as the sun goes down; move inside and dine by candelight, warmed by the wood burner.
It's a similar set-up in Olivia's Cottage and Blossom Cottage, while The Cabin's small kitchen is open-plan with the living area, but you do get a sail-covered patio for outdoor dining in the warmer months. Organic tea, coffee, sugar, milk and eco cleaning products are provided on arrival. For further supplies, head to St Austell's supermarkets (a few minutes' drive; Sainsbury's and Tesco can deliver, too). Or seek out some of Cornwall's many artisan food producers, from simple farm shops to extraordinary cheesemakers, fish straight from the boats and heavenly charcuterie.
If you're feeling lazy, Antonia can deliver her own 'great grub' fresh from her kitchen, much of it organic. In summer, try local lobster in garlic butter; in winter, she makes a rich, slow-cooked beef stew with mashed potato and leeks. Round it off with gooey chocolate tart or homemade lemon ice cream, all washed down with carefully selected wines which are left for you on an honesty basis.
If you'd prefer to eat out, Antonia has plenty of top tips, including - in Charlestown - Charlie’s for its chunky doorstep sandwiches, soups and mouthwatering cakes; and The Pier House on the quay for crab sandwiches, ales and sea views. It's only a 3-minute drive to 2-rosette Austell's above Carlyon Bay; and if you're prepared to drive a little further, you're truly spoiled for choice thanks to Padstow, Rock and Watergate Bay's offerings.
Antonia provides a useful selection of her top recommendations in the area, but to give you a few ideas...
Children are warmly welcomed at The Cottage, Olivia's and Blossom. 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 small selection of things we love about the place is rock pooling at Charlestown, crabbing off the harbour wall while eating ice creams and kayaking at Lostwithiel. Just down the road there's a great toy shop for buying a souvenir.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Babysitting by qualified CRB-checked teaching assistants (who are also mums) can be arranged.
The baby monitors in the properties works everywhere in the building.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
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.
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.