The Gurnards Head

Zennor, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Book from GBP Book from £168 per night

The Gurnards Head

Zennor, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Charming, characterful pub with 8 comfy rooms, delicious food and a knockout location on Cornwall's World-Heritage north coast

Charming, characterful pub with 8 comfy rooms, delicious food and a knockout location on Cornwall's World-Heritage north coast

You can’t miss this gorse-yellow building, perched somewhat precariously on a bend in the road, its name proudly emblazoned on the roof. Despite the brash exterior, you'll feel yourself relax as soon as you walk through the door. Laid back and low key, the bar looks like it’s been here for years - but in the best way. Stone floors, log fires, books and newspapers all invite you to make yourself at home. The adjacent dining room is renowned for its fabulous fresh, seasonal menu, although dinner and breakfast can also be taken in the main bar area if you prefer.

With 8 simple country-style bedrooms and limited phone signal, this is a great spot for a romantic weekend away or exploring Cornwall’s glorious coastal walks – switch off, kick back and relax. Whichever you come for, owners Charles and Edmund Inkin and their friendly staff offer the same cheery welcome and simple-things-done-well philosophy as at their sister pubs, The Felin Fach Griffin and The Old Coastguard.


  • The untamed coastal setting, which quickly works its restorative magic
  • Cool in summer and cosy in winter, the pub has an alluring atmospheric charm - locals and visitors mingle over well-priced ales and an eclectic wine list
  • Leave any diet at home, the food is so fab you'll want to indulge! Also, guests arriving via the overnight sleeper train get a free breakfast - just let them know you're coming
  • The understyled and unpretentious interior is a welcome relief after so many homogenized designer hotels
  • A technology-free zone - unreliable mobile reception means it’s very peaceful...


  • Although it can be tricky if you need to stay connected. There is WiFi but it can be patchy from time to time
  • Dogs are welcome in all bedrooms and the dining room: if you are allergic, then this may be an issue
  • Rooms are on the small side and storage is limited; fine for a short break, but if you prefer to spread out opt for the Best Double

Best time to go

Winter is perfect for peaceful romantic weekends, and short walks from pub to pub. The landscape may not reveal much in the winter mists, but the barren location is still beautiful. Cornwall is packed in summer, so be prepared for lots of other people at every turn. However, there are fantastic coastal walks in both directions, and lots to see and do in the area.

In you come over the weekend, be sure to book ahead for Sunday lunch; and on Mondays be prepared for live music in the evenings.

Our top tips

There is no minimum stay, even at peak holiday periods. Most people stay 2-3 nights over the weekend, but some come for a week - there's lots of hiking and beach sports on offer. It’s also a great overnight stop off either side of a trip to the Scilly Isles - the airport is just down the road.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Pub with Rooms
  • 8 rooms
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


The seven first-floor bedrooms in the pub are simply decorated with pastel shades (in Cornish lime-based paints) and local artwork. Only Rooms 1 and 7 have sea views, but the road is so quiet its proximity isn’t an issue.

We loved Better Double Room 5 with its kingsize bed and cosy window seats overlooking the moorland, and Better Double Room 7 for it's a large bathroom and the widest sea view - albeit across past a nearby farm and a power pole located just in the wrong place! One cosy Good Double (Room 4) has a lovely grey slate bathroom with a shower over the tub. Small Double Room 1 is the smallest and cheapest, but this is compensated for by lovely views across fields to the Atlantic.

On our last visit we stayed in the Best Double (Room 8): it's a sizeable ground-floor annexe with a vaulted ceiling and French doors that open onto its own private patio in the pub garden (private with a pinch of salt; it isn't fenced off so relies on other patrons using their common sense). Two bottle-green velvet armchairs sit beside a wood-burning stove; behind that is a luxurious superking bed and a large ensuite with a separate tub and the biggest rainfall shower I've ever seen. Being removed from the main pub gives you total silence at night, but the large windows by the patio do leave you feeling slightly exposed to potential onlookers in the garden - simply draw the curtains and you're in a blissfully secluded bubble.

All beds are either kingsize doubles or "zip & link" twins; they’re also Vi-Spring, making them supremely comfy, with soft sheets, feather pillows and Welsh blankets. Extra details like Cornish spring water, Bramley products and fresh flowers add charm.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • WiFi


Head chef Max Wilson creates gourmet delights at this award-winning pub-restaurant; expect beautifully presented and generous portions. You can either grab a table in the intimate bar or the relaxed dining room; we were in a cosy nook in the latter, and set about choosing from the appetising dinner menu. Luckily the staff were more than happy to advise.

Cornish meat and locally-caught fish is always on the menu, and the vegetarian choices are pleasingly innovative. Our pork cheek and bang-bang tofu starters were cooked to perfection, followed by succulent venison and a scrummy Persian-inspired smoked leek dish with creamy white bean puree. We were pretty stuffed, but found room for a silky coconut panna cotta with poached rhubarb and honeycomb.

The extensive and award-winning wine list also reflects Charles and Edmund's core principles of value, interest and simplicity. Cornish beers and gin are available alongside alternative treats such as a 10-year-old Boal Madeira before supper, or a Somerset Pomona with pudding.

The bar also offers simple lunches such as country pork terrine with tomato chutney, or chilli salt squid. It’s essential to book ahead for Sunday lunch (you'll be asked to reserve a table when booking your stay) and families are very welcome.

In the morning, a hearty spread of local and homemade goodies awaits: cereals and chef's own granola, local honey and yoghurt, marmalades and jams made in-house, along with a selection of freshly baked bread (the soda bread was particularly moreish). Save room for the hot menu, where you'll find classics like a Full Cornish and smoked sardines on toast alongside international flavours, such as Turkish eggs and halloumi hash. Washed down with local apple juice and tea grown in England, and you're set for a day of exploring the Cornish coast.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian options


  • Keep it simple: an early morning stroll to nearby cliffs to enjoy the stillness of the day, followed by lazing with the Sunday papers is unbeatable

  • To burn off some of those calories consumed, try a hearty walk from Penzance to Minack, or alternatively the easier pub-to-pub route: The Gurnard's Head to nearby Tinners Arms (and back, if possible)

  • Beaches: the closest beach is Treen Cove, but be sure to check the tides. Porthcurno’s cove of almost white sand is 20 minutes drive away, and there are many delightful isolated coves to explore in between

  • This World Heritage area is rich in history: from ancient stone circles to disused tin mines and the remains of an Iron Age fort

  • About an hour’s drive away in St Austell you can discover 150 years of brewing history at the St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre, or lose yourself in The Lost Gardens of Heligan

  • Rock climbing can be arranged a few minutes' drive away, or head to the little fishing harbour and surf beach at Sennen Cove, one mile northeast of Land’s End

  • Other beach sports, such as wind- and kite-surfing, are available further north at Watergate Bay

  • For arts and culture vultures, it’s just a short drive to the galleries of St Ives (15 mins), the celebrated Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens or the Minack Theatre above Porthcurno

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing


Children of all ages are welcome; the pub's relaxed atmosphere is perfect for families, as is the stunning coastal setting. Unless they are particularly outdoorsy, older kids may find the lack of technology and remoteness boring, but there's WiFi throughout for their own games and gadgets.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Room 5 can hold a rollaway bed or baby cot; Room 7 has a sofabed instead. Room 4 can hold a baby cot only. There are no interconnecting rooms but older kids could also use these rooms when the beds are made up as twins.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available free of charge, on request

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

Children's meals:

Smaller portions of adult mains are available and can be served from 5.30pm, plus there are 2 kids menus: 'Tiny Tots’ or ‘Bigger Bites’, each created for children of varying age and appetite. Breakfast is from 8am and they're happy to warm up baby food.

Families Should Know:

Babysitting is not available, and due to the thickness of the walls you may find a problem with your baby-listening device. No fridges in the bedrooms so ask if you need milk.


  • Airport: 1 hour (Newquay)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (Penzance)
  • Shop: 15 minutes (St Ives)
Kid Friendly:


The Gurnard's Head is on the north coast of the Penwith peninsula in Cornwall, near St Ives and Penzance.

By Car:
It is just under 2 hours from Exeter, 3 hours from Bristol and 5 hours 30 minutes from London; there's ample on-site parking. Guests will need to bring their own leads and adaptors if looking to charge their car. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.

By Train:
Take the sleeper service from Paddington after a good dinner, and arrive in time for breakfast - free if you tell them you're coming in advance! From the station a taxi takes about 10 minutes or there's a regular bus service.

By Air:
Newquay (45km)is the nearest airport at an hours' drive away. Light aircraft can fly to Land’s End, and helicopters can land close to The Gurnards Head.

Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to the UK and getting around


  • Newquay 45.0 km NQY


  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 8.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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