“All you need from a seaside getaway: excellent food, comfy rooms, a warm welcome, and a stunning setting by one of Cornwall’s prettiest harbours”
Downstairs is a friendly restaurant, where Cornish meat, delicious veg and straight-from-the-sea treats are served up on delightfully mismatched tables. Dotted around the jumble of floors above are 14 cheery rooms, all stocked with books, bathrobes and biscuits to help you feel at home. Children are welcome, as are muddy paws and sandy toes, and you’ll often find locals propping up the bar or chatting over Sunday lunch. There’s also a sunny lounge fronted by huge windows that gaze out to sea, and lawns that tumble down towards the water’s edge. Lingering here, watching seagulls wheel overhead and yachts bob about on the waves, is the perfect way to while away the day. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the spray.
- A wonderful escape in any season - in summer, sip wine under the palm trees; in winter, curl up with the papers and listen to waves crashing over the rocks outside
- Mousehole itself - a lovely little fishing village on the Penwith Peninsula, packed with galleries, cafés and delis
- Most rooms have sea views, and some face St Michael’s Mount across the bay. Many have private balconies or terraces, too
- Superb food - nothing fancy or pretentious, just local ingredients cooked exceptionally well
- This is a place for everyone: we saw couples relaxing on the terrace, dogs dozing by the bar, and children toddling around the garden
- Availability can be a problem in high season
- Don't expect super-stylish interiors; this is more of a cosy pub with rooms
- No in-room TVs (with views like these, who needs them?), but you do get retro Roberts radios
- Breakfast is only served until 10am
- Mousehole is extremely popular with tourists in summer, so the roads can get very jammed
- Baby cots
Some equipment may need to be requested in advance
The restaurant has special menus for little ones and slightly older kids. All children get a free glass of unsweetened Cornish apple juice with their meals
- Storytelling (Wednesdays at 10.30am)
- Board games
- Lawns to run around
- Rock pooling and crabbing
- The open-air newly restored Jubilee Pool in Penzance
- Sandy beaches (our favourite is Porthcurno)
- Surf lessons at Sennon Cove (where there’s a lifeguard on duty)
- Wildlife-spotting boat trips from Penzance (suitable for children aged 3+)
- Castle to explore on St Michael’s Mount
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Creche / Kids Club
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Board games
- Books to borrow
The 14 rooms blend tongue-and-groove panelling, checked fabrics and the odd antique with jolly shades of mustard yellow, brick red and sky blue. They’re not exactly stylish, but they are extremely comfortable and packed with homely touches: bathrobes, blankets, Roberts radios, White Company toiletries, tea- and coffee-making kit, homemade biscuits, even books to browse.
Most have sea views, and many come with outdoor space - it’s certainly worth grabbing both if you can. We stayed in Island View, which overlooks craggy St Clement’s Isle just offshore. It’s one of the largest rooms, with armchairs, a huge bathroom with a spa tub, and patio doors opening onto a long balcony. We slept very well despite leaving the curtains open to make the most of the setting, dozing off to moonlight glinting off the sea and waking to the rosy glow of dawn above the waves.
Similarly spoiling is Coastguard’s Watch, perched at the top of the hotel. It has an in-room tub where you can stare out over the harbour as you soak, plus a shower room and a terrace with views all around. Other good bets are The Lookout (also on the top floor with a balcony) and The Four Poster, which, as the name suggests, is a favourite with romantics. St Clement's is a handy option for families, as it has 2 adjoining bedrooms (a double and a double/twin). The cheaper Smaller Doubles and Terrace Doubles are definitely cosy, but most offer glimpses of the water and the latter have terraces with pretty picket fences.
Note that bed types (double, twin or kingsize) vary across rooms, as do bathroom set-ups (shower only or tub with overhead shower). For full descriptions, see Rates.
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
The focus here is simple, tasty food done well. The lunch and dinner menus change regularly but always feature an excellent selection of surf and turf, together with a few tempting veggie options. Ingredients are mostly local (meat and dairy from Cornish farms, fish straight from the boats in Newlyn) and always seasonal.
The relaxed atmosphere is ideal for long, lazy meals, and you can eat inside or out. We kicked off with Kir Royales and olives on the terrace as the sun sank into the sea, before moving to a cosy candlelit nook in the main restaurant. Everything we sampled was delicious: sweet scallops with pearl barley and pea purée, squid with chorizo and pickled cucumber, a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak with polenta chips, chargrilled courgettes sprinkled with mint, and a decadent dark chocolate and salted caramel torte.
Breakfast (included in the rates) was just as good - a buffet of fresh fruit, Cornish apple juice, cereal, still-warm soda bread, local honey and homemade marmalade, together with a choice of cooked options (the Full Cornish, kedgeree with soft-poached eggs, and more unusual dishes such as grilled field mushrooms topped with Welsh rarebit).
There are plenty of treats on offer from the bar, too: home-baked cakes, teas and cappuccinos, local ales, wines, a few carefully crafted cocktails - all best enjoyed in a fireside armchair or under the sun outside.
If you’re here for a few nights and want some variety, you’ll find a couple of good restaurants in the village, including the bistro-style 2 Fore Street. You can also drive out to The Old Coastguard’s sister property, The Gurnards Head, just across the moors - those on a dinner, bed and breakfast deal can transfer their table reservation at no extra cost.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Vegetarian menu
- Head through the gate at the bottom of the garden and go rock pooling in the shallows. You can also take a dip in the natural swimming pool that emerges from the waves at low tide
- Wander along the shore to Mousehole harbour, lined with galleries, delis and cafés, and watch boats come and go. There's a small patch of beach, too
- Follow the coastal path around the headland to rugged Lamorna Cove, where there's a shop selling starfish, shells and local crafts, plus a pretty little café
- Head to the world-famous Minack Theatre (a 20-minute drive), hewn from the cliff above the Atlantic, for an open-air play. If there are no performances during your stay, you can tour the stage and visitors' centre
- Swim and sunbathe at Porthcurno (just beneath Minack), where you’ll find sand so white and water so dazzlingly clear that you’ll struggle to believe you’re in England
- Sennen Cove has a vast, sandy sweep with a café, board hire and a surf school
- Stroll across the causeway from Marazion to St Michael’s Mount for sub-tropical gardens and the castle (home to the St Aubyn family since medieval times)
- Explore Cornwall’s industrial heritage at the haunting remains of the Levant Mine and Beam Engine (30 minutes away); if you want to learn more, you can head underground at the Geevor Tin Mine next door. Afterwards, recover over lunch at The Gurnards Head, a couple of miles up the road
- Gallery-hop your way around Penzance, Newlyn, St Just and St Ives, all within a short drive
- Or just soak up the sunshine in the garden and watch the daily rhythm of life on the water
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
Best Time to go
Our Top Tips
The Old Coastguard stands on the edge of Mousehole, a small fishing village on the Penwith Peninsula in the far west of Cornwall. It’s a 10-minute drive from Penzance.
There are some flights to Newquay Airport (73km away) from London and other UK cities; if you’re coming from further afield, you’ll probably fly into Exeter (195km away), Bristol (293km away) or London Heathrow (479km away). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
If you’re coming from Newquay, you can catch a taxi to the hotel. If you’re travelling from Bristol, Exeter or London, your best bet is to take the train to Penzance or hire a car (see below).
The nearest station is Penzance, which is served by mainline services from Exeter, Bristol, London and other UK cities. It’s also served by overnight sleeper trains from London Paddington, which can be a convenient option if you don’t want travel time to eat into your stay (the hotel will even give you a free breakfast on arrival!) - see Seat 61 for more information.
It’s a long drive to western Cornwall from pretty much anywhere, but the hotel is easily accessible from the A30, the fast dual carriageway which traverses the county and joins the M5 near Exeter. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations. The hotel has a car park (free for guests).
Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Newquay 73.0 km NQY
- Exeter 195.0 km EXT
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km