The Sandy Duck

Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom Book from Book from £90 per night

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A great-value B&B in buzzing Falmouth, with sea views, a laid-back vibe and a dash of sophisticated Scandinavian style
After sailing the world as a stewardess on luxury yachts, Freyja Ducker returned to the UK to be nearer family. But she decided to put her hospitality experience to good use, scouring the country for the perfect B&B before stumbling across this faded Edwardian townhouse. The results of her year-long renovation are stunning. Behind the hot-pink front door lie a light-filled breakfast room, a cosy lounge where a fire crackles in winter, and 7 beautiful bedrooms that blend Scandinavian simplicity with English quirkiness. Throughout, calming colours and clean lines are warmed by snuggly throws and sheepskins, and walls are dotted with artworks by Freyja’s mother and sister, including an eye-catching piece created from the roof’s old joists.

We were greeted with enthusiastic tail-wagging by resident dog Rhubarb, who set the scene for the informal, friendly atmosphere: the feel here is more home than hotel. It’s ideally located for exploring – the town centre is a 10-minute walk in one direction, beaches 10 minutes in the other, and the Roseland Peninsula lies just across the Fal Estuary. Return to sink-into sofas and an excellent night’s sleep, followed by a slap-up Cornish breakfast. It’s easy to see why The Sandy Duck has received rave reviews since opening in spring 2017, and we loved it, too.

Highs

  • Stylish and great-value rooms, all but one with views across Falmouth Bay, and some with window seats or freestanding tubs
  • A relaxed, kick-your-shoes-off vibe that puts you instantly at ease
  • Delicious breakfasts packed with local produce, plus daily home-baked cakes in your room
  • Falmouth itself – a vibrant university town with an array of restaurants, boutiques, museums and galleries, plus 4 beaches
  • A great option for a car-free break - it’s easily accessible by train, and you can explore on foot and ferry

Lows

  • It’s on the edge of town, but the upshots are peace and plenty of parking – and it’s an easy stroll into the centre
  • Hot breakfast dishes are only served until 9.30am, but you can linger as long as you want over the cold buffet
  • No lunch or dinner menu, but there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance
  • Freyja is waiting for an alcohol licence so there’s no honesty bar – in the meantime, bring your own drinks to enjoy in your room

Best time to go

Cornwall is beautiful in any season and The Sandy Duck stays open year-round, bar a couple of weeks in January. Come in spring or summer for swimming, picnics and lazing on the beach, or in autumn or winter for bracing coastal walks and fireside drinks. Bear in mind the whole county gets very busy during school holidays and you might encounter tailbacks on local roads and the M5.

Our top tips

Don’t miss the Old Brewery Yard on Falmouth high street. It’s home to a lovely range of independent boutiques, including plant seller Toro and craft shop Folklore, plus artisan beer specialist HAND and a couple of cafes.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
  • Boutique B&B
  • 7
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Each of the 7 rooms is different, but all mix soothing colours (blush pink, dove grey, petrol blue) with contemporary Danish furniture, striking brass light fittings and the odd vintage find. You’ll also get a kingsize or super-kingsize bed (Room 4 can be set up as a twin on request) with a Hypnos mattress, along with Bluetooth speakers, tea- and coffee-making kit, and delicious home-baked cakes that are replenished daily. In the ensuites, expect sleek white tiles, drenching rain showers, fluffy robes and towels, and toiletries by Danish brand Meraki.

We stayed in Room 8 – a vast space at the top of the house that’s worth splashing out for. It has a long sofa for sprawling out in comfort, plus a dormer window seat where you can curl up and watch boats at sea. The bathroom has a decadent freestanding tub, and you can open the blinds and gaze across the bay as you soak. Other stand-outs include Room 5, also with a freestanding tub, and Rooms 1 (dog-friendly, on the ground floor) and 3, both of which have beautiful bay windows. Note that Room 6 has no sea view, and Room 7 has a sloping ceiling that isn’t ideal for tall guests.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Bluetooth music system
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served in the airy dining room, on wooden tables hewn from fallen elm trees. If you can, bag the one in the bay window and look out to sea as you eat. Hot dishes can only be ordered until 9.30am, but they’re well worth getting out of bed for. Everything is cooked to order by Freyja and her team, using as much local produce as possible – honey from a Falmouth beekeeper, fresh bread from ‘The Bakery on the Beach’, sausages from a nearby farm. We tucked into smoked salmon and smashed avocado on sourdough toast and a perfectly crispy bacon sandwich, washed down with steaming cafetières of organic coffee. Afterwards, you can linger as long as you like over goodies from the buffet, which includes fruit, yoghurt, homemade granola, pastries and Cornish cheeses.

For other meals you’ll need to venture out, but Falmouth is brimming with restaurants – everything from candlelit French bistros to a Rick Stein fish and chip shop. We headed to Hooked on the Rocks, perched above Swanpool Beach with sweeping views, and enjoyed a delicious seafood feast as the setting sun slowly turned the sky rose-pink.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Stroll into the town centre for a browse around its delis, boutiques and art galleries, then enjoy an ice cream on the seafront as yachts glide past
  • Or head to one of Falmouth’s 4 lovely beaches: Swanpool, Gyllyngvase, Castle and Meanporth
  • The town is also home to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, where you’ll find a huge collection of boats, and the imposing Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII to defend against invasion
  • Explore the local coast and the Fal Estuary on a boat trip. Tour operators are dotted along the harbour, and you might spot dolphins, porpoises, seals, basking sharks and more
  • Venture across the estuary to the Roseland Peninsula (take the ferry to avoid a long detour by land), where you’ll find woodland creeks, pretty St Mawes and the beautiful 13th-century church of St Just in Roseland. It’s also home to excellent beaches, including the sweeping sands of Portscatho, Porthcurnick, Towan and Porthbeor
  • Also within easy reach are the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the historic harbour of Charlestown (often used as a filming location for period dramas)

      Activities on site or nearby include:

      • Birdwatching
      • Boat trips
      • Fishing
      • Hiking
      • Historical sites
      • Museums / galleries
      • Nightlife
      • Sailing
      • Shopping / markets
      • Surfing
      • Swimming
      • Wine tasting

Kids

The Sandy Duck is best suited to grown-ups, but children of all ages are welcome, and Freyja and her team will do all they can to make families feel at home.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Room 8 has a sofa which can be made up as an additional single bed, and Rooms 4 and 5 can accommodate a baby cot. Room 4 can be set up as a twin if you’re travelling with teenagers who want their own space.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

What a lovely place to stay! I can only use superlatives to describe our stay: great little house, great breakfast, very tidy place and most of all extremely nice staff. Freyja is the perfect hostess who is always ready to help out and to give well-documented local information. She's ever so kind, as are the rest of the staff. We stayed 4 nights in Room 8: great views and a very spacious room with plenty of light. A place to remember!

10/10,

A fabulous Easter weekend at the Sandy Duck with our three kids (9, 12, 16). The hotel has a lovely, calming Scandi decor, which has been done with great attention to detail. The effect is a warm and welcoming space, with a lovely library to read books and magazines in, supremely comfy rooms (including fresh milk in a small thermos for tea and coffee. Seriously, why has no-one else thought of this?!) and well thought out bathrooms. Amenities from Meraki are provided. The delicious breakfast is served in a very pleasant room under a feathered pendant light. You can opt for the buffet featuring fruits, breads, and popular cereals or you can have a fresh cooked breakfast, with choices for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Freyja and her team provide a superb welcome at this hotel and we all felt like guests in a rather wonderful home. Highly recommended.

10/10,

Can't recommend The Sandy Duck highly enough. Lovely place, lovely owner, great breakfasts, beautiful rooms. And the location is perfect, convenient for the beach and the town. We will definitely be back.

10/10,

All round excellence!

10/10,

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Rates for The Sandy Duck