“Arguably the best big house rental in Cornwall: an eco-luxe barn restoration with indoor pool, cinema and much more (sleeps up to 26)”
Interiors by Marcus Crane are elegant and eclectic. Vintage and recycled finds have been combined with colourful fabrics to create a quirky, homely feel. We found ourselves coveting everything around us. Despite its design credentials, it’s a ‘put your feet up and pour yourself a glass of wine’ sort of place. You’re close to some of Cornwall's best beaches and prettiest fishing villages, but if you don’t feel like waxing down your surfboards, there’s so much space and so much to do on-site that you’ll barely need to leave. Take the kids on a nature trail around 16 acres of private land, go fishing for Doris (the resident carp) in the enormous lake, watch a DVD in the Barn's cinema room or just sit back in the fabulous outdoor hot tub and enjoy the views.
- Interiors are seriously fab - both high spec and imaginative
- Acres of space outdoors and indoors with chill-out zones, home cinema and snugs, and a games room. Lovely dining areas make it a perfect base for celebrations
- State-of-the-art kitchens for cooking in, or amazing catered options including dinners by Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow
- Impressive eco credentials, thanks to biomass boiler and solar panels that produce all power and underfloor heating
- Amazing indoor freshwater pool (the UK's first), decked out in cool slate, plus steam room and wood-fired outdoor hot tub
- You normally need to book well in advance - up to a year ahead for peak times
- No beaches, pubs or restaurants within walking distance
- A 3-night minimum stay, with arrival and departure on Friday / Monday, or 7 nights Friday-Friday in midsummer (though of course you could leave a day early; at £50pppn based on full occupancy, you won't break the bank)
- Remote location means patchy mobile signal, but they have decent satellite broadband
- The in-house catering is pricey
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique House Rental
- 11 bedrooms
- Self-catering (chefs by arrangement)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Indoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Games room
Lying side by side, the Cottage and Barn look out across the valley to the wilds of Bodmin Moor. Behind them, across the courtyard, you'll find the shared freshwater poolhouse and hot tub.
Inside, a mix of old and new designs produce a quirky yet homely English feel. Expect stone walls, Farrow & Ball tones and furniture reclaimed from the 50s. It's fresh, comfortable and very well equipped, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies so you can always find enough personal space. Glorious colours are splashed throughout; we loved the orange marmalade velvet chairs in the Cottage's Sunroom, the revamped tubular chairs in the Dining Room and the witty alphabet prints in the Barn's Granary Room.
There are no duff bedrooms. All are ensuite and have individual thermostats to keep you warm. Bathrooms have rainfall showers (a couple have a roll-top bath, too), thick white robes and lovely products from local St Kitts Herbery. Beds are mostly ziplinked super-kingsize, which can be turned into twins if you prefer.
The Cottage has that 'Tardis' effect. You enter through the Snug or Dining Room and the Snug is just that: cosy and warm with a wood-burning fire and comfy tartan sofas. The Dining Room has a big stone fireplace and fabulously long table made from Douglas Fir (seats 24). Striking lampshades designed by Laura Oakes to mimic the surrounding landscape drop down overhead and a wooden dovecote in the corner lights up to give a special ambiance at night. There's also a Sunroom, with more sofas and stunning valley views.
Its 6 bedrooms can sleep 12 (+4 on rollaway beds or cots). Meadowsweet and Angelica are on the ground floor; the latter opens onto the terrace and has a splendid Matthew Williamson pink baubled bedspread. Upstairs you'll find Celandine, Valerian, Saxifrage and Wood Aven. Celandine has a double-ended rolltop bath plus a Juliet balcony with views of Bodmin Moor and the lake. Valerian is the oldest room with ancient wooden beams, a wall of mirrors, a crystal drop lamp and slipper bath. Saxifrage has just a queensize bed but has a cosier feel and fabulous views out to Bodmin Moor. Wood Aven's windows are double aspect. Click here for the Floor Plan.
The Barn has a slightly more contemporary feel. Re-used floorboards have been made into a large dinner table supported by legs cut from an old telegraph pole. You can seat 12 comfortably on stylish Harry Bertoia and colourful Charles Eames chairs.
Step through to the Map Room (or 'walkers' den') to find a little hideway. Upstairs the vast Granary Room provides a stunning chill-out zone. Light the fire, lounge around on sofas, rocking chairs or beanbags made from old coffee sacks. Choose a book, drift off or wind down the giant screen to watch a movie (there's a DVD library).
Its 5 bedrooms sleep 10 (no extra beds allowed). Downstairs are Kestrel (with quirky train tickets on the wall) and Goldfinch; upstairs are Peregrine, Kingfisher and Barn Owl (named because they saw a Barn Owl here during renovation). All have pretty colour schemes but with Peregrine you get a navy blue rolltop bath as well as an eco-powered skylight. Click here for the Floor Plan.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Satellite TV
- Shared poolhouse with hot tub
- Tumble dryer
- Underfloor heating
- Washing machine
- Wood-burning stoves
Both properties are brilliantly kitted out for self-catering, with all you'd expect in terms of crockery, pots and pans, and all you'd want in terms of equipment (sharp knives, a blender, weighing scales) plus double dishwashers and powerful induction hobs. The cupboards have a few basic essentials, and there's even a wine fridge in the Barn. Out on the terraces are BBQs, and both properties have dining tables suitable for large gatherings (the Barn can seat 12 and the Cottage up to 24).
A shopping service can be arranged if you want the fridge stocked up before your arrival, or there's a Waitrose and Asda (which deliver) plus other grocery stores in Holsworthy (15 miles). Make the most of Cornwall's fantastic local produce for your meals - we recommend a trip to Port Isaac where you can order the freshest lobster and crab cooked to order from Fresh from the Sea. Butcher Philip Warren in nearby Launceston is one of the UK's best and supplies many of London's top restaurants. There's also a local shopping service available for local produce; enquire when booking.
But even if you love cooking, allow yourself a night off. Rick Stein's world-famous Seafood Restaurant offers an amazing bespoke service led by Jack Stein (son of Rick) in the comfort of your cottage/barn. They'll even bring staff to wash up! Meals consist of a 6-course tasting menu (with wines to match) starting with delicious canapes - we had delicate ceviche of brill and a miniature take on a Full English Breakfast. Crab Salad, lobster bisque, seared scallops with Serrano ham and monkfish followed, but our favourite dishes were the tender Cornish lamb with miso wild garlic and cucumber, and the creamy pannacotta with poached rhubarb. Be prepared for eye-watering prices, though. More affordable catering by various local companies can also be arranged: we loved the sound of Cornish Delicacies' meals (sea bass with fennel ratatouille and orange pannacotta with lavender syrup), or you could get a picnic hamper or a Cornish Cream Tea. Breakfasts can also be arranged.
If you'd prefer to eat out, you'll be in foodie heaven but you will need to drive (or ask for transport to be arranged for you). For something casual, the owners recommend The Rising Sun in Altarnun. For something special, this part of Cornwall is home to some amazing restaurants, including Paul Ainsworth's No 6 and the Rick Stein empire in Padstow, Fifteen at Watergate Bay (Jamie O's restaurant), and Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, who holds 2 Michelin stars. We also love OUtlaw's Fish Kitchen, which offers delicious fresh seafood tapas in a tiny but enchanting old building overlooking Port Isaac's pretty harbour. All are approx 30-45 minutes' drive.
- Chef on request
- Coffee maker
- Dinner by arrangement
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Lunch by arrangement
- Meal delivery service
- Shopping service
- Swim in the fabulous freshwater pool (the only one in the UK!), bask in the outdoor hot tub and steam yourself deep-clean
- There are heaps of bespoke activities on offer: choose from one-to-one or group surfing lessons, pony trekking, deep-sea fishing trips, day trips to Lundy Island, wine tasting, yoga, bushcraft adventures, even hot-air ballooning. The manager, Bonny, can also arrange for beauty and massage therapists to visit
- There are 300+ beaches in Cornwall, several are within a 20-minute drive and Bonny is on hand to give insider tips. The north coast beaches have huge expanses of sand and are best for surfing; the south coast has hidden coves and calm seas. We love surfing at low tide at Trebarwith Strand (followed by a pint of Doom Bar at the Mill House). Widemouth Bay in Bude is great for its all-day sun, rock pools and lovely sandy beach. A short walk away, Summerleaze is popular, too.
- If you want something more secluded, head to Strangles Beach, a large sand and shingle stretch, with plenty of sand at low tide. It's a difficult climb down, but you might have it to yourselves
- If you'd prefer a bird's eye view of the coast, take a walk above Crackington Haven. Views are fabulous and you can end with lunch at the Coombe Barton Inn
- There's also wonderful hiking on Bodmin Moor with its dramatic granite tors, and the green Lydford Gorge has some lovely short walks
- Port Isaac, home to Doc Martin, is an enchanting fishing village (25 minutes' drive away). We especially like Fresh From The Sea for the best crab sandwiches in the whole of Cornwall. The 2-hour coastal walk from Port Quin to Port Isaac is one of the most spectacular in the country.
- Boscastle is a beautiful unspoilt harbour village, taken over by the National Trust (25 minutes' drive away)
- Wildlife enthusiasts and birders can stay put: the 16 acres of grounds are part of Abbotts Hendra, a County Wildlife Site, and sit on migration paths for flocks of starlings and Canada Geese
- Hidden Valley Discovery Park is a park where families and kids can do Crystal Maze-style challenges against the clock and is 10 minutes' drive away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Hot air ballooning
- Private guided tours
- Well being
- Wine tasting
Families are welcome and there is lots for kids to do both indoors and out with swimming pool, cinema, games room, spacious gardens and an imaginative playground. This would be an amazing place to holiday with a few other families.
Family friendly accommodation:
Some of the bedrooms can be made up as twins (3 rooms in the Barn and 4 in the Cottage). The Cottage can fit an additional 4 beds or baby cots.
Details of a local trusted agency can be provided.
- 2 travel cots
- 2 highchairs
- Bibs and baby/child cutlery and crockery
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Indoor swimming pool, with separate kids' pool for little ones
- Outdoor play area with swings and climbing frame, whisper pipe, balance trunks, stepping stones and Cornish pirate boat
- Outside games room shared between the 2 properties
- Bushcraft adventure days can be arranged in the grounds, which include shelter building, fire making and animal tracking
- Home cinema in the Barn; DVD library, large screen TVs and selection of board games in both properties
Kids Activities nearby:
- Sandy beaches (15 mins' drive). If you go to Bude, eat at The Bayview Inn, which is family friendly with a great play area for kids. There's plenty of seating outside to watch the tide come in
- Hidden Valley (10 minutes' drive), an incredible adventure park - think Crystal Maze meets Indiana Jones meets a treasure hunt. Different challenges are set around the park to be completed against the clock, plus there's a maze and a Hobbit's Valley
- Surfing lessons and family fishing trips can be arranged
- The Eden Project (50 minutes' drive)
Families Should Know:
The lake (5-min walk from the house) has an electric fence around it
- Airport: 45 minutes' drive
- Doctor: 20 minutes' drive
- Shops: 20 minutes' drive