It’s been over ten years since I visited Cornwall. Back then, fresh out of University, I had more interest in the social offerings of Rock rather than the natural beauty in front of me. Cornwall’s coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, if not the world. The seas are spectacular shades of blue met with over 300 miles of beautiful, varied beaches. Some with soft, golden sand and others covered in salt-and-pepper pebbles. There is also plenty of marine life including the The Carracks (otherwise known as Seal Island). The beauty of Cornwall’s beaches is comparable to the shores of the Balearics – even without the Mediterranean weather.
Falmouth is one of Cornwall’s more popular spots and where Pete, Oslo and I spent the weekend. The working harbour town is vibrant with boho-bars and local seafood restaurants and has an arty vibe thanks to the acclaimed local art school.
St Michael’s Resort, our home for the weekend, is across the road from the sandy shores of Gyllyngvase beach . In all honesty, I expected something less polished, but was impressed to find a high-spec gym with its own pool, a luxury spa (again, with its own pool), two restaurants and 84 rooms and counting as there’s an additional development being built over the summer.
After our five-hour drive from London, we were relieved to be warmly received by St Michael’s team and immediately offered a tour around its facilities. We stayed in the dog-friendly part of the hotel – the Captain’s House – our gorgeous Sea View room equipped with a luxurious king-sized bed, large modern bathroom and a dog-bed, towel and treats for the pooch. From our terrace you could see, hear and smell the sea. The interior of our room – and the hotel as a whole – reflects its surroundings; delicate palettes of blues and neutral colours with reclaimed timber featured in the décor.
EAT & DRINK
St Michael’s has two restaurants; the Brasserie on the Bay and Garden Kitchen. The Garden Kitchen is a light, bright, laid-back space offering a selection of healthy salads and delicious stone baked pizzas.
The double AA awarded Brasserie has an eclectic menu of locally sourced meat and fish. Highlights included their fresh Falmouth bay scallops, Cornish crab on freshly baked sourdough and their delicious West Country mussels. Our favourite main courses included fresh fish and chips, delicious chicken wrapped in Parma ham and local steak and chips. The hotel offers a buffet-style Cornish breakfast with hot food, freshly baked goodies as well as yoghurts, fruit and cereals.
If you fancy a drink afterwards, head to the centre of Falmouth and you’ll find a scattering of pubs and bars including wine and cheese bar The Chintz (which often has live music), HAND bar which serves over 200 craft beers and our local favourite, Chain Locker, which is a great pub with plenty of outdoor and indoor seating,
In terms of activities, Falmouth’s a great spot to paddleboard, kayak tour or enjoy one of the incredible coastal-walks around Pendennis Point or Maenporth Beach.
Even though Falmouth is a small town, Falmouth Art Gallery has some interesting pieces of artwork. It’s well worth a wander and it’s free. Their finest artwork are often not on public display, but you can make a polite request at the desk.
The hotel also offers 100 classes a week in their health centre. If relaxing is at the heart of your holiday, head to the spa. Not only do they have the largest hydrotherapy pool in the South-West, but there’s both an indoor and outdoor sauna, herbal steam rooms, an outdoor Swedish hot tub. We had three heavenly hours here on the Sunday and it was incredible. Our only regret is that we didn’t book one of their treatments in advance as they were fully booked.
A short drive away from Falmouth you’ll find the beautiful seaside towns of Penzance and St Ives. We followed the sunshine and spent the day collecting shells and searching for local art in St Ives, stopping off to enjoy local, fresh seafood including local oysters and a cup for of cockles. There are also dog-friendly beaches to explore.
The downside of the British coast is of course our unpredictable weather, but don’t let that put you off. A coastal walk in your waterproofs can be even more entertaining on a rainy day! If you’re less of an outdoorsy-type Cornwall has some incredible restaurants to explore. Outside of the hotel, I recommend The Wheelhouse in Falmouth for fresh seafood, Wildebeest for tasty vegan food, The Star and Garter for homely pub-grub and Gylly Beach Cafe a short walk from the hotel.
If you have time and want to travel a little further, Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow is an hour away, but so worth it. Kota, Porthleven, has a wonderful menu inspired by Chef Jude Kereama’s Asian-New Zealand heritage. If you’re heading this summer, Tom Seller’s Story By The Sea pop-up at Carbis Bay hotel is an absolute must – I’ve been to his restaurant in London and it’s some of the best, most creative food I’ve ever had the privilege to taste!
We came to St Michael’s to offload city stress and indulge in all the local offerings. We left feeling reenergised and have every plan of returning back and exploring more of the Great British coast.
A big thank you to Mango Agency who planned and arranged this gifted trip.