Blessed by a burgeoning local brewery scene, many a sunny terrace and plenty of friendly locals, one of Cornwall’s greatest draws is its excellent pubs. Experience the county’s original charm and character by booking a room at one of these revamped historic inns.
Foodies will know Padstow as an area famous for its seafood – a focal point for fishermen who supply the local eateries that make up its flourishing culinary scene. The Old Custom House overlooks the region’s pretty Medieval harbour, with 23 en-suite rooms that blend character with contemporary design and boast calming estuary views. Self-catering accommodation is also available, though with food this good you’re unlikely to get much use out of the kitchen. Feast on the daily catch, or your choice of hearty pub grub, washed down with West Country ciders and award-winning St Austell ales.
Once a thatched alehouse where local fishermen split the profits from their catch, Old Success Inn is now simultaneously a charming bed and breakfast and popular watering hole overlooking Sennen Cove. Pub regulars play a big part in the friendly ambience, clinking Cornish ales against a backdrop of nautical memorabilia and sepia prints. A St Austell Brewery, you’ll find the likes of Trelawney and Tribute on tap, best enjoyed on the terrace during summer, or by the roaring fire inside when it’s cold out.
You can’t get much closer to the sea without leaving dry land than here at the Pedn Olva. Sitting on the precipice of colossal granite rocks, if you peer over the restaurant’s terrace railings you’ll see the sea crashing 30ft below. The bright and airy decor mimics the foamy waves, and the wraparound terrace and glass-fronted balconies invite you to sit down and soak up views of St Ives and the Cornish coast. Locals frequent the hotel pub and restaurant, a good indicator of its quality.
The sea-facing suites at the Port William are decorated in a cool coastal style, with cornflower blue and vanilla colour schemes, and large windows overlooking the wide-open bay beyond. After tucking into the breakfast buffet in the conservatory, head down to the surfing school on Trebarwith Strand, or take advantage of the area’s scenic clifftop walks, where you can access the north coast towns and villages of Padstow, Port Isaac, Boscastle and Bude.
Nowhere captures the true ambience of a Cornish country pub quite like The Wilcove Inn, a family-run establishment on its own river cove. Visitors are welcomed to the gastropub with open arms and a side of home-cooked food and real ale. When you’re not kicking back in the two-tier beer garden, steal away to your choice of two snug bedrooms, where you can relax while peering out over the shores of Tamar.
Upholstered beer stools, bookshelves crafted from wooden crates and a warm open fireplace are among the features contributing to the cosy atmosphere at The St Tudy. The eponymous restaurant at this 17th-century inn is widely known for its ever-evolving menu – the brainchild of owner and head chef, Emily Scott, who is also the proud recipient of a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Tuck into rustic cuisine in one of many inviting communal areas, or kick back and enjoy a home-brewed St Tudy Ale at the bar.
Book ahead to snag a stay at Lugger Inn, Cornwall’s only AA-rated five-star inn. Set in the centre of Portloe, this spot comprises 24 bedrooms and two private cottages, sporting original details like low ceilings, exposed beams and painted shutters, along with modern touches like large overhead rain showers. At the hotel’s restaurant, peruse a menu of local cuisine, where fresh fish sourced from the neighbouring harbour features heavily, alongside Cornish goat which is butchered and prepared by the head chef.
This harbourside quay hotel has views that could pass for the Mediterranean seascape, but its low-ceilinged river-view restaurant puts a spotlight on everything Cornish. The bar and grill employs squishy multi-coloured sofas, with cheery, modern decor, but the menu is big on local produce, which places west country mussels and pan-fried sea bream next to classics like rib-eye steak. Wake up to seagulls and sailing boats in one of five boutique-style bedrooms splashed in soothing coastal colours.
Fusing the best aspects of a boutique design hotel with a comfortable bed and breakfast, The Ship Inn is the sort of place to book if you want to relax and watch the world go by. Bijou bedrooms are fitted with traditional oak beams and open fires and most offer views over Mousehole’s historic harbour through sash windows. The narrow, winding streets that surround it are filled with small shops, galleries and restaurants –tuck into a wholesome breakfast of homemade muesli or fresh kippers before a day of browsing.