Raising the bar: A guide to Cornwall’s finest pubs

With its miles of endless coastline and lush green landscape, west Cornwall is a holiday destination like no other. Days of exploration deserve somewhere to relax and refuel and where better than in one of the area’s excellent inns. As the Duchy continues to make its mark on the foodie map, local produce and Cornish artisan drinks feature highly on menus, curated by top-class chefs that are taking pub grub to a whole new level. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly inn serving pub classics, a dog-friendly gastro-pub with fresh fish in abundance or a good old Sunday lunch with a pint of local ale our pick of west Cornwall’s finest taverns is enough to sate anyone’s appetite.

3The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn

This historic maritime pub is now under the stewardship of renowned local chef and restauranteur Ben Tunnicliffe. Expect great food in unpretentious surroundings, where flagstone floors and scrubbed wooden tables hark back to its traditional fisherman’s pub heritage. Friendly for both families and dogs, the chalkboard menu changes with the seasons and fish literally comes from next door! Fresh produce served from local growers, a well-kept selection of local ales and ciders and a wine list that perfectly complements the food will mean you will want to return again and again.

The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

Overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the bay, and with views across to St Michael’s Mount and the Lizard peninsula beyond, The Old Coastguard emits a charm of bygone luxury. Sipping a drink on the terrace as the palm trees sway in the breeze, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in Mediterranean climes. With a traditional brasserie menu, the ethos embraces the finest ingredients, prepared simply. Dogs are welcome, and children get their own little menu and the enclosed garden makes for a great adventure playground once plates are cleared.

 

Cornish pubs: Mousehole harbour from the sky
Mousehole Harbour from the sky
The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

With a heritage dating back to 1695, as soon as you enter you can almost feel the presence of bygone pirates and smugglers who would have frequented this historic drinking house. You can’t miss the pub as you walk down Chapel Street with its iconic yellow window frames and a Jolly Roger hoisted high and fluttering in the breeze. Inside is a veritable Aladdin’s of maritime artefacts from ancient wrecks, where low beams and snug tables create a cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy some good grub or a local ale. Dogs are more than welcome.

The Godolphin, Marazion

With a specular location just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge on Marazion beach and overlooked by the imposing St Michael’s Mount, The Godolphin is a wonderful place for a drink or food in equal measure. With sandy toes and sun-kissed skin, you’ll find laidback beachside dining and a fun drinks menu at Craby’s beach bar and terrace, where dogs are also welcome. For a more formal experience, Shutters restaurant and bar offers a chic oceanfront dining experience whose menu burgeons with local produce.

 

Cornish pubs: Quiet autumnal walk at Marazion

The Victoria Inn, Perranuthnoe

Thought to be one of the oldest inns in Cornwall dating back to the 12th century The Vic, as it’s affectionately known by locals and visitors alike, is ideal for a lunchtime stop-off if you are walking the coast path between Marazion and Praa Sands. It’s dog friendly, too, and when the weather’s fine the south-facing beer garden is a real sun trap. On colder days retreat to the cosy bar (which is always well stocked) with its exposed stone walls and low ceilings. The menu is seasonal and full of local produce and the Sunday Roasts are a must…booking essential!

The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor

Amongst the wilds of west Cornwall, teetering on the edge of raw heathered cliff lands you’ll come across the dog-friendly Gurnard’s Head. An iconic landmark along this coastline, thanks to its sunshine yellow exterior, in contrast with the verdant surrounding landscape. The Gurnard’s Head provides exceptional, hearty food for those hungry souls, and cosy rooms for travellers to rest, having long since been a refuge for walkers and artists alike. This is a rural retreat unlike any other, a chance to unwind, and with these dramatic expanses it is easy to see why.

 

Cornish pubs: Gurnard's Head from the coastal path in Zennor
Gurnard’s Head from the coastal path in Zennor

As the heat of the summer ebbs away, Cornwall dons a subtler cloak. This a more mellow time to visit the Duchy as the peak season crowds diminish leaving deserted beaches, quiet meandering paths and deserted cliff tops. If you’re travelling as a couple then our sleep-two boltholes are perfect for rest and relaxation while families can enjoy some precious together-time during October half term. Or why not experience a Cornish Christmas like no other?

Discover our beautiful homestays nearby:
Mousehole Cottage

You’ll find Mousehole Cottage next door to The Old Coastguard and located close to the harbour in the beautiful coastal village of Mousehole, a few miles west of Penzance. From the cottage it is an easy walk down to the coast or into the village to explore the wonderful cafés and independent shops.

This delightful detached property has a secure garden and private parking space. It sleeps six and is perfect for chillier autumn evenings with a woodburner and full central heating.  Mousehole Cottage is available for October half term (Friday 21st to Friday 28th October) at a significantly reduced rate of £850 for the week or £165 per night (minimum 5 nights).

Lesceave Farmhouse

This homestay is close to the mile-long sandy beach at Praa Sands and a short drive to the wonderfully foodie village of Porthleven, packed with cosy cafés, traditional pubs and beautiful restaurants.  There are stunning sea views from this cosy, traditional farmhouse and wonderful extensive gardens to explore.  Lesceave Farmhouse is available for October half term (Friday 28th October to Friday 4th November) at a reduced rate of £1,400 per week or £250 per night (minimum 5 nights).

The Summer House

The super-stylish Summer House is located just above the harbour village of Mousehole, near Penzance.  A beautifully furnished and spacious property, it’s an easy walk to the village from here or a short drive to Newlyn or Penzance.  The Summer House is available during October half term ( Friday 21stOctober to Friday 4th November) at a discounted rate of £1,350 per week or £243 per night (minimum 5 nights).

Book now and quote BUYLOCAL and you will receive a welcome hamper with lovely local goodies included. 

The paw-fect Cornish escape

Tips and tricks for a dog friendly getaway in Cornwall!

No-one wants to leave their dog at home when they go on holiday and thankfully more and more holiday in Cornwall properties now accept well-behaved pooches. In actual fact, all of our properties are dog friendly, with many owners going above and beyond to help make your hound feel welcome, comfortable and safe with additions such as dog beds and bowls, treats and blankets.

Packing for you pooch

It’s not just you that will need to be considered when the packing starts, your dog will need their own things too. Packing them in a separate bag is a good idea so you have everything to hand in one place. Here are some essentials that your dog will need:

Lead, harness, collar and tag

Food and food bowl

Water and water bowl

Medication

Tasty treats

Dog toys

Bed, blankets and towels – although these may be provided your dog may prefer the familiarity of their own

Poo bags

Safe travels

If you’re travelling to Cornwall with your dog, chances are your journey is going to be at least a couple of hours long. With that in mind, if you can take some time to plan ahead, everyone will be much happier. Make plenty of stops, especially if the weather is anywhere near as hot as it has been recently and be sure to have sufficient food and water to hand. It’s worth checking out some dog-friendly service stations for your journey down: Hog and Hedge, Solstice and Cornwall Services are just a few of our favourites. If you’re dog isn’t used to travelling in the car, then a few shorter ‘practise’ drives will get your pooch ready for the road.

On arrival

Give your dog time to get used to its new surroundings and create a cosy space where they can feel safe and secure. Try and keep to a similar routine when it comes to walks and mealtimes in the first couple of days as it may take your pup a little time to adjust to its new surroundings.

 

Dog-friendly holiday Cornwall: Black Labrador wrapped up in towel on beach

Healthy hounds

No-one wants to have to contact a vet while they’re on holiday, but if your dog is ill or injured during your stay it’s a good idea to have the local vet’s contact details to hand, which is why each of our cottages have contact details close to hand as part of the welcome pack.

It is also worth taking your pooch to your own vet in advance of your holiday for a quick health check and to ensure they are fully up-to-date with vaccinations and other treatments such as worming, and are also micro-chipped.

While you’re here, these are just a few of our dog-friendly places to visit…

Marazion Beach

Dogs are allowed on this vast stretch of beach from 1st September to 30th June (restrictions apply during high season from 1st July to 31st August between 10am and 6pm). There is plenty of space for running around or splashing in the sea when the weather’s kind. If you fancy a longer walk, the South West Coast Path runs from nearby Marazion towards Perranuthnoe and Rinsey beyond, or follow the gentle sea wall path into Penzance. The nearby Godolphin Arms welcomes well-behaved dogs on leads and is the perfect pitstop for lunch, dinner or a thirst-quenching pint of local beer!

 

Dog-friendly holiday Cornwall: Two dogs enjoying the shallows on a Cornish beach

Trengwainton Gardens

This glorious sub-tropical National Trust-owned garden is a lovely place to visit for a gentle stroll through its 25 acres. Four-legged friends are welcome throughout the garden although will need to wait outside if you want to visit the bookshop or while ordering in the café. There are tables outside the café for when the weather’s fine or there are a host of picnic spots to enjoy, some with spectacular views out towards St Michael’s Mount.

St Just

This quintessentially Cornish village was originally a church town hamlet that grew from the 1600s as tin mining took off in West Penwith. Today it is home to a plethora of shops and cafés as well as the renowned Jackson Foundation and Gallery, which welcomes dogs on leads. Here you can view works by the world-renowned artist Kurt Jackson, as well as other prominent creatives, housed within a massive ex-industrial building. The nearby beach at Porth Nanven at the head of the Cot Valley is dog-friendly, as is Geevor Tin Mine where pups are welcome across the entire mine site, with the exception of the underground mine.

The nearby Gurnard’s Head is also dog friendly. A dining pub nestling between St Ives and St Just, near the Minack Theatre, Zennor, Penzance and Newlyn, the Gurnard’s Head serves an exceptional menu that’s strong in flavour, cooked beautifully from ingredients that are sourced locally.

Porthleven

This thriving harbour town has become something of a foodie destination in recent years. Its bustling quayside is home to an array of dog friendly restaurants and cafés. It also boasts three pubs; The Atlantic, The Harbour Inn and The Ship all of which welcome happy hounds;  a brewery, a distillery and The Mussel Shoal – an open air eatery right on the harbour’s edge, which all bring a relaxed vibe and a place for your pooch to chill while you sample some local tipples. Craft stalls and foodie pop-ups line the harbour head while Origin’s roastery and harbour head shop supplies the coffee!

October is the perfect time of year to enjoy Cornwall with your dog. Gone are the summer crowds, as well as the very hot days, so you can enjoy some deserted beaches, quiet footpaths and balmy Autumn sunshine while on your canine adventure.

Dog-friendly holiday Cornwall: Porthleven Harbour in the summer

Discover our beautiful homestays: 
Mousehole Cottage

Located close to the harbour in the beautiful coastal village of Mousehole, a few miles west of Penzance.  From the cottage it is an easy walk down to the coast, there is also a natural swimming area cut out of the rocks, for you and your dog to have a refreshing morning dip!

Mousehole Cottage is detached property with secure garden, and private parking space. It sleeps six and is perfect for chillier autumn evenings with a woodburner and full central heating.

Located nearby, we highly recommend popping your heads (and tails) into The Old Coastguard, offering a menu that refuses to underestimate the quality of Cornish beef, poultry and game from local estates, and cheeses from some of Britain’s best dairies. The reputation for the food here is founded on the principle that all the good things in life are kept simple, and it’s no truer anywhere than here. A traditional brasserie menu takes good ingredients and gives them a very simple but classic treatment. It changes through the seasons, too, and with the day boats and trawlers of Newlyn tying up just two miles to the west, you’d be right to expect plenty of fresh Cornish seafood.

Brook Cottage

Brook Cottage located in the magical Cot Valley, within walking distance of St Just in the far west of Cornwall. Doggie paradise with footpaths in every direction from your front door! A beautiful reverse level house with large balcony along the back of the house to enjoy the stunning sea views and sunsets with a glass in hand.  Sleeps 5, with spacious living accommodation, extensive, tropical garden with stream running through it and parking for 1-2 cars.

The Barn

Located in Ashton, a small village near Porthleven and halfway between Helston and Penzance; The Barn is a perfect base for exploring the whole of West Cornwall.  A deceptively spacious converted barn with large, dog proof garden and a wide variety of walks from the property.  With Tregonning Hill on one side and access to the coast at Rinsey on the other, your dog will be spoilt for choice!  Sleeps six, private secure garden, parking for several cars and a wood burner for chillier evenings.

Book your dog-friendly holiday in Cornwall in one of our stylish cottages, here. 

Why foodies will love West Cornwall

As the time for your Cornish holiday approaches, you’re sure to have glistening visions of warm sandy beaches and explorations of the local area for the first day of your trip in mind. A visit to the nearest supermarket that looks exactly like the one you find yourself in every week at home, complete with glaring lights, busy aisles and plastic packaging, is slightly less appealing. If you’re a foodie, you’ll feel quite at home in West Cornwall.

Butchers, growers, makers

When some of the highest quality meat and veg is on our very doorstep, the appeal of supermarket ‘convenience’ has become less and less as we turn our heads to the butchers, growers and makers that are introducing the next level of Cornish cuisine to our plates. The hustle and bustle of traders and friendly faces in the monthly farmers markets and local food hubs offer a tantalising taste of what our local artisans have up their sleeves, as many of us have been feeling the need to replenish our larders a little more frequently with food that feels a lot closer to home than what we can purchase in the large national supermarkets.

Rich heritage

It’s not only locals who are beginning to more readily embrace the rich food heritage that Cornwall has to offer. More and more visitors to our shining shores are coming to realise that there is much more to experience than the same old brands you’ll find on the supermarket shelf. Influenced by the landscape and the lives of the working men and women who have inhabited Cornwall for centuries, the history of Cornish food is a relationship entwined with the geography of the place – from coastline to farmland, across the county. Famed for the culinary treasures that hail from the county, West Cornwall is a bustling hub of home-grown wonders, so it comes as no surprise that locals and visitors far and wide are increasingly looking to incorporate some of the best produce in the UK into their food shop.

Cornish food to your door

With such a rich array of Cornish food on offer from friendly faces right in West Cornwall, you need look no further than your very own doorstep for the highest-quality homegrown produce. At Stylish Cornish Cottages, we know that it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re new to the area. This is why we are proud to partner with the multi award winning Cornish Food Box Company to offer all of our guests the ability to pre-order a selection of local produce delivered to your door, to save that dreaded trip to the supermarket on your first day.  Choose from fresh local and seasonal vegetables, fruit, free range meat, fish and seafood to alcohol, chocolate, cheeses, bread and much more, not to mention locally made ready meals for the freezer.  Ordering is really simple, either on-line or over the phone (but must be done in advance), to top it off you will be given a discount code by Stylish Cornish Cottages to get £5 off any order over £50.

Porthleven Food Festival | Stylish Cornish Cottages
Organisers of Porthleven Food Festival are hoping for a similarly busy event to 2018
Legendary Porthleven food market

One of the biggest celebrations of food that occurs every spring here in the south west is the Porthleven Food Festival. This year, after a two year break due to Covid, we will see a fresh array of producers, makers and chefs primed and ready to give you a taste of something really special. An award-winning, community-led, not-for-profit event, this year’s festival will take place in the charming harbour village of Porthleven from 22nd to 24th April, and is an absolute must-visit for anyone staying in the area. Run by the team behind the Food & Farming tent at the Royal Cornwall Show – showcasing quality artisan suppliers from across Cornwall and the south west – discover a food market populated with local artisans and their unique Cornish products, alongside stalls of street food to entice you with smells of seared meat, bubbling curries and seafood paellas.

Amongst a multitude of new faces, you’re sure to come across some familiar ones too, with a few of Porthleven’s finest due to make an appearance. The proudly Cornish Ann’s Pasty Lounge offers pasty crimping workshops by Ann herself alongside cocktail masterclasses, and the famed Origin coffee will certainly be on the scene. At the very heart of it all, find chef and owner of Kota and Kota Kai Jude Kereama at the Chef’s Theatre, where top chefs from across Cornwall and the south west bring their cooking expertise to the table, matched with the ultimate objective to ‘promote awareness of the extent and quality of locally produced food’. Watch and learn as these culinary experts cook live, creating amazing dishes using fantastic produce from across our county and beyond. For a next-level experience and for a complete immersion in to the local foodie scene the Porthleven Food Festival is not one to be missed.

Discover our beautiful homestays:

The Barn, Ashton

A deceptively spacious, single storey property in Ashton, near Porthleven. Sleeping six comfortably, the perfect location for exploring the whole area, with easy access to the Lizard and Lands’ End peninsular.  Good availability throughout late April – June.

Visit The Barn

Leskinnick Terrace, Penzance

A beautiful Victorian terraced town house, with private garden, located close to the centre of Penzance, a great position for exploring West Cornwall.  Sleeps three, with spacious living accommodation and garden with beautiful summer house.  The property is new to Stylish Cornish Cottages, so there is excellent availability from April onwards. Special offers apply throughout April (check out the Current Offers section of our website)

Visit Leskinnick Terrace

Rinsey Head, Near Porthleven

A spectacular cliff top property with incredible views in every direction, a really unique and special place to stay. Sleeps up to 10, with spacious living areas. Located close to Porthleven.  Limited availability in April, May and June.

Visit Rinsey Head

Lunch on the balcony at Rinsey Head

You can book your next Cornish escape in one of our Stylish Cornish Cottages here.

The rocks beneath our feet

Shaping the west Cornwall coastline, we explore its geology with caving, climbing and coasteering expert Matt George.

Why is the geology of West Cornwall so important and what are the main features?

The rugged coastline of west Cornwall is now all that remains of a huge mountain range, some 5000 metres high, that was formed about 300 million years ago. This mountain range extended across South West England, as well as elsewhere around the world. Countless millennia of erosion have left a landscape that is a far cry from mountainous, but reveals what was happening deep underneath those mountains, in the distant past. Most notably, we have the formation of the Land’s End granite. This is part of the huge Cornubian batholith, which is the source of granites from the Isles of Scilly all the way up to, and including Dartmoor. Land’s End granite makes up most of west Cornwall, in fact it is the only part of Cornwall and Devon where the majority of the coastline is comprised of granite.

How have these features shaped the coastline and what should visitors look out for?

The predominance of granite on the Land’s End peninsula creates a very distinctive coastline, quite different from the rest of Cornwall. The results are majestic golden cliffs with their characteristic castellated profile. This sets west Cornwall apart from the rest of the county, in fact its granite coastline is, by many, considered to be the most beautiful. The absolute crown jewel of the county is the stretch of coast from Land’s End to Porthcurno, including what may be the UK’s most beautiful beach – Pedn Vounder, at Porthcurno. Once a secret, secluded beach, social media has changed this forever, and it’s easy to see why; on a sunny day, it could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean!

Porth Nanven cove, at the end of Cot Valley, is also of geological note. This beach is often referred to as the ‘dinosaur egg’ beach for the ovoid boulders that cover its shores. These rocks, although shaped and deposited by the sea, were not done so in recent times. They have actually come from an ancient beach, which you can see deposited in cliffs at the back of the beach suspended in animation some 120,000 years ago.

Other stops worth looking out for are the towering cliffs of Land’s End, or the relatively hidden beach of Nanjizal. One of the best ways to enjoy this coastline is to tackle a few miles of the South West Coast Path, as every cove and carn is worth a visit!

We hear there is an alternative way to discover this stretch of coastline….can you tell us more?

An even better way to really experience the coastline of Cornwall is by coasteering. This is an activity that allows you to access places unreachable by any other method and is an adventurous way to get a totally unique perspective of the coastline. It’s a combination of many activities, including swimming, scrambling over the rocky foreshore, and exploring sea caves and arches, but above all, it is best known for its cliff jumps. Whilst there is no requirement to jump into the sea when coasteering, if you want to get that adrenalin pumping, jumping off a rocky ledge on the Cornish coast into the Atlantic will be sure to do the job!

West Cornwall is peppered with the relics of Cornwall’s mining heritage. How does this relate to its geology?

It’s all about the granite! The emplacement of the huge body of granite beneath west Cornwall and the mineralisation of the granite and surrounding rocks associated with these events led to the formation of immense mineral wealth. This led Cornwall to become one of the most important producers of metals in Britain throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. At its peak, Cornwall was regularly producing over half of the country’s non-ferrous metals (i.e. everything except iron). Cornwall produced a lot of different metals, including copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, and even uranium. However, it is most famous for its tin mines, and there was a time – in its heyday – that Cornwall was a world-leading tin producer.

To the untrained eye, the effects of the Cornish mining industry are still obvious. Ruins of the iconic engine houses, which housed steam engines that would pump shaft and haul materials, still dot the landscape. None of these are more iconic the Crowns Mine engine houses at Botallack. Perched just a few metres above the sea, these engine houses are one of Cornwall’s oldest tourist attractions. As far back as the mid 19th century, people travelled from far and wide to marvel at these unlikely structures. Visitors included French aristocrats, Russian admirals, and even the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Princess Alexandra).

Aside from these more obvious reminders, Cornwall’s mining industry has left a permanent mark on almost every part of Cornwall. There is barely a valley or area of moorland where someone didn’t try and sink a mine, with the hope of striking riches ‘below grass’. Instead of the idyllic Cornwall we know today, picture an industrial wasteland. Entire valleys would have been covered in discarded rock spoil, often heaved into gigantic terraces. Earth was moved to make way for engine houses and tin dressing plants. Smoke would have belched, and there would have been the constant noise of men, women, and their machinery.

Cornwall has had a hundred years to recover from these scenes, and vegetation has largely reverted the landscape back to its ‘natural’ state. But if you get your eye in, under the bracken you can still clearly see evidence of the mining industry everywhere: horizontal features and inconspicuous terraces now masked in foliage; the remnants of horse whims and water leats. All of these betray the bones of an industry that, in so many ways, shaped our county.

Is it possible to explore Cornwall’s underground mining world?

Cornwall Underground Adventures are the only providers of guided mine exploration in, not just Cornwall, but the south of England. It was the idea of two keen mine explorers who wanted to share their passion for exploring Cornwall’s hidden subterranean world with other people. Their aim was to offer experiences that were as close to authentic mine exploration as possible.

What they offer differs from the small handful of ‘show mines’ that it is possible to visit around the county. Instead, Cornwall Underground Adventures offers you the chance to visit an abandoned mine in the exact condition it was left when the miners downed tools, a hundred years ago or more.

Using caving equipment and techniques, it is now possible to venture deep underground to witness first-hand what the Cornish miners created all those years ago. It is the perfect combination of adventure and adrenalin, as well as an interactive history lesson. After all, the only way to truly understand life underground for a Cornish miner, is to go underground and see it for yourself.

Cornwall Underground Adventures offer a range of experiences, from entry-level trips, to more challenging experiences involving abseiling and underground climbing routes. They run their trips in mines near St. Just, in the far west of Cornwall.

Kernow Coasteering are one of Cornwall’s leading providers of coasteering and have been offering coasteering adventures from their base in west Cornwall, for ten years. For anyone who has previous coasteering experience, Kernow Coasteering offer the ultimate coasteering tour –  around the cliffs of Land’s End itself. This is undoubtedly Cornwall’s best coasteering experience, set along one of the most beautiful and iconic stretches of coastline the county has to offer. They also offer beginner and intermediate experiences at other locations in west Cornwall.

Discover our beautiful homestays in Cot Valley near St Just …

Porth Nanven Cottage

Nestled into the hillside, this gorgeous traditional cottage for four is the perfect bolthole for getting away from it all.  Visit in February / March and take advantage of our Special Offers. Good availability throughout 2022.

Visit Porth Nanven Cottage

Porth Nanven House

You’ll find this stunning property for seven at the end of a quiet lane hidden away in its magical surroundings.  Only available for 8 weeks over July & August so be quick and book now!

Visit Porth Nanven House

Brook Cottage

If you’re looking to enjoy subtropical splendour, a magical garden and stunning views then Brook Cottage, sleeping five, ticks all the boxes and is dog-friendly too! We still have availability from June onwards.

Visit Brook Cottage