Cornwall is one of the UK’s top holiday destinations and visitors return year after year to its sandy beaches, hidden coves and superb restaurants. Because so many holidaymakers here are regulars, this seaside county has to keep reinventing itself – and it’s got to be rather good at it, with a number of new openings and reinventions of established places happening all over the county. Our writer-at-large Helen Ochyra checks it all out...
The St Mawes Hotel has yet to open its doors but we already know it’s going to be good, because it’s from the people behind one of our favourite beachside boltholes, Idle Rocks. Karen and David Richards have taken over a harbourside building in the heart of this pretty fishing village and are decking it out in taupes and creams, with leather bucket chairs, flagstone floors and roaring fires. The bar on the ground floor will serve tapas-sized fish dishes, with seafood bought direct from the fishermen in the harbour just outside. Open from June 3, and slightly more affordable than Idle Rocks, with rooms from £110 in high season.
We could wax lyrical all day about Lower Barns, but there really is no substitute for staying a night or two here yourself. Janie and Mike have spent the past 16 years building the perfect boutique B&B and have just unveiled two new cottages, Nook and Cranny. Mike built much of the furniture here himself and the couple’s passion and attention to detail shows through in everything from the colour-coordinated quirky cushions to the handmade cake you get on arrival. Sit in rocking chairs by the fire, take dinner (cooked by Janie) in the fairylight-strewn Shack and have a muscle-melting massage with sports masseuse John before pouring the wine and settling in for a soak in the outdoor hot tub. Or you could bolt the door and just enjoy your slipper bath and four-poster bed. There are few places more romantic to stay, and as you’re miles from anywhere the stars are amazing. Even better, there’s no mobile phone signal. Cottages from £140 a night in high season,
(Sort of) New Restaurant
Opening in place of its popular predecessor (Indaba on the Beach), there are not many restaurants in England better situated than Hooked on the Rocks, with marvellous views over Swanpool beach and bay. Also, you can see exactly where you food has come from – it’s right out of the waters you're looking at. Choose your victim from the tank or order the shellfish platter for an array of mussels, clams, prawns and scallops. There are comfy booths inside but on a sunny day there’s nowhere better to be than on the terrace here – so take over a picnic table for the afternoon, spreading out further and further as you find yourself tempted by the tapas-sized dishes on the menu.
Ok, so it’s not that new, but Dolly’s is one
of those places the locals have been keeping to themselves. Located upstairs in
a gorgeous Georgian building on the main street in Falmouth, this welcoming
tearoom-cum-wine-bar opened in late 2011, and since then it has been attracting
everyone from local knitting groups to dating couples with its cocktails served
in teacups and its tapas-style menu. Feast on lavender chicken, lamb tagine and
crab salad but be sure to leave room for dessert – the lavender treacle tart
served with clotted cream is not to be missed.
This year the Tate St Ives comes of age. Opened
21 years ago as a place to host temporary exhibitions and bring new art to
Cornwall, this gallery by the beach is undergoing an extensive expansion
programme that will see its exhibition space double. Phase one opens on May 17
with an exhibition focusing on the 1940–1960s, when St Ives was at the
forefront of modern art. Phase two of the Tate’s expansion continues
after the summer: a new entrance at the back will allow larger artworks to be
brought in, opening up St Ives to new, more avant-garde exhibitions in coming years. The gallery has also just taken on a new artistic director in the
shape of Sam Thorne, associate editor at Frieze and founding director of Open
School East in Hackney.