Cornwall is in the spotlight once again as summer staycation demand continues to soar. And while a minority seem immune to the county’s charms, it’s hardly surprising so many find its pull irresistible. From the world-class beaches, to the arty coastal towns and unbeatable seafood spots, few places feel more removed from the drudge of everyday life.
Space may be severely limited, but we have scoured our favourite hotels and found that a few still have some rooms left in July and August, if you move fast. Here are five top options to book now to secure that south-west escape.
Chapel House Penzance
There are plenty of reasons to take a trip to end-of-the-line Penzance this summer. For starters, you can arrive in style via the spruced-up sleeper train and wake up with a dip in the brilliantly restored Jubilee Pool, before strolling to nearby Newlyn for a fresh fish lunch at the unpretentious Tolcarne Inn. Under-the-radar Chapel House is the most stylish stay in town and manages to blend a clean lines design with a welcoming feel. There’s not a bad room in the house: one might have a glass-ceilinged bathroom, another a Georgian-arched window, but all six look out to sea. Breakfast is impressive for such a small operation and includes homemade smoothies and inventive cooked options like sizzled cod roe, served with smoked bacon, samphire and a poached egg.
Doubles from £160; chapelhousepz.co.uk
The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor
This striking mustard-yellow inn is a beacon for those walking along the South West Coast Path from St Ives, who stop by for well-deserved lunches of St Austell Bay mussels or crab-topped sourdough with aioli. It’s even better to come for dinner and stay over in one of the cosy cottage-style rooms, which are stocked with fresh flowers and Roberts radios. New for this summer is Room 8, set to be the best with its French windows that lead on to a private patio and smart Moroccan Tadelakt bathroom. It’s still available on the first two weekends of August, plus a few surrounding single nights. Note that the Gurnard’s sister inn, the equally foodie-focused Old Coastguard in Mousehole, also has some space remaining over scattered dates in July and August.
Doubles from £140; gurnardshead.co.uk
Bedruthan, Magwan Porth
Get in quick and there are still a few rooms available at the much-loved Bedruthan during the summer months. Sitting just a five-minute drive from Newquay airport (which has announced new services amid the staycation demand), it makes for a more accessible Cornish break. Crucially, it's also right on the beach. Inside, there’s a mish mash of colour, with candy-striped armchairs alongside psychedelic cushions. Head to the adults-only Herring restaurant for sharing plates of pickled mackerel or orange-scented roast cod. Meanwhile, the impressive spa offers a eucalyptus steam room and cedar sauna with sea views, plus guests have the run of an indoor and three outdoor pools. Book an Apartment Suite or above for a big bath and balcony.
Doubles from £156; bedruthan.com
St Michaels Resort, Falmouth
Down in Falmouth, St Michaels Resort is a bells and whistles hotel opposite the Blue Flag Gyllyngvase Beach. Revamped by owners Nigel and Julie Carpenter, it now has 84 bedrooms, four tennis courts, a bumper-size spa (featuring Rhassoul mud experiences and a Cornish sea-salt steam room) and 56-ft swimming pool. In case you forget where you are, a breezy, seaside style and blue Farrow & Ball hues are found throughout. Try the Garden kitchen for Italian dishes with a Cornish twist – think pizzas topped with local blue cheese – or the Brasserie on the Bay for classic fish and chips. While July stays are in short supply, there is decent availability from mid-August onwards, including five-night weekday stretches.
Doubles from £210; stmichaelsresort.com
Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate
All eyes are on seaside resort Carbis Bay after it was announced as the unlikely host of the G7 conference this June. No doubt the dignitaries will enjoy the sweeping golden sands and perhaps President Biden might bed down in a plush Beach Lodge in the grounds of the Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate, the summit's main site. After the excitement has died down, the 125-acre property still has some space across July and August, including the bank holiday weekend. If those self-contained lodges, which offer direct beach access, private hot tubs and panoramic views of the bay, have too high a price point opt for a room in the main house.
Doubles from £290; carbisbayhotel.co.uk
All availability was checked directly through the hotels' websites and was correct at the time of publishing.