We’ve just returned from a wintry weekend away exploring West Cornwall with Classic Cottages. Except we didn’t actually stay in a cute Cornish cottage because we were looking for something a little bit different – and we found it.
We had a fabulous few days exploring West Cornwall from our Kenneggy base. Find out the best things to see and do in West Cornwall and learn more about our stylish accommodation with Classic Cottages…
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Most people would probably choose to stay in a fisherman’s cottage on the quayside of a quaint Cornish harbour town but we were ready to strike out. We wanted to pull on our boots and explore the countryside, discover remote coastal coves and end the day in front of a roaring fire at a welcoming country pub.
We did all that, and more, from The Boatshed, near to Praa Sands, set on the stunning West Cornwall coastline.
A hideaway in West Cornwall
Our Cornish bolthole was a stylish converted boat shed in Kennegy, near to Marazion and St Michael’s Mount. It’s a stone’s throw away from the South West Coast Path and surrounded by beautiful countryside. The local pub, complete with log fire, is a five-minute walk away. Perfect.
Classic Cottages don’t just do gorgeous traditional cottages, they offer all kinds of Cornish accommodation. From Scandi-style to traditional, from converted barns to contemporary lodges and from quirky to quaint. You’ll find everything from Cornish coastal cottages, countryside retreats and village havens.
There’s something in their portfolio to please the most pernickety, with places for large group bookings, families big and small and bijou boltholes for two. Their website is easy navigate and user friendly to help you find a property that ticks all your boxes.
We arrived early on a Friday evening and settled in quickly before heading out to Marazion which is a 3-mile drive away. We made it for sunset and were lucky because the tide was low which meant we could walk the whole length of the causeway right up to St Michael’s Mount. Something I’ve always wanted to do. An added bonus that evening was the stunning sunset.
But back to our Cornish bolthole. The Boatshed sits in a country lane in Lower Kenneggy, between Marazion and Praa Sands, the owner’s cottage is nearby. A short walk takes you to Kenneggy Cove and the dramatic West Cornwall coastline.
The Boatshed is a detached one-bedroom Scandi-style property, the perfect retreat for couples wanting to get away from it all. It’s been thoughtfully finished to an exceptionally high standard.
It’s reverse living style with the kitchen, bedroom and shower room on the ground floor and a spacious lounge area upstairs with a large west-facing picture window to take advantage of the sweeping views across the countryside and out to sea.
The good-sized kitchen diner is well-equipped and has everything you’d need to self-cater for a week or two with oven and hob, microwave, fridge and dishwasher. Essential supplies like tea, coffee, milk, biscuits were waiting for us along with a chilled bottle of bubbly. There are 3-4 of the usual big supermarkets a short drive away and a small Co-op less than a mile away.
We ate out most of the time but did throw a pizza in the oven one evening and enjoyed a full English one morning.
The bedroom has a feature sliding door made with original Georgian timbers, maybe reclaimed from the original boat shed itself. There’s a comfortable king-size bed made up with luxury cotton bed linen – perfect for sinking into after those walks along the South West Coast path.
The shower-room is also on the ground floor. There’s a huge walk-in shower with Scandi-style heated towel rail and a small stone wash-basin. Towels are also provided.
The entire ground floor has underfloor heating so even though it was February we were warm and toasty the entire time.
Upstairs is a gorgeous living Nordic style sitting-room which is flooded with light from the west-facing picture window. The perfect spot for watching the sun go down.
The room is beautifully styled with a contemporary fire, colourful cushions, cosy sheepskin throw and vaulted ceiling complete with beams. We cosied up for a day when it was pouring outside and made good use of the flat-screen TV, Bluetooth speaker, DVD player and WiFi.
A small south-facing terrace adjoins the Boatshed with outdoor furniture, fire-pit and BBQ for al fresco evenings.
The Boatshed owners live right next door and are on hand to answer any questions or advise on places to visit. They’d been called away during our visit but kept in touch by text to ensure that we had everything we needed.
There’s a parking space right outside which is handy because we needed a car to get to some of the West Cornwall sights we wanted to see. However, a car isn’t entirely necessary as there’s a bus stop nearby with two services running along it, First Bus and the Land’s End Coaster although a car makes life easier.
Things to do in West Cornwall
There are loads of things to do in West Cornwall and the Boathouse is perfectly positioned to discover them. We mostly explored by car but there are also some fabulous hikes right from the Boatshed doorstep.
Hike the South West Coast Path
We had one day of sun forecast during our stay and decided to use that day to hike from the Boatshed to Marazion.
It’s a medium level hike and took around 4.5 hours. The wind was blowing a hoolie but it was bright and sunny and the views are fantastic.
It was high tide when we set off and many of the coves we’d have liked to explore were cut off by the sea. Check the tide timetable before your trip to help plan your hikes. You might also want an Ordnance Survey paper map or get unlimited OS Explorer and Landranger maps on any device to download or print to keep you on track. Hiking boots are highly recommended.
It’s a kilometre walk from the Boatshed through the nearby farm, across a field and over a small stream to the sea. Kenneggy Cove wasn’t visible under the crashing waves but I’m guessing it’s beautiful at low tide and fairly secluded. We watched a kestrel hovering for a couple of minutes from the path above the cove before it swooped out of sight.
The views along the rugged coastline are stunning and the high tide made for even more drama with white horses rolling in to the rocks. When the sun shone the sea was a vivid turquoise – more the colours you’d expect in the Caribbean than in Cornwall.
Find Piskies at Prussia Cove
Prussia Cove is the collective name for a series of four small coves or Piskies, known as Pixies by locals. They are made up of Bessy’s Cove, King’s Cove, Coules’ Cove and Piskie’s Cove and are sprinkled with caves, rockpools, channels and swim throughs.
The tide was beginning to turn when we reached Prussia Cove and the path passed right next to the beach so we stopped for a while on the tiny beach bordered by slabs of flat rock. I’d love to go back at low tide and expore more.
The tiny sheltered inlets are perfect for smuggling and were used by Cornwall’s most infamous smuggler family, the Carters.
We carried on heading west to Cudden Point where the views are stunning. We got our first glimpse of Marazion and St Michael’s Mount in the distance before passing Perranuthnoe Beach. I’m thinking as I write this that I should devote an entire post to this hike so we’ll skip to the end for now.
We finally made it to Marazion, although the final part of the South West Coast Path was closed and we walked the last half an hour along the road. We downed a couple of Doombars at the gorgeous Godolphin Hotel, with views across to St Michael’s Mount before we hopped on the bus back to the Boatshed.
Walk the Causeway to St Michael’s Mount, Marazion
Originally a Benedictine priory this beautiful 12th century castle perches dramatically on a rocky island off the coast of Marazion. St Michael’s Mount is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall.
The island and castle are run by the St Aubyn family, who still live there today, and the National Trust.
The mount can be reached by walking across the cobbled causeway but only at low tide. At high tide you’ll need to cross by boat for a small fee. Once on the island you can explore the ancient castle fortress, harbour village, beautiful subtropical gardens and sweeping lawns.
Opening times, days and entry to parts of the island vary so check the St Michael’s Mount website before visiting.
The prettiest of quaint Cornish harbour towns, Mousehole pronounced Mowzel, sits on the edge of Mount’s Bay three miles south-west of Penzance. Cobbled streets and a muddle of fisherman’s cottages line the sturdy quayside, parts of which have kept the Atlantic Ocean at bay for over 700 years.
The harbour was quiet when we visited with boats brought ashore to avoid the gales. Not as colourful as usual but still the prettiest of spots.
Explore the lanes filled with artists’ workshops, galleries, cafes and shops. The most eye-catching of shops has to be The Mousehole in Quay Street. I defy you not to photograph this Wes Andersonesque spot. See if you can spot the mice while you’re there.
Head west past a row of cottages overlooking St Clement’s Isle and discover a narrow passageway with steps leading down to a beach. To the east of harbour there’s a natural rock pool.
We stopped for an excellent breakfast at 2 Fore Street, full Cornish for him and a healthy omelette for me. We bagged the window table with views out to the harbour and it’s small sheltered beach. There are a few traditional looking pubs including the Ship Inn right on the quayside which was a favourite of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Thomas married his wife, Caitlin Macnamara, in Penzance registry office and honeymooned in Mousehole which they thought ‘the loveliest village in England’.
Tip: Park on the road just before you get to the village if you can – there are a handful of spaces there. Once in the village itself it’s tricky to get round the narrow lanes many of which only have room for one car with few passing points. Driving is best avoided although there is a car park on the quayside.
Visit Praa Sands
Praa Sands is a mile-long wide sandy beach just 1.5 miles from Kenneggy and is good for surfers, especially beginners, due to the shallow waters and seasonal lifeguards. However, Praa Sands works well for all abilities and, conveniently, is HQ of Global Boarders Surf School where you can also hire out paddle boards on calmer days.
The Sandbar is a beachfront café with fabulous sea views. Perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast after a walk on the sands.
Praa Sands is walkable on the South West Coast Path from the Boathouse or a five minute drive away. There’s a car park which costs £1 an hour or there’s free parking at the café car park if you’re eating there.
Catch a sunset at Perranuthnoe Beach
Perranuthnoe Beach is another good surfer beach with a wide swathe of sand although the beach gets cut off at high tide so check the tide times. A lifeguard is in attendance in high season. There are two cafes nearby and a gallery.
We watched a lovely sunset before having dinner at the Victoria Inn just five minutes’ walk from the beach. The food was excellent but book beforehand, it’s a popular pub and for good reason.
Perranuthnoe Beach is just 2.3 miles away from the Boatshed or is walkable along the South West Coastal path from Kenneggy.
Porthleven is another traditional harbour town just five miles away from Kenneggy and there’s a lot going on there, along with heaps of quaint Cornish charm. Fishing boats land their daily catch which is then served in the town’s restaurants and cafes.
There are galleries, shops, traditional harbourside pubs and two markets in the town one outdoor and the Shipyard market which is indoors.
We stopped for a drink at The Mussel Shoal, a quirky hut right on the harbour which promises ‘fun not fine dining’.
The impressive harbour is set in the centre of a sweeping bay with 3-miles of golden sand which attracts surfers and families. It’s said to be one of the best surfing locations in the UK and the waves were definitely impressive on the day we visited but not safe for surfing.
Some of the Poldark scenes were filmed in Porthleven and the Poldark Tin Mine is just ten-minutes away.
Further afield in West Cornwall
We didn’t have time for any more exploring during our three days in Kenneggy but there are some Cornish gems a little further afield you should see. Read about our stay in St Ives, around 12-miles away, and the Minack Theatre and Land’s End which is 17-miles away to the west just past Mousehole.
To the east we spent time at Lizard Peninsular, the most southerly place in Britain and Kynance Cove which are less than 20-miles away from Kenneggy and in an area of outstanding Natural Beauty. If you’re staying a week you’ll have more than enough time to fit in all the above spots.
We never tire of Cornwall and always return home refreshed and invigorated. Of course, having a great base to explore from is essential and Classic Cottages will ensure that you find the best Cornwall accommodation to suit all your needs – cottage or otherwise. The Boatshed is a wonderful little hideaway in beautiful countryside location, perfect for exploring West Cornwall.
Many thanks to Classic Cottages for hosting our stay in Cornwall.