A and I like to spend a few nights in a nice B&B occasionally, but for longer breaks when he wants to get back in the surf we prefer self-catering in Cornish holiday cottages.
Self-catering gives you a chance to try living in different kinds of property in different locations, and to try out furniture and kitchen equipment you don’t have at home! And it’s a great source of new ideas for organising and decorating your own home.
There is a special charm to Cornwall out of season – yes, some shops and restaurants may be closed, but you’ll find empty windswept beaches, dramatic skies and deserted lanes.
And of course if you go out of season it’s much cheaper. We’ve just spent a week in a top quality studio in the heart of St Ives for less than a third of the price during the summer.
We’ve stayed in lots of Cornish holiday cottages over the years, using the same process I’ve developed for finding good B&Bs. The place that got the thumbs up this time was The Studio, from The Cottage Boutique, which specialises in cottages in St Ives.
As we’re both self-employed and can never just forget about work it’s essential we have decent broadband, and the parking space right outside, very unusual for St Ives, was another clincher.
The Studio is newly converted from what was probably a very unprepossessing building into a light and airy apartment. It has a welcoming, friendly feel with its wide floorboards, exposed rafters, white walls, and bright details like shocking pink chairs and lampshades.
Carefully chosen pieces of vintage furniture add character, there are lots of seasidey touches, and the bold artwork on the walls is for sale.
The bedroom is downstairs, a quiet retreat with its en suite loo and basin, and seemed almost soundproof. All we could hear was the distant sound of gulls in the morning.
There is loads of storage space, and the kitchen is well-equipped. We have friends who live locally and have treated us to slap-up teas and suppers on previous visits, so we wanted to reciprocate their hospitality, and the kitchen cupboards contained everything we needed. Although a dishwasher would have been nice for clearing up!
They say a change is as good as a rest, and for meals on our own and working on my laptop I enjoyed the novelty of perching on a high stool at the breakfast bar. On my dream wishlist for our kitchen at home – the Sabatier Knife Block that lets you slide knives in and out from the front. (When will manufacturers realise most knife blocks have to live under wall cupboards?) And the Simplehuman retro style bin with slow-closing lid – no more slamming!
The Studio is tucked away just round the corner from the Wills Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, so the shops and galleries are literally on the doorstep. A relished being able to walk to Porthmeor to surf and then come back and get straight into a hot bath. Much nicer than shivering in a towel at the back of the car!
The weather was a mixture of rain, cloud and sunshine, so we spent time reading and watching DVDs on the flatscreen TV when it was wet, and popping out when the sun emerged. The time flew by and we would have happily stayed on for another week.
If you like the sound of The Studio, but have a bigger party to accommodate, The Cottage Boutique have lots more Cornish holiday cottages on their books, all stylish and well-equipped. Just next door is The Old Police Station, which sleeps 10 people and is decorated in similar cheerful style.