Cornwall is a fantastic place for a holiday or a short break with so much to see and do. A foodie destination with great restaurants, cafés and pubs. Miles of stunning coastal paths to walk. Beaches to laze or frolic on. Historic houses and gardens, fascinating mining heritage, museums and art galleries.
Comprehensive information on the local area is emailed to our guests the week before they arrive and your hosts would be delighted to help you find a secluded beach, superb restaurant or great sea fishing trip, or anything else which will make your stay extra special.
Coastline & Beaches
Cornwall is a narrow peninsula flanked by the Atlantic ocean and the English Channel. No where is more than 20 miles from the sea and being situated in between the north and south coasts, a short distance from the A30, Benallack perfectly placed for exploring some of the 400 miles of coast line.
On the north coast you will find rugged cliffs, steep valleys and beaches bordered by thick dunes. The south coast is peppered with sheltered coves and the oak tree lined estuaries of the Fal, Helford, Fowey and Camel, all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), containing some of Britain’s finest coastal scenery. The Cornwall AONB maintains the same status as Great Britain’s national parks and much of Cornwall is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With over 300 beaches whether it is deserted coves or bustling beach side cafes, dog friendly or dog free, surfing or paddling there is a beach for everyone and every weather.
In 2018, eight of Cornwall’s beaches have been awarded a prestigious blue flag, the international standard for the best beaches in the world. The blue flag will be flying at Gyllyngvase in Falmouth; Porthmeor in St Ives; Great Western in Newquay; Carbis Bay; Polzeath; Porthtowan; Trevone and Widemouth, near Bude.
Arts & Culture
Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. Cornwall’s history stretches back to the neolithic people around 2000BC with evidence of menhirs (standing stones) and burial chambers across the county. With bronze age sites, iron age hill forts and cliff castles there are plenty of open, historic sites offering interested visitors a glimmer of life in Cornwall thousands of years ago.
Unsurprisingly, Cornwall is steeped in myth and legend – the Beast of Bodmin, giants, piskies, Kings and Mermaids as well as menhirs and stone circles. Much Cornish mythology is rooted in the Cornish landscape and perhaps that is the reason Cornish people feel inextricably rooted to their heritage, even within Cornwall you can travel a short distance and feel in a completely different world.
In more recent times Cornwall has been known for its artistic talents from the 18th century portraitist Opie to Barbara Hepworth and entire schools of artists have established themselves in St Ives, Newlyn and other smaller villages. Literature has also been prominent with Daphne du Maurier and William Golding, who was born in Newquay. However, John Betjeman is perhaps Cornwall’s most famous adopted son. He wrote a motorists’ guide to the county in 1934, and a much loved poem about St Enodoc golf course near Polzeath.
Now, Cornwall feels full of creativity. In May over 300 artists across Cornwall open the doors to their studios, in Redruth you will find Krowji, Cornwall’s largest creative hub with 120 shared and self contained studio spaces and internationally renowned sculptors display their work at Tremenheere in 22 acres of exotic and sub-tropical gardens. The best of modern and contemporary art can be found in The Tate, St Ives and in most towns and villages you will find little galleries which are well worth visiting. Historic works from the renowned Newlyn school are curated at Penlee House, a first class gallery and museum set within an attractive park and Falmouth Art Gallery maintains an outstanding collection of over 2,000 works.
The Minack Theatre is the place to go for performing arts. From Shakespeare to Chekov, Lloyd Webber to Stoppard there is a full programme of excellent theatre as well as children’s theatre and story telling. A trip to the Newlyn Filmhouse for a Royal Opera and Royal Ballet performance or perhaps an art house film with a dinner of local Newlyn fish in the cinema’s Cafe Bar beforehand is also well worth a visit.
Cornwall also boasts a fine selection of wonderful festivals with major international artists you can pick from the Great Estate, Eden Sessions, Rock Oyster, Sundowner Sessions, Port Elliot, St Endellion, Boardmasters, Cornwall Folk Festival, Bude Jazz or The Little Orchard Cider Festival.
We think that wherever you are in Cornwall you are not far from a fantastic place to eat. Of course there is The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow but if you try something a little less well know we can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Cornwall is lucky to have its fair share of Michelin stars, five in fact! Chris Eden at the Driftwood Hotel in Portscatho and Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Padstow have 1 each and Nathan Outlaw with 2 Michelin stars at Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac and 1 more at Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen.
In the west, Ben Tunnicliffe has the Surf Beach Bar at Sennen or The Tolcarne Inn at Newlyn which is about as good as pubs get – anywhere. Just down the road at Marizon another Ben and his brother run Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, they are quietly notching up their fair share of awards. There is also reputably Britain’s oldest pub – The Victoria Inn a short hop down the road at Perranuthnoe.
If Sunday lunch is your thing then take a drive down Cornwall’s Atlantic coast to Morvah – climb Carn Galver home of a legendary Giant, with panoramic views take a moorland path to the Merry Maidens stone circle, Ding Dong mine and Men-an-tol passing engine houses and mines finishing off with a fabulous Sunday lunch at The Gurnards Head and soak up the most awe-inspiring landscape. If a Sunday stroll is more your thing then head south to The Pandora Inn situated on a creek of the Fal their carvery Sunday lunch is popular with locals and visitors alike
In St Ives Alba, Porthmeor Beach Cafe and Porthminster Cafe have not only the most fantastic views but superb food too.
Closer to Benallack for fine dining there is the Driftwood on the Roseland. For a more casual bite try the seafood chowder or tagine at the Hidden Hut situated along a sandy path above the Rosevine beach or Tatams Taverna in Portscatho for pizza and everything wood fired, bring your own drinks and eat in or take out and watch the sunset sitting on the beach. We’re very lucky to be surrounded by great pubs, The Plume of Feathers in Mitchell, The Kings Head in Ruan Lanihorne, The Rosaland Inn at Philleigh and The Pandora Inn near Mylor are all very different and well worth a visit.
For quintessentially English quality and charm you can’t beat a handpicked Porthole crab sandwich or traditional high tea on The Quarterdeck at the Nare Hotel overlooking Gerrans Bay.
Cornwall is a natural outdoor playground! Whether it is fishing, walking, golf, sailing, surfing, kayaking, cycling, coasteering, wild swimming or water safaris we can help you organise an active holiday liaising with local companies.
Alternatively, for the more independent adventurers we have the facilities for cleaning and storing a variety of sports and water sports equipment and can recommend walks, share wild swimming spots, empty beaches for a kayak adventure and excellent cycle trails.
If you are heading for the beach please spare a thought for your safety. The RNLI offer useful safety tips and you can search for lifeguarded beaches.
The history of Cornwall’s famous gardens is tied to the adventurous spirit of plant hunters who risked their lives to transform their gardens and knowledge of plants. Their adventures by sea took them around the globe to discover new and exciting plants in far flung corners of the earth. Warmed by the gulf stream Cornwall provided the perfect environment for these plants to flourish and has led to some of the most beautiful exotic and sub tropical gardens in Great Britain. Many of the plants that the early plant hunters introduced can still be seen in Cornwall’s famous gardens today.
Benallack is perfectly positioned for you to explore many of Cornwall’s great gardens. With Trellisick, Tregothnan, Lamorran, Trewithen, Caerhays, The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Tregrehan all within 15 minutes and Lanhydrock and Trebah a 30 minutes drive it would be easy to wile away a week wandering around these beautiful gardens.
Spring arrives around 6 weeks earlier in Cornwall, anytime from mid February, so it is the perfect time to visit Cornwall’s gardens, enjoy the flowering camellias, magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons and lift your spirits as the days lengthen to summer.