Life & Style

Cool Cornwall

Our Southwestern-most county is the go-to for those in the know; a treasure trove of hip hotspots that still retains its age-old spirit. Style commentator and local resident Fiona Golfar reveals the Cornish cream of the crop.

Image: The Girl Outdoors

Curated by Fiona Golfar

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Where to stay

Fowey Hall Hotel — This is a wonderfully friendly and informal family hotel (based a property that was the inspiration for Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’). They welcome dogs and children and offer a menu of locally sourced food on their Market menu, think lobsters and new potatoes, baked Alaska and freshly made scones and cream for tea on the terrace, with its staggering views over historic Fowey Harbour (former home of novelist Daphne du Maurier) and out to sea. Book Now

Carnacalle Cottage Sennen — Many of my friends stay at this romantic Airbnb at Land’s End, and it’s a big favourite with the London fashion crowd. Owners Polly Wilkinson and her husband photographer Ben Weller have vases full of wild flowers waiting on the kitchen table for you when you arrive at their gorgeous seven-bedroom hideaway. The master suite has a free standing bath, and every room is decorated with the couples’ stylish finds; it’s obvious that every painting, photograph and piece of comfy furniture has been chosen with love and a very good eye. A garden gate leads to a path which winds down to sandy Sennen Cove, one of the prettiest beaches in Cornwall. This cottage is so cared for and special, it feels like home… and the beauty of this place is that it is still very local, and not a scene. Book Now

The Gurnards Head Pub & Minack Theatre — The Gurnard’s Head Pub in Zennor is a welcome refuge when we approach from the wild and windy moor. Painted in distinctive Cornish saffron yellow, it is a two-hour walk from St Ives (13 minutes by car) and stands majestically overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Perched on the cliffs, this cozy refuge offers flagstone floors, roaring fires and great food (we go there every New Year’s Day). Its seven lovely guest rooms all have Roberts radios, Welsh blankets and shelves crammed with an excellent selection of books (Zennor boasts writers D H Lawrence and Micheal Morpurgo as former residents). A lovely thing to do at night is to book tickets for one of the summer productions at the nearby Minack Theatre, the famous amphitheatre built into the rocks near Land’s End. Book Now

Coombeshead Farm — We make regular pilgrimages to this restored dairy farm. Built in 1748, it became a guesthouse in 2016 as a joint venture between chef Tom Adams and April Bloomfield, the English-born chef/proprietor of The Spotted Pig in New York. Both wanted to get back to the roots of food and hospitality, and the result is this relaxed, communal-dining B&B, which sleeps up to 12 people. The charming farmhouse is full of antique finds, with sofas covered in recycled wool blankets and mismatched crockery on the shelves. There are no televisions and phone signal is at best dodgy, but this is one of the most charming spots in Cornwall and people come from all over the country to eat in the converted-barn restaurant. The good news is there is a website and you can order their incredible produce from the onsite bakery, which sells wholesale sourdough loaves made from British organic stoneground grains, as well as produce made from their Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs, Hebridean sheep, free-roaming chickens and five active bee colonies. Book Now

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Image: Mike Newman

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Coombeshead Farm, image: @sambarclay1

Where to shop

MMW Revolver — This cool fashion and interiors store in Newquay is one of my favourite shopping spots in Cornwall. Its friendly owner, Michelle Walsh, has the best taste and I always come away with something fabulous from her eclectic selection of fashion, surf and home buys at this brilliantly curated store. Discover More

The Little Shop at Fowey Hall — I opened The Little Shop last summer, offering a wide selection of lovely things – some from local creatives, some from further afield. You’ll find everything from homewares and fashion to books and beauty buys in its mix of treats, and the following (below) are just a few of my favourites:

Dee Sandford Aromatherapy — I’ve known Dee for years. Pouring just one capful of her amazing oil into the bath fills the whole house with an incredible aroma of wellness.

Davy J Swimwear — This is a brilliant brand with almost neoprene strength… not to mention extremely flattering styles. Perfect for braving the Cornish surf!

Lily Eve Store — This great collection of easy -to- wear, terry-towelling pieces – hoodies shorts and cropped jumpsuits – is designed by New Yorker Lily Eve Clempson. We are the sole UK stockist and it is available via our website.

Marazul — Harriet Baylis is a huge part of my life in Cornwall. Co- founder of MARKET, a bi-weekly craft and veg fair that we’re hosting with Cathy St Germans at Fowey Hall hotel this month, she is also the designer behind this brilliant brand of environmentally conscious clothing. Ethically produced and coloured with natural dyes, her delightfully wearable creations are an essential part of my Cornwall uniform.

Prindl Pottery — Cornwall produces clay so it has always attracted potters, most famously Bernard Leach, and the Leach Pottery in St Ives is well worth a visit. My shop carries wonderful vases and mugs from Prindl Pottery whose pieces are inspired by Chris Prindl’s time spent working in Japan.

Jennie Hale — I love Jennie’s amazing nature-inspired ceramics. Her work is informed by the sketches and diaries she makes whilst walking on the moors, recording the landscape she loves so much.

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Image: @market_at_foweyhall

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Image: Barbara Hepworth Museum

Where to eat

North St Kitchen - After a busy day’s sailing, this converted boat shed, with its blue painted floorboards and hessian covered walls, is one of the most stylish places to pause and inhale a dozen oysters (be warned, you need to book for evenings). Based in the sublime Fowey Harbour, and the brainchild of the award winning team behind Jolene bakery and restaurant in London, the simplicity of its menu is its strength. Fried sole and tartar sauce sandwiches, fish soup with wild garlic and croutons, Coombeshead bread and butter with pickled anchovies, and of course local crab and oysters. Heaven on a plate. Discover More

Canteen Restaurant in St Agnes — My son Joe likes to go body surfing and St Agnes on the North coast is one of his favourite spots. Canteen, perched above the village with fantastic views over the rugged cliffs, is one of Cornwall’s best-loved local restaurants. This destination spot offers little choice but fabulous food – there are only two options, one meat and one veggie. It’s all about sitting at shared tables and the prices are famously reasonable. Discover More

The Hidden Hut — No matter how many people there are queuing at this fantastic spot, somehow you never have to wait very long to get fed. This outdoor wooden hut can be found at the top of a coastal path near Portscatho. There you can sit at communal tables and enjoy traditional sausage rolls and pasties, or grab a carton (everything gets recycled) of tasty lentil and cauliflower dal, a slab of salted caramel shortbread and a bottle of Luscombe Organic’s Sicilian lemonade and head down to enjoy it on the beach below. They have a great cookbook too so you can take the experience home with you. Discover More

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Image: Canteen Cornwall

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Image: The Hidden Hut

What to See

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden — This is a place of wonder. Hepworth first came to live in Cornwall with her husband Ben Nicholson at the outbreak of war in 1939. She remained living here until her death in 1975. The tiny garden, which is home to twenty of her sculptures, is to my mind one of the most beautiful in the world. One can peer through the window of her studio, which remains untouched. I have been a million times and plan to go a million more. Discover More

Caerhays Estate — Built by John Nash in 1807 and is set on a hillside above a really lovely beach, this historic castle has been lived in by only two families since 1370. The gardens are a triumph of Victorian planting: think, camellias, magnolias and wisterias. Every spring we make a point of visiting. Discover More

The Lost Gardens Of Heligan — A Cornwall a must-see. The historic house and gardens, seat of the Tremayne family, had been lost in time after the WW1. Just like in the children’s classic ‘The Secret Garden’, this extraordinary 200-acre garden was rediscovered via a door found in the ruins of the estate by Sir Tim Smit and John Willis. Restored to their former glory with an amazing attention to detail, the extraordinary gardens are filled with vast camellias and rhododendrons. Discover More

The Cheesewring — Walk across the eastern flank of Bodmin Moor, past the wild ponies a mile away from the village of Minions, and you will come to a giant granite tor – a free-standing rocky outcrop. This natural geological formation of granite slabs looms over the moor and makes an extraordinary impression. Legend has it that the giant stack was indeed created by giants engaging in a throwing contest with a man. It’s not hard to believe when you see it. Discover More

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