English country cottages offer unrivalled charm and a chance to revel in nature. Cornwall, in particular, evokes classic bucket-and-spade holidays that are the stuff of British childhoods. With 300 miles of dunes and cliffs, medieval harbours and oak-forested creeks, there is endless scope for adventure.
However, attempting to find a cottage among the thousands of properties listed online can be a daunting task. Our experts have visited dozens around England so you don’t have to trawl through the choices.
Here are their favourite self-catering cottages in Cornwall:
Sitting above Porthmeor beach, this immaculate cottage offers a comfortable base to enjoy St Ives, renowned for close links with some of Britain’s finest artists. Tucked away, the house is close to beaches, restaurants, shops and numerous artists’ studios and galleries.
2. Arra Venton, Lower Porthmeor
Perched above the Atlantic on a windswept moor, Landmark Trust’s Arra Venton offers proper family adventures. This converted meeting house and smithy has no WIFI, signal, television, or washing machine. The moor is yours, the sea is a scramble down to Porthmeor.
This handsome Victorian seaside town house enjoys breath taking views of the Fowey estuary where sail boats, fishing boats and splendid yachts take their ease and the white houses of Fowey rise up across the water. The small village of Polruan is a maze of tiny streets where visitors join the locals for a pint at the quayside, walkers and sailors exchange their stories and children potter on the tiny beach.
Perched above the beach on Durgan’s historic quay, this genteel National Trust house is the perfect for exploring the fascinating Helford Estuary. Small beaches and clear waters contrast with the thick woodland running down to the riverbank.
St Anthony is one of 20 cottages on the wonderful 1,000 acre Trelowarren estate. Guests roam freely among gardens, open pasture and ancient woodland, dip in the ozone pool, play tennis or visit the spa. Delicious meals are served at the Stable Yard restaurant and pop-up pizza shed
This small immaculate chalet, nestling in dunes besides miles of sandy beach, offers plenty for an active family beach holiday. Surfers ride the waves from dawn to dusk while families enjoy the rock pools, swimming pools and caverns left by the tide.
Tucked away on a pretty street, Trevan House has been beautifully restored and offers a perfect getaway for young families, with the magical harbour of Port Isaac just around the corner. Family-friendly pubs and quality restaurants abound in this atmospheric fishing village, the setting of ITV’s Doc Martin, and home to Fisherman’s Friends, the robust choir of local fishermen.
8. Radoon, Rock
Radoon is the ultimate family holiday home. Perfectly located for water sports and the fabulousrestaurants of Rock and Padstow, this eco-build offers light, airy and practical space for families to share.Downstairs bedrooms and the vast social areas upstairs take full advantage of the Cornish light afforded by floor-to-ceiling glass and views across the Camel Estuary.
As impressive as the big waves and skies it overlooks, this grand new build has fabulous views across Polzeath’s vast beach to Stepper Point. Tristram’s oak staircase spirals up three floors, creating a vast central space with opulent bedrooms, impressive bathrooms and chic living areas.
This delightful country house is within a stone’s throw of the lovely Daymer Bay, in the village of Trebetherick, Cornwall. Beyond the tall surrounding hedge, the sound of gently lapping waves and a crisp sea breeze are constant reminders of the close proximity of the popular family beach beyond.
The gorgeously decorated Marine Villa, a charming Georgian house, overlooks the tall ships moored in the historic harbour in the small village of Charlestown. Sleeps six in three rooms, with extra rooms available in the attached cabin or studio, both of which have separate entrances.