All down to Cornwall for the simple life

A week in a B&B can be an ideal family break. But all the elements have to be in place. Sonia Purnell sees how they measure up in one farmhouse


The setting

The setting

Early Victorian stone farmhouse with sash-windows either side of the front door and a cream-painted stucco front wall. Polhormon Farm, near Mullion on Cornwall's Lizard peninsula, has a small but pretty walled front garden with a painted wooden gate and a wealth of cottage garden flowers such as clematis, sweet peas and gladioli.

The farm is approached down a long driveway from a winding country lane though pastures full of cows and pens for their calves. This is very much a working farm, with all the mess and smells. But beyond these agricultural realities is a spectacular, austere view (there are no trees because of the prevailing westerly winter gales) over emerald green fields plunging down to Poldhu Cove. The Victorians were far too sensible to bother with such natural magnificence, so the farmhouse faces away from the view - but also from the winds.

This is also a place of pilgrimage for radio enthusiasts as it was here that the first transatlantic signal was received from Guglielmo Marconi in 1901.

Welcome

On our mid-evening arrival, we were greeted by the farmer, Frank, who left tending his cows for a few moments to welcome us and find his jolly wife, Alice. She led us to our room and told us that breakfast was served from 8.30am to 9am. There was no choice in the matter. A nice touch was a flask of fresh milk in the room - normally unpasteurised, straight from the cows, but a recent tuberculosis scare meant that ours was from the supermarket.

The next night we found a second flask in our room without any prompting after Alice discovered how much milk our sons consume. Throughout the week, Alice was considerate (lending us things, finding a video for one son and some toys for the other) and a lot of fun. She even, without being asked, ironed some clothes I had washed and hung up on her clothes line. Frank kept us informed of various interesting events on the farm during the week‚ including the birth of twin calves, and invited us to help with the feeding and watch the milking.

On our departure, Alice strode out of her kitchen and shook my hand warmly saying how much she'd enjoyed us staying. The feeling was mutual.

The room

Our bedroom was small for four‚ although that was in part because the double bed was so huge. The single bed had a pull-out underneath. Good hanging and drawer space was provided by a large wardrobe.

The en-suite bathroom‚ with its sweet window-seat, was equally compact and furnished with basic toiletries. The furnishings were simple but the bed was comfortable. The metropolitan style-police might not be impressed by the washed-out Regency stripe wallpaper, heavy repro furniture, red velvet curtains and poly-cotton sheets, except perhaps in a retro ironic way. But the overall effect was homely and well-lit.

Breakfast

Another family and one or two other couples squeezed into the small dining room. There was a nylon lace tablecloth and blue-and-white crockery. Good, strong coffee and - with local ingredients - an excellent cooked breakfast was provided. When my eldest son mentioned that he liked Cheerios, a supply was tracked down and parked on our table the next morning. Jane, the elderly lady who served breakfast and cleaned the house, was a mine of local information - and gossip.

Price

From £70 per night for a family of four sharing the same room. Fantastic value.

Local amenities

The Lizard peninsula is a little rural world of its own beyond mainstream Cornwall. There is so much to do locally that we didn't bother venturing even to the Eden Project. Our favourite beach was Kynance Cove. Caves and soft golden sand - a perfect vision of the classic Cornish cove. The food was great at Halzephron pub at Gunwalloe, which has a heated terrace for sunset watching and a separate narrow room for families.

The village of Mullion had a wonderful, mostly organic grocery store and café (Culroger). The nearby Polurrian hotel may be rather "traditional English", but its clifftop terrace has unmissable views and the crab sandwiches make a good lunch, while Helford is the perfect English village.

Nearby Trebah Gardens has a great Tarzan adventure playground hidden in its woods. Further south, Cadgwith is a dream of a working fishing village with boats hauled up on the tiny beach. The Cove Inn sells a superior fish and chips for a fiver before 7pm. At Britain's most southerly point, the Lizard lighthouse is a wild and romantic spot.

Verdict

This was a classic, seaside holiday we'll remember for years. Now that Cornwall can even provide decent food - another meal we had at the Blue Fish in St Ives was epic - there is little you can fault the place on. We'll be back.

Polhormon Farm, near Mullion, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall (01326-240304)

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks