I can’t quite believe it took me so long to make it down to Cornwall. But, ever since my first visit in October 2019, I’ve been determined to explore this beautiful corner of England in more depth. Cornwall is blessed with some of the best weather in the UK, along with some rugged coastal scenery, pretty fishing villages and an abundance of picturesque walks — all of which make it an ideal destination for a romantic autumnal getaway. So, if you’re currently planning a trip away with a loved one then this post may give you some inspiration around where to head to for some of the loveliest romantic getaways in Cornwall.
This is a sponsored post that has been written in collaboration with Classic Cottages. For the purpose of transparency, I think it’s important to state that I have not stayed with Classic Cottages previously (although I’d very much like to!). The content of this article and my decision to work with the brand is based on a combination of my own research, the extensive number of customer reviews available online, and a couple of recommendations from people I know.
Who are Classic Cottages?
Established in 1977 (yes, they’ve been in business for a whopping 45 years!), Classic Cottages was founded by Tony and Clare – a couple who, after spending 15 years roaming around the world with the Army, decided to plant some roots in Cornwall. They bought a couple of run-down fishermen’s cottages in the picturesque village of Porthleven , and worked hard to transform them into beautiful holiday homes that they would have been happy to stay in themselves.
These two cottages became so popular that locals began to hear about Tony and Clare’s success and made requests for their own cottages to be added to the Classic Cottages’ portfolio.
Classic Cottages now have over 1300 unique, stylish and cosy holiday cottages on their books and employ over 50 team members. Whilst their highest concentration of holiday cottages is in the south of England, they have also expanded to include Wales, central England and the North West.
If you’re looking to accommodate a large group of friends or a couple of families then you’ll be pleased to know that many of their properties cater for more than four people; some up to as many as 12. However, if there’s just two of you, there are plenty of smaller, more intimate offerings too, if you fancy a more romantic getaway in Cornwall. Or, in fact, anywhere else in the UK. And, lots of properties available through Classic Cottages are dog-friendly as well!
Classic Cottages have been mentioned numerous times in the press just in 2022 alone, and have an average overall guest review rating of more than 88%.
If that’s not enough to convince you to check them out when you’re next in search of some holiday cottages in the UK, then have a look at some of the properties they offer — linked to in this post.
Romantic Getaways in Cornwall | The Far West
Visit | Sennen, Land’s End, Mousehole, St. Ives, Nanjizal Beach, Minack Theatre, St. Michael’s Mount, and Botallack Mine
I actually booked a little romantic getaway to Cornwall’s far west (well, as romantic as things get with Stu!) just before lockdown. However, due to circumstances beyond our control (read: Covid-19 restrictions), we had to cancel said trip — twice. We’re now heading down to Sennen in January, for Stu’s birthday. And our plan is to visit all of the places listed above.
We’ll spend the first day driving up the coast to the Botallack Mine, located along Cornwall’s ‘Tin Coast.’ Since 2006, the mine has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now owned by the National Trust. Used in the filming of the BBC’s Poldark series, the ruined engine houses have become instantly recognisable icons of Cornwall’s industrial heritage.
Further on up the coast, we’ll arrive at the town of St. Ives. Even if you don’t know Cornwall well, I guarantee you’ll have heard of St. Ives; it’s one of the county’s most popular destinations. This is normally the kind of fact that would force me to run in the opposite direction, but there’s something about St. Ives that I’m drawn to.
Maybe it’s the thriving art scene (artists have flocked here for well over a century) and abundance of artists’ studios and galleries. Maybe it’s the tempting array of independent shops and cafes that line its winding cobbled streets. Or maybe it’s the pretty turquoise bays that wrap around its picturesque fishing harbour.
Photo by Skye’s Cottages via Flickr’s Creative Commons licence
I wouldn’t advise basing yourself here as prices are more expensive than elsewhere in this part of Cornwall, and I would avoid visiting in the school holidays (if at all possible). But, travel off season and you might just find somewhere that makes for a very welcome addition to the itinerary for your romantic getaway in Cornwall.
Also on the agenda for our romantic getaway in Cornwall for Stu’s birthday is St. Michael’s Mount — a tidal island, located in Mount’s Bay, that’s home to a living community (part of the Marazion civil parish) and is crowned by a medieval 15th century chapel and castle. The man-made causeway is only passable only for approximately four hours of each day between mid and low tide. So, you’ll need to time your visit with the tide times.
Not far from St. Michael’s Mount is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt fishing villages in Cornwall. Mousehole (pronounced ‘Mowzle’) was an important fishing port from as early as 1266. Part of the south quay originates from 1390, making it possibly the oldest pier in Cornwall. There are fantastic views across Mount’s Bay to St. Michael’s Mount from Mousehole. Once you’re done exploring Mousehole itself, it’s possible to walk the South West Coast Path to Lamorna Cove — a favourite of many of the region’s creative souls.
And while we’re on the subject of walking, you’ll want to walk the South West Coast Path from Sennen to Nanjizal Beach. It’s a 3.4 mile route one-way that passes through Land’s End (but, a longer circular route is available). As one of Cornwall’s least accessible (and, therefore, most often deserted) beaches, Nanjizal can only be accessed from Land’s End in the south or Porthgwarra in the north. What’s unusual about this beach is the fact that you’ll find Zawn Pyg (or, more romantically, ‘Song of the Sea’) here — a tall, narrow slit in the rocks through which the winter sun aligns perfectly as it sets into the sea. It makes for a fittingly romantic end to one of the days on your romantic getaway in Cornwall.
Just one more activity is left on this Far West romantic getaway in Cornwall, and that’s to catch a show at the Minack Theatre. As an open-air auditorium , carved into the granite cliff and with spectacular panoramic views of Porthcurno Bay, the Minack theatre is possibly one of the most unusual and romantic places at which you’ll ever be fortunate enough to witness a theatrical performance.
Stay | Tegen
Tegen is a spacious, modern and airy first-floor apartment that’s located on the edge of the village of St. Just. St. Just was once the centre of the tin mining industry in this part of Cornwall, and disused engine houses, like the photogenic Crowns Engine Houses, dominate the landscape along this stretch of coast.
Staying in St. Just means that you’re perfectly located to explore all the attractions listed on this particular romantic getaways in Cornwall itinerary, as well as being just 150 yards from a popular local pub called the King’s Arms and even closer to The Dog and Rabbit Café — rated number one of 10 restaurants in St. Just on Trip Advisor. You’re also only one mile from Cape Cornwall and the South West Coast Path.
Romantic Getaways in Cornwall | The South West
Visit | The Lizard Peninsula: Lizard Point, Porthleven, Coverack, Cadgwith, Praa Sands and Kynance Cove
Probably the wildest, most rugged and remote part of Cornwall, the Lizard Peninsula is notable for its unique geology and rock formations. The coastline here is believed to contain rock which is over five million years old! The Lizard Peninsula has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and as a site of special scientific interest.
With only two ‘roads’ to speak of on the peninsula, development has been kept to a minimum, which in turn means that this part of Cornwall feels somewhat more raw and authentic than the rest of the county.
You can’t come to the Lizard Peninsula and not walk down to Lizard Point — the southernmost part of the UK. There’s a lighthouse here to mark the spot (although the actual point itself is a little further). Although the trail from Lizard Village is short, there are quite a few steep ascents and descents, so make sure you dress appropriately for both the weather (it’s very exposed here!) and terrain.
It’s also possible to walk down to Kynance Cove from Lizard Village. This National Trust-owned inlet is widely recognised as one of Britain’s most spectacular coves, and is famous for its white sand, turquoise sea and rock stacks. There’s a lovely eco-friendly café on the grassy slopes above the beach, which affords spectacular views down on to the bay.
Photo by Barney Moss via Flickr’s Creative Commons licence
If you’re looking for a more extensive sandy beach then head further up the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula to Praa Sands. Backed by undulating sand dunes, this mile-long white sand beach is popular with surfers. There’s a surf shop right on the beach, if you fancy having a go yourself.
The Lizard Peninsula is also home to some ridiculously pretty villages that look like they’ve been plucked straight from the pages of a storybook, with tiny thatched roof cottages nestled together in coves where small fleets of fishing boats still catch crab and lobster. On the shorelines are centuries-old pubs where you’ll hear traditional Cornish folk music and singing.
One of these villages is Cadgwith. Outside the peak of summer, it can almost feel as if time has stood still here; the pace of life is unhurried and timeless.
Photo by Simon Harrod via Flickr Creative Commons licence
Another village worthy of a place on your itinerary is Coverack, located seven miles further up the east coast of the Lizard Peninsula. Some of the cottages here are said to have secret passages and cellars still in existence — a reminder of the village’s smuggling past.
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a nice romantic meal with some quality food and drink then Porthleven is, some say, the new Padstow. It’s an emerging foodie destination that also happens to be the most southerly working port in the United Kingdom. The Harbour Inn comes highly recommended, as does the Cornish-Asian restaurant, Kota. And, Rick Stein also has a restaurant here. Porthleven even holds its own three-day food festival every April.
Stay | The Boatshed (if you need parking and don’t mind being a little distance from the coast) or Triton (if you want to wake up to stunning sea views)
As the name suggests, The Boatshed is a former boatshed that’s been beautifully converted into living accommodation, whilst still retaining features that give a nod to the building’s original purpose. I love the sitting room on the first floor, with its floor to ceiling west-facing windows that offer the perfect vantage point from which to watch the sun set. There’s also a private terrace with boat-shaped arbour, fire pit and gas-fired barbeque. You’ve got quite possibly everything you need here to snuggle up for a romantic evening on one of your romantic getaways in Cornwall.
But, if you do want to wander a little further afield, there’s a dog-friendly pub (The Coach and Horses) 400 metres away, a little cove for swimming and snorkelling (although the beach can only be accessed at low tide) 800 metres away and a historic village (Perranuthnoe) that dates back to 1086 just 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) away. It’s also walking distance to the nearest town — Praa Sands.
Triton, on the other hand, is a former net loft that’s been converted into a cosy little retreat right on the sea front at Porthleven — where the Classic Cottages story first began. Classic Cottages offer a whole host of coastal cottages in the UK, as well as those in more rural inland locations. Triton is beautifully light and airy inside with wooden floors throughout and floor to ceiling patio door style windows in the living area that offer uninterrupted views out to sea. The property has even been featured on Escape to the Country! Porthleven beach is just 180 metres away.
Romantic Getaways in Cornwall | North Coast
Visit | Bedruthan Steps, Tintagel Castle, St. Nectan’s Glen, Chapel Porth and Truro
This part of Cornwall, although more accessible than, say, the Lizard Peninsular or the far west, is actually one of the least known areas of the county — excluding, obviously, the tourist honeypots of Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel. That said, Tintagel Castle is well worth a visit and its location is pretty spectacular too. Although, I wouldn’t linger too long in the town itself.
Photo by Andrey Zaychuk on Unsplash
Not far from Tintagel is St. Nectan’s Glen — an area of woodland stretching for around one mile along both banks of the Trevillet River.
It feels world’s away from the wind-blown trails that snake their way along the rugged, dramatic Cornish coastline, the only sounds being the gentle trickle of water, soothing birdsong, and the distant murmur of waterfalls. There are actually three waterfalls here in St. Nectan’s Glen, but it’s St. Nectan’s Kieve that is by far the most spectacular. This 60-foot waterfall tumbles over slate into a kieve (plunge pool).
Photo by Robert Pittman via Flickr’s Creative Commons licence
Continue down the coast and you’ll reach the rock stacks of Bedruthan — better known as Bedruthan Steps, presumably due to the steep staircase that you need to climb down (inaccessible at high tide) in order to gain access to the beach. Unfortunately, the beach is currently closed due to a couple of rock falls over the last couple of years. However, you can still view the giant rock stacks from above by following one of the cliff top trails along the coast towards Trevose Head.
When you arrive at St. Agnes, don’t miss a walk out to Chapel Porth — a beautiful cove that’s framed by steep, gorse-covered cliffs — in order to catch sight of the Wheal Coates engine house. It’s one of the best-preserved you’ll find, and still boasts its chimney and winding house.
Lastly, on this itinerary, it seems a shame not to visit Cornwall’s only city, seeing as it’s so close by. Truro has a population of under 20,000 so it feels more like a small town rather than a city. However, it’s home to a rather impressive cathedral, some neat Georgian streets, cobbled lanes and pretty green spaces, a small selection of independent shops and cafes, and a rather interestingly named street — Squeeze Guts Alley (which, obviously, I had to seek out while I was there).
Stay | Rafters Loft
Located on the outskirts of the town of St. Agnes, Rafters Loft is a lovely cosy little cottage that’s perfect for romantic getaways in Cornwall. I love the sloping ceilings, large VELUX windows and light, airy, open-plan living space. But, my favourite spot is the private patio, which is perfect for soaking up the sunshine, enjoying a bit of al fresco dining or sitting around the fire pit enjoying a drink beneath the stars. As well as the walk-in en-suite shower, there’s also a shower outside, which is ideal if you need to wash the mud off your boots or the sand off your toes.
You don’t need to walk far from the nearest beach though, because Trevaunance Cove is just 1.2 kilometres (three quarters of a mile) away from Rafters Loft. You’ll also find a pub (The Taphouse) even closer. Both Rafters Loft and The Taphouse are dog friendly. Rafters Loft also has parking available for one car.
Romantic Getaways in Cornwall | South Coast
Visit | Fowey, Bodinnick, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Restormal Castle, Golitha Falls, Looe and Polperro
Just months before lockdown, Stu and I took a trip down to the south coast of Cornwall, basing ourselves in Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’) — a historic town dating back to the 14th century that rests on the west side of the Fowey estuary. I absolutely loved Fowey’s inviting maze of lanes and alleyways, quaint and colourful residential streets, and small selection of independent art galleries, cafes, bakeries and restaurants.
As well as spending time in the town itself, we also walked part of the stunning South West Coast Path, following the circular Hall Walk and Lantic Bay trail from Fowey, and stopping for a pint in Bodinnick’s 13th century pub, the Old Ferry Inn along the way.
The following day, we visited the incredible Lost Gardens of Heligan — a multi award winning botanical garden spread over a massive 200-acre area — and 13th century Restormel Castle, one of Cornwall’s four chief Normal castles that’s notable for its perfectly circular design.
Not far from Restormel Castle is a series of spectacular waterfalls known as Golitha Falls. The falls are located along a section of the River Fowey, as it makes its way through the ancient oak woodland of Draynes Wood.
Our trip combined a wonderful mix of activities, from long, scenic walks along the coast and around beautiful gardens and ancient pieces of history to cosying up in traditional pubs or small independent restaurants, enjoying quality, locally sourced food and drink. It made for the perfect romantic getaway in Cornwall.
If you have a longer amount of time available then you may also want to head over to Looe, a pretty fishing port that’s nestled at the base of a steep-sided valley, at the point where the East Looe and West Looe rivers join and subsequently flow into the Looe estuary. If you enjoy walking (as you can probably tell, I do!), it’s possible to walk along the South West Coast Path from Looe to Polperro. It’s a 9.7 kilometre (6 mile) route, which should take you a couple of hours. It’s then possible to catch the bus back to Looe in order to pick up your car (unless you have the energy to walk the same distance back again).
Stay | Shepherd’s Rest
Shepherd’s Rest is located in the pretty waterside village of Lerryn, just 5.6 kilometres (3.5 miles) upriver from Fowey. Lerryn is said to be the inspiration behind Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows and has also been used as a filming location for Rosamunde Pilcher’s romantic novels. So, as you can imagine, it’s the ideal place to stay in order to enjoy one of your romantic getaways in Cornwall.
The shepherds hut itself is absolutely stunning inside. Reclaimed wood has been used throughout — for the floorboards, internal doors, furniture and kitchen units — and there’s bespoke copper fixtures (including an amazing copper sunflower head shower and heated towel rail), and cute Kilner Jar lights. You can tell that a lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into both its design and construction.
Further evidence of this is the wonderful on-site barbeque hut overlooking the lake. But, if you don’t fancy doing your own cooking, it’s less than a 10-minute walk to the local pub, The Ship Inn. And, if you’re a dog lover, you’ll be over the moon to learn that the owners of Shepherd’s Rest have created a unique shepherd’s hut ‘kennel’ for your four-legged friend. They literally have thought of everything!
And that’s my (rather longer than planned) round up of suggested itineraries for some romantic getaways in Cornwall. I will keep adding to and amending these itineraries as I get to explore more of Cornwall over the coming years. But, please contact me if you have any further recommendations I should include in the meantime.
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