The Great Escape – A festive mini break in Cornwall this December

A lot of us feel like holidays are on hold at the moment with all the uncertainty around what will happen next. But fear not, you can still book yourself a pre-Christmas treat with a mini break to Cornwall. Really? Yes really! We have some December 2020 availability in both our lovely lakeside houses: the dreamy Boat House cabin and Sail House yurt.

The view from the Boat House cabin at Pengelly Retreat

Fully Flexible Cancellations

It may feel like you can’t plan for the future right now but, a little treat of a getaway to Cornwall in the diary gives you something to look forward to. And we definitely all need treats in life right now! Pengelly Retreat guests have the added security of our fully flexible cancellation policy for 2020 and 2021. So if plans change and you need to cancel your stay at any time before your arrival day, we will refund you in full, no questions asked.

Please note, our fully flexible cancellation policy only applies to bookings made direct with us. We have found for those guests who book via Air BnB (rather than direct with us), sometimes Air BnB won’t refund their fee in the case of cancellation. Very frustrating and something we have no control over. So please always book with us direct – we also offer the best rates for our direct bookers too.

lakeside cabin for small weddings in Cornwall
The romantic Boat House at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @oliviamoonphoto

The Perfect Cornish Hideaway

Our two lovely lakeside houses are the perfect Cornish hideaway for couples or single travellers looking for a rural retreat. Situated in 5 acres of private gardens, meadows and lakes with oodles of space and fresh air all around them. Perfect for social distancing! They both overlook a beautiful wild swimming lake, which is admittedly rather chilly for swimming in the winter months. But if you like cold-water swimming….! Some of our brave guests do indeed take the plunge at all times of year -even in January & February.

elopements and small weddings in Cornwall
Barefoot at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @oliviamoonphoto

Cosy Logburners

Both the Boat House cabin and the Sail House yurt have large log burners which make them super-cosy once the fire is going. They also both have a little touch of underfloor heating which comes on morning and evening. It’s not going to heat your whole house in the winter but it gives a bit of luxurious warmth underfoot. And it’s those little luxuries that count.

The log burner in the Sail House yurt at Pengelly Retreat

Beaches & Countryside

The Retreat’s enviable location in West Cornwall means that you are just 15 minutes from the most amazing beaches. Gwithian & Godrevy beach on the north coast is one of our go-tos, with Praa Sands being our regular beach hang-out on the south. You’re surrounded by tranquil countryside for winter walks including the Crenver Grove woodlands and National Trust’s Godolphin & Penrose Estates. Or if you’d like to just chill out in your own beautiful space, surrounded by nature, then you can kick back and relax by the lake. Many of our guests choose to do just that.

Gwithian Beach, Cornwall

Cornish Eats

If eating out is your thing then the nearby harbour of Porthleven boasts some excellent bistros, pubs and cafes including Kota Kai, the Square and the brand new Michael Caines’ restaurant. Or if you’d rather eat in then grab yourself a fresh Cornish fish and chips at Sanders in Hayle and head back to your lakeside holiday home. For self-catering, we recommend stocking up from the tempting selection of local produce at Trevaskis Farm’s impressive farm shop just up the road.

pengelly-retreat-weddings-new
The boat on the lake at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @t.frost.photography

Unique Christmas Gifts & Treats

Cornwall is also absolutely brilliant for inspired Christmas shopping with a abundance of gift shops, galleries and local makers creating beautiful and unique gifts. If you’ve Christmas gift shopping in mind, we love the Four Crows and Customs House Galleries in Porthleven; Uneeka and The Truro Arts Company in Truro and Inspire Makers in Falmouth. And that’s before I even mention all the Christmas markets that happen down here in December….

Shopping in Truro, Cornwall

If I’ve managed to convince you that a December break in Cornwall is just the treat you need, then head to our Sail House yurt and Boat House cabin pages to read more about our gorgeous lakeside accommodation and check their availability. I don’t think that the December availability is going to be there for long, so better get your (ice) skates on…. 🙂

Autumn Vibes at Pengelly Retreat in Cornwall

Yes I know we’re still in August… but is anyone else feeling the autumn vibes yet?! There’s definitely been lots of people planning their UK autumn holidays in Cornwall this year. We are already fully booked in both the lakeside Boat House cabin and Sail House luxury yurt for the entire month of September. And all the October weekends have been swiped by those canny early bookers as well! It’s not too late to get in on the action though, we’ve still got some availability in October in both our lovely lakeside houses. And November has availability if you’re looking for an autumnal weekend break in Cornwall.

Small weddings in Cornwall at Pengelly Retreat
An autumnal break at the romantic lakeside Boat House at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @oliviamoonphoto

Why to Visit Cornwall in Autumn

Autumn is one of our favourite times of year in Cornwall. It so much quieter than the busy summer months so there’s no worries about visiting some of the gorgeous Cornish highlights which get packed out in the school holidays. Visits to St Ives, St Michael’s Mount, Kynance and Porthcurno Beaches are back on! We still get lots of sunny days in autumn and the sea is the warmest it gets all year round, having been heated up by the summer sunshine. Which makes this time of year a favourite with wild swimmers, surfers, body boarders and kayakers at the gorgeous Cornish beaches nearby.

Gwithian Beach looking towards St Ives

The wild swimming lake at Pengelly Retreat is still warm enough for leisurely swims without the “bbbbrrrrrr” factor being too high. And even on a chillier day, you can still hop into the lush outside bath at the Boat House cabin or the heated outside shower at the Sail House to warm up nicely after your swim.

A warming outside bath after a wild swim in the lake!

The Best Activities in Cornwall in Autumn

Here’s some of my favourite autumn activities to do in Cornwall to make the most of this beautiful time of year down here.

Woodland walks and blackberry picking – I’m a big fan of woodland walks at any time of year if I’m honest! However autumn walks in the woods here in Cornwall are something else with the leaves turning gently to golden brown and the sunshine dappling through the trees. If I look out of my window here at Pengelly Retreat I can already see the blackberries turning to ripe juicy purple, definitely a sign that autumn is approaching. Some of my favourite Cornish woodlands are nearby Crenver Grove and Godolphin woods, both of which are accessible on foot or a (very) short drive from Pengelly Retreat. A little further afield I love the mysterious and watery vibes at Kennall Vale.

Cornish woodlands at Crenver Grove
The ancient Cornish woodlands at Crenver Grove

Going to the beach without the crowds – come the end of the school holidays and miraculously the beaches in Cornwall are empty again! I love spending time at the beach with my little girl in the holidays but I do also LOVE the fact that I can get a beach almost to myself at other times of year here. Some of our nearby favourites are Gwithian, Praa Sands and Poldhu. A little further afield Porthcurno and Kynance are absolutely beach beauties that get packed in the summer but are much more appealing in the quieter autumn.

Beautiful sunrise from the deck of the Boat House at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @annac42 The Cornish Life.

Explore Cornwall by bike – Autumn is a great time for cycling in Cornwall, weather still good but it’s not quite so sweaty…! A favourite nearby for us is the Coast to Coast trail which runs from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south, mostly off-road. For more ideas of cycle trails take a look at the Mineral Tramways leaflets which has a very handy map full of cycle trails round Cornwall.

Cosy fire pit at the luxury lakeside yurt at Pengelly Retreat
Get the fire going in the fire pit at the Sail House! Photo by @annalieandted

Kayak down the Helford River – we absolutely love the Helford River area at any time of year for walking, beaches and kayak trips. Autumn is especially lush as the riverine forest turns into it’s autumnal hues. Koru Kayaking run brilliant kayak trips in this beautiful part of the world from the little beach at the Budock Vean Hotel.

All the autumn feels from our recent elopements photo shoot at Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @t.frost.photography

Cosy Cornish pub lunches in Cornwall – and if the weather has gone a bit mizzly then what better time than to retreat to cosy Cornish pub for some hearty grub by a warming fire. We really like the Heron at Malpas which has beautiful views over the Estuary, the Pandora Inn at Restronguet Creek and the Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe.

Beautiful estuary views from the Heron Inn at Malpas

What are your favourite things to do in the autumn? Come on holiday to Cornwall by any chance? Well you know what to do then! Much love to everyone and hope to see you all soon at Pengelly Retreat 🙂

Cosy bubble bath at the Sail House yurt, Pengelly Retreat. Photo by @annalieandted

Holidays in Cornwall are back! – Pengelly Retreat Reopens

Yes it’s true! Today, 4 July 2020, we have reopened the doors to our Cornish luxury yurt and lakeside log cabin to welcome back guests to our countryside retreat once more. Hooray! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever and I expect everyone else feels the same. At last, holidays in Cornwall are officially back ‘on’! Read on to hear our news and are some of our top tips on how to get the best out of your visit to Cornwall in 2020…

Luxury wood cabin by a wild swimming lake in Cornwall
The Boat House wood cabin in a gorgeous spot by the lake!

We’re all set and good to go for a busy season ahead – we’re fully booked in both our Sail House luxury yurt and Boat House lakeside cabin through all of July, August and most of September. And we’re filling up in October and November too. So if you haven’t already booked your Cornwall holiday, have a look at our Sail House luxury yurt and Boat House lakeside cabin to see what availability remains for autumn and winter 2020.

Luxury yurt in Cornwall by a wild swimming lake
The Sail House luxury Cornish yurt with tranquil lake views on either side

Of course reopening has meant us putting new procedures and protocols in place to make sure we are in line with government and industry advice for holiday accommodation in England. I’ve been glued to Visit Cornwall and Cornwall Council Webinars each week, to follow the new directives as they came out. It’s been a lot of information to digest and stay on top of but we’re confident we have everything in place , included enhanced cleaning protocols that we will follow very carefully in between each set of guests.

Just one of the many tweaks and adaptations we’ve put in place are these lovely wooden signs on the entrance doors of our log cabin and luxury yurt in Cornwall, as a reminder to use the hand sanitiser provided. These were created for us by Jamie from Zennor Made in Carbis Bay. We hear that quite a few of the shops in nearby St Ives have chosen to commission similar signs. It’s a very Cornish way for us to keep in line with advice without having to plaster up no-so-pretty Health & Safety posters…

Wooden signs from Zennor Made in Cornwall
Beautiful wooden door signs made by Zennor Made

And for the hand sanitiser itself, we’re giving the This Works Stress Check Clean Hands product a go. I’m liking it so far, it conforms to regulations but the essential oils make it smell lovely and it feels much kinder to hands than the bog-standard stuff.

We’ve also signed ourselves up to the AA’s Covid Confident and Visit England’s ‘Good to Go’ schemes as a commitment that at Pengelly Retreat is in line with all the government and industry standards and advice. And although running our business is a little more complex than before… to be honest we feel very blessed here that with just two lakeside properties and a peaceful spot in west Cornwall we are probably in one of the best locations for fresh air and social distancing!

Visit England’s Good to Go scheme is the industry standard

If you are one of our lucky guests this year, coming for your own romantic getaway or solo holiday surrounded by Cornish nature and lakes, you can simply relax here by the wild swimming lake. Or if you are looking for things to do in Cornwall there are plenty of highlights within an easy 15-30 minute drive. We expect it will be busy in some of the Cornwall hotspots like Padstow or St Ives this year… but they always get busy in the summer months! As a family we only ever visit (the very lovely) St Ives and Padstow outside of the busy season.

Peaceful lakes and countryside in Cornwall away from the crowds
Tranquility at Pengelly Retreat’s lakes

Our top tip to get the most out of your holiday is to plan ahead. If there are National Trust properties, Great Gardens or other Cornwall attractions you’d like to visit, such as St Michael’s Mount, the Eden Project or Trengwainton, then you can, but you must book your tickets in advance of your visit. Each Cornwall attraction has a different approach so always check their websites well in advance. For example, the National Trust release their tickets each week on the Friday for the following week (Monday to Sunday). Availability is limited each day to ensure the gardens and attractions are not overcrowded and tickets do sell out quickly in some cases.

St Michael's Mount and Marazion Beach
St Michael’s Mount and Marazion Beach

Beaches will also be busy, so our best advice here is to go either early or late when it will be quieter. And if the beach you head to feels too busy and the car parks are full, head up the coast and try a different location. There’s plenty of stunning West Cornwall beaches to visit nearby.

Wild swimming lake and luxury wood cabin in Cornwall
The wild swimming lake view from the Boat House log cabin

For more ideas on the best beaches and off the beaten track highlights in Cornwall have a look at our recommendations on the Explore pages of our website. Or just kick back and relax here at Pengelly Retreat, in a gorgeous area of countryside and lakes that never feels crowded or rushed. And – whisper it – if you come in the autumn or winter it will be even more peaceful and lovely down here in Cornwall! We look forward to seeing you at either the Sail House yurt or Boat House cabin for your countryside escape at Pengelly Retreat :).