Spring 2020 at Pengelly Retreat – what’s new?

We could never have predicted how 2020 would turn out for us here at Pengelly Retreat and for everyone else round the country and the world. Sometimes it feels like everything’s been tipped upside and given a good shake. And we’re still not sure how it’s going to feel when we get turned the right way up again.

We’ve been closed to guests since the UK corona virus lockdown was made official back in the middle of March. It feels like a lifetime ago! The good news is that we are all keeping well and healthy – and feel so very lucky to have all this space and fresh air to play in during lockdown. This really is the perfect place to socially distance! We still aren’t sure when we can reopen our beautiful Boat House cabin and Sail House yurt to guests, but we have our fingers firmly crossed for July, following Boris’s latest update on how and when restrictions may start to slowly lift.

Meanwhile we’ve been keeping ourselves busy during lockdown with regular checks and updates to the our beautiful accommodation here. The biggest of which is this fantastic outdoor bath at the Boat House cabin. WOW we absolutely LOVE this and hope all our future guests will too. Clever Jim built the outdoor bathroom deck and we will get the bath plumbed in very shortly. So keep your eyes peeled for the classic bubble bath and fizz pictures coming your way very soon (I hope!).

Wow… what a view! The outdoor bath at the Boat House

While in the depths of lockdown we really enjoyed exploring more of the countryside around Pengelly Retreat and have a new favourite walk, following the course of the stream which runs along the boundary of our land, along a rather wild and overgrown footpath to the neighbouring hamlet of Trenwheal. The footpaths and lanes are so pretty at this time of year with all the campions, bluebells and cow parsley growing in abundance. We’ve also enjoyed exploring Crenver Grove, an ancient oasis of glorious woodland and bluebells, just up the road from us.

Discovering new footpaths…

With the gentle lifting of restrictions this past week, we’ve ventured back to the beach too. It’s only a short 15 minute drive from Pengelly Retreat, but we felt we shouldn’t get in the car if we could help it during lockdown. Now that we know we’re ‘allowed’ to venture back to the coast again we’ve made the most this week! And honestly I don’t think we’ve ever appreciated the stunning beaches we have on our doorstep so much. We feel a bit like we’re on holiday ourselves being able to spend time here once more.

Stunning Praa Sands, so beautiful

And meanwhile the bookings keep coming in – we are truly so grateful for the support of all our lovely guests who have decided to rebook their cancelled dates with us. And for those who haven’t been able to shift back their holidays we’ve refunded their payments in full. Because of the uncertainty we know everyone is facing this year, we are operating a fully flexible cancellation policy for all 2020 bookings made directly with us via our website or email. This means that if a guest who has booked direct with us needs to cancel their booking at any time, up till the day before they arrive, we will refund in full, no quibbles and no questions asked. We hope this gives everyone the reassurance they need to book their holidays and start dreaming about their next stay at Pengelly Retreat.

‘Relaxing’ in the bath

Much love from us and hope to see you all sooner than later. Meanwhile stay safe and keep well xx

Winter Wonders: our favourite things to do in Cornwall in Winter

Winter might be thought of as the low season but here at Pengelly Retreat we have been busy with lovely guests all year round. And some might say that it’s the guests in the know that visit Cornwall in the winter months as you get the most amazing places pretty much all to yourself. Yes the weather can be stormy but we do get our share of gorgeous crisp sunny winter’s days here. And you can be sure of blowing away the cobwebs if you visit at this time of year too!

So to celebrate the winter months and those intrepid visitors who aren’t put off by cold and frosty mornings, here’s some of our favourite things to do in Cornwall in the winter months:

A cold and frosty morning by the lake

Winter welly walk on the beach – Cornwall boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bold statement, but I don’t think anyone would disagree! And while the summer months draw the big crowds, the winter months are the best time for getting these beautiful expanses of sand, sea and fresh air to yourself. We love that we can be on a beautiful north or south coast beach within 15 minutes’ – being in the middle has it’s benefits! So pull on those wellies and get a lung full of fresh air. We are big fans of Gwithian & Godrevy on the north coast and Praa Sands and Poldhu on the south.

Dreamy Godrevy Beach in winter

Cold water swimming – open air swimming is all the rage at the moment with a list of health benefit as long as your arm. Amongst other things, plunging into cold water can help relieve anxiety and depression – and help you sleep better too (although best to check with your GP before taking the plunge). Now I’m going to be completely honest here, there is no way I’m going to leap into cold water in the middle of winter. However Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jim both swear by it. So you can’t argue with that. And where better to test it out than a beautiful Cornish beach – or the even more freezing at this time of year wild swimming lake at Pengelly Retreat!

Get those wellies on for a beach walk!

Chilling out in a cosy pub or restaurant – if you’ve had enough of the bracing fresh air, then how about spending some time in one of Cornwall’s lovely pubs or restaurants with some hearty food to keep you toasty warm. We really like Sunday lunches at Kota Kai in Porthleven, Trengilly Wartha near Constantine, Heron Inn at Malpas and Pandora Inn at Restronguet. Porthleven is one of our favourite places if we’re wanting to pop out for a meal, it’s only 10 minutes’ drive from us and there’s a whole range of cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from. Also a great spot to watch the intrepid surfers catching the waves by the pier, even on the chilliest winter day.

Porthleven potter

Hang out in St Ives, without the crowds – we do love beautiful St Ives and it’s only 20 minutes’ or so drive from Pengelly Retreat. But for us it’s a bit of a no-go zone in the summer months as it gets so busy. In the winter it’s a fab place to visit, parking is easy-peasy (something you won’t be saying in the summer) and there are lots of independent shops and galleries to browse around in the charming cobbled streets. The Tate St Ives is a always a winner on a rainy day, potter round the exhibits, enjoy the views of Porthmeor Beach out of the windows and head up to the cafe for a well-earned cup of tea and a scone.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives on a stormy day

Catch a movie at the artsy Newlyn Filmhouse – Newlyn is a one to watch on the up and coming lists. Traditionally a bustling fishing port there’s been a recent burgeoning of eating places, shops and galleries here. The Newlyn Filmhouse is a great place to head off to on a winter’s afternoon or evening for a meal at the restaurant/cafe. After refuelling, head into one of the plush cinema rooms to curl up on a very comfortable chair (or sofa!) and watch a movie. It’s so posh, they even have a no-rustle policy with only drinks and ice cream allowed in to the cinema rooms. Ideal for those of us who get a bit annoyed by someone crunching through a large portion of popcorn during the crucial bits of the film…

The tranquil Boat House on a sunny winter’s afternoon

We hope that’s given you some winter inspiration for your next Cornwall visit. If you fancy a winter – or indeed a spring, summer, autumn – stay in one of our lovely lakeside houses, then head to our availability calendars now to check out which dates are still free. We’re booking up fast for 2020 so you need to get in there to get the dates of your choice! Look forward to seeing you soon and look out for the next Postcard from Pengelly.

Wildlife & Autumn Wonders at Pengelly Retreat

Our first summer season has rushed by and we are now into one of our favourite times of year here at Pengelly Retreat. Autumn! I keep seeing the hashtag autumn vibes on social media at the moment and it always makes me smile because I love this time of year.

Autumn at Pengelly
Autumn sunrise over the lake from the Boat House

We’ve had a real mixed bag of weather in September and October with some gorgeous hot sunny days and some days when the rain just didn’t seem to stop. But this means the gardens and land are looking lush and lovely, with all those autumn red, orange and yellow tones coming through. 

Jim has been hard at work on the land as usual with his latest project planting a wetland garden round the oxbow lagoon, just beyond the Boat House. He’s planted umbrella grass, irises and reeds, sown bog meadow mix and planning to put in silver birch trees and gunnera plants. We can’t wait to see how it looks next spring. He’s also made a new compost area so we can properly compost our leaves and leftovers.

Planting done.. what will it look like next year?!

The wildlife has been flourishing too. We’ve got a hedgehog hibernating in the barn – it gets quite feisty if you go near it and hisses, so no photos. Jim and Aggie have built a beautiful hedgehog house by the stream in hopes a hibernating hedgehog might move in but no luck yet.  Picky customers those hedgehogs!  

Autumn sun over the Sail House

Lucky guests staying at the Sail House yurt have been enjoying watching a kingfisher who likes to perch near the lake looking for fish.  Apparently you can watch him from the comfort of the bed in there – now that’s luxurious bird-watching!  We also had a couple of sets of guests earlier in the season spot an otter in the lake.  We are thrilled that an otter has visited our lake at Pengelly Retreat.  

We’ve had quite a few guests try their hand at fishing for the wild brown trout in the lake during their stays – catch and release policy.  All I can say is those brown trout are VERY clever and you have to be a top fisher-person to catch them.  There’s lots in there, but the only guest who had much success was a pro fisherman who competes and wins in high profile competitions.  This doesn’t seem to put other guests off from trying, we all like a challenge!

Peaceful cloud reflections over one of the pools at Pengelly Retreat

We’ve been busy throughout the year and are already rapidly booking up for next year which is great.  Thank you very much to all our lovely guests who’ve stayed with us so far in our first year of running Pengelly Retreat and we look forward to meeting all those who are booked in with us for the future.  If you’d like to squeeze in a stay at the Boat House or the Sail House this year there’s still a chance!  We have a few dates available in November and first half of December, take a look at our availability calendar for details and prices.  

Happy Halloween everyone and look out for your next Postcard from Pengelly 🙂

Pengelly Retreat’s Guide to Busy Season in Cornwall

Yep it’s August and we are fully into crazy busy season here in Cornwall! August is great because there is so much going on from festivals to outdoor theatre, concerts, craft markets and country shows. You name it, it’s happening – and the buzz is amazing. But it can also be a bit tricky working out which are the best spots to avoid the crowds.

I don’t like to state the obvious here, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet then staying at Pengelly Retreat is a winner at any time of year, including August. We are located in gorgeous 5 acres of private land, lakes, gardens and meadows. And we have just 3 guest accommodation here so plenty of space to roam about, relax and enjoy without it feeling ‘busy’. Our lakeside houses in particular are super-private with lots of space around them and not overlooked by any other property. Bliss! Only thing is, you need to get your booking in early as we are full, full, full until well into September.

sail house

Other than staying at Pengelly Retreat, here are our other top tips for getting the best out of busy season in Cornwall:

  1.  Make sure you book ahead for meals out to avoid that really annoying “sorry we’re completely fully booked today” moment. We love eating out in Porthleven, which is a lovely Cornish harbour just 10 minutes’ down the road from us. Kota Kai is one of our favourites there, a bistro with great views over the harbour and a tasty Asian-Cornish fusion menu with plenty of fresh seafood.
  2. Which brings me neatly on to my next tip: go to Porthleven not Padstow in August! Padstow, lovely as it is, is full to bursting in August, it’s so well known these day.  So make like a local and head to Porthleven instead. It’s a bit like Padstow – it’s a picturesque Cornish harbour with cafes, shops and restaurants around it – but not as crazy-busy.  There’s even a Rick Stein restaurant there, as well as plenty of other eating & drinking options.     
  3. Don’t go to St Ives, unless you are very brave.  Ok so you can go to St Ives in August but it is going to be really busy.  My best advice is to avoid driving into St Ives as you’ll get stuck in traffic and have a hassle parking.  A more civilised option is to catch the branch line train from St Erth into St Ives – it’s a lovely 15 minute train journey along a very pretty bit of coastline.  There’s now a lovely big new car park at St Erth station so you’ve a good chance of getting a space, especially if you arrive fairly early in the morning.  And pack a picnic so you can find a spot on one of the beaches for your lunch without having to tangle with crowds in cafes.  
  4. Try and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.  So on a hot, sunny, beachy kind of day avoid going to the beach and instead go to one of Cornwall’s gorgeous great gardens.  They are so beautiful and cool and shady on a hot day, perfect for a peaceful wander.  The gardens still get busy but they won’t be nearly as busy as the beach when the sun is shining.  Trengwainton near Penzance is a lovely one with lush tree ferns and cool water flowing down the hillside.
  5. If you are heading to the beach then go off the beaten track and steer clear of the best known beaches.  Kynance and Porthcurno are rightly famous beach beauties but they can get very packed in August and parking is limited.  Try one of Hayle’s beaches instead, where there is miles of golden sand and various different car parks to try.  If you head to Godrevy fairly early in the morning or later in the day then you’re likely to find a space.  Or go a bit leftfield and head for North Quay in Hayle where there is free parking along the road.  From here you can walk along a stretch of river estuary beach until you come out on a wonderful sweep of golden sands, part of St Ives Bay.  

So there you have it, my top tips for August in Cornwall.  Just don’t tell any one else!!

Summertime at Pengelly Retreat

Can you believe we are into June already, summer is well and truly here at Pengelly Retreat. The gardens, meadows, land and lakes are looking absolutely gorgeous and are once again full of wildflowers, birds, butterflies and dragonflies. This really is my favourite time of the year – apart from the occasional hayfever sneeze attack that is!

Sunny skies over the Pengelly Retreat Boat House

We’ve been so busy with happy guests staying in our 3 accommodations – the cosy Mill Annexe and our lakeside Boat House & Sail House – that I haven’t actually written a Postcard from Pengelly since January. Whoops!

My excuse is that in January we opened our beautiful Sail House yurt to our first guests and then mid-March we unveiled the rather lovely Boat House cabin too. And since then we literally haven’t stopped! At least not long enough to sit down at the laptop and type a blog post.

Looking lush: the Sail House in June

We’ve been so happy to get all the lovely feedback from those who have stayed with us in 2019 so far. Here’s what a recent visitor to the Sail House wrote in the guest book… These really make me smile when I read them – holiday bliss all round!

A little piece of heaven on earth

We still have a little bit of space in June, July and August – so if you are flexible on dates then take a look and snag yourself a piece of paradise in Cornwall this summer. Alternatively for the savvy traveller this is the best time to book up for autumn – equally lovely and a lot less busy on the beaches once the school holidays are over. So take your pick from the best dates in September, October and November now.

Wildflower meadow behind the Boat House

We look forward to seeing you at Pengelly Retreat soon – come and stay soon before we put the prices up 😉