Escape to the Seaside: The Bulrushes, Cornwall

Down a winding little Cornish road, where birds sing and ancient trees quietly listen, you’ll find The Bulrushes. Once the flour mill of the historic Terrace manor house nearby, today this property is a spacious, stylish rural retreat – and the perfect home-from-home for a long weekend. Situated just a short drive away from the coastal village of Crantock and the busier beaches of Newquay, it still manages to feel like its own secluded corner of countryside.

Owners Sam and Chris, who bought the 17th-century property in 2009, have done a great job of renovating. The interiors combine an air of traditional farmhouse chic with vibrant modern accents: think designer lamps, plush navy sofas, palm-patterned curtains and fur blankets draped artfully over wooden benches. The whole thing is immaculately finished, but without feeling like a show home. Original features sit alongside rustic touches like low, white-painted beamed ceilings and a wood-burning fire (for added cosiness in case the chill of a British summer evening creeps in). The open living/dining area and large table are made for socialising, and the large kitchen for pottering and cooking – just what we needed to celebrate Liz’s birthday. The house sleeps four comfortably, and the bedrooms – a double and a twin room – are light, bright and snug. Sunlight flooded through the windows in the morning, bathing the room in that warm,happy glow you only seem to get on holiday. Crisp bed linens and squiggly beds meant we all enjoyed a luxurious lie-in before rising to make fresh pots of tea and enjoy an alfresco breakfast from the local hamper provided (rustic farm loaf, butter and local eggs). This, and freshly cut flowers, fluffy bathrobes, homemade soaps, scented candles and board games are just some of the luxury touches you can expect here.

Our days were spent mostly by the seaside, just a short drive away – occasionally dipping our toes in the waves, but mainly walking and talking along the rugged, golden sands of Fistral Beach. Just one of the bays located on the 630-mile South West Coast Path, you can walk virtually uninterrupted on the beaches, cliffs, and through the quaint Cornish villages of this dramatic coastline. We stopped for lunch at The Beach Hut at Watergate Bay, where we treated ourselves to Cornish moules marinières and a glass of white wine. It wouldn’t be a trip to the Cornish coast without sampling the local sea-dwelling delicacies, so we popped into E Rawle & Co fishmonger and left, arms laden with fresh seafood, ready for an evening of birthday celebrations. Our seafood feast kicked off with oysters with a French shallot vinaigrette and prawns with a Bloody Mary sauce, made by our very own Food Editor. Plump, juicy lobster followed, served in the best way possible – with warm lemon-garlic butter. It’s worth noting that if you want to hire a private chef, Unique Home Stays also provides this service – as well as other bespoke extras, such as beauty treatments – all there to add another layer of luxury to an already wholesome stay.

The sun peeked her shy head over the clouds long enough for us to justify a BBQ on our final evening at The Bulrushes. The garden itself is a place to behold: rose bushes and blooming flowerbeds live alongside an abundance of wildlife – woodpeckers, foxes, voles and badgers. Fireflies reside there too, dancing among the reeds in the babbling River Gannel that runs through the bottom of the garden. We sat wrapped in blankets, G&Ts in hand, tucking into halloumi and veggie kebabs and local burgers from Trevilley Farm Shop, just up the lane. Luckily, the cottage is at the bottom of the Sylvan Valley and so enjoys its own micro-climate, away from coastal winds. It was a perfect little nook of privacy, tucked away from the world. In fact, the thing we all noticed the most about The Bulrushes was the stillness – that sense of being removed from the busy world. The sounds were the symphony of birds and wildlife, and the occasional clip-clop of ponies – that, and the chattering of four friends!

Sleeps four. Prices from £975 for a three-night stay in mid-high season, uniquehomestays.com

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