“Mummy it’s perfect!” my 11-year-old exclaims as we explore our Cornish holiday home. She opens the sky blue door to reveal a perfectly formed twin room with French doors that open on to a sprawling hedge covered valley. She quickly claims it as “hers” and says she wants to live in this house when she’s grown up.
Of course it’s perfect. We’re here with Sykes Cottages to do a review of Nans Tek (“Fair Valley” in Cornish). I’ve worked with the company before and have been nothing but impressed with their holiday cottages. When I book a precious week away with the family, it’s important to trust the letting company and not be disappointed.
My 14-year-old is equally excited and is noting decorating tips (can I get one of these for my room, she says pointing to a driftwood sculpture). She picks an adorable beach-themed room and moves her bags in. But more importantly, the 3-bedroom cottage is surprisingly spacious and there’s room for her to spread out and revise for her GCSEs. That was part of the plan – the two older girls could study in the mornings (while I do some exploring with our youngest daughter), and then in the afternoons we can all enjoy North Cornwall as a family.
My 12-year-old quickly runs out into the garden, which is the pièce de résistance of the property. A large grassy garden high above the coastal village of Crackington Haven, the garden has mesmerising views over the Cambeak headlands, with the Atlantic Ocean and Cornwall’s highest cliffs in the distance. She spots a raised wooden deck with chairs and points out “that looks like a place mummy and daddy will have a glass of wine!”. 😀 There’s also an outside shower, I assume for all the surfer types coming back from a hard day on the waves.
The beach theme is carried throughout the cottage. Slate floors, freshly painted pearly white walls accented with ocean blue. There’s a comfortable lounge area with a wide collection of DVDs (our girls watched Mama Mia) and good selection of books you would actually want to read. The dining area cleverly looks out through picture windows to headlands. My favourite room was the conservatory, a bright and cheery room perfect for sitting with a cafetière and getting stuck into one of those novels.
Nans-Tek worked well for our girls, but would be perfect for families of all ages. The kitchen has a whole shelf dedicated to kids utensils, and there’s a port-a-crib and high chair (remember those days?).
What I like about Sykes is that you call the cottage owner to arrange key pick up. I usually get into a conversation with them about the best things to do in the area. There’s nothing like a recommendation from someone who has been there.
OK, so the accommodation is perfect. But what else is there to do?
The cottage is at the edge of a housing estate and you can walk to the newsagent / postoffice, which is one of the most well stocked I’ve seen. You can pretty much get anything there. There are also lots of walks – just ask at the post office (some start there).
If you are feeling ambitious you could walk down to “The Haven”, the local beach. It’s down a steep narrow road and only 3 minutes by car so we drove (there’s plenty of parking). The Haven was our by far our favourite beach in the area (despite the rocks). It’s a small, unspoilt almost secret cove (think Janet and Bobby) in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The gently sloping beach is in an enclosed bay that reveals rock pools when the tide is out. On one side is Pencarrow Point (Cornwall’s highest cliff at 735 feet). There are two nice cafes, a surf shop to rent body boards and The Coombe Barton Inn which serves traditional pub fare.
Widemouth Bay is about a 15- minute drive away. It’s a wide sadly beach. You can take a scenic drive (not for the light-hearted). Lots of cafes, surf shops and lessons. The Bayview Inn has massive west-facing deck that overlook the Atlantic. It serves Cornish beers and lagers and locally sourced meals.
Boscastle is about 15 minutes. Run by the National Trust, it’s a sheltered natural inlet with an unspoilt harbour village.
Go a bit further and you are in Tintagel (where Kind Arthur allegedly was conceived). If you visit the castle, be prepared for a hike – it’s down a hill, then up again to visit the ruins. The hike is worth it for the spectacular views.
Further afield is Port Issac (of Doc Martin fame), Polzeath (renowned surfing area) and the gorgeous beaches at Dammer Bay. Try the Camel Trail if you’d like a long bike ride. It’s a disused railway track and runs along the Camel Estuary.
IF YOU GO:
Sykes Cottages sykescottages.co.uk A huge choice of over 5,000 personally inspected holiday cottages to rent in the UK and Ireland. We were really pleased the with high quality of our rental. Here’s how to book Nans-Tek.
Boscastle Cornwall, PL35 0HD nationaltrust.org.uk (National Trust) A sheltered natural inlet with an unspoilt harbour village
Boscastle Farm Shop & Cafe Tresuck Farm, Boscastle PL35 0HH +44 01840 250827 boscastlefarmshop.co.uk
Tintagel Castle Castle Rd, Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0HE +44 01840 770328 (English Heritage) english-heritage.org.uk
The Bay View Inn Widemouth Bay, Bude EX23 0AW +44 01288 361273 bayviewinn.co.uk
The Cabin Cafe Crackington Haven, Bude EX23 0JG +44 070 9330 2185 cabincafecrackington.co.uk
Haven Cafe Main street, Crackington Haven, England +44 01840 230 774
We were guests of Sykes Cottages for the purpose of this review. The opinions of myself and my family are entirely our own.