Sunday, 18 August 2013

Holidays in Cornwall, August 2013, Part 1

Jane and I have just returned from a family holiday in Cornwall. We shared a self-catering holiday home with our daughters Emma and Fiona, their husbands (Dave and Juan), and Emma's two daughters Lara (4) and Holly (15 months). By our standards, this was a big family gathering! We rented a property called Nanceglos House, owned by the National Trust. It is in the village of Heamoor, a mile or so outside Penzance, and right next door to Trengwainton Gardens (a well-known NT property, much favoured by serious plant-lovers).

The typically Cornish, granite-built house has been added-to in stages over the years, and it is now a very substantial property. It has sleeping accommodation for 9 people (plus cots as required!). Part of the building was formerly the laundry for nearby Trengwainton House, and the lounge still retains some of the features of the laundry, such as the huge doors behind which were positioned long drying-racks that slid out on rails when required. It was lovely to have so much room! A huge kitchen (the family took it in turns to cook for everyone); a dining-room big enough for us all to sit comfortably around a big oak farmhouse table; a lounge with lots of big comfy sofas; a well-maintained garden; a brick barbecue, etc, etc...

This part of Cornwall is full of childhood memories for me. My Dad was born on the Isles of Scilly, and much of our family lived in the Penzance / St.Ives area. I hadn't been to Penzance for a very long time (about 15 years I think), so I was keen to refresh my love for the area and show it off to everyone else.

Actually Emma and Dave have holidayed in Cornwall before so they know it quite well, whereas Fiona's husband Juan had never been there at all. In between the conventional holiday activities we manged to fit in a visit to my Dad's house in Germoe where I lived as a teenager, and to my Grandma's house in Penzance where I must have eaten my first Saffron cake and scones with clotted cream...

Warrens baker's, my favourite baker of Saffron cake and Cornish Pasties

Of course, with the holiday "cottage" being right next to Trengwainton we were ideally placed to enjoy the gardens (and the associated NT tearoom where we had a classic Cornish Cream Tea on a gloriously sunny afternoon!). The gardens are delightfully informal, in a sort of disciplined way, if you know what I mean. Lots of winding (but tidy) paths overhung with Rhododendron bushes, Camellias and Magnolias. Not a straight line in sight!

The main house is not open to the public, but it looks impressive enough from the outside. Not a massive stately home like Chatsworth or Hardwick Hall, but grand nonetheless, in a rather more homely way. You can actually imagine real people living in it.

Trengwainton house

Of course, for me the main attraction was the walled kitchen garden, fully populated with fruit and veg of all sorts, and masses of flowers to attract pollinating insects:

An interesting feature of this part of the garden is the inclusion of a number of angled vegetable beds - arranged so that they get maximum benefit from the sun's rays:


Sweetcorn  - notice two cobs per plant

Scarecrow - "Cinderella's two ugly sisters"

Holly enjoying the little garden chairs thoughtfully provided for the garden's smaller visitors

I want to write more about some of the other places we visited, and some of the wonderful food we ate, but I think I'll stop here for now, otherwise this post will become just too enormous! More to follow soon...

P.S. Thank you to those people who left me such kind words in their comments on my previous post - "An important announcement".  I shall endeavour not to disappoint!


  1. This looks like my kind of holiday. What a lovely house you stayed in and I found the garden on a angle like that rather odd as I would think the top soil would wash away but looks like it is growing great.

  2. Looks to be a lovely holiday property, We tend to stay in hilday cottages too but nothing quite as grand as this one.

  3. Your Cornwall trip looks and sounded great; lovely surroundings. The walled garden is fab and looks like you got some nice weather. Re: your announcement post - your posts are always great, so doesn't matter if they will be daily or weekly; better that it suits you. Don't want you getting blogger burn out!

  4. We enjoy renting houses when we vacation with family. Did that in June in Thousands Islands, NY and had a grand time. I've read so many books that took place in Cornwall and figure one of these days I'll get there to see it. Hoping to take our first trip to England next year and walk through the Cotswolds.

    Blogger fatigue is a common ailment. It's the ones that suddenly stop with no notice that you have to wonder what happened. It's a wonder that you kept it up daily for so long. I enjoy reading what you write so scaling back a bit is just fine just don't quit on us. :)

  5. We have been in Cornwall only once, and it was foggy and rainy. I love the coast and scenery. Your photos are really nice. Need to visit Cornwall again soon.

    1. HaHa! Yes, that is Cornwall all over! You get either light Mizzle or heavy Mizzle (Mizzle is mist + drizzle) most of the time.

  6. I want a holiday in Cornwall too!

  7. Looks a lovely place to stay Mark - I haven't been to Cornwall in an age - perhaps it is time to remedy that. Loved the walled kitchen garden - and those angled vegetable beds - wonder how they do that - surely it can't all be soil - do you think there is some sort of structure underneath. Whatever, it looks pretty crazy.

  8. Elaine, yes, I assume that there is a structure of some sort under the angled beds - though maybe they just made a heap of hard-core or scalpings and covered it with topsoil?

  9. A lovely post Mark. An an ex-pat I visited Cornwall many times in the past and have fond memories of the little villages and coves. The place that you stayed in looks awesome, it makes me feel quite homesick.


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