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  • Bianca, Lady Eliot, Chatelaine of the Port Eliot estate

    Port Eliot is an incredibly special place. The house was designed and built by Sir John Soane, and the expansive parkland is by Humphry Repton, so every corner you turn presents you with yet another delight. For me, the Round Room stands out in the house, with its famous mural by Robert Lenkiewicz. The gardens are flanked by a large tidal estuary, which is also one of my favourite walks – we sometimes explore the area by kayak or boat. Here it’s near impossible to choose one beach. Locally we have Whitsand Bay, a stunning fine-sand beach that at low tide reaches over to Rame Head – a unique area of beauty and tranquillity. You can enjoy walks that span miles between coves along the rugged coastline, stopping for lunch in one of the fishing towns along the way. Walking up to Rough Tor near Davidstow to watch the starling murmurations at dusk is a real treat.

    The rhododendron garden at Port Eliot is always a visual delight at this time of year. The extensive collection of trees and flowering shrubs, many of which were planted in the 18th century, are now reaching full maturity and we are benefitting from the foresight of previous generations, who continued to add to the collection. The old adage that ‘a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’ is nowhere truer than here.

    For me, nothing beats a summer evening spent in our walled gardens. Dinners are always a fun affair, where the slow-roasted lamb is a real treat from our most talented friend, the chef James Strawbridge (if you enjoy slow cooking and great ingredients, his book The Artisan Kitchen is a go-to). And for dessert, Esther Worthy, our cook at the The Eliot Arms, would have to make one of her delicious treacle tarts with clotted cream. Recently, my partner and I have taken the reins at the estate pub, and we’ve been more closed than we’ve been open owing to Covid. However, we pride ourselves in producing great seasonal food, with our rare-breed meats and the vegetables and salads we grow to accompany them. The pub is lively, welcoming and always has several fires burning, which, coupled with a dedicated group of regulars, makes for a great atmosphere. porteliot.co.uk

  • Lily Bertrand-Webb, Photographer

    The rugged north coast of Cornwall never ceases to inspire me, especially as a photographer. I have a special connection to the village of St Agnes – I’ve been going there every summer since I was a baby. The beaches are unique, and the light and colours are always dreamy.

    I caught my first wave at Gwynver beach when I was teenager, which is when I got the surfing bug. It’s a beautiful spot hidden away under a coastal path near Land’s End. It has the most perfect little cove, with crystal-clear waters and white sand, but the best thing is that it never gets too crowded and is great for both surfing and swimming. Porthtowan beach is another favourite, especially for the natural pool that fills up every high tide, which is always fun to paddle in. After a good surfing session, have a pint at Blue Bar, a cool beach hangout there. The Unicorn on the Beach is an excellent spot for a really delicious Sunday lunch, but for the best fish and chips head to Seasmiths. It may be gluten-free, but it makes the crispiest batter in the county. For me, Schooners has to be the loveliest restaurant, overlooking the beautiful Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes; it serves tapas-style food. It has a huge wood grill, where they do BBQs out on the deck with freshly grilled seafood, including lobsters straight from the boat. It’s always fun watching the sunset and hanging out with all the surfers for a few drinks here.

    Over the years I’ve stayed at some great beach houses, but Little Cottage in Praa Sands remains one of the best, with the most glorious quiet beach just in front of it. For a proper Cornish hotel experience, I love Cleaderscroft, which is very old school, family run and slightly eccentric – each room is completely different.

    Whenever I come to Cornwall, I always stock up on surf essentials from Finisterre, which makes sustainable clothes and has a great selection of boards and products. Open Surf is another cool hangout spot, where you can also learn to make surfboards. If you’re looking to learn to surf for the first time, I highly recommend Tom Roberson from Breakers Surf School, who is a very patient instructor. There’s also a great kayaking company called Koru, which can take you on magical cave tours all along the Poldark country coastline.

  • Tremayne Carew Pole, Director of the Antony estate

    Cornwall is home. It has such a unique sense of identity, expressed in the language and associated place names as well as the real sense of belonging the residents have. While most people see Cornwall as ‘slightly behind’, it is in fact always experimental and innovative, whether that’s through its mining heritage (the relics of which eerily litter the landscape) or its new position as the culinary county of Britain, centre of the new regenerative farming movement – and home to a spaceport. The landscape is extraordinary, from the craggy wildness of West Penwith, to the rolling valleys of the River Helford, the weathered tors and stones of Bodmin Moor, to the quiet contemplation of the Lynher estuary.

    Antony is where I grew up: it is an extremely special place. The house is set in Repton-designed parkland and is surrounded by a woodland garden, with a spectacular collection of camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and wildflowers in spring and beautiful riverscape walks all year round. The house is a National Trust property, and we strike a fine balance between living with the members (my bedroom is open to the public) and blissful summer evenings alone, sitting on the terrace watching the sun dip below the Lynher estuary.

    Luckily in the summer we manage to avoid the hordes that come to Cornwall’s more popular parts. The beauty of the Antony estate is that it has retained its tranquillity, innate Cornishness and down-to-earth nature that makes it such a unique part of the county. We have a few cottages to rent, including the Rocket House, an old pilchard-fishing store on the edge of Portwrinkle beach. The beach is less than a minute away – blissful in summer, while in winter the wildness of the weather and the water crashing against the harbour wall make for an atmospheric stay. Otherwise there’s Sandview in the hamlet of Freathy, perched up on top of the cliffs with amazing views out to sea.

    I never tire of exploring the Antony Woodland Garden, which is home to the National Collection of Camellia Japonica and is one of the few International Camellia Gardens of Excellence, and is rich in specimens. There is also Whitsand Bay nearby – miles of golden sand that never gets too busy. Not to be missed is the Wilcove Inn, with its friendly atmosphere and great riverside location, or the Rod & Line in Tideford for a truly Cornish experience with great food. However, my favourite restaurant has to be Coombeshead Farm – probably the most innovative dining experience in the country at the moment. I am also excited to see the new Walled Garden in Padstow that’s being run by the Prideaux-Brunes in collaboration with the amazing chef Tim Spedding. antonyestate.com

  • The Hon William Boscawen, Director of Mereworth Wines

    What do I love most about Cornwall? I’m sure most people say it’s the beaches, the cliffs, the unique light in the small harbour villages. But actually it’s the people that make it. There’s a great honesty in Cornwall – and a tremendous pride. Good beer, seafood, pasties and the best cream teas in extraordinary scenery make it all the better. In the winter it’s wild and woolly – and deserted. In the spring the county explodes into life, the gardens thrum, and by summer, the coastline and businesses thrive.

    Of course, agriculture and food production is a big part of Cornwall – which is what I grew up seeing. And while I’ve worked abroad and in other sectors, I’ve always held a deep love for rural business. Without question, I have taken great inspiration from my family’s estate, Tregothnan, which encompasses tea production, agriculture, property and horticulture. The products are shipped all over the world now, and sharing the experience has been invaluable in bringing my own wine business on.

    For families or friends to go and have their own Cornish adventure, the whole of the coastline is walkable. Walking all 300-plus miles of it is high on my bucket list. But definitely getting a cottage for a week is the best way to see the place. Having lived around there, I’m obviously a fan of St Mawes, Falmouth and the Roseland peninsula – I’m more of a south coast chap. Lantic Bay is absolutely stunning – and tough enough to get to, to deter a few ‘emmets’. But you should head down to the Lizard and walk along the coast there, especially the stretch from Cadgwith to Kynance with a dip in the sea, which is phenomenal. And further down still, I’d heartily recommend spending an evening at the Minack Theatre – weather permitting, of course. Get it right though, and there’s not a theatre in the world that compares.

    For my last supper in Cornwall, I would make a bee-line to The Lugger in Portloe. I’d go with my wife and as many pals as I can squeeze into the place. I’d eat as much seafood as I could – and drink as much of my own Mereworth English Sparkling Wine as possible. Another classic is The Watering Hole in Perranporth; ‘the UK’s only bar on the beach’, or so they say. But pints and pasties make for a heavenly pairing. All of which is even better after a dip in the Atlantic. mereworth.co.uk

  • Coco Brocklehurst, Student

    The first week of July is when everyone descends on Polzeath. Then over the following three weeks, more and more people come down for post-GCSE and exam parties. I’ve been going to Cornwall for summer holidays for years. There’s always a good group from Radley and Shrewsbury, plus Eton boys too – it’s always a great crowd. Normally, the evening starts at the Oystercatcher for sunset drinks, or at The Cracking Crab, up on the cliff, for seafood and the best views up the bay and of the coastline below. When my friends and I go out with our parents, the Waterfront is the place for a more civilised dinner – the truffle pizzas and ice cream are consistently delicious. Right across from there is TJ’s, with its huge balcony – it’s more of a daytime hangout and a great lunch spot, where you can order paninis on the terrace. We always rent a house in neighbouring Trebetherick, but St Moritz is still the most popular hotel in Polzeath. When it gets dark, everyone makes their way to the Rum Bar, a very fun place to go, which is right on the beach and near to the bonfires when the sun goes down. Once night falls, the whole beach is filled with circles of friends just hanging out – we all bring our own speakers and carry on until the early hours. I have rogue memories of people walking into the fires and generally having fun, and I can’t wait to go back once I’ve finished my A-levels this year.

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