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Nov 5th, 2013, 08:01 AM
  #1
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Caerhays Castle and a self catering option

DH and I are "discussing" a vacation mid-end of next March. Sicily and Cornwall are our thoughts at the moment (he's not sure about Sicily)

We love gardens and big trees, we have been to Cornwall once before in the Autumn. I have always wanted to see the Magnolias in bloom at Caerhays. They have some lovely self catering properties but I think they require a weekly rental, and I read somewhere it is not a short drive to dining options?

Anyone know of any other wonderful self catering rentals in the area? I know sometimes rentals of less than 7 nights are accepted. Or a suggestions as to charming towns or villages in which to search?
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Nov 5th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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hi wrenwood,

you're right about the magnolias at Caerhays - they are magnificent. Also there are a number of other gardens in the area, most notably the lost Gardens of Heligan, which also have collections of magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons etc. and the daffs should also be in pretty good shape then too.

I would have thought that there would be plenty of self catering accommodation available on the Roseland [the area of Cornwall where Caerhays is situated] and I'd be surprised if you couldn't find places that would accept lets of less than a week at time time of year. anywhere between Carlyon Bay in the east, Truro to the north, and St Mawes to the west would give very easy access to Caerhays, but in fact you could even stay in Falmouth [where there is much more accommodation] and get the King Harry Ferry over to the Roseland - you could easily see Caerhays and probably the Lost Gardens in a day.

I would start looking at visitcornwall.com, but there are also more upmarket options on google like English Country Cottages, Cornwalls Cottages, etc. you'll appreciate of course that we have never stayed in one as we live here but I can certainly advise on location if you find one or more that you like. on the Roseland, Tregony and Veryan are both lovely but quiet, Portloe on the coast is delightful but tiny, Portscatho is bigger but still quite nice. St Mawes is in altogether a different class, with lots of restaurants, there is a lovely walk along the harbour to the Castle, [and if you carry on to the beautiful Church of st Just in Roseland] and even access to Falmouth by the ferry. really, there is quite enough to fill a week especially if the weather co-operates.

As for eating, there are plenty of restaurants on the Roseland, either in pubs or attached to hotels, like the excellent Nare, or the Lugger at Portloe or in St Mawes of course.

hope this helps!
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Hi Annhig, I was hoping you would answer, you are such a wealth of information on this area!

We did go to Lost Gardens when we were in Cornwall before, and we would love to see it and Lanhydrock again (we never really got to see Lanhydrock, it was pouring rain both times we tried)

The appeal of staying at Caerhays would of course be waking up there "in our own castle estate" and early morning and evening wanderings.

I will check out places in the areas/towns you mention, thanks so much.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Have you tried contacting the booking agent to see if it is possible to do a midweek?
Might be worth a try.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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hetismij2 yes I have, still waiting to hear......
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Nov 6th, 2013, 01:27 AM
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Good luck! It looks a great place to stay.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 03:29 AM
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hi again,

I had a look at the accommodation at Caerhays [didn't know they had their own] and it looks very swish. then I went on google maps and they confirmed the info I gave you above - there are quite a few places to eat nearby but you would have to go off the estate or self-cater; the lost Gardens have a farm shop that you can access from the car park without having to pay to go into the gardens.

I meant to mention LLanhydrock - at that time of year the daffs are particularly spectacular as they have a "walk" above the house which is planted with them from one end to the other, which is possibly 1/4 mile long. plus the magnolias, camellias etc. there is also the nearby Llanhydrock hotel and golf club - reasonable rooms which probably won't interest you, but the bar does excellent meals all day long and is very cosy and pleasant - I often take professional clients there.

I hope that the estate comes up trumps with a mid-week let.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 03:39 AM
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Caerhays will indeed do a short stay of 4 nights or more, so we have that option. Some others will also. However I have been thinking that a 7 night stay in one place wouldn't be too long if we have close-by rainy day options.

So, I'm trying to decide if staying in Portmellon, Mevagissey, Fowey or Charlestown near St Austell might not be better, and a little more centrally located. I've found several with great ocean views (even from inside if raining) and fireplaces, wifi, washer and dryer (always good for 7 nights!)

What about Pencarrow, worth visiting early spring? Most interesting to us are early spring gardens, with big trees and wonderful old houses or castles.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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dealing with your queries in reverse order, yes, Pencarrow is definitely worth visiting; another great garden, though not quite up there with Llanhydrock, and the other biggies. [Trewithen, Trewidden, Trengwaignton, Trelissick, and Heligan are the ones that spring to mins, but when the new Gardens in cornwall " book for 2014 comes out, I'll see if there are any private ones which are going to be open at that time]

as to where to stay, it depends what you want to see and do, and the sort of atmosphere you like.

I'd never even heard of Portmellon, so i think that it would be pretty quiet, [and require you to drive to eating places in the evening, if that's something that matters to you]. Mevagissey has plenty of eateries, but might be lacking in a bit of life that time of year. Charlestown is in between those two, but has the disadvantage of being very near to St. Austell.

My pick of those you mention is Fowey - a great location on the water, lots of nice eating places, walking opportunities via the ferry across to Polruan, and quite lively most of the year. BUT - you will have to keep driving up and down the same road to get anywhere, and the parking and traffic can be a PITA.

The same applies more or less to St Mawes, which i mentioned above, but from there you can get to Falmouth on the ferry which would be an attraction for me especially if it rained.
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Nov 9th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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The rental in Portmellon says it is located on "a prominent cliff top position ¼ mile above the secluded sandy cove of Portmellon, about a mile from the working fishing village of Mevagissey on the south coast of Cornwall. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the edge of a working farm the Coastal Footpath is easily accessible" It has outstanding big windows, so if rainy one can sit on the sofas and still have great views outside to the sea.

What is "the disadvantage of being very near to St. Austell" Traffic? Not a pleasant town?

We went to some of the "T" Gardens in the more southern part of Cornwall near St Michael's Mount, although one was not open on one of the days we were in the area. I'm going through them now to see which we went to and which we didn't. I know we went to Trebah, I think it was Trengwainton we missed. Judging from their location and my trip plan from 2009, I don't think we were at Trewidden, Trewithen, or Trelissick, not sure which of these are special in the early spring? It looks like Trengwainton would be the furthest south if it is worth the trip in March.

I'm also freaking out about the time period. Was last spring unusually warm/early?

http://www.greatgardensofcornwall.co.uk/springstory
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Nov 9th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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wrenwood - my only problem with Portmellon is that you'd have to drive to get to restaurants in the evening, and to get to any shops. if that's not a problem for you, that's fine.

I was half joking about St. Austell but only half - there are often terrible traffic hold-ups around the turn off to Charlestown, and St. A is quite a dump. OTOH, it's quite close to a lot of nice places, has a very interesting [eponymous] brewery that does tours, and could never in 1000 years be described as being overwhelmed by tourists. unlike Mevagissey which is drowning in them in the high season, though not, I would think, in March.

All of the T gardens [never heard of them being called that before but it's a great way to describe them!] are great in the spring. in fact the vast majority of Cornish gardens are - with a few honourable exceptions they tend to go off a bit after June/july. the closest ones to the area you are interested in are Trewithen, and Trelissick, both of which have lovely examples of the sorts of plants you are interested in.

Trewithen is privately owned and has many great plants, including a ceanothus named after the gardens : http://www.greatgardensofcornwall.co...rden/trewithen

trelissick is NT, and has a lovely position on the estuary, known as "Carrick Roads" -
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick-garden/

AS for what weather you could expect in March, my experience of living in Cornwall for the last 15 years is that March is generally better than April; some years the weather has been excellent, but it will never be hot.

if you want to see Magnolias etc, it's the very best time to visit us.
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Nov 9th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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Thanks Annhig, I'm vacillating between the self catering in Portmellon and a hotel in Fowey. There is one self catering I like in Fowey, but I'm not sure about it. We don't mind driving for dinner if it's a short and fairly easy drive (which I have asked via email)

Thanks for the March/April comment. When last in UK we traveled around gardens SE of London at the same time of year, lots to see but the Magnolias weren't out yet. So I'm hoping that Cornwall will be a little ahead of the SE.

T Gardens.............how confusing when visiting, they all sound so similar ~ what does the "Tre" prefix mean?
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Nov 9th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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"Tre" means place or settlement - which is why it is pretty ubiquitous as a prefix in Cornwall. "Pol" and "pen" are others, "Pol" meaning pond or water, and "Pen", hill or headland. hence this little rhyme:

"By Tre, Pol and Pen shall ye know all Cornishmen"

in March/April, cornish gardens are usually about a month ahead of London; it evens itself out towards the end of the year because in summer London is warmer than Cornwall, generally speaking. in the garden at Burncoose nurseries [owned like Caerhays by the Williams family of plant collecting fame] and at Trengwaignton, i have seen wonderful magnolias with flowers the size of dinner plates open in February. [and gone round the garden wearing just a t-shirt too, with trousers of course!]

Where are the hotel and the self-catering in Fowey? perhaps i can help?
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Nov 9th, 2013, 05:49 PM
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So Trepolpen is a settlement by the water near a hill ????????

Get back to you tomorrow with details
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Nov 10th, 2013, 01:43 AM
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you've got it, wrenwood.

the place where we live means "place of the owls" though "place of the crows" would be more accurate.

we're off to Heathrow to catch our flight to Hong kong in about an hour so answers to your queries may be a little delayed, but if I can wrest DH's ipad off him, I'll do my best to help.
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Nov 10th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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I'm beginning to think that I may compile a list of self catering rentals, Hotels, and B&Bs that I like, and then book somewhat last minute. I may not get the place I want to stay, but I'll have a little bit better idea if it will be an early spring or not in Cornwall. I'll probably pay more for airfare also, but I would be really annoyed if we got there and missed most of the Magnolias!

Have a great trip!
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Nov 13th, 2013, 02:57 AM
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wrenwood - I understand why you want to delay, and I'm sure you'll find somewhere booking late, if not your first choice.

however, in 15 years I can't remember a year when the magnolias were't out by March - and some years some are almost over by then! so I don't think that that needs to be a worry. it's really the weather which would be the determinative factor for me, as looking at gardens in the wet is not a lot of fun, with our without magnolias!
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Nov 14th, 2013, 03:03 AM
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Agreed, soggy wet Magnolia blossoms are not quite as lovely, the weather is the most important factor. So I will watch the weather via computer, and maybe you can keep me posted as to the spring weather predictions in Cornwall!

Thanks again, hope your trip is going well!
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Nov 16th, 2013, 04:31 AM
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will do, wrenwood, though our medium range forecasts aren't necessarily reliable enough to guarantee that what they forecast is what you'll get.


The trip is going well, thanks, though a bout of gastric trouble for me and DH presently hunting round the places we went tonight to try to find his wallet have put a small damper on things. Port Douglas [an hour's drive north of Cairns in northern Queensland] is a lovely place and turns out to have been a great place pick for a few days of R&R. our main grouse is that we won't have long enough here fully to appreciate all there is to do!
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Nov 17th, 2013, 05:24 AM
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Oh dear, gastric troubles and a lost wallet, that certinly can put a damper on things! I hope by now all has settled down.

Our weather forecasts aren't very accurate either, I'll just hope we can figure out if Mother Nature is leaning towards an early spring or not. And I would rather not fly out of Washington DC in a March snowstorm!
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