Anthea Gerrie chooses a rental Cornish cottage for a trouble-free staycation.
While the offer of a stay in Cornwall is always enticing before I take up an invitation from Aspects Holidays there are three things I need to ascertain. Is the accommodation dog-friendly? Is it equipped for keen cooks, as we like to welcome ourselves back to a Cornish self-catering holiday with a home-cooked lobster dinner? And how close is it to our favourite nooks and crannies in this sprawling county of many diverse moods?
We chose Waverley Cottage in the tiny hamlet of Burlawn for two reasons, the three basic requirements having been met. First, it had oodles of local character, and secondly was bang on the nail for location. In the case of North Cornwall, where every village is packed with rentals, this does not necessarily mean an ocean view, rather, proximity to the urban hub of Wadebridge.
Waverley Cottage, built in the 18th century and sympathetically extended and modernised in recent years, proved a romantic bolthole in which to wake, bathe, cook and relax. It delighted the eye with its traditional features – black slate floors downstairs, exposed stone walls and wood-burners in living and dining rooms and a feature stone wall in the back bedroom, one of three doubles on the first floor. We chose the front room for its village views and charming old stone fireplace, although the many fireplaces at Waverley are for decoration only.
Waking in the front bedroom was delightful, following a deep sleep in a king-size bed as comfortable as any encountered in a five-star hotel, with an upholstered headboard offering more comfort if a tad less romance than the brass bedstead of the back bedroom. It also offered less precarious night-time access to the loo; only one of the three bedrooms at Waverley is on the same level as the bathroom, which is otherwise a step-down and step-up arrangement, with a landing light outside the front bedroom but not the back to ensure safe passage during the night. Safe passage for very young children to the attic playroom on the second floor might also be a consideration, given the steep steps; four could be accommodated along with parents, given the bedrooms can be made up as twins.
The beautiful main bathroom, painted eau de nil and endowed with a colourful raised ceramic basin, is also as potentially precarious as it is romantic, with a tub so deep it requires a step up to access and a certain amount of heft to get out of with no handgrips to assist. A shower is soon to be installed, much needed given that the second bathroom, which has its own power shower, is inconveniently located on the ground floor off the utility room, cramped and in no way up to par with the main ablution area.
The large kitchen and utility area are in the ground-floor extension, and the only beef here was slight under-equipment. We never found the bread knife, which for some reason is not stored with the other cooking knives and could have done with more than six small plates to use between dishwasher runs. Manuals for both the dishwasher and washing machine were missing, which caused a bit of confusion on first operation, but here Aspects Holidays management came into its own; staff were always available on the phone to answer questions and made a personal visit from the Wadebridge office to make sure the machines were going through their paces.
Waverley Cottage has a very pretty front garden with flower beds in which our pooch delighted perambulating and taking the sun, and a back terrace where outdoor dining furniture and a barbecue can be set out when weather permits.
Dog-owners should note it would require closing the high gates after parking in the sunken drive to make the garden secure, although traffic is very light through this far end of the village leading to nowhere except a tortuous narrow lane to woodlands and the Camel Valley.
Unlike other villages we’ve stayed in, Burlawn lacks a shop and a pub, but Wadebridge, with its excellent food shopping and access to good beaches both north and south, is just two miles away. And it required only the shortest of detours en route to nip into beautiful Port Isaac, made famous by Doc Martin, to pick up a pre-ordered crustacean from the lobster ladies at Just Shellfish to bring home for our first night’s dinner in this cosiest of boltholes.
Tell Me More About Renting Waverley Cottage
A week at Waverley Cottage ranges from £530 to £1560, and can be booked here: Waverley Cottage, Wadebridge