Cornwall

A blustery, blissful weekend at Milton Minor

Friday night saw us taking to the winding, pretty roads of the Roseland Peninsula towards St Mawes for a January weekend getaway at Milton Minor, a stunning Georgian getaway for eight.

Cornwall generally shuts down for a few weeks in January following the busyness of Christmas and the New Year, and needing a quiet break ourselves, we looked forward to some peaceful downtime and to see St Mawes during its quietest time. 

We found our way easily into St Mawes and drove past the castle and along the waterfront before arriving at Milton Minor. It was dark on our arrival, so we were pleased to find the house beautifully warm and the lights shining for us. We quickly unloaded the car and hurried in to explore.

With an ‘upside down’ approach, most of the bedrooms are on the ground floor, plus the family bathroom and utility room. We headed upstairs to find the huge living space, running the length of the house from back to front. This amazing space is home to the spacious kitchen, dining table and sitting room, complete with wood burner for cosy nights.

We were delighted to find a basket of goodies waiting for us in the kitchen.

To the back are French doors that open into the garden, which must be perfect on a warm summer day. Stepping across the hallway, we find the gorgeous master bedroom and en suite shower room.

It’s been a busy week and we’ve been working all day, so I test the kitchen and rustle us up a quick supper and light the fire for added cosiness. The house is so peaceful, but there’s a SONOS sound system too so we can play music if we want to and it’s easy to set up.

After eating, we feel revived so decide to wrap up and head outside for an evening stroll. Walking down to the waters edge, we follow the road up to the castle, spotting St Anthony’s Lighthouse across the bay, sending its warning out to sea. At the top of the hill St Mawes Castle sits broodily, atmospherically lit from underneath, blank windows gazing blindly out to sea. 

The wind is picking up, so we scuttle back down the hill to our retreat, nestling in with a hot drink before retiring for the night.

The next morning, after a blissful nights’ sleep, we wake up bright and breezy and discuss what to do for the day over breakfast.

As we’re keen to not drive too much, we decide to catch the ferry across the bay to Falmouth, the fabulous seaside town that’s famous for its port, university and bustling shops.

After a slow(ish) start, we meander down to the harbour, just a minutes’ walk away. The ferry is handily regular, so we only have a little while before it arrives, and we jump on board.

The journey is about twenty minutes and is a lovely journey, passing St Mawes and the castle, Pendennis castle over the bay, Falmouth docks and the pretty village of Flushing. It’s blustery but I refuse to sit below – I love boats and being out on the sea.

We land at the Prince of Wales pier in Falmouth and jump off. We both need coffee so head to Stones Bakery, a fab artisan bakery that doubles as a coffee shop. The pastries look so delicious we can’t help ourselves.

Warmed up and refreshed, we spend a good few hours exploring Falmouth. The shops here are great, with loads of unique shops, from quirky second-hand emporiums to gorgeous home ware stores.

My personal favourites are on Arewenack Street - Willow and Stone for its beautiful things for the home, Finisterre – the Cornish based clothes store specialising in cool outdoor wear, and Botanical Atelier – a gorgeous little shop dedicated to all things plant.  I also love the quirky Bookmark, a cool little second-hand bookshop.

Falmouth is also great for places to eat, but we’re not hugely hungry so settle for a cream tea at De Wynns, one of Falmouth’s original coffee shops dating back to the 1780’S and full of olde worlde charm.

With the weather setting in cold and wet, we decide to head back to St Mawes so pop back on the ferry for the journey back across the harbour.

Nestled home in Milton Minor, we hunker down for the evening, light the fire and spend the evening catching up on a film or two.

The next morning dawns rainy, so we take our time getting up and enjoy a lazy breakfast.

We decide to explore St Mawes, so the first stop is a visit to the castle. Owned by English Heritage, it’s quiet when we arrive so get to explore almost completely by ourselves. 

One of the best-preserved of Henry VIII’s seaside artillery castles, St Mawes Castle was built between 1539 and 1545 and lies almost opposite Pendennis Castle in Falmouth and served to guard against invasion from France and Spain. Today, the soldiers and prisoners are long gone, but its not hard to see how hard and bleak it must have been living here in cramped conditions. From the prisoner’s ‘oubliette’ (dungeon) to the top of the castle keep, this castle a fascinating step back in time and boasts stunning views. 

Back into the present day, we wander down into the village for a look around, exploring the pretty back roads before popping into a little café for a spot of lunch.

Being off season, quite a few of the shops and eateries are shut (many restaurants in Cornwall tend to shut just after New Year to Valentines), so it’s quiet and tranquil as we walk the streets – an interesting contrast to the busyness of the summer months when we last visited. 

The rain sets in, so we head back to Milton Minor for a quiet afternoon reading, watching the flickering fire and making the most of doing nothing – after all, that’s what weekends away are all about, aren’t they? Bliss!

Feeling inspired? Read all about Milton Minor, our luxury cottage in St Mawes, here.

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