Travelling as a family often feels like you’re having to pack everything and the kitchen sink but, while you will need a car to get around, at Escallonia Cottage almost everything else is provided, including (should you need them) a cot and a high chair. Tucked next to the church in the quintessentially Cornish village of Poughill (prounounced puff-all), on the outskirts of Bude, it’s managed by Kid & Coe, a sort of Airbnb for families where homeowners rent out their kid-friendly properties when they’re not using them.
Cottage owner, Karen, has two children of her own and knows just what visiting parents need. Hence Escallonia’s spacious, well-equipped kitchen, complete with handy plastic crockery and cutlery, dishwasher and washing machine (a godsend after sandy beach trips).
There’s also a large wooden dining table, perfect for relaxed family meals; pick up local ingredients from the Friday farmer’s market in Bude; Easter until the end of September only) or at nearby Norton Barton cider barn and deli where much of the stock is made by the owners, including duck rillettes, Northcoast cider and Popti crackers.
Not that you need kids in tow to stay at this impeccably decorated cottage. Mid-century furniture, bright pops of colour and carefully considered details make it feel more boutique hotel than homestay; come as a couple and you’ll enjoy it just as much. The master bedroom is enormous with sumptuous, squashy bedding and an en-suite rain shower. A second bathroom has a gorgeous roll-top bath and both are kitted out with Ren cosmetics. And, as the pretty stone cottage is set back from the road it is also blissfully quiet, although you might occasionally hear local riders clopping past on horseback.
Working up an appetite isn’t hard here, with footpaths winding inland and to the coast (it’s a 20-minute walk to the South West Coast Path). Then there’s Bude, home to a natural sea pool, lots of beaches, and a smattering of surfers. Head to family favourite, Crooklet’s Beach, to catch waves, pad among rock pools and feast on fish and chips at Rosie’s Kitchen. Local sourcing is at the heart of the menu here and everything – including the fish, the drinks and even the ice cream used in its decadent sundaes – comes from the surrounding region.
For a sunny brunch beside Bude’s canal, order smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or eggs benedict at The Olive Tree. Or just stay in and make the most of Escallonia’s family-friendly DVD collection over a simple but delicious take-away pizza from La Bocca Pizza Kitchen; try the Parma, with prosciutto and rocket, or a spicy Diavola.
Whatever you do, don’t miss Margaret’s Rustic Tea Garden for a proper Cornish cream tea (on the SW Coast Path near Northcott Mouth Cove). Just make sure you arrive hungry. Margaret, who has been running the tearoom for over 50 years and manages the entire operation from her caravan, knows a thing or two about clotted cream portions. The eccentric tearoom, with its vintage crockery, park benches, gnomes and a stream running through the garden, couldn’t be more charming.
Written by Danni Sanchez, November 2016
Photographs by Danni Sanchez