From quirky wonky wooden charm to clapboard curiosity, these are the best selection of must-sleeps in Cornwall
Everyone, it seems, wants to be in Cornwall this summer: holidaymakers, second home hunters, city refugees, celebrity chefs – and even American presidents.
And it’s not really surprising: with the prospect of overseas travel still a distant dream, Cornwall’s beaches, coves and clifftops are a tempting option.
To meet the demand, there’s been a corresponding boom in Cornwall’s Airbnb market, especially as visitors are increasingly seeking privacy and space over the comfort of traditional hotels.
In fact, the sheer volume of places on offer can be overwhelming (according to one report, Cornwall currently has in excess of 10,000 Airbnb listings), so we’ve done the work for you and picked 10 of the best.
Neighbourhood: Near Bude
A slice of the Wild West comes to north Cornwall at this clapboard curiosity, decked out to resemble a pioneer’s log cabin – complete with wooden beams, Native American art, rustic furniture, stone hearth, animal heads on the walls and even a miniature moonshine still. The vibe is deliberately rustic, but the cabin also comes with luxurious features including a freestanding clawfoot bath and an outdoor hot tub. There are his and hers rocking chairs out on the veranda, too – perfect for sipping some sunset hooch.
Average price £190 a night, three-night minimum
Once an artist’s studio belonging to the printmaker Hugh Stoneman, this timber-framed pole house is all about light, space and woodland views. Downstairs, there’s an open-plan living and kitchen space, wooden-floored and filled with artworks, while upstairs is a small mezzanine bedroom, complete with a skylight for stargazing. The building’s footprint is small, but it feels much roomier thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the wraparound wooden deck that looks out over six acres of private land.
Average price £250 a night, three-night minimum
You could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled into Hobbiton here. This little wooden cabin is packed with quirky features: A-frame beams, handbuilt doors, wonky wood cladding and shuttered windows peeping onto riverside gardens. Despite the diminutive dimensions, the cabin sleeps four: two bunk-beds for the kids in the main room downstairs, plus a double bed in the (rather cramped) mezzanine. It’s a clever use of space, and the mix-and-match style is endearing – although the compost loos and outside shower won’t be to all tastes. Still, the surroundings are dreamy: there’s a fire pit for outdoor cooking, gardens to explore, and a stream tinkling nearby.
Average price £145 a night, two-night minimum
If it’s a classic country cottage you’re searching for, try this converted stone barn on the east side of the Lizard. Set at the bottom of the owners’ garden beside a lily pond, it’s been thoughtfully converted: chunky wooden rafters and patches of exposed stone honour the barn’s heritage, while the simple decor (pistachio-green sash windows, checked curtains, brass bedsteads, wood burner) make for a cosy, welcoming space. The fancy Smeg fridge is a nice touch, too. Outside, there’s a deck overlooking the garden, and beyond, flashes of sea.
Average price £90 a night, five-night minimum
There’s a whiff of Swedish minimalism about this contemporary lodge, just outside the village of Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth. It’s a sleek, boxy space that looks like it’s been built from a flat pack: all sharp edges and stripped timber, perched on stilts and built with an emphasis on eco-friendly materials. There’s one bedroom, but an extra sleeping deck and sofabeds mean the lodge can comfortably sleep up to six. The metal hot tub on the deck lends luxury, and the garden setting is delightful. For something simpler, there are also wooden camping pods for rent.
Average price £210 a night, two-night minimum
Situated on Bread St, a back lane off Penzance’s main drag, this little Loaf offers a change to the rustic Cornish vibe. It feels closer to a compact London loft than a Penzance cottage: tiny in size, but imaginatively designed to make the most of the space, with skylights in the rooftop, a compact kitchen, a bedroom tucked away behind a balcony, and even a cute WC hidden in a cupboard. It has some nice local touches, too: Cornish china plates, old-school radiators, OS maps, brass bathroom fixtures. Great fun, and super value – just a shame there’s no sea view.
Average price £80 a night
Holiday rentals aren’t hard to come by in Mousehole, but finding somewhere affordable is altogether tougher – which makes this whitewashed bolthole a rare find indeed. As its name suggests, this was once a fish store (so it’s on the minuscule side of bijou), and its industrial heritage has informed the design: walls of rough stone and chunky wood, copper sinks and chunky ship’s lanterns, a table made from an old woodworker’s bench, a sliding steel door into the bedroom. You’re only a short walk from the harbourside, but as ever in Mousehole, parking is an absolute pain.
Average price £99 a night, two-night minimum
You get your very own private lake at this log cabin, complete with a cantilevered deck out over the water, and a little punt moored alongside. It’s bright and open-plan, and while simply furnished, here it’s all about the watery views. It also feels incredibly private: it’s one of just two properties (the other one’s a yurt) at Pengelly Retreats, a secluded seven-acre spot equidistant from Porthleven on the south coast and Gwithian on the north.
Average price £135 a night, three-night minimum
You’re away from the summer hordes here, along the road from Porthleven to Penzance, and yet the popular beaches of Praa Sands and Rinsey are a drive away. Self-contained and stylishly furnished, this stone-fronted former piggery looks traditional but has a surprisingly up-to-date interior: sleek grey kitchen, light white walls, laminate floors and skylights offering views over fields to the sea. There’s also a courtyard patio, perfect for private BBQs and dusk drinks.
Average price £120 a night
Forget shepherd’s huts and poky garden cabins – how about your own Cornish manor? With six bedrooms and eight bathrooms, this gabled house (once a Victorian vicarage) offers the ultimate Cornish retreat. Ensconced in three acres, including a private lake and woodland, the sprawling house is Grade II-listed, and filled with fireplaces, four-posters, exposed stonework, and upcycled furniture. It even has its own library. Yes, it’s a bit chilly and creaky in places, but really – how often do you get the chance to stay somewhere this grand?
Average price £400 a night, two-night minimum