Last updated on November 1, 2023
The northern Cornish coast is one of my favourite spots in the UK – so much so that we even got married there. Eight years later, we’re just back from a gorgeous weekend, minutes from the site of our wedding. We went with two friends (my maid of honour and best man in fact!) and their two sons who happen to be the same age as ours (isn’t it magic when life works out perfectly like that?!).
We hired a cottage, spent days on the beach and local farms, played games, ate good food and drank wine come bedtime for the boys. It was a perfect little trip. So here’s our review of where we stayed and the local area. I highly recommend it a dreamy family trip.
Tom’s Cottage Review: A perfect family holiday in Port Issac
Name: Tom’s Cottage
Location: 2.8 miles east of Port Isaac
Sleeps: 8 + cot (2 doubles and 2 twins)
Price: From £960 per week
How to book: We booked via Classic Cottages
The accommodation in a nutshell
A secluded, traditional stone farmhouse with stylish bedrooms and cosy living areas. Just a 10-minute drive to a beautiful bay and the town of Port Isaac. Perfect for families.
What we loved most
- Sweet, personal touches, like a lucky dip of treats for the kids (and dog!)
- Cream tea on arrival – who wouldn’t love that?!
- Stylish, comfortable bedrooms and living areas that complement the cottage’s age
- There’s a snug where the kids loved to play (they have fancy dress and a giant Connect Four)
- Close to the beach, so it’s easy to pop down for a play or a daily stroll
- It’s the perfect size for two families of four
- Lovely wraparound garden with outdoor dining table and BBQ
- Close to some of Cornwall’s best beaches and traditional fishing villages, including Port Isaac, Polzeath, Tintagel and Daymer Bay
What could be improved
For extra cosiness, we would have loved there to be an open fire or log burner – luckily this is on the cards, so by the time you get there, there should be one.
The kitchen is less stylish and updated than the rest of the house, but still perfectly functional.
Drive down an unmade track, across a small ford, and past a tiny waterfall to get to the wonderfully secluded Tom’s Cottage.
Park up in the generous carpark (enough space for four cars) and enter via the back door, through a small stone passage, perfect for muddy boots and beach gear.
This end of the house, including the kitchen, is a window to its past with stone floors and the feel of a traditional cottage.
Once you enter the dining and living areas, you come to its contemporary present with cosy carpets and a light, modern rustic décor. This continues onto the first floor where you’ll find four bedrooms, all carpeted and furnished with super comfortable beds.
There are two bathrooms: a wet room on the ground floor and a family bathroom on the first, complete with a full bath.
And there’s also a little snug room near the back door, including books, a few games and a desk – good as a play room or space to work. Our kids loved claiming this as their own.
The outside space is extensive with a wraparound garden, lounge chairs and a dining area with BBQ. We were there in October, but this space would really come into its own on summer days. Plus there’s also a sun room for surrounding yourself in nature even when the heavens are open.
What’s the location like?
Tom’s Cottage is just a 10-minute drive from the coast and the cute fishing village of Port Isaac. It’s also only 20 minutes from the popular family resort of Polzeath and the spectacular Daymer Bay. And you can get to Tintagel in just 30 minutes.
And if you don’t fancy getting in the car, there are good walking and cycling route straight from the front door.
Things to do nearby
The area around Tom’s Cottage and Port Isaac is rich with possible excursions, from simple walks to exploring King Arthur’s country.
Here are some of the highlights:
- The coast around here is spectacular. We were blown away by the wide and sweeping Daymer Bay. And Polzeath is the perfect family surfing beach, busy but with all the facilities you need. The nearby Port Gaverne is a lovely little family and dog-friendly cove with lots of sand at low tide. There’s a pub and café nearby.
- Go for an amble or a cycle from the doorstep to St Teath or along the St Kew Circular. Or venture a little further along the South West Coast Path or the Camel Trail. The iWalk Cornwall app is a useful resource for planning your route.
- Explore the area known as King Arthur’s Country, including Tintagel Castle, home of Merlin’s Cave, and where King Arthur was said to be conceived.
- Ride a steam train at the Bodmin Railway.
- See this post for more of the best things to do in Cornwall with kids.
Where to eat nearby
- The cottage itself is a lovely place to eat and there are plenty of farmshops nearby where you pick up goodies for a special meal. We went to Trevathan Framshop where they grow their produce onsite. This is also a fun spot for kids with multiple play areas and PYO opportunities (we picked pumpkins in October). Boscastle Farm Shop is another good option.
- For a casual breakfast option in the summer, the Gastropod at Cornish Tipis (where we got married!) is only a 10-minute walk from the cottage.
- Polzeath has pizza and burger huts right on the beach, which were ideal for our families (great pizza too!) And I also loved the look of The Mowhay coffeeshop/restaurant, which has an excellent menu and fabulous location.
- Padstow isn’t far away if you want to sample Rick Stein’s suite of restaurants. It’s a fun ferry ride from Rock to get there.