Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Our Visit To Tregenna Castle Hotel, St Ives

Last week, on a rainy dreary September afternoon, we headed off in the car to Cornwall for a little mini break at the Tregenna Castle hotel.

We're lucky that living in Devon means we're less than an hours drive from the Tamar Bridge which connects us to Cornwall, and we quite often visit Newquay and Mevagissey for days out - we're huge fans of Cornwall, and like to spend time there whenever we can - always ensuring a holiday there at least once a year too.

But this time we were heading a little further south than usual, to St Ives - Jon & I had visited St Ives for the day once before but it was out of season and before we had little ones, so I wasn't too sure of what to expect from it at this time of year and with children in tow.

When we arrived at Tregenna Castle, all of us immediately gasped at the sight of it - it was a stunning building to behold and it's place perched to the left of the stunning seafront was just breathtaking.

Tyne , my 3 year old, asked excitedly  if there were knights inside, and whether we were really going to be spending the night in a "real life castle"!

Unfortunately the evening of our arrival fell during a thunderstorm and the torrential rain meant we had to stay inside for the duration of it, but this did mean that we got to try out the hotel's brasserie for dinner.

I'm never too sure exactly how high to set my expectations when it comes to dining at hotel restaurants, they can be so very hit and miss in my experience - the brasserie itself was understated in its decor but very welcoming, and the staff (the manager in particular) was very friendly and accommodating.

Two highchairs were waiting for us when we arrived, as requested and our table was (rather sensibly!) a little away from the other guests which helped to limit our concern over the children disturbing other diners (something I'm always a bit paranoid about in restaurants!).

The menu offered plenty of variety, and after deciding against starters due to the childrens impatience at sit down meals - we ordered burgers and fries for the grown ups, and the children opted for ham, egg and chips.

The presentation may not look like much on the photos but they truly do not do justice to the quality and taste of the food, it was honestly exceptional - far removed from your standard hotel grub, this really was something special.

We did order desserts and again, these were exceptionally good - I had the dark chocolate brulee which I wasn't too sure about on the menu but I fancied something chocolatey and this was the only chocolate offering - when it arrived and I tasted it, I was in heaven! I would happily travel all the way back to St Ives right now just for another serving!

The childrens meals were very good value for money, and the portion sizes were very big - far too much on reflection for my little ones at their young ages, a shared plate would have been ample for them, but the meal sizes would easily satisfied a 10 or 11 year old's appetite.

Our hotel room is probably where the hotel fell down slightly, as although it was extremely spacious and suitably clean, the decor and furniture was in need of refreshing (the chair in our room was broken, and the mattresses had certainly seen better days). There were also quite a few stains on the walls which was a shame as after such a grand exterior and charming reception area I had high hopes for the bedroom, but it all just felt in need of a bit of TLC.

Luckily the bathroom was a different story altogether, I walked in with trepidation after the slight disappointment of the bedroom but was pleasantly surprised by a nice modern room with a decent sized bath and shower, a heated towel rail and plenty of space - all very clean and welcoming.

I have to say though, that the decor and small issues with the bedroom did nothing to spoil our stay - we were very comfortable for the duration of it and the size of the room was perfect for our family. It really is nothing that would put me off staying again, it would simply benefit from a lick of paint and some fine tuning.

The next morning, we had breakfast in the main restaurant area - this was served buffet style and offerings included croissants, pain au chocolat, full english breakfast, cereals, toast and preserves, tea, coffee and fruit juices.

Everything was kept very hot, and the food was very nice...however we were made to feel slightly unwelcome by one of the waiting staff after the children took a while to finish their breakfasts, he clearly wanted to clear our table and hovered looking a bit fed up until we got the hint and left!

Tregenna Castle is set in a truly stunning location and has beautiful outdoor and indoor pools, a fitness suite, beauty therapy rooms, and the Castle Kids club which seemed to offer a lot of fun activities for little ones - unfortunately my children are not really the kind who are happy to go to Kids Clubs on holidays so we didn't get to try it out, but I did see them playing in the hotels park and the children all looked happy!

The gardens of the hotel are beautiful, and there is even a little woodland walk that you can enjoy as well as tennis courts, and a little play area. The outdoor dining area is a perfect spot for a Cornwall cream tea while taking in the gorgeous sea view.

I could quite happily have spent the entire 2 days enjoying the hotel and its surroundings, but as St Ives was new to us we decided to head out and see what the area had to offer.

The hotel is only a short and simple drive from St Ives town centre and beaches, and we were spoiled for choice at which beach to visit...we chose Porthgwidden beach which was absolutely beautiful - clear white sands and beautiful clear sea, not too busy and with a carpark a short walk away - there was also easy ramp access for the pram and some little shops and a cafe there too.

We spent the afternoon, which was one of the sunniest days of the year!, relaxing here...well, as much relaxing with 3 children anyway! They had a fantastic time digging on the sand and dipping their toes into the sea.

After our beach visit, we headed for a little look around St Ives town centre which was one of the most picturesque I've seen full of unusual little shops and windy streets.

We found harbour amusements which was a great spot for the kids to enjoy some rides and play on some grabber machines, before enjoying the worlds most delicious ice creams from Jus'Desserts next door - I had the ferrero rocher and tia maria ice cream with clotted cream topping...DELICIOUS!!!

After another restful night at Tregenna Castle, the next morning it was time to depart - we enjoyed breakfast in bed that morning which again was delicious, and then we said our goodbyes to Tregenna - Tyne was quite upset at doing so and made me promise that we can go back there again one day, which is always a sign of a good holiday isn't it?

En route home we stopped at Lands End, which was around half an hours drive away from Tregenna - I had never been to Lands End before and I was so impressed with how beautiful it was. Now I feel the need to visit John O'Groates!!

Lands End was a great place to visit with children too, as they had some really fun attractions there such as King Arthurs Journey, a 4D cinema and a Shaun The Sheep attraction that Tyne really enjoyed. It's also worth it just to take in the sights and snap some Lands End selfies too!

Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway in one of England's most beautiful destinations, or a family break suitable for all ages - Tregenna Castle has it all.

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