P is fortunate enough to have a summer birthday, and this year I decided to splash out and make the most of our location by booking in for a night at The Gurnard’s Head, a ‘dining pub with rooms’ on the north coast, between St Ives and Land’s End.
(The only downside with a birthday in July is trying to find somewhere to stay for just one night, in the height of tourist season! Hence why our stay was three weeks after the actual b’day…)
So we packed up our swimsuits and a picnic and trundled down to Sennen Cove, to spend the day basking in the sunshine before the evening surprise. If you get the chance to travel down that far, my word is it worth it. Thanks to the glorious weather the beach was packed, as well as the closest car parks. Instead, we parked at the top of the hill (£3.70 all day) and made our way down the giant sand dunes to claim our patch.
After a day of lounging, off we went back up the road to the landmark that is The Gurnard’s Head, its bright mustard yellow exterior a beacon to walkers and drivers on that twisty country road from Zennor to St Ives. We were shown up to our room; we were in no.1, which was small but spotless, with a stylish compact en-suite and glorious views out over the fields and sea. Tea and coffee facilities were provided as well as lovely toiletries and a radio – no TV! Also no phone signal or wifi (well there was, but it was so patchy it wasn’t worth bothering with), the perfect place to be cut-off for a few hours.
We freshened up, washed off the suncream and sand and headed down into the bar for a drink before our dinner reservations. The drinks menu was fantastic, with lots of explanations and choice of spirits, wines, cocktails and soft drinks. The pub itself is classic and rustic, with beams and exposed walls and floors, but luxurious touches make it clear this isn’t your local.
For dinner we were seated in the dining room, set apart from the bar, and having pre-ordered our starters we quickly tucked in. The menu is small, seasonal, and locally sourced and it all sounded incredible. To start we had the smoked duck and beef carpaccio, both of which were sliced so thinly but packed full of flavour. Our mains were roasted duck and the blonde ray wing for me, which came with a brown shrimp sauce and samphire, absolutely delicious and fresh. For dessert (because what is dinner without dessert?) I had the classic chocolate mousse, which came with earl grey ice cream and drunken plums, and P chose the blackberry bavarois, an interesting meringue/mousse hybrid that was incredibly sweet and tangy, freshened up by the lime granita on top.
After all that, we rolled back into the bar area and didn’t last long before dragging ourselves up to bed, falling asleep almost instantly in the supersoft bed.
We woke up to more classic Cornish summer weather – mist, wind, and rain, and packed our stuff up before going down for breakfast. We both went for the Full Cornish, complete with bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, black pudding (yuk) and hog’s pudding (yum!), as well as homemade breads, jams, pickles and yoghurts. I can’t fault this at all, and only wish the weather had been brighter so we could have stayed around longer and had a walk along the coast.
We came away feeling totally refreshed and like we’d been away for a week. This was the perfect treat, and I’m already saving up for a winter break!
We paid £160 for two, on the dinner, bed and breakfast rate.