Have you ever had a spare week and thought where in the world can I go for a family break on a budget? In February I had just that. I didn’t want to travel too far but also didn’t want to go abroad to Europe as it is just too cold, so decided to look closer to home (although the UK in February isn’t hot).
After giving up on Europe, I used The Grad Hub’s travel partners, Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com and Agoda to try and find the best deal for a long weekend break. I didn’t want to be too close to home but also didn’t want to travel too far either, so decided to look at Cornwall as an option.
Our UK Family Break
After a week of searching I finally found the perfect hotel and location for our UK Break. The hotel was called Penventon Park Hotel & Spa. The Penventon Park Hotel & Spa is a 4* hotel based in Redruth, a small town Cornwall and has all the facilities needed for a family break, including a indoor heated swimming pool with jacuzzi and sauna, spa facilities, gym and a restaurant known famously by locals for its delicious food and a ‘great night out’. And it only cost me around £300 for 4 nights bed and breakfast.
We had booked a family room directly with the hotel and the weekend arrived quickly. We were all packed and ready for our long weekend in Cornwall. And guess what, Storm Denis decided to hit. Remember that storm that caused all that flooding across the UK. Well I wasn’t going to let it ruin our trip. We kept checking the weather and decided to take a chance and head down. As we travelled down to Cornwall the wind was quite strong but nothing that we couldn’t handle. We arrived 5 hours later, after a couple of service stops and was just amazed. The hotel has a lovely drive through to their grounds before you reach a lovely manor style hotel.
We unpacked and headed in. The reception is a nice little dainty reception but had the most wonderful staff helping out. The room was ready for us and the porter helped us through. He gave us a nice little tour of the hotel whilst taking us to our room. The room was nice and cosy. It had a king size bed, a sofa bed and a cot for the little one. The first thing I tend to check out is the bathroom and I was more than happy with it. It was decorated with vintage style facilities, which gave the hotel that extra feel to it.
We obviously didn’t think about dinner before we left home, so when we arrived at the hotel we asked if they had any availability in their restaurant. As it was valentines weekend the reception staff said unfortunately not. However, when we arrived in our room, I received a call from the reception staff and they were able to fit us in for dinner, albeit an early dinner. A result! Customer service at it’s best.
We headed down for dinner and made our way to the restaurant. It was a large dining area, and I was quite surprised it was so full. They also had a lounge area for food and drink alongside the copper bar, which was fully stocked and served a wide range of drinks, including 160 different types of gin. I ordered a burger and chunky chips; the wife ordered a fish and chips and for the kids we got some pasta. We thought we’d also enjoy a bottle of bubbles alongside it, why not!
The food was just delicious and so was the price tag. The food ended up costing us £90. But I guess that did include the bubbles. There was a lot more on the menu including a great selection of steak, but I wanted to save that for another day.
After a lovely night’s sleep (the bed was so comfy) we headed down for breakfast. Breakfast was on until 10:30am, so plenty of time to grab some food in the morning. And after enjoying a great dinner the night before, I was really looking forward to what breakfast had to offer. I was once again not disappointed. There was a good selection of Eggs Benedict, the typical full English breakfast, cereals, pastries, and more. I obviously went for the full English with the black pudding of course. Tasty it sure was and it kept me full until the afternoon, which was another result.
As the weather outside wasn’t great, we decided to stay indoors. We sat by the lounge and the kids helped themselves to a variety of games that were made available. So, for the rest of the afternoon we relaxed with drinks and games. Then it came to Afternoon Tea!
If you’re going to be in Cornwall, you’ve got to have a traditional Cornish afternoon tea right. The afternoon tea consisted of freshly cut sandwiches, delightful cakes and freshly baked scones with homemade preserve and lashings of Cornish clotted cream. And it only cost £29 for the two of us.
When it arrived, it was served on a 3-tier bird cage and just looked delicious. Tea was served in a vintage pot with vintage cups and was topped up at no extra cost. I was relaxed and enjoying life at the Penventon Hotel with the family.
The Leisure Facilities
The main reason we chose this hotel was because of the indoor swimming pool and from the pictures online it looked amazing. We headed down after Afternoon Tea for a swim with the kids. The pool area looked stunning, had pillars around the room, deck chairs lining the swimming pool with blankets, towels and parasols (not sure why they had parasols indoors but I guess it was for the look). The only thing about the pool area was that it seemed a little outdated. Some areas seemed like they needed renovating. But nonetheless it was nice and relaxing. The other issue was that for families, you were only allowed to use the swimming area from 7am – 11am and from 4pm – 6pm. Not great when you wake up for breakfast late and have tea at 4pm, but we made the most of it. And the staff didn’t kick us out either. They said we could stay longer, so the kids were happy.
I didn’t get to use the gym but did check it out. It was situated alongside the pool and had all the necessary equipment for any gym fanatics.
During our 4 days at the Penventon Park Hotel we managed to squeeze in a 55-minute massage. The spa was upstairs from the pool area in a small room. I was quite surprised as was expecting more from the spa area, but I guess it’s more about the massage than the area the facilities are in. Well I had a 55-miniute Swedish full body and it was just so relaxing and rejuvenating. The staff were so friendly and experienced, knowing exactly what areas to put pressure on. The Caudalie products were naturally sourced from a vineyard in Bordeaux, France, delivering exceptional results for both face and body. I could have spent all day having a massage. The hotel runs a variety of special offers and you can get an extra £10 off when you book your spa treatments directly with the hotel at time of reservation.
As we were in Cornwall it would be rude not to check out the local area. The weather was getting better so whilst we had a window and the sun was out, we decided to take a visit to St Ives and the local beaches. Did you know Cornwall has over 300 beaches! The first stop was Portreath beach followed by a trip to St Ives.
Portreath was so scenic. It was set between a harbour wall and had fine soft sand. It was very windy however, so we didn’t spend too long walking along the beach. There are a few small cafes nearby that add to the experience and make you not want to leave.
St Ives – Porthmeor Beach
We then headed to St Ives, which was a 30-minute drive and drove to Porthmeor Beach. The beach is situated in the shadow of the iconic Tate St Ives Building and is sandy and very busy. Again, unfortunately the weather wasn’t great so we couldn’t spend too much time on the beach. The beach is one of only seven beaches in Cornwall that hold the prestigious Blue Flag Award 2019, given in recognition of water quality, safety, environmental management and education. From the beach you get a lovely view of St Nicholas Chapel which sits on the top of the island, surrounded by three sides of sea. The view is amazing. I’ve promised myself when the weather gets better, I’ll be making a trip back to St Ives and the beaches.
Falmouth – Pendennis Castle
On one of our days in Cornwall we decided to check out the town of Falmouth. It’s another lovely coastal town of Cornwall and is home to the world’s third largest natural harbour. The views are just spectacular. As we had the kids, we thought we would take them to Pendennis Castle.
Set on a headland with breath-taking views out to sea, Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses. The picturesque castle has defended Cornwall since Tudor times and played a vital role during the two World Wars. The views of the castle were amazing. Just walking around the castle, you experience what it used to be like in those days. The grounds are huge with artillery spread out across the grounds. As it was half-term the castle also had arts and crafts and other fun things for the kids to do. They loved it.
On our final day we decided to checkout early and stop at the Eden Project. Have you ever been? It’s the world’s largest indoor rainforest with two massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serving as a backdrop to their striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events. The place is massive, and you can really lose track of time here.
There’s plenty to see including the Rainforest biome, where you can feel the tropical heat and experience four of the world’s rainforest environments: Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America. With the awe-inspiring domes and enormous trees towering above you, you’ll follow the path deep into the vast indoor jungle and find surprises around every corner.
The Mediterranean Biome
The Mediterranean biome takes you on a journey through landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa, California and Western Australia where you will discover the amazing variety of plants growing in these warm temperate regions of the world. With the sweet aromas of herbs in the air, you’ll take an unforgettable journey through a paradise of brightly coloured flowers, gnarled olive trunks and bountiful vines.
Not only are there the biomes, you also have a lot of outdoor activities including the Rainforest canopy walkway, England’s longest zipwire, a variety of sculptures and exhibitions. I told you, you can lose track here.
And the best part is, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to visit. It’s £26 when you book an advance pass ticket, and this ticket entitles you to unlimited entries to the Eden Project for a year. So, if you’re planning on coming again, keep those tickets safe. Discover the Eden Project.
Overall the Penventon Park Hotel & Spa was just perfect. The staff went above and beyond their duty of care. They were so friendly and helpful and greeted you with a smile throughout the break. The hotel had all the facilities you would expect from a 4* hotel and the food and drink were just superb. With so much to do and see in Cornwall, you definitely won’t get bored and will leave completely relaxed.
If you’re planning your next UK break, I hope this has inspired you to look at Cornwall and the Penventon Park Hotel & Spa as your next destination of choice.
If you are looking for your next hotel accommodation, take a look at The Grad Hub’s accommodation directory.