Weekend Journals are a series of beautifully curated guide books to Cornwall, London & Provence by Milly Kenny-Ryder. Each book takes readers through carefully sought out and discovered places to stay, eat, drink, shop and enjoy local culture. A family project, the books were shot by Gabriel Kenny-Ryder and designed by Simon Lovell.
With staycations still high on the agenda this year, Milly’s mini guide to Cornwall will convince you to discover and eat your way through one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
In the last 10 years, Cornwall has changed dramatically with new boutique hotels, stylish seasonal restaurants and design-led shops complementing the county’s epic coastline and nostalgic seaside charm. My family has holidayed in rural Cornwall since I was a child and it’s these fond memories along with the creative and culinary transformation that led my company Weekend Journals to create a book about the best places to explore here.
Photography: Gabriel Kenny-Ryder
“In the last 10 years, Cornwall has changed dramatically with new boutique hotels, stylish seasonal restaurants and design-led shops complementing the county’s epic coastline and nostalgic seaside charm.”
Stay: Chapel House
If you have the time it is worth travelling all the way down to the tip of Cornwall, and more specifically to Penzance where the lovely Chapel House is found. This sophisticated, restored townhouse is on the corner of Chapel Street, one of Penzance’s most picturesque roads. Owner Susan Stuart has thoughtfully designed the six double bedrooms and two suites to offer guests a luxurious and serene place to stay. The communal areas are equally welcoming and in the downstairs dining room Susan hosts nourishing breakfasts and dinners, when requested.
London foodies will know the Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene trio of restaurants. Chef and co-owner of these eateries is David Gingell, who hails from Cornwall, so it makes sense that he finally decided to open a restaurant here. Fitzroy has put the small coastal town of Fowey back on the map as a foodie destination. The dining room is filled with furniture by local craftsmen, Able Provisions, and the food and wine is ultra seasonal and unique.
Bar: Seafood Bar by Verdant
Cornwall is known for its abundant, fresh seafood but it can be hard to find a place worth eating that isn’t overrun with tourists. This little, unsuspecting bar by Verdant Brewing Co was founded in 2014 by friends Adam, James and Rich. The cosy venue serves their unfiltered craft beer alongside an ever-changing menu of moreish seafood dishes.
Coffee: Origin, Penryn
If you are a speciality coffee fan you’ll know Origin coffee, as this Cornish company now supplies beans to some of the best coffee shops in the UK. Origin was founded in 2004 by Tom Sobey and the company’s first coffee shop opened in Porthleven in 2013. As their reputation grew so did their family of coffee shops, The Warehouse is a gem on the sleepy Penryn high-street. Serving hearty brunch dishes alongside their unrivalled single-origin coffees, it is the perfect weekend destination.
I never leave No. 56 empty handed. This charming boutique in Penzance has a beautiful curated selection of ceramics, stationery and garments, some of which are designed by the shop’s owner Carole Elsworth. Pick up a plate from local potter Rebecca Proctor, a bottle of J Herbin violet-scented ink or a few beeswax candles.
Experience: Hidden Hut
Cornwall’s feast nights are unbeatable and none sell out faster than Hidden Hut. Simon Stallard’s famous feasting events take place on the Roseland Peninsula, on a patch of rugged coastline. Guests bring their own plates and cutlery and gorge on Simon’s appetising seasonal food, anything from paella to whole grilled Cornish lobsters. The rest of the time Hidden Hut operates as an unassuming café; stop by for a pick-me-up pasty on a beach walk.
Art: Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
There is something beautifully solemn and calming about the Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden in St Ives. Quietly nestled amongst tropical plants and flowers are some of Hepworth’s most magical works. St Ives has a long history as a home for major artists and potters, Barbara Hepworth is undoubtedly the most prolific and a trip to this museum and garden is always memorable.
Visit: The Minnack
Hidden away on the scenic cliffs of Porthcurno is the enchanting Minack Theatre. Built in 1931 by Rowena Cade and her gardener, this al fresco theatre is a magical place to see musical and theatrical shows. Sometimes visitors may even catch a glimpse of dolphins jumping through the endless azure sea in the theatre’s background.
Cornwall is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, but it’s also an intimidating one to navigate. There is so much to see, do and eat on every side of the peninsula, so if you’re looking for a bible to guide you through your trip, this is exactly what you’re looking for. Follow @weekendjournals for more inspiration too.
Gina is a Cotswolds veteran and our go-to on knowing where the best places are to eat, drink and stay are. Her husband grew up there and it’s where the two of them got married, so she knows a thing or two. She’s got plenty of Cotswolds guides on her blog, but she’s put together a special Mini Guide To The Cotswolds here just for us too. Another one for any more staycations you’ve got planned this year.
The Cotswolds is easily one of the quaintest parts of the UK, thanks to its rolling hills and myriad of pretty villages of honey coloured houses. It’s no surprise that many have been flocking to the area as of late, and with an impressive number of gourmet restaurants and luxurious hotels to explore, it’s easily one of the places you’ll find yourself returning to time and time again.
“The Cotswolds is easily one of the quaintest parts of the UK, thanks to its rolling hills and myriad of pretty villages of honey coloured houses.”
Where To Stay: Foxhill Manor
This private country house hotel near Broadway village only has eight bedrooms, each individually designed in elegant colour schemes. Stay in either the spacious Chestnut bedroom which features its own dining room table and plush furnishings, or the Oak suite that boasts ‘his and her’ bathtubs with sweeping views over the 400 acre Farncombe Estate. Indulge in the hotel’s ‘no rules’ policy: guests are invited to eat whenever and wherever they like throughout the property, whether that’s breakfast in bed, or dinner in the cinema. The lack of a formal menu means that you’re welcome to pop into the kitchen and chat with the chefs, who will whip up whatever you fancy, making for a truly special gourmet experience.
Cotswolds luxury at its finest, Thyme is a family-owned estate that sits within the village of Southrop, but still boasts 150 acres of ground for guests to roam. Aptly self-described as a ‘village within a village’, the hotel encompasses several converted cottages and farmhouses dotted across the estate, as well as a spa, outdoor pool, cookery school, and stunning Ox Barn restaurant where chef Charlie Hibbert is at the helm. Bedrooms are extremely luxurious, featuring pastel furnishings, and jewel-coloured bathtubs.
The Rectory Hotel
Another of my favourite countryside escapes, The Rectory Hotel is a stunning Cotswold conversion offering 18 boutique bedrooms decorated in a laidback luxe style. With beautifully kept gardens and an outdoor pool, this is the perfect location to visit in summer. From enjoying afternoon tea al fresco, to sumptuous dinners and tasty breakfasts served in the Scandi-style conservatory, this is definitely a gourmet getaway for those that want to kick back and relax – and eat well whilst doing so.
A Cotswold favourite, Daylesford farmshop and deli sprawls across an impressive estate in Gloucestershire, encompassing various cottages that you can stay in, as well as their famous Bamford spa. Pop in here for lunch in the deli (menu options include hearty salads and sandwiches), or pick up some gourmet ingredients and tasty supplies in their farm shop. Their smart-casual restaurant, Trough, is also a great dinner option.
This gourmet pub-restaurant offers delicious British food in a cosy setting: expect beautifully presented dishes which are hearty and filling, such as crispy buttermilk chicken and homemade gnocchi, as well as a traditional roast on Sundays. Don’t miss out on their homemade beer bread with whipped Marmite butter, and make sure to leave room for the divine desserts.
One of my favourite restaurants EVER, let alone in the Cotswolds, The Bell Inn at Langford is a gourmet restaurant with rooms offering up delicious pub grub: think lip-smackingly tasty British classics, served in a cosy and rustic setting. Don’t miss their homemade flatbread starters, and make sure to save room for their puddings too.
Gina has a knack for finding the most beautiful plays to stay, eat and explore all over the UK. In fact, she’s just published a book called ‘British Boutique Hotels’ – it’s a great guide to work through for your own staycations, or even to give as a gift. There are also plenty of other tips for the Cotswolds and more on her blog, so head over there for a read.
IskIt began with our networks. We put feelers out, asked friends if they had a special grandmother we might be able to spend a day in the kitchen with. Soon enough, people got wind of what we were doing and started to reach out.
It began with our networks. We put feelers out, asked friends if they had a special grandmother we might be able to spend a day in the kitchen with. Soon enough, people got wind of what we were doing and started to reach out.
Travelling from the UK to Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Poland and way further to Cuba, the USA, Mexico and Russia to cook with grannies of all ages, background and ethnicities for a weekend each time, we’ve picked up more than just culinary tips on our great gran mission.
“There’s an intimacy to be found in someone’s kitchen… we form a bond with every woman we cook with.”
The life experience that we’ve been gifted through this project is extraordinary. Leaving a grandmother’s home after spending a day or weekend with her in her kitchen has become much like leaving our own grandmothers. They hug us tight and insist we come over again and we walk out with such warmth – in heart and belly. It is at these moments that we realise how important the project we’ve embarked on together is, picking up wisdom from women who know what it is to have truly lived.
We expected to pick up some good recipes doing Grand Dishes, we never could have imagined what we would learn about love, life and relationships. We have laughed hysterically and cried a lot. There have been grannies wearing pink wigs, chainsaw demonstrations, a whole tray of pasta bake dropped, a platter of peppers slipping off a granny’s head and onto the floor. They give as good as they get. They tell us exactly what they’re thinking.
There’s an intimacy to be found in someone’s kitchen. Invited into these grandmothers’ homes for a weekend, from a Sicilian farm to a cacti-populated private island in Croatia, sharing simple tasks in a kitchen filled with the smells and flavours of a dish loaded with special memories, we form a bond with every woman we cook with.
That bond, quite naturally, has led to questions we both internally have been churning over and over. “How did you know when you’d met ‘the one?’” “What makes a happy marriage?” “How do you deal with grief?” and “How does it really feel to be old?”
Both in our late twenties, we looked to these grandmothers for the answers we haven’t lived long enough to give to each other. Open, willing and with so much wisdom, the answers came over a boiling pot, a finely chopped onion or a table creaking with the weight of the many dishes we’d set upon it. They are now sealed forever in this book, along with the recipes that have seasoned these womens’ lives.
They have changed the way we think, reminded us of the importance of looking forward, being kind, of love and legacy (be it through children, good deeds or special recipes) and that strange, shocking things could happen at any moment. Ultimately, that we should not worry so much about what we don’t yet know and just feast on life.