A stylish new hamlet has grown up in this quiet corner of South Cornwall. Thirty lodges look out over the green folds of the Fowey Valley. A collection of spacious grey lodges with two or three bedrooms.
As some of the lodges have only been in place since Easter 2023, the light grey decor has a stylish contemporary feel. A large L-shaped sofa in the open-plan lounge kitchen/diner provides plenty of seating above the new deep-pile carpets. There’s a welcoming new house aroma in the air.
Wide decking wraps itself around two sides of each lodge. Sometimes housing a hot tub, always with terrace furniture providing seating for morning coffee or a glass of wine as the sun sets beyond the valley. If you’ve forgotten the wine, there is a shop for essentials by reception.
Our 40-foot-long and 20-foot-wide lodge has a master bedroom featuring an en-suite bathroom with bath and shower. Two further twin bedrooms, both with wardrobes, share a family bathroom, again with a bath and shower. Beyond Penmarlam at the end of the road is the tiny village of Bodinnick, its terraced gardens of early-flowering daisies, geraniums and rhododendrons clinging to the steep hillside. Then the road meets the ferry that sails across two hundred yards of the River Fowey. Some sort of vessel has crossed that watery short stretch for the last six centuries.
Many guests staying at Penmarlam Lodge Retreat opt to walk the half-mile of birdsong and ferns, rather than drive to the ferry. They even may stop at the Old Ferry Inn for a coffee, drink or meal.
Across the twisting lane from the inn is white-stone Ferryside, the house where Daphne du Maurier fell in love with Cornwall. After the publication of her first novel, The Loving Spirit in 1931, one reader was so impressed that he sailed around the coast to meet du Maurier. In an ending worthy of one of her novels, Daphne du Maurier and Major Frederick Browning married the next year.
Du Maurier loved the quaint winding lanes of the port of Fowey, where the people still spoke of chandlers, mainsails, and spinnakers, where cottages are called Sailors Return and Starboard. Below, kayaks and motor cruisers, hired at the harbour, head off to explore the river and estuary. Over the years Fowey has become a foodie destination with its cafes, restaurants and pubs serving up crabs, mackerel, mussels and prawns caught by local fishermen.
But for those who want to focus on their self-catering skills, a visit to Kittows of Fowey is essential. In 1974 the family set up a butchery to sell beef from the pedigree herds on their farm before branching out to provide award-winning sausages and fresh fish. Over the ensuing years, Kittows became Fowey’s go-to deli, providing up to 60 cheeses in the summer season. And it is hard to resist a spot more provisions shopping in the Cornish Bakery and Tarquin gin store.
A four-ring gas hob, oven, large fridge-freezer, microwave and toaster, plus a wine fridge, make for an exceptionally well-equipped kitchen. Guests combine this kitchen with Fowey’s foodie heritage for holiday-leisurely meals.
As well as nipping across to Fowey, Penmarlam Lodge Retreat is well-placed for exploring some of Cornwall’s headline attractions. It is less than an hour’s drive to the remarkable stories of The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Where Sir Tim Smit’s search for a few acres to keep his pet pigs resulted in a quest to restore 300 acres of bramble-overgrown gardens to their Victorian glory.
Even closer are the biomes of The Eden Project, which guide visitors through the tropical vegetation of the Amazon, Africa and the South Sea Islands. Then through the perfume fragrances and vegetation of the Mediterranean and the world’s temperate regions.
Though Penmarlam Lodge Retreat is more than an escape for just a week or two of exploring Cornwall’s charms. Some guests find the relaxed Cornish lifestyle so irresistible that they purchase their very own lodge.
Penmarlam Lodge Retreat fact file
Find out more about accommodation at Penmarlam Lodge & Holiday Retreat at Bodinnick, Fowey.
Check opening times and plan your visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Book online for The Eden Project.
If you enjoyed Penmarlam Lodge Retreat perfect base to explore Fowey and south Cornwall, you can find more of my ideas for UK short breaks on the Travel channel.Tags: Cornwall, Michael Edwards, Travel Last modified: June 12, 2023