22nd Jun 2015

I recently had a week away playing golf, or trying to, in Cornwall. We played some amazing courses. After golf each day I visited the hotels near the course. It’s an addiction, played out wherever I go.

I won’t say what I didn’t like, what’s the point? But those hotels were much quieter than the ones I liked.

Like the St Enedoc Hotel at Rock. I wanted to see Nathan Outlaw’s second Cornish restaurant operation; his more casual food outlet is based here. Sadly not enough time to organise and eat.

I liked the Scarlet, a grown ups only, contemporary hotel, full of cool dudes, in an amazing position.
But the one I was most impressed with was Watergate Bay. It’s aimed at 30 somethings with or without young children.

As a group of thirteen men we also enjoyed some of the local hostelries. Budget is usually the overriding decider with this group. Ethnic is popular but when you’re on the coast it’s seafood and fish isn’t it?

One of the best was the Fish House at Fistral. You need to book though. Who said there was nowhere good to eat in Newquay? We also went to Jamie Oliver’s 15 at Watergate Bay. Good, but not as good as the Fish House and a tad more expensive. It is in a good cause though. I first went there when it had just opened. Not a lot has changed; the views over the beach are stunning and it was fascinating watching the surfers till late. The staff were excellent explaining everything Italian to us “Northerners”. It was packed, and again, you must book.

At the end of our 5 days of golf we all headed home. Except me. I was due to pick Mum up from Bournemouth and bring her back up to the Lakes for some R&R. The journey from Newquay to Bournemouth is delightful and we know it well, having worked for many of our early years on the South coast and having relatives living in Tavistock.

Breakfast at Hugh's

Breakfast at Hugh’s

So first call was Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s River Cottage Deli & Canteen in Axminster. We’d had lunch there before but this time I just needed breakfast having got up early and skipped it at the hotel. (Don’t ask.) Fabulous coffee, OJ, and his own home made brown sauce. Cheerful service. Very popular, unsurprisingly.


Next a shortish drive up to Bridport, or Burton Bradstock to be precise. This has been one of our favourite coastal eateries for many years. The Hive Cafe. It’s on National Trust land overlooking the beach. Seafood, fish, cake and coffee, all good. And the walk on the beach is a must. An alternative here if you’ve got longer is Mark Hix’s.


Finally, before I got to sunny Bournemouth, I had to call in at the Pig on the Beach, Studland. This is one of a new group of hotels started by the man who did the Hotel du Vin chain. Similar market to Watergate Bay Hotel. Younger adults with money. (£6 a bit steep for a pint bottle of local ale, but the crab on sourdough offered much better value.)

I love this new style of casual, unstuffy hotel-keeping. It will spread, and the last of the swirly carpeted hotel ground floors will disappear. Until, like wooden floors and flared trousers, they become popular again.