Immaculate cottage with unbeatable views. Good for children
We stayed in Pier Cottage in October 2013 with our two young children (4 and 3). We have been coming to St Mawes for several years and know the village to be a very special place with so much for children and views to die for. We tend to come in spring or autumn to avoid the busy summer period but even so our usual cottage was booked this time however so Pier Cottage had a lot to live up to! We chose it primarily for it's proximity to the beach, harbour and bakery (opposite) and happily it did not disappoint. We booked through Helpful Holidays who were very efficient and, well, helpful!
The cottage has an "upside down" layout (which the girls loved) with the bedrooms on the ground floor to make the most of the incredible panoramic views from the living room. There is a twin room, family bathroom and double bedroom with ensuite wet room and access to the terraced courtyard area outside. Having the bathroom just feet away from the front door proved a useful facility when returning from the beach with wet sandy children - we just stripped them off on the doorstep and put them straight in the bath! Upstairs is a well equipped galley kitchen with views to the back of the property and a large open-plan living area with view to both front and back including over the pier, harbour and over to Falmouth. There was a TV with freeview and a DVD player, and a small DVD collection including a couple of children's ones which went down well. There is no wifi in the cottage but you can connect to the free Barclays wifi on that side of the property.
The cottage was immaculately clean, simply and freshly decorated and thoughtfully equipped. Heated towel rails were a bonus as was a washing machine. Knowing we had small children the caretaker had left out a stairgate, a puzzle game and some children's books which were much appreciated. There were also buckets and spades outside. We had to swiftly move a few ornaments out of reach of the 3 year old but generally it was pretty child friendly. The children particularly enjoyed stashing all the cushions in the under-stairs cupboard to create a den! The front door opens onto an alleyway with a (non lockable) gate separating it from the road, another child safety bonus compared to those which open straight onto the road. Probably the least child friendly aspect of the entire place was the white carpet upstairs including under the dining table. Parents of younger children might need to consider bringing a plastic mat for mealtimes! For smaller children I would also advise bringing a step as the beds and loo are quite high although we were able to improvise with the chair and a small table! Similarly there was no children's cutlery or plastic cups or tableware although I recognise that few rental properties provide these. We did not use the outside space much due to the weather but there is adequate space on the outside ground level for children to play a bit without needing to climb the steep steps to the upper terrace. Once up there it is well fenced and safe so the only hazard is the steps up.
Overall this was a superb cottage which we would definitely recommend. Although obviously not designed with small children in mind it nonetheless met our needs very well. There are a few things for parents of really young children to bear in mind but no more so than any other cottage in St Mawes. We would definitely book Pier Cottage again.
The village itself has two great beaches, crabbing off the pier, the English Heritage castle and plenty of walks. The St Mawes ferry takes just twenty minutes to get you to lovely Falmouth where there is loads more to do including the award winning beaches, pavillion, aquarium and National Maritime museum. The Place ferry takes you across to St Anthony Head where there are lovely walks including round to the lighthouse and other beaches. There are loads of other beaches and attractions nearby but we tend to just park the car for the week and stay in the village. Parking is in the main village car park at a cost of ?4.50 per 24 hours or £25 for the week (which rather quaintly is payable in coins only - beware the shop doesn't always do change and the visitor centre is only open for five minutes on a Tuesday in August so bring your own change). Between November and April you can park on the harbour road but this is often busy.
Ringside seat at ever fascinating spectacle
My husband and I, along with friends, came to St. Mawes for the week just before the intense summer holidays began. We chose this village as a base from which to explore Cornwall, and it turned out to be an excellent choice. The village is very charming, with a surprising number of good restaurants for its size, and with interesting houses and gardens, as well as the atmospheric castle fortress at the end of the street, to be seen on strolls around town. We understand that the village, and Cornwall, get pretty crowded in the last part of July and August, but we felt we timed our stay just right between the sleepiness of the off season and the too busy holiday time. Of course the weather was, as the locals said, "rubbish," for several days. However, that's just the normal part of visiting England, where it can be any weather any day. There are great hikes close by--we enjoyed hiking around the peninsula across the water from us.
The village is dominated by its beautiful harbor, and Pier Cottage boasts a panoramic view of it all. We spent considerable time in the cottage sitting transfixed before the wall of windows watching the boats come and go--one of the treats was watching a regatta with much discussion about our favorite sail boats.
Pier Cottage is very comfortable for 2 couples, with a nicely equipped kitchen for cooking light meals. We loved the bakery just across the street where somebody in our group popped over each morning to get something fresh and delicious for breakfast. The small grocery just a short walk away seems to have about everything one needs for a short stay. The lounge is very comfortable with leather furniture, and the dining area is spacious--we never felt cramped. Parking is tight in the village, and the spaces in front of the cottage seemed to be filled full time by the same cars that didn't move, but we didn't have any serious problem finding a place in one of the two parking lots nearby.
We did encounter a significant plumbing problem on our last two days as both toilets in our two bathrooms backed up and overflowed (even when not used!) This apparently was related to a major break in the water or sewer mains way north of us in Cornwall, which caused problems over much of the peninsula and which of course would not be a usual problem one would encounter. However, the local young woman who looks after the cottage, although quite pleasant, was not up to dealing with this problem very well--either in providing information or any ready solution. Luckily we are experienced and handy home owners (though we were a bit stumped by the British toilet anatomy, quite different from American), and we limped along with temporary measures, but we were happy to leave that inconvenience behind. This occurrence was likely a one time crisis, but some further training for the young caretaker and a close relationship with a local plumber would be a good thing.
The other drawback in the house was the absence of wifi, which of course we knew beforehand. However, public wifi in the village is nearly non-existent. The cafe in the nearby hotel advertises wifi but it is open only for lunch. This lack may not be important to other travelers; however, we find, in our frequent rentals in Europe, that it is becoming unusual. These are minor quibbles, provided only to give full information, and we would highly recommend Pier Cottage and St. Mawes.
A Holiday Lettings verified reviewer