Hotel review

Hotel Reviews: The Gurnard’s Head is an unpretentious Cornish “pub with rooms”

Great British Boltholes: The gloriously unpretentious Cornish ‘pub with bedrooms’ in a magical secluded setting on the Atlantic coast

  • Gurnard’s Head takes its name from the nearby Cornish Headland
  • It has eight ’boutique’ bedrooms, and B&B double rooms start from £ 205 a night.
  • Restaurant menus change daily, serving “fabulous” seasonal produce

There are plenty of reasons The Gurnard’s Head stands out – and not just because it delivers a vibrant touch of turmeric yellow over the wild moorlands that envelop it.

Much of the appeal of The Gurnard is that, although it has been beautifully renovated, it remains a good old, unpretentious hostel. Its warm atmosphere embraces; the optimistic staff breathe the sun.

The hostel, which takes its name from a rocky promontory on the Cornish Atlantic coast, feels incredibly secluded.

Vicki Reeve first visited The Gurnard’s Head (pictured) 14 years ago after hiking the Cornish coast

It’s a beacon for coastal trail hikers: my partner and I first went for a drink after hiking 14 years ago – right after Charles and Edmund Inkin started it. We booked for dinner which was a triumph. Now we visit often.

The granite-walled ‘pub with bedrooms’ has three common areas. In the traditional and cheerful yellow bar (Cornish beers, Duchy gins, a fine range of eaux-de-vie and whiskeys), locals drink by the corner of the fireplaces alongside DFL (Down From London) who have found this superb place.

The bar leads to a cozy setting, then to the bright, ultra-navy red of the rustic restaurant filled with works of art with views of the garden and the moors.

The farmhouse tables and low-key website may downplay menu expectations, but it’s class all the way.

We have supremely tasty starters: cuttlefish, peanut and sesame; asparagus, spicy butternut and dukka. A main course of hake, baba ganoush and merguez is delicious, while vada pav (fried potato dumpling) with zucchini and chili jam is divine. A rhubarb, honeycomb and yogurt sorbet dessert is mouth watering.

Upstairs are seven bedrooms, but we’re in the new ‘best’ quarters – an annex accessed through a courtyard, which has undergone a first-rate facelift from top (open roof) to feet (underfloor heating).

The large room has a delightful Tuscan air, with buttery lime yellow walls, a Vispring bed, and a heavy Welsh blanket. There’s a Roberts radio, dainty country flowers, oil seascapes, and monoprint landscapes.

Vibrant: Pictured is The Gurnard's Head art-filled dining room, which offers views of the garden and moorland

Vibrant: Pictured is The Gurnard’s Head art-filled dining room, which offers views of the garden and moorland

Vicki marveled at 'the rough seas below' as she stood on Gurnard's Head Peninsula, pictured

Vicki marveled at ‘the rough seas below’ as she stood on Gurnard’s Head Peninsula, pictured


Gurnard’s Head, near Zennor, Cornwall.

Dinner, Double B&B from £ 205 per night (

The huge bathroom has waxy and green tadelakt plaster walls over the tub and into the spacious shower.

In the living area is a sofa made for two, a comfortable armchair for reading, along with heavy curtains and a wood-burning stove – making it a great hideaway in winter too.

French doors open onto a pretty terrace leading to the beer garden. Beyond is the trail to the beautiful Gurnard’s Head Peninsula, where we marvel at the rough seas below. Happiness.

USP: A magical setting and a haven of peace with fabulous cuisine.

The rooms: Eight different characterful and soothing bathrooms. Some have a view of the sea, others of the moor. No TVs.

The food: The daily changing menus feature ultra-fresh seasonal dishes, often in intriguing combos.


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