The Gurnard’s Head Pub with rooms in Zennor, Cornwall

Prices from:
£115 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Stunning clifftop location
  • Rustic garden; dramatic views
  • Seasonal Cornish food
  • Excellent ales and well-chosen wines
  • Comfortable, simple rooms
  • Local art for sale
  • Superb walks: try the hike to St Ives

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Overview

The Gurnard’s Head Zennor, Cornwall, TR26 3DE

The personal touch

Visible for miles with its yellow-ochre walls and the words ‘The Gurnard’s Head‘ emblazoned on the roof, this iconic inn near Zennor is a real beacon on the Cornish coast. Since taking over the place in 2006, Charles and Edmund Inkin have turned it into a ‘must-visit’ destination that sets the standard for relaxed, convivial hospitality. ‘Eat, Drink, Sleep’ is the mantra, and the place lives up to its promise. Log fires, stone floors, brass lanterns and lots of local artwork (for sale) create just the right vibe in the bar, while the back garden offers views of the Atlantic. The kitchen champions seasonal Cornish produce and the food is backed by a fine stock of locally brewed ales, unusual spirits and well-chosen wines. In short, this delightfully remote retreat is just the place to recharge those batteries.

Sticky fingers

Children are well looked after, with a children’s menu and high tea available from 5.30pm.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome throughout the Gurnard’s Head. Extra towels, treats and ‘little black bags’ are provided.

Alfresco

The garden has a romantically natural feel, with wild flowers in abundance. There are great views over the rugged Cornish coast from the pergola and lawned areas, which are handily laid out with wooden tables and chairs.

What’s on?

Sailing trips around Mount’s Bay in a 1904 ketch, Bessie Ellen: book for April or again in August. They stage an annual beer and music festival each May, with live bands, arts & crafts, over 30 local brews and camping in the field nearby. There are good walks along the footpaths (The South West Coast Path), hedgerows and shorelines of West Penwith. Mackerel fishing trips and foraging walks can be arranged.

What’s the Damage?
7 doubles: £115 – £230; Sunday Sleepover from £170 through the winter; Winter Escape from £140 (D, B&B) until the 24th March; Spring sleepover from £299 (2 nights D, B&B) from the 17th April – 19th May.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Hardens; Michelin; Waitrose Good Food Guide

Sleep

The Gurnard’s Head Zennor, Cornwall, TR26 3DE

Do not disturb

The inn’s seven en-suite bedrooms have a homely, rustic, lived-in feel pointed up with antique chests of drawers, shelves of books, tartan throws, easy chairs and local art on brightly painted walls. Some have window seats with view over the moors, but all are fitted with comfortable Vispring beds. By contrast, the bathrooms are stylish and contemporary with powerful showers, chrome fittings, earthy tiles and white baths. Dogs are welcome in all rooms.

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton sheets; extra pillows; hairdryer, an iron and ironing board; Bramley Products toiletries.

Gadgets

Roberts radio; Wi-Fi throughout.

What’s for Breakfast?

Apple juice from Polgoon Vineyard & Orchard; organic plain yoghurt, fruit compote, homemade muesli; Cornish kipper with poached free-range egg; Newlyn smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on granary toast; full Cornish breakfast including hog’s pudding; organic Fairtrade coffee; loose-leaf Fairtrade English breakfast tea.

What’s the Damage?
7 doubles: £115 – £230; Sunday Sleepover from £170 through the winter; Winter Escape from £140 (D, B&B) until the 24th March; Spring sleepover from £299 (2 nights D, B&B) from the 17th April – 19th May.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Hardens; Michelin; Waitrose Good Food Guide

Eat & Drink

The Gurnard’s Head Zennor, Cornwall, TR26 3DE

Mastering the menu

Head chef Jack Clayton and his team are crusading champions of seasonal Cornish produce – especially fish from the day boats. Regular deliveries mean that the kitchen can ring the changes, so expect anything from grilled mackerel with chorizo aïoli to squid braised in red wine with linguine or parsley-crusted pollack with mussels, celeriac and seaweed butter. Carnivores and vegetarians are also well served with the likes of beef rib-eye with bone marrow and pressed potatoes to grilled figs with honey, goats’ cheese and almonds. Meals take place in a brightly coloured dining room with vibrant blue paneled walls and red-painted Cornish stone, plus some uplifting paintings by local artists. There are views over the headland from some tables, and a large window offers a sneaky peek into the kitchen.

On the menu

River Exe mussels, white wine, parsley and apple
Lanhydrock pheasant breast, Puy lentils, prune and pancetta
Cod brandade, wild mushrooms, baby onions and red wine
Primrose Herd pork tenderloin, salsify, mashed potatoes, apples and hazelnut
Crème fraîche set cream with rhubarb and honeycomb

Sunday Roasts

Slow-roast rib of beef with all the trimmings and red wine gravy
Roast pork with all the trimmings and apple sauce
Two courses £18; three courses £23

Foodie extras

Picnics can be arranged: the ‘coastal walkers’ version includes home-baked cake, crisps, a refreshing drink, an apple and a huffer sandwich)); the ‘theatregoers’ version (for those going to the Minack) also includes olives, anchovies, soda bread, cheese and chutney.

Time to eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.15pm
Supper: 6pm – 9.30pm (from 6.30pm in winter)

Local, local, local

Fish – Matthew Stevens, St Ives (www.matthewstevens-cornishfish.co.uk); Newlyn Fish Co (www.newlynfish.co.uk); Wild Harbour, Hayle (www.wildharbour.co.uk)
Meat – Harvey Brothers, St Ives (www.stivesmeat.co.uk)
Duck – Cornish Duck Co, Terras (www.cornishduck.com)
Pork – Primrose Herd, Redruth (www.primroseherd.co.uk)
Fruit, vegetables and herbs – Bodrifty Farm, Penzance; Bosavern Farm, St Just (www.bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk)
Cheese – Hanson Fine Foods, Truro (www.hansonfinefoods.co.uk)
Tea – Tregothnan Tea (www.tregothnan.co.uk) & Trumpers of Hereford

Behind the bar

True to the Gurnard’s mantra, drinking is given its due at the bar. Locally brewed ales including beers from Skinners, St Austell and new favourites such as Harbour Brewing or Cornish Crown are on handpump – along with Skreach cider from St Buryan; there’s also a good stock of bottled beers with several local representatives. Interesting spirits range from Somerset cider brandy, Tarquin’s Gin and Chase vodka to special vermouths, (The Collector from Somerset) and even Cornish Pastis. The wine list is a well-chosen and serious collection of tasty bottles from around the globe, while excellent, Lovely Drinks from Somerset, Darlington coffees and Trumpers loose-leaf teas suit the abstainers.

Bar snacks

Olives; marinated anchovies; soda bread; Corkers crisps; vegetable crisps

Time at the bar

12 noon -11pm

What’s the Damage?
7 doubles: £115 – £230; Sunday Sleepover from £170 through the winter; Winter Escape from £140 (D, B&B) until the 24th March; Spring sleepover from £299 (2 nights D, B&B) from the 17th April – 19th May.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Hardens; Michelin; Waitrose Good Food Guide

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Gurnard’s Head

2

The Star, St Just TR19 7LL

'No food, just damn fine beer' - that's the verdict of one regular at The Star Inn, a timeless pub on the town square in St Just serving cracking local ales such as Tinners and Tribute. Open fires keep the pub warm in winter, but there is a covered beer garden for those in need of some fresh Cornish coast air.

3

Polgoon Farm Shop and Deli, Rosehill Meadow, Penzance TR20 8TE

Set within this idyllic Cornish orchard and vineyard, the farm shop and deli stocks a full range of Polgoon's lovely wines and ciders, as well as local jams, chutneys, handmade local chocolate and eggs from the farm's own hens. Time a visit for one of the wine talks and tastings or a tour of the vineyard and orchard.

4

Porthmeor Beach Cafe, St Ives TR26 1JZ

In front of Tate St Ives and overlooking one of the finest beaches in the region, this cool and buzzy cafe is linked to the surf school next door. Open for alfresco breakfast, lunch and dinner, including good value tapas, it also serves excellent Cornish-roasted Origin coffee.

5

Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, GulvalTR20 8YL

Set in a stunning sheltered valley, complete with stream and dramatic vistas, people flock to Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens for the large scale exotic and sub-tropical plants and contemporary art installations. An added draw is the excellent food served in the Little Wonder Cafe, with its wonderful views across to St Michael's Mount.

6

Ben's Cornish Kitchen, Marazion TR17 0EL

Run by the Prior family, this award-winning restaurant has already picked up rave national reviews thanks to seasonal, locally-sourced dishes such as duo of Mount's Bay mackerel with beetroot, pickled apple and watercress, and pan-fried hake fillet with crushed root veg, chard and herb and mussel sauce.

7

Bosavern Community Farm Shop, St Just TR19 7RD

On the road between St Just and Land's End, this community farm shop sells an impressive range of fresh vegetables grown in the surrounding fields, as well as local honey, jams, chutneys and fresh bread on Fridays. They even sell beeswax candles.

8

Fat Hen, St Buryan, Penzance TR19 6EH

If foraging for your supper is your thing, former ecological consultant Caroline Davey runs one of the best courses in the UK. As well as supplying local restaurants and pubs with seasonal wild food, she runs a number of courses, including gourmet wild food weekends, bread making and seaweed foraging and cooking.

10

Dog & Rabbit Cafe, St Just TR19 7HJ

This quirky new cafe with vintage furniture serves some of the best coffee in the region. The daily changing menus include baps filled with sausages from a local farm, tagines of local vegetables, excellent Welsh rarebit and a Croque Madame to die for. A genuine find - 01736 449811.

11

The Apple Tree Café, Sennen TR19 7AQ

Half a mile from Land’s End and Sennen, this friendly little cafe is a popular pitstop for walkers and cyclists, serving hearty breakfasts, good coffee and lunchtime soups, jacket potatoes and specials such as mackerel pate on toast.

12

Penlee House Gallery, Penzance TR18 4HE

This quirky new cafe with vintage furniture serves some of the best coffee in the region. The daily changing menus include baps filled with sausages from a local farm, tagines of local vegetables, excellent Welsh rarebit and a Croque Madame to die for. A genuine find - 01736 449811.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Gurnard’s Head

Activities

2

Seaside Painting Breaks, Newlyn TR19 6AN

Artists have been drawn to the beautiful scenery and clear light of Cornwall for many years, and a number of places run painting courses, whether you are a beginner or more experienced. Rose Farm Studios near Newlyn offers intimate class sizes of no more than six, and will discuss prior to your stay what you want to achieve. Based in the famous artists' colony, Newlyn School of Art provides inspiring art courses in painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery and printmaking

3

Surfing, Sennen Beach TR19 7BT

Cornwall is famous for surfing, of course, and if you're ever going to give it a go, beautiful Sennen Beach might be the ideal place. Or maybe St Ives, which offers a wide choice of surf schools and shops where you can get yourself all the right kit.

4

Kite Surfing, Perranporth TR6 0DP

Some very different and exciting experiences here with kite surfing, kite buggies and kite landboards all on offer. Qualified instructors will teach you how it all works, and alternative beaches are used depending on wind direction. Mobius have schools in Hayle and Marazion, and also run guided mountain biking trails and hire out bikes too.

5

Dolphin and Whale Watching, Penzance TR18 2LL

If you prefer to keep out of the water then dolphin watching might be more your style. From a sailing catamaran you can look out for grey seals, minke whales, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises, and leatherback turtles. Sailing is the quietest way to experience an encounter with these fascinating creatures - if you're lucky enough to see dolphins you'll be able to hear them whistling.

Shopping

12

Crowan Crafts, 11 Market Place, St Ives TR26 1RZ

Run by a group of Cornish artisans, everything sold in the shop is designed and handmade in Cornwall. From jewellery to ceramics, sculpture and woodturning to basketry, furniture, paintings, buttons, bunting and walking sticks, a really wide selection of quality crafts.

13

The Little Picture Gallery, Mousehole TR19 6RP

In the heart of the village and close to other galleries, this neat little white-painted gallery shows a wide selection of work covering traditional, representational, naive and idiosyncratic styles.

14

Poppy Treffry, 42 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 1HE

Quirky, charming handmade gifts and accessories featuring designer Poppy’s illustrative designs. Bags, hats, cushions, tea and coffee cosies and more – really lovely things made locally using good quality materials, low impact production techniques and old Singer sewing machines.

15

Maritime Antiques, Trenwith Lane, St Ives TR26 1DA

If you're looking for a ship's wheel or a binnacle, or you need a porthole or fancy an antique model sailing ship, you'll probably find what you're looking for here. The shop is full of unique and fascinating nautical items.

16

St Ives TR26 1HE

St Ives is a buzzy and thriving town, full of character and crammed with lovely shops selling gifts, jewellery, crafts and clothes, as well as plenty of galleries and restaurants. If you need surfing gear, this is the place to get it. There's a farmers' market every Thursday at the Guildhall.

18

The Sloop Craft Market, St Ives TR26 1LS

Behind the Sloop Inn, this market has been going for over 40 years. There are a dozen or so stalls where you can pick up stained glass, silk painting and ceramics.

21

Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn TR18 5PZ

Newlyn played an important role in the development of 20th-century art, and for nearly 120 years the gallery has brought the best contemporary works to the South West. The focus here is on painting and drawing.

22

The Exchange, Princes Street, Penzance TR18 2NL

Occupying a former telephone exchange, this striking building is a major contemporary art space with an impressive industrial feel. National and international contemporary art and work by regional artists is shown here, and other events include film screenings, live performances and workshops.

24

Laff, 31 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 1HE

An independent, family-run shop selling high-quality designer children’s clothes and shoes (with an age range of birth to 11). Great place to find stylish designs, many made in the UK, plus a selection of soft toys.

25

Mousehole TR19 6RP

Mousehole is a delightful little fishing village that has retained much of its old world charm. Its narrow streets are full of small shops, galleries and restaurants, and its Christmas lights are quite something (people come in busses to check them out during December).

Places to visit

6

Chygurno, Lamorna TR19 6XH

A fantastically dramatic garden on the cliff edge above Lamorna Cove, Chygurno climbs downwards in steep steps and terraces. Reclaimed and replanted in 1998 after decades of neglect, you'll find sub-tropical plants making a striking contrast with the rocky backdrop, and there's a stunning decked vantage point that puts you on eye level with the treetops.

7

Tregiffian Burial Chamber, St Buryan TR19 6BQ

A Neolithic or early Bronze Age chambered tomb, known as an entrance grave because of the entrance passage which is lined with stone slabs. This leads into the central chamber, where flints, bones and ashes were found here when it was excavated in the 19th century.

8

Zennor TR26 3BY

Zennor is a tiny village, probably most famous for its mermaid and connections to D. H. Lawrence. The carved 'mermaid chair' (probably 15th century in date) can be seen in the church, St Senara's, and the story goes that it was carved to commemorate a mermaid who came to the church every Sunday and sang in the choir, entrancing everyone with her sweet voice. Eventually she fell in love with a young man considered 'the best singer in the parish', and enticed him away to live with her beneath the waves. Neither was ever seen in Zennor again. D. H. Lawrence moved to the village in 1915 with his German wife.

9

Chysauster Ancient Village, New Mill, Penzance TR20 8XA

Originally occupied almost 2,000 years ago, this Iron Age village is one of the finest examples in the country. The stone-walled houses, known as 'courtyard houses', are found only on the Land's End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly. The houses line a 'village street', each with an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms. You can explore the ruins and ponder the purpose of the enigmatic 'fogou' underground passage. The village has fantastic views across the countryside and out to sea, and is a real haven for wildlife.

10

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno TR19 6JX

It might seem a rather unlikely hub for high-tech global communications, but in 1870 engineers laid thousands of miles of undersea cables from this remote sandy beach.Porthcurno, home to the world's largest telegraph cable station, became vital to Britain's communications across the Empire and beyond. It moved underground during World War II, and you can explore the 'secret tunnels' that now house an award-winning museum.

11

Tate St Ives, St Ives TR26 1TG

Part of the national group of galleries, Tate St Ives exhibits work by modern British artists. There's no permanent collection, instead a regularly changing programme of exhibitions that changes three times a year. The Tate also manages another property in St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

20

Penlee House Gallery, Penzance TR18 4HE

The only Cornish public gallery specialising in work from the Newlyn School artists (1880-1940), the delightful Penlee House is set amongst beautiful gardens and a lovely Orangery cafe serving fish pie, Newlyn crab sandwiches and home-baked cakes for afternoon tea.

Walking

www.swcp.org.uk
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/st-ives-to-pendeen/
www.fathen.org
West Cornwall certainly offers some of the world’s most awe-inspiring coastline. The South West Coast Path, originally used by the coastguard to track and pursue smugglers, gives access to 630 miles of amazing scenery from Minehead to Poole. It’s the longest and most popular walk in the UK and considered among the world’s Great Hikes. A fair length of it is in Cornwall. The National Trust own some stunning coastline, too. If you want shorter walks with an edible purpose, Fat Hen run fascinating foraging courses, teaching you how to identify and then cook all kinds of wild food.

Cycling

www.visitcornwall.com
www.landsendcyclehire.co.uk
Explore Penwith on two wheels. Land’s End cycle hire can drop bikes off at the Old Coastguard if you didn’t bring your own. The First and Last Cycle Trail, National Cycle Route number 3, will take you from Long Rock to Land’s End, and near St Just, the Mining Heritage coastline is all accessible by bike. St Michael’s Way stretches from Lelant (near St Ives) to Marazion (near Penzance) opposite St Michael’s Mount.

Events

www.visitcornwall.com
There are dozens of events and festivals throughout the year. Tom Bawcock’s Eve, held on the 23rd of December in Mousehole, celebrates the efforts of legendary Mousehole resident Tom Bawcock to lift a famine from the village by going out to fish in a severe storm. During the festival, Stargazy pie (a mixed fish, egg and potato pie with protruding fish heads) is eaten and a lantern procession takes place. St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and various events take place as part of the St Piran’s Day Celebrations in Falmouth, Bodmin, Redruth and Perranporth (early March). St Ives May Day festival consists of a parade and plenty of music and dancing. Helston Flora Day is believed to be pre-Christian and was banned in the 19th century for being ‘a drunken revelry’ (dancing begins at 7am). St Ives Literature Festival in May sees book launches, poetry and prose readings, plus live music, comedy acts and creative writing workshops. Golowan Maritime Festival in Penzance (late June) is a traditional boat festival, running in tandem with the well-established Golowan Festival – owners and crews of traditional boats are invited to come and enjoy the atmosphere. Penzance Literary Festival takes place in July.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By road: Take the M5 and follow the A30 towards Penzance. Turn left at Tesco roundabout, then right towards Gulval and New Mill. Drive for four miles over the moor until you reach a T junction. The Gurnard’s Head is straight ahead.

By rail: The nearest train stain is Penzance (7 miles) – approximately five hours from London. Paddington.

By air: Newquay airport is less that one hour’s drive away.

Address:

St Ives, Zennor, Cornwall, TR26 3DE

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

The Sunday Times, 100 Ultimate British Hotels 2013, Budget
‘The coast between St Ives and Pendeen is one of the wildest in Cornwall, and the Gurnards Head is exactly the kind of place you’d hope to find there. Low-swung, granite-walled and warmed by open fires, it’s a relaxed, no-ceremony establishment and serves some of the best fish in the country. Upstairs, the rooms are small and simple.’

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