Great British Boltholes: Ruan Dinas, River Fal, Falmouth, Cornwall

Martha Hayes and friends kick back in a three-bedroom cottage on the Cornish coast

Martha Hayes and friends kick back in a three-bedroom cottage on the Cornish coast

Why go: If you’re after pure escapism, dreamy riverside views and a home-from-home, then the delightfully peaceful Ruan Dinas self-catering cottage has your back. Situated on the banks of Cowlands Creek between wild woodland and the sailing waters of the River Fal, it’s close enough to both Truro town and the port of Falmouth to be practical, but far enough to feel like you’re at the ends of the earth (in a good way). What’s more, as a property of bespoke Cornish holiday cottage company Milly & Martha, it comes with a fabulous itinerary tailored to your needs, so all the hard work’s been done for you.

Home sweet home: kick back in the three-bedroom cottage Ruan Dinas

Best for: A group of mates who want to spend quality time together relaxing and exploring and getting away from hectic work schedules. And you could happily throw couples with babies and young children into that mix. Cars are essential as it’s so off the beaten track, but there’s also acres of lush green woodland on your doorstep. When you’re done swinging through the trees like Tarzan, book yourself an in-room spa treatment. Mobile massage therapist Yolande Philpott (yolandephilpott.weebly.com) does the most incredible Luxury 100% Organic Spiezia Facial (£70 for 90 minutes) at very little notice.

Cornish tasty: it’s pretty cosy at Ruan Dinas

The look:
Ruan Dinas is a spacious, open-plan three-bedroom bungalow boasting river-view bedrooms (the sun rising over that view is an unforgettable wake-up call) and two bathrooms. There’s even a garage to store your bikes and walking boots. Enormous comfy sofas draped in fur blankets and cushions make up the lounge area where French doors open onto a private garden. But the real selling point is the stylish but homely (and very well equipped) kitchen, kept toasty warm by the range cooker in the centre. It’s a brilliantly sociable space where you can cook while having a glass of wine and a chat and maybe even put some beats on for a little dance. The kitchen also opens out onto a terrace. Did we mention the view?

I’m hungry: Do limit the number of meals you cook at the cottage (as nice as it is) simply because there are tons of amazing restaurants to check out. A twenty minute drive into Truro takes you to supper at Falmouth Bay Seafood Cafe (falmouthbayseafoodcafe.com), a warm and friendly and very accommodating (especially if you’re bringing children) restaurant that certainly knows its clams from its cockles. Tip: order one Cornish seafood platter (£38) as a starter to share with the table – it’s absolutely huge. You can always supplement it with extra oysters (£3 for three). There are so many lovely dishes on the menu – from lobster and crab linguine (£16.95) to baked sardines (£7.95) – you’re better off ordering one of each and sharing. Also go for Sunday lunch at the 13th-century Pandora Inn in nearby Mylor (pandorainn.com) which is popular for crabbing (yes, that equipment is included in the cottage as well!) should you have the energy after sinking into a bowl of steamed West Country mussels (£15) cooked in Cornish cider, ginger, honey and spring onion.

Who’s cooking? The kitchen at Ruan Dinas

While you’re there: Explore the countryside. Take a 45 minute walk through Trelissick Woods and get lost in its enchanted fern-lined valley. It’s largely uphill but feels very rewarding when you reach the National Trust’s Trelissick House and Gardens (nationaltrust.org.uk/trelissick) and settle down for a Cornish cream tea. Make a day of it and get the ferry from there to Falmouth with a Musselcard (£17.10 per day; falriver.co.uk) – the Cornish equivalent to London’s Oystercard. Spend the afternoon mooching around the shops and art galleries on the high street, stopping for fish and chips (Harbour Lights is worth a visit; harbourlights.co.uk) or a pasty and pint of real ale at a ye olde pub – there’s pretty much one on every corner.

The Water Tower at Trellisick House and Gardens © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Dress code: Comfy, country casual. Think what you’d wear for a winter walk with a dog. You’ll bump into enough of them – and prepare to chat to their owners, the locals are very friendly.

Book now: Ruan Dinas, Roundwood Quay, Truro, Cornwall TR3 6AS. A three-night stay costs from £485, a week from £650 (including a bespoke guide) through Milly & Martha (07703 859 106; millyandmartha.com). By car, it’s five minutes off the A39 between Truro and Falmouth, down towards the King Harry ferry and Feock, just before Cowlands Creek. The nearest main rail station is Truro, four miles away – First Great Western (firstgreatwestern.co.uk) offer a sleeper service from London.

Info: Devon and Cornwall (£12.99; Rough Guides) covers the region in depth. Useful websites are falmouth.co.uk, roselandpeninsula.com and visitcornwall.com.

Thumbnail and lead image: River Fal © falmouth.co.uk

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