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Any given summer will see Cornwall’s population treble in size, with well over a million visitors flocking to the Duchy’s sandy beaches and pretty harbour towns for their holidays. Who can blame them? But the annual tourist migration means that competition for bed and board is perennially high from July to September, and prices during these peak months can reach ludicrous levels. That said, even in fashionable coastal resorts such as Padstow you can still find comfortable lodgings for reasonable rates. Here’s our pick of the best budget hotels in Cornwall, where you can bag a bargain without compromising on style or location.

One of the best-value hotels in Cornwall when taking into account its size and overall offerings, the Fistral Beach Hotel is large (with 71 rooms) and has an incredible spa that’s free for all guests to use (no sneaky extra charges like other some other properties). It doesn’t matter if you’ve booked an ecomony room or a suite, they all follow the same coastal-inspired design, honing in on the surrounding sea vistas, with soft palettes and crisp bed linen, set against simple, understated furnishings. Note that this is an adults-only hotel, so certainly not one to add to a ‘school holidays’ potential list if you’re a family, but couples and solo travellers alike love this slice of peace in Newquay.


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A former coaching inn dating back to the 1800s, this is the type of place that you would hope to stumble across on a long hike, it’s striking dandelion-yellow exterior a wonderfully cheery and comforting sight, with great local beer on tap, simple but hearty Cornish food and handful of neat-as-a-pin bedrooms to lay your head. The hotel’s approach is built soundly on the maxim that a night’s sleep will only be as good as the bed itself – Vispring beds are found in every room, along with Egyptian cotton bed linens, warm Welsh blankets, stacks of books, a Robert’s radio, Tregothnan tea and Yallah coffee. Its location is its real draw though, one for those who like their surroundings rugged, wild and sleepy. A great bolthole to avoid the summer droves.


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A pebble’s throw from the local beach (the lovely toes-in-golden-sand variety) sits this pretty, nine-bedroom b&b with eye-catching views of the sea. Charming owners Vanessa and Simon have created a relaxing, homespun space that focuses on design. The brilliant-white backdrop (the walls, the crisp bed sheets) is broken with fun injections of turquoise and mustard-yellow (velvet sofas and painted chairs) and quirky details like the jungle theme prints and textured pendant lights pull the effortless, laidback look together. It’s fresh from a renovation – they added a new penthouse suite in 2022 – and the much-talked about breakfast is an ideal fuel for those bracing cliff walks.


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If you’re looking to dodge the crowds in summer, Westcroft is a dinky Georgian house that’s located in more of an under-the-radar spot in Cornwall – where you’re more likely to be joining locals for a morning dip in the sea, not tourists. It’s the curated feel that makes this place so special; art fans will love discovering the contemporary pieces dotted around the property and much of the furniture has been collected over the years by the couple who own it (on their trips around the globe). Food is a big deal around these parts, and there’s plenty of places to try out – including Michelin-guide recognised The View and The Carew Arms.


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The design here might not be winning any awards, but that’s not the point, the spot-on food is the real star of the show. A much-loved local hangout, this affordable restaurant with rooms (just two to be precise) serves up creative Asian-Cornish fusion dishes from two locations in the village of Porthleven. The first location (Kota Kai) has more of a comfort food vibe (think chicken satay burgers with Asian slaw), but the second, simply named Kota, is more polished with plates such as Porthleven crab and mackerel ceviche flying out of the lively, friendly kitchen. The larger room has a great sea view and is perfect for a small family. A real value-for-money find.


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Now this is a pretty hotel for its price. Perhaps it’s the clever use of its all-white backdrop (Farrow & Ball Cornforth white to be precise) which immediately strikes an elegant first impression, but it’s also the lovely detail layered upon it: colourful bolster cushions, bright green succulents, bookshelves made from old wooden crates, monochrome prints by Cornish-based illustrator and designer Nicole Heidaripour all work in harmony to create a supremely soothing space. There are two areas in which to eat: enjoy a lighter lunch from the bar menu in front of an open fire in the old bar, or head to the spacious, light-filled dining room, which transforms into a low-lit, more intimate space at dusk.


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When a restaurant is this renowned, it’s safe to assume that the hotel offering attached to it is just as coveted. Classy, yet cool, Rick and Jill Stein still manage to remain current decades after opening — the flagship property launched in 1975 — and flocks of people still come far and wide for Rick’s signature dishes (the seafood gratin is a favourite). The bedrooms have been overseen by Jill herself and a calm, coastal chic vibe reigns with cream palettes and cute nautical touches. Padstow is small, and because of the big names here it can be swamped in the peak summer months, if you can, try to book in shoulder season (May or September) for the best experience.


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£
120

A bit of a wildcard choice, but if you are willing to travel as far as Tresco your efforts will pay off; not only will you discover an island worth returning to again and again, but this pub-with-rooms will become a firm favourite in your UK little black book of stays. Car-free Tresco only stretches two-miles-by-one, meaning all of its beautiful sandy beaches and Caribbean-esque coastline can be easily explored by foot, golf-buggy or bike. The New Inn had a major transformation of its bedrooms and bathrooms in spring 2022 (to much excitement of the locals and loyal visitors) and is actually the only pub on Tresco, so a perfect way to quickly ensconce yourself into island life.


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Hugging the cliff right above Summerleaze beach (a brilliant surf spot), this boutique hotel is in a great location for sea-lovers, where bare salty feet are welcome during the day and at night the circular bar is lively and the terrace (a perfect sunset view) is packed with casually dressed holidaymakers enjoying cocktails. Classic rooms are the cheapest category and still have little necessary luxuries like goose feather down duvets and pillows. You can pick up one of these for just £105 a night in low season, which is a real steal considering how highly regarded this hotel is, plus the beach in the early morning in this season is blissfully empty, a real treat.


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Contributions by Ros Belford, Natalie Millar-Partridge

Source: Telegraph

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