The Watch House is a beautiful 19th Century coast guard’s lookout perched on a cliff on the South Cornish Coast with the most spectacular views imaginable, protected by the National Trust ownership. It is completely off-grid with a charmingly shabby interior and a 20 minute walk from the car park, but for families and couples adventurous enough to try it, The Watch House offers incredible rewards.
Staying there is a completely unparalleled experience of privacy, breath-taking natural beauty and adventure: watch over the ever-changing sea whilst standing under a hot, outdoor shower; climb down to the secluded cove below; and eat by candlelight next to the warmth of the fire. We discovered The Watch House in 2018 and had the most memorable and magical stay in the most romantic spot we’ve ever visited.
What to expect
The Watch House is the only building on a 7 mile stretch of cliffs between Polruan and Polperro. The small stone and slate building is dug into the cliff, facing south-east. It lies in the lee of Pencarrow Head ¼ mile to the west and is sheltered from the worst of the south-westerly winds.
Inside is one main room with a log burner and 3 bunks built into the walls and a double sofa-bed, as well as a big bay window looking out at breath-taking sea views. There is a small kitchen with a further bunk in it, a lavatory and a passage with food cupboards and storage space.
There is no electricity. Torches and candles provide light and there is a Calor gas oven with 4 ring hob, fridge and water heater for the kitchen sink and for an outside shower. Wood is provided for the log burner and there is mains water.
Inside, you’ll find all the pots, pans and crockery you’ll need. Many of these have been part of Watch House life for decades and add to the nostalgia and character of a stay in this special place, and theTrinick family don’t buy in to the ‘throw away culture’. However, if you’re expecting matching sets of Ikea crockery and no evidence of the generations that have gone before you, this might not be the place for you!’
We allow up to 5 guests. Nightly prices are for up to 2 guests, with further people charged at £10 per night.
The cottage can only be reached by foot from the road 2/3 of a mile away via the coastal footpath and a field. There is free parking for guests in a National Trust carpark.
Is it for me?
The Watch House is an incredibly romantic and secluded place in a spectacular location, but it isn’t for everyone. You do need to be reasonably practical to remove the shutters, operate Calor gas, light the wood burner and live by candlelight. You also need to be reasonably fit and able to carry your things to and from the cottage. Linen and bedding are not provided (just mattresses), so you’ll need to carry down sleeping bags as well as all food and belongings.
Safety on the cliffs, especially for younger children, is of course a consideration but the Watch House itself is entirely secure (there is one path in and out and the cottage itself is well away from any edges) and beyond that it is simply a matter of parental supervision as with anywhere on the coast. It has been the place of decades of extremely happy and idyllic family holidays for the Trinick family (your hosts) and others; it’s a complete haven for children with the excitement of bunk beds, looking out for ships, exploring rock pools and living by candlelight.
If you need to be in constant touch with the outside world this is not the place for you! However, while there is very limited mobile signal at the Watch House itself there is good reception and 3G/4G from the headland 10 minutes’ walk away where reception is fine (and the view is great).