The seven-bedroom Gurnard’s Head is owned by brothers Charles and Edmund Inkin through their company, EATDRINKSLEEP. It sits on the edge of moorland overlooking the Atlantic on the West Cornwall coast. Nearby are Zennor, St. Ives, Land’s End and the Minack Theatre but overshadowing even those is the awe- inspiring country that surrounds The Gurnard’s Head with the South West Coastal Path just a five minute walk from the back door. Hosted by Charles Inkin The Gurnard’s Head is a dining pub that adheres to the brothers’ uncompromising belief in “the simple things in life done well”.
Brought up in Wales in a family for whom good food, hospitality and a sense of style were a way of life, they moved to London and travelled around the world. After applying their view on life to The Felin Fach Griffin in the Brecon Beacons, they took on the Gurnard’s Head in 2006. At its heart is a love of good ingredients and a commitment to sustainable sourcing, comfortable rooms with Vi-Spring beds, Bramley toiletries, which are all natural with no harmful ingredients, and a strong belief in the renaissance of true hospitality and an altogether slower pace of life.
The Gurnard’s Head is a dining pub with seven rooms, with a stone flagged floor, books and back copies of Giles cartoons in the bar and fires lit through darker parts of the year. Guests eat in a dining room of deep red and electric blue, hung with paintings by local artists, or in the bar area with dogs at their feet. The baker’s table looking out to the Atlantic is perfect for larger groups of a dozen or more or for breakfast in summer. Eating at teak tables on the lawns outside can be one of those moments when life does truly make sense, with moorland and Atlantic stretching off to the horizons.
Max Wilson became Head Chef in June 2015 having been Head Chef at sister inn The Felin Fach Griffin in Wales for 18 months. Whilst he was at The Griffin it was named Dining Pub of the Year in the 2015 Good Pub Guide; Hotel of the Year in the 2015 edition of Sawday’s Hotels & Inns guide; and it maintained its Big Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.
The Inkins take a thoughtful approach to their food sourcing. Fruit and greenery are sourced from small growers in the immediate area. Private boat owners coming straight from a morning on the water often provide fish. Local suppliers provide much of the other ingredients for the kitchen, including The Cornish Duck, Slight Hill Farm, Bosavern Farm, and Matthew Stevens.
The Gurnard’s Head has received a number of awards for its food since the Inkins took it over: Silver Award for Cornwall and South West Tourism Pub of the Year, Editor’s Choice in the Good Hotel Guide, 15th place in the Top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality, Gold Award for the Taste of the West, Dining Pub awards and many more.
The Gurnard’s Head is at the heart of a thinly spread rural community. Beer is priced for local trade, not the stream of seasonal visitors; there are always three hand-pulled Cornish ales, currently from any of Skinners, St Austell or our new favourites, Harbour Brewing, Rebel Brewing and Cornish Crown.
Tasting for The Gurnards’ wine list is a collective effort. The Imbibe Wine Awards made The Gurnard’s Head Wine Pub of the Year in 2011/2012 and in 2014 EATDRINKSLEEP was one of four inaugural entries to their Hall of Fame. Twice shortlisted for the IWC’s Restaurant Wine List award, it bears comparison with any in the country. As many as 20 wines are served by the glass and by the carafe, with another 50 sourced from up to 8 different wine merchants who specialise in different regions. Its real interest is in its use of lesser known grape varieties and regions providing real value and discovery for guests. The House Champagne is Billecart Salmon.
The Gurnard’s Head bedrooms are decorated gently in lime-based colours from Ty Mawr, a Welsh producer of low-impact paints. All the rooms have the most comfortable of beds from Vi-Spring, their own bathrooms, Bramley toiletries, Roberts radios and Egyptian Cotton style linen. The salty Atlantic air and slower pace of life unquestionably assists a more deep and reinvigorating sleep.
Dogs and children are welcome to stay in The Gurnard’s Head’s bedrooms, and dog biscuits and water bowls are provided for hungry or thirsty dogs. High tea is available for children from 5:30pm. Breakfast features as many locally sourced products as possible, including Cornish kippers and apple juice from Cornish Orchards. B&B from £130 per night with Dinner, Bed & Breakfast from £185.
While there is plenty to do in this part of Cornwall, much should revolve around the outstanding landscape which evokes the very best of the west of Ireland or Scotland. The Coastal Footpath provides a focus for walking, but even a wander down to the headland is enough to promote a sense of self-righteousness. Longer walks take one to Zennor or even St. Ives or to quiet, lesser-known beaches that we can recommend.
EATDRINKSLEEP+ is a programme of short breaks based between The Gurnard’s Head and sister inn The Old Coastguard bringing together residents with some of the local talents in the area. They include: yoga weekends; foraging walks and traditional sailing days. The Minack, a staggering open-air theatre built into the Cornish cliffs no more than 20 minutes away, stages performances between Easter and September. The Gurnard’s can provide packed lunches for walkers, families or theatre-goers and we can often arrange luggage collections from previous lodgings.
For more information visit > www.gurnardshead.co.uk