Tidal Pools and Prawn Platters: Exploring Padstow with Hosts Jess and Ash

Hoteliers Jess and Ash Alken-Theasby invite us on a tour around Padstow, sharing their favourite lesser-known Cornish coves, brilliant bars and great gourmet suggestions

Padstow has long been labelled as the most cosmopolitan pocket of North Cornwall, having been put in the spotlight by Michelin-starred chefs and hip hoteliers. But step past the city dwellers on their annual staycation and you will find the quieter, tranquil landscape of Trevone - a setting yet to be taken over by the visiting hordes. That's where dynamic duo Jess and Ash Alken-Theasby enter the picture. Co-founders of new guesthouse Atlanta Trevone, the couple earlier this year unveiled a selection of five cosy cottages perched on the craggy cliff top of Trevone Bay, following a £1.5 million refurb of the 19th-century mansion.

Retaining many of the original features, including exposed wooden beams and period fireplaces, the property has been injected with contemporary furnishings to create a beautiful beachside botlhole - a place unlike any other self-catering set-up we've seen. Light-filled bedrooms are dressed in warm linens, living spaces stacked with reading materials. There are snug seating corners and kitchens filled with all the essentials. We caught up with the pair to learn more about the inspiration behind the project, while also getting the inside scoop on all things Padstow. Read on for their picks for a go-slow breakfast, secret local spots and essential souvenirs.

How to adventure in Padstow according to Atlanta Trevone's Jess and Ash

Atlanta Trevone
Atlanta Trevone, John Hersey House

Atlanta Trevone cottages, left, and a sea-facing bedroom at the John Hersey House cottage. | Photo credit: Alex Collins

What was the inspiration behind Atlanta Trevone?

Ironically, we were just as busy before we started the renovation, building our forever home, getting married and creating a family. But Atlanta was a long time in the making. My father had been wanting to do the work since I was a small girl, so it was always a conversation. We knew it was important to wait until the timing, budget, team and design were right, otherwise it would not be the same space it is today.

Talk us through the renovation process. Any major challenges?

Our biggest challenge was the 10-month timeline. We had to completely restore the roof, which meant replacing the structure and adding a steel vault to give it a contemporary, beach-house finish. Then, turning what was the former attic space into a loft-style penthouse with balcony, both of which were huge tasks that, at the time, seemed somewhat unmanageable.

How did the interiors take shape?

Almost all the interiors were decided before the project began. We had previously designed and built our own home, so were in a great position to start sourcing. I've always been inspired by the eclectic style of Tom Cox at Ham Interiors, which we are lucky enough to have on board for our next project, The Net Loft. I was also pregnant at the time, which was a great excuse for me to kick back and lose myself in a stack of interior magazines and podcasts - my Pinterest board was on fire.

Atlanta Trevone, Lounge
Atlanta Trevone Kitchen

A cosy living space, left, and a kitchen corner. | Photo credit: Alex Collins

There are five separate properties - what is different about them?

All five properties are totally different. Our intention was to create individually designed spaces that have their own personalities. I'd like to think that each one is somewhere that suits all ages of life. Some are better for larger families; some work for a girls' getaway; others are perfect for a couple's retreat. Though, if you asked me today which one I'd choose, I would be happy to live in any of them.

What sets you apart from other self-catering stays on the Cornish coast?

Location, location. Firstly, we are just a pebble's throw away from two beaches in Trevone: a rocky bay, which is perfect for shell hunting, and a sandy cove, ideal for surfing. I'd like to think the second reason is our quality of finish. From bathrooms and kitchens to finer interior details, we've created an environment that has elevated the self-catering scene in North Cornwall. Through more intimate touches, such as concierge service, surfboard hire, private chef experiences and securing reservations at Padstow's most legendary restaurants, we strive to make every trip memorable.

Atlanta Trevone, Breakfast
Trevone Bay, Cornwall

A breakfast spread, left, and Trevone Bay. | Photo credit: Alex Collins

When's the best time to visit Padstow?

The beauty is that it's a year-round destination: with each season, there is something special to enjoy, from balmy beachside picnics in the warmer months to blustery coastal walks in the winter. If I had to pick a month, it would be May. It's still relatively quiet and the change of season leaves everyone with a positive spring in their step - if you pardon the pun.

We're staying at Atlanta Trevone - which room is your favourite?

It changes, but my current favourite room is the Snug - a cosy hideout that's painted lobster-red. There's also a television, for those who'd like to snuggle and watch a film, and plenty of books and curious trinkets, too. Open the doors and chat with the kitchen team, or settle down and soak in the calm with a mug of Cornish tea.

Where should we grab breakfast?

Why go anywhere when you already have the best seat in the house? Padstow Farm Shop stocks everything you could possibly need to cook up your own feast - from free-range meats to farm-grown veggies, and plenty of local jams. Watch the waves from your dining table and tuck in.

Padstow Harbour
Seafood platter

A sun-kissed Padstow harbour, left, and a seafood platter. | Photo credit: Keith & Ratapan / Shutterstock.com / Unsplash.com

What about a long, lazy lunch?

Without doubt, The Pig at Harlyn Bay.Turn left outside Atlanta's front doors and follow the coastal path for a bit, until you reach the honey-hued building. There's an impressive range of options on their 48km menu, and plenty of seating areas to flit between, too - from the main house to the bar, courtyard and Lobster Shed, you can experience a totally different restaurant each visit. Thanks to its close proximity, there will be no designated driver necessary either. G&T, anyone?

And for an evening drink…

Cocktails taste better at Ruby's Bar - just a short stroll from the harbour. Failing that, nab a seat at the sparkling bar in Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant.

Any other great gourmet suggestions?

So many… You'll be spoilt for choice here, and would need an extra week to squeeze in the time to taste-test them all, but a few firm favourites are DuchyGrub, Prawn on the Lawn, Caffè Rojano, No.6, Greens of Padstow and Chip Ahoy.

Tell us a secret spot only locals know about.

Tregirls Beach. It's the perfect picnic spot and remains pretty quiet year-round. Part of the magic is the approach - a steep, rugged passageway that unexpectedly opens to reveal a white-sand beach and stunning views across Rock and the Camel estuary.

Sea Glass

Sea glass in the sand, left, and a delicious cocktail. | Photo credit: Sara & Mae / Unsplash.com

Musts in the neighbourhood?

Take a paddle in Tinker Bunny's Bathing Pool at Trevone Bay - it's one of the largest natural sea tidal pools on the Cornish coast.

Any suggestions for day trips?

The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project are open daily. For those who love period properties, Prideaux Place is worth a visit - it's been the home to the Prideaux family since the 1500s. Lanhydrock is also a great option. It has a cosy cream-tea room, stunning gardens and spectacular bicycle trails.

A book to read while we're there?

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is a novel that will ignite your imagination and no doubt have you wondering what you would do if you were alone in your newfound paradise, Trevone.

Something to bring back as a souvenir?

Sea glass - a naturally weathered piece of glass which has a similar appearance to tumbled stones. Trevone's Newtrain Bay is one of your best bets for spotting a piece. Afterwards, head to Silver Mermaid, where local Hollie will turn your treasure into jewellery.

And lastly, what's next for Atlanta Trevone?

The Net Loft. Without revealing too much, our next project is set to become North Cornwall's most stylish and spectacular beachside stay. Following that, Atlanta Farmhouse, perhaps? Watch this space.

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