John Brown’s hidden gems of the Roseland Peninsula

John Brown
4th July 2019

When Bob Books chairman, John Brown, isn’t busy at the helm of Bob Books or working on one of his other projects, you’ll often find him in the Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall.

So we asked John to give us his favourite places to visit and things to do on the peninsula and here’s what he had to say:

The obvious way to get to the peninsula is by turning off the A390 onto the A3078 towards Tregony and St Mawes. However, if you are coming from the west, or even the north coast, it is fun to take the King Harry Ferry which you get to on the B3289, off the A39. It’s a charming chain-link old ferry across Carrick Roads. It’s very deep there, and you’ll often see large tankers moored close to the ferry. 

In both cases, head towards St Mawes, but if you are coming down the A3078, about 4 miles before St Mawes, you’ll see a sign to your left saying Curgurrell Farm shop  (not open year round, so do check). It is small, but very good and sells a lot of homegrown produce and a good selection of fish caught that morning by the family.

About 2miles before St Mawes you will arrive in the small village of St Just. It’s worth taking a right turn to the church which is very old, very pretty and is surrounded by a large and interesting collection of trees brought from all over the world over the years.

St Mawes itself is delightful and is centred on the harbour. It is home to two upmarket and very good hotels, Tresanton and The Idle Rocks. There are also a couple of pubs – the Victory and the Rising Sun, and of course, the magnificent Watch House perched right by the harbour wall (oh, alright then, I own it with my nephew Will, but that doesn’t stop it being magnificent).  There is also an interesting women’s clothes and accessory shop called Onda next to The Victory.

The Watch House, St Mawes


Hopefully, you’ll be in the mood for a walk, so take the Place Ferry from the harbour. It operates daily in the summer season as a part of the South West Coast Path, and leads to a series of glorious walks. The ferry is built for just 12 passengers, so if you’ll be guaranteed a good view on the short crossing.

Once off the ferry, turn right towards St Anthony’s headland and check out the impressive lighthouse and the Victorian battery observation post above. That’ll take 45 min to an hour.

If you are up for more keep going around the headland on the coastal path and head towards Towan Beach. You’ll have the open sea on your right and the chance to see seals and even dolphins occasionally. Once you get to Towan, which is 2 miles from the lighthouse, you can stop for a cup of tea served out of an old Citroen van in the National Trust carpark. They also sell some nice sandwiches and ice creams. At this stage you can either head up the road for a couple of hundred yards until you come to a small bridge on your left, cross over that and turn right, and that path will take you through the woods back to the Place Ferry in about 45 minutes.

But if you’re up for even more walking, keep going along the coast path towards Portscatho, which is a charming little village with a nice pub, the Plume and Feathers, a small restaurant The Boathouse and right above the beach, Tatums, an excellent coffee shop, and Tatums Taverna which sells pizza in the evenings. Both of these two are outposts of the now very famous Hidden Hut, which is a further 500m along the SW Coast path. They serve lunch daily (12-3pm) with fabulous views over Porthcurnick Beach. Keep an eye out for occasional evening openings and special events such as fishing boat landings & paella feasts.

If you are staying in St Mawes, you could also head to Falmouth for the day. The ferry from St Mawes to Falmouth can be an adventure in itself, depending on the weather, and Falmouth is a great place to explore. Full of independent shops, restaurants and the excellent Maritime museum. A good day out, rain or shine.

Enter to win two nights at the Idle Rocks Hotel in St Mawes. Competition ends 28th Feb, 2019.


The Watch House, St Mawes