The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

The Royal Duchy, Falmouth

The classic British hotel overlooking Falmouth Bay delivers drama in abundance, says Abi Manning

We love a dramatic setting, where the only thing separating you from the coastal elements is a sweep of big picture windows.

At The Royal Duchy you can dine while viewing the cinema screen-style panorama of the roiling ocean with Pendennis Castle lit up on the headland. Add roaring winds and big skies, and you’re set for winter storm-watching splendour.

VISIT to experience wild Cornish nature in utter comfort. Spend a revitalising afternoon in the pool and spa, and follow with a Tarquin’s and tonic in the Terrace Lounge. Then saunter into Pendennis Restaurant in a smart frock (this is a denim no-go zone) to the swing of the house pianist, and you won’t believe you’re just a short stroll from the buzz of artsy Falmouth.

You don’t need to be a resident to enjoy a slice of The Royal Duchy glamour. Everyone is welcome for dinner and you’ll find families on a weekend seaside break as well as couples lingering over a flute of bubbly at the sparkly black granite champagne bar.

DON’T VISIT expecting the usual Falmouth indie vibe. The impeccably-presented dishes in the chandelier-bedecked restaurant, along with tranquil decor, make for a classically sleek feel.

WE LIKED getting a festive hit with the dramatically dark and zesty pud. Enticing warm chocolate, layered with soft meringue and laced with blood orange and spiced ice cream make a truly Christmassy combo. Unfortunately, licking the plate isn’t the done thing at this sort of establishment. Now that would cause a drama …

Insider's tip

Head out for a bracing wintry walk to Gyllyngvase Beach, a 10 minute stroll down Cliff Road.

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