GROWING UP I spent many happy hours on Newquay’s Fistral Beach and often wondered what it would be like to venture inside the mysterious and imposing Headland Hotel, perched high up on the cliff above me.

So it was with much excited anticipation that my family and I made our way to the Headland one bright April day.

Grand is a word that perfectly describes the Headland from the moment you drive down its sweeping driveway and walk through its golden revolving doors, taking in the rich decor, ornate furnishings and fires roaring in marble hearths.

The Prince of Wales, later Edward Vlll, visited the Headland with his younger brother Bertie, later King George VI – and walking the halls and stairways it seems that the hotel is literally steeped in history.

Hushed, yet not deadly so, we nevertheless found ourselves whispering as we waited to check in.

But this wasn’t to be a quiet break in a dusty old hotel by any means, as we soon found out.

Family-owned for over 30 years, the Headland prides itself on its history, fine service and warm welcome.

But it is also enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in the shape of a huge redevelopment project.

A cluster of new, five-star self-catering cottages are already perched alongside the hotel overlooking the ocean and soon they will be linked to the hotel by a glass passageway, shielding guests from the often harsh Atlantic wind.

The hotel has also installed a fabulous new spa, pool and wellness centre in its basement, where we spent many happy hours. An underground car park is also planned.

While much of the Headland favours traditional decor, its rooms are modern and stylish.

Our family suite was decorated to the highest standard and came with a master bed which could have accommodated our entire family.

This wasn’t necessary, however, as the accompanying room featured comfy bunk beds and a TV, which the girls loved.

We also had a large family bathroom, a huge flat screen television in our room and two comfy settees.

This contrast between old and new is also evident when dining.On one side of the hotel the restaurant served us impeccably-cooked lamb on flawless white tablecloths, while we watched a majestic sunset through its room-length windows.

On another evening we ate beerbattered fish and chips in the bright and breezy bistro, at the other end of the hotel, while die-hard surfers caught the last waves below us on Fistral Beach.

Taking two small children to a hotel can be a daunting experience as you never quite know how they will behave. But the Headland was a truly magical experience for our two girls, whether they were splashing about in the water jets in its basement pool, or meeting fellow ‘small’ guests in the large and well-equipped games room.

Whereas I had worried about entertaining my little ones in the hotel in the evenings they simply played while my wife and I enjoyed luxurious hot chocolate and read the papers in front of a roaring fire.

The Headland was everything I could have ever imagined and more and we can’t wait to return.

  • As well as fabulous beaches, Newquay has a host of attractions and we particularly enjoyed Newquay Zoo.

Packed with 130 fascinating species of creatures and fun places to play, we spent a whole afternoon staring at snakes, leering at lions and even petted a giant African land snail.

Favourites were the penguins and naughty meerkats, which have their own island.

There is also a wildlife park attached where you use a viewing platform to see zebra and antelope.

Newquay Zoo , Trenance Ave, Newquay

  • Cornwall Crealy also offers a great day out, with fun rides – and more daring ones – spread across a beautiful hillside, not far from the famous fishing village of Padstow.

We enjoyed pony rides, giant slides and a safari train ride.

We got drenched on the log flume and wet yet again on the Wave Rider before drying off in the exciting play park and quaint village of miniature playhouses.

Take a tip from us – enjoy a fab day at Crealy and then head for fabulous fish and chips in Padstow.

Cornwall’s Crealy, Wadebridge