News from Budock Vean

Holiday Retreat Roots

This month, as live events slowly come back to life in the UK, we turn our attention to life at Budock Vean in the 1930’s and how the hotel became a holiday retreat for 20th century film makers and artists.

In 1930, after a visit to the deserted manor house, Harry Parkinson and Eddie Pilgrim began a major refurbishment. Three years later BV was opened as a country house hotel, welcoming its first guests in 1933. The process was sped along with the arrival of Walter Bartholomew, a friend of Parkinson, who put forward £10,000 for the manor’s development, helping it become the hotel that we know today. Budock Vean Hotel first appeared in The Sphere’s register of British Hotels in October 1933, with hopes that its golf and tennis facilities would attract tourists to Falmouth, and that its development would make the district more accessible.

In 1937 Walter Bartholomew’s interest in the hotel was bought by Canadian Mr H Whiteside and Harry Parkinson returned to Budock Vean as Managing Director. Mr Whiteside was a confectionary manufacturer who, amongst other things, introduced Sun-Pat peanut butter into the UK.  Mr Whiteside aimed to create an atmosphere of more than just a conventional hotel, but of a family country house.

A regular clientele was established, including several figures from show business, such as George Black, Managing Director of the London Palladium, and film distributer C M Woolf, along with his sons John and James, who were involved in the production of feature films such as The African Queen (1951).  Now, try as we might, we can’t find there’s any connection to C M Woolf and Virginia Woolf – can that really be a coincidence? If anyone knows drop us a line, we’d love to know more.

Today Budock Vean remains a popular, family run, country house hotel attracting people from far and wide. Our long held links with Cornwall’s thriving arts community remains firmly in place. Throughout the hotel you’ll see beautiful art depicting the area by local artist Maxine Hart, pottery by Charlotte Jones and gorgeous hand-built models dotted around. Our roots go deeper too, with longstanding support for Cornish company Miracle Theatre, partnerships with local museums, ongoing support for the arts programme run by our neighbours at Trebah Garden and our own support of local performers through our winter strand of live performance event nights.

If you’re interested in cultural or heritage visits while you are on holiday with us, do check our museum recommendations Museums in Cornwall or explore History and Heritage attractions and Cornish Mining World Heritage Sites 


Miracle Theatre Starcrazy | Miracle Theatre

Trebah Garden What’s On | Trebah Garden Cornwall