News from Budock Vean

Virginia Woolf

With its sprawling sub-tropical gardens and woodland views, its unique position beside the Helford River and its peaceful seclusion from urban life, Budock Vean has long been an admired beauty spot. But, it is also home to a rich and varied history which spans the worship of medieval saints to the popular holiday retreat of 20th century film makers.

Just before lockdown number one we challenged Eloise Woodman, from The University Exeter, to get digging into our past with a historical research project focused on our beautiful building … and she really came up trumps. Her extensive research has helped us understand more about Budock Vean’s story, its place in the community and in Cornwall. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing her brilliant findings in a series of blogs which we hope you’ll enjoy.

Let’s start todays story in 1933; Eddie Pilgrim and Harry B Parkinson have completed their extensive renovations and open Budock Vean as a country house hotel. After opening, Budock Vean was awarded AA, RAC, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Wine and Food Society recommendations, and received praise in the press.

Two years later, in 1935, Harry Parkinson moved back to London leaving Eddie Pilgrim to further develop the hotel, adding extra bedrooms and private suites. It was during this time, in May 1936, that esteemed writer Virginia Woolf enjoyed a holiday at the hotel. Virginia was no stranger to Cornwall having spent her childhood summers in the family home in St Ives. It’s thought that her novel, To The Lighthouse, was influenced by Godrevy Lighthouse on the North Coast of Cornwall. In fact, it’s widely thought that Cornwall inspired what is known as her ‘St Ives Trilogy’ of To The Lighthouse, Jacob’s Room and The Waves. Anyway, we digress, according to published letters to her nephew, Virginia compliments the unspoilt views around the Helford River. Not all that much has changed in the 85 years since her stay really … we think she would still enjoy the peace, calm and unspoilt ambience that this special spot offers.

Many of you will be familiar with Godrevy Lighthouse, we’re sure. Sat out there proudly in its beautiful spot between St Ives and Portreath it’s a sight that never fails to take your breath away. If you’re coming to stay with us and fancy an outing it’s around a 40 minute drive, there’s a great café, a resident seal colony and a hugely impressive three mile stretch of golden beach.

Now … To The Lighthouse … BV book club anyone ?