Sheltering in a valley on the edge of Bodmin Moor within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, St Neot is one of South Cornwall’s prettiest villages. It is perfectly located for exploring the beaches and fishing villages on the north and south coasts of Cornwall (within 20 miles), as well as the neighbouring moorlands which offer spectacular walking opportunities.
Read on to find out why we think St Neot is so special and discover a few local secrets such as the rumoured final resting place of Excalibur, legendary sword of King Arthur, or where to find the secret subterranean lake to help you make the most of your stay.
About the village:
Boasting a wonderful community spirit, this friendly parish hosts a variety of festivals and fairs throughout the year and a monthly local produce market offering a delicious assortment of homemade treats. It is also home to a small shop and a traditional dog-friendly village pub where you can enjoy some real ales and hearty home cooking. If the sun is shining, why not join the locals and spend a leisurely afternoon cheering on the village cricket team?
A medieval stone church is the focal point of the village with its well-preserved stained-glass windows which are at least 500 years old. The church of St. Neot occupies the position of an 11th-century monastery and was rebuilt in granite in the 15th century. It is dedicated to St Neot, the patron saint of the parish who was noted for miracles and had a special affinity with animals who feature in many of his miraculous acts.
A short walk from the church near the stream is the Holy Well of St Neot, and you will also find the St Neot Doorstep Green nearby: a garden created by villagers and a tranquil place to relax on a warm day. Don’t miss Dozmary Pool, the legendary bottomless pool where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur is said to rest.
For adventures by the coast, there are many golden sandy beaches which can be reached within a half-hour drive from St Neot. Families can enjoy the sweeping stretches of East Looe, Millendreath and Seaton beaches which are all within 12 miles and have a range of facilities. Hannafore Beach, Plaidy Beach and Lantivet Bay are ideal for dog-walkers (all within 11 miles), and the surf hotspots of Tregardock Beach (14 miles) and Fistral Beach (25 miles) are a draw for adrenaline seekers and water lovers alike.
To see some beautiful coastal scenery, you can join the South West Coast Path at Looe (12 miles) and in one direction head towards Polperro and on to Fowey, and in the other direction, towards the pristine sandy beaches of Seaton and Whitsand Bay. Look out for seals, dolphins and basking sharks in the surf below.
Found just outside of St Neot are Carnglaze Caverns, formed as a result of slate quarrying and mining in the 18th and 19th century. These three gigantic caverns and mystical subterranean lake lie within 6.5 acres of woodlands and hold a constant temperature of 10°C, the perfect retreat on a hot summer’s day. Be sure to visit the Enchanted Dell where faeries, dragons, hobbits and other amazing woodland creatures are said to hide out.
St Neot lies on the fringes of Bodmin Moor, a rugged wilderness of breathtaking moorland, ancient tors and stone circles, and the iconic engine houses of Cornwall's mining heritage. Explore by foot, by bike or by horseback and you’ll find an incredible landscape that has a distinctly primeval feel. If you’re a serious hiker, don your walking boots and join the circular 60-mile Copper Trail which takes in some of the moor’s most striking monuments and intriguing villages.
One of the best-known beauty spots on Bodmin Moor, and just 3.5 miles from St Neot, is Golitha Falls, a series of dazzling cascades and waterfalls. Best enjoyed after heavy rain when the falls are at their most spectacular, you can follow a trail along a section of the River Fowey as it winds its way through the leafy glades of Draynes Wood. Within this National Nature Reserve, there are plenty of spots for a paddle and a picnic and you’ll see all manner of rare flora, fauna and birdlife along the way.
There is also a bevy of National Trust houses and gardens to visit near St Neot including Lanhydrock (8.5 miles), Pencarrow (15.5 miles) and Cotehele (22.5 miles). Each property represents a time capsule of local history and makes for a great day out in Cornwall with the family. Don't miss the bluebell and wild garlic festival at Pencarrow if you are visiting in the spring.
Other local places of interest are Siblyback Lake, just 6 miles away from St Neot, and Colliford Lake, 4 miles away; both are ideal locations for sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Or if you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, the Two Valleys Walk criss-crosses the captivating moorland of Berry Down before meandering through bluebell woods and along the glistening River Fowey.
The food and drink:
In the heart of St Neot village next to the church is The London Inn, a traditional Cornish pub set in a 16th-century coaching inn. Three roaring open fires, beamed ceilings and comfortable armchairs provide a cosy atmosphere to relax in while sipping on some local ales and ciders alongside home-cooked food. Delicious dishes created from seasonal ingredients include the likes of lobster and tiger prawn pot in a Cornish crab crème fraîche with toasted ciabatta, and 28-day aged rib eye steak with twice cooked chunky chips, beer battered onion rings, mushrooms and fresh tomato.
If you’ve been out exploring the wilds of Bodmin Moor, one of the most popular places to satisfy your thirst is Jamaica Inn. This historic coaching house is immortalised in Daphne du Maurier's tale of smugglers, rogues and pirates and has welcomed travellers crossing Bodmin Moor for nearly 300 years. This award-winning restaurant and olde-worlde bar serves a range of traditional pub classics such as surf and turf, steak and ale pie and fish and chips, alongside the belly buster three meat monster, Beast of Bodmin burger.
After a thrilling day on the windswept moors, nothing beats sinking into a sumptuously soft sofa and warming your toes in front of a crackling wood burner. We have a fantastic selection of holiday cottages in and around St Neot, from romantic retreats for two with hot tubs, to big houses for large groups, some with swimming pools, games rooms and cinema rooms to keep everyone entertained.
Here are a few of our favourite St Neot cottages:
- Largin Gwel – a spacious barn with a hot tub, sleeping six guests and one dog, 2.5 miles from St Neot.
- Lynes House Cottage – a contemporary cottage with a beautiful garden sleeping four guests and two dogs, 3.5 miles from St Neot.
- Nuthatch Lodge – a romantic couples’ retreat with blissful countryside views, sleeping two guests, 3.5 miles from St Neot.
For a wider choice of holiday escapes, have a browse of our cottages in Cornwall.