Monday 16 June 2014

The Greenbank Hotel - A Family Review

Everyone knows the classic tale of The Wind in the Willows written by Kenneth Grahame back in 1908, but have you ever wondered where the inspiration came from to write such a tale? I recently discovered exactly where Kenneth drew his inspiration from, it was during a holiday at the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth. Kenneth took a boat trip from Fowey and whilst he was passing the riverbanks, he started to put together those very first thoughts to his novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’. The book began life as a series of letters which he wrote and sent to his son while staying at the Greenbank Hotel.

The Greenbank Hotel is the oldest hotel in Falmouth, dating back to at least 1640. Over the years it has attracted many well-known people throughout history. Back in 1907 Florence Nightingale stayed, and today you can even view her name in the hotel’s guest book which is still on display in reception.  In recent years Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) stayed and loved it so much…He went on to buy the house opposite!

Today the Greenbank is a 4 Star hotel based right on the waterfront, and over the weekend I actually went along to spend a few days there. Having never been to Falmouth before I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as we entered Cornwall and the scenery grew softer I had a very good feeling. The hotel is situated in the heart of the harbour, and is within walking distance to the town centre. The hotel offers parking to guests and has a number of spaces available at the front of the property, or a small car park at the rear. Past the boundaries of the car park and down a flight of stairs you find the beach front, of course this depends on the time of the day that you are visiting. The tide is in during the morning and by the afternoon there is a small shell speckled beach, there are all sorts of treasures to be found. Sea creatures left behind by the waving tide, and a whole array of stones curved by the sea over many years.

This is all just a stone’s throw away from the Greenbank Hotel itself.

The hotel is a handsome looking building, and you can tell from just looking at it that it has been around to see a thing or two. Inside the character has been preserved, and while keeping things simple it has an elegant feel to it.  Pieces of history have been preserved and show cased around the building, and they even have an old room rate list framed in a cabinet.

We were greeted by the receptionist with a smile,  she gladly checked us in and directed us up to our room where we would be spending the 2 nights at the Greenbank. We were offered help with our luggage and pointed in the direction of the lift. I was impressed that such an old building had a lift and it certainly made life easier getting all of our bags upstairs.

The room was absolutely perfect, and was so much bigger than I had expected. We had asked for a family room as we were taking our 2 year old along for the weekend, the room consisted of a short corridor with a small room off to the left and then a little further down the master bedroom. The master bedroom looked out over the harbor, the view was just beautiful. The room was bright and had a lovely fresh feeling to it and everything was exactly where it should be, the bed looked inviting and the sea front was calling out to the toddler.

The bathroom had a bath with a shower combined and there were fluffy gowns hanging up in the wardrobe ready to be used. Leo’s room featured a bunk bed and a chest of draws, it was ideal. I thought that a family room meant that there would be a third bed in our room, not for a moment did I expect there to be an entire other bedroom for Leo. Suffice to say by this point I was more than suitably impressed.

We booked ourselves in for dinner at the Harbourside Restaurant which is situated out the back of the hotel overlooking the harbor. It’s a beautiful view especially when you are enjoying a quiet Friday evening. We were promptly sat at a table and offered beverages while we were left with a menu each to mull over. They handed Leo a separate menu with the kid’s choices and we helped him choose what he wanted to have for dinner. After we had placed our order a waitress offered a choice of delicious looking baked bread. I had a piece of Pesto bread that was absolutely beautiful, and then our starters followed promptly. I had the Goats Cheese and Luke had the soup of the day, while Leo tucked into a Melon Boat, all equally well presented and very tasty.

To follow Luke and I both had the Chorizo Chicken which had so many different flavours and was completely delicious, Leo tucked into Sausage and chips and managed to get sauce over the table cloth… The restaurant staff were fantastic and I got the feeling that it was a really family orientated place, which made our experience of dining with a toddler all the more pleasurable.

For desert Luke and I tucked into a very moreish Sticky Toffee Pudding, while Leo enjoyed a bowl of ice cream. The entire meal from start to finish had been fantastic, the staff were attentive and efficient, they  were great with Leo and really looked after us. Not to mention they gladly brought me through a cocktail menu so I could take advantage of the 2 cocktails for £10 deal they run on a Friday night! I got the feeling that nothing was too much trouble and they were more than happy to help, and this really shone through.

I highly recommend trying a few of the cocktails as they truly are fantastic, my favourite has to be the Mojito closely followed by the Raspberry Daiquiri.

With a full tummy and a tired toddler we made our way to bed, the view out onto the water at night was just as impressive as it had been earlier that day. Only now the boats were lighting up the nights sky. I tucked Leo up in his bedroom on the bottom bunk despite him greatly wanting to sleep on the top. He went off to sleep really quickly and had a sound night’s sleep, in fact I had to go in and wake him up the next morning so that we didn’t miss breakfast. Our bed was a great size, it had to be king-size or bigger, and it was incredibly comfortable. If I wasn’t determined to make breakfast I could have quite happily lay there much longer.  

Breakfast was more than worth getting up for, a nice selection of fruit juices, toast, fruit and cereals accompanied by the cooked breakfast menu. Leo tucked into the fruit and breakfast muffins and even tried a small version of the English breakfast. Both Luke and I tucked into the Full English and thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful, the sea air had certainly given us good appetites. The breakfast service was friendly and was again served in the Harbourside Restaurant, we were fed and ready to start our day visiting local attractions around Falmouth.

With the town being a short walk away (longer if you haven’t brought a pushchair for the toddler who refuses to walk..) we decided to take a stroll into town. The plan was to find a boat ride as this is all Leo wanted to do since we had arrived the night before. 5 minutes’ walk away there is a pier with a number of different companies selling their boat tours. We signed up with the one that was leaving soonest and had a lovely cruise around the harbour. The sun was shining and it was great to hear about the local area as we passed by. We saw that the National Maritime Museum was just a little bit further down and decided to pay a visit a little later that day.

Back on shore we took a walk to the Falmouth Aquarium where Leo was really pleased to see Nemo and Dory. The aquarium is set out over 3/4 levels but there are only fish tanks on the bottom and first floor. The rest are filled out with interactive activities for visitors to participate in, Leo however decided all he wanted to do was look at the fish but he seemed to really enjoy his time there.

The National Maritime Museum is about 10/15 minutes’ walk from the hotel, of course I ended up carrying Leo pretty much all the way so it definitely felt like longer. If you have little ones I highly recommend you take the pushchair as you will definitely be giving your arms a good work out if you end up carrying them the length I carried Leo.. The museum was really interesting and thankfully upon arrival Leo decided he was happy to walk, of course seeing the helicopter on display (That you can go inside!) he decided his time would be much better spent playing.

Our stay in Falmouth and at the Greenbank was a really pleasant one, there was so much to see and do, I could have happily spent a week there. We didn’t even begin to touch the tip of the attractions and activities that you can do during your stay. I really wanted to take Leo crab fishing off the pier but unfortunately we ran out of time.

A big thanks to all the staff at the Greenbank Hotel for looking after us all so well, we had such a good time and I will definitely be bringing Leo back in the future.

Disclaimer: We were invited along to the Greenbank Hotel and enjoyed a complimentary night in exchange for our honest thoughts and opinion. All views expressed are completely my own.


  1. What a lovely place!! Looks like you had a great time!

  2. Great Review. I live in Falmouth and the Greenbank is my favourite place to relax and dine. I am so lucky to live here! Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. You do truly live in a beautiful part of the world. We absolutely adored our time there x


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