I've spent more than a decade writing countless articles on royalty. So when I was given the chance to stay in a cottage nestled in the Duchy of Cornwall and decorated by Queen Camilla’s sister, Annabel Elliot, the invitation was too good to pass up.
I've always avoided making the long journey from London to Cornwall by car, especially with young kids in tow. But the prospect of spending a few days in a residence linked to royalty was the perfect motivation to take the trip.
The journey to Ladock, a quaint village nestled about six miles northeast of Truro, was surprisingly pleasant with no hiccups other than a quick pit stop for snacks and a bathroom break. We arrived just as it got dark and much to our delight, our hosts had filled the freezer with delicious frozen meals from Cook to help get our strength back from the long drive.
Following our dinner by the fireplace, we settled down for a good night's sleep, but not before having a sneak peek around Trendeal Barn, our home for the next four days.
Inside Trendeal Barn
At first glance, it was evident to see the influence that the current Duke of Cornwall, Prince William, has had in how the cottage is run.
Aligned with his commitment to fostering a more sustainable world, every soap in the kitchen and laundry room was ecological. And the lovely scones gifted to us? They were packaged in a simple food container by London-based company Notpla which had a 100% natural seaweed coating. Many royal fans might recognise Notpla since the eco company won Prince William’s Earthshot Prize back in 2022.
Energy-saving light bulbs are fitted throughout the cottage lamps - and in matters of recycling, they work with Devon Contract Waste, who have a zero waste to landfill policy. As a royal fan, I was truly impressed to witness the impact of Prince William’s hard work throughout the entirety of the house.
The next day, once the house was filled with natural light, I toured every corner of the cottage and admired every detail hand-picked by Queen Camilla’s sister, Annabel.
Calming neutral tones prevail throughout the cottage, which has three large rooms. A highlight in our bedroom was the tall bed with 100% Egyptian cotton sheets as well as the light switches, which featured a clear plate giving the illusion of it being built into the wall – very elegant.
Throughout the house, Annabel showcases her love of nature and animals by decorating most spaces with adorable portraits of ducks and birds. Some textiles also include gorgeous flower and rabbit prints. But nothing beats the vintage book cabinet in the living room area, filled with royal books and top bestsellers and plenty of games to keep the kids happy during our stay.
What to see around Truro
There are plenty of things to do in the area, all within a 30-minute distance from the cottage and they are equally enjoyable if you are travelling with or without kids, whatever the weather. We encountered a bit of rain - as you can expect with the sometimes inclement British weather - and still enjoyed every single outing.
The Eden Project
Whatever you expect the Eden Project to be, it’s so much more. Whilst the outdoor plants and trees are impressive and offer an unforgettable walk, the highlight is no doubt their indoor rainforest, the Rainforest Biome.
Apart from housing 1,000 varieties of plants, there are also roul-roul partridges roaming free, it features an authentic Malaysian House, a waterfall, a wobbly bridge and a 55ft viewing platform that will take your breath away.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Nature is at the heart of everything we explored in Cornwall and it’s obvious to see why the Lost Gardens of Heligan are considered one of the best gardens in the UK. Here we explored their productive garden, which has over 300 varieties of mostly heritage fruit, vegetables, salad and herbs, their pleasure grounds, with historic plantings over 150 years old, and so many areas for the little ones, including a jungle and farm!
The Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel
Of course, I had heard of the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery - and just months before my visit, Prince William personally opened its new restaurant, The Orangery. Here we enjoyed a delightful brunch and once we stepped outside, we were taken aback by the incredible views of Restormel Castle.
I’ve recently begun discovering National Trust properties, and I was pleasantly surprised by Lanhydrock. There was so much for the kids to do there, not only outdoors but inside. Their newly refurbished Victorian nursery invites little guests to interact with a range of items and learn stories about the Agar-Robartes children. From board games and a theatre with props, to Punch the rocking horse, there's lots to get involved with.