Dec 29, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 18

Claire & Paul Lloyd bought Dave the dog to Helsbury in November and sent in these superb shots...

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 17

Nick & Louise Tucker and the now famous Murray returned this year and sent these spectacular shots for our competition:

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 16

Simon Roberts sent these lovely shots of their dog for our annual competition...

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 15

Alix Holley sent these great shots of her chocolate lab Tilly and siad: "Helsbury Park is certainly something special. We spent most of our days visiting the local beaches (Daymer Bay, Rock, Port Isaac, Padstow and Watergate Bay). We also walked up to Brown Willy and Rough Tor which had amazing views. Our days tended to end with lovely swims in your pool followed by big family dinners while the dogs were flaked out by the fire. We rescued Tilly from the Labrador Life Line Trust back in July so it was lovely to be able to take her away for her first holiday. We have discovered that she definitely likes sand as you will see. It’s a shame that she insists on eating it as well!!! We will definitely be coming back as we feel it is the perfect place for all of us."

Dec 21, 2009

Cornwall Named Best UK Holiday Destination

Its official: Cornwall is the Best UK Holiday Destination, having been bestowed the coveted title at the British Travel Awards. Open to all destinations across the country and won by public votes, the award represents the views of the consumer making it a true indicator of popularity. Over 20% of the category’s votes were cast in Cornwall’s favour pushing it ahead of the Lake District, last years winner. Steve Kessell of VisitCornwall was there to collect the trophy: “Being awarded the title of Best UK Holiday Destination is a fantastic honour for Cornwall. Not only does it recognise the hard work of the industry but it also shines the national spotlight on Cornwall. The fact that it is based on public opinion makes it even more significant as it comes from those people that count, those that vote with their feet!"

Dec 7, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 14

Jasper bought his human's along to Helsbury, and sent these photos in, he also wrote: "Just wanted to say what a fantastic time I had with my family at Helsbury Park. There was so much for me to do, I loved the parkland and the woods but my absolute favourite was playing in the river, as you will see from the photographs! My family really enjoyed walking with me and then relaxing in the cottage. I couldn’t persuade them to swim with me in the river but they did really enjoy the new swimming pool, obviously I wasn’t allowed in which was a shame as I would have liked to join in!"

Clever boy!

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 13

Catherine and Kevin Wharton stayed recently and took this lovely photo of their Weim Wally, they all had a great time, this photo was taken at the start of the Camel Trail, which is just a few miles from Helsbury.

Nov 18, 2009

Helsbury Park: Winner of the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs ‘Somewhere to Holiday’ Award 2009

[Kennel Club Press Office] Helsbury Park has won a prestigious Kennel Club Open for Dogs award, as new research reveals that the key to business success comes in the unusual shape of our four-legged friends.

Helsbury Park in Camelford has won the ‘Somewhere to Holiday’ category in the annual awards, after its customers nominated it on account of its dog friendly credentials. The self catering holiday accommodation was highlighted by visitors for providing throws and sofa covers for the dogs as well as dog waste bags and portable drinks carriers. It was described as ‘a real haven for owners and dogs alike’ and has 100 acres of open land to walk dogs off lead. Welcome packs come as standard for all that stay at the site, with a list of other dog friendly places and doggy treats.

And Helsbury Park is not the only place that is recognising the importance of reaching out to the nation’s 8 million dog owners. According to research newly released by the Kennel Club, a staggering four out of five businesses claim that their dog friendly policy has helped them to draw in more customers in difficult financial times.

The Kennel Club has also found that 95 percent of people think more businesses and locations should be Open for Dogs, and that dogs improve the atmosphere of a place², and 77 percent think that dogs help to reduce stress.

Caroline Kisko, spokesperson for the Kennel Club, said: “Since launching this competition we have been really impressed by the wide range of services and facilities that are being provided to make dogs and their owners feel welcome. Places like the Helsbury Park are really setting the standard for others to follow.

“These are tough times for businesses but more and more people are seeing the benefits of reaching out to dog owners, who are always looking for somewhere that they can go with their dogs. It makes no sense to exclude customers who are happy to give you their business – especially when dogs actually enhance the appeal of a place, amongst dog owners and non dog owners alike.”

Dave Wilson from Helsbury Park said: “We've put dog friendliness at the heart of our business for a number of reasons. Dog owners provide a massive customer base, high quality accommodation that's dog friendly is hard to come by and we're based in a stunning location with walks on site as well as dog friendly beaches nearby. Dog owners are also pretty resilient when it comes to the weather, as long as they have luxury to come home to in the evening! Winning the Open for Dogs award is a real feather in our cap and we're proud to welcome dogs and their owners to our beautiful site here in Cornwall."

The Open for Dogs Competition is in its second year and customers were invited to nominate places that they thought were pulling out the stops to accommodate our doggie friends with innovative services or simply a bowl of clean water and the promise of a friendly smile. The categories were: Somewhere to SLEEP; Somewhere to DRINK; Somewhere to EAT; Somewhere to VISIT; Somewhere you WORK; Somewhere you HOLIDAY and OTHER.

Nov 11, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 12

Kirsty Durrant has got back from a "lovely week at Broadview" and is "missing it already." Kirsty went on to say: "We had to prise the dogs (and ourselves) away from the cottage and the views!! No Indian summer for us, but the rain and wind didn't put us or the girls off at all!! Had a lovely time and looking forward to coming back." The photos are a real case of before, during and after as you can see!

The Real Visitor Book...

The Real Visitors Book website has recently undergone a complete overhaul with enhancements to the search engine and the database. They're currently offering a prize of £250 to one lucky reviewer to put towards a holiday of their choice listed on the site so if you'd like to write a recommendation for Helsbury you might even win it!

Calling all Facebook Fans...

You can now become a fan of Helsbury on Facebook, check out the box on the right hand side and join us!

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 11

Deborah Danbury sent us these shots of Seamus, a chocolate lab who had a fabulous time at Broadview in September. According to Deborah: "The ice cream was a treat following a long run on Fistral Beach. It was the first time he’d ever encountered rock pools and took to launching himself, bellyflop style, into the middle of them! The second photo was taken when we got back that same afternoon, he paced backwards and forwards in front of the couch (as he is allowed on the furniture at home as long as he asks first...) until my husband laid out the blanket, he then went and got his Ted and slid up onto the sofa and fell sound asleep!"

Oct 26, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 10

Mark Baker sent this great shot of Charlie and Bert taking during a lovely week in the Summer.

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 9

Ian and Jennie Hastie stayed with us during a lovely spell of Autumn weather and sent these great shots in, Ian said "We got back from our lovely week in Westhayes last Friday, and are already missing it. Jenny and I and our dogs had a wonderful time at Helsbury. The weather was excellent, the accommodation as good as ever, and the swimming pool complex was the icing on the cake. All in all we do not think that Helsbury can be beaten as a place to holiday with dogs, and consequently we are today posting off our booking request for next year."

Oct 18, 2009

Indian Summer?

We've been enjoying a lovely autumn so far, with some lovely sunshine and blue skies, this photo was taken yesterday at Polzeath which was absolutely stunning. If the season's are shifting then you really have to make the most of these wonderful days.

The 2009 Cornwall Tourism Awards

Another great night was had by all, we really enjoyed it and as always met some more lovely people from Cornwall's tourism sector. The new format of the awards with 3 prizes given in each section definitely works well with everyone present sharing in the success of the sector as a whole. It also means more people make it onto the stage, this year to meet Kirsty Allsop who was excellent as the guest of honour. The overall feeling at the awards is very much one of mutual appreciation and a celebration of a lot of hard work. And as we also came to realise on the night an awful lot of investment, we thought we'd put a lot in with the development of our pool but it was a drop in the ocean when compared to some of the gold winners. It's reassuring to know that many other businesses also believe it is a sound strategy to invest in tourism in Cornwall, but the scale of the investments, tens of millions in some cases, is quite staggering.

Our first award came in the sustainable tourism category, we knew we were a finalist and had high hopes but we were first up and collected the bronze. However, we were pipped by two amazing businesses, Bedruthan Steps who are pretty much the flagship business in this subject not only in Cornwall but in the UK, and also to Rosehill Lodges which is a brand new development of eco-lodges who are clearly planning to specialise in this sector for many years to come. So for a small business like ours, with a traditional farm environment with all the legacy issues that brings with it, to make it to the final three was some achievement. With our other plans for taking the business into micro-generation and HLS we now know that we're on the right tracks.

Our second came in Self Catering Establishment of the Year, in which we were told (again) that the standards were incredibly high and the decision was extremely tight. This is one of the awards, like Large Hotel, which is slightly cyclical and we knew that having won last year it was unlikely that we'd pick it up again. However we were a little disappointed to only get a bronze in this section but in retrospect and taking into account the changes that our sector is going through we have to accept that making it to the finals is a huge achievement in itself. The Gold winner has published pans to spend £35m on its posh holiday park, clearly this is something that will be difficult to compete with in future. It may pay Visit Cornwall to break the self catering category up next year; separating out lodges from cottages and also from apartments as the market for each is quite different. It is a bit odd to lose out to someone in a self catering award who has a restaurant!

No complaints from us though, the Visit Cornwall PR machine has been at work and we've been featured in all the key publications as well being interviewed for local BBC radio which we very happy about. So all in all another great experience.

Oct 13, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 8

Sharon Wigfull bought her 3 setters to Helsbury during this lovely Indian Summer which we're thoroughly enjoying. She said: "We had a fantastic time and the dogs loved it – here's picture evidence of our old boy Csaba at Daymer Bay doing some advertising for you! I can still see that lovely view from the barn and the swimming pool. We had great weather but Helsbury is so nice that we could not have failed to have a great time whatever the weather. Great training ground for the dogs and fully agree with your reports on the beaches. Loved the common sense approach to safety. Thanks again."

Oct 6, 2009

Tourism Awards finalists revealed

Interesting profile of the awards which are being presented next week at the link below. We're one of only 3 businesses in Cornwall to be finalists in two categories, not bad considering who we're up against. Fingers crossed!

Business Cornwall Web Site

Sep 24, 2009

Our Dog Photo Competition...

We're about to start pushing for entries for this year's dog photo competition but we thought it would be good to remind you of some the stunning entries we've had in the past few years so we've put together a video so you can see them all...

Sep 21, 2009

More awards news...

Great news, we've just heard that we've been shortlisted [ie got to the last three] in two major awards. Visit Cornwall's prestigious Tourism Awards are imminent and we're in the mix for the top prize in self catering and also sustainability. We just missed the final in the web site section too. We're very excited and we'll keep you posted on any news.

Helsbury Attractions #4

The Monkey Sanctuary

The sanctuary is a charity that rescues monkeys of different kinds from the pet trade and other inadequate and abusive circumstances. Many of their inhabitants have been severely traumatised by their experiences this means for the monkey’s sake this is not a good day out for loud, excitable children and dogs are not welcome. It does however, provide a wonderful opportunity to see these fascinating creatures up close and to hear informative talks about their lives, their plight and the valuable work of the trust.

The sanctuary is set in a stunning location on a wooded slope overlooking the sea with grounds managed to promote wildlife. Excellent signposting makes the sanctuary easy to find but it is accessed via some very narrow lanes so be prepared. The car park is small but shady. The café serves a delicious selection of homemade, locally sourced vegetarian food. GTBS Gold.

Sep 20, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 7

Sarah & Patrick Wood bought their two dogs to Helsbury recently and sent us these lovely photos, as Sarah said: "After a busy day everyone loves a barbecue! And there's no better way to recover than sleeping it off afterwards."

Sep 11, 2009

Helsbury Attractions #3

The Big Sheep

Lottie’s favourite day out, we have been twice this year (2009) and still not found everything. Not cheap and at least an hour’s drive but for us it is worth it. Animals to feed and pet in the barn, train and tractor rides and an array of slides to satisfy a large age range. Humorous and informative demonstrations and events such as the Sheep Grand National in the various indoor and outdoor arenas help provide constant entertainment. The Jumping Pillows are great fun for all ages (parents too) as are the pedal go-carts. There is a battlefield combat zone, high wire course, chair-o-planes ride and mountain boarding for the more adventurous. Pony rides, trampolines and various mechanical rides. Some things cost extra but you could still have a great day out if you confined yourselves to the inclusive stuff.

The Big Sheep is very easy to find, with plenty of parking, some kennels (locks available from reception) and a wide choice of food from burgers and cakes to fruit and homemade soup depending on which café you choose.

Sep 7, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 6

Ken Nash sent these great shots of his two dogs in typical Helsbury poses. He said "Following our recent visit to your fabulous holiday facility I've submitted a couple of photographs. The whole family (and of course the dogs) had a fantastic time!!!"

Sep 6, 2009

Helsbury Attractions #2

Following on in our series of reviews of local attractions, we have:

Tamar Otter Sanctuary

We had an enjoyable day out at the Tamar Otter Sanctuary (Summer 09). It is advisable to time your visit to take in at least one Feeding Time 12:00 or 15:00; this guarantees you see some Otters in action as they are timid even in this environment. It really is amazing to see so many Otters up close though. The woodland walk allows you to get a good look at the Deer and Wallabies, which you can feed (provided you buy the appropriate bag of food).

We had a hard time finding the sanctuary but this might be more about our SatNav. We just kept following signs to North Petherwin and got there eventually. There is a steep slope between the entrance and the animal enclosures and a lot of fencing to protect little fingers from sharp teeth, which is quite hard to see through. The café is excellent providing well-cooked locally sourced food. Not dog friendly but there is some shady parking and water available.

Aug 26, 2009

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 5

Andy and Louise Grant sent these lovely shots of Harry and Charlie enjoying their stayhere at Helsbury, Andy said "Charlie and Harry really enjoyed sniffling and snuffling through the bluebells at Helsbury Park"

Helsbury Attractions #1

We've spent a bit of time out and about this summer checking out some of the new and old attractions in the area. We thought we'd share our thoughts with you as we go so you can include them in the itinerary, the first is Porfell Animal Sanctuary.

Porfell Animal Sanctuary

This is a good day out for smaller children as the sanctuary is on a fairly compact site. Porfell provides a home for elderly and difficult exotic animals. Those ‘retired’ from zoo and wildlife park breeding programmes or confiscated by customs and the RSPCA. When we visited (summer 09) the animals ranged from a Lynx and an Ocelot, Capybara, Wallabies and Racoons through to Pygmy Goats, Llama and Zebra. An interesting talk gave us the opportunity to stroke a Hedgehog, a Ferret and a Monitor Lizard and with Deer that eat from your hand you get a great up-close with the animals feel.

On a practical note, Porfell is well signposted and relatively easy to find and has an ample car park. The café has a limited menu of the sandwiches and pasties kind. Not really a dog friendly day out with lots of poultry wandering around and free-range Wallabies. GTBS Bronze.

Vet Tourism

Here's an interesting idea, we've had great comments about our local vet, Penbode Veterinary Group, especially in relation to their costs. They are perceived as friendly, efficient and great value for money. I was talking to their man in Camelford this morning and he told me that they get a bit of business from people bringing their dogs down to Cornwall for procedures which would be costly where they live. It's an intriguing idea and one on which I'd love to hear your views. The idea of combining your holiday with a visit to the vet and a bit of convalesence here on site might not be a bad idea!

Aug 10, 2009

Helsbury in History...

An interesting mention of Helsbury [or Hellesbury] as it's called in this profile of Sir Richard Buller, a 17th Century Lord. Helsbury is referred to as an "important Parke" in the manor of Helstone, with "timber trees, sapplins and pollards groweing in the hedge rowes and other partes of the Parke of Helsebury are valued to be worth . .. £82 10s. The under woodes groweing in the said parke being 18 acres amongest which are valued divers sapplins and timber trees is valued to be worth ... £180."

Aug 3, 2009

Virtual Brochure

Our new brochure has recently been launched we've noted that it has become quite a large file, 15MB or so, and although bandwidth is less of a problem nowadays we thought it would be better to make it available in a virtual format, so you can now see it at this link. You can leaf through it and zoom in and also click on links within it. We hope you like it but as always we're interested in your feedback. And if you'd like a copy of the pdf you can get it from our web site here.

Jul 24, 2009

Crossing fields with dogs...

A couple of unfortunate incidents have brought the issue of livestock on public footpaths to public attention once again. Farmers have a perfect right to keep stock in fields with public footpaths running through them and indeed there is little danger from cows unless they have young with them and unless you have a dog. We provide some guidance on this in our visitor guide but here's a useful article that cover's the subject.

This does not apply to Helsbury Park itself of course as we have no livestock on the land at all.

Jul 22, 2009

Here's someone who really gets it...

"Can I just say I have been trawling the Internet for ever trying to find a beautiful dog friendly cottage for my family and beloved Golden Retriever and have never ever ever found anything that comes remotely close to the little piece of Heaven you're offering. For some reason most people seem to think that if you have a dog you must be happy to accept sub standard accomodation. You're the only people who appear to understand that there are dog owners out here who have nice homes despite having a dog and want to replicate their standards of living when they go on holiday."

That's a great description of what we're trying to achieve here at Helsbury Park, check our web site for availability for 2010.

Jul 9, 2009

The pool at night...

I had a feeling it might look spectacular at night and here's the evidence, there some more on our flickr page

Jul 8, 2009

The Rascodog...

Here's the backstory: "One day, while designer Eric Sugalski was walking his dog Oscar around Chicago and dodging those dog park landmines, he had a lightbulb moment. There was a need for a better lead that actually encouraged picking up dog waste. He went to the drawing board, and after testing several prototypes, Rascodog ReadyLeash was born. (Rasco is Oscar spelled backwards — well almost.)"

Go to for more information

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 4

Kate Dennett sent us these great shots of here dogs, she said: "We had a wonderful week down in Cornwall and couldn't resist entering the photo competition. The cottage was amazing and the pool is just stunning! Stan, Ollie and Monty loved their long walks and are desperate to come back."

Jun 19, 2009

It's Yet More Gold for Helsbury

We're absolutely delighted to announce our latest success, we've achieved GOLD standard in the Green Tourism Business Scheme [GTBS]. It's extremely prestigious and quite an arduous process to attain a gold but we've managed it first time. Part of the assessment involved looking at our new pool building which has serious sustainable credentials and that helped us attain the award.

Jun 8, 2009

Visitors Book 006

Matthew Stubblefield recently wrote to us with this lovely comment: "We had an amazing time; in fact we all agreed (including our dogs) that it was the best holiday we've ever had. Although we were incredibly lucky with the weather which helped enormously, our stay was defined by the wonderful cottage, Broadview, its environment and location. The riverside walk in the grounds of Helsbury Park is stunningly beautiful. The cottage is very well appointed, and was great for all our needs. The new pool is gorgeous; a good size and just the right temperature, but most impressive of all is the view from the pool of the surrounding countryside. We really value our privacy, and peace and quiet, and we found these qualities in spades at Helsbury Park. Though we generally visit new areas on each holiday, it will be most tempting to return to Helsbury Park and I know it will be difficult (if not impossible) to match it anywhere else. Also, the cleanliness of the cottage was very impressive upon arrival, something we always notice. You're really setting the standard for dog-friendly holidays!"

Jun 6, 2009

Bodmin Moor Flickr Group

Just noticed there's a group on flickr for shots of Bodmin Moor. We've uploaded a few shots ourselves, but if you've got anything good you should get it on there.

Bodmin Moor Group

Young Red Deer in the Field at Helsbury...

The Pool is Officially Open...

And to celebrate that fact we invited Ken McMahon from Lookaround Cornwall to come in and take a 360 degree panorama shot of the interior so you really get a feel of what a fantastic addition to the facilities it really is. There are also some more up to date pictures of the pool on our flickr page, as well as lots of the construction taking place.

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 3

Laura Hill asked Richard from Slobberchops to come and meet her and her lovely dog Alfie here at Helsbury and they had a very successful shoot, here's some of the resulting shots:

Helsbury Park Dog Photo Competition 2010 Entry 2

Clare Williams sent these shots of Toby and Angus having a great time out and about, they're already looking forward to coming back!