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Swallowtails | Luxury Self-Catering | Mawnan Smith, Helford River


Mawnan Smith, Cornwall, UK

Idyllically situated close to the sheltered waters of the Helford River and just half a mile from the coast in Mawnan Smith, Swallowtails is an enchanting luxury self-catering barn conversion in one of the most serenest corners of Cornwall. Following a day's boating or stomping the coast path, watch the sun set over the fields as the swallows dip and rise over the natural swimming pool, signalling the close of another perfect day.


Set in 54 acres of exquisite Cornish countryside and bursting with characterful features, Swallowtails exudes an ethereal spirit and charm all of its own. A unique self-catering retreat, this green home near Falmouth boasts a garden room with undulating grass roof and underfloor heating, giving it an all-seasons appeal, whilst the natural swimming pond will be the jewel in the crown for those longing for blissful rejuvenation. If you can drag yourself away, secret coves studded in the crooks of greenery-clad cliffs and golden sand beaches are a-plenty in this beautiful slice of the county.


Wake up in the morning fresh and revived and make your way down to the light-filled kitchen where views of the garden provide natural entertainment watching birds zip and rabbits bounce as you sip your coffee. For a cosy embrace, nestle between the arms of one of the lounge’s sofas or take a step closer to nature in the sunroom with floor-to-ceiling glass. Summer idyll and winter haven, Swallowtails benefits from two cosy woodburners so take your pick and snuggle up with a good book and a glass of red, taking full advantage of the peaceful ambience.


Spend long hot summer days in the garden under the shade of a floppy hat; there will be nothing to disturb your peace other than the occasional butterfly fluttering past and a distant 'moo' from the neighbouring fields. While the lure of the natural swimming pond with its mini waterfall and paddle area will prove too much of a temptation in the warmer months, should you be able to pull yourselves away to venture further afield, the closest beach is Maenporth. Home to powdery soft sand and shallow waters, it is the perfect spot for families to while away the hours. 

The Facts

  • SleepsUp to 6 guests
    From £1,195 per week, £895 per short break
  • Alternative group optionUp to 2 guests
  • Bedrooms and bathroomsOne first floor double bedroom with king-size bed and en suite bathroom with spa bath and walk-in shower, two ground floor twin bedrooms, one ground floor family bathroom with roll-top bath and walk-in shower.
  • FeaturesNatural swimming pond with waterfall
  • PetsTwo well-behaved dogs are welcome
    Each pet is charged at £60 per week or part thereof
  • Arrivals and departuresArrival Day: FridayArrival Time: 4pmDeparture Time: 10am
  • FamilyBabies and children are very welcome. One cot and one highchair are available.
  • PracticalitiesThere is parking for up to three cars, and a washing machine with separate tumble dryer. The natural eco-friendly swimming pond is kept clean via planted filtration beds, meaning it is free of chemicals. It is heated naturally by the sun, and so will prove to be extra invigorating during less clement weather!
  • Homestay includesLuxury welcome hamper, bottle of bubbly, St Kitts hand wash, shampoo and conditioner, Smart TV, Blu-ray player, Sonos multi-room sound system, WiFi internet, charcoal barbecue, linen, towels, logs and kindling to get you startedHouse book - your property and destination guideDiscover more little luxuries
  • Other informationProperty terms and conditionsFrequently asked questionsCheck mobile signalRecommend to a friend

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Mawnan Smith

Tucked in from Mawnan near Falmouth in south Cornwall, this hamlet sits on a crossroads and was once a centre for blacksmiths tending the passing horses. Now it´s a sleepy town with thatched cottages and lush gardens.

View on maps

Getting there

  • On the Map Swallowtails is situated in Mawnan Smith, close to Falmouth, Budock Water and Mylor.
  • By Car From London, take the M4 toward Bath, take M5 South and A30 to Cornwall and follow the directions provided to the property.
  • By Train The nearest train station is Falmouth with regular services from London (change at Penryn).
  • By Air The nearest airport is Newquay airport (approximately one and a half hours drive away).

From the owner

“Whether it´s sitting outside on a balmy summer´s day watching the kids play happily in the chemical-free natural pool or hunkering down in winter by one of the fires with a glass of vino and a book, a stay at Swallowtails is truly unbeatable.”

From the owner

The house has been converted from the outbuildings for Trecombe house, which dates from medieval times. We bought the farm in 2012 after falling in love with the location and wonderful countryside setting, hook, line and sinker.

Its proximity to the Helford River and Falmouth is just perfect for our family of four sons to enjoy sailing. Whether you’re a keen sailor or a landlubber we’re confident that you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a stay at Swallowtails, and no doubt want to return to this tranquil and picturesque part of Cornwall.

As much as we loved the house, a real bonus for us was the wonderful natural swimming pond. Kept clean by planted filtration beds, and totally free of chemicals, it’s the perfect place to keep cool on warm summer’s days as well as exercising in the morning. And, it keeps the kids amused for hours!


Owner recommendations

Live like a local, discovering the best hidden gem restaurants, walks and attractions during your holiday in Mawnan Smith with an insider’s perspective.

Rick Stein´s Fish, Falmouth
To Eat

Rick Stein´s Fish, Falmouth

The family´s favourite seafood restaurant in Falmouth serves some of Rick’s top dishes, such as Amritsari fish, Cornish chilli crab and meen kulambu, a fragrant cod curry from Southern India, as well as fish and chips and daily specials.

To Do


Falmouth is a vibrant seaside town offering plenty of activities whatever the weather. The bustling town centre is adorned with unique shops and boutiques, as well as high street stores, and a great array of waterside eateries.

To Do


Cornwall’s capital city; you’ll find a great range of shops, art galleries and restaurants. The Hall for Cornwall has concerts and plays and it’s always worth checking what’s on. The Royal Cornwall Museum is fascinating as is the cathedral.

Mawnan Smith
To See

Mawnan Smith

Surrounded by farmland, there are many footpaths leading to the coves and beaches of Falmouth Bay, the coastal walks of Helford Estuary and the picturesque, waterside hamlet of Durgan. The views from every angle are beautiful.

Guest Testimonials

Another fabulous holiday home, booked through Unique Homestays. A fabulous week to celebrate a 50th birthday with our family joining us for the weekend and with good weather. Several very shivery dips in the pool, a very up and down cycle to Helford, stunning coastal walk from Mullion Cove to the Lizard. Great riding at Bovathick stables up the road. Good food at The Cove in Maen Porth beach and overall a week to remember. Thank you for letting us stay and enjoy your wonderful home, and the delicious scones on arrival.

We had a fantastic break at Swallowtails, the pictures do not do it justice. The accommodation met all of our high expectations. It was quiet, spotlessly clean, good facilities and an overall excellent accommodation. We loved swimming in the pool, which we did a couple of times every day and were blessed with probably one of the hottest weeks in Cornwall in June for a very long time. It was a great base for visiting places around Falmouth and the Lizard.

Our stay at Swallowtails for the second time was fabulous. We had blue skies each and every day so we were very lucky! Mawnan Smith, with its idyllic countryside and walking, was the best tonic for our stressful jobs. There are so many pretty footpaths around the village and also ones that lead down to the coast and the beautiful Helford river. We hope to go back again in the future.

Lovely, lovely house. It felt like a home from home. The children loved the pool and the fact that we could bring our dog was a real bonus. Thank you so much for everything and we hope to be back soon.

We have been lucky enough to stay here for two fabulous weeks. One of our family goals is to create as many wonderful memories as we can and we certainly have managed that this holiday. The weather has been variable but who cares when you are in such wonderful surroundings. We´ve enjoyed a trip to Heligan, Lizard Point and Fish & Chips at St Mawes. But the most abiding memory of this holiday will be the truly wonderful house, not to mention the pool. Thank you for sharing this wonderful place with us, only sorry we couldn´t stay longer

We had such a gorgeous week down in Cornwall staying in this perfect home. We loved the fact we could bring our dogs and the sunny weather meant we were in the pool every day. We couldn´t recommend it more!

We came here for a 5th wedding anniversary and was blown away at how big and beautiful the house is, it has certainly exceeded our expectations. There is everything here you need with instructions on how to use them. We only ate out one evening as the facilities here are so good and the kitchen is amazing. We don´t have anything negative to say about your home, it is amazing, and we don´t want to leave. If we win the lottery, we´ll make you an offer!

Beautiful house with everything you could want. Great grounds for walking the dogs. We didn´t quite manage to swim in the natural pool, although Steve did have a paddle! One of the best holiday homes we have stayed in. A true home from home.

It is a very high quality property that still allows dogs, which is brilliant. The main reason for booking was the privacy offered and the opportunity for rest and relaxation undisturbed. We loved using the Unique Homestays website; it was extremely easy to make a booking. Good communication via e mail, good directions and an excellent property.

Swallowtails is a simply wonderful property and I will definitely book it again. Everything was perfect and I have never stayed anywhere so beautiful. I have written lots of travel pieces for the Daily Mail and have therefore stayed in some fabulous places, but Swallowtails was quite simply something else. The setting, the building, the interior and all the lovely little touches made me feel as though I never wanted to leave. It is wonderful that you can bring dogs too.

Swallowtails was one of the best self-catering properties we have stayed in. The facilities and levels of comfort were great, and the setting and grounds were stunning!

Most amazing home, stocked with all you could ever need. All excellent, can´t wait to use Unique Homestays again and we are already planning next years stay at Swallowtails!

What a lovely house, so relaxing and peaceful, like living another life. So comfortable and the bedroom allows a wonderful night´s rest, the bed is fantastic! Would be happy here everyday of the week. Weather was terrible, but the log fires and comfy sofas mean you can enjoy the week anyway!

My name is Isobel and I´m 11. I would love to come back in the summer with my nanny, granddad and my cousin Molly because I know they would love this amazing place! Thank you!

A fantastic house! Enjoyed long walks with the dog, has some real family time together and would love to come back in the summer and enjoy the pool and outside area more. Great location will definitely be back. An amazing house!

Such an amazing home and wonderful part of the world. Thank you for sharing your slice of heaven with us. We considered squatting for the week as we loved it so much! Sad to be leaving!

This is a fantastic cottage and we had a fantastic week. Loved everything about it, especially the pool which we had the weather for! Thank you! We hope to be back next year.

Beautiful cottage - we think it´s probably the nicest we´ve ever stayed at. I loved the sun room and the kids loved the pool! Thank you for a very happy and relaxed stay!

Mission accomplished - the perfect stress remedy! Just absolutely beautiful - the property, the gardens, the locality - all melting together to produce the perfect recipe for a wonderful break. Cannot fault a thing. We shall return!

Just walked through the door stunned by the and silence. Stocked up the fridge, we walked 4/5 hours then home to the cottage to enjoy the peace and tranquillity. Thank you for sharing such a magical home.

A lovely week here for our first wedding anniversary. What a stunning barn, location and setting. Hopefully we will be back in the summer for a dip in the pool. Our dogs loved the open space for running around!

Wow! An amazing home. We really enjoyed our holiday here. Whatever the weather, we looked forward to returning to this wonderful home at the end of each day. We ´dined in´ on several occasions so we could relax and enjoy the kitchen and living spaces. We popped into the Trengilly Wartha for dinner and ended up coming 3rd in their pub quiz (Tuesdays) which was very enjoyable. Had some lovely walks along the river/gardens. Really hope to return soon, thank you very much. P.S, what can I move in?!

The property was just magical in such a magical setting, truly unique and we fell in love with that part of Cornwall. It was the stuff of dreams!It looked wonderful on your web site with the beautiful outdoor natural pool

My family and I have recently stayed at Swallowtails over the bank holiday weekend. We felt that we wanted to contact you to say what an amazing time we had! The house is truly lovely, and the attention to detail was incredible! From the welcome pack to the fluffiest white towels, we loved it, the children loved it, and we even managed to have a dip in the pool! We certainly hope to return in the not too distant future.

We had a wonderful time, full of adventure and relaxation The property is amazing, and a lot of thought has gone into it. We couldn´t fault anything. We will definitely be returning to experience the swimming pool in the Summer! Thank you for the scones and the Easter Egg, there were much appreciated and enjoyed.

Living in a dream for a week! House is out of this world and the welcoming cream tea was the best we´ve tasted - liked all the Cornish produce and newspaper. Thank you and just wish we could stay forever!

I wanted to email you to say thank you for sharing your lovely holiday home with us. We had a fabulous week! The house is just gorgeous and the gardens and pool lovely. The boys managed a dip just about every day! (even the chilly ones!) I really don´t think there is anything you could do to improve the barn. We all loved it. The boys are already talking about when we can go back! So no doubt I´ll be in touch in the future...

Such a peaceful and beautiful place - really enjoyed our stay and were blessed with lovely weather to enjoy the surrounding gardens and pool - everything was so perfect - it has inspired me with the process of house moving. Thank you - so glad we made the decision to come here!


Below are a selection of features in which Swallowtails and Unique Homestays has appeared. If you would like to feature the property in an editorial capacity, please contact the marketing team on +44 (0)1637 882014.

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Disclaimer: These particulars, whilst believed to be accurate, are set as a guideline so should not be relied upon as a statement of fact. The photographs show aspects of the property at the time they were taken and it should not be assumed that the property remains precisely as displayed. If there are points of particular importance that need clarifying before you book, please ask our team.

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