Tregenna Castle: Where is the G7 venue and how much does it cost to stay?

·5-min read
St Ives, United Kingdom - January 28, 2012: Tregenna Castle was built in 1774 by Samuel Stephens as a stately home. The castle is now a popular hotel and wedding venue. The image shows the front and entrance to the castle and the foreground green. Taken on a winters morning.
Tregenna Castle in St Ives is hosting some of the G7 summit leaders. (Getty)

They may be in Cornwall to thrash out agreements over some of the most important issues of our time, but even world leaders need somewhere to stay. 

And where better than a historic castle perched on a hill overlooking the Cornish coastline. 

Tregenna Castle - once built as a stately home and now a popular hotel and wedding venue - is one of the places providing a temporary 'home' for G7 leaders while they are in Carbis Bay for their summit

Boasting acres of grounds, an 18-hole golf course, two swimming pools and plenty of leisure facilities, there are far worse places for presidents and prime ministers to enjoy some downtime.

Where is Tregenna Castle?

Tregenna Castle sits on a hill overlooking St Ives, offering guests 72 acres of grounds to get lost in. 

It's about a 15-20 minute walk downhill from the hotel to St Ives and Carbis Bay, though it's unlikely you'll spot any G7 leaders taking a wander.

You definitely won't see them walking back - the castle is said to be a fairly steep walk back up the hill so many visitors opt for a taxi instead. 

What does it look like?

Tregenna was built as a 12-bedroom private home for wealthy Cornishman Samuel Stephens, who had a love for the sea. 

Stephens commissioned the build of the house - which is thought to have been designed by Georgian architect John Wood the Younger, the man behind Bath's Royal Crescent - from local granite, complete with four castellated turrets and original glazed skylight with his family coat of arms. 

Tregenna Castle at St Ives, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall. Picture date: Wednesday June 9, 2021.
Tregenna Castle sits on top of the hill above St Ives. (PA)

The house stayed in the family until it was sold in 1871 by their final heir John Stephens to a family of local bankers, the Bolithos.

The Bolithos acquired the house at the same time that Brunel was building the Great Western Railway from London to Penzance to serve the west of England.

At the time, railway companies established destination hotels by the sea, so GWR leased the house from the Bolithos in 1878 before buying it in 1895.

Security check vehicles as they enter Tregenna castle resort, in Carbis Bay, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall. Picture date: Saturday June 5, 2021. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Security check vehicles as they enter Tregenna castle resort, in Carbis Bay, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall. (PA Images via Getty Images)

The house was extended to include new function rooms, a restaurant, adjoining kitchens, and a hallway leading to the main reception area, with more developments taking place in the early 1900s, including the completion of the West Wing in 1932. 

The Great Western Railway Company was nationalised in 1948 and the management of Tregenna passed to a number of different owners: British Rail, Sea Containers Ltd and finally to Crown Hotels. Then, in 1992, the current owner took possession and once again it became a family-owned estate and hotel.

On its Instagram account, it says: "Tregenna has stood tall, steeped in history and brimming with stories for over 240 years, with many more memories in the making.

Watch: Cornwall on alert as G7 summit begins

Police officers walk past Tregenna Castle ahead of the G7 summit, in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 5, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson
Police officers walk past Tregenna Castle ahead of the G7 summit, in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Reuters)

How much does it cost to stay there?

If you're looking for a budget hotel, this probably isn't the one for you, but it's also not scarily expensive. 

You can get a room at Tregenna Castle with a sea view for around £200 a night, though obviously prices vary depending on the time of year.

It also offers self catering options and luxury options at its 'Signature Collection', in case you don't want to be in a hotel environment. 

Have many famous people stayed there before?

According to Tregenna's website, over the years it has hosted plenty of famous faces. 

They include: Prince Philip, former prime minister John Major, Sir David Attenborough and actors Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Joanna Lumley and Peter O’Toole, and David Bowie.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18:  Actor Aidan Turner discusses his new show
Poldark star Aidan Turner has stayed at Tregenna. (Getty)

More recently, guests have included cast members from Poldark, including Aidan Turner as well as boxer Anthony Joshua.

Tregenna also gets its own mention in one of English guitarist and composer Anthony Phillips' creations, with Tregenna Afternoons - inspired by his visits to St Ives with his family - features on the 1979 album Private Parts and Pieces

How has Tregenna been hit by COVID?

Like many other hospitality businesses, Tregenna was hit by the COVID crisis, with its hotel, self-catering accommodation, leisure service and events venue all forced to shut - a blow for a resort that reportedly usually hosts 100,000 holidaymakers and 120 weddings a year. 

But according to a report in Business Live, the resort secured £1m of financial support from Lloyds Bank as part of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The funding reportedly allowed the resort to keep a skeleton team of staff on site, as well as investing in marketing activities to prepare for reopening.

The hotel reopened properly on 17 May, in line with the government's roadmap allowing the reopening of indoor hospitality.

UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09:  Great Western Railway poster.  (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
At one point, Tregenna was a destination railway hotel for Great Western Railway. (Getty)

Wasn't there something to do with the Nazis?

Yes, it's rumoured that Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had plans for a retirement in Cornwall following the planned German invasion of Britain.

As a child, Ribbentrop has visited England and developed a love for Cornwall. 

Apparently he wanted to retire to Tregenna Castle, and apparently sent a message back saying that on no account was St Ives to be bombed as he wished to live in Tregenna when the Nazis had won the war.

But it's also reported that after seeing St Michael's Mount he changed his mind about where he wanted to retire to, choosing there over Tregenna. 

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