With a very successful Easter enjoyed by us all, we were once again able to get into our stride to look forward to the busy season ahead. Okay, the weather wasn’t quite on our side but we should all know what to expect at this time of year in good old blighty!
The next official busy week after the two upcoming bank holidays in early May will be the Whitsun week at the end of May, which leads into June then July…..need I say more? Its no doubt going to be a busy season especially if people are put off going abroad with all the associated hassle …far easier at times just to jump in the car with your family, dogs and beach gear and head for Cornwall!
Of course that will lead to busy roads and much patience in order to visit and enjoy this stunning county, so alternatively if you wanted to simply park up your car on arrival and stay put in St Ives, there are many fab things to enjoy right on the doorstep of your Cherished Cottage!
We all know St Ives have the most incredible beaches that you must explore including : Porthmeor, Porthminster, Porthgwidden, Harbour beach, and Bamaluz and if you aren’t afraid of walking and exploring, take in Carbis Bay beach (20 min walk) and further on Porth Kidney sands (40 min walk) which are both accessed via walking the south west coastal path which affords some breath-taking scenery on the way. For those too tired to walk back you can hop on the train from Lelant Saltings station which passes through Carbis Bay station on the way back to St Ives, taking kids, beach gear dogs and all!
Otherwise just meander around and enjoy the simple pleasures that St Ives has to offer:-
Just a short stroll along the picturesque harbour you will find yourself on Smeaton’s Pier which was built between 1767-1770, which overlooks both the harbour and out to sea the otherside out towards Godrevy Lighthouse. There’s always something to see with fisherman readying their boats for the day to lobster nets piled high at the end of the pier by Smeaton’s Lighthouse or pop into St Leonards chapel on the way back where fisherman used to pray for good luck and fine weather before setting off.
So many places these days to get a fab cup of barista made coffee in St Ives but one of our faves is Yallah on the harbour front. Superb coffee made with love to take away or pop up to the tiny upstairs café where you can coffee & breakfast with a view over the harbour.
We all love a Pasty!
Three of my favourite places which sell excellent pasties are all tucked away on Fore Street one street behind the wharf. Freshly baked pasties at The Cornish Bakery and opposite at The Yellow Canary are delicious and walk further along to the St Ives Bakery and you will not be disappointed with freshly baked pasties, breads, and amazing pastries on offer.
Anyone for a pint?
Visit the Iconic & always very bustling 14th century Sloop Inn free house on the harbour front for a pint, grab a wooden bench, sit in the sun and watch St Ives goings on unravel in front of you or for a more secluded elevated spot nip up the stairs to Upper Deck just behind and above the public car park behind the Sloop, to enjoy a pint on the outside terrace with super sea and harbour views. Always a nice busy vibe and in the summer sit under the giant parasols to shelter from the sunshine if its gets too hot.
One of my favourite places is Blasburgerworks just a few minutes walk off the beaten track along the seafront, past the lifeboat house and tucked away at the end of Lambeth walk on the way to Porthminster beach. BLAS has been churning out superb homecooked burgers for years and make the meanest burger in town, great for both Vegetraians and Vegans too. A recent addition is you simply must try their excellent Rotisserie free range Chickens cooked on the premises, absolutely delicious.
Hire a boat or take a trip
When the weather permits, and the sea is calm there are plenty of fun boating options to choose from. Check out Blue Thunder Rib rides (link) for a fast and fun excursion around the St Ives bay or book a boat trip on St Ives Boats and take a trip along the beautiful, rugged Cornish coastline past Porthmeor beach on the famous ‘Dolly P ‘ to discover stunning hidden local bays on the way to visiting Seal Island or visit the spectacular Godrevy Lighthouse where sea life is abundant. Staying closer to shore simply hire one of the smaller self-drive motor boats which are great fun for all the family …you can even take your dogs! For the ultimate bin boat tours take a tripmoutb on NEMO St Ives glass bottomed boat for amazing trips to Seal Island & Godrevy Lighthouse
Porthmeor beach in St Ives just in front of the Tate St Ives is one of the best surfing beaches in the whole of Cornwall when the conditions are good and its right on your doorstep! Walking distance from all our cottages or try your luck at parking on the public car park overlooking the beach or the island car park at the end of the beach, easy if you have your boards in the back of the car. For those wanting to learn to surf drop into the very friendly guys at the St Ives Surf school and they will book you in for lessons and get your surfing adventure underway! Not surfing? Just hire a paddleboard or Kayak instead and enjoy your time on the water.
If you fancy a bracing dip in the ocean then join some of the many sea swimmers and take an early morning dip in the sheltered harbour where you will often come across many locals enjoying their daily routine. For the more daring join the wild swimmers that are out and about, you will quite often see swimmers training or simply enjoying themselves out with bright coloured caps and swimming buoys bobbing along behind them .
St Ives Chapel & Island Short walk
If you fancy a short scenic walk to tire the kids and dogs out, just head over to the lovely slightly elevated island end between Porthmoer beach and Porthgwidden beach where St Nicholas Chapel proudly sits on the top with the most stunning panoramic views over St Ives and out to sea. Take a 10 minute walk around the base then walk up and visit the chapel on top of the island which back in the day was supposed to be used as a smugglers lookout point and just close by on the other side of the island is the lookout building for shipping with the St Ives coast guard often manned by volunteers. You have amazing views up here for sure.
Then you must visit I Should Coco on Tregenna Hill. Pop along and make your very own chocolate, the kids will love it ….adults too! Visit the shop stacked full of chocolate goodies and they even have a café too! Or visit Cornwall Chocolate Cove‘s shop in the Drill Hall for some very healthy choccy treats, all locally made & vegan friendly too!
Fish & Chips!
A seaside town visit wouldn’t quite be the same unless you sit on the seafront with fish & chips and a nice cup of tea looking out to sea (Just look out for those pesky Gulls otherwise they will be enjoying your treat for sure!). One of my favourite places in St Ives is By the sea seafood & chips on Chapel Street opposite the Drill Hall or try the Balancing Eel behind the Sloop by the public car park or for probably the best fish and chips in the area , jump in your car and head for BECKS in Carbis Bay, to eat in or take away, always a queue but well worth the wait.
Well worth a visit ( April to October, Mon – Fri) and of course all for a good cause . The Lifeboat station is on the harbour and the town’s main Shannon class all weather lifeboat sits proudly on display ready & waiting to assist in any sea rescue along with the smaller D class inshore lifeboat. Lifeboat crews have been saving lives since 1839. There is a souvenir shop next door to the main station.
Take a bus to Lands End
Hop on board the Lands End Coaster at the bus station at the Malakoff for a open tour bus, an unforgettable journey along the wild Cornish coast. The upper deck is mostly open and the place to sit and admire the stunning scenery on a sunny day….not always guaranteed, so pack a rain mac & sun cream if unsure! The journey usually takes an hour and a half to Lands End but you can get off at many points along the way and explore such lovely places as Zennor, Sennen and Porthcurno, including the famous communications museum!
You are spoiled for choice if you just want to get away from it all and walk ! The incredibly scenic Southwest Coast Path heads north towards Godrevy Lighthouse and beyond or West towards Lands end. You will encounter fabulous coastal scenery, wild flowers, hidden coves and sealife on the way and in Zennor you must stop at The Tinners Arms for a pint or spot of lunch, and if you have had enough by then, just get a bus back to St Ives. Always wear appropriate footwear, take water, sun cream a snack and a raincoat…you have been warned! If you fancy heading to the south coast then you must try the St Michael’s Way walk which starts officially in Lelant, then via Carbis bay to St Ives and over the hills towards Mounts Bay where you can find St Michael’s Mount ..the full length is around 12 miles but from St Ives around 8 miles. A great walk for all levels .
There’s a fab new skate park up at Penbeagle (behind the fire station) in St Ives, 15 min walk or a couple of mins in a car, taxi or bus, a great energy release for all, and if you did want to venture further afield there are excellent skate parks over in Penzance, Hayle or Mount Hawke too.
You can’t go anywhere in Cornwall without encountering hills, but getting out to explore is well worth the effort if on a normal bike otherwise for a more gentle experience visit St Ives Bikes hire for the ultimate e-bike experience, just lets you enjoy the beautiful countryside with slightly less effort although still very rewarding & they can recommend some great cycling routes for all the family
Anyone for a G&T?
The Gin culture is ever growing, and St Ives has been very fortunate to gain a new shop dedicated to a very lovely and now famous Cornish Gin brand…The delicious TARQUINS Gin!
The shop with its Tarquin’s bright blue signature colours is on Fore Street, and its masterclass is being able to distill your very own Gin in a classic copper pot still, using whichever botanicals you love the most. You can choose from over 50 botanicals or even bring your own to create your tailor-made bottle! Oh, and if that’s not enough you can just buy a bottle of Tarquins from the onsite shop.
Go for a proper afternoon Cornish cream Tea
With many places to choose from its probably best to give you a solid recommendation otherwise it might end up taking you ages walking around to find the perfect cream tea!
Olives Café on Island square tucked away in the heart of downalong is a particular favourite of ours. Olives offer fabulous homemade cakes and an awesome cream tea with a great selection of scones including not just your usual fruit or plain scones but also offer cherry & walnut, blueberry, and delicious apricot & pecan, just don’t forget to put the jam on first….then the cream! Sit inside on a chilly day or on a warm summer’s day try and grab one of the few outside tables where you can enjoy your cream tea and watch the world go by.
If you time your visit right, pop to the wonderful St Ives Farmers market held every Thursday in the Guildhall to either browse or buy so many delicious locally made & sourced Cornish farm produce & goodies. You won’t be disappointed .
Go Rock pooling!
Costs nothing and is fun for all the family, especially the little ones. The best place to go after the tide has gone out is the west end of Porthmeor beach where there are masses of pools to explore and amazing wildlife in the pools usually teaming with sea creatures and fish, Just remember the rocks can be slippy at the best of times!
Finish off watching a fabulous sunset over Porthmeor beach
After a busy day enjoying yourself, we would really recommend walking over to Porthmeor beach, where you can witness some of the most spectacular sunsets over the Atlantic ocean in St Ives. Even better grab a booth in a heated pod at the fabulous Porthmeor beach café with your favourite tipple in hand and watch the sunset unravel before you….bliss!
If you are coming to St Ives for your next holiday, you will love what’s on offer without having to jump into the car. If you stay in one of our beautiful Cherished Cottages then all of this is right on your doorstep! Enjoy exploring our beautiful Cornish seaside town.
Author : Tim Petersen April 2023