St Ives out of season is also not a bad idea

Think of St Ives and beaches, ice creams and sunny clifftop walks come to mind. The cosmopolitan artists’ haven in south west Cornwall has always been about more than bucket-and-spade brigade, though in the summer months – when the sands are thronged, the traffic end-to-end and the queues for fish and chips snake along the harbour – you could be forgiven for forgetting that. St Ives in late autumn and winter is quite a different fish. While some hotels, guest houses and cafes shut up shop for three or four months, it is far from a ghost town.

In fact, there is just enough buzz to make it a perfectly smug place for a winter break: there are no cars, the beaches are empty and majestic, the coastal path blissfully clear and rooms and restaurant tables are yours for the taking. And when the mist rolls in, as it surely will, there is plenty to do – from exhibitions to thermal spas, shopping to cosy hidden bars.

There is even more reason to visit St Ives this winter. Great Western has just relaunched its London to Penzance Night Riviera sleeper service with some quite neat new cabins which have surprisingly comfortable, if narrow, beds (bunks if you’re sharing) that can be converted into sofas, plus a small sink, wifi and phone-charging sockets. The 23.45 from Paddington arrives into St Erth just in time to catch the 07.49 to St Ives on the branch line, which is an attraction in itself. The beautiful, 15-minute pootle around the coast has views across the Hayle estuary and Carbis Bay, dotted with oyster-catchers and flashes of wild flowers.

The other draw is that the new Tate St Ives, officially opened in October, having been closed for 18 months for a £20 million refurbishment and extension. The original gallery, which opened in 1993 and attracts over 250,000 visitors a year (over three times the number for which it was designed), has now doubled in size. The new extension, an “anti-iconic” build by Jamie Fobert Architects, has been cleverly carved into the cliff; the only signs of it are six light wells on the hillside and a handsome new facade clad in sea-green and sky-blue ceramic tiles which seem to change with the weather.

The new exhibition space is currently given over to a single, vast, room of sculptures by Rebecca Warren, but the space is flexible and for the next show in February, which is dedicated to Virginia Woolf and women artists since the 1850s, it will be divided up into various rooms.

The tiles on the new Tate St Ives extension change colour with the weather The old gallery spaces, centred around that remarkable loggia which reflects the sea back into the gallery, have been de-cluttered and refreshed, the better to show off the permanent collection of work by artists more or less connected to St Ives – from Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo and Mark Rothko right up to 2017 Turner Prize nominee Lubaina Himid. It is a joy to walk around and thanks to a redesigned entrance hall and cafe (still the best place for coffee with a view in town), the queues in summer should be shorter, too.

Visiting in November, I had one dull-ish day and another filled with gorgeous sun, which I devoted to the South West Coast Path. I caught the branch line back to Lelant Saltings and walked the four-and-a-half miles to St Ives, through fields and churchyards, down country lanes (peeking into the vast back gardens of mansions), across clifftops and beaches including the wild Porthkidney Sands with its view across to Godrevy lighthouse, as immortalised by Virginia Woolf. Magnificent – and I saw a handful of people the whole way.

According to locals, the Pedn Olva hotel at the top of The Warren has outside terraces overlooking Porthminster beach and the harbour. You might even spot a dolphin. It is open to non-residents and is excellent for a coffee, a drink or a meal with really friendly staff.

My local favourites include the Beach Cafe Bar on The Wharf. You can get fabulous coffees, drinks and food all day and late evenings in the summer.

The Pilchard Press, the UK’s smallest – and Cornwall’s first – micropub which is fairly comprehensively hidden behind some bins and a pasty shop on the harbour. Inside the whitewashed cave are about four card tables and a bar serving five craft ales (as well as beers and wine) of varying strength. It opened last year and will not be hidden for long, I suspect.

The view from inside the sauna on the cliffside at the C Bay Spa I stayed at the Gannet Inn, a very cosy hotel in Carbis Bay, on the road to St Ives, which opened last year. The stylish rooms are named after sea-birds and have distant views down to the sea, the food is hearty and the welcome warm. The lounge, stuffed with leather and tweed armchairs and centred on a roaring fire is a very pleasant place to return to. Guests get access to the beach and spa at its sister property, the Carbis Bay Hotel, 10 minutes’ walk away.

The spa has two pools – one large and bracing, the other small and toasty with hydrotherapy jets – and a charming round sauna perched on the cliff, overlooking the beach as the waves crash in the distance. Who needs summer sun when you have views like this all to yourself?

If you are planning a long winter break for yourself, why not book one of the Blue Mist accommodations? There is a studio, family-sized and larger cottage for groups of all sizes, guaranteed to give you the cosiest stay for you.

Rock-pooling and swimming in the St Ives beaches

A strandline is the visual mark of the highest point reached by the tide on a beach and consists of sediments, such as seaweed and other organic matter, driftwood, and general detritus including litter. Due to variations in the height of the tides there can be several strandlines on a single beach and they can be home to a wide variety of life, including sandhoppers, beetles and small crabs, which in turn provide food for birds such as oystercatchers, turnstones, dunlins and sanderlings. With each high tide, new life and materials are deposited, helping to sustain these unique habitats.  

Beaches are increasingly under threat from pollution and most of it washes up in the strandline. Many local communities and organisations now arrange regular beach cleaning days, while many of the more responsible visitors and beachcombers, who search the strandline for interesting or unusual items, such as driftwood, shells, bones, sea glass and weirdly-shaped egg cases, also help by removing any rubbish they come across.

While there is easy access to most of the beaches around Cornwall, in particular St Ives, there are a number of coves in which the access route is less obvious and these often require care and attention if planning to visit them. All beaches and the whole of the coastline are subject to change due to the effects of the tides and adverse weather conditions, and coastal erosion can sometimes result in a beach that was relatively easy to access becoming less easy to reach, or even inaccessible. Therefore it’s important to plan a safe route down to the beach, not forgetting to ensure that there is an equally safe and easily negotiable way back up the cliff.

One of the results of the action of the tides are the delightful rock pools that appear on rocky beaches when the water recedes. Like a window into an underwater world, they can provide hours of fun for people of all ages, from children to adults. Here are some basic tips to help to get the most out of your rock pool rambles:

1. Check the tide times; the lower the tide, the more pools there will be.
2. Start with the pools closest to the sea and work your way back up the shore.
3. Keep an eye on the tide and ensure you have an easy return route up the beach.
4. Be aware that wet rocks and seaweed can be slippery.
5. Wear stout footwear.
6. Take a bucket or plastic container.
7. Nets are commonly used but not advisable as they can cause damage to small creatures; instead, use your bucket or container as a ‘scoop’.
8. Don’t wade into the pool as this can cause damage – it’s better to stand or kneel on the edge.
9. Carefully replace rocks or stones after looking under them.
10. Always gently return sea creatures to where you found them, ensuring they are the right way up.

Jellyfish can be washed up on beaches, especially around the strandline, or encountered in the sea and in rock pools. They are simple creatures consisting of 90% water and have no brains, bones or blood but some of them can be quite beautiful to look at. However, some jellyfish found in UK waters can sting, even when dead or stranded on a beach, so they should never be handled and avoid any contact with their tentacles. Fortunately, most stings are merely unpleasant, similar to a nettle sting, but if you are stung, inform any lifeguard present and seek medical attention if the pain is severe – applying an ice pack or taking ibuprofen and paracetamol can ease the pain and swelling.

Over 200 people die every year around the coastline of Britain and Ireland, and thousands more find themselves in difficulty and have to be rescued. The safest beaches on which to swim are those patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards, provided you follow their advice.

If on a beach where there are no lifeguards and you decide that the conditions are nevertheless suitable for entering the water, please be aware of the following advice:

1. You are responsible for your own safety and that of any dependants.
2. NEVER swim alone.
3. Do not allow children to enter the sea alone.
4. Check where any safety equipment is situated. Sennen Cove
5. Wear a wetsuit if intending to be in the water for more than 15 minutes.
6. In high swell avoid deeply shelved beaches and don’t swim near rocks or into caves.
7. Swim only within sheltered coves or bays unless you understand the tidal streams that can be found near headlands and in the open sea – that takes local knowledge and experience.
8. Never jump or dive into water unless you have checked it for depth and obstructions such as rocks.
9. Never use inflatables – they can drift on the current or in the wind.
10. Avoid areas where rip currents commonly form, such as river mouths or estuaries, piers or the edges of coves, but also be aware that they can be found anywhere off the beach so learn to spot their characteristics, such as a break in the pattern of the waves, excessive foam, or debris being dragged in the opposite direction.
11. If caught in a rip current do not attempt to swim against it but instead swim to the side, parallel to the shore, until free of the current, then swim to the shore.
12. Never approach seals or their pups.

The harbour of St Ives

Life at St Ives has traditionally revolved around its harbour. Here, up to about the time of the First World War, were to be seen the town’s large fleets of mackerel and pilchard luggers, coasting vessels loading or discharging cargoes, seine boats arriving from Porthminster deeply laden with silvery fish; and all the bustle and activity associated with a prosperous seaport and fishing town.

Today, the scene has vastly changed, yet the harbour remains the focal point of St Ives. Nearly all the fishing boats have gone, their places taken by gaily painted pleasure craft, whilst the sand, once grimy with coal, is now a clean golden bathing beach. Many regret the change, but it was inevitable with the decline in the fishing industry; and St Ives is at least fortunate in having a type of harbour that has adapted so well to meet new circumstances.

As early as the sixteenth century St Ives was the chief port of departure in the west for passage to Ireland, and there are several entries in the old Borough Accounts relating to this traffic. Thus in 1592: ‘paide William Ots to pay for 2 passengers bounde to Irelande whiche weare hosted at water treweks 3s.4d.’ ‘Paide to a man of Irelande that had his barke stollen by pirats 1s.’ 1604: ‘paide to a poore souldier that came from Irelande 3d.’ The importance of this sea-link with Ireland is shown also in a by-law passed in 1619, which decreed that ‘All yrishmen landing hencforth ther loades or Burden of tymber [are to pay] ijs.ijd. & ballaste of Sand to be taken at this charge if they liste to take it.’

No contemporary description of the harbour has survived, but it is known that prior to 1766 the pier ran out from Carn Glaze (the site of the present Fishermen’s Co-operative Stores). It appears to have been of simple construction, probably consisting of timber piles driven in the sand, with a rubble filling. The maintenance of this pier and the clearance of sand from the harbour imposed at times a severe strain on the very limited borough finances.

The harbour began to take on something of its present appearance in 1770, when a new pier was constructed to the design of John Smeaton, the great civil engineer. This was built out from the Castle Rocks, the old pier being at the same time demolished and the Wharf constructed. Though only about half its present length, Smeaton’s Pier sheltered a much greater extent of water than its predecessor did, and so accommodated the growing trade and fishing industry of the town. This growth in the years following the building of the pier is best illustrated by the annual amounts of harbour dues collected by the Trustees, which rose from £593 in 1770 to £1280 in 1814 and to £1824 by 1836.

In 1837 St Ives, very unwisely, was declared a free port, and dues ceased to be collected – a measure that resulted in unavoidable delay in carrying out further improvements.

In 1844, 165 coasting merchant vessels having a gross tonnage of 9723 arrived in the port of St Ives. By comparison, during the same year, 856 vessels arrived at Hayle, these having a tonnage of 65,979. But what was more important at St Ives was the fishing industry; in 1847 the capital invested in the pilchard fisheries was in excess of £150,000, with 400 boats and 735 men employed, whilst a further 100 men were engaged in other types of fishing.

Imports from within Britain were coal, iron and general merchandise and from abroad timber; exports within Britain were fish and copper ore, and abroad, fish and tin. Sailing vessels belonging to the port totalled 8994 tons, with a few steamers totalling 498 tons.

In 1864 work was begun on an outer harbour by erecting the New or Wood Pier at the seaward side of Smeaton’s structure, and running roughly at right angles to it. Its timber frame failed to stand up to the buffeting of the Atlantic rollers, however, and in less than twenty years it had become an almost complete wreck. Today little more than its short masonry stump remains. The failure of this project brought on an acute crisis, the harbour being desperately overcrowded with the ever-increasing fleet of fishing vessels. This situation reached its climax in 1886, with the so-called Tresidder’s riot among the fishermen.

Eventually, in 1888-90 the position was relieved by adding a lengthy extension to Smeaton’s Pier. The shorter West Pier was built in 1894 as a loading jetty for roadstone from the Carthew and Orange Lane quarries. Finally, around 1922 the Wharf Road was constructed from the lifeboat house to Chy-an-Chy, affording much needed relief to Fore Street, which previously had to carry all the traffic.

Since then, St Ives has ceased to be a seaport, whilst its fishing fleet has dwindled to extinction. These events have brought about great changes in the town itself. The smoke houses for curing, the great pilchard cellars, the barking houses for tanning nets, and the net factory have all gone, either swept away to make room for modern developments, or converted to new uses. The last St Ives pilchard cellar, in Norway Lane, was cleared out in 1968-69, much of its equipment being transferred to the St Ives Museum at Wheal Dream. Yet with all these changes, ‘Downlong’, the old fishing quarter, still retains a great deal of its atmosphere, the narrow alleyways and picturesque cottages proving a never-failing delight to artists, photographers and holiday-makers.

Barbara Hepworth and St Ives

St Ives has always proven to be an inspirational seaside town, a font for creativity and artistry. The beautiful landscapes are among the many sources of inspiration and the opportunities to work alongside creative individuals continues to inspire the development of beautiful art.

Various well-known artists, past and present, have passed through St Ives and continue to its vibrant art community.

If you link the word “St Ives” along with “sculpture” it would be inconceivable to imagine that you would not at some point arrive at the name Barbara Hepworth. Such was her influence on the town, that you will see many of her sculptures displayed at various locations around it. There is also a museum, the Barbara Hepworth museum, that continues to inspire modern artists.

Born in Yorkshire in 1903 to Herbert and Gertrude, Barbara frequently accompanied her dad in car rides over the West Riding for his work as a civil engineer. She received a music scholarship during her time at Wakefield Girls School, and the summer holidays were spent at idyllic St Robin’s Bay in Whitby.

Hepworth studiesd sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London and her early twenties were interspersed with trips and stays in Paris and Rome. Her life up to her mid thirties revolved around travel, working with and learning from other artists.

She arrived in Cornwall with her second husband and triplets in August 1939, before the outbreak of war. With little time to work, and living in cramped conditions, Hepworth had no major output until the end of the war, but it was after that when her work flourished and the outpouring of major creative works began.

If you ever visit St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth museum is definitely an attraction not to miss out on. But if you live in St Ives, and are venturing afield, perhaps at some point you might like to visit the Hepworth Wakefield museum in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where more of the sculptor’s works are exhibited alongside artists who have a link with the region.

Can you explore St Ives from a caravan, and why van it in the first place?

The Blue Mist accommodations are a good base to explore the town of St Ives, but is it possible to do so in a caravan? And why travel in a caravan in the first place?

Living in a van is a bit like camping. You can access all sorts of beautiful places whilst living close to nature and having no ties to one fixed location. But it’s a lot more comfortable than camping. You have everything with you. You have your books, music, gas and electricity. You can be warm and dry and have proper cooked meals. Everything you need. And you can drive away any time you like. You have the comfort of a house and the benefits of no house. But you do have a home, and the world is your garden.

Until about 10,000 years ago there were hardly any permanent homes or villages. For 95% of our human existence we have lived nomadically, carrying everything we owned around with us – that is, only everything that was absolutely necessary.

So being a nomad isn’t such a new thing to us humans. If you see the brain as a result of every iteration that came before it, there’s no wonder we have this urge to travel, or that sometimes we feel trapped if we stay in the same place for too long.

Why does it feel so good to explore and travel? And why can we sit and stare at a fire for hours in complete contentment? Maybe it’s because it’s what we’ve always done and we recognise it in some subconscious, genetic memory kind of way. There are still plenty of nomads knocking around.

Apart from the modern nomads who use vans and technology (that’s us), there are still traditional nomadic tribes who travel by animal, boat or foot and live in tents and temporary shelter. The vandweller Vandwelling has its roots as far back as the horse-drawn vehicles such as the Roma Vardo wagons in Europe in the 19th century.

It’s different for everyone. A van can be the platform for many different lives. There are all sorts of people living in vans for different reasons. Here are some of them:

Live for less
House living costs take up a considerable amount of most people’s monthly earnings. A van bypasses all of that and lets you save the extra money per month which can help you get out of debt, save up, start a business or just buy yourself some time. In this way a van can give you a huge leg up. But it’s not just rent. A van can save you a lot of money on hostels and hotels when travelling.

Travel
Travelling in a van is not like normal travelling where you go from point to point, checking in at hostels or hotels on the way, sticking very much to the travel-grid. Having a van gives you access to everywhere and allows you to see places you probably wouldn’t see otherwise. You experience all the things in between and get a taste of the whole country. And because you have your home in the back, you can pull up in some amazing spot and live there without being bound by check-in times.

Live your sport
People have always used vans to immerse themselves in their sports – like climbing, skiing or surfing. A van lets you get up when the sun rises to head straight out to do what you love. Your sport becomes your life and a way of living.

Take a step back
We’re constantly being told what to do and how to live, how to look and what to buy. It makes life stressful. Being able to take a step back and distance yourself from all of this can be an invaluable opportunity, and a van lets you do it.

Festivals
Having a van is a nice way to do festivals. It’s difficult to go back to a cold, damp tent after having the luxury of a van with full living facilities. Just being able to get up in the morning and make a coffee without getting dressed to queue at a stall makes it worth it. And you can also store loads of food, drink and have your own party at your camp. But when it rains everyone will want come into your van and you’ll have to get rid of that wet hippy smell.

Escape winter
Apart from affecting the regulation of melatonin in the brain, winter also makes us deficient in vitamin D, which is not cool. But with a van you can go south for the winter and be a ‘snowbird’.

Test out where you want to live
There are so many great cities it’s difficult to decide where to live. Living in a van lets you easily try out new places, and even see which neighbourhood you like the best.

Stay in amazing locations
Living in a van lets you have a view that no one else can even get, and a view that would cost a lot of money if it was a hotel. But this is a view that is all yours. There’s nothing better than waking up in a beautiful place and stepping outside to watch the sunrise with a cup of tea.

Health
Many of us are surrounded by distractions, noise, bad food and are often forced to live lifestyles that put a huge amount of stress on our minds and bodies. You might not even realise until you’re away from all of these things. But in a van you’re forced to be more active and to eat better food – at least that’s what I’ve found. Just by simply living closer to nature, waking up with the sun and going to bed with the sun, we can’t help but feel the hugely positive effect it has on us.

Get back to nature
The sun, the stars, the rhythm of the waves, the sounds of wind and rain and animals. Nature is easy to forget about when living in a house, but in a van you cannot help but be affected by your natural surroundings. And a van is probably the easiest and most comfortable way to live closer to nature.

Live simply and minimally
The best things in life are the simple things. You realise this even more when you live in a van. It lets you see what really matters, and that we don’t need all this stuff to be happy or to make our lives complete.

The beaches of Cornwall, and some facts

Cornwall is a land defined by its spectacular coastline of more than 300 miles, where an immense, restless sea collides with towering cliffs, sheltered coves and long, sandy beaches. It’s regularly voted the UK’s favourite holiday destination with successive generations of families creating magical memories of sunny summers on the beach, while recent years have seen an increasing number of people visiting in off season, taking advantage of a balmy climate where summer lingers late and spring comes early.

Clinging to the westerly tip of the peninsula is the small, granite land of Penwith which, surrounded on three sides by the sea and almost completely cut off from the east by a river, is virtually an island, a separate country, just as Cornwall itself is almost separate from England. It’s a land where myth, history and landscape frequently blur, a timeless place where an ancient terrain blends harmoniously with the works of man, from the chambered tombs of the Neolithic era, the stone circles and standing stones of the Bronze Age, and the cliff castles of the Iron Age, and on through the centuries to the more recent reminders of those Cornish staples of fishing, mining, and farming. It’s a land of piskies and giants, witches and wizards, and smugglers and wreckers, where even the names have an arcane, enigmatic quality: Bamaluz, Pednavounder and Nanjizal, Porthgwarra, Clodgy, and Progo.

Many fascinating places can be found inland, in the small villages or on the moorland that makes up most of the land mass of Penwith, but it’s the spectacular coastline that attracts most visitors to this south-western tip of Britain, and this book provides a guide to all the accessible beaches of West Cornwall, from Godrevy, at the north-east corner of St. Ives’ Bay, around to Porth Sampson on the south coast, close to the headland of Cudden Point on Mount’s Bay. It includes not only all the well-known holiday hotspots but also the tiny, rugged coves where solitude is almost guaranteed even at the height of summer.

Many of these coves are only accessible by walking along the scenic South West Coast Path, which can make reaching them an adventure in itself, but it’s only by sampling such secret delights that the authentic atmosphere of West Cornwall is revealed, a place where it’s easy to imagine the smugglers of old slipping silently ashore or, on blustery days when the full force of the Atlantic comes pounding in, helpless ships drifting calamitously close to the rocky headlands.

St Ives has many beaches and you will be spoilt for choice. But did you know these facts about beaches to begin with?

A beach is the land along the edge of a body of water that is made up of a number of specific materials including sand, pebbles , stones, rocks and shells. Literally, it is the end of the land, which is appropriate given that this book features the Penwith peninsula, also known as the Land’s End peninsula, which in Cornish translates as ‘Pedn an Wlas ‘: the end of the land. Some beaches are steep, others gently sloping and they can be of any size or shape. On the coast, beaches can form anywhere the ocean meets the shore as, over millennia, waves scour the coastline, creating flat areas which accumulate sediments that wash down from surrounding uplands, as well as those eroded from the ocean floor and tossed up onto the shore by wave action. Coastal winds and storms push sediments up beyond the reach of the waves and a beach is born.

Sand is made of minerals such as quartz and feldspar. Quartz is the most common on the majority of beaches because it’s very hard and durable and so is able to withstand both the effects of constant wave action and being transported by river to the coast. Another common mineral is muscovite, a member of the mica family, which tends to lie flat on the surface of the beach and, despite usually making up less than 1% of the grains, is easily seen as it sparkles in sunshine and immediately after waves recede. All of these minerals are found in the granite that makes up most of the Penwith peninsula. The colour of the sand on any particular beach usually reflects the geology of the surrounding area and the makeup of the adjoining ocean floor.

Most beach materials are the result of weathering and erosion caused by water and wind scouring the land. The continual action of waves beating against a rocky cliff, for example, may cause it to crumble and, given enough time, huge boulders can be worn down to tiny grains of sand. Sea shells are another ingredient found in sand after they are broken up by the waves; a good example of this is Porthcurno beach which consists mainly of crushed white sea shells with little of the granite which can discolour it. Beach materials can travel long distances, carried by wind and waves; as the tide come in, for instance, it deposits ocean sediment which might contain sand, shells or seaweed, and when the tide goes out it takes some of the sediment with it. The amount of sand on a beach can vary greatly; winter storms can remove great swathes of it right down to the underlying rock, while during spring the sand can be deposited again, recreating a sandy beach. This phenomenon occurs to some degree on all beaches and in West Cornwall, Nanjizal and Portheras Cove are examples of where it can most obviously be seen.

The material found on a beach is influenced by many things, notably the geology of the area, the prevailing weather conditions and the shape of the coastline. The size of the particles that make up a beach are often a reflection of the energy of the waves that hit the shore; in low energy environments, such as the shallow bays around Penzance, the result is that very fine particles, such as silt, are deposited, while, in contrast, high energy beaches are usually characterized by larger particles such as pebbles or boulders, as all the smaller particles are washed away. Some beaches are naked bedrock, boulders or pebbles instead of sand because the current has removed smaller, easily dislodged particles. As time passes the rocks or pebbles are smoothed and rounded by the unrelenting action of the waves.

A major feature of the coastline is the effect that tides have, particularly upon a beach. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and, to a lesser extent, the sun upon the earth. When the moon is directly overhead its gravitational force pulls water towards it, causing a bulge in the ocean that creates a high tide. At the same time it also pulls the earth away from the water on the opposite side of the world, thus creating another high tide there, and these bulges cause the sea to stretch in areas where the moon is not overhead, creating low tides. Combine that with the rotation of the earth and the moon and the result is two tides roughly every 24 hours.

Beaches are best visited at low tide and especially at a low spring tide. This has nothing to do with the season of the year but is the name given to the time when the tidal range – the difference between the high and low water mark – is at its greatest. Spring tides occur during full or new moons when the sun, moon and earth are in alignment, with the result that the sun’s gravitational pull is added to that of the moon, creating a higher than average high tide and a lower than average low tide. Seven days after a spring tide the moon and sun are at right angles to each other and the bulge in the sea caused by the moon is partially cancelled out by the gravitational pull of the sun, creating a neap tide, the period when the difference in the tidal range is at its lowest.  

Weather conditions can also affect tides as strong offshore winds move water away from the coastline, thus exaggerating a low tide, while a strong onshore wind can push water onto the shore, causing low tides to be less noticeable and high tides to be higher. High pressure weather systems can also push down sea levels, causing lower tides, whereas low pressure system can cause tides to be higher than predicted.

Splendid Septembers at the Blue Mist studios

The Blue Mist studio can be found in one of the most historic parts of St Ives. Looking for great views of the harbour? You can get it with this open plan studio. Situated in The Warren, one of the most scenic spots of the seaside town, the studio has magnificent views and if you are coming for a romantic getaway, this is the perfect hideaway from which you can explore the things to do and places to visit in St Ives, or sit back and enjoy the scenic sights of the town.

The Blue Mist studio is not only close to the galleries, shops and restaurants of the town, but is well within walking distance of a year round dog walking beach. So those coming with dogs will find they can come and enjoy the seaside town without feeling like they are neglecting man’s best friend!

Being a studio apartment, the bedroom, kitchen, sitting room and dining room are the same big open space. This space is furnished with usual furniture, such as a double bed and chest of drawers. Unfortunately  there is no wardrobe but this is because of the intention to maximise the living space. The breakfast bar has seating for two, modern cooking appliances such as electric hob and oven, washer/dryer and dishwasher. Slink away in the sofa or armchair and enjoy the sea views or television in the night.

There is a large walk-in shower with s WC and a basin.

Entrance to the apartment is via one flight of external stairs and through a common hallway. Unfortunately it is not wheelchair accessible. The WiFi connection is slow and so it is only suitable for general browsing. More higher bandwidth activities such as streaming or downloading are unsuitable because the connection is not consistent. While these may be viewed as minor inconveniences, the attractions of St Ives will more than compensate for them.

September is a popular month to visit St Ives as the long established St Ives September Festival runs then. It has been going for over forty years and brings together art, music, crafts and performing arts in over a fortnight of celebration.

This year the September Festival opened with performances by a variety of street entertainers around the town such as a Cornish dancers and the St Ives Concert Band.

St Ives School of painting, situated at Porthmeor studios also organised guided life drawing classes.

Elsewhere there were other activities such as lino decorating, Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa), a traditional Chinese self-cultivation practice,  music and poetry.

Third Man Theatre premiered the comedy Drenched – inspired by the Cornish landscape, people, folklore and the pasties!

The evening also finished with music by the John McCusker band and Tom Dale’s old-time blues, mountain music and rock music.

If you coming to St Ives, September is a particularly busy period so book your accommodation well in advance. And why not book a visit during the time of the September festival? Not only will there be the usual places to visit at St Ives, the whole seaside town will be buzzing with activities to suit everyone!

You’ll definitely have a blast!

Tate St Ives to re-open this weekend!

After a £20m underground extension project lasting over 18 months, the Tate St Ives is due to re-open this weekend.

The new underground extension to the art gallery will be used as a space to hold contemporary art shows, especially those by local artists. St Ives had long had a reputation for the quality of arts and crafts, and the gallery, which is built in the Cornish cliff side, will give local artists an avenue to do just that.

The renovation work resulted in an 18-month closure and the main obstacle for the drilling machines was that the Cornish cliffside consists largely of blue elvan, the hardest rock in the British Isles. The blue elvan was particularly resistant and hence the removal was painstakingly slow. Builders had to dig down 15m into the cliff face, and in the process 977 lorry-loads of granite were dug out to create the four-storey extension.

But no one will doubt now the hard work has been for nought.

The new 500m square gallery will allow more space for exhibits and art shows. This can only serve to motivate artists to continually improve at their craft, which will raise the standard of art to even greater heights.

The sculptor Barbara Hepworth lived in St Ives and many of her works are displayed in the area. In the same vein, the first artist to be shown in the space is Rebecca Warren, a contemporary British leader in sculpture. This opening weekend will see some of her works in the new extension, including five large totem sculptures which had to be drilled and fixed to the floor. As if not enough drilling had been done already!

This was to accommodate the incredibly heavy, bronze, totem-like sculptures to eliminate any slight chance of them falling over. Bearing titles such as Aurelius and There’s No Other Way, the three metre-high works were first made by Warren using clay before casting them in bronze and painting them.

Warren said of St Ives that “It does have this pagan, odd feel and I’ve really enjoyed spending time here and getting to know the character of the town and the people. It is like a completely different world. Especially compared to London, where everyone is walking in to you on their phone.”

The extension, which has been part of a four-year project, will allow for both contemporary art and works from Tate’s vast collection of modernist art to be displayed the same time. Previously the lack of exhibit space meant that displays had to be rotated, and in order to do so, the gallery had to be closed for a fortnight three times a year while the reshuffling was carried out. This had significant impact especially if tourists were visiting during the closed season, as the gallery is one of the draws of the town. The gallery also does £9.50 for entry – it is the only one of the Tate museums to charge, in order to be sustainable and viable – and a six-week closure, considering it attracts an average of 800 visitors a week could have led to a significant financial shortfall.

The museum is now expected to draw in 300,000 visitors a year and the extension means it will be possible for the existing galleries not to close for the six weeks each year, and to showcase important works by artists including Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost – all artists with links to the area.

The gallery brings in £11m in economic benefits and the council estimates the extension will nearly double that.

The extension was first proposed on the existing car park but the uproar and disapproval resulted in the extension built in hiding. One might be forgiven in thinking that the architect Jamie Fobert had been told to create nothing more than an underground hole with no windows or views. Did it really take all that time just to dig?

The gallery will open at the weekend with free extended entry. A party atmosphere is expected too, and to commemorate the grand re-opening there will be fireworks on the beach. So where do you think would be the most happening place in St Ives this weekend?

If you are intending to come down at some point to see the new Tate St Ives, why not consider staying for a long weekend, or taking a week? Maybe even a fortnight? It may sound like a far-fetched idea but there are so many things to do that you may not have the time to fit it all in! You can see the previous posts if you are coming with children, or if your are coming as a couple, our previous posts will also give you some insights as to which the best places to see are.

The Blue Mist accommodations consist of three different types of properties to suit parties of different sizes. You can find a studio apartment that sleeps two, or slightly bigger accommodation that can sleep six or eight. The decor of our properties vary, but with all of them you will find a hearty welcome, get a cosy evening sleep, and the attractions of St Ives all easily within walking distance!