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.

How the church was built – a brief history of early St Ives

The town of St Ives stands at the north-western extremity of St Ives Bay, on the north coast of Cornwall about twenty miles distant from Land’s End. The Bay, from Gwithian on the north-east around by Hayle, Lelant and Carbis Bay to St Ives itself, has been newly designated one of the world’s most beautiful bays. It is fringed by a series of golden beaches which, with the deep blue of the sea in summer and the soft green of the grass-covered towans behind, makes a truly wonderful setting. Here, in the shallow inshore waters, the seine fishermen used to cast their nets to capture the huge shoals of pilchards which frequented these coasts during the autumn, the fish then being cured in salt and exported by sailing ship to the Mediterranean. The pilchard industry is now dead, and today the beaches are annually thronged with thousands of holidaymakers on whom the town mainly depends for its livelihood.

St Ives takes its name from St Ia, an Irish princess and missionary who sailed over during the fifth century, reputedly on a leaf, and built an oratory on the site of the present parish church. Soon after her martyrdom at the hands of Theodric, King of Cornwall, the small fishing village began to be called after her, the name gradually changing from Sancte Ye, Seynt Ya, Seynt Iysse, Seynt Iees, and other variants, into the modern form of St Ives. The name has no connection with St Ive in east Cornwall, or St Ives near Cambridge, which were both named after St Ivo, a quite different saint.

Until the fourteenth century the village remained an obscure place, overshadowed by its far more prosperous neighbour, the seaport of Lelant at the head of the Bay. About that time, Lelant began to decline owing to encroachment by the sands; the trade it lost was transferred to St Ives, which then began to grow in importance. However, the inhabitants, having no building in the town where divine service could be read, were obliged every Sunday and holy day to go to Lelant church three miles distant, where their children had also to be taken to be baptised and their dead to be buried. Considering this a great hardship, in about 1408 they petitioned Lord Champernon, lord of St Ives, to intercede with the Pope to license a chapel to be built in the town. In 1410 Pope Alexander V issued his bull for this purpose. This resulted in the present parish church being begun in the reign of King Henry V and finished in the reign of King Henry VI – it took sixteen and a half years to build.

The splendid church therefore symbolises St Ives’ emergence as a township with a strongly marked community spirit, but it is worth remembering that the population at that time still numbered only about 500; so that the amount of labour and money involved in erecting the church must have made considerable demands on the community. A further important advance took place in 1488, when Lord Broke, who had acquired the manor of St Ives through marriage with the heiress of Lord Champernon, obtained a charter for a weekly Saturday market, with two annual fairs. A market house was erected in 1490, this being replaced by the present structure in 1832. Lord Broke is also credited with building the castle for defending the town from seaward attack – a very necessary precaution in those troublesome times; some remains of the castle may still be seen at the landward end of Smeaton’s Pier.

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!

Romantic Places in St Ives

St Ives has many places to visit and many things to do for every one young and old. Many people come to St Ives to experience the brilliant arts culture, maritime history and also head for the beaches for the sun, sand, sea and surf.

The beaches are beautiful but they aren’t the only visual scenic treasures around. There are many other beautiful gardens and places within St Ives that will evoke many beautiful memories in time to come.

St Ives is such a place of beauty that it has inspired various artists to capture the landscapes through art and photography, and craftsmen continue to be inspired on a daily basis by their surroundings. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets, juxtaposed with the boats in the harbour, on the shimmering blue sea where cormorants on the rocky landscape dry their wings … It is a truly magnificent backdrop for your holiday photos.

If you are ever considering a romantic getaway why not make St Ives your place of choice?

Along with what has already been mentioned, the winding streets and magnificent beaches make St Ives one of the most romantic parts of Cornwall. Come for a romantic holiday weekend, a Valentine’s Day romance … Or maybe even more? Here are some suggested romantic spots.

 

The Island

The Island is a lovely spot from which to observe the sunset or the waves crashing to the shore. It is not really an island, in the sense that it is actually a promontory that juts out to the sea. Nevertheless, when you have walked to the tip of it, you and your special one could feel like you are the only two people in the world, away from everyone else on the mainland. You are still connected to humanity, but away from them in your private little world. It’s easy accessibility comes at a bonus. You don’t have to hire a boat to get to some secluded island. As the day draws to a close, simply walk there and reminisce over the day or life in general. Make The Island your base from which exciting future adventures are thought up. Or head there after an evening meal, feel the winds rush through your hair as you take in the night lights of the seaside town. Or just head there for a stroll during the way, hand in hand, and climb up to tiny St Nicholas’ Chapel at the top for the best views.

 

Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach is one of the many to choose from at St Ives, but the rock pools and golden yellow sand give it a rustic combination that provide that quaint rural seaside feel. The walk along the sand is enough to take you away from the daily stresses of life and give you that sense of peace and calm that you came to St Ives for. During the day the beach is popular and a fun place to be around, so it is an exciting to spend time in the sunshine during the day, and as the night draws near, the beach takes on a different facade. Head there in the day and night, and when you look back on both sets of romantic snaps, one of which might eventually end up framed above the bed, you will be amazed to know they are of the same place because they look completely different.

 

Smeaton’s Pier

Smeaton’s Pier in the harbour extends out to sea, and you can also get good romantic snaps with the tethered boats towards The Wharf. When the tide is out you can walk along the wet sand and get pictures of yourselves closer to one of these boats. Perched on the pier ledge, with the water under your feet, pastie in hand and wind in your face … This is Cornish romance at its blossom.

Trewyn Gardens

Hidden up a hill behind Barclays bank, the inviting benches of Trewyn Garden are a nice quiet place to spend an afternoon. The lush green lawn and the stunning subtropical plants in the miniature park are inviting on summer, and a lovely cuddly spot on a chilly February day.

 

Carbis Bay

Surrounded by trees and backed by with the characteristic blue St Ives  seas, you might think Carbis Bay was the beach they put on magazine brochures for Mediterranean destinations. Carbis Bay is a short romantic route from St Ives: From the east end of Porthminster Beach, choose the South West Coast Path which takes you between the beaches. Carbis Bay is a nice quiet bay where you and your special one can have a picnic. Bring a packed lunch, bottle of wine and mat all in a little picnic basket, and the world is all yours.

 

Trencrom Hill

Trencrom Hill is a short drive away from St Ives in Lelant Downs. You can get incredible views from the top of this Neolithic settlement. Penwith Peninsula and St Michael’s Mount, as well as up towards St Austell, are all visible with the naked eye. This is a wonderful spot to catch the sunset. The secret path to the top is from the small National Trust car park, which reveals to you the short winding path  that leads you up there.

 

The Hayle beaches

 Three Miles of Golden Sands” are what you get with the beaches at Hayle. The beach seems to go on forever, the perfect place for a quiet romantic getaway. Many a romantic has seized upon this chance to pop the important question at the end of the walk! En route you can see more rural views of St Ives; Godrevy Lighthouse awaits you in the distance.

If you are looking for some place romantic for evening dining, there are so many restaurants in St Ives for that kind of special evening. Looking for somewhere to stay? Why not try the Blue Mist apartments? There is the bigger Blue Mist cottage, but for a romantic getaway for two, the Blue Mist studio sleeps two and provides an quiet, intimate space from which to explore the town. It provides a welcoming space to come home to after a day spent exploring St Ives and all the brilliant things it has on offer. Pop back in, put on some Romantic music, and just unwind and watch the waves from your window.

Some people take the opportunity to propose to their other halfs with the backdrop of St Ives in the background, both literally and metaphorically. A beautiful picture of two with the sunset and beaches in the background can make for the inspirational start to a new life, while the memory of where it happened will live forever in your minds. Find a restaurant or a romantic hideaway like the Blue Mist studio that plays light romantic music – either acoustic guitar or sentimental piano. Loud rock music, or music that even sounds remotely like it, such as rock music played on piano, is probably best avoided! Or you may also decide to do a course together while you are here. The possibilities that St Ives can offer are quite abundant!

 

Hidden places and activities in St Ives

St Ives is a magical place to visit: It truly is. To round off our list of many things to do in the town, which are all within walking distance, here are more suggestions:

Stone Balancing – the preferred spot for stone balancing is on Lambeth Walk Beach and you can often see stone balancers at work, or the products of their skill. Stone balancing requires skill, knowledge and a touch of creativity and maybe even luck! But it is one thing to watch someone try to balance uneven shapes of rocks, try it for yourself to see how really difficult it is and you can appreciate the skill that has gone into the creations.

Fancy something a bit calmer? You can play pitch and putt golf on Beach Road which is near the wonderful Porthmeor Beach. And when you are done with golf, you might also want to try the bowling green there, or simply head for the beach and relax.

Speaking of relaxation, why not pamper yourself and go for a luxurious Spa treatment. The spas in St Ives and truly amazing and you will never have difficulty finding a place where you can relax. There are plenty to choose from. Try St Ives Harbour Hotel; you can also try The Sail Lofts. There are also two other amazing spas in Una Spa or Carbis Bay CBay Spa. Pick one, or try them all!

My parents used to say that a holiday is not a holiday without a cream tea and it was always a customary thing to head for a cafe and try one. They even rated their experiences from various towns. When they came to St Ives one of the suggested places for a cream tea was Olive’s but you can readily find a cafe which serves one they way you like it.

Keeping in line with St Ives’ reputation as a fun place for families, children, and a hive for the arts, The Wonderful Bear Emporium on Fore Street is a wonderful arts space for children where they can design and create their very own bear. Imagine all the different types of creations you can come up with! It is a good place for a rainy day activity and you can have hours of fun there.

Cornish pasties are the best in the world, but this is perhaps a slightly biased view. Nevertheless, they don’t come better than at the St Ives Bakery, who bake mouth-watering pasties. Their main competition is provided by others such as Ferrells and The Yellow Canary. You could try a few (or why not all?) so you could determine for yourself which is your personal favourite.

If sailing is one of your many talents you are welcome to come and sail with the St Ives Sailing Club if you are visiting. They are based at the back of The Sloop car park – look for the cabin and boat yard. And while you are in the area you can also visit The Sloop Studios where you can see the beautiful creations being made by the amazing craftsman and craftswomen.

The Sloop, along with The Castle and The Lifeboat, also organise live music events in the event so check out details of evening entertainment and have yourself a good night out!

At the top of The Stennack you will find The Roundhouse and from there you can visually locate Consols Pond. If you are ever in St Ives around the Easter period the pond is a nice place to visit as you can see children sailing their model boats there – a traditional custom. The river Stennack meanders down The Stennack and the houses along the way that you can see were from the days of tin-mining. The word Stennack has its origins in the Cornish word Stenek which means tin-bearing ground.

The Steeple Woods and Nature Reserve, located a short walk to Steeple Lane, meets every Wednesday morning to help maintain the reserve.  Gloves and tools that you need are cheerily provided, so if you are free to volunteer your time and efforts do pop by!

St Ives has more than just seagulls around its beaches. Take your binoculars or telescope to places such as Mann’s Head and The Island and observe other species such as cormorants. You can always find them having a quiet moment, drying their wings on the rocks.

A walk to Carbis Bayis best done with older children because it is not pram or wheelchair- friendly, but the lovely walk along the coast, which also takes you over the train line and finally venturing down into Carbis Bay has magnificent sights that make it well worth the effort; if you have exerted all of yours getting there and are too tired to walk back, the train ride back is always also available on the return trip.

While St Ives – being a seaside town – has mainly water sports, it’s not to say this is at the exclusion of other traditional sports. The local rugby team St Ives town RFC play matches when the season is in progress.

Tregenna Castle is a lovely place to visit if you can. Not only does it have an eighteen-hole par three golf course that non-residents can use, the walk there presents spectacular views of St Ives. The Tregenna Castle gardens and grounds cover seventy-two acres of beauty around St Ives, and what’s more, if you get in touch with the castle before you arrive it is possible for you to get guided tours.

While not being walking distance from St Ives, and hence not in line with the theme of things you can do in St Ives while walking, St Just and Lands End are a bus ride from St Ives. Or you may argue everything’s within walking distance, depending on how far you are willing to walk!

Also slightly further afield, you can try horse-riding at Halsetown (Penhalwyn School) which you can find on the road into St Ives. Shorter taster sessions are available, or if you are a seasoned pro at horse-riding you can book longer sessions to suit your level of skill and experience.

St Ives has many things for young and old, ranging from sea activities, walks, places to try new food and art and craft activities. A word of warning regarding the last group though – for younger children the art and craft activities should be approached as taster sessions, and children should manage their expectations, and not expect – if they are wholly beginners – to attain the same level of skill as the craftsmen who have been honing their skills for years. It takes practice, willingness and desire, tempered by time and expectation, in order to achieve a level of skill, and children should be guided to take the time to learn a skill properly, practice at it, and continually refine their abilities at it in order to improve. (You can read about an interesting article about learning the piano here.) You don’t get from A to Z immediately, and taking up a craft or skill is a good way of learning this life skill of patience!

So many things to do in St Ives – why not book a trip here when you next have a break? And while you’re thinking about it, consider staying with the Blue Mist. The three properties will suit you and you will definitely find one to suit your budget and expectations!

More places to explore in St Ives

Have you ever been to the Leach Pottery at the top of The Stennack in St Ives. It is a nice intimate space where you can take a workshop and learn to make your own pottery. You can also visit the museum itself and see a wide range of ceramics, see the kilns used to make the amazing creations, or simply browse around the shop.

The St Ives Parish Church by the harbour has regular services and concerts so if you pass by do have a look at notices to see what is going on. Perhaps in a nod to its nautical roots, the beautiful building inside is slightly reminiscent of the hull of a boat.

These are among some of the many things you can do if you visit St Ives. You need not come by car should you wish not to. St Ives is wonderfully served by a scenic train line, the attractions and amenities are all within walking distance, and you’ll find everything you need or weren’t able to bring in town. And if you leave the car at home, you’ll contribute towards maintaining it as a green space of natural beauty.

Many people come to St Ives for the seaside and beaches. Indoor work can be a bit too much at times so take a break and enjoy the outdoors with us. If you fancy kayakking, you can get in touch with the St Ives Surf School to book a kayak trip around the coast. Kayakking is only one of the things that the surf school does, but basically if it involves water, they are the first port of call! It is best to check with them beforehand though, in case certain weather prevents the running of some of the many activities they organise.

There is a farmers’ market every Thursday at St Ives Guildhall. St Ives Farmers’ Market offers local produce and you can find all sorts of condiments and treats that are distinctly St Ives-sian in nature to remind you of your time here when you sadly, eventually have to depart. Or you can simply get what you need for a picnic lunch.

The West side of Porthmeor has a little waterfall and little river that children can play in. It is possible that they could spend a whole summer playing in the water and it is a lovely vibrant place at times, with the sound of children going about their make-up adventures.

Or if you prefer a bit more running space for children, head for the Porthmeor Beach itself. You can sometimes see writers and artists going about their work there, the picturesque scene being source of inspiration.

Another quiet space you can visit is the Trewyn Tropical Gardens. The gardens offer you a little bit of peace and quiet and respite if you ever get overwhelmed by all the things St Ives has to offer!

Much has been written about St Ives historical links with art. The beauty of this town drew artists to the area in droves and to this day the reputation of the town as a center of art remains. There are also many courses in various specialisms of art that you can participate in. If you head down to Porthmeor Studios, you can take part in Life Drawing classes every week. The Cafe Art in Royal Square is a fusion of an art gallery with a cafe. Enjoy the works of art along with your caffeine fix!

At 54 Lemons, you can create your own distinctive paint pot. You can start by choosing a blank shape from the many on offer and paint it up. You can then leave it with the staff for firing and then collect it at the end of your holiday. It is a lovely craft for little ones to do. If you ever drop by with children, you can also enjoy their lovely coffee and cake while the little people paint away!

I Should Coco on Fore Street is also an amazing shop where you can participate in chocolate making workshops! It is a good place for little ones to come up with amazing creations, and for those who wish to just cut to the chase, the delicious chocolates on sale are always waiting!

If you are into history, you can search for the oldest house in town on Fish Street and see if housing and construction styles have changed over the years.

The Sloop is the oldest public house in town, with a life dating back to 1312! Wonder if there any spooks around?

If you hang around the harbour and pier, you should be able to spot a few seals. The seals are pretty smart and have cottoned on to the fact that when the fishing boats come in, they may be lucky to get an odd scrap of a meal. St Ives does attract really brilliant animals to its shores. You may be lucky and see sunfish, dolphins and if you have binoculars or head to the tower, look out for whales!

Speaking of lookout, St Nicholas Chapel on The Island, the promontory that juts out into the sea – used to be used by smugglers as a lookout. Its ideal site and the view it offered gave a brilliant vantage point. Nowadays it lends its scenic backdrop for wedding blessings.

St Leonards Chapel on Smeaton’s Pier was historically a chapel where luck and good weather were sought by local fishermen before they embarked on their fishing trips.

If you are into more scenic spots, the headland on the far side of Porthmeor Beachs, also known as Man’s Head, is just the spot for a scenic walk.

Further inland, the St Ives Tennis Club is a brilliant flexible club that lets you “pay and play”, rather than make you take up the cost of membership that you are unlikely to need if you are just on holiday. The club has 2 tennis courts which are located behind Porthminster Beach.

The places we have recommended are all within walking distance of the town of St Ives. One of the attractions of St Ives is that it has a high density of amenities and attractions in the town, such that you can pretty much get around on foot once you are here. The town is actually named after St Ia and every February there is a Feast Day parade. If you are feeling adventurous, go hunting for the well of St Ia, or St Ia’s well – see how the town name is derived?

The town’s proximity to the coast means that it has always been a family favourite destination. There are no shortage of places for kids to play.

Ayr Field and Play Park has a huge climbing frame, slide, and bucket swing, so your kids can play in a easily-monitored area, but if they fancy football or just running around, there is a big field for ball games, scooting, and cycling. Younger kids may find the park at Penbeagle Hill more suitable with its baby swings. Behind the Penbeagle Hill park is a big field for ball games and also a skate park, so they can romp around with their rollerblades, scooters or bicycles.

St Ives is really one of the perfect holiday destinations and the town has regularly won various national awards to back that up. So come on down to enjoy a holiday you will remember! And if you need a place to stay, why not consider staying with Blue Mist?

The Blue Mist Cottage comfortably houses a party of eight at The Warren, and the beach is literally minutes away.

If you are coming in a slightly smaller group, try the Blue Mist apartment, which is set over two floors and sleeps six.

The Blue Mist studio sleeps two and provides an quiet, intimate space from which to explore the town.

All Blue Mist properties offer a high degree of comfort for the best value. Get in touch to kick off your St Ives holiday tour – it will be one to remember!

St Ives adventures on foot

There is an abundance of things you can do at St Ives, making it an ideal location for holidaying. Even if you do not drive, the train line with a magnificent coastal view that takes you right to the heart of things ensures you won’t miss out on the many things that makes this seaside town one of the best places to visit. In fact, once you get here, you may find it difficult or unnecessary to leave town. Here is a list of some things you could do, easily accessible without having to drive anywhere.

1. Try surfing. Many people come to St Ives for the surfing. You don’t need to buy new surfing gear if you are thinking of trying it out as a one-off. The St Ives Surf School on Porthmeor Beach offers surfing lessons and you can rent your surfing gear from term too. Ring them on 01736 793938 for more information.

2. Swimming. If there is the odd shower, swimming is an indoor activity you can do whilst you are here. There are several swimming pools you can go to in St Ives. The St Ives Leisure Centre has both a big swimming pool and a smaller one for younger children. The latter pool has a slide which they will enjoy whizzing down. There are also other pools at The Garrack, St Ives Harbour Hotel and Tregenna Castle which you can use too. And if you are feeling adventurous, head for the sea! Porthminster Beach is quite calm and more suited for swimming, but whenever you are swimming in the sea, do exercise some caution as the tides can come in quite quickly.

3. Rockpooling – playing in the sea is not just limited to activities like swimming. Have a sniff around in rockpools and see what treasures you can find.  At low tide, you can find some rock pools around Porthmeor Beach.

4. Crabbing – for something a bit more sedate, purchase a crab line, a bucket,  net and some bait and head off to the old pier behind Smeaton’s Pier. Get your crab line set up, take in the atmosphere or simply catch up with some holiday reading, and see what awaits you after a short while!

5. Fishing – fishing is permitted off the rocks around St Ives. The late winter to spring period usually sees plenty of mackerel around, so grab your rod and line!

6. Tate St Ives – one of only four Tates in the world, this famous art gallery reopens in October 2017  with a new extension to complement its existing collection that commemorates St Ives’ place as a meeting point of art, maritime activities and architecture.

 

7. The Barbara Hepworth Museum is worth a little exploration if you ever come down to St Ives. The museum and tranquil gardens which are set right in the heart of St Ives contain beautiful sculptures for you to appreciate. There are also other Barbara Hepworth sculptures around town so look out for them!

8. Boat Trips – returning back to the sea, if crabbing is not something for you, you can go on a boat trip. Book at the harbour – and try your luck at sea fishing! Alternatively, you can take the boat to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for many a writer and artist, or head for Seal Island to see them frolicking around!

A coastal walk is a very romantic thing to do at night with your loved one. The lighthouse, with its searchlight projecting into the distance, surrounded by the quiet crash of waves, is quite reminiscent of being at the theatre or the early days of the silent movie. But gentlemen take note – as the waves crash to the shore and you hold the hand of your beloved one, the lighthouse is a strong visual reminder that you will always be the shining light for your significant other. How romantic!

9. Porthmeor Beach is arguably the best surfing beach found in St Ives. In addition, it has the most rugged coast line in St Ives. A walk along the beach will give you magnificent views of the area; don’t forget your camera!

10. On another rainy day you can source for local books at St Ives Bookseller, which you can find on Fore Street. There you can locate an extensive range of books both for children and adults alike. Local books and maps can also be found here, if you are interested in learning more about the area. The St Ives Library is also an alternative literary haunt for its range of local history books and art work. The area specially dedicated children’s area has books and colouring to keep younger readers entertained while older siblings browse.

11. The Island – despite what the name suggests, the Island isn’t actually an island. It is actually a promontory. This is another lovely place for an evening walk and to recline on one of the benches that line the way, to enjoy the amazing views.

12. Porthgwidden Beach – this beach is one that is suitable for families. The lovely expanse of sand gives the children a gorgeous sandy beach to play on, and the beach is sheltered and hence the waves that crash against the shore are not as large as the ones found on other beaches.

13. St Ives Museum occupies what was formerly the site of the Wheal Dream mine. It is a source of fascinating information about St Ives, and how it has developed over the centuries.

14. Smeaton’s Pier and Lighthouse remains a working pier and so if you are walking around having a look do be mindful of the fishermen who are working there, and also of the equipment lying around.

15. When the tide is out at St Ives Harbour, you can walking along the wet sand and right up to the end of the pier to get close to the moored boats.

16. St Ives has a rich history of arts and crafts do why not pick up a new skill while you’re  here? At the Barnoon Workshop, you can choose from and sign up for a huge range of art and craft workshops, for all abilities and age groups.

17. From your little screen to the big screen – go to the cinema!  St Ives’ cinema shows the latest releases so I’d you are a movie fanatic you won’t have to miss out while you are away. If you prefer live performances, check out the St Ives theatre for the latest shows!

There are so many things to do in St Ives, this list hardly covers them all – check back later for more things to do while you are here. There will no time for an idle moment, and best of all, all these places are easily reached on foot, so you can maximise the time you have here!