Just eight miles north of the historical town of Penzance lies the smaller, but no less charming, seaside town of St Ives, renowned for the considerable number of well-known artists who have resided in the town over the last few hundred years.
The town’s popularity with creative types reflects the beauty of the area, with its rugged coastline and picturesque beaches, perfect for a long summer walk along the coast. You might even be lucky enough to spot a basking shark, dolphin or porpoise in the waters below.
While making your way up the coast you could discover the ruins of the pumping and winding houses of Carn Galver Mine, now owned by the National Trust. The Mine Count House is now used by climbers, and the surrounding climbing routes have been described as some of the best in Cornwall.
Boat trips from the port allow visits to the nearby Seal Island, home to a colony of Grey Atlantic Seals, and to Godrevy Island, across the bay from St Ives. Local skippers can point out smugglers’ coves and the site of an historic shipwreck while detailing the history of the area during your trip.
This summer the Tate St Ives is worth a visit if just to experience the surreal feeling of walking through a room filled with balloons. This unique exhibit, titled Half the air in a given space, will entertain both children and adults alike.
Where to eat?
The Loft is a former sail loft overlooking St Ives Bay. The restaurant offers local produce, including fish and seafood, all of which is freshly prepared. On a sunny summer’s day the outside decking area provides beautiful views out to the Bay and Godrevy Lighthouse.
Where to stay?
The Keep is a homely bed and breakfast, recently converted from a 16th Century former fish cellar and sail loft. In central St Ives, this cosy bolthole is tucked away down a quiet alley and even boasts its own walled garden. Homemade breakfasts are served in the glass-covered atrium, which joins the two bedrooms.
A local secret
The lighthouse on Godrevy Island, built in the late 1850’s, is said to have inspired Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse.