A Travellerspoint blog

St Ives

Art, Food and Beaches - day 1

sunny 19 °C

A highly enjoyable 2 days in St Ives started with our arrival at the excellent Guest House we had booked. A friendly welcome and a lovely room with great views over the harbour meant that we could get our breath back and relax a little before starting to explore.

Many artists have set up home in and around St Ives and it's easy to see why. The amazing quality of light and the truly picturesque harbour and beaches make St Ives a very appealling little town. It is true that there are now a great many shops and businesses set up to cater for the tourist trade and some argue that this has ruined the character of St Ives. I would argue that it hasn't, and that the inherent loveliness of the location, the characterful architecture, the art community and the functioning fishing industry make this a destination well worth a visit. Perhaps it was even lovelier 100 years ago.

Boats in St Ives Harbour

Boats in St Ives Harbour

More boats in St Ives Harbour

More boats in St Ives Harbour

On our first day we explored town, walking over the island to Porthmeor Beach. There is a very active surf school at Porthmeor and the lessons were interesting to watch, over an excellent lunch of mackerel and mussels at the beach cafe (as you may notice, excellent seafood was a recurring theme of this Cornish holiday).

Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach

After lunch, we visited the Tate St Ives museum. The Tate doesn't have a permanent exhibition but rotates collections of modern art. The current display was very interesting with some great sculpture by Naum Gabo, and a very strange installation which involved walking through a big room half-filled with balloons. Unlike its more substantial London cousin there is a charge to visit the Tate St Ives but it is worth it, particularly if you buy the combined ticket for the Barbara Hepworth museum as well.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern

After the museum, a further walk around the beaches and the harbour revealed some interesting finds including the great little Porthgwidden beach and an interesting walk along the outer harbour wall.

Looking out over Porthmeor Beach

Looking out over Porthmeor Beach


Lighthouse on St Ives Harbour

Lighthouse on St Ives Harbour

In the evening we had a real first night treat - a six course tasting menu at a top local restaurant overlooking the harbour, each course matched to a glass of lovely Cloudy Bay wine. The food was great and some of the wines were truly heavenly. We retired to bed replete.

Posted by magykal1 14:54 Archived in England Tagged beaches boats Comments (0)

Overnight from Paddington to St Ives

The Night Riviera

sunny 18 °C

There can be no more exciting way to begin a holiday than to take a sleeper train. Climbing into bed in the middle of London to wake hours later to glimpses of fishing villages and rural scenes feels like being transported to a different world.

Rail travel guru site Seat 61 describes the Night Riviera Sleeper as like a 'mini travelling hotel', an accurate description. As you board the train at Paddington station you are met by a host/hostess who shows you to your room down a very narrow train corridor, and takes your order for breakfast. The rooms are small but comfortable and clean. If you book a single compartment there is an in-house entertainment system with a small LCD screen - as we were travelling as a couple and had a bunk room this wasn't available. On the bed is a free bag of the sort of bits-and-pieces you normally get in a hotel room plus a few other things, including some effective earplugs which are particularly important if your neighbours in the next room are a bit chatty.

I found it suprisingly easy to sleep on the train, the gentle motion of the carriages lulling me off into quite a deep sleep. I needed the early morning wake-up call with breakfast!

The Night Riviera terminates at Penzance on the South Coast so for our onward train to St Ives, on the North, we needed to make an early morning change at St Erth. We changed onto the picturesque little branch line that follows the sweep of St Ives Bay and before long we were looking out over the turquoise waters lapping at the beaches of St Ives.

St Ives Harbour

St Ives Harbour

Posted by magykal1 14:10 Archived in England Tagged beaches trains Comments (0)

Welcome to Britain

Another day, another blog begins, properly this time

Welcome to Britain, land of the Angles, Picts, Carvetii, Romans, Normans, Vikings and Glaswegians. I've always felt a strong desire to wax lyrical about my homeland. The coastlines of Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, the rocky peaks of Snowdonia, the Highlands and the Lake District, the rolling green hills of Exmoor and the Yorkshire Dales and the majestic architecture of London and Edinburgh feature as strongly in my travel highlights as many of my trips to more exotic climes. And the truth is that I travel around Britain a good deal more, and know it better, than any country over the water.

So, here begins my third attempt at a blog, this time with a bit more purpose than showing off some holiday snaps. Starting with the very tip of the Southwest.

Posted by magykal1 13:46 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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