Travel: A winter break in St. Ives, Cornwall
For years St. Ives has been mine and my husband's favourite place. We lived there for a short while nearly ten years ago and eloped to marry seven years ago this year. There are many things that I love about the place but in an effort to not write the longest blog ever I am summarising my five favourite things. If you are a fan of this part of England I hope you will share your favourite things about St Ives in the comments below.
We have visited this lovely town for the past two New Years and absolutely loved it. The temperature is much warmer than up here in the Midlands, the beaches are quieter and still as beautiful and there is a magical atmosphere as always. If you do plan on celebrating the New Year in in St Ives one year make sure you bring your fancy dress costume. Virtually everyone dresses up and parades the streets. Pubs don't have tickets or bouncers so you can come and go as you please and everyone goes down to the beach at 12am to see the fireworks. There is an atmosphere suitable for couples, youngsters and families and everyone is so happy and friendly. We always book a restaurant way in advance or you could just have fish and chips in the harbour.
1. The winding streets and houses
This is my favourite part about St Ives. I could wander around the hidden streets and alleyways day after day. I have visited here so many times and I still discover new little nooks and crannies. The old houses are the cutest and so pretty. There is a lot of development in St Ives lately, building luxury houses and apartments for the rich but I hope this isn't done too much as I would hate for the charm of this beautiful town to be ruined.
2. The light
It is the light of St Ives that has attracted artists to live and create here over the years. Apparently it is because of it's peninsula that gives it the bright but muted grey tint to it. We noticed that it didn't get dark until at least half an hour later than up here in the Midlands. It is really clear when you take photographs how different the light is.
3. The beaches
St Ives spoils us with so many beautiful beaches. My personal favourite is Porthgwidden. It is one of the smaller beaches so when you have younger children it's easier to keep an eye on them. The waves aren't as strong here so the sea is safer and it has my favourite café.
Each beach comprises of beautifully pale turquoise sea and soft, clean golden sand. When the sun shines they really cannot be beaten. Sitting on the beach with my family on a sunny day after Christmas drinking hot chocolate is a memory that I will treasure forever.
4. The Shops
There are lots of gorgeous shops for you to peruse whilst on holiday in St Ives. One of the lovely things about visiting here during the Christmas holidays is the effort that the shops go to decorate their windows. It adds to the magical feeling of the place. There are lots of crafters that have studios for you to buy from and independent boutiques. There are a growing number of chains opening but these are good quality ones and mostly ethical.
5. The Tate
The Tate Gallery is my favourite place to visit in St Ives. It has recently had a make over making the gallery space even bigger and better. There is a charge to enter the main exhibitions but you can visit the shop, café and children's area for free. The interior is spectacular with white washed walls and windows allowing light to flow around the building. These create different tints and shades in all of the spaces. The café sells very good quality food for reasonable prices and has the most spectacular views across the rooftops of St Ives and over Porthmeor Beach. The shop has a really good range of art books and gifts to buy and the children's area encourages creativity based upon the current exhibitions.
So those are my five favourite things about St Ives. Do you love other things about this special place? There are also lots of wonderful places to visit in this part of Cornwall which I will write about soon on another blog.