A week near St Ives, Cornwall

In my last post, I blogged about our week on the Roseland peninsula at the end of June. If you missed it and are interested, you can read about that here.

Our second week was to be spent in the area around St Ives. It was pouring with rain when we set off, but there were a couple of places we wanted to see en route and since our cottage wouldn’t be ready till late afternoon, we persevered with our plans.

Our first stop was Portloe, still on the Roseland peninsula. The road down there was nightmarishly narrow with the weather causing visibility problems, but once we’d parked, the rain let up enough for us to enjoy a stroll in and around the village, imagining how lovely it would be in the sunshine! 😀

After drying out with a coffee at the very posh Lugger Hotel (a base for brandy smuggling a long time ago, but quite a hit with the celebrity crowd nowadays, apparently!), we drove on to Mevagissey, an old harbour town popular with tourists. I last visited Mevagissey when I was in my twenties and remember thinking it very picturesque. I don’t know whether it was just the weather this time, but I didn’t enjoy it as much, although it suited us well enough as a place to wander around and have lunch.

And then on to our accommodation a few miles out of Hayle, and an evening trying to warm up! In July, for goodness sake! 

The next day was thankfully rain-free, so we drove to Godrevy on the eastern side of St Ives Bay for a brisk walk and to look out at the lighthouse at Godrevy Point.

Sitting admiring the view, I kept hearing a strange noise, rather ethereal and, I thought, a bit like whale music. When we walked further around the headland, we found the source – seals on the beach! That made my day 🙂

The following day promised to be sunny – yay! – so we drove to St Erth station and took the St Ives Bay Line train into St Ives – quick, easy and good value. 

We walked past Porthminster beach and into the harbour area, where we enjoyed a coffee in the sunshine and looked in the numerous art and gift shops there, then sat on the harbour beach to soak up a little Vitamin D. Moving on, we walked around to Porthgwidden beach …

… St Ives certainly has plenty of beaches! … and climbed up the headland to St Nicholas Chapel for a fabulous view …

After lunch, we wandered through the back streets, eventually finding ourselves on the main shopping street in town (Seasalt clothing, Jo Downs glassware, fresh fudge … my purse began to panic!) and finally back to the station, tired but happy.

The next day started out cloudy, but we hoped for the best and drove to Marazion, then took a boat over to St Michael’s Mount. I was disappointed that the timing of the tide didn’t allow us to walk across the causeway, which must be quite an experience.

Once on the island, the weather improved, and we walked up the hill to explore the castle – originally a priory, then fort, then castle and now home to the St Aubyn family. The room stewards were knowledgeable and interesting, which added to the visit. The property is run by the National Trust, so this was another occasion when our newly-acquired membership came in useful.

We particularly liked the little chapel at the summit which dates back to the 12th century and is still used. If you look at the photo below, you can see that this is at the highest point – the base of the chapel is the actual rock of the island …

From the terraces, you can look down over the incredible terraced gardens, although I struggled to appreciate them as I’m not good with heights. :/

You can only explore the gardens on certain days of the week and unfortunately this wasn’t one of them, so we took the boat back to shore, and I sat on Marazion beach to read while hubby pottered off to a nature reserve nearby.

That evening, we drove to Porthleven to meet up with my brother for a drink and fish and chips sitting on a bench at the quay (and just about managed it without being without being mobbed by seagulls!). As I mentioned last time, my brother moved to Falmouth at the beginning of the year, so it was lovely to catch up with him on several occasions this holiday. 

The next day was lovely and sunny, so we drove to Sennen Cove and set off on the South West Coast Path towards Land’s End. It was a very steep climb out of Sennen, but once on the level, we saw a shipwreck …

… and the views all along the path were simply breathtaking.

Just look at the colour of the sea here …

The only downside was that the path was so busy, what with it being July and a popular route. When I’d had enough, I turned around while hubby carried on to Land’s End.

At Sennen Cove, I had a coffee at the beach bar whilst admiring the view and a rather moreish barman who resembled a slightly older Tom Hiddleston and may well find himself in a future novel of mine! Hubby joined me for a drink at the end of his walk, and the people at a nearby table looked rather perturbed to hear me explain to my husband why the barman was so attractive and the perfect romantic hero, while my dear better half didn’t bat an eye!!

It was even hotter the next day. We drove to Mousehole, and hubby set off on a coastal walk to Lamorna which sounded too strenuous for my liking, so I relaxed with a coffee and orange-and-rosemary shortbread at the Rock Pool cafe …

… with a fabulous view across bright blue sea and sky. No complaints there!

By the time I’d explored the harbour and narrow streets and one or two tempting shops, it was getting too warm for me, so I plonked myself on a bench at the harbour to wait for hubby …

then dragged him back to the Rock Pool cafe for a cuppa so that he could enjoy the same view I’d had that morning.

The next day was our final day, and we couldn’t help ourselves – we went back to St Ives.

Our main objective this time was the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which we very much enjoyed. I’m not particularly ‘into’ sculpture, but I did like hers.

It was fascinating to read about the artist’s life, knowing that she lived and worked there from 1949 until she died in 1975. You can look through windows into her studio, imagine her working, then admire the admire her sculptures in the garden.

Afterwards, we walked all the way through town to Porthmeor beach, which we hadn’t explored last time, and had lunch overlooking the sands where surfing schools were busy.

After walking back along Fore Street, we had tea overlooking Porthminster beach, then sat on the sands for a quiet goodbye to this gorgeous place.

Despite the inevitable crowds, St Ives is a truly beautiful place. The light and colours are incredible, and it’s easy to see why so many artists are drawn to it.

The next day was a goodbye to Cornwall itself … for now. We will be back, and now that my brother lives down there, we have every excuse!


If you’ve enjoyed these posts, a few months ago I blogged about our visit to a different area of Cornwall and Devon last year:

A week in Devon

A Week in Cornwall




9 thoughts on “A week near St Ives, Cornwall

  1. Karen says:

    Love this area, we travelled around the same places but in March, so it was much quieter. Inevitably, it was colder too, but we were quite lucky with the weather and had some lovely sunshine. Would love to go back sometime, I think Polperro was our favourite spot 🙂

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