If you’re a Londoner, or if you’re city folk anywhere for that fact, there comes a time every once in a while when the grind gets to you and all you want to do is escape! Going abroad may not be an option and so a staycation is the next best thing. And why not? Even the UK has plenty to offer, although I’ll admit I don’t venture out much over here! To leave London for another part of the country (especially given the weather) it needs to be someplace spectacular. And I definitely found that place last year when I finally made the five-hour drive to Cornwall!
When we pulled up at our rented accommodation in St Ives I could not believe my eyes. I had to ask myself if we were really still in England. I’ve Googled it a hundred times of course, but in reality Cornwall is truly something else. You’re breathing different air, surrounded by complete beauty and the people… I’ve never seen Brits so chilled in my life. It was like being on another planet. All the laid-back feels of the Mediterranean, but here in England.
After doing some research I was set on staying in St Ives because let’s face it, it’s the most beautiful. St Ives is located on the Atlantic coast of north-west Cornwall, so slightly further way than the other towns. But the longer drive is worth it! It’s the best beach break I’ve had in the UK.
BEST BEACHES IN ST IVES, CORNWALL
First off, we need to talk about the beaches. I never imagined beaches like this existed in England. I’m talking the softest, golden sand, an ocean rippling several gorgeous shades of blue (namely turquoise) and surrounding vegetation lush with greenery. The light is incredible too, a stark contrast to grey, dreary London!
Porthmeor is the most popular beach in St Ives, perfect for surfers and swimmers and close enough to the town centre where you can pick up some picnic goodies! Porthminster Beach is my personal favourite. It’s St Ives second largest beach and is located walking distance from the train station. It’s the beach with the most tropical vibes, with waving palm trees and translucent waters. It’s a truly magical place where you can feel at home while on holiday, surrounded by nature at its best. A fantastic eatery, Porthminster Beach Café, is based on the beach front where you can enjoy a delicious meal amongst the beautiful views, but more on that later!
ST IVES, CORNWALL TOWN – WHAT TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE
Porthminster, St Ives
St Ives is a small but spectacular town. We were lucky enough to find a beautiful renovated beach-front flat in Porthminster. The views from the balcony were unreal. It’s a truly peaceful and relaxing spot with a Tesco 5 minutes away by car for all your grocery needs. To get to the main town, it’s a stunning 10-15 minute walk along the coast line leading you right into the centre. You know you’re close once you spot the Harbour.
St Ives Harbour
The Harbour is decorated with colourful fishing boats and always lively, with its many restaurants and cafes. It’s based in the heart of the town and laid with cobbled streets guiding you to cute locally-run shops and boutiques. Keep going and you’ll either end up in “Down-a-long”, the old lower part of St Ives formerly home to fishermen with it’s white-washed cottages (old town), or into the centre of town.
St Ives Town Centre
St Ives’ town centre is adorned with bakeries filled with Cornish treats, from cream tea to Cornish pasties. Now, I thought cream tea meant delicious Cornish cream in my tea, but it actually refers to your standard English tea with a side of scones. Not to sell them short! Their scones are freshly baked and are served with fresh Cornish cream and jam. Amazing!
Tate Gallery, St Ives
One can’t forget to mention that St Ives is home to one of the four Tate galleries in the world. It’s back-to-back with Porthmeor Beach so be sure to pop by!
PLACES TO EAT IN ST IVES, CORNWALL
When it comes to food, I can be pretty picky! So when I stumble across a great food spot, I tend to frequent it. Fortunately, we found three, which is of no surprise when most of the cafes and restaurants use local produce so you feel like you’re eating amazing home-cooked food!
For the best brunch, I recommend going to The Balcony Bar & Kitchen. You can enjoy a delicious full English breakfast overlooking the harbour. If you’re sat by the open windows, just be wary of the seagulls!
Our favourite lunch and coffee spot was the Porthminster Beach Café. It’s located at beach level, so again, you get to take in the amazing views across St Ives Bay. It’s one of the longest running food spots in St ives and award-winning with incredible sea-food options. Lucky for us it was a less than a minute walk from our flat!
Saving the best for last, if you’re in St Ives you must visit Blas Burger. This burger joint is truly special and no wonder, it’s listed in Wall Street Journal as one of the best 5 places to have a burger in Europe. It’s one of the most eco-friendly restaurants I’ve been in, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Talk about home-made eating – even their sauces are hand-made using their very own recipes. It was truly the most delicious, wholesome burger I’ve ever had full stop, and I’ve had my fair share of burgers in London and elsewhere in the world! What’s more, they don’t just cater for meat-eaters, Blas Burger offer amazing vegetarian and vegan options too. I indulged in their Vegan Banana Split which was out of this world!
So there you have it, if you’re wondering where in the UK you can spend a long weekend or take that overdue staycation, be sure to plan a trip to St Ives in Cornwall. It’s a stunning part of the UK and of the world, a dream beach-break with so much to offer. Just be prepared for all weathers, because you can go from sunbathing in a bikini to needing a leather jacket within a matter of hours!