Cornish coastal retreat with St Ives style
Harbour Beach Cottage, 11 Mount Zion, St Ives Cornwall
If you fancy a week or so in St Ives here’s a nice handy place. It’s a restored three bedroom fisherman’s cottage right in the middle of ‘Downalong’. It comfortably sleeps 5 or 6 and is about fifty feet from the quayside and it’s superb beach. It’s set back from the front by a quiet slopping cobbled courtyard; Mount Zion. The living room and double bedrooms have beautiful views and because the house is over four floors, so does the characterful attic room, which nestles into the eaves with breathtaking views to the front and just a glimpse of the little Island Chapel to the rear. In addition to the Harbour Beach, it’s only about three minutes walk to little Porthgwidden, five to the surfers Porthmeor where the Tate is located and only about ten to fifteen to get to the huge Porthminster. All these beaches are clean and sandy, if you’re lucky to get a really low tide you can walk, with the aid of wellingtons (or snorkel) to Portminster straight across the harbour.
This is a well furnished, stylish, comfortable cottage. It’s bright and cheerful, airy in summer and snug in winter. It’s got pretty much everything a couple or family would need including family games, books and DVDs (not just freebies from the Sunday papers). It has free wi-fi and HD TV as well as a really well equipped kitchen. There’s a high chair and a travel cot for the little un’s and every summer families leave some toys, so there’s a beach bag of plastic kit ready by the kitchen door. Since Easter it’s had new mattresses, hall carpet, new dining chairs and soft furnishings. There’s little bench at the bottom of the granite steps under the front porch, great for taking a morning espresso while admiring the view. The house is fully managed by a top Cornish agent and can be supplied with all bedding and towels for the stay, you can see the details, more photos and a video on the agents website http://www.cornishgems.com/holiday-cottages/harbour_beach_cottage.html
Few UK towns compare to St Ives, it’s physical setting is quite unique. It was voted number 1 UK beach resort by Tripadvisor in 2011, 6th in Europe!, It’s attracted painters and artists for many years and it’s still well connected with established galleries and painting schools located here. Artists first raved about the bright clean light and the bustling fishing harbour, now it’s got a cool young Cornish vibe too. The town has plenty of restaurants that suit most tastes. The three main beaches have open air cafes right on the sand www.porthminstercafe.co.uk/. They all boast interesting menus with antipodean or modern European flair as well as the usual British seaside take away favorites www.porthmeor-beach.co.uk/cafe/. The locally sourced deli’s, trad Cornish bakers, farmer market and Co-Ops easily provide all your culinary needs. The Tate and the other galleries will amply feed your hunger for the visual arts, while there’s also the mad deco style Merlin Cinema and a lively local pub music scene. The nearby Sloop has regular music nights in an interior full of old world charm, low timber ceilings propped up by a the taller locals. Annually the St Ives Festival www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk/ in September fills any cultural gaps after the summer season. There’s really no real need to stray out of town.
The road to Lands End is a spectacular drive over the boulder strewn moors, past the rocky cliffs via Zennor and Pendeen. There’s the open topped bus 300 in summer months, for £12 you can take the family, it’s well worth a go. You can get off and on when you like and visit Sennen Cove, Penzance or Lands End. When summer has passed the town is still beautiful, pretty quiet, still worth a visit. Over Christmas and New Year it comes alive again, it’s closed to traffic New Years Eve as the whole town centre becomes a parade of fancy dress revelers. We had a lovely Xmas here a few years ago, sat on the quayside under a cloudless sunny sky with beer and quavers for pre Xmas lunch snack. The rest of the country was under four inches of snow, smug us.
During the winters harshest days the views are ever changing, hypnotic, the sea and coastline becomes unpredictably wild, a contrast to the easy going milder months. There are ‘secret’ little beaches like Bamaluz to find, exposed at low tide they’re all around the town. Exploring is fun, narrow streets wind, rise and fall in a confusing network of cobbled alleys designed to get you lost, but never too far from the house a beach or a decent cafe. There isn’t a view like the one from the Porthgwidden Cafe. The mornings are best, sit outside, scrambled eggs seasoned by the sea spray and watch the skies change over Godrevy lighthouse, look out for seals or dolphins. The cottage is a cosy place to retire after a bracing day out on a blustery beach.
For more information, practical tips or otherwise, do contact me. For cost and availability check the Cornish Gems website http://www.cornishgems.com/holiday-cottages/harbour_beach_cottage.html