Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Five Fun Things To Do In St. Ives, Cornwall

John and I recently spent a long weekend in St. Ives, Cornwall and we absolutely loved it. The fresh sea air, long walks, glorious sunshine (well, for most of it!), and delicious food did us good. We returned to London feeling revitalized and happy - it was just the lift we needed after long periods of overseas travel (for John) and hectic writing deadlines (for me). I deleted my social media apps while we were there (like I did in Iceland) and was able to fully relax. It was great!

Here are five fun things to do in St. Ives, if you're interested!

Hike the South West Coast Path

For beautiful, cliffside views of the coastline, the South West Coast Path is a beautiful trail to explore when you're in St. Ives. Having left our hiking boots at home (think we wouldn't need them for our short stay), we hiked from St. Ives to the village of Zennor in a pair of Nikes and Adidas Neos! We struggled at times, scrambling across large rocks and slippery boulders, but were rewarded with stunning views of the ocean below and delicious crabmeat sandwiches at Tinners Arms when we finally reached Zennor, three and a half hours later. Staff there were so nice, they called a cab for us back to town when we realized we had no cell phone reception! Pretty wildflowers greeted us at every turn during our hike: fuschia foxgloves, periwinkle bluebells, and bright white daisies smiled up at us as we passed. An exhausting, but well-worth it hike. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear!

Take a dip in the Atlantic (if you're brave)

Just the sensation of icy cold water nipping at my bare ankles was enough to make me stay on the shoreline at Porthminster Beach, but John was much braver and went in - twice (he ended up buying a wetsuit for his second swim, though!). Next time we go, I'd love to try stand-up paddleboarding and John really wants a surf lesson! When we weren't swimming, we were throwing a frisbee around (badly, I might add) and taking in the joyful scenes around us from our spot on the sand.

Eat delicious seafood at Porthminster Cafe and The Seafood Cafe

On our first night in St. Ives, we had dinner at the award-winning Porthminster Cafe, which is situated on Porthminster beach and has a gorgeous view of the ocean (grab a window table, if you can!). The menu is great for seafood lovers (we ordered crispy calamari rings which John declared his love for within two bites!) but they also serve a delicious vegetarian curry and a superb prime rib too. I loved my seafood linguine, which was generously portioned and featured copious amounts of crabmeat, tiger prawns, and mussels - fresh from the sea. The vibe is laid-back and family-friendly (kids are very welcome!), but the food is fine dining at its best.

On our last evening in St. Ives, we ventured to The Seafood Cafe on the "main drag" (as my dad would say) in town: Fore Street. Here, you order your drinks at the table, but your fish at the counter, so you can see what's fresh and what you're in the mood for! It's such a fun experience. John and I were feeling gluttonous, so we went for the sharing seafood platter, which included a whole fish of our choice (we chose the sea bass), plus a sauce to go with it (we opted for the garlic and brown butter), scallops, tiger prawns, crab cakes, and crushed rosemary new potatoes. Lip-smackingly good! I overheard the young couple next to us telling the waitress that it was their second time there that week - they'd loved it so much. I don't blame them!

Watch the sunset at Porthmeor Beach with an ice-cream cone from Moomaid of Zennor

Confession: I stole a little kid's ice-cream cone. Okay, I didn't steal it, but I had my heart set on this sprinkle-cone as soon as I walked into Moomaid of Zennor and, minutes after entering the store and joining the line behind me, a child piped up, "Dad, I want the sprinkle cone - can I have the sprinkle cone?" Of course, there was one sprinkle cone left, and I ... um, I got it. "I think I just stole a cone from a little kid," I whispered to John as we left the shop, each holding a double-scoop of Moomaid's famous Cornish ice-cream (I chose mint chocolate chip and praline). "Yeah," he said. "I was really surprised at that!" So, I ate my delicious ice-cream with an enormous sense of guilt as we watched the sun set from Porthmeor Beach. Come and get me, karma. I'm ready. (p.s. it was so delicious!)

Browse and shop for art at Porthminster Gallery

On Sunday afternoon, it rained ... and rained and rained. I'm so glad I had this parka with me! We ducked in and out of art galleries that day (most of which were closed) before shaking off our umbrellas outside Porthminster Gallery, a beautiful art gallery showcasing both established and up-and-coming artists. Far from being intimidating, the staff at this gallery were incredibly warm and welcoming - whether you're just there to browse or shop! John spotted a beautiful ceramic piece by artist Clare Conrad ... and we ended up taking it home with us. Our first piece of fine art!

On an important note, I love that Porthminster Gallery subscribes to the Own Art scheme - have you heard of this? It's a 10-month interest-free payment scheme which allows you to pay for a piece of art in instalments - making it much more affordable and accessible to those who might not necessarily have a couple grand (or, let's face it - even £200 or £300) to spend on art right this second. We didn't use it in this instance, so I can't comment on how well it works, but I think it's a great idea (coming from someone who went to the Affordable Art Fair last year and found it to be anything but affordable!).

John and I are already planning our trip back to Cornwall later this year (fingers crossed)! We love this part of England so much. Have you been to Cornwall or St. Ives before? What did you do? I'd love to know!

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