A Wintery St. Ives Getaway
St. Ives is a classic Cornish holiday destination – and in the summer, with its turquoise waters, white sand beaches and top-notch restaurants and bars, it’s unsurprising that plenty of people come to discover this traditional fishing town. Artisan Cottage, our four-sleeper in the heart of St. Ives, is a wonderful location from which to explore the winding cobbled streets, artisan eateries and pristine beaches. We spent a winter weekend at this Cornish cottage this winter – and the first thing we delighted at was the rustic charm of this Grade II listed cottage. Nestled in the oldest part of St Ives (‘down along’), this traditional fisherman’s cottage has retained its authenticity whilst being lovingly styled with modern soft furnishings and fittings. It’s also got the most peaceful view from the master bedroom, looking out over the slate roofs of the neighbouring cottages and out to sea. Watch waves when the wind whips up, or try to distinguish the sea from the sky when they both turn cerulean.
When we arrived, at about 6pm on a wet and wild Friday in February, we quickly got our raincoats on and scuttled the minute’s walk to the harbour before ducking into the warm glow of The Sloop – one of Cornwall’s oldest pubs, dating back to the 14th Century. Despite it being February, there was a warm atmosphere, one that was evidently enjoyed by many as we managed to bag the last little table. After a pint of Cornish ale, we headed to Beer & Bird after hearing wonderful things about their simple but extensive menu of burgers, ales, lagers and ciders – we weren’t disappointed, and as we meandered through the narrow streets, trying out different potential shortcuts, we decided we’d enjoy a glass of wine back at Artisan Cottage before hitting the hay for a day of exploring tomorrow.
The next morning, the rain had passed and with the blue skies came some blustery winds. We made a beeline for Porthmeor beach and watched the waves roll in – and the brave souls in the water attempting to surf them! Escaping the wind chill, we headed into the Tate St. Ives (remember – those who are taking a same county staycation, ask for a local’s pass!), and whiled away a couple of hours immersed in the work of Cornwall’s artists, from Lanyon to Hepworth and some lesser known international artists – Picasso, for example. The Tate was followed by a classic seaside lunch of chips on the seafront, watching the tide rush out before discovering some of the smaller galleries in the town. We would definitely recommend making time for this, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Gardens are an aesthetically pleasing delight, and the Penwith Gallery, founded by Lanyon, Hepworth and Leach plus others, showcases sculptures and canvases of artists from Cornwall and beyond.
I must confess, we did then spend our evening in a bar with the most showstopping views, The Balcony, where we watched England’s first game of the Six Nations – and the atmosphere was brilliant. The roars of delight whenever local Newlyn lad Jack Nowell even got close to the ball were deafening, and with a pint of local Sharps IPA in hand, it was the perfect end to a perfect day! Sunday morning came and we were sorry to be leaving this little idyllic haven and heading back to the real world. If winter in Artisan Cottage was this enjoyable, the summer months are breathtaking. Literally a 3 minute walk to the stunning sands of Porthmeor beach, and almost countless other beaches less than ten minutes away, with a cosy, comfortable retreat to lay your head at the end of an action-packed day – Artisan Cottage is such a perfect location from which to discover St. Ives.