Snapshots // St. Ives.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Being by the sea gives me a little pep in my step. The air is crisper, the food is fresher, and there's just something really soothing about hearing the constant crashing of waves. With the UK's gloom and grey stigma, beaches aren't exactly the first thing people think of - but if my trip to Brighton in January taught me anything it's that English seaside towns in their dormant state might just be my favourite. Without further ado, here's my St. Ives story time + photo dump...

Early October, I spotted a sale on First Great Western (or Great Western Railways...whatever they're called now). Cornwall has had a firm spot on my UK Bucketlist for ages so I jumped at the chance for a ticket down south. I sorted out my Airbnb and was chugging down to the tip of England before I knew it. A 5 hour train ride on top of a painfully early departure had me feeling sluggish by the time we rolled into St. Ives. I made a beeline for a white building situated on the beach lying parallel to the station in search of sustenance.

A photo posted by Elle Hawthorne (@ellehawthorne) on
The cafe is made up of an indoor area and a terrace, with open air designs if the weather is nice and drop down clear tented walls for protection from the chilly air. Each chair is even equipped with pillows and blankets and heaters if need be. Fuelled by cod and chips, I stepped outside onto the sand and began to get my bearings around the town. Even with the cloudly skies, the water in St. Ives was a pale, bright, periwinkle blue unlike any I've seen before.

The best thing about going to beaches out of season is that furry friends are welcome to run amok, empty beaches call for plenty of fetch opportunities. 

Following the crooks of the rugged coastline counter-clockwise from Porthminster Beach first brings you to St. Ives Bay, the focal point of the town with a working harbour and countless shops and cafes. The tide here was one of the most dramatic I've ever seen, the boats go from happily afloat to stranded in the sand within hours. 

Can we all agree that British seagulls are on their own level of evil?

Climb your way past Porthgwidden Beach, stare in horror at the people swimming in the freezing ocean, and find yourself at The Island - which is an extremely confusing name to give a park. This spot gives you a lookout point over the sea and is the North-most point of St. Ives. 

Down the other side of The Island lies Porthmeor Beach, home to a surf school, a cafe, and some epic looking cliffs flanking each side. 

The building you see there ^^^ atop The Island is St. Nicholas Chapel, named for the patron saint of children and sailors, was erected before the 15th century. 

As if I wasn't already in love with St. Ives after exploring the beaches and coastline, heading inland confirmed that this was probably one of the cutest and most unique towns I've visited in England. Quaint, cobbled roads, streets lined with whitewashed houses splashed with colourful doors and blooming flowers, and a charming cafe or cottage around every corner. 

As you can tell by the sheer amount of photos I took (especially since these are the edited down number) - I couldn't get enough of this place. 


  • – The Tate was closed during my visit for construction works, but will be opening again in late May 2016.
  • – No need for public transport, get your hill-friendly walking shoes on and take to the streets and sea with your camera! St. Ives was extremely walk-able, if you don't fear steep hills. 
  • – Shopping; pick up some Jo Downs pieces and pop into all the cute independent shops. 
  • – Surf School if you're there in the warmer months, or capable of braving the cold with a wetsuit. 
  • – Fish! I actually love fishing and really wished I had fishing supplies while I was there. I hung around a dock where a few families were casting off into the sea to watch and was also extremely jealous of people going off on the offshore fishing trips.
  • – Umm, relax and chill out. You're at the beach ;)
  • – I stayed in a house with a window overlooking the harbour thanks to my tried and trusty friend, Airbnb.
  • – There are tons of cottages dotted through the town, lots with adorable names and charming exteriors. I didn't spot many hotels (I actually can only think of one I saw) so cottages rentals and bed and breakfasts are the way to go!

Have you ever been to Cornwall? What's your favourite type of off-season getaway?

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