There is a little place in this world, which is so freakin fabulously awesome, that I would genuinely leave London to live there, if only there was some kind of job for me to do there that would keep me in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed (ie free coffee, free theatre tickets and press night parties) and that place is… St Ives.
Not that shitty one in Cambridgeshire, mind. The proper one.
Before the world completely explodes, and we head of to New York City to rock the joint, Nora and I decided we needed some serious chill out time, and what better place to go than the seaside? Particularly when children are still at school. Good thinkin.
So here is my guide to the best place in the world. Pay attention:
No need for Newquay here. It’s the other side, the water’s not as nice and it’s full of chavs. Instead, you’ve got five amazing beaches to choose from, depending on what you fancy at the time. For example, upon arrival, it was bloody hot, but Nora wasn’t showing up until later with my suitcase so I was lacking in bikini goodness. Instead, I grabbed myself an icecream and headed to Porthminster beach. It’s mainstream, it’s white sands, and it’s right by the train station. Very handy. It does, however, have a very dangerous population of seagulls, so you should not devour your icecream anywhere near those bad boys.
Once I was better prepared, I headed to my FAVOURITE spot, Porthmeor beach. This one is home to the surf school, massive waves, hot lifeguards (one of whom asked for a lick of my icecream, which I may have taken as an invitation in London but in St Ives the correct response is; ‘bugger off and buy your own!’) and some damn good chips. Surfed a bit, tanned A LOT, and generally had a giggle.
Other beaches… Porthgwidden, which is little and cute, rather steep, complete with playful seal swimming about in the shallows with some very surprised people. Carbis Bay, further away and technically in Lelant, but the equivalent of a meditteranian wonderland. And the cutest (not for the beach but for the name) Bamaluz, a teeny tiny bunch of rocks that sometimes has a bit of sand around if the sea goes out far enough. More importantly, it’s on this sign ^^^ which is just hilarious. (Good job I took a picture then, because the next morning it had been corrected. St Ives vandals – I love them).
You can’t come to Cornwall and not have cream tea. And that’s cream tea that goes scone, jam, clotted cream, not scone, clotted cream, jam like some Devonshire crazy. In my experience, there is NOWHERE better than Bumbles Tea Room (right by Porthmeor at the end of the Digey). This place does cream tea that makes your toes fall off it’s so good, and so long as you don’t linger over the lunchtime rush, they don’t mind weirdo writers like me huddling in the corner on their third pot of tea writing magical stories about mermaids off the coast of Marazion. Awesome.
The other Cornwall staple is – you guessed it – the pasty. Being a veggie, I’m not the ideal market for a pasty seller, but I still reckon I’ve managed to find the best darn place in town. The Yellow Canary Cafe, at the far end of Fore Street near the Marketplace, is THE BEST place, and they’re just bohemian enough to make you feel like you’re somehow eating a cool pasty. Mental.
Always start your day the right way (because after that you’re gonna eat a shitload of carbs and icecream) and head to Frubar smoothie shack on the harbour front. Nora and I love it so much, we genuinely woke up every morning, and declared that it was juice time.
Oddly, there is another magical meal choice… and that is PELS’s crepes. Cue a tonne of hilarious ‘ooh, I think I’ll have a crepe on the beach’ related puns. But after a long day of beaching, surfing, hill climbing and art gallery wandering, a chocolate and banana crepe from PELS on the harbour is considerably more welcome than a bloody good shag.
Gotta be honest, it’s not high on my list of priorities when I head to St Ives, however I defy you to visit without getting sucked into the wonderful Sloop Inn. This place has been standing since the 1300′s, and has a crazy history of smuggling and whatnot, AND they serve things in tankards. After stupidly going on the ‘pirate walk’ one evening (we discovered that St Ives has fuck all in the way of pirate history) and freezing half to death, we warmed our fingers around steaming mugs of hot chocolate and brandy in the Sloop, and it was magic.
The Badger Inn, in Lelant (5 mins down the road) does THE BEST carvery in the world. It also has extremely potent wine.
Where to stay
I will always advise getting out of the busy harbour part, and heading somewhere up the hill. Somewhere near the Island is good, or up near Barnoon Hill. Don’t go to far up near the Rugby Club though, or you’ll lose the atmosphere of beingdown one of the tiny streets of the town. This time, I stayed up near Porthmeor and Barnoon carpark (very handy) just behind the Tate St Ives. Would highly recommend getting a little house of your own, so you can totally pretend you live there. Come on, we all do it. And check out the view.
Where else to go
Should you, god forbid, actually get a bit bored of the town, you’re in driving distance of some pretty awesome places. Penzance is 20 minutes away, and the other side of it is Marazion, home to St Michael’s Mount. I would advise visiting and not trying to walk back across the causeway after the tide has come in. Nora and I nearly died.
You’re 40 minutes away from Lands End and Porthcurno – Lands End is dull and overrated, and the carpark is £4, but if you haven’t been, you must. Porthcurno is home to the Minack Theatre, carved into the stone of the cliffside, where I’ve seen some amazing stuff (not this time though – The Death of Sherlock Holmes, shockingly crap).
The Lizard is not far away, and Zennor (where there is a mermaid. Look it up), and if you time it right, you should totally check out the Eden Project on your way out of the West Country, if you’re passing through St Austell.
So there you have it! Ritzi’s guide to the best place in the world. Frankly, if you’ve never been, you’re missing out. Get your ass down there now! Before the kids descend and fuck it all up!
Go on then, maybe just one last pasty…