Family Day Out in St Ives
Whether you’re an active family, culture vultures or wannabe beach bums, St Ives is the perfect destination for a family day out. Once a fishing village and artists’ colony that’s now become one of the UK’s favourite family beach resorts, here you can hit the surf, fuel up on fish and chips or gourmet cuisine, checkout world-class galleries and scoff ice cream on pearly beaches.
The best way to arrive is on the St Ives Bay train. Hugging the coast and sporting gob-smacking views to the wave-lashed sands curling to Godrevy lighthouse, it’s little wonder that my kids glue their noses to the window for the journey. On rainy days we’ve been known to ride the train back and forth, soaking up the views and eating sandwiches. The only better way to experience the route is on foot along the South West Coast Path (about 4 miles from the Park & Ride at Lelant Saltings).
St Ives flaunts its charm in every season; in mid-summer we often arrive with buckets, spades and bodyboards, and flop straight onto the golden beauty of Porthminster Beach. But our favourite way to soak up the ambience is with a walk along the seafront, pausing for ice cream (try Moomaid, made in nearby Zennor) or a pasty with our toes in the sand at Harbour Beach.
If you’re feeling adventurous and the weather’s clement, there’s no need to settle for gawping at the seascape from dry land: Hop on-board a boat trip to Seal Island or helm a self-drive motorboat around the bay and beaches. Take a swim in a sheltered cove, or don a wetsuit and plunge into the surf that pounds Porthmeor Beach (lessons and equipment from St Ives Surf School).
If the sun’s not shining or you’re simply more of landlubber, you don’t even have to kick off your shoes to capture the essence of St Ives. Nudge the ocean on a stroll around the edge of town, past the museum (worth a peek for history buffs, not so suitable for young children) to ‘The Island’. Jutting into the Atlantic this is a prime spot for spotting dolphins, and hunkered at its foot is the crescent of Porthgwidden Beach. It’s here we find ourselves in every weather; the kids building sandcastles while we take in the sea views from Porthgwidden Beach Café.
Emerging on the western side of town, Porthmeor is the wildest of St Ives’ beaches, where the surfers flock to ride to Atlantic swells. Backing the white sands is the eminent Tate St Ives – a beacon of the town’s international art status. As well as the exhibitions there are family trails and Toddler Tate sessions, plus you can eyeball the stunning coastline from the top-floor café.
Tate interior – see flickr favourites or toddle tate from tate st ives
No longer renowned only for its art, St Ives is fast becoming famous for its foodie reputation – from fish and chips to Michelin-starred dining, there are restaurants for all tastes and budgets. So, wending along the cobbled streets back into the hub of town, it’s time to browse the boutiques and bag a table for tea. We love the fun, nautical ambience of the harbour-front Rum & Crab Shack, where local seafood is reasonably priced, views are to dine for and the kids can raid treasure chests for toys and games.
Carbis Bay Holidays offer a superb range of family friendly properties in St Ives and Carbis Bay, so you don’t have to travel far to get back to luxury accommodation equipped with the likes of travel cots, toys and highchairs. Checkout our family friendly cottages and choose the perfect pad for your holiday.