Growing up in the north of Ireland, any time I thought of Cornwall I would hold on to the frequently held picture of St Ives with it’s coastal cottages and lichen-covered rooftops; an artists hub with seaside chic. So when the chance came about to spend a day or two on the far south coast, I was eager to explore the immediate vicinity and find out for myself what all the hype was about.
Travelling down late from Devon, we set about pitching our tent before the light faded and then wandered down the hill into town, admiring the maze of narrow thorough-throughs and the winding promenade round the shallow harbour. As the sun rapidly set on the horizon, the seafront was thriving with tourists, but still ever-cautious of the Covid situation, we carefully navigated our way along the cliff and down on to the beach, keeping clear where possible of passing pedestrians.
Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without tucking into a portion of fish n’ chips, so that’s exactly what we did next. Securing a space by the harbour wall we savoured the atmosphere of that balmy summer’s evening, enjoying idle chat with one another, simultaneously absorbing the hum of the European style nightlife, with alfresco dining lined behind us on the promenade.
Having adjusted to our new surroundings with a laid back evening, we returned to explore more of the town itself in the daylight, discovering a number of chic boutiques, surf shops and a couple of high street chains, window shopping with content, albeit brief, finding just enough time to savour a flavour of the creamy Cornish ice cream on offer.
Unfortunately, the crowds, though perhaps to some degree expected, were a little overwhelming and didn’t always make a for a completely comfortable experience. However, this is no reflection on St Ives itself, which we appreciated through the multitude of idyllic architecture found along the cobbled side streets.
Though inviting and catching to the eye, it is worth noting the crowds that gather during the peak season, keen to rewind, I do think it would be nice to observe the scenery off-peak. I still had a lovely time in St Ives and it felt so good to be back by the ocean after so long, thought it may be a popular spot, I do recommend a visit to this cosmopolitan cove on the the Cornish coastline, as it still holds many delights, if only you open your eyes to see them.