We visited St Ives

Large sandy harbour - St Ives

The vast stretch of sand in St Ives Harbour

We visited St Ives at last this week and found summer seemed to linger on within the bustling streets and thronged harbour even though it was late in October.

The bustling tourist destination of St Ives is so different from the quiet, laid back, world of Mounts Bay and so we eased ourselves gently into the visit by taking the Train from Lelant Saltings. The train runs from here about every thirty minutes so there is never long to wait and the ten minute journey has spectacular views

Take the train to St Ives

Fabulous sky above golden sands -view from the train to St Ives

The view over St Ives Bay from the train window


“Take the train to St Ives” we often advise our guests “you’ll be able to relax without the worry of parking the car”  so we took our own advice and a ten minutes drive later, Priscilla Peugeot was  tucked in a corner of the surprisingly busy car park at Lelant Salting and we were off for an Autumn treat.

Train arriving at Lelant SaltingsThe tide was out from the R.S.P.B. reserve just beside the tracks but a huge brave sky soon framed views that would have graced any Gallery.

We felt we were almost flying above St Ives bay as the train threaded its way through the trees and tunnels and we watched the most captivating view be revealed and then just as suddenly concealed, all accompanied by the rhythmical clickity-clack of the track.

Regular commuters please forgive us but there is a certain frisson in waiting for the train, settling in a seat beside the window and anticipating the day to come.

For details of Tickets and timetable: –  https://www.thetrainline.com/train-times/lelant-saltings-to-st-ives


St Ives Station above Porthminster beach

Sandy beach and St ives harbour St Ives train view

St Ives bathed in sunlight as we arrived at the station just above Porthminster Beach


We soon arrived at St Ives station just above Porthminster beach that we visited last winter and this time the beguiling view down on to St Ives harbour led us on with the tide of humanity walking through the narrow alleys down to the harbour.

St Ives Harbour

Empty sandy harbour - St Ives

St Ives harbour at low tide


Now our German guests have a perfect word to describe the popular destination of St Ives –  “Touristik” and the harbour was packed that balmy late October day. Visitors thronged cafes and restaurants spilling across the road to the benches and down to the vast empty harbour  and I must admit that a sort of claustrophobia soon started to set in for me, so we strolled onwards cutting behind The Island to Porthmeor Beach and discovering a couple of hidden beaches along the way.

Empty harbour and twoin lighthouses - view from St Ives

St Ives harbour lighthouse mirrored by Godrevy Lighthouse, far away acoss St ives Bay

Search out some of the smaller beaches in St Ives

As well as the gorgeous sandy beaches of Carbis Bay, Porthminster, The Harbour, Porthgwidden and Porthmeor take a look as these two little hidden backwaters.

Bamaluz Beach

Sandy cove of Bamaluz on a sunny day in St Ives

Hidden from the harbour Bamaluz beach is access via some nearly hidden steps


Leave the bustle of the harbour and follow the signs to the  St Ives Museum and you will find this tiny tidal sun trap at the bottom of some steep steps between the harbour and Porthgwidden Beach


Lambeth Beach

Secret beach of St Ives - Lambeth walk

Lambeth beach named after the “walk” that was once so fashionable


We spotted Lambeth beach just below the path that runs beyond the Lifeboat station as we walked back to the train. This beach is again a tidal one and much quieter than the buzzier expanses of sands and can be accessed from Porthgwidden beach at very low tide

Sandy beach of Porthgwidden just below the Island in St Ives

The sandy beach of Porthgwidden catches the first of the Mornings sunshine

Porthmeor Beach

Beach scene Porthmeor St Ives

The surfing beach of Porthmeor Beach just below the Tate and beyond The Island from the harbour


Lunch at the Porthmeor Beach cafe

We chose the Porthmeor Beach café for lunch tucked under the Tate Gallery just above Porthmeor beach and it was a little haven of peace, away from the bustle or maybe it was the lovely glass of chilled white wine that went with my delicious lunch!

Child and sand castle on the beach

We watched the earnest game of “sand castle on the beach”


This is a great spot for people watching too, comfortable cocooned on the deck above the families and surf schools that mingle on the sands. We spent a pleasant hour or two watching the surf, the flags, the lifeguards, the toddlers with their sandcastles, all spread across the honey coloured sands to the ocean below us.

We had no room left for pudding but The Porthmeor beach Café kindly packed two delicious pieces of chocolate cake for us to take home for our tea and we set off again clutching the discreet brown box, back into the clamour of St Ives.


Shops and more shops!

Busy shopping street St Ives

Cobbled streets

We took a slightly different route back through the town, taking the main street just back from the harbour, where independent shops and well know names jostled side by side in the narrow confines with swags of bunting fluttering gaily overhead.

Shop front St Ives

Beautifully  presented shops – loved this one


I hovered in the doorways to admire the stylish clothes shops, curated as artfully as any art gallery, flanked by enough toffee and fudge shops to cause a major problem to the nation’s dentist single handed.

Traditional shopping street St Ives

Charles waited patiently while I checked out a Cath Kidston outlet!

Return to St Ives Harbour

St Ives - art colony and fishing village in cornwall

The sea came flooding back into the harbour


The tide was just starting to fill the harbour as we walked back, sending glossy reflections across the water and we stopped for a moment to look at the Lifeboat before turning again into the narrow path that skirts the harbour with a seal was flirting with the water just below our feet.

Boat mooring lines stretched across the sands - St Ives Harbour

Boat mooring lines stretched across the sands – St Ives Harbour


Returning tide - St Ives harbour

The returning tide quickly reached the slipway


Ice cream and Porthminster Beach


two ice creams

Part of the sea side a proper cornish Ice cream


There was one more thing left to do for a proper sea-side outing – Ice cream! So we popped down the tempting steps onto Porthminster beach for a traditional Cornish ice cream and last few minutes of sunshine before boarding the train for home.


The train home St Ives to Lelant Saltings

Sea and beach view from a train

Salty marram grass beside the St Ives to Lelant train line around the bay


Looking back to St Ives harbour as the sea come back

A last glance to St Ives as we walked to the station, just as the sea reclaims the harbour again


Those fabulous views flashed by again the dunes, the sheer expanse of sands and the forlornly abandoned fishing boat still laying just as on the Saltings beside the railway track.

We were home in time for tea with that delicious chocolate cake to finish our autumn treat – a day trip to St Ives. You know  –  I may well go again soon, this time to check out the famous art galleries!




About Christine Taylor

Christine has written a weekly blog about life at Ednovean Farm and interesting places to visit in West Cornwall for over ten years now, concentrating on those off the beaten track places that only the locals find. Charles and Christine Taylor have hosted Luxury Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm Nr Penzance in West Cornwall since 1991 and live there with three cats and five horses, including a Spanish Stallion called Danni. Ednovean Farm has been awarded AA five star gold for Bed and breakfast and is included in The Michelin Guide and The Alastair Sawday Guide . The Farmhouse and gardens has been featured in BBC Homes and Antiques, Homes and Gardens. Period Living and 25 Beautiful Homes as well as being used as a film and photo shoot location.

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