: St Ives
: The Sloop
: Porthwidden Cafe
Car: not necessary
In 2011, St Ives was voted the top beach destination in the UK and beat all the beach resorts in Spain, France and Italy in the score for Europe. Perhaps the reason is the sheer diversity on offer.
For families: fine golden sand, clean clear water, rock pools and surf .
For walkers: green headlands and cliff paths skirting small coves with basking seals and dolphins.
For historians and poets: the land of the Celts where Cornish is still spoken and sung in ancient granite churches with carved mermaid pew ends. And where the trail to Land's End passes a bronze age village, standing stone menhirs and mysterious stone circles.
For sports: Thriving surf school on Porthmeor Beach, Sailing Club, Tennis, Golf at Carbis Bay, Scuba diving.
For painters: St Ives harbour where the small fleet of fishing boats land the catch each morning.
For Artists: St Ives School of Painting with life classes open to visitors on Wednesday evenings.
For Art Lovers: The Tate St Ives with its gallery, workshops and coffee bar right on Porthmeor Beach. Dozens of smaller galleries, often run by artists, scattered throughout the town. The Leach School of Pottery and workshop
For Gourmets: Porthminster Cafe on Porthminster Beach was voted 2011 Restaurant of the Year. A dozen other restaurants are in the running for elegant honest menus drawing on local produce. The harbour now boast a new place called Gourmet Fish and Chips, worthy of the name.
For Trips out of town: All within bus, taxi or easy drive: the Eden Project, The Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. Lamorna Cove, Christmas lights at Mousehole, Truro Cathedral and the Lost Gardens of `Heligan ,
Yet none of these facts explain how St Ives tugs at the heart. Is it the clarity of light, the surface of stone, the salt smell, the sea in many moods and colours, the rhythm of the tides? Perhaps it is because surrounded by beauty, one simply feels creative. Anything is possible. Choice is almost limitless. Still, if you are anything like us, your favourite spot in all St Ives will be the window seat at Old Saltings, glass in hand, observing the scene on the sand and waves below.