Newquay Airport (www.newquaycornwallairport.com) is an hour’s drive from the hotel, with regular flights to UK cities and to a limited number of European destinations in the summer (including Dusseldorf, Isles of Scilly and Verona) Most international flights to Newquay connect at London Heathrow or Gatwick. Exeter Airport (www.exeter-airport.co.uk) is a two-hour drive away, but offers a wider range of international flights.
St Ives train station is a handy four-minute walk away from the hotel. First Great Western trains run on the St Ives Bay line and trains from major destinations change at St Erth. From London Paddington the journey takes five-and-a-half hours and Plymouth, Exeter St Davids, Reading and Penzance are some of the notable stops on this line.
The Cornish countryside has plenty of cruise-worthy roads and St Ives can easily be reached via the M5 or M6 by changing onto the A30, so it’s worth travelling by car. The hotel has limited private parking spaces, which can be booked at the station car park – on a first-come first-served basis – at a cost of £7 per day, but be warned, if you enter the hotel postcode into your sat nav, you’ll find yourself on the Warren, a rather steep alleyway where you can’t park.
Worth getting out of bed for
St Ives brings culture and coast together with galleries and museums right up to the beach’s edge. Carbis and St Ives Bays are scenic and surprising with vast stretches of laid-back sands and offshore nature sanctuaries, such as Seal Island (+44 (0) 777 300 8000), a stop-off for many of Cornwall’s doe-eyed sea dwellers; catch a boat out and you might also spot basking sharks, whales, porpoises and dolphins frolicking in the surf. The charming cobblestoned town also retains its timeless traditions, at daybreak you can watch fisherman hauling in their nets and if you’re so inclined you can head out to sea with them to learn an age-old hard-line method of mackerel fishing (+44 (0) 777 300 8000). Cornwall is also the surfing mecca of the UK, with golden sands and a sub-tropical microclimate, which attract beach bunnies from Britain and beyond. Whether you’re floundering in ankle-biter waves or are ready to take on the big surf, you can find a school here to match your ability (+44 (0)1736 793 938). If you fancy more cerebral pursuits, St Ives’ art is world-renowned and there are plenty of places to view the best of it. The Tate St Ives (+44 (0)1736 796 226) is a must-see for art lovers and novices alike, housed in an elegant revamped gas works, just a step from the beach. Tate Britain’s coastal cousin exhibits both traditional and boundary-pushing modern pieces in its revolving programme of exhibitions. It’s worth paying a little extra to get a joint ticket for the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden (+44 (0)1736 796 226), Hepworth’s remarkable sculptures look like curiously eroded pebbles washed up with the tide and their garden setting allows you to truly appreciate the scale of her work. The Leach Pottery Museum (+44 (0)1736 799 703) celebrates St Ives’ strong craft history; founded by master potter, Bernard Leach, this museum showcases his rustic wares with delicate Japanese decorations, which are still fired in the adjacent studio. If you want to explore farther afield, Porthcurno village is a 40-minute drive from St Ives. Once home to a submarine cable station and evacuation tunnels in World War II, these days it’s better known for its Caribbean-coloured waters and cliff-sheltered sands.
At The Seafood Shack (+44 (0) 1736 794 004) you pick a catch of the day from the fishmonger-style counter, add a selection of tasty crusts, batters and sauces then tuck in to your customised meal. Stick around for dessert too; the sticky toffee pudding is the stuff of local legend. Porthmeor Beach Café (+44 (0)1736 795 352) also serves impressively fresh seafood (being located just feet from the sea you’d expect no less) alongside a long and lip-smacking list of tapas. This is the perfect place to fuel up before hitting the surf or stop off for a light lunch of Spanish-influenced tidbits, such as meatballs, smoked-pimento almonds and harissa-grilled mackerel. The Crab and Rum Shack (+44 (0)1736 796 353) takes an irreverent approach to crustacean dishes, slapping a whole battered soft-shell crab in a bun, with delectable results. Quirky nautical-themed surroundings, a gooey calorie-laden dessert menu and and over 30 types of rum to sample account for its popularity with locals and tourists alike. When you tire of fish, head to Blas Burgerworks (+44 (0)1736 797 272) an environmentally conscious burger joint which uses Cornish meat to make delectable burgers in an imaginative array of flavours: purists can try the burger with salad and for the more adventurous there’s the Kiwi-style burger, with beetroot, pineapple and egg.
Smack bang on the beach you'll find the Porthminster Beach Café (+44 (0)1736 795 352), which serves up sea-fresh fish dishes, such as crispy fried squid with black spices and citrus miso; and hearty country fare with a modern twist, such as the soft-top pork pie with pulled pork and artichokes.
The Hub (+44 (0)1736 799 099) is a modern sea-facing gastropub with a good range of wines and craft beers from around the world, and a diner-style menu with precariously stacked burgers and juicy mustard-slathered hotdogs.