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Last week I was in the lovely St. Ives in Cornwall for a few days, for the Celtic Media Festival.  Really it was a good excuse to visit Cornwall!

Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, UK, beach, beautiful beaches, golden sands, UK beaches

Carbis Bay, St. Ives

After getting a ridiculously early flight to Bristol, and then embarking on a four hour drive from the airport, we finally arrived in St. Ives.  It is so far south west that it has its own micro climate, much milder than Ireland or even the rest of the UK.  Having never been to this part of the UK before, we were very excited to explore the cobblestoned streets of this beautifully picturesque fishing village.  It was a gloriously sunny day and the views of the sea were amazing.

St. Ives, Cornwall, England,

Lighthouse in the harbour

St. Ives, Cornwall, England,

View of St. Ives from the pier

St. Ives, Cornwall, England,

View of St. Ives at dusk

We stayed in a gorgeous boutique hotel called Headland House, which is actually down the road from St. Ives in Carbis Bay, about a 5 or 10 minute drive, or a 2 minute train journey on the little local train that shuttles between the two villages every hour.  The hotel has been decorated in that lovely expensive, shabby chic look that is so popular now, and half the reason I chose it was I thought I might get some inspiration for our house!  It was painted in bright, natural, eggshell colours with little nods to the seaside location.  Our room was spacious and very comfortable, and the owners Mark and Fenella were very friendly and welcoming.  I highly recommend staying there in you go to St. Ives.  We were there in the off season but the whole area is very popular at Easter and during summer so book early!

Headland House Hotel, St. Ives, Cornwall

Our room at the Headland House Hotel

And in the town there were plenty of great little boutique shops to buy local artists’ work.  We bought some handmade glass coasters by Jo Downs that have individual copper pieces inside them.

Glass Coasters, St. Ives, Cornwall, Local artists,

Handmade glass coasters by Jo Downs

I also bought two of these enamel mugs, with the intention of using them out in the garden during the summer.

Enamel Mugs, St. Ives, Enamel Mugs by Wild & Wolf, Rob Ryan

Enamel Mugs by Wild & Wolf and Rob Ryan

There are plenty of narrow, cobblestoned streets to explore.  And salty old pubs to drink in.  Incidentally I tasted some Cornish Cider and it was good.

The Sloop Inn, St. Ives, Cornwall

The Sloop Inn, St. Ives

Daphne Du Maurier, St. Ives, Cornwall

Plaque outside one of the houses

Copper Dolphin door knocker, St. Ives, Cornwall

Copper Dolphin door knocker

Our first food stop was lunch at The Yellow Canary.  We found it by chance, but as soon as I walked in I recognised it from a video I had seen on Youtube about food in St. Ives.  It was a great lunch.  We both had a big bowl of soup, served with homemade fluffy focaccia bread, and a traditional Cornish Pasty as well!  I couldn’t quite manage to finish both but they were very tasty.

The Yellow Canary, St. Ives, Cornwall, Cornish Food

The Yellow Canary, St. Ives


Cornish Pasties, St. Ives, Cornwall, The Yellow Canary, Cornish Food

Cornish Pasties

Courgette Soup, Foccacia, The Yellow Canary, St. Ives, Cornwall,  Cornish Food

Courgette soup with foccacia in the Yellow Canary


That night we popped into a very aptly named pub called the Rum & Crab Shack, on the seafront.  It had over 40 different types of rum on the menu. We tried out a few neat, and I also had a cocktail called a Dark & Stormy with ginger beer.  We sat near the window and watched the stormy sea splash up onto the street in the harbour.  It was very atmospheric!

Selection of Rums,  Rum & Crab, St. Ives, Cornwall,

Selection of Rums from the Rum & Crab

We also sampled some of the local Cornish Ice cream from a place called Willy Wallers.  It was very Wonka-esque and had lots of flavours to choose from.  I went for raspberry pavlova and clotted cream.

Willy Wallers, Cornish Ice Cream, Cornwall, St. Ives

Willy Wallers Cornish Ice Cream


Raspberry Pavlova & Clotted Cream

We were in St. Ives for a total of 3 nights, and I have to be honest and say that on the first 2 nights, the places we had dinner in weren’t great, so I was determined to eat well on the last night and on the following day at lunchtime.  I asked around and got some great restaurant recommendations, which we happily took.

I’m going to split this post into 2 halves, so look forward to Cream Tea with Cornish Clotted Cream, fresh and light Fish and Chips at The Porthminster Beach Cafe, and a lovely menu of local meats and fish at The Black Rock!