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Finding Tropical Paradise in England, St. Ives

You can’t go further west in England than Cornwall. With wild coastline, beautiful beaches and so many local customs to observe, Cornwall is coastal town magic.

Chances are, when you think of the weather in England, you think of grey skies and rain. So many times, especially in St. Ives, I caught myself thinking, am I in England or the Mediterranean?

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Postcard perfect, St. Ives is favoured among holiday goes in Cornwall. Although I was only there for a day, I couldn’t help but marvel at the amount of people arriving early morning or leaving in the evening, having wrapped a weekend or week long holiday.

The day started with arrival in drizzling rain. Not easily deterred, we climbed to the top of the hill for a view over town to get our bearings, and then walked down to the beach for breakfast at Porthminster Cafe.

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While we sat on the covered terrace, enjoying iced coffee and banana honeycomb waffles, the rain cleared up.

Eager to explore before the rain returned (little did we know it was gone for good that day), we set off towards town.

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We headed for the pier, stopping for coffee at the Pier Coffee Bar on the way. Sitting on the pier steps for a while, watching dogs splash in the waves, and with nary a cloud in sight, we decided it was time to enjoy the water more.

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We lounged on the beautiful sandy beach for a while, then headed back to town centre in search of the boat tours we’d passed earlier in the day.

Why not go on a boat tour to Seal Island where you can see seals lounging on rock formations?

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Back in town, we walked around the hillside to the left of the pier, grabbed chips to snack on, and headed back to the heart of town to pop in and out of a few shops (favourites: Port of Call, The Painted Bird), and savour an ice cream treat from Moomaid of Zennor. The honeycomb caramel shipwreck, Cornish clotted cream, salted caramel and fresh strawberry flavours were insanely good.

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Soon enough, it was time for happy hour. We stopped at the Beach Cafe & Bar to try a few different ciders before dinner. For dinner, Seafood Cafe came highly recommend and certainly didn’t disappoint. The menu changes daily here- you walk in, get seated and then head to the counter to see what the daily catch is before deciding how you want it served. I had shrimp cacio e pepe- creamy, but light and fresh.

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After dinner, we wandered town for a bit longer, stopping in the ultra-modern Alba for blood orange martinis before ending our night with a pint at the Sloop Inn, favoured among locals.

Before we knew it, it was time to hop on the train back to Penzance where we were staying- a journey that took 30 minutes total.

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For many years, St. Ives has been considered an artist haven. We passed numerous galleries on our day, stopping in a few to glance about, but didn’t make it to the Tate St. Ives- the weather was just too nice to spend time inside. But, it’s said to be a wonderful modern art gallery, home to works from Mondrain, Matisse and Picasso.

If ever in Cornwall again, I’d go back to St. Ives in a heartbeat. The Mediterranean atmosphere and winding cobbled streets with great restaurants and cafes make for a beach destination worthy of any holiday.

Have you ever been to Cornwall? Which town was your favourite place? 

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