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It all starts with the name: St. Ives.
Doesn't it just sound divine?
Things get even more idyllic when you arrive and discover that this coastal town in Cornwall, England is home to windy streets, rows of weathered fisherman's cottages and a set of gorgeous beaches. To say nothing of the aquamarine shade of its water or the town's reputation for being a haven for both artists and surfers.
Before you pack your bag and your surfboard, here is a quick guide to this seaside gem:
St. Ives juts out into the sea and, as a result, is surrounded by several sensational stretches of sand.
Porthmeor Beach is arguably the pearl of the collection, with water safe enough for swimmers but still lively enough to keep the town's surfers happy. This powdery promenade has been awarded Blue Flag status and is flanked by the Tate St. Ives gallery on one side and a dramatic rocky outcrop crowned with a chapel on the other.
The best part? Porthmeor Beach faces west, so colorful sunsets are seen regularly.
Porthminster Beach is the other world class stretch in town, offering fine views to historic Godrevy Lighthouse.
[READMORE]READ MORE: The Can't Miss Pubs of Cornwall[/READMORE]
Get Lost in the Lanes
Many more-celebrated European cities are rightly famed for their labyrinthine streets, but the tiny twisty alleys of St. Ives can compete with any of them.
A short wander uphill from the harbor will find you bouncing from one hidden back lane to the next. You will be met with the quaint scene of holiday homes with surfer's wet suits hanging out front to dry at every turn.
Let the Surf Put You to Sleep
St. Ives is full of places to stay by the beach, but surely it can't get much better than Moon Shadow by Beachspoke.
Moon Shadow is located within a row of traditional fishermen's residences on Porthmeor Road-directly behind Porthmeor Beach-and within earshot of the waves. The cottage is all galoshes and yellow rain jackets on the outside, catwalk chic on the inside, as the rustic wooden slats of the exterior give way to a cool industrial maritime interior.
Striking stone and marble features are balanced out perfectly by a comfy Chesterfield couch, plush bed and crackling electric fireplace. In addition, the bespoke walk-in shower with pebble floor makes washing the sand off each afternoon a luxurious experience.
[READMORE]READ MORE: Top 5 Picturesque Castles in England[/READMORE]
Feast on Fresh Fish & Chips
Like any British seaside resort worth its salt & vinegar, St. Ives is home to a boatload of fish & chip shops. Harbour Fish & Chips is the pick of the catch, as their bounty is sourced daily from a local fishmonger.
You can truly taste the difference.
Tip: Order your fish & chips to-go and enjoy them al fresco on the harbor with a cold can of local Korev lager.
Sip by the Sea
Part of being on vacation is indulging in a few libations by the water, and while the posh Porthmeor Beach Cafe is certainly a great option, the smaller Porthgwidden Beach Cafe manages to feel like a hidden haven.
With a harborside location, The Sloop Inn is one of the best pubs in Cornwall, while those after craft beer and fried chicken (and who isn't nowadays?) should retreat one street back to Beer & Bird.
Glance Over the Galleries
St. Ives is the epicenter of art in southwest Britain and punches well above its weight when it comes to galleries and exhibition spaces.
The aforementioned Tate St. Ives is one of only four Tate Galleries in existence, and you can also visit the home of esteemed sculptor Barbara Hepworth or peruse the works of celebrated potter Bernard Leach here.
Born in the USA but now based in England, Scott has been writing about travel for over 10 years. He specializes in Europe, rail...
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