I’ve been traveling a lot this year. I’ve only been in London for one full week since April, splitting the rest of them between home and away or just abroad completely. Don’t get me wrong; I love to travel and I’ve been to some amazing places in the last few months. But sometimes I want to stay a bit closer to home, and recently that has meant an amazing weekend break in St Ives, Cornwall.

Porthmeor Beach

I was offered a weekend trip from Villas.com in conjunction with the #InstantParadise competition I wrote about a few weeks ago. The lovely seaside town of St Ives seemed just the place to relax and experience one of their properties. To that end, my boyfriend and I hopped on the sleeper train from London to Penzance on Friday night and woke up to a beautiful sunrise in the Cornish countryside.

Morning in St Ives

Now that we’re here, I can’t keep my eyes off the misty fields as the long rays of morning sunshine lift the sleepy heads of sweet little sheep in their pastures. Changing at St Erth for the train to St Ives, we wind around the waterfront as the sun teases gold out of sandy beaches and illuminates turquoise blue water in the sea. It’s suddenly so tropical that I have to remind myself I’m in England.

Sea in Cornwall

We arrive in St Ives just after 8 in the morning and can’t believe our luck with the weather. It’s a good omen for the rest of our time in Cornwall, which turns out to be one of the best weekend trips I’ve taken in England.

St Ives

Like any good weekend break, this one starts with great food. We head down to the beach and have breakfast by the waves at Porthminister Beach Cafe. The meal is great, and the cafe lives up to the reputation St Ives has gained over the years as one of Cornwall’s major foodie hubs.

Porthminister Beach Cafe

Along the waterfront in the town center, we explore more of the best cafes and restaurants in St Ives. We have a sinfully good Cornish cream tea at a stylish cafe called The Vintage Store and a good dinner on the terrace above the marina at the new Porthminister Kitchen.

Cream Tea at The Vintage Store in St Ives, Cornwall

Some of our best meals are over on Porthmeor Beach, where the cafe of the same name serves great small plates on terraces overlooking the sand. Everything from monkfish to chorizo wins us over, and we can’t help going back for a second round to try more.

Food at Porthminister Kitchen, St Ives, Cornwall

And that’s to say nothing of the ice cream stalls and traditional Cornish pasty shops that dot St Ives with their colors and scents. It’s almost unfair to only have two days to eat here.

Beach Huts in St Ives, Cornwall

But we can’t indulge our taste buds the whole time we’re visiting St Ives, and when we’re not eating we’re walking.

Buttonhole, St Ives, Cornwall

The town is compact and easy to get around on foot, and there are mazes of little streets with pretty houses and colorful accents.

Red Phone Box in St Ives, Cornwall

Names like Puffin Cottage and Star Gazy grace the sides of whitewashed cottages, and I could spend all day taking in the little details.

Cottages in St Ives, Cornwall

But the bigger picture is worth seeing, too, and it comes in the form of an amazing coastal trail on either side of St Ives.

Seagull in St Ives

We walk off some of our calories on the South West Coast Path, England’s longest long-distance footpath. It stretches for 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, and while we walk only a short stretch along the Cornish coast, we’re rewarded with spectacular cliff views and more of that impossibly turquoise water.

Sea in St Ives, Cornwall

Back in St Ives, we spend the rest of our weekend exploring the town’s artistic treasures.

St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives is home to a small branch of London’s famous Tate as well as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The latter is particularly exciting to visit right now because there’s an exhibition of Hepworth’s work at Tate Britain in London at the moment.

Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, Cornwall

But Hepworth isn’t the only British artist to have taken up residence in St Ives. The town is quite a magnet for artists, and this weekend we’re lucky enough to be here during the annual St Ives Festival. During the two-week celebration of music and art, artists open their studios to visitors. We walk from studio to studio, talking with the artists and learning about their work in a way that brings the town’s artistic identity to life.

Art Exhibition Sign in St Ives, Cornwall

After all of our walking and eating, we head to our apartment in St Ives, which is situated at the top of a hill overlooking the town. As great as the views from Tregenna Castle Estate are, they lose my attention to the even more amazing gardens.

Tregenna Castle Estate

Waterfalls cascade down hills as giant ferns and colorful flowers climb up them. Walled gardens hide pretty green hedges and stone arches lead to even larger-than-life floral displays. I can’t think of a prettier place to spend my night in St Ives.

Tregenna Castle Estate

And when the night is over, I return to London glad to have discovered St Ives. I’ve traveled all over the world this year, but staying close to home in Cornwall has resulted in one of my most memorable trips.

This post is sponsored by Villas.com. If you want a weekend break in St Ives or another of the world’s great destinations, enter the #InstantParadise competition for a chance to win €10,000 from Villas.com. For more information, visit http://www.villas.com/contest.html. Villas.com has a breadth of accommodation options, and booking offers convenient filter options, a quick and straightforward process (it only took me 5 minutes!), and instant confirmation.

22 Comments on Lady’s Weekend Break in St Ives

  1. I’ve explored a lot East of England but I still haven’t had the chance to visit Cornwall. It’s so beautiful! You’ve had a great weekend:) and lucky you, travelling non stop!;)

  2. you have an eye for photography! beautiful pictures and place! I would love to spend a weekend there for a romantic getaway with my boyfriend as it is totally the type of place we both like. great blog too .

  3. Aww I love Cornwall. The train ride from St Erth to St Ives is amazing, isn’t it? Saying that we did it whilst it was raining but it still looked beautiful.

    Lovely photos as always.

    Sarah x

  4. I’ve always wanted to visit Cornwall but the train journey always put me off, had no idea there was a sleeper service so this is now firmly on my list for next year! x

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