Insider's guide to St Ives

Dawn Bright from Guided Tours of St Ives in West Cornwall shares her top tips...

What do you love about most Cornwall? Its natural beauty. The miles of beautiful sands, the breathtaking views, the granite and the gorse and the heather. The fresh, salty air brought to you on a strong southerly breeze that bites and yet invigorates the skin and awakens the soul. The incessant sound of the gulls and the constant, reassuring pounding of the waves. The smell of Cornish pasties and the taste of warm melt-in-the-mouth scones. Four seasons in one day. Sand in your shoes, car, bed and just about everywhere else. Being able to call it home.

Must see sight? There are so many in and around St Ives. My favourites are Gwithian Towans and Godrevy Headland. Close by are Kynance Cove, Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Beach, all worth a visit.

Must do experience? The coastal walk between St Ives and Zennor. You will need to be fit for this - it is not for the faint-hearted! A four hour walk that is quite simply the most jaw-droppingly stunning scenery that you could ever hope for. Words cannot do this justice. Please wear sturdy footwear, take a drink and snacks. Upon reaching Zennor, there is a great pub (The Tinners Arms) and a lovely tea shop and museum – and the good news is there is a bus route back to St Ives.

Most people don’t know but… Artists have been coming to St Ives for over 200 years. The unique but elusive ‘pink light’ was first captured by Tuner when he visited St Ives in 1811.

Good value tourist ticket you can buy? Joint ticket for the Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. Two museums that are very different but both a must see.

Souvenir you must take home? A tide clock – to remind you of what the tide is doing in Cornwall. Then wherever you live you can always close your eyes and picture yourself at your favourite place in Cornwall looking our over the sea at high or low tide.

Local delicacies to try? I have to say the Cornish Pasty. The perfect food. Wholesome, warming, sustaining and very good value for money. What more could you ask for? Possibly a calorie free version?

Local tipple? I am going for a non-alcoholic tipple here. A pot of Tregothnan Earl Grey Tea. I am addicted to this wonderfully aromatic tea. Cornwall has its very own tea estate (Tregothnan) on the southern shores of our county near the Fal Estuary. Amazing tea and no food miles!

Best viewing spot? Knill’s Monument, St Ives. A long steady climb of over half an hour but well worth it when you reach the top. Completely unspoilt (meaning that there’s nothing else up there – no coffee shop, no loos etc). Wonderful views across the bay of St Ives around Hayle, Gwithian Towans and Godrevy Lighthouse. St Agnes and Newquay lie beyond. In the distance you are able to pick out the now redundant satellites of Arthur and Guinevere at Goonhilly. On a clear day you can actually see coast to coast as the distance between the north and south coasts at this point is little over six miles.

Best place to explore on your own? There is so much to do in the little town you will never be bored. Whether it is walking on one of the towns 5 beaches, ambling through the myriad of quaint little streets in the old fishing district of Downalong, visiting the plethora of galleries that the town has to offer or just chilling with a coffee on the Wharf watching the tide and the world go by.

Best place to see with a guide? Tate St Ives

The best place for shopping? There is a wonderful mix of gift shops, galleries, Cornish brand clothing, pasty shops, tea shops and some wonderful beach cafes in St Ives. I know I am biased but the town is quite simply unmissable!

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