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Tidal pool, Greg Martin

How to get your Vitamin Sea boost – all year round!

11Oct
Wave at Carbis Bay Beach

Mineral Rich Sea, Carbis Bay Beach

Get your Vitamin Sea boost – all year round!

Did you know that sea swimming is highly beneficial to both body and mind?

Mineral rich sea water can help your immune system and boosts the respiratory system.

Being in, on or under the water calms the mind, helps with anxiety and depression and releases endorphins that have significant therapeutic benefits. It is also great fun! 

There are some very special places to swim in Cornwall.  It is possible to swim all year round if you know the right spots.  Here’s our round up of the best beaches, and some very magical pools to take the plunge!

 

Porthcurno beach, Adam Gibbard

Porthcurno Beach, Adam Gibbard

Seek out the best beaches

Whether you jump in off the harbour wall or sprint in from the sands, there is nothing like a refreshing sea swim.  In and around St Ives we recommend Porthminster (5 minutes walk down the coast path from Chy an Carrack and the base for the St Ives Boxing Day Swim!), St Ives Harbour and Carbis Bay as the most sheltered beaches, and Porthmeor for waves and surfing fun.

Picture perfect swim spots with golden sands and stunning scenery that are making a big splash on Instagram these days include Porthcurno Beach (west of Penzance) and Kynance Cove (on the Lizard).

Whatever the time of year, most of us will prefer a wetsuit if going all in. More hardy types need nothing more than their swimsuit (or maybe birthday suit) and a sense of adventure.

Just make sure you heed the safety flags and sea condition warnings. Swim where the lifeguards can keep an eye on you!

 

Pullandase Pool - Greg Martin

Pullandase Pool, Greg Martin

Take a dip in a secret tidal pool

There are magical tidal rock pools tucked away in secret spots around the dramatic coastline of West Cornwall.  Pools such as Boat Cove at Pendeen in the far West, and Pullandase at Porth Ledden are really worth a visit.

Many were created by miners for their children to swim safely. When warmed by the sun they are great for a quick dip, besides being a safe space when the waves are crashing.  Learn more about these special pools in this fantastic article by Greg Martin.

 

Jubilee Pool Rhi-annes

Jubilee Pool, Rhi-annes

Swim in style!

For a more stylish sea water swimming experience, you can‘t beat the Art Deco Jubilee Pool on Penzance Promenade. A sheltered sun trap, recent investment has upgraded the pool and facilties. From Spring 2020 geothermal technology will help heat a hot spa pool to a balmy 35 degrees.

Cornwall, being a mining county, is also dotted with freshwater quarry pools and lakes.  Kernow Adventure at Kessel Quarry, Penryn is one of the best with open water swimming, wakeboarding and inflatable obstacle courses to challenge all the family.

Wherever you take the plunge you are certainly going to feel the benefit!

To stay at Chy an Carrack and get your Vitamin Sea – check out our availability and book online!

Easter

Exciting events for Easter!

25Mar

Cornwall really bursts into life in spring, and there are loads of fantastic holiday activities in and around St Ives. Get the most out of Easter in St Ives with our favourite activities for families.

Looking for a scenic and exciting egg hunt?

The National Trust and Cadbury team up for their Easter trails (6/7 – 22 April), follow the clues to get your tasty Easter treat. Our favourites are Trelissick and Godolphin for gorgeous gardens, and Trengwainton and St Michael’s Mount for stunning scenery. Or just head to Marazion beach to look for special dragon’s eggs amongst all the pebbles.

St Michael's Mount

St Michael’s Mount

Why not get creative?

At Tate St Ives children can get hands on with Tate Create and explore the exhibition by Anna Boghiguian before making their own art figure.

Or get messy with clay at the Leach Pottery who run clay days for 6-12 year olds on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the school holidays.

If you want to get more hands on with chocolate – try a fun Easter themed Chocolate Workshop at Coco Kitchen with St Ives’s very own artisan chocolatier.

Try the coast path!

For fresh air and soul-lifting scenery get out on the coast path – with the gorse and daffodils bursting into colour and the warm spring sunshine its a great time to walk.

This spring there have been regular dolphin sightings, even a humpback whale being spotted in St Ives Bay, so make sure you have your binoculars and get out early to get the best chance.  Check our marine wildlife blog for more information.

Have a bit of drama in your holiday!

The Minack Theatre, with its spectacular clifftop setting has family friendly shows throughout the Easter holidays with the highly enjoyable Squashbox Theatre (Mon/Weds am – book in advance – for younger children), and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

The famous, award-winning Rogue Theatre’s Wild Spring Hare (12-22 April) takes you on a magical journey of immersive outdoor theatre through the wild wood to the Woodland King.

 

Rogue Theatre, Eden Project, Paradise ParkRogue Theatre, Eden Project, Paradise Park

Make a day of it at a family friendly attraction!

At the Eden Project (6-25 April), you can go Down on the Farm and enjoy lots of indoor and outdoor games and activities, story telling, the Great Eden Egg Hunt and trails for the whole family. In Hayle, at Paradise Park, you can get close to goats, rabbits, mini sheep and donkeys in their fun farm field, be a Wildlife Hero or enjoy the Easter Golden Egg Challenge (6-22 April), and race around the indoor soft play area – the Jungle Barn.

We have some great special offers for Easter school holiday family getaways – just £299/night for a fabulous 5-night break for up to 8 people – why not book online now?

Porthminster Gallery Nick Pumphrey

Art in St Ives

01Feb

A quick look at the art movement that made St Ives famous throughout the world, and a round up of upcoming exhibitions to catch in the town.

Alfred Wallis at Chy an Carrack

Alfred Wallis at Chy an Carrack

During and after the second world war, and for a quarter of a century, St Ives became a hub for an internationally successful collective of modern artists, initially including Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Winifred and Ben Nicholson, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, Margaret Mellis and John Wells, amongst others.

Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood were particularly inspired by the primitive paintings of retired St Ives seaman Alfred Wallis.

This movement, boosted by talented and forward thinking Cornish artists such as Peter Lanyon, and young abstract artists such as Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Bryan Wynter, congregated in and around the small harbour town and created an inspirational body of work that influenced other great modern artists including Rothko (who visited Cornwall in the 50s) and reached all corners of the globe.

Tate St Ives Award Winning Extension (Pic - Hufton+Crow)

Tate St Ives Award Winning Extension – Hufton+Crow

In 1980, Tate took over the running of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery, and by the mid 80s plans were afoot to bring a Tate gallery to St Ives, to show works from the Tate collection of artists who had lived or worked in St Ives.

Opened in 1993, Tate St Ives, with a large, award winning extension completed in 2018, houses a permanent collection showing the St Ives School, and a feature gallery with changing exhibitions.

This year, with an exciting internationally flavoured programme, Tate St Ives hosts a first UK retrospective of Egyptian-Canadian artist Anna Boghiguan (8/2-6/5/19); Lebanese artist Huguette Caland has her first UK museum solo exhibition (18/5-1/9/19) and Nigerian-born contemporary artist Otobong Nkanga will install new and existing works (20/9/19-5/1/20).

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery – her St Ives home, workshop and garden, from 1949 til her death there in 1975 – has a permanent exhibition of her sculptures in her living room and garden, and the preserved sculpture workshop.  This can be visited on a joint ticket with Tate St Ives and is highly recommended as a must-see.  See if you can also spot her sculptures around the town.

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach - viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach – viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

The fantastic value Art Pass (£18/£14 concessions, available from all participating venues) will give you a week’s access to Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum, as well as:
the Leach Pottery, St Ives, founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, among the most respected and influential potteries in the world.
Penlee House Gallery and Museum – which shows Luminaires: Victorian Photographers in West Cornwall until 16/3/19, followed by Artists, by themselves – portraits of the Newlyn School and Lamorna Group including works by Stanhope Forbes, Fred Hall, Dame Laura Knight, Dod Procter and Richard Weatherby,
Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange – shows a lively programme through 2019 of contemporary work in all media, from national and international artists.

It’s worth dipping into members’ exhibitions at the Penwith Gallery, home of the Penwith Society of Arts, and the St Ives Society of Artists, which was founded in 1927.

Simon Williams Shape Shifters Porthminster Gallery

Simon Williams – Shape Shifters, Porthminster Gallery – New Beginnings

This rich artistic heritage also gives a great selection of commercial galleries and our top picks to appreciate and browse include:
Porthminster Gallery (feature image – Nick Pumphrey/Visit St Ives) – in an old pilchard-press building, this fascinating gallery features original works by established St Ives School artists, as well as up and coming and St Ives based contemporary artists, sculptors and ceramicists.  They open 2019 with their annual New Beginnings exhibition (until 23/3/19) of artworks by artists new to the gallery including Porthmeor Studios based Simon Williams.
Anima Mundi – at the cutting edge of contemporary art and this year featuring provocative Cornish artist Samuel Bassett (13/4-18/5/19).
– the Belgrave – hosts regular exhibitions of work by major artists associated with the St Ives Modern Period and kicks off 2019 with St Ives artist Bryan Pearce (4-25/3/19).
– the New Craftsman – focuses on craft makers, ceramicists and reputable artists including Rose Hilton, Matthew Lanyon, John Miller, this year’s highlights include Emma Jeffryes and Michael Praed.

Further afield, our top recommendation would be a visit to Kurt Jackson’s Foundation Gallery, in St Just.  This year’s exhibitions start with a retrospective of the late Peter Jackson, who was taught by William Scott, Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost (13/4-18/5/19).

Immerse yourself in art with a special short break Art Lovers package at Chy an Carrack, with a luxury welcome gift bag including free Art in Cornwall book, suggested weekend itinerary and helpful hints for the best art venues to visit in and around St Ives – see Special Offers for more details.

On set at Botallack - Oct 18

Poldark – its a wrap!

16Oct
Ross and Demelza - Poldark, BBC

Ross, Demelza & the Crowns, BBC

Botallack as Wheal Leisure - Oct 18

Botallack as Wheal Leisure – Oct 18

Filming has just finished in West Cornwall for the fifth and final Poldark series.

The top stars of the hit show – Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson – have been staying in St Ives Bay and have been spotted out and about in restaurants, shopping, down at the gym and visiting attractions.  Having been here for 5 consecutive years – the cast really do know this area well!

Once again late September/early October gave some fantastic weather for filming, showing Cornwall and its magnificent scenery at its magical best.  We took a behind the scenes look at one of the iconic locations that is the setting of Wheal Leisure – Poldark’s mining venture.

Perched high on the cliffs, with dramatic views over the Atlantic, the imposing engine houses that dot the landscape are monuments to Cornwall’s 19th century mining heyday.  The mineral rich rocks below created a hot bed of industry and expertise that spread across the world and Cornish miners and engineers and their families resettled in every corner of the globe.

At its peak, around 600 engine houses toiled pumping water from the deep and dangerous shafts below, supplying not just tin, but also two thirds of the world’s supply of copper. At Botallack, the Crowns engine houses that cling to the cliffs are part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

The behind the scenes support for this set was huge – a car park full of enormous trucks and trailers for wardrobe, makeup, editing and sound, as well as catering and security, not to mention horses and their entourage.  With period styled sheds and props, working doors and platforms to emerge from, and the stunning sea as the backdrop Botallack was transformed into the hub of Ross Poldark’s mining holdings.

Now owned by the National Trust, Botallack is a great spot for walking (please note high sheer cliffs), learning about the mining heritage of Cornwall, and has a cafe and visitor centre in what used to be the count house for the mine.

Poldark also features some of West Cornwall’s best and breathtakingly beautiful beaches and coves.

Porthcurno beach, Adam Gibbard

Porthcurno Beach, Adam Gibbard

Poldark filming Porthgwarra, Visit Cornwall

Poldark filming Porthgwarra, Visit Cornwall

On the south coast, Porthcurno stars as Nampara Cove and the memorable shots of Ross Poldark being watched swimming by Demelza were filmed at Porthgwarra.  Around the Roseland, Kynance Cove has also been used for beach scenes.

A beautiful sunny day at Carbis Bay gave great closeups of Ross Poldark in a rowing boat.  Porthcurno and Carbis Bay are particularly family friendly beaches with sheltered blue waters and great facilities. The Poldark stars have enjoyed all this stunning scenery and the odd dip in the beautiful blue waters.  Read their thoughts here.

You can see some suggested family friendly walks around Poldark country here.  If you want to get more info about Poldark in Cornwall – why not download the Experience Poldark app for iphone or Android!

To get a feel of life as a miner and go underground at a real tin mine – Poldark Mine, near Helston, runs tours of the 18th mine workings – some of the underground scenes in Poldark were filmed here.

West Cornwall has really been such a star of the series we will be really sad to see it end!

Minke Whale off Cornwall

Wild about wildlife

31Aug

Anyone who visits Cornwall comes to see the sea, but the amazing animals that populate this beautiful coastline can be a little bit more elusive. Here are some hints to get close to the beautiful ocean wildlife whilst visiting Cornwall.

Atlantic Grey Seals play on rocks

Atlantic Grey Seals play on rocks

Some marine mammals are quite easy to see – grey seals are abundant around the coast and there are great spots to view them from land and sea. They tend to roam around good feeding grounds and haul out at their favourite sunning spots. St Ives Bay has good sources of fish for the seals, and some inaccessible coves that they can retreat to.

Chy an Carrack’s best vantage point is the master en suite, the highest window, from where you can often see seals bobbing around the rocks of Porthminster Point, just below the house.  Keep an eye out for seals around Porthminster Beach, the Harbour and Carbis Bay Beach and on coastal walks.  If you head to Godrevy Point at the other end of the bay there is a haul out cove just around from the lighthouse, peek down the sheer drop from the cliffs above and you are bound to see a few sunning themselves below (more than 100 have been spotted at one time). Even newborn fluffy white seal pups appear during the autumn breeding season. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, near Helston, rescues many seal pups in autumn and winter and at their rescue centre you can see the work they do and get close to the seals.

Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Why not get out onto the sea?  You can take a boat trip to “Seal Island” from St Ives Harbour. Try taking a SUP or kayak out from one of the beaches and if you are lucky you might get close and personal – we had a seal pop up and say hello whilst bodyboarding at Carbis Bay beach last week. They are more likely to be around early in the morning or in the evening when the beaches are less busy.

Dolphins appear regularly but are more elusive than the seals. Chy an Carrack has a great panoramic views of the bay so keep your eyes peeled and get the binoculars out for a closer look if a pod of dolphins does appear, again morning or evening are good times to look. They are also regularly spotted at Porthmeor and Sennen beaches, and known to enjoy a bit of surfing.

The biggest marine life to spot are basking sharks and whales. Basking sharks are gentle giant filter feeders that appear in spring and summer when the plankton blooms – they are easiest seen from headlands like the Lizard or Land’s End. You have to be very lucky to see whales from land, but if you do you certainly don’t forget it – the author having spotted a pod of four enormous whales one winter from Godrevy Point.

Perhaps the best chance to get to see the elusive marine wildlife is to go on a dedicated wildlife cruise, when you might get to see seals, dolphins, the bizarre sunfish, sharks and even whales.

Ocean Sunfish surfaces

Ocean Sunfish surfaces

The south coast is a good cruising location and specialists such as AK Wildlife Cruises run year round excursions from Falmouth and through the year spot a wide variety of these amazing creatures, as well as a wide range of beautiful seabirds. Read more about the thrill of an ocean safari in this great article by Charlie Elder here.

Ocean sunfish and minke whale pictures (taken off the Cornwall coastline) courtesy of Charlie Elder, journalist, photographer and author – check out his beautiful photos and books here.

Awards flying in for St Ives

17Jul

Awards are just flying in for St Ives this year!

Tate St Ives has won the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 award, following its £20m extension to the iconic building that sits above Porthmeor Beach.  Its a fantastic re-imagining of the striking seaside gallery, providing much more space for both a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions.  The current Patrick Heron retrospective is vibrant, colourful and full of the joys of summer.  Read more about the museum award here.  The building extension also received both a 2018 RIBA South West and National Award in recognition of the outstanding architecture.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives and Carbis Bay, St Ives have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag again this year.  The Blue Flag is the international standard for the best beaches in the world only achieved with the highest water quality, safety, cleanliness and environmental standards.  Porthminster Beach, Porthmeor Beach and Carbis Bay also all received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award.

Marvellous May

22May

May is the month when you really start to feel summer in on its way, days lengthen, the sun shines and you can feel the warm sand beneath your toes.

There is plenty to do in St Ives – here’s our guide to making the most of May!

With the warm weather its the perfect time to get into the water – try stand up paddle boarding from the gentle beaches of Porthminster below the house or Carbis Bay just along the coast path.  Surfers can head to Gwithian across the bay or Porthmeor, St Ives. Both have excellent surf schools so if you have never surfed or SUP’d before why not book a lesson?

Patrick Heron – Azalea Garden: May 1956 – Tate
© The estate of Patrick Heron

Tate St Ives launches its main summer exhibition in May (til 30 Sept ’18) and this year the Patrick Heron retrospective brings a life-affirming splash of colour and energy.  The internationally renowned post-war artist was based on the wilder side of St Ives, near Zennor, surrounded by dramatic landscapes and perched overlooking the sea.

Over 300 working artists open their studios to all from 19-28 May 18 in Open Studios Cornwall.  There are many based in and around St Ives and it is a great chance to meet contemporary artists and learn about their skill, book into a workshop or pick up something special.

St Ives Food and Drink Festival (11-13 May 18) – set on the golden sands of Porthminster Beach – just below Chy an Carrack, you can pop down for local and fusion food, chef demos and sample some cracking Cornish beer and spirits.  Our favourites this year were Tarquins Gin Bar and the fish burgers!  Local boy Tom Brown, previously head chef at Outlaws at The Capital, who has just opened his own new London venture Cornerstone, did a great demo scallop dish.

If you want to make the most of the light evenings and the best local seafood – why not have a beach barbecue?  Mackerel fillet burgers are highly recommended as a quick and easy supper, that taste even better on the beach. Just add ciabatta, crisp lettuce, tomato slices, spring onion and a parsley, tarragon and Dijon mayonnaise to raise them to a sublime seaside feast, whilst the sun sets over the waves.

 

 

 

Tate St Ives Exterior

Tate St Ives reopening is a triumph

17Oct
Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Its an extension that has taken 12 years, and what has emerged from this long and detailed process, is an iconic gallery that now commands and celebrates its coastal setting.  It leads you through the story of the British, Cornish and international artists that congregated in and around St Ives during and after the second world war and highlights the astounding impact this tiny artistic corner had on the development of abstraction across the western world.

Works by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson sit beside their international contemporaries and friends Naum Gabo and Piet Mondrian.  Colourful, perceptive and uplifting pieces by Alfred Wallis, Bryan Wynter, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron, John Wells, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, William Scott and Sandra Blow all have their part in this intriguing story and are central to the new permanent exhibition.

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach – viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

The flow of the building has been reversed and the climax of this journey is the fantastic new 500m2 industrial exhibition space that links these abstraction pioneers to contemporary artists.  The debut exhibition features organic, reaching sculptures by Rebecca Warren.  A selection of intriguing recent works their hand-worked, sometimes humorous, spindly forms are a contrast to the smooth, polished, sensual sculptures of Hepworth.

Insights for all ages are available through educational talks and events and activities, boosted by the new studio spaces and installations of interactive explorations of abstract art.  Although spoilt for choice by the surrounding cafes of St Ives, the Tate Café sitting on the roof overlooking the stunning vista of Porthmeor Beach is also worth a visit.

Tate St Ives is just a delightful walk through the town from Chy an Carrack, and a weekend spent absorbing the artistic heritage of the town, the spectacular coastal scenery and sampling some delicious Cornish seafood can’t be far from the perfect winter weekend break!

Alfred Wallis – The Blue Ship circa 1934 – courtesy Tate

Check our online calendar for availability and special offers for luxury self-catering winter breaks in St Ives.

Tate St Ives
Rebecca Warren – All that Heaven Allows – until 7 Jan 2018
Virginia Woolf – 10 Feb – 29 Apr 2018
Patrick Heron – 19 May – 9 Sept 2018

Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden

 

St Ives Food and Drink Festival - credit Lizzie Churchill

St Ives Food and Drink Festival Will Tempt Your Tastebuds

03May

Its fast becoming one of Cornwall’s culinary highlights – the St Ives Food and Drink Festival – and this year looks to be a winner!  Set on the glorious sands of Porthminster Beach on 13 & 14 May 2017, we can guarantee you will catch the mouthwatering aromas from Chy an Carrack’s front door!

Fresh Lobster - credit Matt Jessop Visit Cornwall

Fresh Lobster – pic Matt Jessop Visit Cornwall

Featuring demonstrations from the best Cornwall based chefs including well known names Nathan Outlaw, Jack Stein, Ben Prior and Mitch Tonks, celebrity chefs such as Frances Quinn (Bake Off winner) and Jane Devonshire (Masterchef winner) plus guest chefs from the area’s top restaurants including the Porthminster Beach Café, the Alba, and Rick Stein Restaurants there will be skills and brilliant food abounding.

Some of the regions best food and drink producers will be at The Market to display the fantastic array of produce and beverages this county has to offer – be ready to take home a good haul!

To get a flavour of the festival why not check out this tasty Cornish lobster recipe from the Porthminster Beach Café cookbook – Cornish Lobster with Vanilla Mayonnaise & Citrus Salad.

Plus there are street food stalls, kids activities, music, a food trail through the town and much more.  Not to be missed!

Find out more here.  Check our online calendar for availability and prices for the weekend.

Kurt Jackson Following the Surfer

Following the Surfer

27Feb
Kurt Jackson surfboard

Kurt Jackson surfboard

Popped down to see the fantastic exhibition – Obsession: Following the Surfer by Kurt Jackson this month.  A real gem with a series of large and small paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics inspired by the coastline and surfing.  One of our favourite pictures (featured top) really did have such power and depth you could dive right in.

This gallery space in St Just is a clean, fresh canvas to display the wide variety of works that local artist Kurt produces and is well worth a visit.

We look forward to the next exhibition Bees (and the Odd Wasp) in My Bonnet – that runs from 25 March  – 19 August 2017.

More info here