Scottish Daily Mail

HAP­PI­NESS-ON-SEA

With sparkling bays and di­vine restau­rants, it’s been voted Bri­tain’s jol­liest town...

- JEFF MILLS Recreation · Travel · St Ives · United Kingdom · Turkey · London · Nigeria · Beaches · Gulf Stream · Barbara Hepworth · Hepworth · Tate St Ives · Zennor · D. H. Lawrence

THe world is up­side down. So it makes com­plete sense to visit pop­u­lar haunts out of season, which is why we’re zoom­ing down the A30 with the West Coun­try and St Ives in our sights. What’s more, the warm cur­rents of the Gulf Stream are sweep­ing around the south-west coast, giv­ing us a tiny touch of the Mediter­ranean.

I would go as far as to say that the town’s al­most-too- cute white­washed cot­tages bring to mind St Tropez, ex­cept that the Cor­nish beaches are big­ger, sandier and gen­er­ally bet­ter than those on the Cote d’Azur. Though a lit­tle breezier. No won­der it was named this week as the hap­pi­est place to live in Bri­tain by the Right­move Happy at Home In­dex.

In spite of its film- set ap­pear­ance, St Ives pulls off a clever trick. It man­ages to be a tra­di­tional english bucket-and-spade sea­side re­sort and a su­per-cool de­sign and foodie des­ti­na­tion at the same time — even in winter.

The straw-boater-clad man sell­ing ice cream by the har­bour hands me a cou­ple of vanilla cones with a stern warn­ing. ‘Watch out for the seag­ulls, they’re huge and they’re greedy.’ He’s right. The big­gest could hold their own in a weigh-in with a Christ­mas turkey.

We are stay­ing in the Sail Lofts St Ives apart­ments, just a few min­utes’ walk from the sea. Our flat comes with a pri­vate parking space, a rar­ity here. On our first evening, the sight of an al­most full moon above the quick­sil­ver sea of St Ives Bay stops us in our tracks as we walk to the Porthg­wid­den Beach Cafe. Our white wine is brought to the table in an ice-filled plas­tic beach bucket.

A lit­tle gim­mick helps with Covid rules: two plas­tic spades are placed on the bar by the en­trance. The idea is that if you head to the loo you take one with you and re­turn it when you come back, show­ing whether it’s va­cant or not — avoid­ing queues on the stairs.

The choice of places to eat out is im­pres­sive. The Sea Food Cafe and One Fish Street, both a few steps from the har­bour, are well known but there are new­com­ers, too, such as Feed, on the out­skirts of town where one-time Lon­don builder turned fast-food chef Luke O’Mal­ley does a roar­ing trade servi ng l ocally sourced take­away break­fasts and lunches.

It is some­thing to do with the re­laxed life­style which led to St Ives be­com­ing, and re­main­ing, so pop­u­lar with artists, such as sculp­tor Bar­bara Hep­worth, whose house is now a mu­seum. Small stu­dios where artists of­fer their work can be found in the lanes lead­ing from the har­bour. Look for quaint Dow­na­long and Fore Street Street, and Leach Pot­tery, founded by Bernard Leach in 1920.

Tate St Ives, over­look­ing the surfers’ Porth­meor Beach, has been so suc­cess­ful the gallery’s ex­hi­bi­tion space has dou­bled in size from three years ago. South Korean artist Haegue Yang is set to show her sculp­tures here.

Be­fore head­ing home check out some of the out­stand­ing walks this part of Corn­wall has to of­fer. Try the chal­leng­ing coastal path, run­ning eight miles towards Zen­nor. Then go for lunch at the Tin­ners Arms, ap­par­ently a favourite of D.H. Lawrence. Hap­pi­ness on a plate.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Shore thing: Pretty St Ives in Corn­wall has been judged the hap­pi­est place in Bri­tain
Shore thing: Pretty St Ives in Corn­wall has been judged the hap­pi­est place in Bri­tain

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK