West Coast of Cornwall

The far west of Cornwall is a land of legend and folklore, quaint fishing villages and miles of beaches where you can sit and watch the waves, or walk along the shoreline with the keening calls of the gulls in the background.  Seaside towns such as St Ives are popular tourist destinations, and many people return time and again, but this area also boasts many other attractions that, once discovered, will become firm favourites.

St Ives must be one of the premier resorts in Cornwall, with its beaches, its many excellent cafes and restaurants, and of course its reputation as a mecca for artists, drawn there by the ethereal quality of the light and the beautiful scenery.  To get there, rather than arrive by road, why not take a train along the branch line from St Erth, with outstanding views out over the bay as you come into town.

The Tate St Ives has to be worth a visit.  The gallery is one of just four Tate Galleries in the world.  It is well worth taking the time to check out the exhibits, and immerse yourself in the scenery of the area, as seen through the eyes of painters and sculptors.  While you’re there, have a look round the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, where her works are beautifully displayed in peaceful settings.

St Ives has four sandy beaches, the Harbour Beach, Porthminster, Porthmeor and Porthgwidden, which are wonderful places for traditional seaside activities.  Dogs are allowed out of season, but are not permitted during the holiday season (in most cases this is from just before Easter to the end of September).  Boat trips from the harbour allow you to go out fishing or simply watch the scenery (you may even spot a seal or two!

Godrevy is an excellent example of the stunning coastal scenery you can find in this area.  Walk the cliff paths and gaze out over the oceans - see how many birds you can spot, or in the winter months, you could spend hours storm-watching from the warm haven of the Godrevy Beach Cafe, while enjoying a cream tea.  The beach at Gwithian is also great for surfing, with a surf school, plus wetsuit and board hire.  For family entertainment, try Paradise Park, a wildlife sanctuary where you can see displays with birds of prey, and learn about the important conservation work they are doing.

The little villages of Mousehole (pronounced “Mouzle”) and Porthcurno offer a restful retreat for those who want to get away from it all.  The harbour and coastline of these lovely areas offer traditional activities such as fishing trips, walking and sightseeing, but you can also visit Porthcurno’s Cable Station and Engineering College, which allowed the village to become a place of international importance as one of the foremost submarine communications cable stations, handling telegraph messages from as far afield as India.  St Michael’s Mount is another visitor attraction worth seeing, as is the stunning clifftop Minack Theatre.