Our Weekend in St Ives with Cornwall 365 and The Carbis Bay Hotel
St Ives holds special memories for Chris and I as we got engaged there 10 years ago this week. We were approached a while back by Cornwall 365 (a local cultural and tourism collective) who have recently published the book 'Find and Seek,' an illustrated atlas of Cornwall's culture and heritage. To celebrate, we were asked to go on our own little adventure to explore Cornwall in and around St Ives and we jumped at the chance! This is what we got up to.
We arrived at The Carbis Bay Hotel in time to watch the sun set. We were accommodated in one of their beautiful Beach Houses, situated literally a stones throw from Carbis bay beach. The Carbis Bay Hotel boasts a wide range of accommodation from staying in the hotel proper to coastal properties such as the Beach Houses and ultra luxurious Beach Lodges (currently being built on the shore line.) Their sister hotel The Gannet Inn is also a lovely alternative, styled as a more intimate boutique stay further up the hill.
The Beach House (as you will see in our video tour hosted by Jonah) had a kitchen, large family bathroom and a contemporary living room/dining area downstairs, with patio doors leading out to a bbq area with views of the beach. Upstairs there was a toilet and two large bedrooms; the Master bedroom with balcony overlooking the beach for Mummy and Daddy and a double room for the boys. All was furnished to a high standard in a nautical theme and felt luxurious. The kitchen came equipped with a washing machine and Nespresso machine which are always considered bonusses when we travel!
Dinner time at The Beach Club Restaurant
Once we had settled in and the boys had bounced on all the beds, we headed up to the main hotel for pre-dinner drinks. Although we didn't dine there, we had a peek in at the award winning Sands Restaurant which was full with other guests and a couple of Birthday celebrations.
We decided that with the boys and after a long drive, the family friendly Beach Club Restaurant offered more of a relaxed environment for us to dine. We enjoyed home made burgers, wood fired pizzas and Daddy enjoyed a Thai style Sea Bass, topped off with a New York Cheesecake which we took home to share in our new pad.
After a delightful night sleep with the sound of the ocean to lull us, the boys were up early and eager of a day of fun by the sea. Because we only arrived the evening before with a glimpse of the sea in daylight, it was such a treat to see our view in the morning light. We were here in March, I can only imagine how wonderful the view and atmosphere would be like in the height of summer.
Breakfast at the hotel
As a Mother of Boys, I know how important it is to make sure they are fully fueled for the day ahead. Breakfast was served in the Sands Restaurant that we had spied the evening before and we were seated at the best table in the room; overlooking the outdoor pool. It was a bit chilly in March to enjoy it, but it was lovely to look at! The Continental Selection was laid out as self-service, with an additional gluten and dairy free table. There was an 'Express,' hot food bar where you could get some cooked breakfast items if you were in a hurry, however there was a hot food menu made to order which we enjoyed both mornings.
The coastal path
With full stomachs an energy under our belts, we set off for St Ives along the coastal path from Carbis Bay. You'll see on our video how lovely the views were, despite the rain shower that caught us off guard! Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite as idyllic and calm as we had hoped but ever British, we endured the wind and the rain and shortly arrived at Porthminster Beach.
The tate st ives
After our breezy walk along the coast, across the harbour and through the town of St Ives, we decided to get some shelter from the weather and headed to The Tate St Ives. The building is impressive and imposing, overlooking Porthmeor beach. The cafe beckoned us to it on the top floor before enjoying some of the galleries below.
As much as I enjoy places like The Tate, it wasn't great with the boys. Winter discovered that if he shouted, it would echo impressively and so continued to do so throughout the hushed galleries. When Jonah cottoned on to the idea, he joined in too, much to the disapproval of other visitors. We raced around to the gift shop and headed out again, relieved to be in a more noise tolerating environment.
Waiting for us outside the Tate was Tim Uff, owner of Tour Cornwall; a bespoke travel company offering private tours around the region. Although we only hired Tim for a couple of hours, visitors to the South West can hire Tour Cornwall and one of their 9 seater vehicles for the duration of their stay.
We decided to make the most of our 3 hour tour by heading to Land's End via Marazion and St Michael's Mount, before heading back up the coast to St Ives. We were a little nervous about having our own tour guide as we would normally drive ourselves around, but were immediately reassured by Tim's friendly and down to earth nature. We were so impressed by his knowledge, as people who have lived in Cornwall (Chris grew up here and I've lived in Cornwall for 8 years) we learnt a lot on our tour. We particularly enjoyed learning some of the Celtic history and folklore by visiting the Merry Maidens (similar to Stonehenge) but also learning all about the world of Poldark (film locations etc) which is a popular theme for his American clients.
dinner at the hungry gannet
We were pretty famished after our busy day and after saying a fond farewell to our tour guide, we headed for The Gannet Inn and their restaurant The Hungry Gannet for dinner. Luckily the boys had both had a nap on the tour so still had energy for the evening. As I mentioned earlier, The Gannet Inn is the smaller boutique hotel sister of The Carbis Bay Hotel, situated on the main road into St Ives. I have to say it was right up my street in terms of style and atmosphere, and I LOVED our dining experience. As we are celebrating 10 years of engagement, I've been hinting a lot this month about Chris taking back and staying there for a weekend. Fingers crossed it will happen (but I won't get my hopes up!) The restaurant was quiet, but it was 6.30 and I was pretty happy about that as it made me feel more relaxed dining with two under 5s. The waitress was lovely and the food was outstanding. I had steak, Chris had a burger and the boys had homemade macaroni cheese and all was perfect. With full tummies and happy hearts we headed back to our beach house for another night of falling asleep to the sound of the sea.
We had a lot to pack in to our Sunday before heading home. Luckily the weather was kinder to us that day so we headed out early for a walk along the beach before breakfast.
the c bay spa
One of the big features of The Carbis Bay Hotel is its multi award winning C Bay Spa. Lucky for Daddy, he was booked in for a treatment. The Carbis Bay Hotel offer full and half Spa days for individuals, couples and hen parties, and we saw quite a few robed guests around the hotel during our stay.
Chris chose a 'Head in the Clouds,' massage and whilst Jonah, Winter and I went for a little explore around the pool area.
With one very relaxed Daddy, we packed up the car and said a sad goodbye to The Carbis Bay Hotel and our lovely Beach House. We couldn't resist stopping in St Ives for a real Cornish Pasty at The Cornish Bakery before heading home to Devon... (it was delicious!)
We have written this article in collaboration with Cornwall 365 and The Carbis Bay Hotel. All opinions are our own.