The relatively painless journey from my childhood hometown of Bristol meant that trips to Devon and Cornwall were regularly on the holiday agenda growing up. However, the thought of a seven hour car journey from Brighton was something that filled me with dread. Not to mention the additional strain of three children in the back. But the promise of finally visiting St. Ives (which aforementioned holidays never took us too) and a stay at Beachspoke’s Coxswain’s Cottage was enough to persuade all of us that this would be worth the drive.
As we pulled into St. Ives we were awestruck by the approaching vista. Clear blue water, not a cloud in the sky and palm trees proudly decorating every street. And what narrow streets they were… Our rather large rental car was not the most practical vehicle for navigating through the winding roads! Thankfully we made it to the car park that had been helpfully recommended by Beachspoke and immediately bagged ourselves a parking spot, which we’d later realise was nothing short of a miracle.
Following directions to the cottage we trundled along with our luggage. Passing hoards of wetsuit clad families along the way, we exchanged glances that communicated nervous anticipation of our private surf lesson, which Beachspoke had organised for us the following morning.
Minutes later we arrived at Coxswain’s Cottage. A delightfully unassuming property that in no way betrayed the chic interior within. As we opened the door and tumbled inside, sounds of admiration (James and I) and sheer excitement (the boys) swept through the cottage. Every room was finished to a high standard in a style that seamlessly combines old world mariner chic with a modern industrial aesthetic. Bedrooms were bright and inviting with on suite bathrooms equipped with Bamford toiletries and fluffy bathrobes. All beautifully presented with the kind of sophistication you would expect from a boutique hotel.
The kitchen and living area were ideal spaces for a family of five to spread out and make ourselves at home. As soon as the boys had overcome the novelty of the bedrooms (Frank overjoyed at the prospect of a double bed all to himself) the snug corner sofa in the living room would be their next go to. Meanwhile down in the kitchen, James and I put Alexa to the test whilst figuring out the Nespresso machine. We could hear the sound of the sea from the back porch, so grabbed the beach bag and grass mats that sat ready for impromptu moments like these, and found ourselves on the beach within seconds!
The cottage is situated literally behind Porthmeor beach, connecting guests via a code protected door reserved for residents only. Reflecting on our stay at Coxswain’s Cottage this was the feature that really made our time there such a unique and memorable one. Access to the beach at any given moment, without the hassle of cars, parking, trudging through the streets with beach paraphernalia felt like such a luxury— especially with kids. The boys loved the freedom of it too, and with no roads between the cottage and the beach we could let them head over to play whenever they fancied, without a worry.
To add to our fantastic stay was the opportunity to experience one of St. Ives main attractions. St. Ives Surf School is situated on Porthmeor beach, testament to the often impressive waves that bring so many to the area. Beachspoke kindly organised a surf lesson for us all and with James the only one of us who had tried the sport already, we were apprehensive but up for the challenge! The boys joined in with St Ives Surf School while James and I had a private lesson with three times British surf campion Alan Stokes of Wild and Free Adventures. Wet suit clad and board at the ready we diligently listened to everything Alan taught us, in the hopes that soon we would be riding the crest of the wave like naturals. We didn’t. But the time spent trying was one of the best experiences we’d ever had. Alan was such a great guy— hugely knowledgeable (of course) but also patient and fun. Even though our bodies ached the next day, James couldn’t resist hiring a board from the surf school and getting back in the water.
In the three days we spent at St. Ives we managed to cover so much of what makes it such a special place. The Barbara Hepworth Gallery, amazing meals at Porthmeor Cafe and Porthminster Cafe, as well as the tasty simplicity of fish and chips on the quay.
We honestly can’t wait to visit St. Ives again, and after some chats with the locals were told how great it is over christmas and new year. Who knows, we may be back before the year is out…
Thank you Beachspoke 🙂