Christmas Break in Cornwall: Porthtowan and St Ives

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St Ives View

We decided Christmas 2017 that it might be nice to go away for 2018. After a little searching we struck upon Surf Sounds Apartment in Porthtowan.  It has a balcony overlooking the sea, a short walk to the beach, and provides fairly easy access to St Ives and Penzance. We booked it Boxing Day ’17 for the following year.

It was a good choice. That said there were two primary issues. The first was a 400 mile drive (which we broke up with a stop over in Bristol), and the second was GPS. We put in the post code for the apartment, but our “trusty” GPS took us to a location on the hills above the village. So word of advice, log in Beach Road or Unicorn Pub as your destination, it works better than the post code.

Now the positives. Gilly, the owner made our arrival easy.  She had sent us the code to the key locker so our arrival time was left a bit open for us. On our arrival we were greeted by a decorated Christmas Tree, stings of lights, and mince pies and mulled wine. What a wonderful touch.

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Downstairs Bedroom

The apartment had a open plan kitchen/lounge, a loft bedroom with a double bed, a bathroom (with whirlpool), and a smaller room with two twin beds. The lounge had TV, WiFi, and a bed/settee. A full array of cooking utensils, a fridge, cooker, and microwave were also provided.  Just to note, we have used “holiday flats” before, but this is the first time we had loo roll, washing up liquid, and towels provided.  Again, a pleasant surprise.

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The electricity was on a pound coin meter, but it was set at a reasonable rate, and we only needed to insert a couple of pounds a day.

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There is a cafe on the beach front, the aforementioned Unicorn Pub a few 100 meters away, and a village shop for necessities.  We obtained our main groceries from a Tesco Superstore in nearby Redruth (about a 20 minute round trip).

The view of the beach was wonderful, and while a grey December as a whole, the sun did break through from time to time, and we could watch the surfers doing their thing.

On Christmas Day we made a drive into St Ives. St Ives seems more a geographical expression than a “town,” as there are several villages and build up areas that make up “St Ives.”  We did, however get to the beach area near the Tate and were able to take in views of the surf, surfers, and dog walkers.

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Tate St Ives

Though the museum was closed for the holiday, it was still a bit of interesting architecture, and our main reason for stopping was the historic town, and the sea views.

The best views were actually in the public “pay and display” car park above the Tate. It provided nice views of the sea, of the church (in the top photo), and of the St Nicholas Chapel – which was an early Christian missions point, a chapel proper, revenues post, and coast guards station in its long history.

Next week I will post on our visits to Penzance, and Land’s End.



Surf Sounds Booking Info


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