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St I’ve fallen for this place
St Ives (Cornwall, England)
Member Name: ihatebroccoli
St Ives (Cornwall, England)
Date: 12/08/00, updated on 12/08/00 (135 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful beaches, lots of art shops, The Tate Gallery
Disadvantages: You eventually have to leave
If you want tranquillity, beautiful beaches, art, and friendly people, this is the place to come. Given the tag “Artist’s Paradise” by most sources of information, St Ives is just that, and more. It’s a paradise for anyone who wants a peaceful break in beautiful surroundings, and if I could finance myself, I would live there immediately.
How could anyone resist a place with such pretty houses, narrow steep roads, and an abundance of art shops and galleries? The road names themselves are surely endearing enough – places like “Teetotal Street” for example.
I have been to St Ives many times, by coach and by car. The coach drop-off point (only for certain coaches I think though) is very close to the shops, as the coaches obviously cannot fit down the narrow lanes (and really, who would want them to) – so this is very handy for getting down into the town. By car, there is pretty much the same problem – narrow streets, and not many places to stop. We managed to find a car park by the beautiful little Porthgwidden Beach, but it does get very full very quickly, and you have to get there early to get a space.
The feature of St Ives I like the most, other than the beautiful beaches, is of course The Tate Gallery. Sympathetically designed in an architectural sense, the shapely white building almost moulds into Porthmeor Beach, which stands in front of it. It is almost another curve of the coastline, and benefits the town considerably I think.
The Tate opened in June 1993, and presents modern art created or associated with Cornwall. The building was purpose built, and the setting provides the opportunity to view works, in many cases, in the surroundings in which they were created. The building is striking, and full of light, and constructed largely from compatible local materials, textures and shapes.
There is no permanent collection at the Tate St Ives, as it bases its displays
on selected works from the Tate Gallery’s collection – the National Collection of British and Modern Art. These displays also include loans from other public or private collections. The Gallery also presents work by contemporary artists with regular exhibitions and artists’ projects.
In addition to the main gallery, you will find the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is a short walk away. This consists of a small house, what were her working studios and a secluded garden, which creates a remarkable setting for the selection of major examples of her work on show.
Apart from The Tate, I thoroughly enjoyed my time munching many delicious Cornish pasties, and wandering around the many art shops and galleries. I stumbled upon one art shop in particular, quite close to the coach drop-off, where I was taken aback by the paintings and prints in the window. I immediately went in and browsed around, searching for what I had seen in the window - a painting by the Cornish-based artist Tobias Trenwith, which I found and purchased on the spot. You can pick up many fantastic pieces of art at reasonable prices in these little shops, and it is really beneficial to just wander around.
If you want to stay in St Ives, there are nearly always little notices in windows (like the one in Teetotal Street) advertising holiday flats for rent, which work out quite well for a group of people, and are very close to the beaches. If you want to live there however, you’ll pretty much have to have won the lottery, as the majority of houses are expensive because of their location to the beach.
The postcard I sent home at the end of my last visit to St Ives probably looked more like the Mediterranean than Cornwall – white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, and the shapely white figure of The Tate. As I said at the beginning, if it’s a peaceful, relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings that you’
;re wanting, you’ll find it at St Ives. Plus, you’re quite well positioned within Cornwall to be in easy reach of other towns, should you actually want to leave St Ives that is. I didn’t.