Nothing beats St Ives on a sunny day, sitting at one of the many excellent cafes overlooking clear turquoise sea - except perhaps a stormy day, when Atlantic breakers roll in and the surfers hit the beaches. Summer in Cornwall is a lovely time of year, with longer days to enjoy the famously beautiful, clear light, world class gardens open to the public as well as some of Britain's best music, food and cultural festivals.
Leo's Cottage has arguably the best sea views in town, and is in the heart of Downalong, the old fishing quarter - a maze of narrow, cobbled streets, artists studios and cafes. A quiet No Through Road and sea wall are all that separate the house from Bamaluz beach - a small cove with year round, unrestricted access for dog walkers and a golden, sandy beach at low tide.
Built around 1840, the house has been fixed up and redecorated since 2013's astonishingly wet and windy winter. A few years previously, it was modernised (WiFi, heating, great showers, comfy mattresses, shaver sockets, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave) but its soul is still intact. You'll find interesting art, vintage furniture, bath towels, Egyptian cotton bed linen and a place that feels like home, painted in shades of chalky white and grey to reflect St Ives wonderful light. Floors are wooden or tiled, making it practical for pets and families with children.
- The South West Coastal path goes right past the door.
- A few seconds to the right is the harbour with its cafes, shops, pubs and pale gold sandy beach.
- Five minutes to the left: Porthgwidden beach, with its wonderful cafe. A great spot for swimming.
- Well-equipped kitchen, cosy breakfast room, seats eight
- Porch with stable doors facing the quiet street outside and the sea
- Tide clock: half past low tide or quarter to high?
Living room: Views to Godrevy Lighthouse and across St Ives Bay to make the most jaded heart sing. Facing east-west, this room gets wonderful light, morning and afternoon. Furnished with vintage finds and art from local galleries, the room runs the length of the second floor.
You might spot dolphins and seals, along with cormorants, kittiwakes, turnstones and other seabirds.
Two sofas, two armchairs, window seat and space for children to play, plus:
- Books, DVDs, Plasma screen TV/DVD player with Freeview channels and iPod dock, board games, cards.
- Double sofa bed, proper sprung mattress
- Small sofa
- Small bureau
- Turkish rugs
- Blankets for afternoon snoozes
Sea-facing area with sofabed can be curtained off for privacy.
West-facing rear window overlooks a small patio, a very quiet road and other fisherman's cottages.
- Multicoloured slate floors, white suite, limestone walls
- Bath with over bath power shower
- Shaver sockets
- Mirrored cabinets
- Heated towel rail
- Master bedroom - wonderful sea views, window seat; ensuite (walk in shower, basin, loo, shaver socket); wardrobe
- Smaller double, and small single room - both with views of the slate roofs and quaint streets of Downalong
- All have pretty mirrors, under bed storage, hanging space and chests of drawers.
- Landing cupboard with space to hang clothes
At the front of the house:
- A hose to wash down boards and sandy feet
- A porch to store wellies, coats and beach gear
- Stable doors open on to the quiet road outside.
To the rear
A small courtyard with a clothes line. The steps up to what was once the front door catch the afternoon sun.
|Size||Sleeps up to 7, 3 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Bamaluz, the Harbour, Porthgwidden 10 m|
|Will consider||Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Access||Car not necessary|
|Nearest Amenities||800 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Newquay 44 km, Nearest railway: St Ives 500 m|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Internet access, DVD player, Sea view|
|General||Central heating, TV, CD player, Telephone, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 1 En suites|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (1), Double beds (2), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 6|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Further details indoors|
- High quality mattresses
- Hypo allergenic duvets
- Feather and down or hypo allergenic pillows
- Good central heating
- Floors are wooden or tiled
- Two hairdryers
- Walk in shower (ensuite)
- Combi boiler - hot water won't run out
- Heated towel rails
- Combined shower / bath (family bathroom)
- Shaver sockets
Kitchen equipment includes
- Landline telephone for incoming and emergency calls
- iPod / iPad / iPhone docking speaker
- Cookery books - Rick Stein, Mary Berry's cakes, Jamie Oliver...
- Proper wine glasses (red, white, fizz, port)
- Microwave, can also be used as a normal oven
- Lots of roasting, baking and serving dishes
- Food processor
- Large and small teapots, cafetiere
- Oyster shucking block and knife
The breakfast room comfortably seats eight around the (extendable) table, with additional seating for hanging out in the kitchen.
There is also a landline phone for emergency (dial 999) and incoming calls.
- Walks around St Ives
- Maps of Cornwall
- Cornish myths and mysteries
- Cornish shipwrecks
- Art books - Hepworth museum, local art scene
- Novels set in Cornwall by Daphne du Maurier and Virginia Woolf
- Various novels, poetry and non-fiction
|Further details outdoors|
- Drop off luggage outside the front door
- Long and short stay parking around the corner at the Island or Smeaton's Pier public car parks
- Other parking near the Tate and near Tesco's
Well behaved pets are welcome.
Tell us your experience of staying in the cottage.
Discounts for repeat bookings.
Cornwall is a magical place, steeped in ancient folklore and traditions. Its coastline has a rugged beauty and a bloody history, the scene of gruesome shipwrecks and the most successful smuggling scene in Europe a few hundred years ago. Once one of the poorest counties in England, its main industries were mining and fishing. Gold, tin and copper mining began well before the Romans came to Britain, and brought wealth, trade and learning from Europe to the region.
The smugglers pubs and hideouts remain, but the clientele is more likely to feature people enjoying some of the best restaurants and cafes in Britain. Food in Cornwall is an absolute delight - you'll still find cream teas, cake shops and pubs serving real ale, along with world class seafood, wonderful local cheeses, award-winning wine from the Camel Valley, homemade breads and responsibly farmed meat, which can make self-catering as much as a pleasure as eating out.
Vegetarians and those looking for gluten-free versions of the same are well catered for. The tea shop nearest the cottage does home-made, gluten-free scones and pastries.
There's lots to do in Cornwall - festivals, kids theatre, Lost Gardens of Heligon, the Eden Project, art events, gardens open to the public, birdwatching, and more.
St Ives fame as an artists' colony is well documented. The reason painters and sculptors have flocked to this little town is partly the light: being surrounded on three sides by sea, the light is like nowhere else on mainland Britain.
The other element is the scale and nature of the town, which as sculptor Barbara Hepworth put it, means it is possible to live a simple life. You can walk everywhere, buy everything you need, and entertain yourself within a ten-minute radius. It's bliss.
- Voted BEST SEASIDE RESORT in the UK by US British Heritage Magazine
- Member of the exclusive BEAUTIFUL BAYS IN THE WORLD Club.
Downlong, the old fishing quarter, is a maze of slate-roofed granite cottages and artists' studios surrounded on three sides by beaches, each of which is different. It's pretty, and has a lot of character - superficially and especially when you dig deeper.
After many other places, it also feels clean. Very clean. Porthminster beach has again been awarded Marine Conservation Society stamp of approval (higher than the European designated standard) for its sparkling sand and clear water. You breathe champagne air.
Beaches are pinky-white and golden sand with a few shells. The Harbour and Porthgwidden beaches are perfect for families with children, and safe for swimmers. On Porthmeor beach (the long one, by the Tate), there are more likely to be waves. St Ives has had a surf school there since the 1950. Rent a wetsuit, take a lesson, or a seat on the deck of Porthmeor cafe to watch the action.
Best of all, you don't have to leave the beach to get something (very) nice to eat or drink. Try the Porthmeor, Porthgwidden and Porthminster (voted best restaurant in the UK by the Times and the Telegraph in recent years) beach cafes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, ice creams, fish and chips, juices... gluten free cream teas at The Tea Room - or pick up a pastie in town or maybe some fresh crab and make your own sandwiches.