Known locally as "The Island" the promontory that juts out into the sea was once topped with a fortress - it's old name was Pandinas, meaning "fortified headland". Nowadays it has the St Ives lookout station of the National Coastwatch Institution which was formerly used by the Coastguards. The NCI is a voluntary organisation established in 1994 to provide a visual lookout over the coast and sea at a time when smaller Coastguard stations were being cut back.
The station here, one of 46 around the country (as of September 2012), is manned by trained volunteers year-round to provide a daylight watch over the beaches, coastal paths and the sea and can work with the Coastguards and other emergency services should they see anyone in trouble. They also observe weather conditions and can provide up-to-date reports on the sea state to interested parties such as watersports people and boat users/
The seaward path around The Island is part of the South West Coastal Path and walking this short section takes you very briefly out of the urban environment and, when the weather conditions are right, into a dramatic seascape as it was during my visit.
Dolphins appear in St Ives summertime and into early autumn when the water is warm enough. The first time we were here we did not see any, but the second time around we were luckier and my daughter even got to surf with one fishing nearby! They pop up at different times throughout the day, but usually afternoons and early evenings rather than mornings. We saw one at Porthmeor Beach, but Porthminster is equally good since they are often seen in St Ives Bay. This is just one of the reasons for bringing binoculars to Cornwall.
Fondest memory: When my daughter came up from her surfing, saying "mum, I think I just saw a dolphin, how do I know it's not a shark?". We then saw it a second time along with all the other lucky people, and realised that it was indeed a dolphin fin we looked at again and again for a good half hour.
Favorite thing: Do like the English - buy yourself a cheap beach cricket set in any of the souvenir shops in the town centre or on the beaches. Then hit your favourite beach - even the harbour at low tide like the guys in this picture. If you pay for my trip I'll be your umpire. :)
St Ives Harbour and Beach are lovely to chill out at. We didn't swim here as it was too crowded for our liking. It's perfect for grabbing an ice cream or fish and chips, and sitting at, watching the people.
We particularly loved Porthminster Beach (a cove btwn Carbis Bay and St Ives), which was close to St Ives (a short coastal walk away), yet didn't have the throngs of people on the beach.
St Ives is a must, full to the brim with cobbled alleyways (wear comfortable trainers!),
There are a wide variety of galleries - from cheap and average to expensive and high quality artwork.
There are plenty of restaurants for every pocket.
The surrounds are very very steep... and I am not a good hill climber, but this does add to the character of the place.
Gorgeous architecture, beach, harbour... we loved it all... it's hard to fault St Ives... except it would have been nicer if there were fewer people there... how inconsiderate of everyone to visit there when we were! ;)
Outside the information office there is a tall metal structure. You can access world news, weather and send text and video e-mails for free! You CAN'T recieve e-mails at the kiosk, only send.
One morning I was using the kiosk and the mayor of St. Ives, Harry R G Isaacs, stopped and chatted with me. Very nice man.
For recieving e-mail, the town library has 3 computers with a high speed line. You MUST sign up for a spot to use the computers before you use them. I caused a small spot of trouble for the librarian I'm sorry to say but all was ok in the end.
Fondest memory: Chatting with the mayor Harry R G Isaacs, walking on the harbor and golfing at Treganna Castle
We parked up at just off the rounabout at Penzance and paddled along the beach up to St Michael's Mount.
By the time we got there, the path was knee deep in Water so we just got there before the tide came in. Needless to say, we have to get one of the many ferries back!
The place itself was lovely with a little cafe to get your Cornish Pasties and Cream Teas and a little Ice Cream Hut to give you a little something to walk around the gardens with.
we actually only paid to go in the Castle but you can pay extra to walk around the Gardens which look very nice. You can see them from the Castle anyway which is why we decided not to bother.
Fondest memory: It's laid back holiday feel and in particular with St Michael's Mount - they invite you to ask questions which is always good
These web-sites have some good local info :