Explore this beautiful corner of Cornwall
Polmanter makes a wonderful base to discover West Cornwall. We’re a mile and a half from postcard-perfect St Ives; and although we feel wonderfully remote and rural, the A30 is just a ten-minute drive away. However, you can easily leave your car behind at Polmanter and explore by bus, rail, bike or foot.
The far west of Cornwall, known as Penwith, is rich in attractions to visit and places to discover. Home to St Michael’s Mount, the Minack Theatre and old mining heritage, we also have some of Cornwall’s finest beaches and coastal walks. Here are just a few recommendations.
The famous South West Coast Path can be picked up from St Ives, or from further west towards Zennor. Out of the 630 miles of pathway, we think that the stretch between St Ives and Zennor is the most beautiful! It’s also challenging in places, so if you’re looking for a relaxed stroll, head east from St Ives towards Carbis Bay. You can also admire the stunning coastline from a trip to Seal Island onboard the Dolly P, who departs daily from the harbour during the busy season.
Choose from a range of beautiful beaches: sweeping Porthminster and Porthmeor Beaches (both of which have wonderful restaurants and great facilities), Harbour Beach in the town centre, Porthgwidden (a pretty cove which again has a lovely cafe) and little Bamaluz which welcomes dogs all year round. In the main season, our bus can take you (and all your beach kit!) close to all of these.
We’re all excited about the reopening of Tate St Ives later this year. As well as this famous attraction, try the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Leach Pottery, or potter (sorry…) around the town’s plethora of wonderful little galleries. You may be inspired, like generations of artists have been, to be creative yourself in St Ives. Book onto a course or workshop at the St Ives School of Painting, or Barnoon Workshop has a wonderful selection of workshops, including great sessions for kids.
Cornwall is the UK’s surfing hotspot – and many visitors make the most of the waves during their time here. If you’re new to surfing, St Ives Surf School on beautiful Porthmeor Beach offers courses for beginners. Ocean Sports Centre on nearby Carbis Bay offers a wide range of marine-based fun, including stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking.
Because it’s a relatively small area, you can see a lot of West Cornwall by bike. West Cornwall Bike Hire in neighbouring Gwithian has a range of cycles to choose from. Have a look at the Sustrans website for ideas of great Cornish cycle routes. Leave your vehicle behind at Polmanter, and feel that fresh Cornish wind in your hair…
St Ives has really become a foodie’s delight over the last few years. Try one of the beautiful beach cafes, or stroll along the Mediterranean-feeling Wharf in the evening when the whole town smells delicious, choosing from a superb selection of places to eat. Don’t neglect St Ives’ winding little backstreets either, which are full of hidden gems.
St Ives’ narrow lanes are home to a collection of first-rate independent shops. There are jewellers, delis, chocolatieres, clothes shops, toy shops, a tiny but very fine bookshop, and many other wonderfully original shops. Watch out for the farmers’ market if you’d like to take some special treats back up to the campsite…
It’s very easy to spend your whole holiday exploring St Ives. Tear yourself away and head west down the coast road towards Cape Cornwall, Sennen, and Land’s End (use the open top bus in the summer). Across the peninsula is Marazion, home to St Michael’s Mount, and bustling Penzance with its fabulous Art Deco Lido. Further west are pretty Mousehole and the dramatic clifftop Minack Theatre. With the A30 and the mainline railway close at hand, the whole of Cornwall is your (River Fal) oyster…