Why our first family holiday to St. Ives won’t be our last

Last updated 6th July 2024

Whether it’s your first holiday to St. Ives or one of many, it never fails to charm as Katie Amps and discovered on a family break with Sail Lofts in Cornwall.

As a family, we had yet to explore the wonders of Cornwall, which seems mad considering it is the go-to option for UK family holidays. We were ready to put this right with a week-long break to the jewel in Cornwall’s crown, St Ives.

One of the main reasons for putting off this trip was the six-hour journey with a hyperactive little boy! So we decided to stop halfway in Torquay to ensure the ride down was pain-free.

After many ‘Are we nearly there yets’ from Ronnie, we finally made it to the winding roads of Cornwall, which were especially busy as it was heading into the peak holiday season.

Driving along the top coast road into St Ives took our minds off the long journey, and the views were dazzling as we came through Carbis Bay and into the picturesque fishing harbour.

One thing to note, which I wasn’t aware of, was the narrow roads that wind around St Ives. Navigating them in a large campervan was no mean feat, but we survived with no bumps or dents!


The town beaches make a holiday to St. Ives

Any holiday to St. Ives starts with its beautiful beaches

St Ives is an iconic British seaside town, it also has the title of Coast magazine’s “Best Family Holiday Destination” and is also in TripAdvisor’s top 10 European beaches Hall of Fame, so we knew we had something to look forward to.

It honestly didn’t disappoint. Imagine meandering through a maze of snug cobbled streets, ducking into quirky independent shops, and glancing into quaint fishermen’s cottages at the heart of St. Ives. And the food – oh, the food! With award-winning restaurants, cafes, and bars bringing the Southwest’s flavours to life, plus Cornish pasties and cream teas too, of course.

Any holiday to St. Ives has beaches in the mix. From the surfer’s paradise at Porthmeor to family-friendly Porthminster, you’ll find them enveloped in an artistic vibe and coastal walks so stunning they’ve captured the hearts of famous figures like Rosamunde Pilcher and Virginia Woolf, along with some of the art world’s most distinguished names.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities like surfing, paddle boarding, tennis, and golf, alongside the world-renowned art scene at places like the Tate, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. We also loved the boat trip, where we caught glimpses of Seal Island and Godrevy Lighthouse.

An apartment with sea views is the dream stay in St. Ives

Our stay was arranged through the five-star rated Sail Lofts in the stunning Ocean apartment. This apartment boasts breath-taking views of Porthmeor Beach, creating a serene backdrop for our stay.

Ocean has three bedrooms, one king-sized on the ground floor with a family bathroom, separate shower cubicle and a bath TV, and two on the first floor, a double and a super king which has sea views towards Porthmeor Beach, that can also be made up as a twin bedded room, and a separate shower room.

On the second floor, the spacious, elegant, light-filled living area with Velux windows and a gabled roof also has views across Porthmeor. Ocean’s kitchen-diner is separated by an arch from the living room and is equipped with all your creature comforts, including a Nespresso coffee machine. Ocean has two bathrooms, both finished in black slate: a family one on the ground floor and a shower room on the first floor. Plus, the ground-floor family bathroom also has a separate shower cubicle and an over-bath TV, which Ronnie thought was the best thing ever.

Save 25% on St. Ives apartments for summer 2024


Living Area, Ocean Apartment, Sails Loft

Sail Lofts think of pretty much everything, and they’re locals

The Sail Lofts’ team were always on hand to help us and advise us on the best things to do and see during our stay. Their knowledge was second to none, so as first-timers to the area, they could handle our lack of know-how. They’ve pretty much thought of everything, including an onsite wet room stocked with buckets and spades, plus traditional Cornish belly boards available for us to borrow.

It is no wonder they scooped the coveted silver award at the prestigious Cornwall Tourism Awards, which recognises the concierge team’s exquisite standard of accommodation and attention to detail.


Porthmeor Beach, St. Ives, Cornwall

A perfect location for a first holiday to St. Ives

The Sail Lofts  location couldn’t have been more ideal, roughly 20 metres from Porthmeor Beach and 200 metres from Porthgwidden Beach. The heart of St Ives and the harbour front is a five-minute walk, so we were close from the action whichever way we went!

We adored the laid-back atmosphere of St Ives, which felt like a world away from our daily lives. It was hectic, as Cornwall’s seaside towns tend to be in peak season, but this only added to the vibe. The only thing we had to plan for in advance was where we should book for dinner.

The harbour, in particular, was a favourite spot for us, as it offered more shelter from the not-so-perfect weather. Ronnie enjoyed running around and searching for crabs on the Harbor beach when the tide was out. Our teenage daughters preferred Porthmeor, the surfer beach, which is overlooked by Tate St Ives. And we discovered an excellent café where we could sit and watch the kids having fun.

No sun? Not a problem for our trainee surfers

The girls even had a chance to try surfing for an hour, and although they didn’t manage to catch any waves, they loved the experience and wanted to do it again. Meanwhile, Ronnie enjoyed exploring the rockpools and playing with a ball. While the beach was stunning and expansive, it was also open to the elements.

Although the weather wasn’t perfect, Sail Lofts provided beach equipment, including a wind guard, which allowed us to find a little shelter from the cool breeze.

One major added bonus was the Sail Lofts private car park, which was a short 8-minute stroll from the apartment. We could park directly outside to drop off our luggage, which also made life much easier. You wouldn’t want to be dragging a suitcase around St Ives!


Smeaton’s Pier, St. Ives, Cornwall

How Sail Lofts turned historic buildings into gorgeous apartments

The Sail Lofts History – Originally built to store fishermen’s nets and dry sails and then becoming one of the largest pilchard pressing yards in St Ives, work began in 2017 to transform these buildings into the unique year-around award-winning getaway that can be enjoyed today.

Comprising twelve beautifully appointed, interior-designed apartments thoughtfully clustered around a sub-tropical courtyard, Sail Lofts – St Ives luxury accommodation is just moments from Porthmeor Beach, one of Cornwall’s coveted Blue Flag Beaches, and just a short walk from the bustling harbour.

We are now converts to UK staycations, and this will definitely not be a one-off trip to Cornwall. We would love to follow the traditional trend of having our own UK holiday destination that our children will remember and continue when they grow up. For this, St Ives would be our first choice. The only downer was the great British Weather, but that is out of our control and certainly wouldn’t put us off visiting again.

How to plan a holiday to St. Ives

How to get there

Train, London to St. Ives, from 5 hours, 39 minutes

Road, London to St. Ives from 5 hours, 29 minutes

Where to stay

Sails Loft, St. Ives 2-bedroom Ocean Apartment, sleeps up to 4 from £649 per week.

Includes allocated parking space in the Sail Lofts private car park for the duration of your holiday and services of onsite concierge.

Sails Loft Last Minute Offers 2024

Island Apartment (sleeps 4) 7-nights from 19 July 2024 £2,122

Beach apartment (sleeps 6) 7-nights from 19 July 2024 £2,887

 Harbour Apartment (sleeps 4) from 26 July 2024 £2,250

Find out more and book last minute offers here