St Ives from the air
St Ives is considered to be one of the premier destinations in Cornwall. Its breathtaking setting and legendary special ‘light' have made the ancient fishing port a magnet for artists and craftspeople for centuries. But art isn't the only attraction to St Ives. Its location makes it a perfect base for exploring the beauty of south Cornwall, the Atlantic coast and the sandy beaches that surround the town. Cottages and town houses in St Ives provide a warm, homely atmosphere for self-catering holidays, and the amenities are plentiful and of superb quality. There are also plenty of activities to keep both young and old occupied - from a round of golf to surfing, walking, riding and diving. Although St Ives is still home to a small fishing fleet, many of the boats have now been replaced with pleasure boats, which can be chartered for a spot of deep-sea fishing or a gentle cruise around the coast.
The labyrinth of lanes give visitors the perfect chance to explore galleries, boutiques and shops selling locally made crafts, and delicatessens can provide the self-caterer with some of the choicest selections of local produce. If you fancy a break from cooking on your self-catering break, St Ives also plays host to some superb restaurants, all serving the very best in Cornish cuisine.
Padstow is located further up the north Cornish coast and is another fishing port with a long and diverse history. The home of smugglers and fishermen, it still holds on to traditions that go back to pre-Christian times. The May Day celebrations are famous, and visitors are welcome (although you have to be born and bred in Padstow to take part in the dancing). The picturesque village tumbles down the rolling hills to the port, where the fleet can still be seen bringing in the catch in the early morning. Padstow has a rich selection of self-catering accommodation, from small fisherman's cottages perfect for a romantic weekend break for two, to larger conversions for family or group holidays. The north Cornish coastline is dramatic and rocky, but there are sandy beaches for families to enjoy just along the coast.
Padstow and Rock from the airRock is one of the secret gems of Cornwall. Situated across the Camel estuary from Padstow, Rock has been called ‘Chelsea-on-Sea' and is home to more millionaires than anywhere else in Cornwall. Despite its name, Rock has a sandy beach that stretches along the mouth of the estuary and is perfect for wildlife spotting and photography. You don't have to be a millionaire to stay in Rock - the village offers plenty of self-catering lets throughout the year. Out of season, Rock has a tranquillity and charm that is perfect for a quiet break away from the normal pace of life. The sheltered waters offer plenty of opportunity for water sports, and the superb restaurants (two of which carry Michelin stars) are some of the best in the region. A regular foot ferry gives visitors a chance to explore Padstow, and there's even a water-taxi available for those staying out late.
The three towns of St Ives, Padstow and Rock offer those looking for a more independent style holiday the perfect opportunity to explore this spectacular part of England at their own pace. Superb quality self-catering accommodation, a rich history, stunning scenery and a warm welcome will ensure that you have the holiday of a lifetime in these jewels in Cornwall's crown.