Chasing the surf in England: A week with friends in St. Ives, Cornwall

Ivy and Sophie

kids in the water

St. Ives 1

St. Ives 2

sunset on porthmeor beach

picking clovers 2

picking clovers

purple flowers

walking with Quin



Ivy and Sophie at Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove

courtney and marlow

Easton and surf board

michael and easton

quin jumping

sand dunes

walking in sand dunes


playing games

bunk room



St. Ives 3

St. Ives 4



Ivy and Sophie in Zennor

walking in zennor 2

walking in zennor


Lighthouse in St. Ives

We all had mixed emotions as we headed back to the UK. We knew it wasn’t the end of our travels, but still, touching down in London it did sort of feel like it. We were so eager to see our friends that we’d planned more dinner parties, sleepovers and picnics than humanly possible in the two-plus weeks we’d be in the country. All wonderful and welcomed, of course, but in a weird way, we were saddened that our little magical bubble – the one that had encapsulated the six of us for the past 10 months—was about to burst.

We landed in London and spent three days in a slightly surreal state. Everything looked the same and felt the same–easy and familiar. At the same time, nothing felt the same. Our perceptions had changed. We had changed.

In keeping with our surfing theme this year we planned a trip out to Cornwall to test out the English waves. My dear friend Kate grew up holidaying in St. Ives and has always raved about this pretty town. When she told me that she and her family were heading to Cornwall for the school half term, we asked if we could crash their holiday. Just three days after arriving in the UK we were back on the road, surfboards strapped to the rental van and a course set for the beach.

We left the rain back in London and arrived to bright blue skies and turquoise seas in St Ives. The weather across the UK was meant to be stormy and rainy all week – except for the southwest– lucky us! St. Ives is as pretty as Kate has always described it – with tiny, winding streets and colourful beach cottages. There’s pretty bunting in shop windows, wildflowers growing out of old stone walls, art galleries, ceramic shops, ice cream stands and Cornish pasty shops.

We rented a cosy flat on Porthmeor Beach with a big window overlooking the ocean. The flat was perfect for our two families – with a six-bed bunkroom for the kids (two triple deckers!) and a large dining table big enough for ten. Every morning, as the children trickled out of their bunkroom one by one, we gathered in the bay window to check out the surf and plan the day’s activities. Unfortunately, the waves were flat all week. Though we ventured to other beaches around Cornwall, north and south, we never really found much in the way of surf. Michael and Easton both gave it a go though – braving the frigid waters so that, at the very least, they could say they’ve surfed in England! On the plus side, the weather was sunny and the temperatures warm.

We enjoyed a week of blue skies, countryside walks, windy beach days (woollen jumpers over swimsuits – so English!), ice creams, beach picnics, yummy dinners – including Joel’s famous lobster linguini – family games, vibrant sunsets and lots of fun and laughs. Aside from the 24-hour stomach flu that made the rounds on our last night (it was as awful as it sounds!), this was a pretty perfect week. 😉

Here are some highlights:

  • BBQs on the beach with Joel’s delicious salmon kebabs
  • Walking the pretty coastline around ‘The Island’ from Porthmeor Beach
  • A day spent at Kynance Cove with cream tea from the café
  • Walking in Zennor near the old Carn Galver mine
  • Dinner at Porthminster Beach Café on the beach
  • A walk on the S W Coast Path near Lelant. Kids playing in the sand dunes of the broad beaches and dads snoozing on the beach blankets.
  • Eating Cornish pasties and comparing them to the empanadas we ate in South America (Sorry S. America, these pasties took the prize).
  • A day at Godrevy beach followed by ice creams from the Godrevy Beach Café
  • Finding a stash of discounted, ‘nearly-perfect pottery’ at Fish Pye Pottery for a steal!
  • Watching the sun set from our bay window every evening
  • Playing the letter game and staying up way past bedtime


I forgot my camera on our trip to Cornwall, so all the pretty photos above were taken by Kate! 

6 thoughts on “Chasing the surf in England: A week with friends in St. Ives, Cornwall

  1. You should look at exploring the Lake District when you have the opportunity. I think you and your family would love it!

  2. That looks like the most enjoyable holiday ever! Spending time at the beach with friends that are basically family is the best…well done!

    Thanks for taking us with you this year!!

  3. Looks wonderful! You mentioned the stomach bug and I’d love to know your tips for staying healthy while traveling. Airplanes especially are so foul. Are there any steps you take to keep your family healthy on the road? Maybe a better topic for the babycinno blog…

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