We did it, we made it through the school holidays! The children are back at school and hurrah the sun is shining down on us, at least, for the moment while I write this.
St Ives in September is usually a very busy, buzzy month. The September festival that usually takes place in sadly not on this year (2020 need I say more). This is a real shame as it is such a wonderful, cultural and interesting event. However, in spite of all the cancellations of events, the town is still fairly booked out, presumably with people who are not tied into the school calendar.
Dogs On Beaches
With the coming of Autumn sees the relaxation of the dogs on beaches rules. In St Ives the rules are as follows for September:
15 May – 30 September 10am – 6pm
Dogs are not allowed on Carbis Bay, Porthmeor and Porthminster
1 July – 31 August 10am – 6pm
Dogs are not allowed on St Ives Harbour and Porthgwidden
So by the end of the month dogs will be back on all beaches again. Please clear up after your dogs, walk them at low tide when possible so the sea can clean the beach and keep your dogs on a lead at all times.
Six At A Time
With the government announcement a few days ago about gatherings of no more than 6 people, the town took a collective gasp of breath. However, it soon became apparent that there were caveats left right and centre and this included pubs, cafes and restaurants. Even soft play centres can still operate. If you are visiting here, please wear masks whenever possible.
I'm personally just relieved that we are only a family of 4 with 2 grandparents living close by. At least we don't have to choose who we like the best when meeting up for Sunday lunch or birthdays!
Eating and Drinking
Most places in St Ives are still open and very busy. If you are coming down for a visit and you are wanting to go out for a nice meal, I really do recommend that you book in advance. I've heard that lots of places are booked out until the end of the month.
Some Beautiful Places To Visit This September
September is often a truly glorious month in Cornwall. We do seem (touch wood) to get some wonderful weather with clear blue skies, warm sunshine and that cool wind that makes it cold in the shade. It is also a lovely month because the huge volumes of visitors and traffic really reduces. Don't get me wrong, it is still pretty busy, but it is far less hectic. There is plenty of room on the beach, the cliff walks aren't busy and you can even (sometimes) get a parking spot near the sea!
Godrevy and Gwithian
This is one of our regular and favourite haunts. We always avoid avoid avoid in the Summer as it gets so busy - we avoided it more than ever this year. However, as soon as the schools go back it becomes a much more relaxed place.
Drive along the coast road (B3301) out of Hayle, towards Portreath. Drive through Gwithian village and turn 2nd left after the little bridge (1st left takes you into the Rockpool car park). Drive up the left hand fork and you will find the National Trust car park. It is free for National Trust members, but if you aren't a member I think it's £4 or £5 for the day. We always opt to park beyond the wooden kiosk - just follow the road along and you will see parking along the road, or if it hasn't been too wet you can park on the big field above Godrevy Lighthouse.
Things To Do
Godrevy Beach in the September sunshine is a marvellous place. It always seems to be pretty sheltered (except in storms) and there are lots of coves and rocks to sit amongst. It's a good beach for exploring at low tide with lots of rocks and rockpools to climb and dabble in. People fish off the rocks and there is usually an accompanying seal or two in the water there. The sea is good for swimming and kayaking. If you want surfing I'd suggest walking round to Gwithian Beach where the angle of the waves is better. There are places to hire surfboards and take lessons by the main car park and at Gwithian.
Godrevy Lighthouse can be viewed beautifully from here. There is a lovely little walk around the headland which gives great views of it and Godrevy sound.
Mutton Cove is THE place around here to see the seals. It is not accessible to the public but you can look down on it from the cliffs. This time of year you should see plenty - you might not think there is anything down there but stay really still and you will be surprised. We've seen dozens there - my husband reckons over 100 one time but you judge for yourselves!
There is a gorgeous walk along the cliffs from Godrevy to Hell's Mouth. It is a fairly easy level walk but do take care on foggy days and with dogs or young children as some of the cliffs are sheer and unstable. At different times of the year there are spectacular wild flowers. Spring is the best time for them, but you should still spot many beautiful ones and lots of wildlife too.
If you are looking for places to eat, there are several lovely spots. Try Godrevy Cafe by the main National Trust car park, The Rockpool before you turn into the National Trust part of things, or if you are walking, there is a great cafe at Hell's Mouth. I'll be honest though, we usually stop off at Philps in Hayle to grab pasties. We bring a rug and a flask of tea and we couldn't be happier. The seagulls here are far less instrusive than in St Ives and it is a stunning place for a picnic!
Trengwainton Gardens near Penzance is another one of our favourite places. It is owned by the National Trust and at the time of writing (2020) you need to book places. We have been doing this all throughout the Summer and haven't had a problem getting in. I think they release the places each Friday for the following week. They have put a one way system in place and a section of the walled gardens are out of bounds. But that doesn't detract from anything in the slightest.
Drive out of St Ives along the B3311 towards Penzance. Drive through Gulval and turn right towards Heamoor. Keep going until you get to the B3312. Cross straight over it, passed Mounts Bay Academy and keep going until you see Trengwainton Gardens. It's a right turn and then a left into the car park.
Things To Do
We love Trengwainton Gardens in Autumn. It is one of the few places down here that get proper crunchy leaves to stomp through. The trees turn stunning colours and we can happily while away and afternoon with the children collecting leaves, nuts and sticks (I have a 5 year old boy!).
The cafe, loos and second hand book shop are open, but the main National Trust gift shop isn't. Being of tight Yorkshire origins though, we always take a picnic and eat it up on the terrace overlooking Mounts Bay. It's a stunning place (beyond the main house) and is well worth the walk up through the gardens. The planting there attracts so many bees and butterflies and there is a big lawn to run around on.
Tehidy Woods is always a hit in our house. Even in the rain it is a great place for a stomp about to burn off some energy and get lots of fresh air.
Drive along the B3301 out of Hayle toward Gwithian and Portreath. Drive past Godrevy and keep going along the North Cliffs. You might see a sign on the right hand side for Rogue Theatre (which has been on over the Summer holidays). Keep going until you see the sign for Tehidy North cliffs on your right. The car park is full of potholes at the moment, but it is free.
Things To Do
Tehidy is a beautiful wood with lots of paths and routes to follow. There are clearing with swings, dens and lots of fallen trees to climb and some enormous, gnarled trees with unbelievably knotted roots. There are huge rhododendron bushes which make perfect places to hide, and a huge variety of trees and shrubs. Dogs and bikes are allowed but it is a little lumpy for scooters.
If you are very lucky you might find the secret garden hidden in the middle of the woods. It is a beautiful, peaceful and sheltered spot, really well tended and full of little birds.
There are no amenities in this part of Tehidy Woods. There is a cafe and toilets by the lake, but that is quite a bit further down inland.
We love Zennor. We have friends who live there and our children hold their school nativity in the beautiful church there. We visit regularly, usually by car, but you can walk it from St Ives along to coast path (I don't recommend doing this with children). If you do walk there, there is a bus back to St Ives which takes about 20 mins.
Take the B3306 (coast road) out of St Ives and follow it for about 10/15 mins until you get to Zennor signpost. Turn right into the village. There is a car park with an honesty box, or you can park on the road.
Things To Do
We love Zennor. We have friends who live there and our children hold their school nativity in the beautiful church there. We visit regularly, usually by car, but you can walk it from St Ives along to coast path (I don't recommend doing this with children).
Our usual visit involves circular walk of about 6kms. We start from the coast path near the Tinner's Arms and follow the path down into the valley. Go down some steps, over a footbridge and past Pendour Cove. On a bend about 50 metres on from a bench you will see a track that leads down to Veor Cove. The beach is a secluded, quiet one with rocks, rockpools and good swimming. We either retrace our steps back to Zennor, or walk round the loop along the coast path. When you see Gurnard's Head come into view, take the path that leads around the back of the house on the left. Go down the driveway track until it meets a lane. Turn left and left again, crossing a small bridge. On the first left hand bend in the lane, take the path to the right and follow it through the fields all the way back to Zennor.
Along the walk there are streams to splash in, cows to see, bridges to play poo sticks on and loads of wildlife and flowers to see.
Pre-2020 we would go and say hello to the mermaid in the church and end up in the Tinner's Arms, which is a glorious pub. This year we were lucky that Moomaids opened a new icecream parlour in Zennor and also have had their kiosk in the field near Zennor opened. This year we have eaten too much ice cream!
Jubilee Pool Penzance
The Jubilee Pool in Penzance is such a delightful place to visit for a dip. It sits right on the promenade in Penzance in all it's stylish art deco glory!
Drive into Penzance town, follow the road along the front and you will see the pool of your left hand side just after the boats. There are lots of places to park in Penzance, if you are lucky you might get a free space on the promenade itself.
Things To Do
The obvious thing to do is have a swim! At the moment the main pool, geo (heated) pool and the cafe are open. The learners pool is closed.
For a swim in the main pool which is a couple of degrees warmer than the sea temperature, it costs £4.25 per adult and £3.00 for children. There are offers and concession tickets.
For a swim in the geo pool which is 30-35 degrees it costs £11.75 for adults and £8.20 for children.
You can go in as a spectator for £1.50
Due to Covid-19 you need to book tickets in advance (online or over the phone). This is to ensure numbers are restricted and cleaning can take place.
For more information please visit the Jubilee Pool website here
St Michael's Mount
Living in St Ives we do tend to favour the beaches in St Ives Bay. However, each and every time we end up going over to the other side, we think it is fabulous!
Drive along the A30 to Penzance. Take the 2nd turning signposted Marazion at the big roundabout. Turn left when you see the sea and drive to Marazion. You can either park at the National Trust car park on the front (NOT free to National Trust members, it is £4.50), or there are several council car parks around.
Things To Do
If the tide is right (low) you can walk across the causeway to St Michael's Mount. This is free to do, but if you want to go onto the island you need to have pre-booked a ticket through their website. This is free to National Trust members, prices vary up to £28.50 for a family of 5. Dogs are not allowed on the island at the moment. You can book tickets to go around the castle and or the gardens. Your ticket will give you access to the island while it is open - approximately 4 hours per day, depending on tides and weather.
We love the causeway at low tide for rockpooling. We have found some amazing creatures there, it just takes a small person with lots of patience and good eye sight!
The beach at Marazion (I think the whole stretch is called Long Rock?) varies from quite stony to some nice sandy bits. It isn't the finest of beaches, but it is big, usually not very busy and is really good for swimming, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. There is also a nice river section with a bridge over it for playing poo-sticks.
There is an excellent play park right on the seafront in Marazion. It was recently refurbished and has lots of good play equipment. There is a big field next to it for running around. And there are toilets here too - being excellently cleaned!
Further up the beach towards Penzance you can hire watersports equipment. We have used the Hoxton Special to hire kayaks - lots of fun, even for the younger children!
There are plenty of cafes and takeaways in Marazion and along the front of Long Rock, including a Philps pasty place which we rather like!
St Ives Orchard & Hope Wood
I almost didn't include this one on my list. This place has been our saviour during lockdown, we have been up and down this hill dozens of times since March!
Drive up The Stennack out of St Ives and turn left up Penbeagle Hill, just before the Fire Station. About half way up on the right hand side is a turning into a little car park.
Things To Do
We walk up through the park to the back, near the skate park. There is a sign to the St Ives Orchard here. The Orchard is a lovely place. It is a volunteer project and has been planted up and tended for the last few years admirably. If you walk right to the very top of the orchard you will see a sign to Hope Wood. Walk through the quite tightly wound trees until you get to the bracken. Walk all the way to the top of the hill, turn right and carry on going to the top. The view will be worth it!
This wood and hill have been fascinating to see over the last few months. We started off seeing it quite bare and low grown. Then came the yellow gorse, bluebells, fox gloves and then the ferns started to grow up tall and strong. The trees produced amazing flowers which then turned into berries. Now it is the time of the blackberries of which there are so many!
I hope you enjoy this walk with the wildlife, fauna and view as much as we do!
Once you come back down from dinosaur rock/lockdown rock, if you have children they can have a great run around in the field, have a go on the zip wire, go skateboarding if they have one, or play in the park.