Happy October everyone!
The weather down here is currently sunny with a strong wind. But 5 minutes ago it was raining horizontally! This combined with the limitations of Covid-19 means there isn't a huge amount of things to do - or at least things to do that we would do in October during a normal year.
The school holidays are also looming, so what is there to do down here in St Ives in October?
Okay, so it's raining and the wind is whipping your heels. But wrap up warm and dry, take a flask of something warming and get yourself onto one of the much more empty beaches! We love a good long walk at low tide on Hayle beach (3 miles of golden sands don't you know!), followed by a flask of hot chocolate tucked behind a big rock.
2. WALKS IN ST IVES
There is a multitude of fabulous walks you can do right from St Ives. Some of our favourites are:
The Coast Path Towards Zennor
Start at Porthmeor, walk towards Zennor along the coast path and turn in, away from the coast at one of several markers, depending on how long you want your walk to be. This takes you back into St Ives either along Burthallan or Hellesveor and Tom's yard.
St Ives Orchard, Hope Wood & Penbeagle Hill
Walk up Penbeagle Hill and into the Palemon Best recreational ground. Walk to the back near the skate park and you will see a sign for the St Ives Community Orchard. Wander through there to the back and go through Hope Wood. Follow the path to the top of the hill where there is a lovely rocky outcrop overlooking the bay and the hills behind St Ives.
Take the B3306 road towards Zennor. Just past Anjue House is a little car park for Rosewall Hill. There are lots of different paths you can take up and around the hill, depending on how far you want to go. Or you can cross the road and walk up Trevelgan Hill (also known as Buttercup Hill).
Steeple Nature Reserve
Walk out of St Ives towards Carbis Bay. Turn up Steeple Lane and take the left hand fork up the hill. You can walk through the Nature Reserve, up to Knills Monument and through Steeple Woods. Loop back down towards the school and The Belyars to get back into town.
St Ives To Carbis Bay
Walk along Porthminster Beach and take the path (Hain Walk) towards Carbis Bay. This one isn't a circular one (at least the way we do it isn't) as we just retrace our steps back.
Porthkidney Beach run. Park up at the church in Lelant and take the path down to the beach, past John Millers house. Turn left at the headland and you will discover the most amazing, and usually deserted massive beach! We love to take our kite here as it is always windy!
Another good walk is up Trencrom Hill. Drive along the coach road towards Hayle and Lelant. Turn second left after the Old Mill Riding Stables. Drive along until you see the National Trust car park. Trencrom Hill is a steep but fairly easy walk up. You get the most amazing views across to Hayle and St Ives Bay.
3. TEHIDY WOODS
We love Tehidy, especially the North Cliff side. Drive up past Gwithian and keep going until you see the little car park on the left. It's free to park (but a bit pot-holey). There are lots of routes you can take which are well marked. We like to ramble around, playing in the dens (I'm not sure who built them but they are ace), climbing the big trees, playing under the rhododendrons and ending up sitting in the secret garden for a lovely, peaceful snack.
4. NATIONAL TRUST
When lockdown started we did think about not renewing our National Trust membership. I'm so glad we did as we have used it loads since July. Our favourites are Trengwainton, Trelissick and Glendurgan. Trengwainton is the closest to St Ives, being about a 20 min drive. You need to book your arrival time but this is very straightforward to do. They have set a one way system around the gardens but it really doesn't impede on our enjoyment. There is space to breath, space to run and lovely leaves to crunch in at this lovely time of the year!
We love a visit to Zennor. We do tend to go walking here - either along the (quite steep) coast path, tucking back in at the Gurnards Head signpost, or up to Zennor Quoit. We usually finish our walk off with an ice cream from Moomaids, or a drink at the Tinner's Arms.
Another one of our favourite places. This is a spectacular spot to visit. There is an amazing walk along the cliffs, but the thing my children love most about it is all the ruins of the old workings that they can explore. There are tunnels, little rooms and endless places for hide and seek. We presume it is all pretty safe - it's owned by the National Trust plus our children were taken there on a school trip!
7. GUYS BUTTERFLY HOUSE
We discovered this amazing little gem this September. Actually, everyone we knew had been over the Summer but we couldn't get tickets! It is a glorified polytunnel at the back of a farm that is FULL of the most stunning tropical butterflies. Guy was going to close for the season but has extended it with the use of a heater until after half term. You do need to book, but it only costs £10 for a family of four. You can find out more information on Facebook (type in Guys Butterfly House).
8. PARADISE PARK
The lovely Paradise Park (the saviour of my baby days!) is open. You need to pre book your arrival time, but you can still stay as long as you want (until closing time). Please do be aware that the Jungle Barn (soft play), the train, the talks, feeding times and tropical house are closed. There are still all the lovely animals to see and you can still feed the goats and sheep and visit Pets Corner. The outdoor play areas are also open. The shop and cafe is open but you are welcome to bring your own food and drink.
9. TATE ST IVES
The Tate St Ives is open but (like pretty much everywhere) you need to pre-book timed tickets. There is a one way route throughout the museum where you get to see displays by Alfred Wallis, Patrick Heron, Barbara Hepworth, Mondrian, Picasso and so much more. The current exhibition in the exhibition hall is the really interesting "Strange Attractors" by Haegue Yang. The shop and the cafe at the top of the Tate is open but with reduced space.
10. BARBARA HEPWORTH
Included in your ticket to the Tate St Ives is entry to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. This is located on Barnoon Hill near the centre of St Ives. Again, you need to prebook a timed ticket. The garden is one of my favourite places in St Ives, well worth a visit.
11. COAST TO COAST GO KARTING
If you are over 8 years old and are a bit of a daredevil then give Coast to Coast Go Karting a go. It is located just off the A30 in Hayle (if you drive over the A30 bypass you will see it over the bridge). They open in the rain and you do need to prebook.
12. PENWITH PITCH AND PUTT
This is a great place to take your kids and burn off some energy. It is located between Hayle and St Erth. They do Crazy Golf, Pitch and Putt and Football Golf (which my children love). They also have a lovely cafe with an outdoor play area and woodburner. The courses are open come rain or shine!
13. FEADON FARM WILDLIFE CENTRE
Feadon Farm is part of the Gwel-an-Mor resort in Portreath. They do some lovely animal experiences where you can meet reindeer, feed foxes and hold owls. Gwel-an-Mor usually have an amazing indoor soft play area with an indoor clip and climb. Sadly due to Covid-19 this is currently shut.
Heartlands is a 19 acre site located just off the A30 near Pool. It usually holds lots of events and has a very interesting mining museum and an excellent soft play. These are currently closed, but the outdoor play area is still worth a visit. You can park for free in Tescos and walk over to use the park.
It may be of interest that you can hire the soft play Wheal Play for exclusive use.
15. MINACK THEATRE
The lovely Minack Theatre and gardens is still open during October. You need to prebook a ticket to visit (£6 for adults). At the moment there is also showing of "Loveplay" and then over half term there is a Horrible Histories all about British history (with the horrible bits left in).
16. NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth is one of our favourites. My children absolutely adore it - especially the main hall with the boats, jet skis and life rafts. They have an excellent exhibition on at the moment called Monsters Of The Deep. We saw it this Summer and my kids haven't stopped talking about the Blob Fish!
There are one way systems and limited interactive things - I'm presuming they aren't having their usual craft sessions this half term but I couldn't find this out on the website.
17. ROGUE THEATRE
Rogue Theatre is putting on The Dead Of Night Dance at Tehidy Woods from the 23rd October to 1st November. "An immersive theatre adventure celebrating Halloween; a wickedly joyful treat for all ages in the sparkling dark heart of Tehidy Woods" Tickets are £9.50 and there are 6 showings per day - but lots are already booked up!
18. PENDENNIS CASTLE
From the 24th Oct to 1st November there is "Spooky Pendennis Castle".
Follow the trail to solve creepy clues and gather round to listen to spooky stories. There’s a frighteningly fun fancy dress competition every day – just come in your scariest outfits to be in with a chance of winning.
With tales of creaking footsteps and menacing creatures, Pendennis Castle has long had a reputation for ghostly happenings. Swoop by and sink your teeth into this Halloween adventure for all the family.
19. CORNISH SEAL SANCTUARY
The seal sanctuary is a wonderful place to visit. It is pretty much all outdoors, so it is really Covid friendly! Like everywhere, you need to prebook tickets and follow the one way systems.
20. EDEN PROJECT
Eden is well worth a visit this half term. Friends who have visited recently say it's brilliant as the systems in place and pre-booking mean that it is a less jostly, crowded experience.
Over half term (17th October to 1st November) Eden is putting on "Halloweden". There is a Halloween audio trail, screech owls, a special spooky plant trail, and a magical ice rink. You need to prebook etc!
21. THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN
We love Heligan. It's a long drive from St Ives (especially for our young children) but it is always worth it.
This autumn, they will be celebrating the fruition of The Garden & Estate year with their annual Heligan Harvest Event. From Saturday 17th October to Sunday 1st November, join them in welcoming the season of abundance and transition.
We are booked to go and are especially looking forward to "Mud Adventures On East Lawn". It could get messy!
There’s a host of fantastic family fun on offer at Flambards throughout the October Half Term holidays (Saturday, 24th October – Sunday, 1st November 2020).
From thrilling adventures in the Big Ride Zone, to fascinating discoveries in the indoor attractions, there is something for kids, big and small, this half term.
23. LEARN TO SURF
Surf is still up on Porthmeor Beach this October. Take a lesson or hire some kit and get out there in the water. Wetsuits are essential, it's cold in there!
24. PUMPKIN PICKING
Come and pick your own pumpkin at Splattenridden Farm in Lelant Downs.
25. ST IVES COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Come and volunteer at the St Ives Community Orchard every Tuesday 4-6pm and Sundays 11am - 1pm. The work they do varies - planting trees and bushes, clearing brambles & bracken, protecting and nurturing our trees, clearing paths in the nature reserve, planting wildflowers. They are very easy going, no commitment is expected, even just offering one hour once a month would be wonderful. If you are coming for the first time, please contact them to let us know you are coming so that they can manage group size. Text or call 07585777110
They are also holding several lovely events over the half term. including a nature print workshop and a Halloween pumpkin display.
26. STEEPLE NATURE RESERVE
Come and volunteer at Steeple Woodland Nature Reserve. Work parties are held every Wednesday from 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.
Phone Giles on 01736 798908 for further information.
27. STORIES BY THE SEA
Families (or bubbles) can book a table (4 seats) to join in the bookish craft/art activity linked to the BIG book of the day. Children will be provided with the resources needed to make the craft/art, a copy of the day’s book (signed – RRP £12.95) and a refreshing juice. An accompanying adult will enjoy a nice hot drink, included in the ticket. (Tickets cost £16)
28. ROLLERS RINK ROLLER DISCO
The Roller Rink in Pool is still open. They are operating at a limited capacity but for those that like roller skating it is still lots of fun! Prebooking essential.
29. BARNOON WORKSHOP
Barnoon workshop runs creative events all year, in a range of art and craft subjects. All their courses include materials, and are taught in a relaxed and informal style by creative professionals. They have limited capabiltiy for indoor workshops due to current regulations - therefore indoor workshops can now be booked for single people, family groups or social bubbles only.
30. ST IVES E-BIKES
Ditch the car and hire an electric bike! Enjoy effortless cycling in St Ives and the stunning wilds of West Cornwall.
31. ST IVES SWIMMERS
There is an amazing little group that goes swimming in the sea every Monday morning. Follow them on facebook and if you are down here and fancy it, join in with them for a dip!
32. ST IVES LEISURE CENTRE
On a swimming note, the leisure centre at the top of town has now re-opened. Prebooking is needed and as far as I can tell only the main pool is open, not the childrens pool.
33. ST IVES FARMERS' MARKET
The fabulous St Ives Farmers' Market is still being held every Thursday in The Guildhall on Street-an-Pol in St Ives. 9:30am to 2pm - come and buy wonderful local produce!
SOFT PLAY IN ST IVES
I've had lots of people ask me about soft play in the area. It looks like apart from private hires for things like parties, soft play isn't happening any time soon.
HALLOWEEN IN ST IVES
A word about Halloween. Halloween in St Ives is normally an amazing affair. People really go all out dressing up and households put on amazing displays and generous gifts of sweets. It is a really gorgeous and family friendly event. Due to Covid-19 we are not expecting this to happen this year. It is so very sad, but we have to think positively and we will make it extra special next year!
There are several Halloween-y events that look lovely - and Covid-19 friendly. The Halloween Pumpkin display on the 31st Oct and 1st Nov in the St Ives Community Orchard looks really lovely!
Pumpkin Picking at Splatternridden Farm in Lelant Downs also looks lovely.
Rogue Theatre at Tehidy Woods should be good this Halloween too - although I'd suggest you to book up quickly as the tickets are selling out fast!