We do have (arguably) the most beautiful beaches in the world here in St Ives and Cornwall. However, kids can sometimes get bored of going to be beach (no I hear you gasp!). When they want to do something different but still outdoor there is a lovely array of playgrounds, play parks and green spaces for them to run around in and have fun.
Unless you know where they are you might not know about the playgrounds and parks right in St Ives. There aren't many of them and they all involve a bit of a walk up hill if you are in the town!
Ayr Field and Play Park is on the Porthmeor side of St Ives. You can get to it by hiking up Porthmeor Hill and turning right, or walking up The Stennack and turning right after The Stennack Surgery. Walk up Bullans Lane (very steep) and the park is at the top of the hill on the left.
Ayr Play Park is suited for slightly older children. There aren't any bits for very young babies and children. There is a huge bucket swing that can fit a whole family in (a big favourite of my kids), a springy rocker and a very big climbing frame with a steep slide. My daughter loves the climbing frame, not for climbing or sliding, but playing shops and houses underneath!
There are benches to sit on and admire the lovely view over the town and out to sea.
Ayr Field has been planted up around the sides as a bee and butterfly friendly nature garden. The main field is used a lot by local dog walkers and is also good for having a kick around with a ball or flying a kite. There is a smooth path all the way round the field which is good for scooting or riding a bike.
Penbeagle Playground is off the Higher Stennack. You turn left just after the Leach Pottery, and before the Fire Station. Go almost all the way to the top of the hill and it is on the right hand side.
Penbeagle Playground is a big park with lots to keep most children entertained.
There is a baby and young children's area, with baby swings and little climbers and slides.
There is an older children's area with some really good equipment. They have normal swings and some very big climbing equipment with slides and balancing poles.
Further into the playground is a zip wire and a big skate park. The skate park is currently raising money to be overhauled - quite a good local community project.
There is a big field with goals for playing football, rugby and cricket too.
Behind the playground is the local community orchard.
There are bridal paths around the park and there are lots of trees and pathways to explore.
The next closest playground is in Carbis Bay.
Sometimes it is nice just to take the kids somewhere for a bit of a run around. This doesn't have to be anything grand or purpose built, just somewhere lovely for a bit of fresh air. And maybe a nice bench or view for the grownups!
The Island is a gorgeous place to go for a walk and an explore. There is a path that runs around the coastal side of it where you can often spot seabirds, seals and dolphins. Apparently whales were spotted from here too last year - I wish I had seen them but by the time I had run down the hill they have moved on.
There is a huge, sloping field looking over Porthgwidden Beach which has benches on and is surrounded by wildlife friendly bushes. This is a lovely spot for picnics, dogwalking and flying kites!
There are 3 buildings on The Island that are worth a nosy around. St Nicholas Chapel sits on the hill and is a great spot for bird watching. It used to be used by smugglers as a lookout in the 1800s - this really captures my kids imaginations! The Surfhouse is the next building along which is where local girl Tassy Swallow runs her surf school from. Further along from this is the Coastguard Lookout.
It probably is worth pointing out that The Island is in no way shape or form an actual island!
You probably have spotted Knills Monument as it can be seen from most places around the bay. It is a pointy tower that sits up above the town.
To get there, drive out of town and turn right just before The Cornish Arms pub. Take the left hand fork and drive up the hill. There are several lay-bys to park in and it rarely gets busy.
Steeple Woods and Nature Reserve is an amazing place to go for a really good yomp. With the many paths and trails you get really drawn into the reserve and you can get up close to the wonderful planting and wildlife. Head up hill and you will get to Knills Monument. This is very Victorian and quite austere looking, but climb up it for the most amazing view across the moorland behind and St Ives Bay in front.
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