Turquoise sea and palm trees! And that’s just for starters! The quality of light, the beauty and drama of the landscape and the charm of the fishing community have been attracting visitors and artists since the 1800’s.
Will any of us, past or present, ever forget that sensation of awe when we first arrived upon this unique strip of land. The impact is the same even if the mode of travel varied. Is this real? Does this place really exist in rural Britain? Don’t you wish you’d worn your flip-flops? You may laugh, we’d challenge anyone that they didn’t kit themselves out with some sensible footwear (out with the heels!) within minutes of arriving! Flatties are an essential piece of equipment for exploring the cobbled streets of this remarkable little town.
It may take several months to stop overtaking the regular residents strolling along the harbour front. The brisk out of county pace may leave the locals standing. A glance over your shoulder, are you really walking that fast? And more importantly why? Living in St Ives requires a state of mind. An acknowledgement of the simple pleasures of life as well as the stimulus it can and does provide.
St Ives is a place where people can feel safe. We are part of a strong, receptive and friendly community where there is little crime. Our children freely walk the streets. They enjoy the active life: surfing, skateboarding, football and tennis, to name but a few. Those into the performing arts can join the fabulous Kidz R Us award-winning youth theatre company. All ages mix in all pursuits, so children gain values from continuing contact with their elders.
The people of St Ives don’t have to rely on the out of town supermarkets. We have superb butchers selling local meat, greengrocers selling local produce, bakers selling artisan breads, delicatessens and an award winning weekly farmer’s market.
We have masses of culture too with The St Ives Arts Club, (founded over 100 years ago and presenting art exhibitions, theatrical performances, poetry, music and film nights), the Jazz Club, September Festival, St Ives School of Painting and Tate St Ives, which are just some of the organisations in the town.
Let us go back to the geography of the land. St Ives is situated at the south-western tip of Cornwall and flanked by four beaches and miles of magnificent coastal scenery. Accessible by road, rail, air or leaf! Yes, St Ia arrived by leaf. Legend has it that St Ia or Hya, a virgin saint of noble birth in Ireland, went to the seashore in the hope of travelling with other saints bound for Cornwall. She found that the others had gone without her and fearing that she was too young for such a hazardous journey alone, she began to pray. As she prayed she noticed a large leaf floating on the water. She felt that God had sent it to her and trusting him she embarked upon the leaf and was wafted across the sea. She reached her destination and St Ia became the patroness of the town named Saint Ia or St Ives as we know it today.
St Ives during the spring, summer and autumn months is a blaze of colour. A mild climate, warmed by the Gulf Stream brings almost frost-free winters and makes it possible to grow plants and shrubs normally native to semi-tropical countries, hundreds of miles further south. Winter?
For centuries life in St Ives has centred around the picturesque harbour where fishing boats still work. Their catch, which has a fantastic reputation for quality and variety, is still sent around the world and is served in some of the finest restaurants.
The area of the town known as Downlong is loved by locals and visitors alike and still dominates the town visually. We can honestly say that every day, as estate agents, we receive a phone call from a local (born and bred) searching for a house to purchase because they want to come home. Others simply say “we just keep coming back, there’s something so special about St Ives and we think it’s about time we sorted ourselves out and really lived here”.
Why buy in St Ives? The place just gets you, gets under your skin and in the great words of
Billie Tink, Aged 9. “St Ives is like good food, once you’ve tasted it you just want more”
The late Jimmy Lugg, If the land likes you it makes it very hard for you to leave”.