Cottage Review: St Nicholas Cottage, St Ives in Cornwall
Cornwall isn’t the first destination that comes to mind when planning a winter weekend getaway – but why not? The beautiful county has an abundance of hotels, B&Bs and holiday cottages to choose from, tourists attractions, landmarks and sights of natural beauty, and plenty of activities and fun things to do.
We made the long journey to the West Country feeling slightly nervous about our decision to visit with a group of friends in the depths of November. But the sun was shining as we entered the bustling and picturesque harbour town of St Ives.
At the end of a labyrinth of tight turns, narrow lanes and hairpin bends (tip – don’t take a big car to St Ives!), we arrived at St Nicholas Cottage – a characterful and charming stone fisherman’s cottage with all-important sea views.
Outside the cottage is rugged and craggy – the result of decades of galeforce winds and salt water battering the distinctive stone walls – but inside it’s warm and welcoming. The nautical décor echoes the history of the seaside town outside and is a constant reminder of where you are.
Opting for a self-catering holiday cottage over a hotel offers you a cosy ‘home away from home’ for your visit – and St Nicholas Cottage certainly ticks these boxes. The three-storey, five-bedroom home is comfortable and functional while maintaining a high level of style.
There’s an abundance of period features from the flagstone floors to exposed beams and the nautical theme runs throughout the house from the wood paneled ceilings and soft blue tones to the tasteful art adorning the walls.
The kitchen is well-equipped and practical for cooking while the living space provides ample space for eating together, playing games or watching films. We spent our first night in with a buffet dinner and wine in front of the stove. The house is well-designed for socializing and the cottage has a raised terrace outside with sea views and a BBQ for those long, light sunny evenings.
While it was a little chilly for al fresco dining during our visit, we enjoyed the options St Nicholas Cottage gives you. While opting to stay in one night we decided to head out for night two, venturing down into town to sample the delights of The Rum & Crab Shack on the waterfront.
St Ives offers lots of pubs, restaurants, eateries and bars for all tastes and budgets. Everything is within short walking distance of the cottage so eating out can be just as easy as eating in.
Come morning, it was refreshing to wake to sun streaming through the blinds, the wind howling outside and the sound of the waves crashing on Porthgwidden Beach, just a stone’s throw away.
The sun-drenched shoreline was enough to tempt us down for a walk along the sand and up the cliffs onto the coastal path past The Island’s quaint landmark: St Nicholas Chapel. After a brisk stroll it was time for coffee and cake on the beach before exploring the local attractions.
All of Cornwall’s most well-known tourist destinations are just a short drive from St Ives. Land’s End, The Minack Theatre and St Michael’s Mount are an easy, scenic drive across country and are must-sees when you’re visiting. For an urban outing, Penzance is just 20 minutes south while, in the other direction, the infamous Newquay is less than an hour away.
Closer to home, St Ives is the perfect spot for social getaways, family holidays, hen dos, stag dos and everything inbetween. The charming town has a pretty, cobbled high street of independent shops and a variety of restaurants and bars. There’s a bustling atmosphere by day and lively ambiance by night.
Surfing is the main activity of choice here, with keen boarders travelling from all over the country – and world – to sample the swell here. Surfing lessons are available all year round but, if getting wet isn’t really your thing, then there’s lots more to do here too.
After a day trip to take the obligatory ‘Land’s End to John O’Groats’ sign selfie and a road trip to Penzance for a lunch of Cornish pasties, we headed back to St Ives for a spot of cream tea and a mental challenge: Escape Time. The adventure game, just a 10-minute walk from the centre of St Ives, is a great way to bond with friends and test the mind!
There’s a mix of accommodation options within the compact cottage: the beautiful master suite – with King-size bed, en-suite and far-reaching sea views – dominates the top floor with an additional twin room and single room next door while on the first floor there’s an elegant double with en-suite, a comfortable twin room with private bathroom and a snug which doubles as a bedroom with sofa bed.
The house sleeps up to 11 people comfortably and offers ample space for large families or social groups. As a group of eight we had plenty of space for the weekend although the living room and kitchen risk feeling a little cosy for a full-house and with low ceilings and narrow, twisting corridors tall guests best watch their heads!
The house has all the latest amenities and mod-cons from cosy electric stove and smart entertainment system to double fridge-freezer, cooling wine fridge and Nespresso coffee machine. The bedrooms are all finished to a high standard with all of the home comforts you could need and there are also some extra touches like board games, DVDs and books in case of a rainy day!
St Nicholas Cottage has got everything going for it. The cottage is in a prime spot, with parking for one car, just a short walk from the beach, harbour and town centre – while also claiming a quiet location within the town.
The house – while privately-owed – is managed by Aspects Holidays, a small and local firm offering self-catering breaks in Cornwall. Staff were friendly and helpful, while key collection and check-in was hassle-free, adding to the ease and simplicity of our short break.
St Nicholas Cottage isn’t just a cosy, homely place to stay – making it a sensible option for visitors to St Ives – it’s high-end finish means it’s also a luxurious treat. And with prices starting from just over £1,000, it’s also an affordable option.
St Nicholas Cottage is available to hire from £1,099 a week from Aspects Holidays.
Address: St Nicholas Cottage, Carncrows Street, St Ives, Cornwall
Phone: 01736 754242