A trip through the St Ives streets…

Conor Fletcher

St Ives is in many ways a lot like a kaleidoscope.

Bear with me.

No matter where you go, be it across the harbour front or through the narrow winding walkways, light reflects its way through the town in random and uncontrollable ways. Through tiny crevices and narrow spaces between the ancient granite cottages the sun sets and shines its way into the side streets bouncing off the glass of the wooden framed window into the hidden walkways or the town and for a moment it can cause the unsuspecting traveller to momentarily wince, pause, and see the sun gleaming through, illuminating the veiled avenues.

St Ives offers so many of these brief snapshots where these picturesque moments of the sun setting before your very eyes simply floods its way across the streets. In these moments you realise just how wondrous a town like St Ives truly is. St Ives was constructed for purpose. With the town’s heritage grounded within the fishing industry you can see how the St Ives became shaped around the harbour front, and this, for a time served one purpose – the fishing industry. Today the focal point of the town seems to have long since abandoned it’s past, becoming undoubtedly conscious of modern society. Restaurants and bars now stretch across the front giving the fortunate diner a glimpse of the late afternoon sun settling itself on the horizon. What we see today however is change from to that of the past. St Ives was built upon its true function, the narrow walkways and shortcuts that take you through the town exist purely for function, while today we admire their historic beauty the subtle stone routes were built for efficiency, simple ways to save time for the many individuals who transported goods from the harbour to storefronts or deliverymen waiting to spread the sea’s bounty.

A step back into the past…

In these moments when you stop for a second, try and take a step back in time. Imagine the sounds, the smells and the sights and you can appreciate just how unique St Ives really is, you can get a better flavour for this past by visiting the St Ives Museum, laden with images from our past.

St Ives is nothing without its past, as the town developed, it changed. Over the years the streets became denser, entwining the narrow streets with new walkways, the buildings climbed their way up the headland and St Ives slowly took on a new form, further resembling the town we know today turning itself in to a wonderful gem of Cornwall’s coastline.

Okay, so I may have been a bit wrong, St Ives may essentially be quite dissimilar to a kaleidoscope but you can appreciate the attempted link. As you stare through the lens and your eyes become overwhelmed with colour and your mind processes ever changing sights that fascinated you as a child (and maybe even still does today), you can pause and ask ‘How did someone make this?’ While the answer to that question is quite simple: a scientist with a mastery of light and reflection, if you ask the same for St Ives it cannot be answered so easily. St Ives is a unique amalgamation of year upon year of change, but as the town slowly developed and changed, something special happened and St Ives emerged as one of the most intriguing places to visit.

Book a stay in our luxury self catering accommodation

If you feel like you want to experience St Ives’ wonderful and sometimes labyrinthine streets, get in contact with a member of one of the team to stay in one of our luxury self catering apartments in St Ives.