Travel - Cornish Campervan Adventure Part 2

October 21, 2014

The second installment of our Cornish Campervan Adventure today with days in St Ives and Padstow. 

I think my favourite day was spent in St Ives, as I said previously we got engaged the last time we were in Cornwall and staying in St Ives and had such fond memories of it. It didn't disappoint. We arrived at our campsite, Ayr Holiday Park, at about 9am and pitched up our camper van. I chose this campsite based on reviews about it's location, just a 5 minute walk down the hill into St Ives {plus the shower and toilet facilities were so clean and modern}. We didn't want to be doing lots of driving everyday and knew from previous experience how you can walk around the town and beaches easily. After checking in, we headed straight to the beach, it was such a gorgeous day, I think the hottest of the week.

Within minutes we were walking along Porthminster Beach, by the Tate Gallery, unable to stop staring at the bluest sky and sea. All of St Ives beaches are super beautiful and if it was about 10 degrees hotter you wouldn't need to go to the Caribbean!

It was a super moon while we were there which meant the tides were extreme in coming in and out. That morning the sea was so far out that the boats were sitting on the sand in the harbour.

Before it got too hot, we decided to walk around to the next bay called Carbis Bay, about a 20 minute walk along the coast. We stayed at Carbis Bay before and remembered how lovely the beach had been there. The views were incredible from the coast path, such turquoise water.



We sat on the beach for a while enjoying the weather, feeling very lucky for picking such a great week to come away and questioning why the beaches were all so quiet. If you could guarantee this kind of weather you'd never really need to leave England. That week was actually quite rainy for a lot of the Med region. 

We then walked back along the coast path and around to St Ives Harbour, cutting the corner of Porthmeor Beach and walking on the sand. Something that could only be done with a super moon to give such low tides that stretched for miles. 

After all the walking and sea air, it was time for lunch and to explore St Ives cute shops and windy streets. There are amazing delis, pasty shops, bakeries, cafes and restaurants. We had a hard time choosing but eventually went to a place we'd been to before and that still has amazing trip advisor reviews, the Cornish deli. 

We wanted to eat scones by the harbour but had been warned by lots of people that seagulls were likely to attack us!! We didn't want to risk our afternoon tea so walked around the corner to a tiny secluded beach. We kept one eye on a pesky seagull nearby but managed to enjoy the scones without getting attacked!

Feeling like we'd had a bit too much sun and sea breeze, we headed back to the campsite to relax in the camper van for a few hours before our dinner reservation.

That's probably the only downside to a camper van compared to a cottage or hotel that you don't have somewhere to really relax. Luckily with the weather we could open the doors and the roof and lay down in there to read or go on our laptops but if it had been raining I think the experience would have been quite different.

We were torn on where to go for dinner in St Ives, there are so many places to choose from. After reading Trip Advisor though we went for Porthmeor Beach Cafe and I phoned up to book about a week before asking for a window table. If you're planning a visit I'd recommend booking as there were lots of disappointed people when we were eating unable to get a table, it's super popular.

The food was delicious with a large menu of Tapas to choose lots of little dishes from and share. We chose a real mixture, parma ham with figs and sun blush tomatoes, beetroot and carrot falafels, grilled halloumi, crispy fried monkfish and my favourite which was moroccan pulled lamb shoulder with chickpeas, red pepper and baby spinach. Sat next to a window watching the surfers on the beach and the sun beginning to set, it was really quite lovely. 

And as if our evening wasn't lovely enough to start with, we then walked around to the harbour for some of the best ice cream ever {and I eat a lot of ice cream} from Moomaid's of Zennor, a local dairy farm. The dark chocolate sorbet and salted caramel were unreal. 

We took our ice creams back to Porthmeor beach to watch the sun go down, admiring the pretty sky and bunting on the way. St Ives really is the best. 

The next morning, we headed up to Padstow for our last day and night in the camper. On the way there we'd pass the beach where Ben proposed to me so we had to stop. 

If you've read our engagement post, you might have seen Bedruthan Steps before, stacks of rock coming up out of the sea with sandy beach coves cut into the steep rocks. It's owned by the National Trust with a car park and footpath down to the beach.


I loved this cow parsley and the colour of the turquoise water behind on the way back up the steep steps.

We headed back to the camper van after a walk along the top of the cliffs and got back on the road to Padstow. Stopping for the best rated cream tea on TripAdvisor en route at Berryfield's Farm. The heart-shaped scones {how cute} were literally being pulled out of the oven as we arrived, they were still warm and so fresh served with homemade strawberry jam, fresh strawberries and locally sourced clotted cream served by such a friendly couple who run the teashop and holiday park. 

Too delicious! When in Rome… 

We got to our Padstow camp site {Dennis Cove, just a 10 minute walk along the Camel Trail into the town} and walked into town. Padstow is a nice seaside town but in my opinion it's overrated. Compared to St Ives where we'd just come from with so much to see and do, art galleries, lots of shops, the best beaches, Padstow is small and overly commercialised. It doesn't help that every other restaurant is owned by Rick Stein giving the name Padstein. We had a nice time there but it just doesn't compare to St Ives for me. 

On a recommendation by our camp site owner we walked around to Hawkers Cove, a beautiful beach that stretched for miles with the tide out. You can get the ferry across to Rock but we stayed on the Padstow side enjoying the sunshine. 

We browsed around the harbour and shops, I love Seasalt.

Despite being a bit reluctant to Rick Stein's commercialism of Padstow/Padstein we felt we ought to eat in one of his outlets while we were there. We chose in the end, his cafe for dinner although in reality it was more of a cosy bistro with really good seafood. The salt and pepper prawns, and curried monkfish were particularly good. The restaurant actually sent us the wrong dish for the main and we were half way through eating it before we realised, in the end it was a result as we got an extra main! 3 between 2 so we tried half the menu. I'd recommend Stein's cafe, they serve breakfast and lunch too. {But also Ben Ainsworth's michelin starred restaurant next door is meant to be very good and if we hadn't of booked The Pig near Bath hotel for the following night we would have definitely had dinner there}

With very full tummies, we walked back along the camel train vowing to go on a serious diet when we got home after all the delicious Cornish food. 

The next day we reluctantly dropped our VW camper van back to O'Connors and it was strange getting back into a normal car - Journeys will never be as fun as those four days touring the coast. I would whole heartedly recommend a camper van experience, I don't think we'd rush and do it again soon as it wouldn't be the same but for a one off, it's so fun and strangely romantic to be tucked up inside. You also get lots of friendly people coming up to you admiring Barbarossa and other old camper vans. 
Our Cornish leg of the trip had come to an end but at least we had our stay at The Pig near Bath still to come in Somerset before finally heading home. 

R <3 xx 

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