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Family friendly St Ives

September 2nd, 2015

Since we opened in April we’ve been getting more and more families coming to stay with us.

Well, why not? It’s pretty cheap to take out a whole dorm room if you’re a family of 4 or more and for families of 3 we have our triple room comprising of a double bed on the bottom and a single on the top. Works well.

Families have quite different requirements from the solo traveller – as you would expect – so as they’ve come in and out we’ve been finding out what they’ve been doing and thought we’d compile a list of family friendly things to do in St Ives based on their answers.

Family friendly restaurants

Most restaurants in St Ives are family friendly, no one will raise an eyebrow and our guests have been increasingly impressed with the level of consideration and service given to families – large or small. In no particular order:

  • Pizza Express: It’s the only restaurant chain here and it’s easy to get snobby about it but for many families it’s the holy grail. They serve food all day so you don’t have to worry about waiting till 6/6.30pm. Their kids menu is great (3 courses for around £6.50), they provide activities for kids at the table and there’s usually enough families dining for you to not have to worry about making lots of noise.
  • Harbour Fish & Chips: Right on the harbour so you don’t have to drag your hungry children very far. Great value fish and chips and a lovely kids menu with the option to have your fish grilled instead of battered. Colouring pencils and pads supplied by smiley staff and a fast turnaround so if there’s a queue you won’t be waiting long.
  • The Lifeboat Inn: Great pub grub in a friendly environment. Staff here go above and beyond and our guests have loved it for amazingly considerate and thoughtful service. Fab kids menu with adult portions big enough for you to share if your kids have smaller appetites. Crayons provided to keep kids amused during the relatively short wait for food. Good space to wheel buggies around if necessary.

Family must-do’s in St Ives

There’s loads to do in and around St Ives and our guests have enjoyed lots of cool day trips out from the hostel but just so this blog isn’t pages and pages long we’ve chosen things to not miss just in St Ives.

  • Whatever age your kids are Shanty Baba – storyeller and guide – will have a walk for you. For older kids there’s the Ghost Walk and for younger ones the Pirate Walk which leaves slightly earlier. All depart from Westcott’s Quay which is just a couple of minutes walk from Cohort.
  • St Ives Surf School run great surf lessons from ages 5 and up; you can also book a private lesson as a family – which is what one of our guests did – the feedback was that you had to be prepared for your kids to show you up!
  • Take the train from St Ives to St Erth and back. If you have older kids you could walk one way (it’s about 3-4 miles). The train runs along the coastal path and is truly spectacular plus everyone knows kids love trains.
  • See a performance at the BoatHouse Theatre: This old Pilchard Cellar has been converted into a charming theatre and has plays and puppet shows on throughout the year. This summer our guests enjoyed Hansel & Gretel and Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Tickets are only £4 for kids and £6 for adults. A real bargain and a unique experience.
  • The Tate has great activities for kids (5 and up) – if you want to see the exhibition the activity sheets provided at the entrance will ensure that your kids enjoy it as much as you do.

Family friendly beaches

Well it kinda goes without saying that all the beaches in St Ives are family friendly and we have lifeguards on the two big ones – Porthminster and Porthmeor.

Overall however our families prefer Porthminster Beach; it’s more sheltered than Porthmeor, slightly smaller and therefore easier to contain all members of your family. The two cafes at either end also make it easier to grab ice cream  / chips / coffee without disrupting beach fun. If you shoot over to the far end (furthest from the town) there’s a small stream which means kids can paddle and play with water right in front of you and you won’t be trekking down to the water’s edge every 5 minutes to watch them.

Porthgwidden Beach is also a firm favourite, it’s small enough to see everyone on the beach – wherever you are – yet big enough to dig the obligitary holes and build sandcastles.

Family friendly cafes

Just because you’ve got kids doesn’t mean you can’t stop for a cream tea… in fact, we would imagine that it’s almost more essential; kids are welcome everywhere but some cafes have better space for families than others. Firm favourites among our families have been:

  • The cafe at the Tate
  • The Tea Room (Harbour beach) which, as an aside, also has an entire gluten free menu
  • The Pedn Olva (hotel) rooftop terrace, worth noting that this is not ideal if you have a buggy
  • The Carbis Bay Hotel, just a mile walk along the coastal path – this also has an outdoor swimming pool open to non-residents if you want to make an afternoon of it

Family friendly accommodation

Take a whole dorm out at Cohort giving you a great big room all to yourselves. If your kids aren’t very young (i.e. under 8) then bed down in a dorm with others and make it even cheaper. Room 3 has a double bed and single bed (on top) for smaller families and everyone has access to the TV room, WiFi, fully-equipped kitchen (with fridge and shelves to store your food), courtyard and (for the parents) the bar.

Have a look at our Rooms & Rates, see our Facilities and check out What’s On during your stay.

Family tip

Save money on accommodation and spend more on ice cream and fun stuff!

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