England, UK, Wanderlust

On the beach in St Ives, Cornwall

The best-laid plans of mice, men and parents often have more than a few hiccups, to misquote a phrase. Especially when you add three-year-olds to the mix.

I’m not shy about the fact I think travelling with kids is (a) doable and (b) fantastic. But it’s not always smooth sailing, as our day out in St Ives went to show.

A day out on the beach in St Ives, Cornwall

On paper, it’s unbeatable: sand, sea, ice-cream, a fantastic child-friendly cafe for lunch, little streets to wander around, no real rush. In practice, we had all those things, a lovely time – and several meltdowns which make me blush to remember them.

Despite navigating down some tiny twisty streets and finding ourselves in an unexpected car park, we were off to a good start. Clambering down the steps to the nearest beach, we found ourselves at Porthgwidden with its brightly coloured beach chalets, a great viewpoint above us, rocks to sit on and lots of sand.


Minnie was having so much fun running away from the waves and burying herself that she had to be carried off kicking and screaming. Literally.

Salvation came in the shape of lunch at Porthmeor Cafe, overlooking the next beach along. Only their second day open of the season, it meant their stash of kids’ entertainment was almost untouched – crayons with a sharp point, a sticker book with all its stickers in.

Minnie was in heaven, I had a great crab sandwich followed by a truly phenomenal salted chocolate tart, and we watched one brave (freezing?) surfer manfully battle the swell from our viewpoint by the window.

The sun had even come out, and the glassed off terrace was faintly like sitting in a greenhouse – after a shivery start on the beach, I loved it. After sprinting around the beach singing ‘Let It Go’ at the top of her voice, Minnie seemed back to her more usual sunny self, albeit with her equally usual selective hearing when it came to leaving.


That still left time to amble through some of the little side streets, looking at the bright paint on the white houses, window shopping in some of the quirky boutiques, pootling along the cobbled alleys and the harbour front, and finally picking up a few pasties.

The Tate St Ives is currently closed, otherwise I’d have tried to persuade Minnie to pop inside. As it was, we fairly quickly ditched the idea of walking to Carbis Bay – which sounded lovely but best done with a less recalcitrant preschooler in tow – or even a wander to Porthminster Beach, one of my top six in Cornwall.

The annoying icing on the mixed cake of our day? Discovering that I’d accidentally flicked the camera onto the wrong setting, meaning anything taken with my DSLR was wildly overexposed. Which made for some rather interesting effects!

St Ives, I feel we haven’t appreciated you properly. Next time, I’m bringing a more cheerful small girl and a better ability to check my camera – but I’d like the same chocolate tart…


All images, even the really weird bleached out ones, copyright MummyTravels

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall