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Weekend

Pure Cornish Magic At Three Mile Beach, St Ives

Land in the lap of windswept Cornish luxury at this new staycation hotspot.

Three Mile Beach, a selection of 15 self-catering beach houses in Cornwall, has been a long time in the making. It all started when Audley Travel Founder, Craig Burkinshaw and his partner, Joanne Le Bon fell in love with Gwithian Towans, a stretch of golden beach near St Ives. The pair decided to create luxury accommodation here while preserving the wildness and whimsy of the landscape, and the result is a staycation spot that feels imbued with a touch of magic, bolstered by a fresh beachy aesthetic, carefully curated experiences, and upscale foodie touches.


The Vibe

The atmosphere is incredibly laidback in this enclave of spacious, brightly coloured beach houses set amongst the sand dunes of sprawling Gwithian Beach. Dogs are welcome, there’s a surfing school on the doorstep, brilliant food options abound, and nothing is too much trouble for the enviably relaxed staff wandering around the place.


The Beach Houses

The airy, light-flooded beach houses, each named after songs like Rocketman and Strawberry Fields, range in size from two to four bedrooms, but all come with a sunken cedar hot tub, a cute barrel sauna, a BBQ on the decking, and a log burner inside.

The interiors bring new life to seaside cliché: the whitewashed wood is heightened with turquoise touches in the kitchen, and brightly coloured accents and considered art in the bedrooms. Single beds up on the mezzanine level of some bedrooms induce a childlike thrill, and an abundance of skylight windows mean that everything is sun-drenched all day. The kitchen is extremely well-equipped, while a vast L-shaped sofa and freestanding steel bath tub make this a heavenly spot in which to unwind.


The Little Extras 

Guests are greeted by a beautiful hamper of the finest Cornish produce, including tea and coffee, fresh bread and scones, and an impressive selection of herbs and spices. Other thoughtful – and welcome – touches include everything you need for a beach trip (towels, blankets, toys, and a windbreaker), plus products by land&water, made up the road and infused with sea buckthorn, ginger, and geranium to scent your trip beautifully. Real effort has been made to keep things local here, and it pays off: you’ll feel that you’ve landed in the lap of windswept luxury, but also in the midst of an authentic Cornish experience.


The Food + Drink

As said, the kitchens are superb, but if you’re not into cooking, there are plenty of other options here. Perhaps most appealing is the on-site street food and drinks, served from a brightly coloured, impeccably kitsch retro van and Tuk-Tuk. If you’re planning a winter break, the good news is that this will stay open Tuesday to Saturday 5PM to 9PM until Easter 2022, so you can sample the delights of small plates such as black pudding Scotch quails eggs and delicate crab cakes, or something heartier, like the most glorious mussel-loaded paella (ideal after a bracing walk along the coast).

Another tempting option is the private-chef hire, or, for just the right amount of effortless cooking, pizza oven hire; the team will deliver the oven plus perfectly formed dough and artisan toppings including spicy nduja, fresh anchovies, mozzarella, and tangles of rocket and basil. It’s hard to imagine an evening more guaranteed to please than languidly throwing pizzas into an oven against the backdrop of one of the knockout sunsets that are a frequent occurrence at Three Mile Beach. There are also lots of restaurants, pubs, and cafés nearby, including the excellent Hungry Horsebox, a restored horsebox on the beach that serves decent coffee, the tastiest sweet potato and lentil dhal, and fresh Cornish smoked mackerel pâté. For something a little more traditional, keep going up the hill to the scenic Jam Pot Café, which serves classic Cornish cream teas and pasties with commanding views of the coast.


The To-Do List

The content-to-linger may understandably curl up on the vast blue sofa with a book for the duration of their stay, but for those looking to stray, there’s so much on offer. The brilliant Global Boarders Surf School is on the doorstep, and you can wander down in your hired wetsuit in a matter of minutes. For a genuinely enlightening experience, take a lesson with Ian, whose affinity with the ocean and uber-relaxed yet effective coaching will have you standing up for “cruisey rides” and talking about on-shore winds long after you’ve left Cornwall. For an injection of culture, take the 20-minute drive to St Ives to discover why artists have flocked there for generations – and see the fruits of their labour at the glorious Tate.

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