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Ayr Holiday Park (St Ives, Cornwall)
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Ayr Holiday Park (St Ives, Cornwall)St Ives is a delightful blend of working fishing port, holiday resort, and traditional Cornish town. Many an artist has gravitated towards its quality of light, bustling scenes, and stimulating coast and countryside since big names like Barbara Hepworth first settled here after the Second World War.

In 1993,Tate opened a substantial and impressive gallery in St Ives in recognition of resident artists and sculptors' contributions to the British art scene. The building has a view over the sandy stretches of Porthmeor - St Ives' main beach - with its super surf schools and spectacular sunsets. Also overlooking the pretty reaches of this bay is Ayr Holiday Park - best of the campsite crop here.

Everything about this campsite is organised and professional - from the facilities block and soft-landing of the children's play area to its well-placed picnic benches and outside showers for salty wetsuits. Unfortunately, the tariffs reflect all the care and attention that goes into maintaining the site and looking after its guests, so all this luxury does come at a hefty price. But when you consider Ayr's location, and peer down over that incredible vista, the cost seems justifiable.

You can also make the most of Ayr's proximity to the town and stroll down the hill to find wide-open beaches; trendy bars and cafes; any number of restaurants - from chip-cheap fish shops to contemporary fusion affairs; and, of course, the galleries. So it's fitting that Ayr, enjoying its position in the midst of a town steeped in creativity, has got the art of camping just right.

Ayr Holiday Park (St Ives, Cornwall)


COOL FACTOR Ocean vista and prime spot in arty St Ives.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, small to medium-sized dogs (not in July-August) - yes. Large dogs, huge tents, single-sex groups - no. Other groups - by arrangement.

ON SITE Eighty pitches in total, 40 with electric hook-ups, and 30 of which are hardstanding. There's a main shower and loo block with 6W, 6M magnificent showers (hot water aplenty), as well as disabled and family rooms, hairdryers, shaving points. Laundry; kids' playground; games room; wi-fi; direct access on to the coastal path. No campfires or disposable BBQs.

OFF SITE Head to the beach and try your balance at surfing; go for walks along the coastal path; or don your art-critic persona and explore the Tate St Ives (01736 796226; www.tate.org.uk/stives).

FOOD AND DRINK Bias Burgerworks (01736 797972) is a treat for meat-eaters and veggies alike. Book ahead for beachside Porthminster Cafe (01736 795352; www.porthminstercafe.co.uk), a friendly place serving beautifully presented, scrummy food. Stock up on provisions at the Cornish Deli (01736 795100; www.cornishdeli.com).

Ayr Holiday Park (St Ives, Cornwall)


GETTING THERE Follow signs for St Ives from the A30, take the B3311 then B3306 to town, then follow the brown campsite signs to Ayr and Porthmeor Beach. The entrance to the campsite lies at a sharp S-bend.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Catch a train or bus to St Ives and then taxi/bus/walk to the site. Buses from Penzance, Truro, Redruth, and Camborne travel to St Ives, too.

OPEN All year.

THE DAMAGE Caravan/campervan/tent Ј5.50-Ј13.50 (seasonal) per night; adult Ј4-Ј6.25; child Ј2-Ј3; dog Ј2-Ј3; car Ј2-Ј4; serviced pitch £4.25. Backpacker discounts.


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