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St Ives voted top British seaside resort

St Ives voted top British seaside resort

As Cornwall’s tourism boss warns most businesses could fail if visitors are not able to return this summer, there is one ray of sunshine for the county: St Ives has been voted the best seaside resort in Britain.

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, told The Independent ​that the coronavirus crisis had already cost businesses in the county £280m.

He said: “Our worst-case scenario is the critical eight weeks of the main summer holidays.

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“If we lose July and August – no business can sustain that level of loss.

“So unless there’s a big support package, then four out of five businesses will not survive the loss of summer.”

But in a 19-round Twitter poll conducted for The Independent on Sunday 19 April, the Cornish resort of St Ives took top place as Britain’s leading coastal town.

In the round for Cornwall, St Ives was selected ahead of Fowey, Newquay and Padstow.

It then saw off southern England contenders Whitstable, Bournemouth and Torquay, and in an all-England semi-final defeated Blackpool, Brighton and Whitby in North Yorkshire.

In the final, St Ives won twice as many votes as Tenby in South Wales.

Mr Bell told The Independent: “I am delighted, but not overly surprised.

“The beaches, coastline around the town, the harbour and the narrow streets all come together to create near perfection.”

Travel and the coronavirus crisis: What can be done?

There was disappointment in Tenby, which lost heavily in the final to St Ives. Lawrence Hourahane, a long-time resident of the Welsh resort, said: “In our BBC It’s A Knockout heat in 1977, Tenby finished last.

“It’s been 43 years of hurt since then. But despite being pierless, Tenby is peerless.”

Third place in the poll was taken by Whitby, with the Scottish resort of St Andrews fourth. Wales has two towns in the top five: Llandudno took fifth place.

Brighton was the outstanding success of the opening round, taking 62 per cent of all the Sussex votes. But in the nationwide poll it slipped to sixth.

Oban in western Scotland, Blackpool, Bournemouth and Southwold in Suffolk completed the top 10.

Devon, Kent and Essex were among the southern counties that did not significantly trouble the scorers.

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8 best hikes in the UK

1/8 Ben Macdui, Cairngorms National Park

Swap busy Ben Nevis for the scarcely-smaller Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second highest peak at 4,295ft, and scale CairnGorm – which ranks sixth – for good measure. Twelve miles long and likely to take eight to nine hours, a rollercoaster of a hike bagging both begins from the Cairngorm Ski Centre car park. You’ll shadow a run down Cairn Gorm, cross heathery moors and flank the small Coire an Lochain water (walkhighlands.co.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

2/8 Sandwood Bay Loop, Sutherland

One of Britain’s great beaches, Sandwood Bay’s wind-blasted white sand is inaccessible by road; you must walk a four-mile track from Blairmore – in remotest northwestern Scotland – past small lochs. Its lagoon, supposedly-haunted bothy, crashing waves and spindly sea stack look even better from above. So zigzag up the southern cliff before taking the faint coast path and then crossing bumpy, boggy peat moorland back to the main track (ramblers.org.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3/8 Bochlwyd Horseshoe, Snowdonia

Snowdon is Wales’ most famous bluff, but nearby Tryfan is more eye-catching thanks to a shark-fin shape. It forms part of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, which involves much scrambling over scree fields and – due to some wispy ridges – a head for heights. Veteran hikers are rewarded with scintillating, panoramic Snowdonia vistas and photo-ops on the overhanging Cantilever stone. The slow-going route is only eight miles, but will feel longer (mudandroutes.com).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

4/8 Scafell Pike via Corridor Route, Lake District

The ways up England’s highest mountain vary in popularity. Leaving the Lakeland hordes to follow an easy path from Wasdale, use instead the Corridor Route to steeply approach Scafell Pike’s quieter north side. After attaining its boulder-strewn, 3,209ft summit, loop back to start-point Seathwaite via burly Broad Crag. Almost ten miles long, this tough circular promises riversides, ravines, a waterfall and four Hewitts – hills over 2,000 feet (mudandroutes.com).

Getty Images for PCA

5/8 Slieve Binnian Trail, County Down

A challenging circular through Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains which starts off gently before plunging up alongside the attractive Mourne Wall: an early 20th-century dry-stone dyke built to separate cattle from a reservoir below. Though some scrambling is required to reach Slieve Binnian’s 2,449-foot crest, its views – to the
Isle of Man on clear days – easily merit the effort, as does a diverse descent past the Blue Lough and Annalong Wood (walkni.com).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/8 Byrness to Kirk Yetholm, Northumberland, Scottish Borders

It can take 16 days to complete the 268-mile Pennine Way, but if you only have one to spare then combine the last (and usually least-crowded, due to a lack of accommodation) two stages for a real wilderness walk. Traversing the wild Cheviot Hills and hugging the Scottish border, it’s a lonely 27-mile trudge characterised by bog-hopping boardwalks and slab paths (nationaltrail.co.uk/pennine-way).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

7/8 The Broomway, Essex

It’s only six miles long, yet the Broomway is reckoned to have killed 100 people. From Great Wakering, it heads straight out to sea at low tide, eventually reaching the marshy island of Foulness. Why so perilous? Because the path is mostly unmarked, the tide returns faster than humans can and there is a lot of quicksand on the route. But in good weather, and traversed safely, this can be one of the most bracing beach walks Britain has on offer (broomway.org.uk).

Getty Images

8/8 Yorkshire Three Peaks

What do Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough have in common? Well, they’re Yorkshire’s highest mountains, they each offer fine views and all three are surmountable during a gruelling 24-mile trek. Along with over 5,000 feet worth of ascent, you’re promised the Ribblehead viaduct, picturesque Dales High Way sections and, of interest to geologists, distinct limestone-gritstone overlaps.
Begin and end at Horton in Ribblesdale, where pubs are happily on standby (threepeakschallenge.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

1/8 Ben Macdui, Cairngorms National Park

Swap busy Ben Nevis for the scarcely-smaller Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second highest peak at 4,295ft, and scale CairnGorm – which ranks sixth – for good measure. Twelve miles long and likely to take eight to nine hours, a rollercoaster of a hike bagging both begins from the Cairngorm Ski Centre car park. You’ll shadow a run down Cairn Gorm, cross heathery moors and flank the small Coire an Lochain water (walkhighlands.co.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

2/8 Sandwood Bay Loop, Sutherland

One of Britain’s great beaches, Sandwood Bay’s wind-blasted white sand is inaccessible by road; you must walk a four-mile track from Blairmore – in remotest northwestern Scotland – past small lochs. Its lagoon, supposedly-haunted bothy, crashing waves and spindly sea stack look even better from above. So zigzag up the southern cliff before taking the faint coast path and then crossing bumpy, boggy peat moorland back to the main track (ramblers.org.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3/8 Bochlwyd Horseshoe, Snowdonia

Snowdon is Wales’ most famous bluff, but nearby Tryfan is more eye-catching thanks to a shark-fin shape. It forms part of the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, which involves much scrambling over scree fields and – due to some wispy ridges – a head for heights. Veteran hikers are rewarded with scintillating, panoramic Snowdonia vistas and photo-ops on the overhanging Cantilever stone. The slow-going route is only eight miles, but will feel longer (mudandroutes.com).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

4/8 Scafell Pike via Corridor Route, Lake District

The ways up England’s highest mountain vary in popularity. Leaving the Lakeland hordes to follow an easy path from Wasdale, use instead the Corridor Route to steeply approach Scafell Pike’s quieter north side. After attaining its boulder-strewn, 3,209ft summit, loop back to start-point Seathwaite via burly Broad Crag. Almost ten miles long, this tough circular promises riversides, ravines, a waterfall and four Hewitts – hills over 2,000 feet (mudandroutes.com).

Getty Images for PCA

5/8 Slieve Binnian Trail, County Down

A challenging circular through Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains which starts off gently before plunging up alongside the attractive Mourne Wall: an early 20th-century dry-stone dyke built to separate cattle from a reservoir below. Though some scrambling is required to reach Slieve Binnian’s 2,449-foot crest, its views – to the
Isle of Man on clear days – easily merit the effort, as does a diverse descent past the Blue Lough and Annalong Wood (walkni.com).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/8 Byrness to Kirk Yetholm, Northumberland, Scottish Borders

It can take 16 days to complete the 268-mile Pennine Way, but if you only have one to spare then combine the last (and usually least-crowded, due to a lack of accommodation) two stages for a real wilderness walk. Traversing the wild Cheviot Hills and hugging the Scottish border, it’s a lonely 27-mile trudge characterised by bog-hopping boardwalks and slab paths (nationaltrail.co.uk/pennine-way).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

7/8 The Broomway, Essex

It’s only six miles long, yet the Broomway is reckoned to have killed 100 people. From Great Wakering, it heads straight out to sea at low tide, eventually reaching the marshy island of Foulness. Why so perilous? Because the path is mostly unmarked, the tide returns faster than humans can and there is a lot of quicksand on the route. But in good weather, and traversed safely, this can be one of the most bracing beach walks Britain has on offer (broomway.org.uk).

Getty Images

8/8 Yorkshire Three Peaks

What do Pen y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough have in common? Well, they’re Yorkshire’s highest mountains, they each offer fine views and all three are surmountable during a gruelling 24-mile trek. Along with over 5,000 feet worth of ascent, you’re promised the Ribblehead viaduct, picturesque Dales High Way sections and, of interest to geologists, distinct limestone-gritstone overlaps.
Begin and end at Horton in Ribblesdale, where pubs are happily on standby (threepeakschallenge.uk).

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The voters were all self-selecting. Across the 19 rounds, the average turn-out was more than 1,000.

Britain’s best seaside resorts

1. St Ives

2. Tenby

3. Whitby

4. St Andrews

5. Llandudno

6. Brighton

7. Oban

8. Blackpool

9. Bournemouth

10. Southwold

Source: a series of 19 half-hour Twitter polls, averaging 1,000+ votes, conducted on Sunday 19 April

St Ives: Where creativity and coast combine

Nature meets art in the most spectacular fashion on the north Cornish shore. After 2,000 uninterrupted miles, the Atlantic breakers enthral surfers and sculpt the coast. Nature is augmented by the artists who have made the town their own – enjoying its spectacular location, intimate heart and clear Cornish light.

The creative community expanded after the railway arrived in St Ives in 1877, making the town much easier to reach.

Today, visitors by train can be splashing in the sea within one minute of arriving at the GWR railway platform.

The town’s artistic intensity was recognised in 1993 with the opening of Tate St Ives. The gallery transformed the seafront above Polmeor Beach, and is itself regarded as a work of art.

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