Artists & Writers in Cornwall
Enjoy museums and art galleries and see places associated with famous authors
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With its spectacular scenery and fascinating history, Cornwall has always been a magnet for artists and writers. This is your chance to explore the places that inspired them. We will visit the artistic centres of St Ives, Newlyn and Penzance, potter around the Fowey estuary, home to Daphne Du Maurier, and head for the wild west, where some of the dramatic Poldark scenes were filmed.
- Barbara Hepworth studio, St Ives
- Charlestown: the 18th century port used as a filming location for Poldark
- Fowey: home of Daphne du Maurier
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- All transport on touring days on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach with PA system, as well as all other transport required as part of your holiday itinerary
- All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for National Trust or English Heritage properties
Chy Morvah, meaning 'house by the sea' in Cornish, is an appropriate name for this characteristic seaside property. Situated within walking distance of the centre of St Ives, it enjoys wonderful views along the north Cornwall coast.
Chy Morvah has 39 bedrooms, either located in the main building or in the adjacent Lanyons House.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplement to upgrade to 'Better' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout of Chy Morvah, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Our Heritage Tours are your opportunity to immerse yourself in an area of history that interests you, at the same time as exploring the local area with a group of like-minded people. Each day our leaders will provide fascinating commentary on the places visited and share their knowledge with you. This holiday involves active sightseeing, walking up to 3 miles (5km) each day.
All admissions are included, apart from entrance costs to English Heritage or National Trust properties - please do bring your membership cards if you're already a member of these organisations.
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
St Ives Tate Gallery & Dame Barbara Hepworth’s studio
We’ll start with a leisurely stroll around St Ives, enjoying the winding streets and astonishing sea views immortalised by writers and artists. We visit the town’s two major art attractions: the spectacular Tate Gallery and Dame Barbara Hepworth’s studio and sculpture garden.
D H Lawrence, Poldark & the Leach Pottery
Our first stop is the village of Zennor, where D H Lawrence worked on 'Women in Love' and was accused of spying by local people. Then we visit the award-winning Geevor Mining Museum to uncover the real background to the Poldark novels, set along the rugged Cornish coast. After tea in Trengwainton Gardens, we tour the famous Leach Pottery.
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Poldark and Daphne Du Maurier country
This morning we travel to the 18th-century port of Charlestown, filming location for many Poldark scenes, and visit the Shipwreck and Rescue Heritage Centre. We spend the afternoon in Daphne Du Maurier’s home town of Fowey and take a boat trip to view her riverside home.
Penlee House Gallery – the Newlyn School of Artists
The Penlee House Gallery in Penzance is a real highlight of this trip. We’ll learn about the Newlyn School of Artists and visit the places they painted in the old fishing port of Newlyn. If the tide is right, there will also be a chance to explore St Michael’s Mount.
Royal Cornwall Museum & Godolphin House
Our first stop is the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, home to a collection of fascinating paintings charting the history of the county. We will also visit Truro Cathedral and there will be time for you to explore the city. In the afternoon, we visit the remarkable church at Breage before ending the day in the gardens of Godolphin House, another setting featured in the BBC’s Poldark series.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to Bring
I’m looking forward to meeting you in Cornwall, and to visiting some fascinating places, galleries and museums. I will be giving an illustrated evening talk on the artists and writers of Cornwall. This means there’s no need for you to do anything in advance. However, for those of you who like to come prepared, I recommend the following:
Winston Graham’s Poldark novels tell a gripping and romantic tale set against a dramatic background of Cornish mining, wrecking and smuggling in the 18th century. They are available in print or audio format, but if you don’t have time to enjoy them, I thoroughly recommend watching some episodes of the recent BBC Poldark series, with its breathtaking Cornish settings. (Poldark DVDs should be available to borrow from your local library.)
Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and The King’s General are both rip-roaring reads with a Cornish setting, and they are both available as audio books. There are several film versions of Rebecca, including the Hitchcock classic, although all its Cornish scenes were filmed in California!
I can also recommend two very readable contemporary novels that bring to life some fascinating historical background:
Helen Dunmore’s 'Darkness in Zennor' describes life in the coastal village of Zennor during World War I, at the time when D H Lawrence and his partner Frieda were exiled there.
Jonathan Smith’s Summer in February recreates the creative turmoil of the celebrated artistic community based at Lamorna Cove, near Newlyn, in the 1900s.
Best wishes, and see you soon.
Arts & Crafts Tour Leader
Chy Morvah is situated in the attractive seaside town of St Ives. A 10 minute downhill walk will take you to the harbour and old town; a maze of narrow streets and shops. The harbour front is always bustling with activity, and there are numerous artists’ galleries to enjoy. There are also two excellent sandy beaches. Nearby Porthminster Beach (5 to 10 minutes' walk) is very sheltered and very popular with families. Porthmeor Beach on the far side of town (15 to 20 minutes' walk) is more exposed and excellent for surfing. There are several surf schools if you want to give this a go – a popular option for all ages! St Ives has a full range of facilities including shops, banks, chemists, pubs and cafés.
During your stay at Chy Morvah you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Tate Gallery & Barbara Hepworth Gallery
Opened in 1993, this branch of the Tate Gallery celebrates Cornwall’s rich artistic legacy. Tate St Ives also manages the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which gives a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain's most important 20th century artists. Both galleries are within easy walking distance of Chy Morvah. www.tate.org.uk
Justifiably popular with visitors, the fascinating ‘Biomes’ of the Eden Project house a flamboyant collection of plants from around the world. Explore the two gigantic geodesic conservatories – one a majestic rainforest, the other is host to the fruits and flowers of the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. Outside the extensive grounds are landscaped and produce tea, lavender, sunflowers and hemp. The Eden Project is just over an hour's drive from St Ives. Between May and September guests staying at Chy Morvah are able to book a coach excursion each Wedneday, organised by Oates Travel. www.edenproject.com
St Michael’s Mount
The jewel in Cornwall's crown, a fairytale island with an exotic garden, ancient harbour, a church and a medieval castle. Access from Marazion is by foot along the causeway, or by ferry at high water. Marazion is about 20 minutes' drive from St Ives, and can also be reached by regular local buses. www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk
National Maritime Museum
Cornwall's £21 million attraction in Falmouth is housed in an award winning building on the harbour-side. The museum transports you into the world of small boats and Cornish maritime history. Falmouth is about 50 minutes' drive from St Ives, and a day here could include visits to Pendennis Castle, or a delightful boat trip up the River Fal to Truro. www.nmmc.co.uk
National Seal Sanctuary
Situated at Gweek beside the Helford estuary, the seal sanctuary cares for injured or abandoned seals, before returning them to the wild. The seal sanctuary is about 40 minutes' drive from St Ives. www.sealsanctuary.co.uk
Geevor Tin Min
Discover Cornwall's mining heritage at this excellent museum. Guided underground trips as well as surface tours are available. The musem is about 30 minutes' drive from St Ives, and can also be reached using the 300 open-top bus. www.geevor.com
Lost Gardens of Heligan
Created in the mid 18th century, the gardens at Heligan are one of the best examples in Britain, famed for displays of rhododendrons and camellias. Following years of neglect they have been subject to extensive restoration work over the last 20 years. The gardens, located near Mevagissey are just over an hour's drive from St Ives. www.heligan.com
This uniquely situated open-air theatre is cut into the cliffs at Porthcurno, near Lands End. Performances take place most evenings with some afternoon matinees. The Rowena Cade Exhibition Centre tells the story of its creation. An evening theatre visit is offered on most weeks to guests staying at Chy Morvah (May to September). www.minack.com
St Michaels Mount image credited to Mike Newman, Eden Project image ©Hufton+Crow,
Travel to Chy Morvah
Our address is: Chy Morvah, Bishops Road, The Belyars, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DB
The nearest railway station is St Ives, however you may find the journey to St Erth on the main line more convenient. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
St Ives station is only ½ mile from Chy Morvah, but it is rather a steep uphill walk. Taxis cost approx £4 for this short transfer. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Chy Morvah Manager.
Head to Cornwall via the A30. At a large roundabout take the A3074 signposted to St Ives (2nd Exit). You will now come to 2 small roundabouts, go straight across the first and take a right at the second heading towards the village of Lelant. Pass through Lelant and Carbis Bay on the same road.
Pass Tescos and the Treganna Castle hotel on your left hand side, then as you approach St Ives take the left fork which heads slightly up hill, following signs to visitor parking and the leisure centre. Follow the road and turn left up the steep hill. Almost immediately the road turns left again but instead of following the road around to the left you need to turn off the road and head directly up the hill on Porthminster Terrace.
Chy Morvah is right in front of you at the top of the hill. To reach the car park drive left past the front of Chy Morvah and turn immediately right behind the back of the building. The car park is on the right 15 yards along the lane called Bishops road.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to St Erth, and finally a short branch line train to St Ives. This is a relatively straightforward, if lengthy journey - allow 6½ hours, so a morning arrival into Heathrow would be preferable.
There are also airports at Bristol and Newquay which may be more convenient for some guests. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
Jane Bingham - The Bloomsbury Group
Jane is an author who writes on history and art for children and adults and has written more than 60 books for young readers as well as numerous articles on English heritage topics. Her Masters’ thesis is on medieval wall paintings in English churches. Jane has degrees in English Literature and Art History, and a varied work life from being assistant to the curator of stained glass at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to working as a publisher, to judging on literary panels.
“Very well organized. Kind and thoughtful to all. Expert knowledge but kept it at a level to suit individuals. Gave very good talks. Sociable and friendly.”
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person