This month sees the release of British film Summer In February, telling the true tale of love, liberty and scandal among the Edwardian artists’ colony in Cornwall. Feeling inspired, Claire Spreadbury takes her family on an art-themed break.
I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to feel about my husband sketching the curved lines of a naked twenty-something female.
He’s getting back in touch with his creative side again and a trip to the Cornish town of St Ives seemed like the perfect place to pop along to a life drawing class.
We use paint, charcoal and boot polish, creating ‘masterpieces’ with brushes, sticks and fingers.
It’s all about being ‘free’, going with the flow and not analysing every mark you make, thinking it’s wrong.
Sweeping aside my three-year-old’s questions about said naked lady drawings the next day, we decide to stick with the arty theme and go in search of the area’s gorgeous galleries.
You’ll find them en masse within the quaint cobbled streets of the town itself; small shops adorned with quirky crafts, handmade jewellery and local art.
We head away from the town with a kids’ birthday present and a mermaid dolly for our three year old, we find ourselves in Tate St Ives.
If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth a jaunt - even with tiny tots in tow. It’s very small and you can make your way round everything nice and quickly.
My little one discovered she was quite the fan of William Scott - an exhibition was on to mark the centenary of his birth.
And while you’re in the mood, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is an absolute must. Even in dreary British weather, the outdoor sculptures are a joy to look at.
Of course, if you just want to admire the views that inspire so many of the artists in Cornwall, the beaches are your first call. Thanks to the £100 million ‘Clean Sweep’ scheme, West Cornwall can boast some of the cleanest bathing waters in Western Europe.
We didn’t manage to see any, but rumour has it seals, dolphins and basking sharks have been spotted on these very shores, not to mention the crabs, shrimps and anemones hiding in the rock pools.
St Ives itself is proud of its award-winning Porthminster and Porthmeor beaches.
And if any of your clan are keen to hone their skills, there’s a school and surfers aplenty on Porthmeor.
But if you’re really keen to improve, the Perranporth Surf School, a picturesque half hour drive away, is one of the finest locations to learn in Cornwall.
Unfortunately, someone had to look after our little ones, but daddy braved a particularly rubbish and rainy day to get up on the board and rip through some waves.
For the duration of our stay, we made Hawke’s Point our home. The plush apartments are just a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach. Choose from one, two or three bedrooms, a garden, balcony or penthouse.
St Ives has so much to offer. But for me, escaping from the hectic pace of juggling work and family life, simply to watch the world go by, is an absolute pleasure.