I experienced Lee and Danny's fabulous guest house in August 2011. Little Leaf Guest House is reachable through a series of paths and outdoors staircases or via a short, few minutes taxi ride from the train station. Lee and Danny's blog relating the saga of their move from London to St. Ives, England and the trajectory of what it took to leave the corporate rat race behind to become full-time innkeepers is riveting and highly entertaining! In fact, the blog and all the glowing reviews in TripAdvisor convinced me to take the plunge and stay in Little Leaf Guest House for several days as part of my UK holiday. I'm so glad I did and would have arrived even sooner had they not been completely booked up! Lee and Danny are so welcoming from the moment you walk into their establishment. As Lee is an accomplished baker, you will likely experience a delicious treat from her kitchen as she sits down with you from the start and relays helpful sightseeing tips/brochures and guest house information to you. For £2.50 per day, there is also access to a heated swimming pool just up the road from the guest house. Guests are Little Leaf are also entitled to discounted rates at the Porthmeor Surf School.
I stayed in room 4 at the top of the guest house; it has an amazingly comfortable duvet on the bed and a flat screen television as well as a new bathroom with shower and toilet. There is a door hook and a bottle of shower gel, in case you forget to bring your own. A corner nook/crawl space in room 4 is the perfect space for your luggage and any rucksacks or carrier bags of stuff you may have with you. Fluffy, clean white towels are provided as are tea/coffee set-up. Additional two wall hooks are near the sink. The decor is modern, green/white, and very soothing. Throughout the guest house, Lee and Danny display various works of art -- some show scenes of St. Ives.
The common room has breakfast tables with scenic views of St. Ives, a DVD library, sightseeing brochures, and an iPad for guests to use during their stay. Breakfast is served from 8:30 am - 9:30 am and guests' selections (full English breakfast, vegetarian full English breakfast, specials of the day) can be recorded on a clip board page before the end of each day. Fruit, yogurt, jam, and plenty of toast is also provided. If you partake of the morning breakfasts at Little Leaf Guest House, such are the delicious portion sizes that you will likely not need to eat lunch at all! Since I had to check out very early on a Saturday morning, Lee and Danny got up extra early and made me fried egg whites on toast and a heaping bowl of fruit salad as I requested before the regular breakfast hour. Danny also reserved a taxi for me the day before for an early morning pick-up and ride to the train station.
As I was keen to hike the famed 6 miles St. Ives to Zennor bit of the South West Coast Path, which is the most difficult and most beautiful stretch of this dramatic cliff side trail, Lee and Danny disclosed the weather forecast (very changeable weather in these parts) and recommended the best day for my hike. For a small fee, Lee packed for me a perfect paper bag lunch with a sandwich, juice box, Kit Kat bar, chips, and piece of fruit, so that I could have lunch during the strenuous hike. If you do this hike, be advised that sturdy hiking shoes and 4.5 hours of daylight are required; there are many bits of the trail where you will need to scrabble up and down with hands on rocks and jumping around to avoid stepping in some muddy sections. I say you will need 4.5 hours, since it's likely you will stop for 1/2 hour to eat lunch along the trail and you will also stop for a moment here and there to take breathtaking landscape photos and to catch your breath from the aerobic exertions of the hike. Once you reach Zennor, which is a small hamlet with a church, a farm with cow pasture (many caramel colored cows on the field), and a pub, you can either take a bus on the main road back to St. Ives (last bus is approximately 4:00 pm) or kindly ask the pub-keepers to phone a taxi for you.
St. Ives itself is a former fishing village with nearby copper and tin mines from yesteryear and now is a bustling tourist destination with a vibrant artistic community and a labyrinth of paths to explore. The famed Leach pottery studio, Barbara Hepworth's sculpture studio museum, and the Tate St. Ives are all located in the village along with assorted independent art galleries and a painting school. The harbor area is full of boats and restaurants. Several beaches are in the vicinity. I particularly enjoyed dining at the Tate St. Ives' rooftop cafe and the Porthmeor Beach Cafe both overlooking beautiful Porthmeor beach, which also hosts a surfing school. Nearby bus/car excursions from St. Ives include: Minnack Theatre and St. Michael's Mount, as recommended by Lee and Danny, as well as various gardens such as the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project. Cornwall is a special part of England and St. Ives is one of its brilliant gems.
All in all, do yourself a favor, take a holiday break and either drive in or ride the train from London Paddington Station to St. Ives to experience the lovely hospitality and friendly charm of Little Leaf Guest House and its amazingly wonderful hosts, Lee and Danny!! As far as I'm concerned, it is the #1 place to stay in St. Ives!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.