For Neythan and Sarah Hayes and their three young children, moving from London to Cornwall meant living a life in the great outdoors
The Hayes family moved to Cornwall in 2011 to take over the reigns of St Ives pub, the Queens Hotel, and haven’t looked back.
They have since gone on to completely refurbish the hotel and its (now) ten rooms and worked with their head chef to set up a second business.
Sarah, who is originally from Buckinghamshire, and Neythan – who is originally from Cornwall – had always planned to move out of London, being keen to raise their children out of the city and with in the freedom of the countryside, but where waiting for the right time.
‘We were in London from our twenties to our late thirties,’ remembers Sarah. And when the family came along and they started looking at schools and other amenities suited to their growing family, the desire to move out of London grew. They were always regular visitors to Cornwall – where Neythan grew up. So they looked to the UK’s favourite county for a new start.
‘We used to walk in parks in London and think if we were in Cornwallimagine the walks we could have,’ says Sarah, a former book editor. Now their two daughters and son are always outside, she says – and are often found in the water. ‘They are all water babies,’ says Sarah.
The idea came to take on a pub as they saw their own ‘locals’ changing. ‘We saw pubs changing where we lived – from smokey bars to family-friendly places serving food,’ says Sarah. ‘We went to a lot of pubs where you were paying over the odds for not very good food. People come down to Cornwalland expect good food.’
And when they began talking to St Austell Brewery about the type of pub they wanted – the Queens Hotel in St Ives, came up and they went for it. Following a refurbishment downstairs and in the rooms, the pub has gained a reputation for great food and good accommodation.
‘This is a pub with rooms,’ says Sarah – who’s role includes publicity. ‘We felt that wasn’t being done down here. We wanted to do something more in keeping with being a pub.’And how has life changed for the family since their move? ‘Now we are outside all the time: boating on the Helford Passage, surfing on the beaches and now we’ve got a garden! ‘I enjoy growing vegetables and also being self-employed. It’s been a huge change.
Favourite walk: Prussia Cove to Perranuthnoe. ‘We got married and had the party there. The kids now do surf club where we got married.
‘Neythan is walking the South West Coast Path – and has nearly completed it – he started when he was 30.’
Favourite taste of Cornwall: From the Queens Hotel menu, of course. ‘We come for Sunday lunch a lot. It’s a Cornish cut of beef and the gravy takes three days to make.’
Favourite beaches: Sarah: Porthmeor. ‘Neythan’s grandparents lived on Porthmeor – if you fell out the window you landed on it. Neythan has great memories of there.’ Neythan: Polly Joke.
And advice to people thinking of moving?
‘Do it as quickly as possible – when kids are young. We wanted to raise the kids on the beach – and the schools down here are great.’