If you are looking for a charming seaside town with plenty of activities to keep you busy, then St Ives in Cornwall should definitely be on your list.
This picturesque town is known for its beautiful beaches, art galleries, and stunning coastal walks. With so much to see and do, it's no wonder that St Ives is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
Whether you're interested in surfing, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach, St Ives has something for everyone. Some of the best things to do in St Ives include visiting the Tate St Ives art gallery, exploring the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, and taking a stroll along the South West Coast Path.
With so many attractions and activities to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why I've put together a list of the 22 best things to do in St Ives, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Cornwall. Whether you're travelling with family, friends, or solo, there's plenty to discover!
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- Overview of St Ives Cornwall
- 1. Visit Tate St Ives
- 2. Explore the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
- 3. Take a Boat Trip
- 4. Wander through Fore Street
- 5. Relax at Porthminster Beach
- 6. Visit Seal Island
- 7. Discover St Erth
- 8. Soak up the Sun at Harbour Beach
- 9. Explore the Beauty of Porthgwidden Beach
- 10. Experience the Charm of a Seaside Town
- 11. Leach Pottery
- 12. Indulge in Delicious Ice Cream
- 13. Admire the High Tide at St Ives Bay
- 14. Discover the Godrevy Lighthouse
- 15. Make the Most of the Summer Months
- 16. Indulge in a Cream Tea
- 17. Learn to Surf at St Ives Surf School
- 18. Explore St Ives Harbour
- 19. Paddle Boarding
- 20. Explore St Ives Museum
- 21. Enjoy the Extraordinary Coastal Walks
- 22. Delight in the Perfect Spot for Art Lovers
- When to Visit St Ives
- Frequently Asked Questions
- St Ives: A Recap
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- 💬 Comments
Overview of St Ives Cornwall
St Ives is a charming seaside town located in the heart of Cornwall, UK. With its narrow streets, picturesque harbour, and stunning beaches, it has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Despite its popularity, St Ives has managed to retain its small-town charm and relaxed atmosphere.
One of the main draws of St Ives is its beautiful beaches. The town is home to several beaches, each with its own unique character. The most popular of these is probably Porthmeor Beach, which is known for its excellent surfing conditions. Other popular beaches include Porthminster Beach, which is great for families, and Harbour Beach, which is located in the heart of the town.
In addition to its beaches, St Ives is also known for its thriving art scene. The town has been a hub for artists for over a century, and there are numerous galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists. The Tate St Ives is particularly worth a visit, as it houses a collection of modern and contemporary art.
Despite its small size, there is plenty to see and do in St Ives. The town is home to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, and there are numerous walking trails in the surrounding countryside. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday or an active outdoor adventure, St Ives has something to offer.
1. Visit Tate St Ives
Tate St Ives is a must-visit for art lovers. This world-renowned gallery showcases contemporary art and exhibits by local and international artists. With its stunning ocean views and thought-provoking installations, it's a true gem in the heart of St Ives.
📍Porthmeor Beach, Saint Ives TR26 1TG
2. Explore the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
Immerse yourself in the work of one of Britain's most renowned sculptors, Barbara Hepworth. Located in a beautiful garden setting, the museum showcases her sculptures, drawings, and even her studio, providing a unique insight into her artistic process.
📍 Barnoon Hill, Saint Ives TR26 1AD
3. Take a Boat Trip
Embark on a boat trip to explore the breathtaking coastline of St Ives. Whether you choose a leisurely cruise or an adventurous fishing trip, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the chance to spot wildlife, such as seals and seabirds.
4. Wander through Fore Street
Fore Street is the vibrant heart of St Ives, lined with independent shops, galleries, and charming cafes. Take a leisurely stroll and soak up the lively atmosphere, browse unique souvenirs, and indulge in delicious Cornish pasties or a cream tea.
5. Relax at Porthminster Beach
Porthminster Beach is a pristine sandy beach with turquoise waters, perfect for sunbathing or swimming. Relax on the golden sands, enjoy a refreshing dip, or savor a meal at the beachfront café while admiring the panoramic views.
📍Carbis Bay, Saint Ives TR26 2EB
6. Visit Seal Island
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Seal Island, located just off the coast of St Ives. Take a boat trip and witness the charming seals in their natural habitat. It's a fantastic experience for nature lovers of all ages.
📍 Zennor, Saint Ives TR26 3BW
7. Discover St Erth
A short distance from St Ives lies the tranquil village of St Erth. Explore its picturesque countryside, visit the beautiful St Erth Church, or simply enjoy a peaceful walk along the riverbank. It's a delightful escape from the bustling crowds.
8. Soak up the Sun at Harbour Beach
Located right in the heart of St Ives, Harbour Beach offers a stunning setting with its crystal-clear waters and picturesque harbor. Bask in the sun, watch the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the water, or enjoy a leisurely swim.
📍 Saint Ives TR26 1LP
9. Explore the Beauty of Porthgwidden Beach
Porthgwidden Beach is a hidden gem nestled between the cliffs, offering a tranquil and secluded spot away from the crowds. With its golden sand and calm waters, it's an ideal place for relaxation and unwinding.
📍 Porthmeor Rd, Saint Ives TR26 1NR
10. Experience the Charm of a Seaside Town
St Ives is the epitome of a charming seaside town, with its narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed cottages, and breathtaking coastal views. Lose yourself in the town's enchanting atmosphere and explore its unique shops and boutiques.
11. Leach Pottery
Leach pottery was founded by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, two of the most influential potters of the 20th century. Today, the pottery is a working studio and museum, showcasing the art and craft of pottery making. Visitors can learn about the history of the pottery and see demonstrations of traditional pottery techniques.
📍Higher Stennack, Saint Ives TR26 2HE
12. Indulge in Delicious Ice Cream
No visit to St Ives is complete without sampling its delectable ice cream. Numerous ice cream parlors dot the town, offering a wide variety of flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth. Treat yourself to a scoop or two while enjoying a leisurely stroll.
There are plenty of parlours to choose from, but the best is Moomaid of Zennor. This award-winning ice cream is made using milk from Jersey cows and comes in a range of delicious flavours, from classic vanilla to more unusual options like blackcurrant and liquorice.
13. Admire the High Tide at St Ives Bay
Witness the natural spectacle of the high tide at St Ives Bay. As the tide rolls in, it transforms the landscape, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring sight. Be sure to check the tide times and experience this phenomenon firsthand.
14. Discover the Godrevy Lighthouse
Just a short distance from St Ives, the iconic Godrevy Lighthouse stands tall on a rocky island. Take a coastal walk or simply enjoy the view from a distance. The lighthouse's majestic presence adds to the charm of the area.
15. Make the Most of the Summer Months
St Ives truly comes alive during the summer months. Experience the vibrant festivals, lively events, and bustling streets. With longer days and warmer weather, it's the perfect time to explore all that this charming town has to offer.
16. Indulge in a Cream Tea
Treat yourself to a classic Cornish cream tea experience in one of St Ives' charming tea rooms. Delight in freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam, accompanied by a steaming pot of tea. It's a culinary delight not to be missed. Don't forget it's jam first.
17. Learn to Surf at St Ives Surf School
Porthmeor Beach is one of the best places to surf in Cornwall, and St Ives Surf School can teach you how. Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced surfer, the friendly instructors will help you catch some waves and have fun in the water.
18. Explore St Ives Harbour
St Ives Harbour is a bustling hub of activity, with fishing boats, pleasure boats, and kayaks coming and going. Take a stroll along the quayside and watch the boats bobbing in the water. You'll also find plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can sit and watch the world go by.
19. Paddle Boarding
Paddle boarding is a fun and exciting way to explore the coast of St Ives. With calm waters and stunning scenery, St Ives is the perfect destination for paddle boarding. You can rent paddle boards from local shops and explore the coastline at your own pace. Paddle boarding is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery of St Ives.
20. Explore St Ives Museum
Discover the rich history and artistic heritage of St Ives at the local museum. Learn about the famous St Ives School of artists, including Naum Gabo and Bernard Leach, whose contributions shaped the art world and put St Ives on the cultural map.
📍 Wheal Dream, St Ives, Saint Ives TR26 1PR
21. Enjoy the Extraordinary Coastal Walks
Embark on scenic coastal walks around St Ives and be rewarded with breathtaking views at every turn. Explore the rugged cliffs, sandy coves, and hidden bays as you embrace the natural beauty of this coastal paradise.
22. Delight in the Perfect Spot for Art Lovers
St Ives has long been a haven for artists, thanks to its captivating landscapes and vibrant art scene. Explore the numerous art galleries scattered throughout the town, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary and traditional artwork.
When to Visit St Ives
The summer months, from June to August, are the busiest time of the year in St Ives. The town is bustling with tourists, and the beaches are crowded. However, the weather is warm and sunny, making it the perfect time to enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities. If you are planning to visit during the summer, make sure to book your accommodation well in advance.
The winter months, from December to February, are the quietest time of the year in St Ives. The town is less crowded, and the prices of accommodation and activities are lower. The weather is cooler, but it is still a great time to visit if you enjoy walking, exploring the town's cultural attractions, and relaxing in front of a cosy fire.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit St Ives depends on what you are looking for. If you want to enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities, the summer months are the best time to visit. However, if you are looking for a quieter and more affordable trip, the winter months are a great option. The shoulder months, from March to May and from September to November, are also a good time to visit. The weather is mild, and the town is less crowded than in the summer months.
Frequently Asked Questions
St Ives has plenty of unique and unusual activities to offer. You can try your hand at pottery at the Leach Pottery Studio, or explore the town's history and culture at the St Ives Museum. For a more adventurous activity, you can go coasteering with Kernow Coasteering, where you'll jump, swim, and climb your way along the rugged coastline.
St Ives is a charming and romantic destination for couples. You can take a romantic stroll along the picturesque coastal path, watch the sunset over Porthmeor Beach, or enjoy a candlelit dinner at one of the town's many restaurants. For a truly special experience, you can book a private boat tour and explore the stunning coastline together.
There are plenty of free activities to enjoy in St Ives. You can take a walk along the South West Coast Path and enjoy the stunning views of the coastline, or visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is free for under 18s. You can also explore the town's seven beautiful beaches, each with its own unique character.
St Ives is a great destination for families with children. You can visit the Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary and enjoy the exotic birds and animals, or take a trip to the nearby Flambards Theme Park for some thrilling rides and attractions. The town's beaches are also perfect for a family day out, with plenty of opportunities for swimming, paddling, and building sandcastles.
St Ives has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. You can enjoy a cocktail at the Rum & Crab Shack, or listen to live music at the Western Hotel. For a more relaxed evening, you can take a moonlit walk along the beach or enjoy a night-time boat tour.
If the weather turns rainy, there are still plenty of indoor activities to enjoy in St Ives. You can visit the Tate St Ives art gallery and admire the works of famous artists, or take a pottery class at the Leach Pottery Studio. You can also visit the St Ives Cinema for a movie, or enjoy a cozy afternoon tea at one of the town's many cafes.
St Ives: A Recap
From its stunning beaches to its thriving art scene, there is an abundance of activities to captivate every visitor. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural enrichment, St Ives will leave a lasting impression.
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