Things to do in St Ives
In recent years St Ives, formerly a small fishing village, has rightly earned itself a reputation as one of the UK’s cultural capitals.
With so many fantastic restaurants, galleries (including Tate St Ives), museums, shops, surf schools, beaches and scenic walks to choose from, here are just some of the St Ives highlights to whet your appetite.
Beaches in St Ives
With so many stunning beaches in St Ives to choose from you are spoiled for choice. You have the pick of four main beaches, each within a short walking distance of the town centre. While there are plenty of choices, Porthmeor is the most popular with surfers as it faces the Atlantic Ocean. There’s also Porthminister Beach, our favourite and perfectly located near to train and bus transport links. If you are looking for a more secluded option then we recommend Porthgwidden Beach, tucked away in the corner of Downalong and, as such, can be a quiet spot. With its own beach huts Porthgwidden Beach is the perfect family friendly beach.
Art lovers should definitely make sure that they visit Tate St Ives that has been open to the public since 1993 and is incredibly popular with both locals and tourists. Indeed, even the architecture of the building itself is absolutely glorious. The building overlooks Porthmeor beach and the circular entrance is nothing short of iconic. Of course, indoors there is charm to spare with stunning collections of contemporary art. You will also find that there is a focus on the St Ives School as well as famed local artists such as Alfred Wallis.
The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives showcases inspiring sculptures, paintings and drawings where you can discover more about this leading figure of modern British art. In 1949 Barbara Hepworth created a studio and sculpture garden in central St Ives where she lived and worked for the rest of her life.
If you prefer a more hands-on experience you can book an art course with the St Ives School of Painting, or try one of their drop-in life drawing sessions.
Eating out in St Ives
There are so many amazing restaurants in St Ives to choose from. Enjoy fresh locally sourced produce whilst taking in the breath-taking views of St Ives, from seafood restaurants, burgers bars, Italian eateries, cafes and cosy pubs.
Take a look at our blog post Best Restaurants In St Ives With Sea Views.
Bringing your four-legged friend to one of our properties? Check out our guide to Dog Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in St Ives.
Shopping in St Ives
St Ives is wonderfully quaint and it is an absolute delight simply wandering around the cobbled streets. There are many streets that are visual treats but you should make time to meander along Fore Street with its lovely little independent shops where you can buy everything from designer clothing to fudge from its many bookstores, craft shops and bespoke gift shops.
If you’re looking for locally sourced Cornish produce then visit The Allotment Deli on Fore Street. The deli stocks a wide range of Cornish produce including award winning salamis, cheeses, olives and Cornish pies. They also offer a range of vegan and speciality gluten free treats.
Discover the magic of St Ives bay by boat. St Ives offers a range of boat trips, fast rib rides, boat hire, kayak and paddleboard hire, with fishing trips and scenic rides along the coast to seal Island and Godrevy lighthouse.
Check out the Four Sisters boat trips to see the seals and wildlife.
Their boat trips are family friendly for all ages and we also allow dogs. Up to two children go free with our family tickets during off-season periods.
Surfing & Watersports
If you are keen to learn how to surf then you couldn’t have picked a better spot! It’s true to say that Cornwall is the surfing capital of the UK and St Ives is the prime spot to try your luck on the waves.
Skilled surfers are always keen to try challenging wave ‘the boiler’ come winter, but there are also opportunities for those who weren’t brought up on a surfboard to take a shot as well, particularly if you visit in the summer when Porthmeor beach provides the perfect spot for new surfers.
Regardless of whether you’re an amateur or an avid, experienced surfer, you will always find a spot nearby offering the equipment that you need. The St Ives Surf School is highly regarded as one of the best places to learn to surf in Cornwall. It’s a must do if staying in St Ives.
If you’re staying in one of our properties in Carbis Bay then check out Ocean Sports Centre which is located on the right hand side of Carbis Bay beach. Whether you want to try stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing there is something for everyone.