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Things to Do in St Ives in Winter.

St Ives is one of the most magical getaway locations for families, couples and groups that want to experience a unique and relaxing holiday away from the city. As one of the most well-loved destinations in the whole of Cornwall, St Ives offers a myriad of things to do even during the winter months. Despite Cornwall being known for its hundreds of miles of coastline and hiking routes, there’s something remarkable about St Ives when the temperatures drop that we’ll explore in our blog.


Explore the Quiet and Tranquil Beaches

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During the hotter months, the beaches in St Ives (specifically Porthminster, Porthgwidden, Porthmeor and Harbour) are incredibly busy. They’re packed with sunbathers and swimmers that are all enjoying the warmth of the sun but come winter the beaches are incredibly quiet and make way for anyone that’s wrapped themselves in comfortable winter clothing. It’s a fantastic time to explore the beaches and walk up and down the beautiful coastline for some amazing views. Along the beaches are plenty of places to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of tea and some snacks. The atmosphere creates a wonderful backdrop for a winter walk and with the many cosy cottages around, it could be as convenient as walking out the front door and straight onto one of the many beaches in St Ives.


Storm Watching from St Ives

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A lot of people would be surprised to hear that storm watching is a relatively popular pastime and tourist attraction at St Ives. While many people prefer to enjoy the hot sun and long days, others like to sit indoors with a hot drink, some sweet desserts and watch the waves rage against the coast. It’s an exhilarating experience that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or a specific storm watching location that is sheltered from the power of the waves. There are countless little cafés and pubs along the coastline that offer a safe haven from the storms while also offering you real ales, traditional British cuisine and a warm fire to help you stay cosy indoors. It’s definitely one of the most unique and exciting attractions when it comes to visiting St Ives in the winter months.


Huddle Up Somewhere Warm

The Sloop Inn, St Ives

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Pop in to Sloop Inn on St Ives harbour front, this charming pub has been a beloved fixture of Cornish life for centuries, offering weary traveler’s and locals alike a warm embrace and a taste of true Cornish character.

Step through the door of the Sloop Inn, and you’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era, where weathered beams overhead whisper tales of seafaring adventures and hearty laughter echoes off the ancient walls. From the cosy snug tucked away in a corner to the lively bar buzzing with conversation, every nook and cranny of this historic pub has a story to tell.

But it’s not just the atmosphere that keeps patrons coming back time and time again—it’s the food and drink, lovingly crafted with locally sourced ingredients and served with a generous helping of Cornish hospitality. Whether you’re craving a traditional Cornish pasty bursting with hearty fillings or a plate piled high with fresh-off-the-boat seafood, the Sloop Inn has something to satisfy every appetite.


Visit a Cornish Mine

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Exploring a Cornish Mine in the winter offers a unique and immersive experience, with a distinct atmosphere that adds to the adventure. One of our favorites, Geevor Mine, remains open year-round, offering captivating underground tours that shed light on Cornwall’s rich mining heritage. As you delve into the depths of the mine, guided by knowledgeable experts, you’ll uncover the stories of the miners who once toiled here.
A highlight of your visit is the immersive journey into the 18th-century Wheal Mexico Mine, providing a genuine glimpse into underground mining life. Families and children can also enjoy activities like gem panning (keep your discoveries!) and a complimentary quiz included with admission.


Spend Christmas and New Year in St Ives

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There are countless things to do over in St Ives during the festive season. The Christmas lights officially switch on early in December, lighting up the town and making way for local Christmas markets and festive decorations. There are local fairs, farmers markets and even an appearance by Santa Claus arriving at the harbour by lifeboat! There are choirs singing, lovely snacks to sample and plenty of hot drinks to help keep you warm. There’s really no shortage of things to do during the Christmas holiday season in St Ives and there are plenty of restaurants and pubs that serve delicious Christmas dinners and lunches.
New Year’s Eve in St Ives has become one of the towns most famous and exciting celebrations with colourful street parties, fireworks and the whole of St Ives harbour turns into one big family street party. Everyone, including ourselves dress up in some amazing costumes, it’s not to be missed!
If you’re looking to spend your Christmas and New Year in a magical winter retreat, then St Ives is a must-visit destination. Check out our Christmas in St Ives and New Year in St Ives blog posts.
Take a look at our special places to stay this Christmas and New Year in St Ives.


Sample Hearty Cornish Cuisine

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Cornish Pasty in St Ives

Home to the legendary Cornish pasty, Cornwall is surprisingly diverse when it comes to traditional British food.
The Cornish pasty holds a rich heritage dating back centuries. Originally crafted as a convenient, hearty meal for miners, fishermen, and laborers, its humble beginnings reflect the practicality and ingenuity of Cornish cuisine. With a crusty exterior that served as a convenient handle, enclosing a savory filling of meat, potatoes, swede (rutabaga), and onions, the pasty became a staple of Cornwall’s culinary identity.

For us, the Cornish pasty from St Ives Bakery is our favourite, what sets St Ives Bakery’s pasty apart? It’s not just the flaky, golden crust or the flavorful filling; it’s the passion and dedication infused into every step of the process. From the hand-crimped edges that seal in the delicious goodness to the precise blend of seasonings that elevate the taste, each pasty is a labor of love, honoring tradition while embracing innovation.

Cornish Cream Tea

The cream tea, for example, has become synonymous with Cornwall and there are plenty of small cafés and local eateries that offer up their own version of the afternoon tea classic.

Let’s settle the age-old debate, in Cornwall, it’s jam first, then clotted cream. This isn’t just a matter of preference; it’s a cherished tradition passed down through generations, a delicious rite of passage for anyone seeking to truly experience the heart and soul of Cornwall.

If you fancy taking in the sea views then Porthminster Cafe is unbeatable, they serve a fabulous cream tea!

Another Cornwall treat is the Newlyn crab. The highly-prized sweet white meat of the Newlyn crab is often made into soups and sandwiches which are popular all over St Ives. Lastly, we also can’t forget Cornish mead. Made from fermented honey and water, Cornish mead is a sweet alcohol beverage often served in the pubs around St Ives.


Visit Tate St Ives

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Even if modern art isn’t your cup of tea, Tate St Ives is a must-visit spot for its striking architecture and breathtaking views overlooking Porthmeor Beach. Nestled into the cliffs, its unique design adds a captivating touch to Cornwall’s traditional landscape. Winter visits are particularly rewarding, offering unparalleled vistas of the beach. After a leisurely stroll along the coastline, step inside to explore the exquisite artwork housed within Tate St Ives. It’s a delightful diversion bound to ignite the imagination of creatives and spark conversation among art enthusiasts. And don’t miss the cafe atop the building, serving up delicious food alongside panoramic views of the rooftops and the sea beyond!
Visit the Tate St Ives website


Visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives is a captivating homage to one of Britain’s most iconic sculptors. Nestled in the heart of the town, this museum offers visitors a glimpse into the life and work of Barbara Hepworth amidst the tranquil setting of her studio and garden. Here, you can marvel at her pioneering sculptures, explore her creative process, and wander through the beautifully curated outdoor space adorned with her monumental artworks. Even better, admission to this cultural treasure is complimentary with your entry ticket to The Tate.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is St Ives worth visiting in winter?
Absolutely! St Ives is a magical destination year-round, offering a unique and relaxing experience even during the winter months. With quieter beaches, storm watching opportunities, festive events, and cosy dining options, St Ives provides a charming winter retreat for visitors seeking a peaceful getaway.

What to do in St Ives on a wet day?
St Ives offers plenty of indoor activities to enjoy on a wet day. Visitors can explore the Tate St Ives art gallery, where they can admire unique artwork and stunning coastal views. Alternatively, they can visit local pubs and cafes for traditional British cuisine, real ales, and sweet desserts while taking shelter from the rain.

Is St Ives good for shopping in the winter?
Yes, St Ives offers delightful shopping opportunities even during the winter months. Visitors can explore the town’s charming streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and craft stores, offering unique gifts, artwork, clothing, and more. Additionally, St Ives hosts Christmas markets and local fairs during the festive season, providing excellent shopping experiences for visitors.


Book a cosy cottage in St Ives

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There’s nothing quite like gathering around a fire with your friends or family members, sharing stories and enjoying a nice hot drink or even bonding over something unique such as a board game or the latest festive programming on television. Book one of cosy cottages with log fires to keep you warm in the winter months, our charming cottages offer a warm welcome after a day of coastal and beach walks.

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