Things to do in St Ives.

St Ives is one of the most popular and beloved locations in Cornwall, and it’s not hard to understand why! From sandy beaches to picturesque views and breathtaking scenery, you’re bound to fall in love with this town as well.
So, what can you not afford to miss when you visit this breathtaking location?

Discover Incredible Modern Art At Tate St Ives


Art lovers should definitely make sure that they visit Tate St Ives. This branch of the art brand has been open to the public since 1993 and is incredibly popular with tourists and locals. 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 St Ives School as well as famed artists like Alfred Wallis. 

Surfing In St Ives

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 point to try your luck on the waves. This surfing destination is available all year round and skilled surfers are always keen to try ‘the boiler’ come winter. This is quite a challenging wave but there are opportunities for those who weren’t brought up on a surfboard to take a shot as well, particularly if you visit in summer when Porthmeor 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.

Get Up Close With Seals 

If you are keen to make sure that you see nature on your trip to St Ives then you need to book a trip to Seal Island. Just 3.5 miles along the coast from St Ives this island is filled with – you guessed it – seals! This is one of the only experiences in the UK where you’ll be able to see these mammals up close in their natural habitat. At certain times of the year the island is also abundant with other wild creatures too. Even if you’re not one for gazing upon nature, the spectacular views from the boat trip alone are sure to take your fancy and you’ll gain a completely fresh perspective on the rough and rugged Cornwall coastline.  

Enjoy The Beauty Of St Ives Town 

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 definitely need to make time to see Fore Street. With some lovely little independent shops you can buy everything here from designer clothing to fudge. Fore Street can be a tourist hot spot in the middle of summer, so our recommendation would be to stop by early in the morning before things pick up. 

Take A Hike To Zennor

You might not be too keen on taking a trip across the water but you could still be anxious to escape the hustle and bustle of the St Ives. If so then you should definitely consider taking a hike to Zennor. This remote, sleepy village is hidden away on the coast, reached by heading west from St Ives along the well-marked South West Coastal Path. As you journey towards Land’s End you’ll be surrounded by incredible scenery. Be warned that this is a long hike. It will take you about four hours to walk the 6.5 mile journey, but it’s well worth the effort. 

Discover Globally Famous Food In St Ives


You probably didn’t expect to find food in this small town that was famous around the world, but you certainly can. Just head on down to Blas Burgerworks, listed in the Wall Street Journal as one of the absolute best places in Europe to grab a burger. You can even choose from many vegan options and you’re bound to make new friends whilst enjoying your burger at one of the communal tables, so you’re sure to be able to indulge in great food and good conversation. 
Check out our other blog post ‘Best Restaurant In St Ives With Sea Views” for more suggestions.

Enjoy St Ives Beaches

If you are looking for a beach holiday then St Ives is certainly the place to be. You’ll have your pick of four main beaches, each within walking distance of the town. While there are plenty of choices, Porthmeor is the most popular (you’ll have already spotted it if you visited the Tate as we suggested). 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.

Hop On The Train


If you’re keen to take a short trip you should hop on the extremely scenic branch railway line that runs between St Ives and St Erth, connecting St Ives to the rest of the rail network around Cornwall and South West England. Enjoy the spectacular views from the train window as the line sweeps along the coast past the golden sands of Carbis Bay and Hayle Towans. Alternatively, after ten minutes hop off the train at Lelant and walk three miles back into town along the coastal footpath. You’ll definitely need your camera ready for this journey! Check out Scenic Rail Britain for train times.

Enjoy Glorious Sunsets On Porthmeor Beach 


Finally, finish off a day in St Ives by finding the perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset. On a warm sunny evening there is nowhere better in St Ives to enjoy the sunset than Porthmeor Beach, or more specifically Porthmeor Beach Cafe! Enjoy an evening meal in one of the heated booths whilst being treated to a gorgeous sunset!


Check Out Our Holiday Cottages in St Ives!

Booking a holiday to Cornwall? Choose from our huge range of luxury holiday cottages in St Ives and Carbis Bay. Whether you’re looking for a large house with sea views or a cosy hideaway just paces from St Ives harbour, we’ve got a holiday property to suit everyone at So St Ives

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