St Ives was once a fishing village, in fact, it was the most important fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall. Today the industry has sadly declined, however, the town has experienced a new lease of life. It is incredibly popular with tourists who are attracted by its traditional image.
It’s one of the most picturesque seaside towns in the country and with a vibrant independent art scene, as well as great restaurants, accommodation and an award-winning harbour beach, it’s got everything you could want from a UK holiday.
Did you know?
St Ives is Porth la in Cornish. This name means St. La’s Cove, referring to the legendary arrival of an Irish Saint in the 5th Century.
Where is St Ives?
St Ives is located in Cornwall on the Atlantic coast, the town lies north of Penzance and west of Cambourne. It is one of the most westerly points in Cornwall.
The best activities to do in St Ives
Tate St Ives
The Tate St Ives is a great family-friendly gallery. Take a break from the beach and stroll around some top-class artworks. Many interesting events and exhibitions are held here, so check out what’s on when you’re visiting. The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is also a great place to explore, especially when the sun is shining.
Coast 2 Coast Karting
For an epic day out, experience the thrill of karting with the whole family. The karts have three engine sizes, tailored to all abilities, so don’t worry if it’s your first time. They have dedicated instructors for junior drivers (8 to 12 years old) to nurture the best in your kids. The Coast 2 Coast centre has an excellent safety record so make sure to head on over for an exhilarating but safe family day out.
With a huge variety of bird species, Paradise Park is guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed, tranquil and entertained. As well as plenty of birds, there’s also a farm which is ideal for you animal lovers, with mini donkeys, pygmy goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs and more. The kids are sure to love the guinea pig feeding sessions. If it is a rainy day head on over to the Jungle Barn. Here you’ll find giant slides, challenging obstacle courses and a special toddlers zone with a ball fountain.
St Ives Surf School
Surfing is one of the main attractions in St Ives, and for good reason too. At the St Ives surf school you can brush up on your skills or learn from scratch. With waves to cater for every ability, this is the perfect place to learn a new skill or improve your existing surfing skills.
With professional equipment and expert instructors, you’ll be in safe hands which means that you can get on with enjoying the surf.
St Ives Harbour
The picturesque harbour is a must-visit attraction while in St Ives. All along the marina, you can find quirky independent coffee shops, art galleries and more. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic afternoon stroll. Or, if you’re with the kids then why not get ice cream and enjoy the beautiful British scenery while soaking up the rays!
Only a short distance from the town city, this is one of the top beaches in the whole county. It’s also home to one of the best beach cafes on offer in the entire region, and one of the most picturesque beaches in the entire UK. There are lots to do here for all the family, with popular events running throughout the summer.
Read more: the best beaches in Cornwall
What to eat in St Ives
You can’t visit Cornwall without trying a delicious Cornish Pasty. Pasties are strongly associated with Cornish miners as they were an ideal food for taking underground and they kept well for long periods of time. Why not visit Pengenna Pasties in St Ives? It is renowned for having some of the best and biggest pasties in Britain. Famous for using high quality ingredients and charging low prices, you’re sure to get value for money.
Fish & Chips
For lunch, it’s definitely worth checking out Becks Fish and Chips. It’s located in the heart of Carbis Bay, just down the road from St Ives, and is a favourite amongst locals for its fresh fish, chips and, of course, mushy peas. It may not be the healthiest option, but there really is nothing better than some fish and chips on while on the English coast.
With its rustic charm, seasonal ingredients and relaxed atmosphere, Cellar Bistro is one of our favourite restaurants in St Ives. It has an impressive wine selection, as well as a modern British and European-inspired menu. Renowned for its fresh fish, it’s the perfect destination for a genuinely memorable evening.
Where to stay in St Ives
Exquisite St Ives Apartment
The perfect cottage for a family getaway. This property has a double bed and a set of bunk beds. The central location means you’ll have the best of St Ives right at your fingertips. The open plan living area is great for spending quality time together in the evenings; after making the most of the beach and other attractions you’ll find nearby.