5 Things to Do in St Ives, Cornwall

A change of scenery is always a great stress reliever, especially if that scenery includes beautiful seaside views. Escape to the coastal town of St Ives in Cornwall for a relaxing getaway by the sea. Read on for 5 things to do in St Ives, Cornwall during your holiday.

1. Explore St Ives Bay

St Ives Bay

Traveling on the St Ives branch line is the best way to arrive into the charming fishing town of  St Ives. Change from the mainline train at St Erth and enjoy spectacular views of St Ives Bay as you near the end of your journey. St Ives Bay stretches from the golden sandy beaches of St Ives, across the three mile stretch of sand on Hayle Bay, all the way over to Godrevy Lighthouse.

St Ives Bay has more than 12 beaches, at least 5 of which would be within walking distance if you were staying in a holiday cottage in St Ives. Porthmeor beach in St Ives is ideal for surfing or bodyboarding and the beach cafe is a great place to relax with a drink or a snack.

Porthminster beach is a bit more sheltered and the place to go for a swim, kayak or paddle boarding session. There are lots of great coastal walks in the area, or if it’s really sunny, you might prefer to just chill out on the sand with stunning views of the turquoise ocean.

2. Book a surfing lesson

Porthmeor beach is one of the best surfing spots in Cornwall and the nearby beaches of Gwithian and Godrevy are also popular places to go to catch some good waves. St Ives Surf School offers surfing lessons from complete beginner’s level and even if you never manage to stand up, you’ll have lots of fun trying!

Being in the water is an invigorating experienced and catching a wave is one of the best feelings in the world. If you can’t get the hang of popping up on a surfboard, grab a bodyboard instead, it can be just as exhilarating! With sand on your skin and salt in your hair, duck into one of the nearby pubs or cafes for a refreshing drink.

3. Tour the art galleries

St Ives has long been the art capital of Cornwall. The Tate St Ives is one of the most iconic galleries in the UK and overlooks the wild Atlantic ocean. Enjoy a range of beautiful exhibitions or take part in one of their creative events and then head to the cafe for a tasty lunch.

The nearby Barbara Hepworth Museum  & Sculpture Garden has amazing sculptures in bronze, stone and wood which Barbara Hepworth created from the 1940s to the 1970s. St Ives School of Painting offers art holidays, life drawing classes, creative weekends and courses and the Leach Pottery has a museum, exhibitions, events and pottery courses. There are also lots of little art galleries, gifts shops and boutiques to wander in and out of as you explore the cobbled streets of St Ives.

4. Set sail on a boat trip

A visit to St Ives wouldn’t be complete without getting out on the ocean. Choose from a selection of boat trips including mackerel fishing tours, a tour of Hell’s Mouth and Godrevy Lighthouse, spotting smugglers caves along the way, or the fantastic trip to Seal Island where a colony of Grey Atlantic Seals live.

Explore Cornwall from the ocean and get a whole new perspective of the rugged Cornish coast whilst spotting seals, dolphins and other marine wildlife. Boat trips with St Ives Boats provide an unforgettable holiday experience and plenty of brilliant opportunities for photographs.

5. Experience delicious restaurants & food festivals

One of the best things about St Ives is enjoying some locally caught seafood right next to the ocean. Find a restaurant with harbourside views such as Alba Restaurant or Porthminster Kitchen, or tuck into some fish and chips on the beach.

Why not plan your visit around one of St Ives’ brilliant food festivals? The exciting calendar of foodie events begins in May with the St Ives Food & Drink Festival which has live music and chef demos, plus amazing food and drink stalls on Porthminster beach. St Ives September Festival is a two week long celebration of arts, music and culture with events happening all across the town and harbour.

St Ives is a beautiful coastal town and offers the perfect base in which to explore the rest of West Cornwall.


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