“ St Ives (Cornish: Porth Ia) is a seaside town and civil parish in the Penwith district of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The town lies north of Penzance, and west of Camborne. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing as an industry. The decline in fishing, however, has caused a shift in commercial emphasis and the town is now primarily a holiday resort. St Ives was incorporated by Royal charter in 1639. „
I first went to St. Ives when I was four years old with my pregnant Mum and my Dad back in 1990. I remember this holiday very clearly as being the first time I was allowed into the sea... I loved it... A year later, we returned and stayed in my neighbours cottage for a week.
From then on, my Mum, Dad, Brother and I would go to St. Ives for a weeks holiday every year up until I left to University three years ago.
The fishing town, in West Cornwall is relatively small in comparrison to other towns in the area. The cobbled, pedestrian streets allow holiday makers and surfers alike to walk around the town with ease. A fish shop on every corner, where you can eat the day's delights from a restaurant or on the move.
During the summer season, the town is filled with surfers heading to PorthMinster beach and families and holiday makers heading to the PorthMear beach on the other side of the town. The Tate Gallery is lovely to have lunch in, as it over looks the town, giving lovely views of the ocean. As you walk down the harbour, the buzz of day to day life catches you, offering fising boat trips, trips to the Isle of Scilly, Seal Island, peddle boats, motor boats, banana boats etc...
Fudge, pasties and all manor of fish delights are not hard to come by... and don't forget to have a cream tea!!
In the evening, the shops re-open giving the town a second wind of entertainment. Book early for restaurants, but be aware that the restaurants on the sea front (naturally) charge a little more, but the fish from restaurants further back is just as tasty!
Make a visit to the Sloop in the evening- a fantastic little pub, right by the sea front on the harbour! I went back to St. Ives recently with a friend and The Sloop, followed by The Hub (also on the sea-front and turns into a night club after midnight) makes a really fun, novel night! There's only 1 place in this world I would have 21+ holidays and never get bored and that is St. Ives!
We have just returned from a long weekend in Cornwall. One of the places which we decided to visit for a couple of hours was St Ives. I had not been to St Ives since I was a child and my partner had never visited so it was like visiting a new place for us.
St Ives is situated in Cornwall, between Hayle and Penzance. It is easy to get to and can be reached by car, train and bus easily.
We drove to St Ives and it was easy to find a car park, we parked in a short stay section where it cost £1.20 for 1 hour or £1.70 for 2 hours. There were a couple of other car parks dotted about but we just went in the first one we got to. We then had to walk down a very steep hill towards the town centre where we found another car park! However, this car park is still a short walk (and a steep walk) away from the town centre so if you will have difficulty with the hills it might be best to try and find somewhere closer to the centre to park.
When we got into the town centre there were many shops. Most were individual shops which sold souvenirs and there were also quite a few clothes shops.
We followed the signs for the harbour as we wanted to walk along the beach. The harbour was easy to get to and when we got there it was very busy. We arrived at around 5pm on a Sunday evening and the place was still thriving, there were people on the beach and thousands of people walking along the sea front going in the shops and eating/drinking in the restaurants and pubs.
We went on the beach first, the sand was very clean and the sea was a beautiful colour. Because it is a harbour there were lots of boats dotted about as the tide was out. The harbour beach is quite small but there are 3 other beaches to visit in St Ives. However we chose the harbour beach as we just wanted a quick walk in the centre of St Ives.
There are a huge amount of cafes and places to eat along the sea front including ice cream parlours, fish and chips and pizza. One of the chip shops sold things like cockles in small pots and my partner was very pleased with this, being an ex fisherman and not being able to enjoy these treats often these days. However, he ended up not eating them when he realised they were covered in sand!
The atmosphere in St Ives is a very jolly one, everyone seems to be happy and there is a real holiday vibe about the place.
There is plenty to do in and around St Ives including Tate St Ives, wildlife parks and St Michaels Mount (see review).
We really enjoyed our short trip to St Ives and we will probably be returning for longer next time we are in Cornwall, it is a lovely little town and it has such a lovely vibe it really puts you in the holiday mood. It is a great place to stock up on some souvenirs, have a bite to eat and have a stroll along the beach.
St Ive's is a lovely part of Cornwall, situated fairly near the tip although not the very end! It is in a lovely position to visit both the north and south costs and also the tip, I guess Lands End would be about 3/4 hr to an 1hrs drive away and Penzance on the south coast is about 40 to 45 minutes away.
St Ive's itself is a quaint place, hard to reach into the centre by car but it is possible for those who need disabled parking to park on the harbour wall if you can get there - be warned if you have a particularly wide vehicle like a camper van you probably won't get down there! you have to drive through a very narrow gap.
The town itself is lovely with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants, in the evening the town comes alive and with the lights and the sun going down on the harbour it really is beautiful.
There are a few beaches in St Ives and also the Tate gallery which offers exhibitions of art, many of the shops are arty.
There is also a leisure centre should the weather be rubbish, it's a nice leisure centre but check the times before you go as when we were there last year there were swimming lessons on as their half term was different to ours.
Paradise park is another attraction which is in Hayle the town next to St Ives, it's a kind of zoo but not with farm animals it's more birds it's been a while since I've been but it was good then.
Hayle also offers some fabulous beache's if you drive round to some of the cove's it's miles and miles of sandy beach which is manned during the summer months.
The sunsets are another amazing treat, from that side of the cornwall you get the most amazing sun sets, I just love to go and sit in the evening and watch the sun go down - wow!
The only down side is the parking, I think there is a shuttle bus service from the outskirts into St. Ive's the main car park is a good walk away and it's steep back up. The other alternative is to park at Lelant train station and catch the coastal train in which is another great treat. Like I said at the beginning sometimes it's possible to park on the harbour wall but almost certainly not at peak times.
For me, St Ives or Porth la as it is known in Cornish, Is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Britain. It is situated almost at the tip of cornwall. Its neighbouring town in Penzance. Although all this area of Cornwall is beautiful. I feel that the beauty of St Ives shines higher than anywhere else.
As you walk through the cobbled back streets, boasting pretty fisherman cottages. The allure of this seaside town will embrace you. The aroma of freshly cooked fare from all the surrounding restaraunts and bakerys will have you trailing down the cobbles like the bisto kid.
The sounds in St Ives offer pure serenity. The sounds of the gentle waves crashing in against the harbour wall. The sound of people bustling by and the unmistakable sound of the seagulls overhead squawking as the fishermen bring in their daily offerings.
The sights of St Ives should be bottled and sold as a tonic. I have never felt so relaxed or at peace as when I am here. The harbour and shore is so breathtaking. Watching the comings and goings of the local fishermen. St Ives is steeped in cornish tradition and this is so evident when visiting this town. You can not fail to be overcome by the beauty and mystical charm of the sea.
There is lots to do in St Ives. At the far right of the town there is a large carpark which hosts a pay and display meter. This carpark is also the train station for St Ives. If you walk down the steps at the far right end of the car park, this will take you onto a long beautiful sandy beach. The quality of the sand is spectacular, golden and fine. It can however, get really busy in the summer seasons so best get there early for a good spot.
There is a large mixture of people on the beach which will keep the people watchers amongst you entertained for the day. There are of course the hunky surfers who are out to ride the biggest waves. Then there are the local holidaymakers huddled around wind breakers and enjoying an ice cream from one of the surrounding kiosks. There is also a Christian fellowship which flock to St Ives in the summer. They hold beach kids club for the children. They sing songs and play games, Keeping the kids occupied for many an hour. Although it is important to point out that they are not overpowering or too intense and will not bother you at all.
Although hundreds of people flock to St Ives daily. I have to pass comment on how clean the town is. There is no litter. They provide a large number of bins that seem to withstand the amount of rubbish produced. The seagulls, it has to be said, are a nusiance. A couple of years back they seemed quite aggresive and would simply swoop down and swipe your ice cream or cornish pasty out of your hand. However I noticed a big difference in the amount of seagulls that were on the seafront last week when I visited. I think this is due to the local crackdown on visitors who were feeding the seagulls.
There is a good variety of shops that nestle around the town of St Ives. I was most dismayed to find that a couple of fast food restaraunts had managed to squeeze their way in since the last time I had visited. I think this takes away a certain degree of charm from the town. However what is lost in fast food joints is regained in the charm and quaintness of the little trinket shops. When you enter these shops there is usually soft whale music or chimes almost hypnotising you. The shops all sell the same sort of pottery and trinkets. But they are so charming it is delightful to have a browse.
My favourite thing to do in St Ives is visit the two art galleries which are situated on the sea front. The soft lighting and tranquil music offer a perfect atmosphere in which to view gorgeous paintings. Mostly the paintings are of boats floating gently in the harbour or children playing happily on the beach. Whilst in the gallery you will also be delighted by the opportunity to observe the few local artists painting their latest offerings. I truly love to watch these artists painting. I just find the whole ambiance of the place enchanting.
I noticed last week, when I was lucky enough to spend time here. That there is a lot more restaraunts along the seafront. Although most looked deliciously attractive and upmarket. I do feel that this tends to commercialise the town somewhat and take away the charm and allure of this fishing town. I was dismayed to find that the old lifeboat station is now a swanky restaraunt. I really hope that they dont over commercialise this quaint town.
If you want something to delicious to eat, then look no further than the delicious fish and chip shop situated up some steps on the sea front. The fish is so fresh it just melts in your mouth. The chips are quite chunky and delicious too. Try and grab the bench on the harbour wall and eat your fish and chips out of the paper whilst watching the boats bobbing on the water.
I cannot put into words how dear I hold St Ives in my heart. My father loved this place and therefore we would spend our summers here. Such perfect sunshine filled days when us kids didnt have a care in the world. St Ives holds such treasured memories for me. Ones that I will forever hold dear in my heart.
I would love to dedicate this review to my darling mum and dad. xx
St Ives Bay is a beautiful place to visit and spend your holidays. There are so many beaches to choose from. There are lively surfers beaches and quite secluded coves.
The main town beach is a great suntrap and you can spend the whole day wandering around all of the shops then sitting in the harbour eating a cornish pasty, watch out for the seagulls though as they are forever swooping down stealing food from people and because they are so big and powerful could hurt a small child.
It is a very busy town at the height of the summer season but this still does not spoil the atmosphere. There is a lot of art in the including The Tate St Ives art gallery which art lovers will appreciate.
The beaches are beautiful and clean and the harbour is a safe place to play for children as it is sheltered. Whatever the weather it always seems to be nice in St Ives.
I have a visited St Ives a number of times of the last 20 years, and I can honestly say you just do not tire of the place. Each time you return the magic is still there. I always travel down by railway and as the train leaves Carbis Bay and you turn and head towards St Ives there's a wonderful sight of the harbour, beaches and sea.
Accommodation: This year (and last) I stayed in the Anchorage B&B which is in a really good location with the harbour, pubs, reastaurnats, shops etc just a stones throw away (and I can't throw stones that far!!!). The B&B itself is wonderful, full of olde worlde charm, but with modern convienances, and the host Chris is very welcoming.
Eating and drinking: There are so many nice pubs and restaurants in St Ives you feel spoilt for choice. There are also quite a few that do earlybird menus which are often good value compared to the prices they charge later, in particular the Mermaid was a yummy choice. For pub food the Sloop was nice and you can dwell in the history of the olde fisherman's pub. Obviously being in Cornwall you have to indulge in a cream tea and Olives would definetiely be the place for this indulgence!! As for drinking there are a few good "people watching" bars such as the Hub, but I think the best view is from the Harbour Pool Club where you can get a weeks' membership for about a fiver and have fab views of the beach and people having their ice creams stolen off them by the seagulls! (Oh yes beware the vicious Cornish seagulls - probably the only downside to St Ives). Another nice spot for a drink is the Lookout Bar near Porthminster beach.
Beaches: As soon as the sun comes out you'll be wanting to head to the beach and there are quite a few in St Ives. Portmeor's the one for the surfers with it's super waves. And Porthminster's always seemed a bit if a family beach, the beach is quite flat so little ones can paddle quite safely. My favourite is Portgwidden, a bit smaller than the others but if you can find a nice backrest on the rocks and a bit of shelter from any wind you're set up for the day. These three beaches all have cafes with takeaway facilitites, although if you're on Portgwidden beach it's worth walking up the slope to the newsagents for the best (and cheapest!) vanilla ice-cream - just watch the seagulls!
I went to St Ives with my boyfriend In September 2008 and I can't wait to go back!
We stayed at Ocean Rooms which is a B & B and cost around £80.00 a night from memory. The B & B was right on the harbour front, with the most beautiful views from the balcony. Included in the price was breakfast at the Ocean Grill which was below the B & B and run by the same couple. Lovely food and lots of choice!
Parking in St Ives can be a problem. We went out of season but still found it difficult to find a space in one of the small car parks. I think the cost for 24 hour parking was around a fiver, which we didn't think was too bad.
St Ives is rather hilly which could be an issue if you have mobility issues - I do, I'm jolly unfit! But the views from high up are well worth the climb!
We found some good restaurants during our stay and lots of variety.
The Tate was 5 minutes walk from our B & B and we spent our one rainy afternoon there. We went to the Tate knowing that it wasn't really our kind of art but we did find a couple of pieces which we found interesting and again, the views were fantastic.
Boat trips to Seal Island leave from the Harbour but we found that the seals followed the boats anyway, so we saved our pennies watching from dry land!
St Ives is well known as a haven for artists due to the fantastic light. And I must say, I took some lovely photos in the early mornings with the sun rising on the water. And as I type I'm lookinng up at the painting we bought of the harbour. A little reminder of our very enjoyable holiday!
There are many other places to visit, using St Ives as a base - Lands End (although I wouldn't recommend it, very commercialised), Newquay, Penzance etc etc.
A highly recommended holiday destination!
I have been visiting St Ives regularly for the last 14 years (probably 11 visits in that time). I first went with my then girlfriend, now wife as our first holiday together. My wife started going as a child with her parents as they went to Cornwall on their annual holiday.
It is a beautiful town, that is always a pleasure to visit, we normally park in the large Car Park at the top of the town and walk down the steps to the town centre (used to be fun carrying the little uns in the pushchair!).
It is one of those places that feels like home from home for me, we always like to spend at least a couple of days in St Ives when we holday in Cornwall. It has got a bit more pricey in recent years and a lot busier but there is still pleasure to be taken walking its narrow streets
A place to visit and enjoy.
St Ives is a traditional fishing town on the north coast of Cornwall. I have ben visiting this town for the last 30 years and have seen many changes over the years.
The traditional trade for this town centred around fishing but in recent years it has become very fashionable as an artists retreat following the opening of the Tate Gallery.
However, I have never stepped foot in the tate! and there are plenty of other gems in this charming town besides the Tate.
The town itself has 2 or 3 beaches, the main harbour beach, Carbis bay around the corner and Porthminster which is just around the headland, all three are lovely for kids to play on, in fact I have fond memories as a child of playing in and out of the fishing boats in the harbour.
Lots of lovely little shops and the usual cornish pasty shops in abundance, but if you get away from the main street there a re wonderful little back streets to nosey around to remind you of years gone by
I have written a review on Cornwall but it is not just about St. Ives.
I went there for a week with the family and stayed in a two bedroom bungalow.
We drove there and it took about 5 hours to get there. It is a good idea to stop for breaks on the way if you have children in the car because they will get bored.
We visited Penzance and Land's End and many other places.
The beaches were beautiful, but the weather wasn't too good, although it did not rain. It was just windy and cold.
St. Ives is a lovely town. There are many coves there.
At the end of our week we went to St. Ives harbour and sat there eating ice cream. The sun had come out at last so we decided to drive around and see a few other beaches. There were some beautiful views as we drove around. The harbour was extended to its current length at the end of the eighteenth century. The three arches in the pier were added to allow sand to be flushed out of the harbour. St. Ives is famous also for the Tate Gallery.
We enjoyed it here and would definitely go back again.
This has also been posted to www.ezinearticles.com under my pen name Dee Lake.
I spent the last few days of July in St Ives on the south-western tip of Cornwall. I have visited St Ives many times but only for a day each time. On my last visit I decided that when I returned I would stay for longer allowing me to soak up the evening atmosphere.
St Ives centres around the harbour where fishing boats moor; their catch used in some of the many restaurants, the town has to offer. Not only is the town the archetypal Cornish fishing port, but it has magnificent beaches that offer both safe family bathing and surf to sing about. We were blessed with excellent weather for most of our stay and a walk along the harbour whilst eating delicious Cornish ice cream made with its famous clotted cream was just bliss.
My favourite part of St Ives is the old town at the back of the harbour. This consists of a maze of narrow cobbled streets lines with fishermen's cottages, shady courtyards, passageways and secret corners which conceal unexpected delights at almost every turn. Steps and small forecourts contain flowerpots and tropical plants, which the mild climate allows, reminding me of sun drenched holidays in Greece and Spain. No wonder St Ives regularly wins the "Britain in Bloom" competition. Art centres studios, shops and galleries are everywhere displaying and selling works by local artists and craftsmen. We purchased two limited addition prints featuring idyllic beach scenes that now have pride of place in my hallway.
Surrounding the town, the sea cliffs are awesome and the heather moorland is pretty. Both make for breath taking walks whilst taking in miles of magnificent coastal scenery.
St Ives has a number of beaches, Porthminster to the south, which is sheltered and calm and therefore great for families and Porthmeor to the north, a more lively surfing beach. There are smaller beaches at the harbour and in the lee of The Island, the breezy, green promontory that juts out to sea from a low-lying neck of land. I found the beaches to be clean and the water clear. No dogs were allowed on any.
There are plenty of things to see and do. Surfing is big, although not as much as in Newquay. Fishing, bird watching, and horse riding can be booked at the local tourist information office. Boating and fishing trips as well as boat hire can be booked from the various agents along the harbour.
The Tate gallery is perhaps the most important artistic attraction. The gallery stands above the spectacular Porthmeor Beach, its curves and crests as white as the waves below. The paintings on display are by leading contemporaries of the St Ives School. Currently showing, John Hoyland and his colourful "The Trajectory of a Fallen Angel" and Tony O'Malley's selection from the Irish Museum of Modern Art exhibition. Also on display is a collection of ceramics by Bernard Leach. The gallery has a fantastic coffee shop too with floor to ceiling windows giving wonderful views over the beach. On a nice day you can sit on the terrace.
Before the arrival of the Tate in 1993, the Barbara Hepworth museum and Sculpture Garden was the number one attraction. I still prefer this. It is a unique experience which offers a remarkable insight into the work of one of Britain's most important twentieth-century artists. Dame Barbara Hepworth lived in Trewyn Studios from 1949 until she was killed in a fire in 1975. The studio too was damaged in the fire and although no works of art were destroyed, much of the furniture and the artist's books cannot be exhibited. Instead, an attempt has been made to reconstruct something of the feeling Trewyn Studio had in the 1950s when the artist was living and working there and I think this had been successful.
The Tate now owns the museum and a combined ticket cost me £8.75. Children under 18 are admitted free as are adults over 60. There are concessions for students. The museum and gallery are open every day 10.00 until 17.20.
You can rent a fisherman's cottage if it is character you are after or an apartment by the harbour if you wants a sea view. One thing to consider is where to park your car. Unpacking can be difficult on arrival and negotiating the narrow one way system is difficult and fraught. Further back there are numerous B&Bs and guests houses and some have allocated parking spots. Carbis Bay a mile away offers some excellent accommodation including larger hotel and self-catering properties which come with their own car parks. From here it is a nice coastal walk into the town or a short bus journey. We stayed at Lelant, which is 3 miles away in a beautiful guesthouse with views over the estuary. The train station provided a park and ride facility and the journey in was picturesque and hassle free.
Everything you could possibly imagine from tea-rooms and take aways to fine dining. Cornish pasties and fish and chips were served until late. Traditional pubs also serve excellent meals. The "Sloop Inn" by the harbour was bustling and most were serving jugs of sangria and Pims so that the evenings took on a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. On our previous we had noticed several restaurants that we fancied and on our first day we booked one for each night of our 3-day break: -
Alba - was by far the most popular and had the best location over looking the quayside. We managed to get a table by the window. The menu displayed outside had enticed us in, but the special menu was even better. I ate a delicious clam linguine followed by a wonderful assiette of raspberry deserts that included clotted cream ice cream, Eton Mess and Crème Brulee. Hubby chose monkfish with scallops followed by the Cornish cheese selection. A two-course meal for the two of us with wine and mineral water came to £45.
Blue Fish - was the busiest due to the fact that they had overbooked. Our table was reserved for 8.15, but it was half an hour later before we were shown to our seats. Again another popular restaurant with outside seating overlooking the beach. We both started with fish cakes served with a sweet chilli dressing and chose turbot served with pak choi and a soy sauce. The prices were similar to Alba.
Sims - this was my favourite and not as busy. Found down a side street, the tables were well spaced and the service was excellent. My favourite meal too - roast mackerel fillets with a salsa topping and served with sag aloo. The taste of this dish was wonderful. I followed this with an individual pot of fruit crumble served with clotted cream. Hubby had a change and enjoyed fillet steak cooked with chanterelle mushrooms and red wine. Again he had the cheese board which came with chutneys from the Scilly Isles.
I thoroughly enjoyed my short break to St Ives but I was disappointed to see that a couple of amusement arcades with slot machines had opened recently. St Ives doesn't need it and it does look a little tacky. The second down side is that St Ives now has a real problem with the vast number of seagulls around. I love the sound of gulls because it usually means that I'm on holiday, but the locals are campaigning for a ban on people feeding them. Although there are polite notices everywhere requesting this, there are a few who choose to ignore this. We witnessed a young child screaming as she was attacked by a flock fighting for the ice cream cone she was eating and a lady robbed of her pasty which she had to forego after a gull pecked her several times.
Despite these facts, St Ives has aimed determinedly up market in recent years and has benefited greatly from the arrival of the Tate Gallery. Together with fine restaurants, clean sandy beaches and wonderful walks, St Ives has something to offer for all ages and interests. Our previous visits have been in June, September and as late as November when the streets and restaurants have had the quietness I prefer.
We try to visit Cornwall in general every couple of years. We regularly discuss where we want to retire to - Spain, Italy or somewhere on the English coast? As I sat drinking my sangria on a balmy summer evening, I had to remind myself that this wasn't the Mediterranean but the English Riviera and with that thought, a strong contender.
Recommended - Yes!
Just gorgeous. If you had gone anywhere in the world and looked across a beach that was as beautiful as Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, you'd think you'd died and gone to Heaven. It is such a beautiful unspoilt gem of a place to find in Cornwall. I've been going to St.Ives for years, since I was little, and I've still never found anywhere on earth yet that moves me like St Ives does. There really is something for everyone there, from beach lovers (if you get the weather of course), to shoppers, there are some lovely crafty arty shops, the eaters, there are plenty of superb restaurants, the artists, gorgeous scenery and sights to paint, the sightseers, plenty to visit, such as the Tate, and the Eden project, to of course the surfers! The beaches are fantastic, huge expanses of yellow sand viewed from the cliffs above, clean sea, and great waves on St Ives well known surfing beach, Portmeor. There are three beaches and a harbour, known as Portmeor, Porthwiggan, and Portminster, all of which offer gorgeous sand. Many upper market restaurants have sprung up over recent years to cater for the richer clientelle, specialising in local caught fish dishes, but aside from this, you can still always find a bag of chips, or a pasty shop! There is plenty around locally to visit if the weather doesn't hold, Paradise Park is up the road, Tate is in the centre of St Ives, A trip on the train up to Lelant for a cuppa at the garden centre, Eden Project (fantastic) 50 miles awat at St Austall. Me,I'm just happy to sit on the beach with the children happily playing, or wandering around drinking in the lazy fishing village atmosphere, and floating around the arty shops!
Looking for a relaxing, romantic break where you can lay in bed and listen to waves sweeping into the harbour and crashing against the sea wall? Look no further. St Ives is a lovely little town in North Cornwall, about twenty minutes from Penzance. Here you can meander along the harbour front, taking in the spectacular sea views, browse the many art galleries and shops for a masterpiece to take home, or, if you’re the more adventurous type, go wreck fishing in one of the rickety little fishing trawlers that line the harbour. You can dine on the most delicious seafood imaginable in one of the many fabulous restaurants, or munch on a giant pasty or a traditional Cornish cream tea. St Ives has something for everyone. It’s my favourite place in England. I spent many family holidays in Cornwall as a child, and we often paid St Ives a visit, although I don’t think we ever actually stayed there. I have lots of fond childhood memories of the place; paddling in the sea, searching for crabs among the rocks on the beach, watching artists paint on the harbour front, surfing on a ‘body board’ on Porthmeor beach. This year I had a hankering to go back there, and experience St Ives’ beauty from an adult perspective. *** THE TOWN St Ives is a small town full of quaint fishing cottages and cobbled streets. Wandering through the back streets down to the harbour is like stepping back in time. The harbour front itself is more modern, but still attractive, with bustling restaurants nestling alongside souvenir shops and stalls selling Cornish pasties and scrumptious Cornish ice-cream. It’s a working harbour, so you can watch the local fisherman bring in their catches by the pier. The air smells fresh, salty and invigorating. St Ives is famous for the quality of the light there, everything seems bright and fresh and new. *** THINGS TO DO Deep sea fishing You can go on fishing trips for
two, four or eight hours. We went for two, and it was more than adequate – we caught six fish between us! It’s great fun, but if you suffer from sea-sickness, give this one a miss – even on calm days the small fishing boats rock about quite a bit. Two hours costs around £10 per person. Tate Gallery The famous Tate Gallery at St Ives is worth a visit. There were three separate exhibitions when we were there, all very different and interesting. The exhibitions change around every three months. Entry is £4.50 per adult, £2.50 concessions. Shopping If you’re into art of any kind, you’ll be in heaven. St Ives is famous for producing outstanding artists and there are lots of art and craft galleries and shops to browse through. There are also lots of souvenir shops and a few clothes shops (of the ‘sporty surfer dude’ variety mainly). Trip to Seal Island Seal Island is a tiny rocky outcrop about 45 minutes by boat from the harbour, and around 100 seals live there. For £7, you can travel to the island and see the seals. It is a lovely experience – one big bull seal swam right out to out boat to say hello! Again, avoid if you suffer from seasickness, it’s a bumpy old ride. The Minack Theatre This isn’t actually in St Ives, it’s in Porthcurno, which is a half hour drive away, but it’s a must see. An open air theatre cut into the rocky cliff, with the most breathtaking views imaginable. There are evening performances from April – September, but even if you don’t fancy actually attending a show, the exhibition explaining how it was built is still very interesting, and you can wander around the theatre itself taking photographs. The Beach Build sandcastles, search or fish for crabs, lounge in the sun, fly a kite, have a picnic, swim in the sea (if you can cope with the near freezing temperature!) or s
urf the waves at Porthmeor beach. I never tire of simply sitting on the sand and watching the sea. It’s more relaxing than a massage, in my opinion! *** PLACES TO EAT St Ives has a myriad of wonderful places to eat. I can't remember where all of the restaurants I'm about to list are located, but you'll realise when you get to St Ives that it's quite a small town, and you'll easily be able to track them down. The Mermaid This was our favourite restaurant, of all those we tried. We liked it so much we went there twice! It’s a lovely little restaurant tucked away down a side street, cosy and inviting. The Mermaid Seafood soup starter is to die for – huge chunks of lobster, fish and prawns in a thick bisque-like sauce. The mussels are also a great starter – juicy, tender and laced with garlic in a white wine sauce. For your main course, I thoroughly recommend the Newlyn Scallops in lobster sauce, served with seasonal vegetables and white rice. On our second visit, we tried the lobster, which was delicious, but the scallops were tastier. You may be stuffed by the time the dessert menu comes your way, but if you can find a bit of space to squeeze it in, the bread and butter pudding is absolutely scrumptious. They also have a great selection of whiskies and a really good wine list. Moby’s The first place we tried, and it didn’t disappoint. The Thai Tiger Prawn starter is really nice, and the fresh fish (I tried the mackerel stuffed with lemon and thyme) is very well prepared, fresh and tasty. Russets I had brown crab for my starter here, and it was fab – if somewhat fiddly to get out of its shell! I had a Thai Monkfish curry for my main course, which was also great, and for dessert, raspberry crème brulee. A good wine list and attractive décor. Quite a bit pricier thatn many of the other restaurants in the area though. <
br>Huer’s This restaurant is situated on the harbour front above a shop, and has a great view. There’s a funky little bar inside the building where you can grab a pre dinner drink or two. The food is really nice – and cheaper than some – and the ambience was good too. The service wasn’t great though Bumbles Tea Rooms A great place for lunch or afternoon tea – two scones, cream and jam and a pot of tea for £2.75. They also have a selection of sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes, and some main meals. It gets quite packed in peak season though, so you may have to wait for a table. A cheaper option is to grab a Pasty or a portion of fish and chips from one of the many stalls and shops on the harbour front, and eat them by the sea – keeping a lookout for the aggressive, food grabbing seagulls as you do! Make sure you get your hands on some Cornish clotted cream fudge while you’re there – it’s to die for! Oh – and one to avoid is ‘The Saucy Chef,’ it was appalling. The mussels I ordered were gritty and shrivelled, and my boyfriend requested a medium steak and it came out blackened to a crisp. Stay away! *** WHEN TO GO We went the week of the August bank holiday, and I have to say it probably wasn’t at its best then – very overcrowded. We had to book a restaurant each morning to ensure a place in the evening, and sometimes had to eat very late. I think it would be better to visit earlier in the year, maybe May or June. St Ives is also just as beautiful out of season. Cornwall is one of those places that’s so rugged and romantic it’s just as charming in stormy, cold weather as it is when the sun’s shining. *** WHERE TO STAY We stayed at Cornerways Guest House, a modest B&B run by Carol and Brian Pyecroft, which is located very near the harbour front. Log on to www
.treganna.com\Cornerways for more information. Our ensuite room had a sea view and was comfy but basic. We paid £24 per person per night, which is pretty typical for the area. That included a really nice English breakfast. There are lots of similar guest houses in the town, and they all seemed very nice. Try Smoothhound.co.uk to find one that suits you. There are a few hotels, but they’re very expensive – around £80 - £150 a night. If you’re planning to drive to St Ives, be warned – the place is a nightmare for driving and parking. You may want to find a B&B or hotel further back from the harbour front as possible, as they’re more likely to provide parking spaces. *** CONCLUSION I hope I’ve managed to convince you that St Ives is the perfect place for a relaxing, fun filled break. I guarantee you’ll come back with a smile on your face, and a lot of happy memories to get you through the rest of the year. Kids will love it, and if they’re anything like me they’ll be left with a fondness for this beautiful place that will last well into adulthood. So go on – book yourself a break, you deserve it!
If you want tranquillity, beautiful beaches, art, and friendly people, this is the place to come. Given the tag “Artist’s Paradise” by most sources of information, St Ives is just that, and more. It’s a paradise for anyone who wants a peaceful break in beautiful surroundings, and if I could finance myself, I would live there immediately. How could anyone resist a place with such pretty houses, narrow steep roads, and an abundance of art shops and galleries? The road names themselves are surely endearing enough – places like “Teetotal Street” for example. I have been to St Ives many times, by coach and by car. The coach drop-off point (only for certain coaches I think though) is very close to the shops, as the coaches obviously cannot fit down the narrow lanes (and really, who would want them to) – so this is very handy for getting down into the town. By car, there is pretty much the same problem – narrow streets, and not many places to stop. We managed to find a car park by the beautiful little Porthgwidden Beach, but it does get very full very quickly, and you have to get there early to get a space. The feature of St Ives I like the most, other than the beautiful beaches, is of course The Tate Gallery. Sympathetically designed in an architectural sense, the shapely white building almost moulds into Porthmeor Beach, which stands in front of it. It is almost another curve of the coastline, and benefits the town considerably I think. The Tate opened in June 1993, and presents modern art created or associated with Cornwall. The building was purpose built, and the setting provides the opportunity to view works, in many cases, in the surroundings in which they were created. The building is striking, and full of light, and constructed largely from compatible local materials, textures and shapes. There is no permanent collection at the Tate St Ives, as it bases its displays
on selected works from the Tate Gallery’s collection – the National Collection of British and Modern Art. These displays also include loans from other public or private collections. The Gallery also presents work by contemporary artists with regular exhibitions and artists’ projects. In addition to the main gallery, you will find the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is a short walk away. This consists of a small house, what were her working studios and a secluded garden, which creates a remarkable setting for the selection of major examples of her work on show. Apart from The Tate, I thoroughly enjoyed my time munching many delicious Cornish pasties, and wandering around the many art shops and galleries. I stumbled upon one art shop in particular, quite close to the coach drop-off, where I was taken aback by the paintings and prints in the window. I immediately went in and browsed around, searching for what I had seen in the window - a painting by the Cornish-based artist Tobias Trenwith, which I found and purchased on the spot. You can pick up many fantastic pieces of art at reasonable prices in these little shops, and it is really beneficial to just wander around. If you want to stay in St Ives, there are nearly always little notices in windows (like the one in Teetotal Street) advertising holiday flats for rent, which work out quite well for a group of people, and are very close to the beaches. If you want to live there however, you’ll pretty much have to have won the lottery, as the majority of houses are expensive because of their location to the beach. The postcard I sent home at the end of my last visit to St Ives probably looked more like the Mediterranean than Cornwall – white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, and the shapely white figure of The Tate. As I said at the beginning, if it’s a peaceful, relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings that you’
;re wanting, you’ll find it at St Ives. Plus, you’re quite well positioned within Cornwall to be in easy reach of other towns, should you actually want to leave St Ives that is. I didn’t.
We have had two lovely holidays staying just outside St Ives, in Carbis Bay. Carbis Bay is a beautiful little village right on the coast just a couple of miles outside St Ives. It has some lovely hotels, and beautiful beaches just a walk away. There is also a station, so the easiest option to go into St Ives is to catch the train. Its a beautiful ride in, and parking is not St Ives strong point! St Ives itself is beautiful, it has just the most wonderful atmosphere. It is very arty, but you dont have to be a huge art fan to enjoy soaking up the atmosphere! The harbour is beautiful, and there are some wonderful beaches, as well as shops and resteraunts. And the weather there always seems to be better than the rest of the country - although maybe we've just been lucky! I must admit, I love going abroad for holiday, but in St Ives you can combine the best of both worlds, as you could almost believe you were lazing around on the Med!