There’s something special about holidays in St Ives and we just can’t quite put our fingers on it. It could be the beautiful light that’s attracted artists to the resort for generations, the cobbled streets and coastal views…or that feeling of being a world away from the hustle and bustle. Whatever it is, St Ives has a charm that’s unlike any other, and we’d recommend it at any time of year.  

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Did you know? A local’s guide to holidays in St Ives…

Things to do in St Ives

You may be content to wander those winding streets and park yourself outside a coffee shop, but there are plenty of attractions in St Ives for those family days out. The Tate St Ives perches right beside Porthmeor Beach, so you can take in some of that famous art scene and then step out onto the sand. The Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden is set in the sculptor’s former home, so it’s another must for anyone with a passion for all things art.

If you’re keen to take in some of the famous coastal views, hop aboard the train from Lelant Station and head to St Ives. The journey may be short, but if you sit on the side with the sea view you’ll get a glimpse of some of the South West’s most gorgeous coastline. You can either get a return, or walk one way, but just don’t forget your camera!

With a host of accolades and awards to its name, it’s easy to see why St Ives holiday cottages are the first choice for so many guests travelling to Cornwall. From winning Coast Magazine’s “Best Family Holiday Destination”, to being voted one of Europe’s top 10 European beach destinations according to the users of Trip Advisor, the awards keep rolling in. Whether it’s a Pet-friendly holiday in St Ives for all the family including your furbabies, or a charming St Ives cottage with its own parking that’s just right for a coastal weekend away, our collection has something for you.

Restaurants in St Ives

All those coastal walks will leave you with a hankering for good, locally sourced food. The Cellar Bistro is one of the most popular St Ives restaurants with the Trip Advisor masses, and it has a great reputation for serving up good food in a cosy setting. Olive’s Café is another favourite, and it’s perfect for a hot drink and a slice of cake in between those sandy walks.

Speaking of sandy walks, Porthmeor Beach Café is all about tasty treats with a spectacular view. Whether you pop in for a pit stop during a day on the sand, or you sample the cuisine and enjoy the setting, it’s a hit. Why not cosy up outside in one of the pods, where you can make the most of the views while you sip on a drink? Bliss.

Wander the cobbled streets that lead down to the harbourside and you’ll find a smattering of friendly local pubs that serve good, hearty meals. Expect a chat with the locals while you wait for your food, and walls lined with photos that offer a peek into the resort’s past.

Beaches in St Ives

It’s no surprise that there are some dazzling beaches in St Ives. Everything about this corner of Cornwall is gorgeous, and you’ll have your pick of sandy spots to enjoy. Crystal clear waters lap sandy beaches along the dramatic coast, and with two Blue Flag beaches in the town St Ives is the perfect choice for a beach holiday.

One of those Blue Flag winners is Porthmeor. Set close to the town, the beach is within a short walk of most St Ives holiday cottages. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer months and with some of the town’s best surfing conditions, and the beach being the base for the St Ives surf school, Porthmeor is the natural choice for those looking to learn to surf.

St Ives’ second Blue Flag beach is Porthminster. Situated within a few minutes’ walk of St Ives train station, complete with large car park, Porthminster Beach is very accessible. Again, lifeguards patrol on summer months and dogs are welcome in the winter.

  • What is St Ives famous for?

    The Tate Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives Harbour and some of the country’s best beaches including Porthmeor Sands come top of the list. Add to that a vibrant art and food culture as well as one of the country’s prettiest train lines (favoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) and you’ll just be scratching the surface of what makes this town so iconic.

  • Where can you get the best fish and chips in St Ives?

    Harbour Fish & Chips, Sharkey’s and Becks Fish & Chips get the thumbs up from us! With a harbour at its heart, deliciously fresh fish is naturally easy to come by so visitors to the town are spoiled for choice!

  • Does St Ives have an old town?

    Yes. The Downalong is characterised by a tangle of narrow cobbled streets, granite cottages and whitewashed stone and forms the oldest, most historic part of the town set just back from the harbour. It’s a bustling place that’s awash with bakeries and cafes, galleries and boutique shops – perfect for discovering an arty souvenir to take home.

  • Should you visit St Ives in the winter?

    Dotting the beachfront are the likes of Porthminster and Porthgwidden Beach Cafes which are literally well, on the beach; and the award-winning Pedn Olva restaurant has sweeping views over the harbour and out to sea. From understated seafood cafes to fine dining, St Ives has a fantastic foodie scene that’s fit for even the most discerning of food critics.

  • Where’s the best place to watch the sun set in St Ives?

    The Malakoff is not only an amazing place to visit if you’re a budding artist but it’s also the perfect spot to take in the view out over the town and over to Hayle/Gwithian, Carbis Bay and Lelant. Smeaton’s Pier and Harbour Beach as well as Godrevy Lighthouse afford amazing vantage points so make sure your phone’s battery is charged as you’ll be in full snapping mode when the sun starts to sink on the horizon.

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