St Ives Arts and Heritage

St Ives really has to be seen to be believed. It’s no lie that this picturesque fishing town is bathed in the most glowing of ambiances. The crushed golden granite beaches, pristine iridescent seashells and shimmering water create areas of stunning light quality – no filter required! Famous for its idyllic whitewashed cottages and fruitful opportunities for artistic inspiration, it’s a painter’s dream – it’s no surprise that the town is rich in art history and heritage.


We’ve compiled a list of the best cultural things to do in St Ives, from art galleries and museums to pottery:

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

St Ives is lucky enough to have been home to one of Britain’s most talented sculptors, Barbara Hepworth. After the outbreak of the second world war, Hepworth came to live in Cornwall with her family in 1939. She lived and worked in Trewyn studios – now the Barbara Hepworth Museum – which to this day contains much of Hepworth’s remaining work, including an array of bronzes and sculptures. This hidden gem provides an opportunity to gain a remarkable insight into her work and outlook, and features a tranquil sculpture garden, museum and workshop.

Leach Pottery

Located within St Ives is Leach Pottery, one of the most famous and influential pottery studios in the world. You’ll find a museum, gallery and shop, as well as regular shows featuring work by regional, national and international potters, dedicated to the legacy of celebrated potter Bernard Leach. Among various exhibitions and activities, you can sign up to pottery throwing courses to hand-build your own mug, teapot or jug. With plenty of clay workshops on offer for kids too, this is a great place to spend an afternoon getting messy. Not one to miss!

Tate St Ives

The bold beautiful building of Tate St Ives, with spectacular views over Porthmeor Beach, displays British and international modern and contemporary art. Part of the world famous namesake network, Tate St Ives is family friendly and offers a range of events and activities throughout the year. Artworks from pioneers in the field are drawn from the wider Tate collection, and are displayed alongside a changing contemporary exhibition programme, bringing forward new perspectives and ideas. There’s also excellent views of the old town at the Café, with menus based on premium Cornish produce.

St Ives Museum

Located in the heart of the old St Ives fishing community of Downlong, this museum contains a varied collection relating to the local town including exhibitions on fishing, farming and mining. The museum is located in Wheal Dream, just a stone’s throw from Smeaton’s Pier and is housed in a building that was formerly a pilchard curing cellar, Bible Christian Chapel then a laundry and cinema. It’s almost entirely administered by volunteers and is a must-see treasure trove for every St Ives visitor.

 

Barbara Hepworth Museum

Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, Saint Ives, UK

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Leach Pottery

Leach Pottery, Higher Stennack, Saint Ives, UK

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St Ives Museum

St Ives Museum

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Tate St Ives

Tate St Ives, Saint Ives, UK

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