Your St Ives Holiday Essential Itinerary
Your St Ives Holiday is booked, bags are packed and you are on your way to St Ives – What next!
Whether you are visiting St Ives with the family or having a romantic getaway for two, there are plenty of places to explore.
During the Summer season, St Ives is a bustling seaside town filled with eateries, independent shops and of course the Blue Flag beaches are only a short walk away from most holiday homes. St Ives allows for a slower pace of life where you can relax and unwind.
Below we list some of our recommended locations to visit – The essential St Ives Holiday Itinerary!
St Ives Beaches
When visiting St Ives you will be truly spoilt for wonderful beaches! With four main beaches within walking distance from St Ives town and two award-winning Blue Flag beaches to choose from.
Porthmeor is one of Cornwall’s finest beaches, consisting of a long stretch of golden sand and flanked by rugged headlands. It is overlooked by the Tate Gallery St Ives, as well as numerous artist studios and the Porthmeor kitchen. Porthmeor is a consistent winner of the Blue Flag award and has all the facilities you would expect for a great family beach, including a surf school and seasonal lifeguard service.
Porthminster beach is another famous Blue Flag offering! A crescent of golden sand only a few minutes walk from the train station. If arriving in St Ives via train or bus you will spot this slice of heaven on the way into St Ives. It is backed by grassy hillside and Edwardian villas and is enclosed by a wooded headland and St Ives Harbour. At low tide, Porthminster will join up with the Harbour beach. Porthminster boasts plenty of excellent facilities including the Porthminster Beach Cafe, an 18-hole mini-golf course and a promenade. This beach also features a seasonal lifeguard service.
Looking for dog-friendly beaches? Whilst the main beaches have a seasonal dog ban, Bamaluz beach is a small beach accessible at low tide and is located between St Ives Museum and the end of Smeaton’s Pier. Additionally, just past Carbis Bay is Porthkidney Beach, a beautiful stretch of sandy beach that can be reached via road or take the coastal path from St Ives and enjoy the walk.
St Ives is well known for being abundant with artists and art galleries, as well as some famous art museums.
The Tate Gallery St Ives has been open to the public since 1993 and is a must-see, with a rolling catalogue of special exhibitions housed within its gorgeous architecture. The building itself boasts a striking circular entrance overlooking Porthmeor beach.
The Barbara Hepworth Museum is another must-see for art lovers. The museum has been managed by the Tate gallery since 1980 and is Hepworth’s preserved home, studio and gardens, where you can relax among Hepworth’s famous stone, bronze and wooden sculptures.
There are several other smaller galleries including Leach Pottery, a working pottery studio with a small museum and shop as well as the St Ives Society of Artists, one of the town’s most established art collectives.
Interested in getting involved? St Ives School of Painting holds a variety of courses for budding artists, including Art Holidays! With a variety of courses to choose from, including online courses for those wishing they were here in St Ives, there is plenty of choice for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the art world.
Cafe’s Bars and Restaurants
St Ives is full of culinary delights, whether you are looking for cocktails and tapas watching the sunset or a cosy romantic table for two.
During the day there are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the harbour front and St Ives harbour to choose from, serving a variety of cuisines including menus that feature locally sourced meat and freshly caught fish, as well as more international cuisines such as Italian and Thai.
Venturing away from the town centre, Porthmeor beach cafe offers al-fresco indoor dining on their terrace or from their undercover heated booths on the beachfront. New to Porthmeor Beach is West Porthmeor, another beautiful seafront eatery that features a fish bar serving locally caught fish as well as a rooftop patio barbeque.
Porthminster beach cafe boasts beautiful views across St Ives Bay all the way to Godrevy Lighthouse and multi-award winning seafood. Feel like you’re in the Mediterranean on the Cornish coast
St Ives is known for its picturesque seaside views and beautiful coastal walks, with a variety of off-road public footpaths to explore rurally and on the coast.
If you’re looking for a gentle stroll, explore St Ives waterfront and circle back through the narrow cobbled streets, taking in the artworks in local galleries, browse the boutique stores and take in St Ives’s history, or a walk to ‘The Island’, (which isn’t an island at all!) where you can experience breathtaking 360 panoramic views across St Ives, Porthgwidden Beach and Porthmeor Beach. as well as visit the quaint St Nicolas Chapel on the peak of the Island.
Alternatively, stroll along the coastal footpath above the railway line towards Carbis bay and talk in the incredible views over St Ives Bay. If you’re more of an avid walker, continue on past Carbis bay towards Lelant where you can spend some time on Porthkidney beach, or from Porthmeor venture out onto the South West Coast Path along the track to Clodgy point, where you can even continue along the track towards Zennor and get a feel of the authentic wild west country on one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Cornwall.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not hire an e-bike from St Ives e-bikes? These can be hired daily or weekly and allow you to explore St Ives and beyond. St Ives e-bikes also provide a list of routes they recommend you could explore and enjoy the Cornish countryside.
Yet to book your escape to St Ives?
We have a variety of Holiday Homes available, from large family retreats to cosy cottages for two.
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Photo Credit: Aerial view of Tate St Ives© Kirstin Prisk