St Ives Cornwall Things To Do For The Whole Family
There are lots of great places to visit in St Ives and lots of things to do. I have put together my favourite things to do in St Ives Cornwall.
St Ives, located on the north coast of Cornwall, is a charming seaside town with a rich artistic heritage and stunning natural beauty. With its picturesque beaches, vibrant arts scene, and delicious seafood, there are plenty of things to do and see in St Ives. Whether you’re a beach lover, art enthusiast, or nature explorer, this guide will help you make the most of your visit. Here are 10 must-do activities in St Ives, Cornwall.
Explore the Beaches
One of my favourite things to do when I go on holiday is to visit the beach. So, for me, my favourite things to do in St Ives is to visit the beach.
St Ives is renowned for its beautiful beaches, and there’s no shortage of them in the area. Whether you prefer lounging on golden sands, taking a dip in turquoise waters, or trying your hand at surfing, St Ives has a beach for you.
- St Ives Harbour Beach: Located in the heart of St Ives, this beach offers easy access to bars and restaurants, making it a great spot to grab a takeaway and enjoy a picnic by the sea.
- Porthmeor Beach: Considered one of the best surfing spots in St Ives, Porthmeor Beach is popular with surfers and sunbathers alike. It’s a great place to catch some waves or simply soak up the sun.
- Porthminster Beach: If you prefer a more laid-back beach experience, head to Porthminster Beach. It’s known for its calm waves, making it ideal for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding.
- Porthgwidden Beach: Despite being one of the smallest beaches in the area, Porthgwidden Beach is a popular sun trap, especially in the afternoons. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.
- Porthkidney Beach: Located just two miles from St Ives, Porthkidney Beach is a quieter alternative to the main town beaches. With its north-facing shoreline, it offers a unique ambiance and is perfect for a peaceful day by the sea.
Visit the Tate St Ives
No visit to St Ives is complete without a trip to the Tate St Ives. Located overlooking Porthmeor Beach, this branch of the renowned Tate Gallery showcases contemporary art with a focus on the St Ives School and artists such as Alfred Wallis. The gallery’s unique architecture, including its iconic circular entrance vestibule, adds to the overall experience. Explore the diverse range of artworks on display and gain insights into the artistic heritage of St Ives.
Discover the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
Immerse yourself in the world of one of St Ives’ most influential artists, Barbara Hepworth, at the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Located at Trewyn Studio and Garden, Hepworth’s former residence and studio, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the artist’s life and work.
Marvel at the collection of her sculptures, set against the backdrop of the meticulously maintained garden. The museum provides a unique opportunity to delve into Hepworth’s artistic journey and appreciate her significant contributions to the art world.
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Try Surfing in St Ives
Ok, I must admit, that is not one of my favourite things to do in St Ives, but it is my daughter’s.
With its prime location on the Atlantic coast, St Ives is a popular destination for surfers of all levels. Porthmeor Beach, in particular, offers excellent waves for both experienced surfers and beginners.
During the winter months, the beach produces some of the best surfable waves in West Cornwall, while in the summer, beginners can take advantage of the sheltered aspect of Porthmeor to learn the sport. Rent surf gear from local shops and take lessons right on the beach to make the most of your surfing experience in St Ives.
Take a Boat Trip to Seal Island
Embark on a boat trip to Seal Island, located just 3.5 miles west of St Ives. Get up close to a colony of grey seals and observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. The boat trip itself offers stunning views of Porthmeor Beach, the island, and the rugged Cornish coast. Keep an eye out for other wildlife, such as dolphins and seabirds, that may make an appearance during your sea safari. This excursion is a unique opportunity to connect with nature and create lasting memories.
Indulge in Beach Cafes
St Ives is home to some of the best beach cafes in Cornwall, offering a delightful culinary experience with a view. Porthminster Beach Cafe, located right on Porthminster Beach, is renowned for its seafood and panoramic views of St Ives Bay. Porthmeor Beach Cafe is another fantastic option, where you can enjoy delicious food while overlooking the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine alfresco and savour the flavours of Cornwall in these idyllic beachfront settings.
Explore the Down-a-long
Immerse yourself in the charm of St Ives by exploring the Down-a-long, the historic lower part of town. Wander through the narrow and picturesque cobbled streets, lined with whitewashed cottages, art galleries, cafes, and shops. Discover unique street names like Salubrious Place, Teetotal Street, and The Digey. While the Down-a-long may no longer be home to many fishermen, it is now a hub of artistic and cultural activity, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich history and vibrant present.
Visit The Island
Take a stroll to The Island, a grassy peninsula connected to St Ives by a footpath. Enjoy breathtaking views of Porthmeor Beach and St Ives Bay from this vantage point. Explore the rugged landscape, encounter diverse wildlife, and visit St. Nicholas’ Chapel, a 15th-century granite building with a fascinating history. The Island offers a tranquil escape from the bustling town and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.
Explore St Ives Railway
Experience one of Britain’s most scenic rail routes by taking a ride on the St Ives Railway. Travel along the coast from St Erth to St Ives, enjoying breathtaking views of St Ives Bay along the way. This picturesque journey takes approximately 20 minutes and allows you to appreciate the stunning coastal landscape of Cornwall. Whether you’re a train enthusiast or simply seeking a unique way to explore the area, the St Ives Railway is a must-try experience.
Wander around St Ives Harbour
No visit to St Ives is complete without a leisurely stroll around the picturesque St Ives Harbour. This bustling area serves as the town’s focal point, with its array of cafes, restaurants, and shops. Take in the stunning views of clear turquoise waters, bobbing boats, and the historic Smeaton’s Pier. Relax on a bench and watch the world go by, or take a walk along the pier for an equally captivating view back to the town. St Ives Harbour offers a quintessential seaside experience, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere and beauty of this charming coastal town.
St Ives, Cornwall, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, artistic inspiration, and seaside charm. From its stunning beaches to its vibrant arts scene, there are endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, St Ives has something to offer every visitor. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this coastal gem and create memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have some extra time, consider exploring the nearby attractions from St Ives. Here are two destinations worth visiting:
- Carbis Bay: Located in St Ives Bay, Carbis Bay offers a different perspective of the area. While it doesn’t have surfing waves, it’s a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the subtropical plants that dot the beach. Take a scenic stroll along the coast and soak in the beauty of this tranquil destination.
- St Erth: Take a scenic train ride from St Ives to St Erth, considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the country. Sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views of St Ives Bay during the 10-minute ride. St Erth serves as a convenient connection point for day trips from St Ives.
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