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Article: How to holiday in St Ives - a local's guide!

A painting of St Ives harbour with the sun setting by Andrew Tozer

How to holiday in St Ives - a local's guide!

What kind of place regularly appears in the top places to live in the UK, is known for its creative hub and resembles the Mediterranean on sunny days? Well, St Ives of course!

Whether you know St Ives well, are in the middle of planning a visit or have it on the bucket list, this guide might help you to discover some gems.

Food & Drink

As you can imagine in a busy Cornish seaside town, there's an abundance of eateries offering a wonderfully diverse range to suit every palate. From locally sourced fish and shellfish (The seafood café on Fore Street) to authentic Thai (Talay Thai on Wharf road), there's something for everyone.

For family dining we like the The Loft, Hub, Café Pasta, and Beer and Bird. 
You'll also find great pub grub at The Queens, The Lifeboat, The Sloop and The Castle. The Tretho lounge, as pictured below, always has a great atmosphere.Establishments offering a perhaps more sophisticated dining experience include 27, The Terrace, The Porthminster kitchen and the Porthmeor Beach Cafe, as pictured below, serves great bites to eat.
Porthmeor Beach Cafe image of fish on plate
You’re never far away from a takeaway coffee - one of our faves is Yallah. If you're hungry for a pasty then St.Ives bakery or the Cornish bake house won't disappoint, and delicious sandwiches can be found at the Yellow Canary or Cornish bakery, as pictured below.

Shopping (aka retail therapy)

There's a number of independent shops in St Ives for you to explore. It's nice to set some time aside to meander through the streets and peruse what's on offer.

If you're looking for a chance to pick up some souvenirs of your trip then you might like to visit Poppy Treffrys on Fore Street where they offer locally designed, bespoke and handmade personal and household gifts that are all inspired by the local area.

The Cornish soap company which is also on Fore street offers you the chance to be reminded of the sea with their handmade seaweed soap. Of course, don't forget to pop in and see us at Cream Cornwall, and maybe pick yourself up something special such as this gorgeous
Cream Cornwall Hamper.

Things to do & see


Although St. Ives can often be busy down by the harbour you'll find some quieter laneways behind the main streets that instantly remind you of what life was like there as a fishing village. Take a stroll through these laneways and enjoy the quieter atmosphere and the beauty of the original houses.
St.Ives boasts both the Barbara Hepworth museum and the The Tate which regularly houses local, national and international artists. It's an artist's paradise with everchanging skies and settings to create personal masterpieces, or you can simply admire the talents of other local and national painters, potters and ceramicists. If you're keen to immerse yourself in this creative hive then you might like to find a course at St.Ives school of painting.
Exterior of Tate Gallery St IvesTake yourself through the leafy lanes for a leisurely stroll to Carbis bay or for the less faint-hearted a hike along the stunning South West Coast path. This takes you to the historic village of Zennor where you can learn all about the legendary mermaid of Zennor and enjoy a refreshing beverage and hearty meal at The Tinner's Arms.
Image of ZennorImage credit to Nicola Smith, 2019.

Feeling energetic? Then why not book a lesson or two at St Ives surf school? Whether you need to burn off some of the kids' energy, or if you fancy yourself as the next Body from Point Break, you'll have a great time and will have earnt that pasty.
Image of a girl surfing in St Ives at the surf schoolIf you're looking to capture the best view of St Ives, we recommend walking to what we call the 'Island'. Despite its name, it's firmly attached to the mainland, but it offers spectacular panoramic views of St.Ives with sights to Porthmeor and Porthgwidden. These two amazing beaches are where we suggest you spend your time if you're looking for a beach afternoon. Slip, slop, slap and then go for a refreshing dip in the blend of turquoise waters.
Image of St Ives from above showing the town and beaches


There are plenty of car parks in St.Ives, which is a good thing as it can get very busy - particularly in holiday periods!

The Sloop, nearest the town centre, offers short stay parking which is ideal if you need to carry any large items back to your car.

Trenwith is the largest and conveniently has a shuttle bus between it and the town as it’s situated on the top of the hill! Other long stays are Park Avenue, Barnoon and the Station. Non council run car parks are the infamous ‘Launderette’ and rugby club.

Alternatively, take the stress out of driving into St. Ives and use the park and ride at St. Erth for the stunning train ride in on the St. Ives bay line. This is rated as one of the three top train journeys in the country and the views are beautiful.

Image of the seaview from the train to St Ives

1 comment

We are keen to use the railway link between St Ives & our stay at Carbis bay (&beyond…. Penzance maybe) Any local knowledge or advise regarding this would be most helpful.We’l be there 17th September for a week during St Ives festival🤞🎉


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