St Ives, travel guide, best summer holiday, United Kingdom, UK min

St Ives: A Coastal Paradise of Art, Beaches, and Charm

Know before you go | Top attractions | Free 4-day itinerary | Eat & Drink Must-Haves

Discover the enchanting beauty of St Ives in Cornwall, UK. Immerse yourself in its vibrant art scene, relax on stunning beaches, and experience the unique charm of this coastal paradise. While there are several popular destinations in Cornwall, one of the most renowned and widely visited is St Ives.

Know Before You Go

St Ives in Cornwall, UK, located on the north coast of Cornwall min

If you’re dreaming of a delightful seaside getaway, let me introduce you to the captivating town of St Ives in Cornwall, UK, located on the north coast of Cornwall. I’ve got all the inside scoop on this charming destination, so buckle up and let’s dive right in!

There are a few options to consider. If you’re flying in, the closest major airport is Newquay Cornwall Airport, located about 40 miles (about 64 km) away. From there, you can hop on a bus or arrange for a taxi to take you to St Ives.

Alternatively, you can also fly into Exeter Airport or Bristol Airport and take a scenic drive along the coast to reach this coastal gem.


If you’re traveling by train, St Ives has its own railway station. Trains run regularly from major cities like London, Bristol, and Birmingham, offering a convenient and comfortable way to reach this seaside haven. Once you arrive, the station is just a short walk from the town center, making it super easy to start exploring.

One of the most charming aspects of this town is its compact size, which makes it perfect for exploring on foot. Stroll through its narrow cobbled streets, lined with cozy cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops. Don’t forget to take a leisurely wander along the picturesque harbor, where colorful fishing boats bob gently in the water, creating a postcard-perfect scene.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a boat trip? Hop on a local boat excursion and sail around the stunning coastline, where you might be lucky enough to spot seals, dolphins, and seabirds in their natural habitat. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t forget!

Absolutely! Why not plan your trip to St Ives around one of their festivities?

  • St Ives September Festival: Held annually in September, this vibrant festival celebrates music, art, literature, and poetry. Various venues across the town host performances, exhibitions, workshops, and talks.
  • St Ives Food and Drink Festival: This festival celebrates Cornwall’s culinary delights. Local chefs showcase their skills, and visitors can sample a wide range of delicious food and drink.
  • St. Ives Artisan Market: The market showcases the work of talented local artists and crafters. It’s a great opportunity to browse unique handmade items and support the local creative community. You’ll find it at the Guildhall on Street an Pol.

Well, that depends on your preferences. Summer, from June to August, is the peak tourist season when the weather is warm, and the town buzzes with activity. This is a great time to enjoy the stunning beaches, take part in water sports, and soak up the lively atmosphere.

If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). The crowds are thinner, the weather is still pleasant, and you can enjoy the town’s beauty at a more leisurely pace.

ST IVES WEATHER

To Do's in Bad and Sunny Weather days

When the weather is not so good

The Leach Pottery, St Ives, things to do in bad weather

Explore the Art Galleries

St Ives is renowned for its art scene, so spend some time visiting the various art galleries and museums, such as the Barbara Hepworth Museum on Barnoon Hill, or the Leach Pottery on Higher Stennack.

must eat in st ives, cornwall, cornish pasties

Take a Culinary Tour

Sample the local flavors by exploring the town's eateries, cafes, and restaurants. Enjoy traditional Cornish pasties, and fresh seafood, or indulge in a cream tea at one of the charming tea rooms.

Norris museum, st ives museums, things to do in st ives in bad weather

Visit the Norris Museum

The Norris Museum is worth a visit if you have a particular interest in the history and culture of the region. Discover artifacts, photographs, and exhibitions that showcase the town's past.

movie night, watch movies

Enjoy Indoor Activities

Seek refuge from the rain by engaging in indoor activities like pottery painting, craft workshops, or visiting the St Ives Theatre for a performance or a movie.

When the sun is shining

St Ives best beaches, Porthminster beach

Hit the Beaches

St Ives is also known for its clean waters and pristine beaches, earning Blue Flag status for several of its seaside spots. Porthminster Beach, Porthmeor Beach, and Carbis Bay are just a few of the stunning stretches of sand that entice visitors to unwind and enjoy the coastal beauty.

t Ives water sports

Water Sports

Try your hand at water sports like surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. 

Alternatively, join a photography tour of St Ives for a truly unique experience.

St Ives seal watching

Seal Watching

Go on a boat trip to spot the dolphins and the seals basking on the rocks or swimming in the waters around St Ives. It's a fantastic opportunity to witness these charismatic creatures in their natural habitat.

St Ives coastal path, hiking

Coastal Walks

Take advantage of the sunny weather and embark on scenic coastal walks. The South West Coast Path offers breathtaking views of the coastline, with routes that cater to different skill levels.

Alternatively, have loads of fun on a self-guided tour and treasure hunt travel experience across St Ives.

St Ives in Four Days

If you’re planning a visit to St Ives, I’d recommend spending at least 3 to 4 days in this delightful town to truly immerse yourself in its beauty and charm. That said, St Ives offers a wonderful blend of art, culture, coastal beauty, and relaxation, ensuring a memorable experience no matter how many days you choose to spend there.

To help you make the most of your time, here’s a suggested itinerary….

  • Start your day by taking a leisurely stroll through the town center. Get lost in the narrow cobbled streets, browse through the art galleries, and pop into the unique boutiques.
  • Visit the iconic Tate St Ives gallery and explore its impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking coastal views from the gallery’s rooftop terrace.
  • Head to the harbor area and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants. Take your time to soak in the picturesque views and watch the fishing boats bobbing in the harbor.
  • In the afternoon, visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden to appreciate the works of this influential sculptor amidst a tranquil garden setting.
  • As the day winds down, relax on one of the beautiful beaches like Porthminster Beach or Porthmeor Beach. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters or simply unwind on the golden sands as you watch the sunset.
  • After breakfast, embark on a coastal walk along the South West Coast Path. The path offers stunning views of the rugged coastline and leads you to hidden coves and secluded beaches.
  • If you’re up for some adventure, consider taking a boat trip from the harbor. Choose from options like seal-watching tours or trips to the nearby Godrevy Lighthouse, known for its resident seal colony.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the scenic spots along the coast, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
  • In the evening, head back to the town center and savor a delicious Cornish dinner at one of the local restaurants. Indulge in fresh seafood or sample traditional Cornish pasties.
  • Take a day trip to the charming nearby villages of St Just and Mousehole. Explore their quaint streets, visit local shops, and admire the traditional fishing harbors.
  • If you’re a nature enthusiast, visit the stunning St Michael’s Mount, a tidal island located near Marazion. Explore the medieval castle, stroll through the gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline.
  • Return to St Ives in the late afternoon and spend some more time exploring the town’s nooks and crannies. Discover hidden art studios, enjoy a pint at a cozy pub, or simply take in the vibrant atmosphere.
  • For dinner, try one of the local restaurants serving delectable Cornish cuisine, paired with a glass of regional cider or ale.
  • On your last day, start with a leisurely breakfast and head to the beach for some relaxation. Soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, or simply enjoy a peaceful beach stroll.
  • If you have time, visit the Leach Pottery, which showcases traditional and contemporary ceramics. Learn about the rich pottery heritage of the region and browse the unique pieces on display.
  • Before you depart, grab some souvenirs from local shops, such as artwork, handmade crafts, or locally produced treats like Cornish fudge or clotted cream.
  • Bid farewell to the enchanting town of St Ives, carrying fond memories and a desire to return someday.
St Ives, holiday, beautiful Cornish town, United Kingdom, UK min

Day trips from St Ives

  • St Michael’s Mount: Visit the iconic tidal island near Marazion, located around 10 miles (16 km) from St Ives. Explore the castle, gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the coast.
  • Land’s End: Venture to the westernmost point of mainland England, around 17 miles (27 km) from St Ives. Marvel at the dramatic cliffs, take memorable photos, and visit the visitor center.
  • The Minack Theatre: Discover this extraordinary open-air theater carved into the cliffs at Porthcurno, about 17 miles (27 km) from St Ives. Take in a performance or explore the stunning location.
Day trips from St Ives, Cornwall, Land's End, St Michael's Mount, Minack Theatre, open air theatre in Cornwall, things to do in St Ives

Eat & Drink

In addition to the Cornish pasties which is an absolute must-have, just another word or two about the seafood and cream tea… I’m making sure you don’t miss it! 

Fresh Seafood

St Ives is known for its fantastic seafood. Enjoy freshly caught fish, crab, lobster, or mussels (my personal favorite) from one of the many seafood restaurants or fishmongers in town. The quality and freshness of the seafood will surely leave you wanting more. 

Mussels, seafood
English cream tea

Cornish Cream Tea

Indulge in a classic Cornish treat by enjoying a cream tea. This delightful combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam, accompanied by a pot of tea, is a quintessential English experience.

Best places to stay at in St Ives

St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa

Situated right on the waterfront, this stylish hotel provides comfortable rooms, spa facilities, and breathtaking views of the harbor.

The Garrack Hotel

Located on the outskirts of St Ives, this charming hotel offers picturesque views, well-appointed rooms, and a peaceful atmosphere, perfect for a relaxing getaway.

Trevose Harbour House

They have comfortable rooms, some of which provide stunning views of the harbor or the town. The cleanliness and stylish decor of the rooms, as well as the comfortable amenities and super delish breakfast, are just a few of the good points that comes to mind.

Sixpence Cottage

I truly believe there is no point in having a beach holiday if you’re staying kilometers away from the beach. And being pet-friendly is a BIG PLUS. That’s why Sixpence Cottage is worth considering. It’s a great find and extremely well-located.

St Ives, travel guide, beautiful sunset, United Kingdom, UK min
Travel Tip(s)

What Not to Do in St Ives

  • Avoid driving into the town center: St Ives can get quite busy, and parking can be limited. It’s recommended to park in one of the designated car parks on the outskirts of town and use public transportation or walk into the center.
  • Don’t litter: St Ives takes pride in its natural beauty, so be mindful of the environment and dispose of your waste properly. Use the recycling bins provided and keep the beaches and streets clean.
  • Respect the local community: St Ives is a vibrant community with a close-knit local population. Be considerate of the residents, keep noise levels down during the evenings, and adhere to any local regulations or guidelines.

What to Do in St Ives

  • Take a walk along the coastal path: The South West Coast Path offers stunning views of the coastline. Take your time to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and capture memorable photos.
  • Engage with the local art scene: St Ives has a rich artistic heritage. Engage with the local art community, visit galleries, and even consider taking an art class or workshop to unleash your own creativity.
  • Sample local delicacies: Embrace the Cornish culinary delights. Try traditional Cornish dishes, visit local cafes and restaurants, and don’t miss the opportunity to savor the delicious cream tea.

Cheapest flight tickets

I’ve found that the award-winning Travelstart platform’s rates are the best and after many years of using them, they are reliable. But I also use CheapOair’s and Aviasales‘ search engines to cross-check. Nine of the ten times, I come back and book on Travelstart. But at least I’ve done my homework!

Find the best accommodation

Hotellook has an extensive search engine working with data from more than ten online booking systems, such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, and others. That said, I still find myself checking Booking.com to ensure I get the best deal. 

Celebrate and save on seasonal and holiday deals.

For more travel tips on making bookings for your next trip, check out our travel bookings page.

So there you have it. St Ives awaits with its enchanting streets, breathtaking beaches, and artistic flair. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, this Cornish gem has it all. Pack your bags, soak up the charm, and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

One thing we all know only too well is the cost of living where we live. However, what we don’t know is how it compares to our dream holiday destination. Compare city to city on typical holiday expenses. Like the cost of dinner out, or the cost of groceries (self-catering holidays), or transport such as taxis, buses, and trains. 

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