St Ives Holiday Guide for 2024

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A firm favourite with locals and visitors St Ives is a beautiful beach and harbour where tourists flock to enjoy the fabulous views and the harbour. The town sits directly above the harbour and is famous for not just the harbour but the gallery and museum too. St Ives is also well positioned on the north coast and is not too far from many other attractions such as Land’s End and the Minack Theatre. St Ives is also known for its Art culture and its branch of the Tate Gallery. In 2010, a BBC Four film, The Art of Cornwall, presented by James Fox said that the St Ives artists “went on to produce some of the most exhilarating art of the twentieth century…for a few dazzling years this place was as famous as Paris, as exciting as New York and infinitely more progressive than London.”

In more recent years St Ives has been awarded Best Seaside Town by the Guardian in 2007 and Best Seaside Town by The British Travel Awards both in 2010 and 2011. This absolute gem of a town is a must see when in Cornwall. The population of St Ives is around 11,000 but this rises dramatically in the summer months.

One of the most popular and famous parts of Cornwall, St Ives is home to the Tate Gallery St Ives and has an active art culture. The harbour is stunning and the beaches all around the coast there are beautiful and popular. You can do all sorts of water sports and boat and fishing trips here. The town of St Ives also gives a vast selection of cuisine and places to stay, some with the most incredible views that you could wish for.

St Ives Gallery

St Ives Town History

Historically St Ives was a fishing port and this was the main trade in the town. In 1877 the Great Western Railway reached St Ives making it a tourist destination for the Victorians. Over the years the fishing has declined and the main trade for the town is tourism. The harbour is still in use today albeit for more commercial reasons like tourist fishing.

In 1999 the town was the first landfall of the total solar eclipse on August 11th. There was a display by the Tate Gallery all around the Eclipse.

Beaches in St Ives

There are many beaches in the area, firstly the beach on St Ives Harbour which when the tide is out is a beautiful sandy beach and you can walk around to Porthminster beach from there. St Ives harbour has the bustle of the town and there is lots to do here and places to eat etc, but it will be busy. If you wander over to Porthminster Beach then you have a larger beach with inviting water to play in. The beach is manned by lifeguards in peak times making it a very safe beach for children. You will also find a cafe here and all amenities that you will need. Gwithian Beach is another favourite, the waves are ideal if you want to try surfing or body boarding, there are rock pools perfect for kids and sand great for relaxing on. The beach is dog friendly and has a cafe and toilets. Porthmeor beach, another great place for surfing with rock pools and stunning turquoise water, just idyllic. Carbis Bay beach is another beach within a town so lots to do around the beach and different places to eat and drink. There is a car park at the bottom so try and get in there if you can as the other car parks are quite a trek up a hill. You can take a tour of the beaches on a boat if you would like a relaxing way to explore the amazing coastline. Watersports are available as well depending on the beach and time of year, stand up boarding, kayaking, surfing, swimming etc.

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Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay, nestled on the Cornish coast, is a serene and picturesque haven known for…

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Accommodation in St Ives

There are some simply stunning places to stay in St Ives, head over to our accommodation section to see what options we have, apartments, houses and bed and breakfast. St Ives is a firm favourite so my advice would be to book early to avoid disappointment.

Ten Ocean View

St Ives is a very popular picturesque coastal town in West Cornwall. A great location…

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Beach View

This 2 bedroom apartment is set in the stunning town of St Ives which is…

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Tregenna Castle Hotel

This impressive castle resort is a stunning hotel and will really offer that wow factor…

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Waves Apartment – St. Ives

A fantastic pet-friendly two bedroom apartment in St Ives, with two balconies and amazing views

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How to Get to St Ives

If you’re travelling by car, the easiest way to get to St Ives is to take the A30. The town is located within the Penwith peninsula, and is easily accessible from other parts of Cornwall.

There are also a number of buses that run to St Ives from other towns and cities in Cornwall.

If you’re looking to take a train to St Ives, there is a station which is located in the heart of the town. There are also stations in nearby Carbis Bay and Lelant Saltings, which offer great connections to other parts of the country.

For more details about St Ives train station, click here.