A weekend in St Ives
Discover a world-renowned destination that never fails to delight
St Ives is a wonderful seaside town with a unique character that springs from its fishing traditions, artistic inheritance and tourism industry – the combination of the three makes it an ever-lively place to visit.
As well as being a traditional Cornish fishing port, it famously possesses a rare quality of air and light that has drawn painters and artists for centuries. It also boasts sandy beaches, quirky boutiques, top-rated restaurants and two of the best galleries in the country.
Discover our top-rated picks and recommendations for your Weekend Escape to this popular gem on the North Cornwall coast.
Things to do in St Ives
Whatever you’re doing in St Ives, it will be a pleasure. With its narrow, canyon-like streets, ubiquitous granite cobbles and clear, sea-mirrored light, the town is a delight to simply wander around. The harbour area, known locally as Downalong, is a maze of exquisite grand buildings where you catch satisfying glimpses of shady courtyards and passageways. St Ives’ loveliness, however, is a badly kept secret, so be prepared for lots of pedestrian traffic in the busier holiday periods.
Tate St Ives is perhaps the town’s most famous landmark. The gallery stands above Porthmeor Beach in a former gasworks building; its curves and crests are as white as the waves below. The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is an equally important artistic attraction here, celebrating the work of the much-lauded English sculptor.
If you want to avoid the bustle for an afternoon, there are plenty of beaches to escape to. Porthminster, to the south, is sheltered and calm while Porthmeor, to the north, is a bit more lively and popular with the surfing crowd. There are several smaller beaches at the harbour and in the lee of the Island – the breezy, green promontory that juts out to sea from a low-lying neck of land.
Recommended things to do in St Ives
Where to stay in St Ives
Whether you’re looking for a self-catered stay in the centre of things, B&Bs with a bay view or hotels overlooking the sea, you won’t be short of choice in this Cornish favourite.