The main attraction of St Ives is of course, the huge number of beaches within walking distance from the town centre. From one of the most famous beaches in Cornwall, Porthmeor, to sheltered and overlooked coves like Bamaluz, there are a total of 9 different beaches just a stone’s throw away from the town. While Porthmeor offers some world class surfing, with the option to wander into the town for lunch, try Porthminster for a much more sheltered, family friendly beach. Explore the coastline to discover some of the more hidden coves, but do bear in mind that the bigger beaches will be the ones with amenities close by and lifeguard cover. The real gem of St Ives’ beaches must be Carbis Bay though. With its white sand and clear blue sea, this is the beach to come to and pretend you’re in the Caribbean – definitely worth a visit, even in winter! If you want to venture out of town, head along the coast to Gwithian and Godrevy for a change of scenery, or make the 30 minute journey down to the south coast and visit Marazion beach which sits at the bottom of the astonishing St Michaels Mount. If it’s a beach holiday you’re after, St Ives certainly won’t let you down!
In addition to these award-winning beaches, St Ives boasts a huge range of cultural attractions. Visit the world-renowned Tate Gallery, one of just four of these prestigious art museums in the world, which looks out over Porthmeor beach and is home to some eclectic and intriguing exhibitions – but be sure to check opening times, it is seasonal. An extension of the Tate is the Barbara Hepworth museum, celebrating the life and work of the Modernist artist and sculptor who lived in St Ives for the later years of her life, or wander through The Bernard Leach Pottery & Museum Leach and marvel at the Asian inspired pottery. Walk the narrow streets of the town and find the studios of the local artists and or enrol yourself for a lesson or two in the St Ives School of Painting if you want to give it a go. Whilst seeking out the art galleries, make time to browse in the multitude of independent boutiques. From high quality clothing to handmade jewellery, these little shops are not to be missed, and whether you buy for yourself, a partner or a friend, you can guarantee there will be something that everyone will love.
The history of St Ives can also be seen in the surrounding area, with UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geevor Mine (and now museum) demonstrating the importance of the mines in the county. Travel to Porthcurno and you can visit the fascinating Telegraph Museum, and explore its underground tunnels, buried deep within the cliffs to hide the telegraph equipment during WWII. Going further back into the history of West Cornwall, you can visit several Bronze and Stone Age sites, with St Ives’ surrounding area housing the most sites in one area in Western Europe.
St Ives is known for its stunning, Cornish appearance and dazzling views, and what better way to experience them from a different angle than via the train. Running from St. Erth to St Ives and back, this journey is one of the most spectacular in the country, and takes you along the Cliffside, above the coves on the approach to St Ives – a definite must see! With so much to do and so many places to relax, St Ives is a haven for anyone looking to explore the pride of Cornwall.