St Ives should be your next holiday destination on the Northwest Coast of Cornwall. It has been a vital mining and fishing hub since medieval times. Then tourism came with the building of the Great Western Railway that happened in 1877, bringing Victorian holidaymakers searching for healthy sea air.
Because of that, St Ives also became a notable artists’ resort and haven, popularly known for its turquoise sea and glorious sandy beaches. Recently, St Ives was voted the best Seaside Town in the UK by the British Travel Awards on several occasions.
Whether it is a solo or family trip, you have many reasons to make St Ives your next holiday destination. Some of these reasons are:
1. School of Painting
A special quality of light has been drawing painters to St Ives since J.M.W Turner. The extension of the Great Western Railway to West Cornwall made St Ives more appealing and accessible. Pioneering artists like Dame Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson were drawn to this town and even achieved international prominence.
In the 1940s, another group of artists came and got inspired to use the colours, forms, and shapes of West Cornwall as the source for a lot of their projects. Sir Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, and Bernard Leach put this town on the map for abstract and modern developments in British art.
2. Holiday Cottages
St Ives is often rich in Cornish culture, boasts the best scenic coastal views, and provides a perfect getaway for everyone looking to relax and have a great time by the seaside while exploring exhibitions and art galleries in town.
In order to complete this experience, St Ives holiday cottages make your stay stylish and comfortable as possible. Luxury catering is among the best features in these holiday cottages, allowing you to be in full control throughout your holiday.
Most luxury cottages also come with stunning and premium views, which puts you at the heart of St Ives, providing great scenery of the coast and opening up the town, more useful information you can find at Cornish Escapes.
St Ives is popular because of its sunlight and has always been a top destination for most artists for years. And the good news is that the town is more often than not a sunny day. Generally, it looks good when the sun shines, and on a beautiful day, you will feel as if you are in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.
Plus, the unique and general make-up of St Ives means that even during winter, you can find sheltered spots to escape to.
4. Art Exhibitions in Tate St Ives
The Tate St Ives overlooking the famous Porthmeor Beach is an attractive site in St Ives because of art aficionados. It displays modern works by local and international artists and is among the most-visited destinations in Cornwall.
The building is also impressive, designed to look like the shapes of gasworks which stood there before. Pale tiles often cover the exterior with shimmering blues, greens, and yellows to reflect the always-changeable weather conditions and the coastal surroundings.
5. Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
St Ives manages the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, just a few miles from Tate’s gallery. Housed in an intimate setting of Barbara’s former home, garden, and studio, this museum showcases her bronze sculptures and carvings. The beautiful garden also still exists as Hepworth laid them out with amazing bronzes in the positions where she placed them herself.
6. Easier Parking on September
Car parks in St Ives are relatively smaller compared to the many visitors who visit the destination during summer. For instance, the Island Car Park, perfectly located near Porthgwidden and Porthmeor Beach, only has around 125 spaces.
And there might be long queues and a lack of spaces throughout the town and throughout the peak months. While September is still welcoming many visitors, it is very quiet – meaning few queues, less stress, and more space.
St Ives is known for its collection of individual and quirky shops. With several non-essential shops being open on 12th April, be ready to be immersed in a great shopping experience, which St Ives is recognized for.
As a hub for artists, there are a lot of independent retail shops matching its creative reputation, and expect to be long in St Ives’s winding streets. There is a lot to marvel at, from unique little souvenir shops to art galleries.
8. Surf and Swim
St Ives is known for having over 300 beaches, most of which are family and dog-friendly. Most are also within walking distance from the town centre, including Porthmeor Beach for surfers, Porthgwidden Beach for families, and Carbis Bay Beach.
Ensure you also visit Harbour Beach, which is an amazing harbour with a history that comes with a beautiful beach section. It is suitable for families with small kids looking to swim, as it is sheltered from strong currents and winds.
9. Walking to the Island
Among the fun and the best things to do in this holiday destination is to walk to the Island, which is technically a grassy peninsula. The Island is connected to the centre of the town by the Down a Long, a historic alley.
Plus, the Island is one of the popular attractions for every beach lover, walker, and nature enthusiast, as it provides beautiful views of St Ives Bay and Porthmeor Beach.
10. Good Restaurants
As a fishing town, expect seafood to be featured heavily in most restaurants in St Ives. How chefs there prepare seafood varies. Also, expect interesting vegetarian dishes and amazing beef from several local herds.
Most of these dishes are in Porthminster Beach Café, Porthgwidden Beach, and Porthmeor Beach. For amazing views and quality food and services, you should also go to the harbour front where you can find delights, like Caffe Pasta, Alba, and Porthminster Kitchen. Other gems are Queens Hotels, the Digey Food Rooms, and Blas burgerworks.
Depending on who you decide to ask, be it your taxi driver, mom, or boss, St Ives generates all forms of experiences and memories. And that isn’t the only thing. Of all the things you can do in St Ives, Cornwall, you will never run out of options.