St Ives (Cornish: Porth Ia) is a small seaside town in the English county of Cornwall, north of Penzance and west of Camborne. St Ives is a lovely Cornish village that has grown into a town. In the centre are quaint cottages, small alleys, craft and gift shops - often original, especially the paintings due to the influx earlier this century of artists from around Europe.
Trains from London Paddington to Penzance normally stop at the 1 St Erth station, one stop before Penzance. From St Erth take the branch line train (they normally connect with London trains) to 2 St Ives station, a bus or a taxi.
Trying to drive through the narrow streets of St Ives is a bit of a nightmare; go on foot like everyone else. This only applies to streets in the town's harbour, while the rest of the town has regular roads. Driving through the harbour during holiday months can be slow due to the massive volume of tourists that swarm the town.
There are numerous car parks in St Ives (£3-5 for the day), but the ones closest the town fill up quick in summer during the day. There is a large car park at the top of the town next to the leisure centre, a 10 minute walk from the harbour. It normally has spaces on all but the busiest days. There is also a Park and Ride Scheme, you park at one of the station on the St Ives branch line (e.g. Lelant, Lelant Saltings, etc.) and get the train in to the town. Follow the signs. Note that there was a car park outside of the leisure centre but this was built on a cliff face that is dangerously unstable. The local government made several demands for it to be closed as it was illegally established in the first place. When this was ignored, they shut it down themselves and blockaded the car park with concrete barriers. Any visitors who were used to using this car park will have to find somewhere else. Also note that parking in front of a resident's driveway is a very bad idea. You will often be shouted at and if you do not heed these words, you may return to find your tyres slashed.
- 1 Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, TR26 1TG, ☎ . Porthmeor Beach, open March–October M-Su 10AM-5:30PM, November–February Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM, (occasionally closed for re-hangings - telephone ahead to check status) - a far-flung outpost of the Tate Gallery, a long way from the better-known Tates Britain and Modern in London - a refreshing collection of international modern art. The northern light allied to the beautiful sea has been an inspiration to artists and sculptors such as Alfred Wallis, Sir Terry Frost and Dame Barbara Hepworth. This lead to The Tate building a gallery specialising in Cornish Art. The building itself is notable, and is round in shape - mirroring the gas works which previously sat on the site. You can buy a joint ticket for the Tate and the Hepworth studio. Under-18s get in free!
- 2 Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, TR26 1AD, ☎ . Showcases the work of one of the 20th century’s most important sculptors. Sculptures in bronze, stone and wood are on display.
- 3 The Saint Ives Museum, Wheal Dream, TR26 1PR, ☎ . M-Sa: 10:30AM-4:30PM, Su: Closed.
- 4 Anima-Mundi (formerly New Millennium Gallery), Street-an-Pol, TR26 2DS, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. The "Soul of the World" art gallery, showcases a unique collection of modern fine art and ceramics.
- 5 Carbis Bay. This picturesque bay offers outstanding views and a magnificent sandy beach offering many recreational activities such as swimming, boating, surfing, rock climbing and tennis.
- Visit St Ives Information Centre, Street-an-Pol, TR26 2DS +44 1736 796297. Open all year round.
- Porthmeor Beach, TR26 1JZ. This half-mile-long beach with firm sands is a popular recreational area. Sometimes has some good waves for us surfers (although again parking even to drop off the sticks can be sadly problematic); it is a lovely family beach too. There is a caravan/ camping /motor home site on the western fringes of the town (easy walking in and lovely views too).
- Porthminster Beach. A lovely place for a family outing, this wonderful stretch of beach overlooks Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance. It also has the advantage of being right next to the railway station.
- New Year's Eve Fancy Dress and Fireworks. One giant fancy dress party on the beach and in the town with fireworks at midnight.
There are loads of pasty shops, but always avoid the steak and stilton pasties; they may appear nice, but they often spend a couple of months on sale and can upset the gut.
- 1 Blas Burgerworks, The Warren, TR26 2EA, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A cosy restaurant serving a tasty selection of gourmet burgers for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. With friendly, straightforward service and solid locally sourced produce credentials, Blas is a thoroughly modern sort of restaurant, perfect for a quick but wholesome evening meal - and continuing to serve food until later than many St Ives establishments too.
- 2 The Bean Inn, Carbis Bay, TR26 2RT (on the outskirts of St Ives), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A simple, honest vegetarian restaurant serving above average veggie fare. A nice option for a veggie Sunday roast.
Usual selection of traditional pubs and (more recently) wine bars.
- 1 The Sloop Inn, The Wharf, TR26 1LP, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sloop Inn on the harbour front is one of the town's most popular, and you are likely to make at least one friend while there as most locals get on very well with fellow drinkers.
- The Legion. Another popular pub is The Legion at the bottom of the hill atop which St Ives Junior School resides. It is very similar to the Sloop, but be aware of rowdiness late at night.
Over 70 B&Bs and several nice little hotels - call the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on +44 1736 796297 to find out which ones are available.
- Blue Hayes Hotel. A small private hotel with great views and friendly staff.
- Boskerris Hotel. One of the best upscale boutique hotels with modern design, great food and lovely views of the beach.
- Carbis Bay Hotel. A mid-sized luxury hotel on the beach. Has an outdoor pool and some self-catering cottages.
- Coast. An unimaginatively named but reasonably priced, friendly and totally vegetarian B&B in Carbis Bay a couple of miles in the outskirts of St Ives. Rooms are small but clean and modern, and the welcome could not be more warm. The town is accessible by a scenic coastal walk.
- Dean Court. Small 12-room hotel with high ceilings and seaviews. Fairly reasonable in price.
- Eleven Sea View Terrace. A small hotel in a converted Edwardian seaside villa very near the center of town.
- Garrack Hotel. A family-run hotel with amazing views as they are on a bit of a secluded hill overlooking the town. They even have a restaurant, indoor pool & onsite free car parking. They also accept dogs in some rooms.
- Tregena Castle Hotel. Large smart hotel in large grounds on the hill above the town. Expensive, lots of people go there to get married!
- The Nook Hotel. Small family-run hotel with cozy rooms. Free wifi and affordable rates.
- The Sail Lofts (between Porthgwidden and Porthmeor Beach). Five-star self-catering in different sized luxury apartments available throughout the year.
- Primrose Valley Hotel. A cozy Edwardian villa with beautiful views of the sea and wonderful organic breakfast made from local produce.
Alternative budget accommodation
- St. Ives backpackers. Decent friendly youth hostel, but you have to pay 20p to use the showers! It has a bar which opens in the summer.
- Aspects. Provide a range of last minute (discounted) self-catering apartments and holiday cottages in St Ives.
- Cornwall Cottage Boutique (Cornwall Cottage Boutique), Myrtle Cottage Hellesvean, TR26 2HG, ☎ . Cornwall Cottage Boutique have five holiday cottages, providing guests with quality self-catering accommodation.
Generally crime free, but don't leave valuables on display in your car, or laptops on display next to an open window. St Ives was highlighted in 2006 as a town with an abnormally high rate of AIDS/HIV infections (the town has acquired the nickname of STIves). This was later traced to a bi-sexual bouncer at a local night club. Syphilis is also present in the local population. Practice safe sex.