There are many reasons to love Cornwall. From its rugged coastlines to its thriving artistic communities. But few spots are as perfect for vacationing as the picturesque harbour town of St Ives. Here are our top picks for how to spend a weekend in the town…
Places to Stay in St Ives
Carbis Bay Hotel
Carbis Bay Hotel is the ideal retreat for lovers of luxury. Its privately owned 25 acre Blue Flag beach is one of the county’s most beautiful bays and its onsite AA Rosette Restaurant offers fine dining at its best.
The Gannet is situated just a mile from the quaint harbour town and a short valley walk from the award-winning Blue Flag Carbis Bay Beach. We love its boutique vibes and stylish interior decor.
The Boskerris is a small, stylish, coastal retreat with a contemporary Mediterranean style. The hotel has fifteen individual bedrooms, most with panoramic ocean views. They also offer a spa with a range of relaxing treatments such as hot stone massages and reflexology.
Places to eat in St Ives
This wine shop, delicatessen and restaurant is located in Lelant, just a short drive from the center of St Ives. They serve good wine and quality food in an unpretentious environment. Scarlet Wines is continually evolving its drinks offerings, with hundreds of wines from around the world, craft beers, local ciders and first-class spirits. They also have a deli serving the best local delicacies plus hard to find ingredients from Spain and Italy.
Porthminster Kitchen serves up a playful take on Cornish cuisine. They’ve stripped out much of what they deem unnecessary and ‘dairy and gluten take a backseat in favour of fresh and exciting textures and flavours’. Head here for awe-inspiring panoramic views from its location in the heart of St Ives. From your vantage point above the harbour, you’ll be able to escape the hustle and bustle and relax on their sun-drenched terrace.
Porthmeor Beach Café
Located just below the TATE Gallery this Café has a buzzing atmosphere, al fresco dining, and imaginative cocktails. Head here for their famous ‘build your own breakfast’, extensive vegetarian menu and seafood tapas. The cafe also boasts one of the best spots for the sunset in all of Cornwall.
Places to Shop in St Ives
The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird is an independent homeware and lifestyle shop in the heart of St Ives. Situated at the Market Place end of St Ives’ cobbled shopping street, the shop is filled with a diverse collection of homewares, gifts, and jewellery. We particularly love their varied collection of textiles and ceramics.
St Ives Bookseller
Established in 2001 this independent bookstore aims to stock something for everyone, stocking over 5000 titles. Central tables are packed full of titles to browse through, from prize winners to holiday reads, well-known local authors and independent gems.
Academy & Co
This independently owned and operated clothing store sells contemporary fashion for men and women as well as unique homewares. Look out for their own-brand knitwear and headbands, as well as chic home accessories.
Emjems is a real treasure trove of crystals, precious stones and jewellery. Stepping inside is quite the experience, as every surface glitters with gems and jewels. You’re guaranteed to find something to take home from your visit.
JOHNS Wine & Spirits
This cosy wine and spirits shop is one of Cornwall’s longest-running family businesses and a mecca for rare and unusual spirits. JOHNS’ ethos is all about sourcing the best possible drinks they can get their hands on and selling them at some of the most competitive prices.
Things to do in St Ives
Visit The Barbara Hepworth Museum
The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden offers a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain’s most important twentieth-century artists. Sculptures crafted in bronze, stone and wood are on display throughout the museum and gardens, along with paintings, drawings and archive materials. Plus, the museum is seriously photogenic if you’re after a grammable moment (above photo by Alex May).
Explore The Tate Gallery
No visit to St Ives is complete without a visit to the iconic Tate gallery overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The museum and gallery has undergone extensive renovation in recent years and now offers a state of the art space for art lovers to appreciate work by modern British artists with links to Cornwall.
Browse Many Galleries
St Ives has nurtured a real artistic community over the years and there’s a huge array of art galleries to explore during your visit. So, why not take a look at the artistic talent that the local area has to offer and maybe even come away with a print or two?
Great galleries include: Porthminster Gallery, Penwith Gallery, Waterside Gallery & The Whistlefish Gallery
Stroll Along the Beaches
Thanks to its irregular-shaped coastline, St Ives offers dozens of beaches to enjoy. Their Blue Flag beaches are some of the best for surfing and windsurfing in the country, while there are also quite sheltered inlets that are ideal for sunbathing and quiet strolls.