The 7 best things to do in St Ives

I t’s not long now until Cornwall hosts world leaders at the 2021 G7 summit. They’ve certainly chosen a special location.

St Ives is a popular choice for those visiting Cornwall, discover the must-see's to plan your trip around.

Carbis Bay and nearby St Ives lie in a cherished corner of the county that’s peppered by golden beaches, turquoise bathing waters, and an abundance of attractions.

The summit has brought the area to the attention of eyes all over the world, with many anticipating a tourism boom in the months and years that follow. If the dazzling footage of Cornwall captures your heart (and why wouldn’t it?), then chances are you’re already packing your bags and compiling a checklist of things to see and do while on holiday. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to the best things to do in St Ives.

Surf and SUP in the Bay

There are few places better for carving up Cornish waves than Porthmeor Beach. This lengthy stretch of coast lies wide open to the power of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in impressive surfing conditions that attract people of all abilities far and wide. St Ives Surf School is perfect for beginners seeking to get involved in the scene for the first time, with equipment hire available. For a gentler pace, glide across Porthminster Bay on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak.

Visit Beautiful Art Galleries

For generations, artists and photographers from across the globe have tried their hand at capturing the exquisite natural beauty of St Ives. You can admire the fruits of their craft throughout the town, which forms a quaint patchwork of art galleries of all sizes. A trip to Tate St Ives is essential; the landmark building itself is a creative marvel that looks proudly out across Porthmeor Beach. The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is another highlight.

Walk from St Ives to Zennor

St Ives to Zennor is one of the finest coastal walks in the South West. Follow the winding clifftops from Porthmeor Beach and chart your way past secluded coves where waters frequently glisten turquoise-green. This wild and rugged stretch is a haven for wildlife. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for sunbathing seals, dancing dolphins, and elegant seabirds. Zennor itself is a charming seaside village steeped in myth and legend. You’ll find a historic pub and cafes to refuel at before trekking back.

Go On a Sea Fishing Trip

Boats from the harbour embark on a variety of scenic fishing tours throughout the day. The likes of mackerel and bass are commonly caught on shorter cruises, but you can put your skills to the test at hauling larger species on lengthier expeditions. Equipment is provided and you get to keep what you catch, providing it measures within legal limits. What better way to end a successful trip than by tucking into your catch of the day?

Discover Your Favourite Beach

St Ives has a stretch of sand for every occasion, so why not get to know them all and try and pick a favourite? We say ‘try’ because it’s near impossible to choose just one! Porthminster will transport you to an almost tropical paradise with its long, soothing shoreline and sapphire-emerald sea. Soak up the bustling maritime activity on Harbour Beach while tucking into a pasty or takeaway fish and chips - just keep an eye out for wily seagulls! Porthgwidden is a sheltered suntrap that’s popular with families, while the aforementioned Porthmeor is a surfing idyll.

Indulge in Food with a View

The town is home to an impressive collection of restaurants, bars, and cafes that showcase delectable local produce and menus inspired by world cuisines. There are plenty of tasty takeaways too, serving everything from handmade fudge to ice cream and all-important pasties. It’s a challenge to make it from one side of St Ives to the other without being tempted by a morsel or two along the way. Keep your diary free for St Ives Food and Drink Festival; a highlight in Cornwall’s culinary calendar that welcomes celebrity chefs, local stalls, and live music.

Take a Scenic Train Ride

The railway line connecting St Ives and St Erth is renowned for being among the country’s most breathtaking. While the journey clocks in at a mere 10 minutes one-way, the line is a bona fide St Ives attraction that’s well worth checking out. From St Erth, the carriage passes the spectacular sand dunes of Hayle Towans Beach and Carbis Bay Beach before arriving at St Ives Railway Station, which is attractively perched above Porthminster Beach. Trains typically run two per hour, seven days a week.

Where to stay in St Ives

We have two spectacular managed houses right in the heart of St Ives. The Pedn Olva sits above 30ft-high granite rock and boasts luxury hotel bedrooms with sea views over one of the town’s finest beaches, while the Lifeboat Inn takes a front seat to the iconic harbour with comfy rooms and self-catering accommodation. Even if you just fancy popping in for a meal and a pint of one of our award-winning beers, we look forward to welcoming you.

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