10 reasons you should visit St Ives (Part 1)

St Ives has a tug on my heartstrings like almost nowhere else on planet Earth. It was the stuff of my childhood summer holidays, finishing school, piling into an overfilled car and driving for hours in what seemed like never ending rain until we touched down in St Ives, where the sun shone and the sea sparkled. It felt like we had travelled to the end of the world and whilst this may not be geographically accurate, Cornwall sits at the furthest flung south-western corner of England, bordered on three sides by sea and attached to the mainland via its neighbouring county, Devon. Yet something happens when you cross the River Tamar and leave Devon behind in the rear view mirror. Cornwall has its own culture, language, flag and unique charm, the stuff of pixies, smugglers and ghosts. It feels like venturing into a different country. And one I love dearly…

It’s hardly surprising then that I have made several trips to Cornwall in my adult life. It pulls me back on a regular basis and I’m happy to say that I still feel the warmth and the charm of this magical land. St Ives is ideally situated for exploring Cornwall’s Atlantic coast. Its location in the far west of Cornwall makes for a longer journey to get here, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s the first five of my 10 reasons to pack your bag and make that trip to St Ives:

1 The Beaches

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Carbis Bay from the South West Coast Path

St Ives is about as well endowed as a place can be for stunning beaches. Within a short walk of the centre of town you can be on the long golden strands of Porthmeor or Porthminster beaches. Porthminster is ideal if you have young children as it’s slightly more sheltered than Porthmeor, which faces out into the Atlantic and attracts surfers with its larger waves. Porthgwidden is a smaller cove with a more intimate setting, whilst the harbour beach is ideal for nipping across the road for a quick pasty/ice cream/cream tea (delete as appropriate)! Just along the coast a couple of miles is the stunning Carbis Bay. Well worth a visit, parking is a nightmare so take the train from St Ives.

2 Coastal Walks

DSCN3676If you love walking then St Ives has some fantastic options. It is situated on the South West Coast Path and from St Ives you can walk east or west along this dramatic stretch of coastline. East takes you towards Carbis Bay, a lovely 1.5 mile walk which criss-crosses the train line and offers a large part of the walk under the shelter of a canopy of trees. Perfect on a hot summer day. Walk west for a much more demanding hike to the small and enchanted hamlet of Zennor. This walk traverses the cliff tops and offers stunning views back to St Ives, but is not for the unfit or the faint-hearted!

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The South West Coast Path looking west towards Zennor

3 The Eateries

For such a small place, St Ives is jam packed with magnificent cafes, tea rooms, restaurants and delis. If you like fish then you will find numerous places in town to satisfy your craving for the freshest catch straight out of the ocean. The Seafood Café in Fore St serves various catches of the day. You can select the type of fish and customise the rest of your dish from a range of sauces, potatoes and other accompaniments. But St Ives is about more than seafood. One of my favourite haunts is Blas Burgerworks in the Warren. It’s a lively and upbeat indie with great options for vegans, veggies and meat lovers alike. The vibe is communal with a huge table and the staff are excellent too. If you like your treats to be sweet, then don’t miss Olive’s café on Island Road. The cakes are divine!

4 Cream Teas, Pasties & Ice Cream

St Ives is a disaster if you are watching what you eat. But who comes on holiday to do that?? The local specialities in Cornwall are comfort food staples. The aforementioned Olive’s serves up the best cream tea I have ever tasted. And in this part of the world it’s jam first, then cream. Sorry if you’re from Devon, but I’m with the Corns on this!

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Numerous Cornish Pasty shops populate the town, but for a really authentic offering then head to Pengenna Pasties on the High St. The Yellow Canary on Fore Street also has delicious pasties (the Spinach and Ricotta is a dream). It also serves great coffee. And who can resist an ice cream when by the sea? There are plenty of places to satisfy this particular craving but my tip is the Moomaid of Zennor, who make their ice cream about 6 miles away in a variety of beautiful creamy flavours. As with all snacks in St Ives, guard them carefully from the highly evolved dive-bombing local seagulls. I stood open mouthed as a man lost his pasty from right out of his hand on the seafront. Much foot stamping and fist shaking followed!

5 The Vibe

In St Ives the laid back vibe is king. It’s something in the air which enchants and captivates. Maybe it’s to do with the endless lap of the waves on all sides of the peninsula on which St Ives sits. Certainly the dominant blue skies and sunshine against the golden sands help. There’s also a strong artistic community here. St Ives has always attracted painters and sculptors to capture the unique light here. There are numerous small galleries dotted about alongside a couple of big hitters (The Tate has a gallery here). My favourite is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy the sculptures out in the gardens. If you fancy learning to paint yourself, then there are numerous art classes available to book. There’s no shortage of surf schools either, so if you’ve always wanted to catch your first tube you can learn to do that too.

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Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden

So there’s five reasons to get packing your bags and head off to the south west tip of England to discover beautiful St Ives. If any further persuasion may be required then in my next post I’ll give you five more reasons why St Ives rocks as a must-see destination!

Read part 2 here.

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33 thoughts on “10 reasons you should visit St Ives (Part 1)

  1. I could see how this place is like a haven from the rest of the world. The nice beaches, the walks, and the FOOD! WOW, that dessert looks delicious. I must visit now to take that recipe from whatever restaurant its from and eat it in pure bliss. I think this is what would make me a pirate. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the lovely comments. Haven is the perfect word to describe St Ives.

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  2. Awesome post. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. Haven’t been to South-West England before, nor does it get much travel exposure so it’s good to see. Looking forward to next post 🙂

    Johnny | The Travel Connoisseur

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments. Cornwall is stunningly beautiful and well worth the travel time!

      Like

  4. My co worker always goes on holiday here!
    It looks a beautiful place ❤️
    Great post, you’ve deffo sold it to me!

    Luke |Luke Heywood Style

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good choice by your co worker 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. okay so that beach looks absolutely beautiful!!! and just when I thought the first picture was beautiful!! I love walking espically if the views are amazing and that picture…WOW! That strawberry scone has made me want one…really bad.St Ives looks really beautiful, I have wanted to go to Cornwall for a while now and after reading this I think St Ives is the place. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! You will love St Ives if you go, ah the beaches, the walks… wish I was there right now…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. St Ives is special for me too for the same reasons 🙂 we visited a lot when I was little & it really is stunning, exactly the way you described! The beaches are wonderful & there is such a beautiful vibe too. Amazing little place 🙂 x x
    Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, glad you get the vibe! It’s such a special place 😊 x

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  7. Wow what an amazing place I was dribbling when I saw the cream tea. I have to say I didn’t think I had visited when I read your post but, looking at the photos I think I may have as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I could have one of those cream teas right now 😍 Hope you get to return some day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sunshinesarahxo June 28, 2018 — 6:05 pm

    Hello!!!
    Wow!! St Ives looks beautiful & definitely like somewhere I need to visit if only for the food! Haha! But then I can work that off doing those fabulous coast walks ay?!
    Thanks so much for writing this post! 😍😍
    Xoxo Sarah – http://www.sunshinesarahxo.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s the great thing… indulge, then work it all off on long walks and swims in the beautiful ocean! Really glad you enjoyed it x

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  9. The photos of the beach look so breathtaking and the water looks so clear! That’s great that there’s a boardwalk/walking area, must be great to overlook the water and for great views for hiking – definitely would make a climb worth it with those views!

    Cafes! I essentially live in cafes hahaha – local ones are always the best ones to hop into rather than say Starbucks, just more of a home-y feel when you go to a local one if that makes sense!

    The dessert looks delicious! Probably a treat I’d eat after running a 5K haha! It must be an amazing view for painters and artists to sketch/take photos of – I’m not much of a painter but if I had that view I’d try my hand at attempting to get it on a canvas just right!

    If I ever find myself in England – definitely going to head to St. Ives!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments. If I’ve convinced you to visit St Ives then that’s good enough for me! 😊

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  10. I adore Cornwall, I used to go all the time when I was younger and I miss it! You can’t beat it anywhere else in England when it comes to the beaches and the cream teas (that one in your photo has made me hungry!) Thanks for the great post, I always enjoy reading about people enjoying UK holiday spots as I love them too!

    Vicki | http://www.missviclb.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much! I’m glad to hear that others love it too. It’s such a special place 😊

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  11. Oh my! That cream tea looks absolutely delicious! I love Cornwall and have so many fond memories holidaying there as a child. I’d love to visit again and St Ives looks perfect! Your photography is stunning. Thank you for sharing 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I love taking photos and St Ives is such a willing muse. The cream tea was divine, that will keep me returning. Hope you get to return xx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the UK without a doubt, I love Cornwall. I agree with you on the scone too, its GOT to be jam first haha!
    Sophie – https://sophiehearts.net x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you agree on that! Thanks for stopping by x

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  13. I’ve never been to St Ives but it looks beautiful, it’s hard to believe that’s the UK looking at those gorgeous photos! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree! When the sun shines in St Ives it’s so beautiful. In my next post I’ll be including photos of when the weather is dull – really dramatic!

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  14. St. Ives looks like a gorgeous place! I am already bought with the beaches. Looks very relaxing and not crowded at all! Oooh, I’d appreciate the eateries, always. It’s great that there are so much mom and pop shops around. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The beaches are gorgeous! They can get crowded in the school summer holiday but there are numerous places in West Cornwall to get away from the crowds 😉

      Like

  15. Oh my goodness that scone in the picture looks amazing!!! I’ve never actually been to St. Ives, but I would definitely like to (not just because of the food but that helped convincing me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, the food helps, as do those beaches!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I never thought that England has such fascinating places. I mean I know it is a beautiful country but St.Ives is beyond amazing. I loved Carbis Bay and The South West Coast Path. So beautiful and peaceful. Thanks for sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Cornwall is a very special county and well worth a visit! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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