There is an abundance of things you can do at St Ives, making it an ideal location for holidaying. Even if you do not drive, the train line with a magnificent coastal view that takes you right to the heart of things ensures you won’t miss out on the many things that makes this seaside town one of the best places to visit. In fact, once you get here, you may find it difficult or unnecessary to leave town. Here is a list of some things you could do, easily accessible without having to drive anywhere.
1. Try surfing. Many people come to St Ives for the surfing. You don’t need to buy new surfing gear if you are thinking of trying it out as a one-off. The St Ives Surf School on Porthmeor Beach offers surfing lessons and you can rent your surfing gear from term too. Ring them on 01736 793938 for more information.
2. Swimming. If there is the odd shower, swimming is an indoor activity you can do whilst you are here. There are several swimming pools you can go to in St Ives. The St Ives Leisure Centre has both a big swimming pool and a smaller one for younger children. The latter pool has a slide which they will enjoy whizzing down. There are also other pools at The Garrack, St Ives Harbour Hotel and Tregenna Castle which you can use too. And if you are feeling adventurous, head for the sea! Porthminster Beach is quite calm and more suited for swimming, but whenever you are swimming in the sea, do exercise some caution as the tides can come in quite quickly.
3. Rockpooling – playing in the sea is not just limited to activities like swimming. Have a sniff around in rockpools and see what treasures you can find. At low tide, you can find some rock pools around Porthmeor Beach.
4. Crabbing – for something a bit more sedate, purchase a crab line, a bucket, net and some bait and head off to the old pier behind Smeaton’s Pier. Get your crab line set up, take in the atmosphere or simply catch up with some holiday reading, and see what awaits you after a short while!
5. Fishing – fishing is permitted off the rocks around St Ives. The late winter to spring period usually sees plenty of mackerel around, so grab your rod and line!
6. Tate St Ives – one of only four Tates in the world, this famous art gallery reopens in October 2017 with a new extension to complement its existing collection that commemorates St Ives’ place as a meeting point of art, maritime activities and architecture.
7. The Barbara Hepworth Museum is worth a little exploration if you ever come down to St Ives. The museum and tranquil gardens which are set right in the heart of St Ives contain beautiful sculptures for you to appreciate. There are also other Barbara Hepworth sculptures around town so look out for them!
8. Boat Trips – returning back to the sea, if crabbing is not something for you, you can go on a boat trip. Book at the harbour – and try your luck at sea fishing! Alternatively, you can take the boat to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for many a writer and artist, or head for Seal Island to see them frolicking around!
A coastal walk is a very romantic thing to do at night with your loved one. The lighthouse, with its searchlight projecting into the distance, surrounded by the quiet crash of waves, is quite reminiscent of being at the theatre or the early days of the silent movie. But gentlemen take note – as the waves crash to the shore and you hold the hand of your beloved one, the lighthouse is a strong visual reminder that you will always be the shining light for your significant other. How romantic!
9. Porthmeor Beach is arguably the best surfing beach found in St Ives. In addition, it has the most rugged coast line in St Ives. A walk along the beach will give you magnificent views of the area; don’t forget your camera!
10. On another rainy day you can source for local books at St Ives Bookseller, which you can find on Fore Street. There you can locate an extensive range of books both for children and adults alike. Local books and maps can also be found here, if you are interested in learning more about the area. The St Ives Library is also an alternative literary haunt for its range of local history books and art work. The area specially dedicated children’s area has books and colouring to keep younger readers entertained while older siblings browse.
11. The Island – despite what the name suggests, the Island isn’t actually an island. It is actually a promontory. This is another lovely place for an evening walk and to recline on one of the benches that line the way, to enjoy the amazing views.
12. Porthgwidden Beach – this beach is one that is suitable for families. The lovely expanse of sand gives the children a gorgeous sandy beach to play on, and the beach is sheltered and hence the waves that crash against the shore are not as large as the ones found on other beaches.
13. St Ives Museum occupies what was formerly the site of the Wheal Dream mine. It is a source of fascinating information about St Ives, and how it has developed over the centuries.
14. Smeaton’s Pier and Lighthouse remains a working pier and so if you are walking around having a look do be mindful of the fishermen who are working there, and also of the equipment lying around.
15. When the tide is out at St Ives Harbour, you can walking along the wet sand and right up to the end of the pier to get close to the moored boats.
16. St Ives has a rich history of arts and crafts do why not pick up a new skill while you’re here? At the Barnoon Workshop, you can choose from and sign up for a huge range of art and craft workshops, for all abilities and age groups.
17. From your little screen to the big screen – go to the cinema! St Ives’ cinema shows the latest releases so I’d you are a movie fanatic you won’t have to miss out while you are away. If you prefer live performances, check out the St Ives theatre for the latest shows!
There are so many things to do in St Ives, this list hardly covers them all – check back later for more things to do while you are here. There will no time for an idle moment, and best of all, all these places are easily reached on foot, so you can maximise the time you have here!