Hidden places and activities in St Ives

St Ives is a magical place to visit: It truly is. To round off our list of many things to do in the town, which are all within walking distance, here are more suggestions:

Stone Balancing – the preferred spot for stone balancing is on Lambeth Walk Beach and you can often see stone balancers at work, or the products of their skill. Stone balancing requires skill, knowledge and a touch of creativity and maybe even luck! But it is one thing to watch someone try to balance uneven shapes of rocks, try it for yourself to see how really difficult it is and you can appreciate the skill that has gone into the creations.

Fancy something a bit calmer? You can play pitch and putt golf on Beach Road which is near the wonderful Porthmeor Beach. And when you are done with golf, you might also want to try the bowling green there, or simply head for the beach and relax.

Speaking of relaxation, why not pamper yourself and go for a luxurious Spa treatment. The spas in St Ives and truly amazing and you will never have difficulty finding a place where you can relax. There are plenty to choose from. Try St Ives Harbour Hotel; you can also try The Sail Lofts. There are also two other amazing spas in Una Spa or Carbis Bay CBay Spa. Pick one, or try them all!

My parents used to say that a holiday is not a holiday without a cream tea and it was always a customary thing to head for a cafe and try one. They even rated their experiences from various towns. When they came to St Ives one of the suggested places for a cream tea was Olive’s but you can readily find a cafe which serves one they way you like it.

Keeping in line with St Ives’ reputation as a fun place for families, children, and a hive for the arts, The Wonderful Bear Emporium on Fore Street is a wonderful arts space for children where they can design and create their very own bear. Imagine all the different types of creations you can come up with! It is a good place for a rainy day activity and you can have hours of fun there.

Cornish pasties are the best in the world, but this is perhaps a slightly biased view. Nevertheless, they don’t come better than at the St Ives Bakery, who bake mouth-watering pasties. Their main competition is provided by others such as Ferrells and The Yellow Canary. You could try a few (or why not all?) so you could determine for yourself which is your personal favourite.

If sailing is one of your many talents you are welcome to come and sail with the St Ives Sailing Club if you are visiting. They are based at the back of The Sloop car park – look for the cabin and boat yard. And while you are in the area you can also visit The Sloop Studios where you can see the beautiful creations being made by the amazing craftsman and craftswomen.

The Sloop, along with The Castle and The Lifeboat, also organise live music events in the event so check out details of evening entertainment and have yourself a good night out!

At the top of The Stennack you will find The Roundhouse and from there you can visually locate Consols Pond. If you are ever in St Ives around the Easter period the pond is a nice place to visit as you can see children sailing their model boats there – a traditional custom. The river Stennack meanders down The Stennack and the houses along the way that you can see were from the days of tin-mining. The word Stennack has its origins in the Cornish word Stenek which means tin-bearing ground.

The Steeple Woods and Nature Reserve, located a short walk to Steeple Lane, meets every Wednesday morning to help maintain the reserve.  Gloves and tools that you need are cheerily provided, so if you are free to volunteer your time and efforts do pop by!

St Ives has more than just seagulls around its beaches. Take your binoculars or telescope to places such as Mann’s Head and The Island and observe other species such as cormorants. You can always find them having a quiet moment, drying their wings on the rocks.

A walk to Carbis Bayis best done with older children because it is not pram or wheelchair- friendly, but the lovely walk along the coast, which also takes you over the train line and finally venturing down into Carbis Bay has magnificent sights that make it well worth the effort; if you have exerted all of yours getting there and are too tired to walk back, the train ride back is always also available on the return trip.

While St Ives – being a seaside town – has mainly water sports, it’s not to say this is at the exclusion of other traditional sports. The local rugby team St Ives town RFC play matches when the season is in progress.

Tregenna Castle is a lovely place to visit if you can. Not only does it have an eighteen-hole par three golf course that non-residents can use, the walk there presents spectacular views of St Ives. The Tregenna Castle gardens and grounds cover seventy-two acres of beauty around St Ives, and what’s more, if you get in touch with the castle before you arrive it is possible for you to get guided tours.

While not being walking distance from St Ives, and hence not in line with the theme of things you can do in St Ives while walking, St Just and Lands End are a bus ride from St Ives. Or you may argue everything’s within walking distance, depending on how far you are willing to walk!

Also slightly further afield, you can try horse-riding at Halsetown (Penhalwyn School) which you can find on the road into St Ives. Shorter taster sessions are available, or if you are a seasoned pro at horse-riding you can book longer sessions to suit your level of skill and experience.

St Ives has many things for young and old, ranging from sea activities, walks, places to try new food and art and craft activities. A word of warning regarding the last group though – for younger children the art and craft activities should be approached as taster sessions, and children should manage their expectations, and not expect – if they are wholly beginners – to attain the same level of skill as the craftsmen who have been honing their skills for years. It takes practice, willingness and desire, tempered by time and expectation, in order to achieve a level of skill, and children should be guided to take the time to learn a skill properly, practice at it, and continually refine their abilities at it in order to improve. (You can read about an interesting article about learning the piano here.) You don’t get from A to Z immediately, and taking up a craft or skill is a good way of learning this life skill of patience!

So many things to do in St Ives – why not book a trip here when you next have a break? And while you’re thinking about it, consider staying with the Blue Mist. The three properties will suit you and you will definitely find one to suit your budget and expectations!

More places to explore in St Ives

Have you ever been to the Leach Pottery at the top of The Stennack in St Ives. It is a nice intimate space where you can take a workshop and learn to make your own pottery. You can also visit the museum itself and see a wide range of ceramics, see the kilns used to make the amazing creations, or simply browse around the shop.

The St Ives Parish Church by the harbour has regular services and concerts so if you pass by do have a look at notices to see what is going on. Perhaps in a nod to its nautical roots, the beautiful building inside is slightly reminiscent of the hull of a boat.

These are among some of the many things you can do if you visit St Ives. You need not come by car should you wish not to. St Ives is wonderfully served by a scenic train line, the attractions and amenities are all within walking distance, and you’ll find everything you need or weren’t able to bring in town. And if you leave the car at home, you’ll contribute towards maintaining it as a green space of natural beauty.

Many people come to St Ives for the seaside and beaches. Indoor work can be a bit too much at times so take a break and enjoy the outdoors with us. If you fancy kayakking, you can get in touch with the St Ives Surf School to book a kayak trip around the coast. Kayakking is only one of the things that the surf school does, but basically if it involves water, they are the first port of call! It is best to check with them beforehand though, in case certain weather prevents the running of some of the many activities they organise.

There is a farmers’ market every Thursday at St Ives Guildhall. St Ives Farmers’ Market offers local produce and you can find all sorts of condiments and treats that are distinctly St Ives-sian in nature to remind you of your time here when you sadly, eventually have to depart. Or you can simply get what you need for a picnic lunch.

The West side of Porthmeor has a little waterfall and little river that children can play in. It is possible that they could spend a whole summer playing in the water and it is a lovely vibrant place at times, with the sound of children going about their make-up adventures.

Or if you prefer a bit more running space for children, head for the Porthmeor Beach itself. You can sometimes see writers and artists going about their work there, the picturesque scene being source of inspiration.

Another quiet space you can visit is the Trewyn Tropical Gardens. The gardens offer you a little bit of peace and quiet and respite if you ever get overwhelmed by all the things St Ives has to offer!

Much has been written about St Ives historical links with art. The beauty of this town drew artists to the area in droves and to this day the reputation of the town as a center of art remains. There are also many courses in various specialisms of art that you can participate in. If you head down to Porthmeor Studios, you can take part in Life Drawing classes every week. The Cafe Art in Royal Square is a fusion of an art gallery with a cafe. Enjoy the works of art along with your caffeine fix!

At 54 Lemons, you can create your own distinctive paint pot. You can start by choosing a blank shape from the many on offer and paint it up. You can then leave it with the staff for firing and then collect it at the end of your holiday. It is a lovely craft for little ones to do. If you ever drop by with children, you can also enjoy their lovely coffee and cake while the little people paint away!

I Should Coco on Fore Street is also an amazing shop where you can participate in chocolate making workshops! It is a good place for little ones to come up with amazing creations, and for those who wish to just cut to the chase, the delicious chocolates on sale are always waiting!

If you are into history, you can search for the oldest house in town on Fish Street and see if housing and construction styles have changed over the years.

The Sloop is the oldest public house in town, with a life dating back to 1312! Wonder if there any spooks around?

If you hang around the harbour and pier, you should be able to spot a few seals. The seals are pretty smart and have cottoned on to the fact that when the fishing boats come in, they may be lucky to get an odd scrap of a meal. St Ives does attract really brilliant animals to its shores. You may be lucky and see sunfish, dolphins and if you have binoculars or head to the tower, look out for whales!

Speaking of lookout, St Nicholas Chapel on The Island, the promontory that juts out into the sea – used to be used by smugglers as a lookout. Its ideal site and the view it offered gave a brilliant vantage point. Nowadays it lends its scenic backdrop for wedding blessings.

St Leonards Chapel on Smeaton’s Pier was historically a chapel where luck and good weather were sought by local fishermen before they embarked on their fishing trips.

If you are into more scenic spots, the headland on the far side of Porthmeor Beachs, also known as Man’s Head, is just the spot for a scenic walk.

Further inland, the St Ives Tennis Club is a brilliant flexible club that lets you “pay and play”, rather than make you take up the cost of membership that you are unlikely to need if you are just on holiday. The club has 2 tennis courts which are located behind Porthminster Beach.

The places we have recommended are all within walking distance of the town of St Ives. One of the attractions of St Ives is that it has a high density of amenities and attractions in the town, such that you can pretty much get around on foot once you are here. The town is actually named after St Ia and every February there is a Feast Day parade. If you are feeling adventurous, go hunting for the well of St Ia, or St Ia’s well – see how the town name is derived?

The town’s proximity to the coast means that it has always been a family favourite destination. There are no shortage of places for kids to play.

Ayr Field and Play Park has a huge climbing frame, slide, and bucket swing, so your kids can play in a easily-monitored area, but if they fancy football or just running around, there is a big field for ball games, scooting, and cycling. Younger kids may find the park at Penbeagle Hill more suitable with its baby swings. Behind the Penbeagle Hill park is a big field for ball games and also a skate park, so they can romp around with their rollerblades, scooters or bicycles.

St Ives is really one of the perfect holiday destinations and the town has regularly won various national awards to back that up. So come on down to enjoy a holiday you will remember! And if you need a place to stay, why not consider staying with Blue Mist?

The Blue Mist Cottage comfortably houses a party of eight at The Warren, and the beach is literally minutes away.

If you are coming in a slightly smaller group, try the Blue Mist apartment, which is set over two floors and sleeps six.

The Blue Mist studio sleeps two and provides an quiet, intimate space from which to explore the town.

All Blue Mist properties offer a high degree of comfort for the best value. Get in touch to kick off your St Ives holiday tour – it will be one to remember!