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About St. Ives
St Ives, located on the north coast of Cornwall, is home to Tate St Ives, the second Tate opened outside London. It is also home to some of the most perfect seaside experiences Britain can offer. The best places to stay in St Ives all boast lovely views and bags of atmosphere. Often voted the best UK seaside town (impressive in a crowded market), it has retained most of the historical buildings and detail from its time as a busy fishing port without succumbing to slot machines on the seafront.
The Tate is a big draw. Converted from a former gasworks next to Porthmeor Beach, it houses the work of modern British artists. Before that, many people came just for the beaches. There are four glorious beaches in St Ives: Porthmeor, Porthgwidden, Porthminster and Harbour Beach, with Carbis Bay a mile around the headland or a half hour walk along the coastal path.
St. Ives is also known for the charm of its bijou boutiques as well as galleries, buzzy cafes and restaurants with impressive water views.
The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is another attraction, housed in the artist's former house and studio on Barnoon Hill, a ten-minute walk from the Tate.
It's not all about art here, from the best places to stay in St. Ives you can also witness the famous gig racing. A gig is a 32 foot long clinker-built rowing boat seating six rowers and a cox, and they were originally used to take pilots out to sailing ships as they approached the Isles of Scilly or Cornish coast. The first pilot aboard the sailing ship got the job, so gig racing is an ancient local tradition.
What Not To Miss
- Families should definitely spend a day at The Flambards Experience amusement park - complete with thrill rides, a Victorian Village and children's play area. A fun-filled day out.
- Head over to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and check out their fascinating variety of exhibitions, including one on British tattoo art and another on Captain Bligh.
- Mên-an-Tol, known locally as the "Crick stone", is an iconic formation of standing stones thought to date back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.
- The 22-acre Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens features a range of modern art installations, surrounded by plant-filled gardens and with fantastic views of the bay. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Don't forget that if you plan to visit the town during the peak summer months (or half terms), you'll need to be organised and book well ahead. The best places to stay in St Ives can be very difficult to reserve!
The Best Places to Stay in St. Ives
- The deliciously tranquil six room Blue Hayes Hotel is a discreetly glamorous proposition, perched above the bay with its terraces and balconies looking out to sea.
- The Boskerris is another hotel with a wonderful sun terrace. The fifteen rooms are modern but natural, and the whole place has a Mediterranean feel with the palm trees outside! The lighthouse which inspired Virginia Woolf to write "To the Lighthouse" can be glimpsed as you sip a cold glass of wine.
- West by Five has stylish themed rooms and, more importantly, stunning sea views. You're walking distance from all the highlights, and many excellent restaurants, so this is perfect spot if you can only spare a weekend in St. Ives.
- Book Trevose Harbour House for a gorgeous nautically themed B&B. Six individually designed bedrooms simply ooze style, and with no kids allowed under 14, it's the ideal adult retreat.
- The boutique 3 Porthminster is located a short distance from the beach, perfect for long romantic walks along the coast. What's more, it boasts a lovely quiet atmosphere and is a mere stone's throw away from the town's top spots.
For a holiday cottage
- If you're travelling in a larger family group or with friends, you might prefer to opt for self catering accommodation. We recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com for a wide choice.
- St Ives is a busy destination year round, but is hottest in July and August, with daily temperatures averaging 15°C and the sea averaging 17°C - so it's not exactly stifling, but is perfectly pleasant.
- Visitors from the UK can take a train to St Ives, 5 hours 50 minutes away from London Paddington and requiring just one change.
- Alternatively, if you're coming from further afield you can fly into Cornwall Airport Newquay which serves a number of domestic routes (such as Edinburgh, Scilly, Manchester, Doncaster Sheffield and Birmingham). The airport's located about 50 minutes away from St Ives itself.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in St. Ives
West by Five 4 rooms from $78St. Ives (St Ives)
A contemporary chic guesthouse on the Cornish coast. Stylish beach themed rooms have large bathrooms and stunning sea views. Fabulous hearty breakfasts in a lovely breakfast room. Walking distance to restaurants, the beach, harbour and museums. A great choice for a weekend by the sea.Country Escape - Tranquil seaside town of St Ives, yet with plenty of sites on the doorstep. Fresh seafood, surfing, walks and pubs of CornwallGreat walks - Porthminster Beach, up on to the coastal path to Carbis Bay or LelantSights nearby - The harbour of St IvesSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
3 Porthminster 4 rooms from $98St. Ives (West Cornwall)
3 Porthminster is situated in the town of St Ives, just a short distance from the beach. This property offers four boutique rooms decorated with plenty of light hues (whites, blues and yellows) mimicking the coastal surroundings. Enjoy a splendid breakfast each morning! An intimate coastal retreat.Local exploring - 3 Porthminster is a fantastic base from which to get to kow St Ives, one of Cornwall's most famous spotsSights nearby - Be sure to go visit St Michael's Mount as well as Land's End!Great walks - Wander along the coast revelling in its natural beautySurfing - Head out to sea and spend an afternoon surfing
Boskerris Hotel 15 rooms from $195St. Ives (West Cornwall)
A sophisticated seaside hotel, the ideal place to relax and take in the sea air. Light, airy contemporary decor with a Mediterranean feel. Afternoon tea is served on the decked terrace, where you can enjoy spectacular views across St Ives Bay.Views - Wide coastal views from most roomsSit-out Terrace - Coastal views are beautifulSights nearby - Tate St Ives within walking distanceRomantic - A tranquil retreat for couplesRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Trevose Harbour House 6 rooms from $215St. Ives (West Cornwall)
As refreshing as the Cornish coastline you can see from your window this nautical inspired B&B is simply stunning. Six individually designed bedrooms ooze style with colour palettes to match the sky and surf of St Ives. The downstairs snug offers an honesty bar & breakfast is totally organic.Sights nearby - For art lovers the Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden are worth a visit.Sailing - Take a boat trip to Seal Island where you can spot seals, dolphins and much more.Great walks - To the Lizard Peninsula and the Kynance Cove makes for an excellent day out.Surfing - Nearby Porthmeor Beach is where surfers go to hang ten.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Blue Hayes 6 rooms from $247St. Ives (West Cornwall)
Glamourous and discreet 5 room boutique hotel in buzzy St Ives. A tranquil spot with sweeping views. Large airy rooms and suites with neutral tones and splashes or pastel colours. Informal dining based on Cornish produce. Excellent and personal service. Perfectly achieved laid backed luxury.Exclusive offerHideaway - A real jem that is almost impossible to leave, with friendly and welcoming staff, cosy rooms, great views and spectacular food.Sights nearby - Tate St Ives Modern art museum is a brisk 20 minute walk away.Great walks - Walk from St Ives around the stunning rugged coast to Zennor.Restrictions on children - No children under the age of 10Recommended by - Frommers, Sawdays