St Ives A Cornish Riviera
I moved to St Ives 17 years ago from the northwest of the UK. You could say i know the town very well. When i was 13 , we used to holiday here, camping in Polmanter camp site, which suited us just fine. We enjoyed as children building these fab stone formations, playing in the parks, swimming in the sea and of course heading down to the shops to satisfy our bellies with ice cream!
St Ives has always been a popular holiday town, that brings people back year after year for many different reasons. Each year, St Ives brings thousands of visitors, each loving the sea, pasties and in general, the laid back lifestyle you may not get elsewhere.
As a holiday town, your able to get your hands on all of the named beach wear and body boards such as Roxy, O Neil and Billabong.
Since we arrived in 2001, the town has changed quite a lot. There has been many restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops pop up, all offering what we would want when on holiday.
In the town, you can grab yourself many treats that will leave you wanting more like, Cream Teas, Fudge, Ice Cream and Pasties, there are shops on every corner. The town has so many places to choose from when you want to dine out or just snack, its all at your fingertips.
Dine Out or Snack
One of our favourites is the Alba Restaurant, the food is adorable with many varieties to choose from and the cocktails are extremely tasty, you will definitely want to try the Cherry Bakewell!
Another is the Firehouse on Fore Street, It has a friendly menu that offers a child’s menu as well. The drinks menu is very large as they have a Gin Bar as well as a restaurant, so if your into gin, this is your place.
If your into a little Thai food, then get yourself to the newly opened Talay, situated on the harbour front, upstairs, where you will find adequate seating with a fantastic view. This restaurant actually has real Thai chefs, its got to be one of the best restaurants St Ives has seen. The food is very reasonably priced, with a menu that would satisfy just about anyone.
You can choose from soft drinks if preferred or some Thai larger, Chang or Singha. The cocktail we loved were Coco Coco, which has coconut rum with fresh lemongrass, its probably the best we have had since we left Thailand.
Fore Street has many other restaurants to choose from as well as bars ans smaller cafes, your not short of somewhere to enjoy some good food and drinks with some relaxation time.
St Ives beaches are known to be some of the best in the UK. People come from as far as America to see St Ives and the beaches it has to offer. Porthmeor, being number one we think, is long with a beach bar and restaurant, the view is amazing when the sun is setting and the evening is drawing in.
The beach is great for surfers of all ages, they have a surf school in case your up for some surf lessons whilst on holiday, and a lifeguard that patrols the beach daily in summer.
Around St Ives there are other beaches like, Porthgwidden, Harbour Beach and Babalu Beach, each very clean and welcoming with plenty of space to chill out and watch the kids or dogs enjoy themselves.
Dogs are allowed on the beaches in St Ives from October to late March, but are allowed on Babalu beach all year round.
Porthgwidden beach cafe is situated right on the beach, so if you fancy a little snack with a cuppa, then its perfect! The views are amazing, you could really be anywhere in the world with the look of this beach in summer.
From Porthgwidden beach, if you look across the water into the distance you can see the long stretch of sand on Gwithian. That beach is also beautiful and one of our favourites. It goes on for miles and miles, and is particularly quiet considering how lovely it is. If you fancy a visit to that beach its easy to get too and can be accessed by the bypass up to Lidl, its literally up behind Lidl, for another 8 miles and up past St Ives Holiday Park.
St Ives History
Many years ago St. Ives began as a small fishing settlement during prehistoric times. From the Middle Ages on, St. Ives grew into a bustling fishing port, and still is today in summer months.
The town has prospered and, in the 13th century, St. Ives was granted a Charter by King Edward I. In 1434, the Parish Church of St. Eia was consecrated, an event that is still commemorated today with annual Feast Day activities, where children join in of the throwing of the silver ball.
There are several traditions that take place during St Ives Feast day. During the St Ives Well procession, school children of all ages and the Mayor of St Ives process from the Guildhall to St Ia’s Well at Porthmeor for a service of thanksgiving, anyone can join in with this event.
This is then followed by one of the three remaining hurling games that take place in Cornwall. Hurling is like a huge game of rugby, played with a wooden ball that is completely covered in silver.
If you are not in St Ives at that time or you just don`t fancy it then visit the St Ives Museum and learn about the history of the lifeboat and the development of the town as an important fishing port. Along the coast, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geevor Tin Mine is a museum and heritage centre that celebrates one of the great working tin mines of Cornwall’s prosperous past.
Explore its underground tunnels buried deep within the hard granite to hide telegraphy equipment during WWII.
Land End Day Out
Lands End is free to enter, you have many shops to choose from, a 4D Cinema for the kids and the adults, cliff tops with fantastic views, cafes and a RNLI static helicopter, where you can have pictures taken for your special memories. They also have some tasty ice cream parlours that offer that creamy Cornish taste like no other.
There are many buses that go to Lands End from St Ives, from the Malakoff Bus Station.
Flambards Amusement Park
Situated in Helston, Flambards offer rides for all ages with a Britain in the Blitz walk through experience with full size Victorian villages, we recommend this, its brilliant. You have many food outlets to choose from, and if the sun is out, outside seating as well.
The rides are suited to all ages, for you adventure junkies, try out the Sky Force or the Sky Swinger, it will get your heart pumping for sure. But, if like me you like something a little gentler, check out the Dino Express or the Carousel, the youngsters love it.
You can buy family tickets when entering, the cost is £ 68.22 for 2 adults and 2 children. If your paying individually it is £19.76 each for adults and £14.36 for children. The price changes at different times of the year, so its best to check before going.
The Tate Gallery
The Tate is recognised as one of the best Art Exhibitions in the UK. It has just undergone a huge expansion, now giving lots more room for more art to be displayed from local artists of St Ives and around the world.
One of the events is Nashashibi / Skaer thinking through other artists. Travel to Gauguin’s Tahiti and beyond through the work of two leading British artists
In the Tate, there is a small cafe, plus a terrace on the rooftop where you can sit and enjoy a drink whist watching the sunset over Porthmeor Beach.
To enter the Tate there is a small entry fee. If your a members you will go in for free. So, why not get signed up then you wont have to keep paying every year you re-visit.
Here we have an extremely fun and interesting animal park. Paradise Park has welcomed families for years now, they offer a fab day out for all of the family.
The cost on entry isn’t that bad at all and you can if you prefer buy an annual pass making it easier and cheaper when you visit again.
Admission prices can vary depending on time of year. Winter prices from 26th March to 28th October 2018 for adults is £15.45 and children 3 to 15 years is £11.95 and under 3 go FREE!
They are open all year, except on Christmas Day, and offer free parking. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
In the park you will be able to see all kinds of animals from Penguins to Eagles. The kids love the feeding times with the penguins, they can sometimes feed them as well.
There is also a Jungle Barn for kids to get rid of built up energy, let them run free through the cushioned obstacles and then slide down the vertical death drop slides that will take there breath away.
St Ives September Festival
Since i can remember St Ives holds a September Festival every year. They fill the Guildhall, bars, streets and shops with information on the planned program months before it starts. Once its arrives, the town fills up pretty quickly with holidaymakers and locals, all seeking entertainment.
The Guildhall in St Ives holds many events throughout the entire month, one of which offers Celtic music. A little further up the road you will find lively Jazz bands playing in the Western Hotel until late. Also, keep an eye out for Poetry sessions in Norway Square, singers and art exhibitions all showing off there beautiful creations.
As you walk around the town you will notice it is filled with the welcoming aroma of delightful dishes from each of the restaurants, all with a unique menu, offering tasty foods, try a few out, you wont be disappointed.
The start of the festival is around about the 8th until the 22nd of September. Be sure to visit, then you wont miss out on a thing.
Whilst living in St Ives for 17 years, you could we have enjoyed all of the above. The summers there are quite reasonable, and can average between 18 and 25 Celsius, so not bad at all really, your still going to get a tan.
Some years the summer will continue on into October, where sunny skies and chillier days are a delight. After summer is over, winter in St Ives is very quiet, so if you want to enjoy empty streets, then this is your place, some restaurants and bars will be open but not all.
Christmas in St Ives is again pretty, lights and Christmas spirit ooze out of every corner. The town sees again hundreds of visitors, which in turn brings a nice income for small businesses, and brings about that spirit long needed after a few quiet months.
Hotels Or B&Bs
St Ives is full of hotels of all kinds. You can either go all out and stay at Tregenna Castle, that goes back years in history and offers more than just a stop over. They have a indoor swimming pool, a sauna, steam room and a gym if you fancy a work out. The castle is situated a little out of town, so a taxi will be needed.
Another is the Western Hotel, its location is ideal, it sits right next to the taxi rank, and for convenience, just in front of local shops. It has up to date rooms and a restaurant with great service. The Western has accommodated hundreds of guests over the years, especially on New Years Eve where St Ives is packed with visitors from all over the world.
If your after a B&B you have many to choose from. There dotted all around St Ives, some run along the back road to Porthmeor beach such as the Sail Lofts, which are extremely popular, and others are hidden around cosy cobbled street corners, all ready to offer a great stay.
Are you ready to book your stay in St Ives? We enjoyed our years in this small yet bustling town, we have since, moved on and flown the nest of St Ives all the way to the Canary Islands, where we now have found towns just a sweet as the one we left behind.
We hope we have given you some helpful information on St Ives, if you have any questions, then please do let us know, were happy to help!