This once quaint fishing village, famous for pilchards, is now an all year round tourist destination. Visitors come for the sea, beaches, restaurants, art galleries and glorious sunsets. St Ives has three beaches; Porthmeor, Porthgwidden and Porthminster and a picturesque harbour.

St Ives harbour lights on water

Artists come from all around the world to experience the unique light conditions, which were once a draw for the likes of JMW Turner, Whistler and Sickert. The 'Tate St Ives' a contemporary art gallery (Porthmeor Beach), has done much to raise the towns profile in recent years. The town's best-known artist, the sculptress Barbara Hepworth (1903 - 1975), is commemorated by a collection of her work in the Trewyn Studio.

St Ives is named after 'St la', a female missionary who is said to have arrived from Ireland in a coracle in the 6th century and built a chapel on the headland at the western limit of St Ives Bay. The fishermen's chapel of St Nicholas now stands on the supposed site, near the remains of an ancient British settlement.

St Ives has a wide range of good restaurants including seafood café's in Fore Street and the Porthminster Café on Porthminster beach.

The town is very busy in peak summer and parking is limited. The main industry in St Ives is now tourism. There is a large retirement community and many residents work in Penzance or Truro.

Local Traditions

The ancient sport of hurling has been played for in Cornwall for decades. The game starts on St Ives beach at 10am and has no rules or playing field. The winner is the first person to return a silver ball to St Ives Guildhall by noon.

Sunset over St Ives
St Ives is famed for its spectacular sunsets © TAB


Tate St Ives

The fishermen's cottages near the harbour area are very popular with couples. Larger houses and apartments with parking and be rented further up the hill, away from the sea.


Newquay Airport is just 22 miles away, and has made this corner of Cornwall highly accessible. The bus from the airport to St Ives takes about an hour. London to Penzance Station (8 miles from St Ives) is just a 5 hour train journey.

Content by Steve B

Map of St Ives


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