Cobbled streets, narrow alleyways dotted with hanging flower baskets, and a harbour quietly buzzing with boats… St Ives might not be your usual shopping destination but after a visit, it will quickly become your favourite!
The much-loved town has managed to resist becoming completely taken over by high street chains and, as a result, has a wealth of small independent shops you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. From surf shops – as you would expect in the town that’s home to surfing icon Porthmeor beach – to gift shops and everything in between, this iconic holiday destination is beloved for a very good reason. So, mooch around the winding streets and you will find some utterly unique places where you can buy some fabulous things!
Here are a few fabulous shops in St Ives we’ve chosen to illustrate the variety of what’s on offer, but explore the narrow streets and you can be sure to find many, many more…
Best for: Unique interior stylings
54 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 1HE
Found on Fore Street, the main shopping street in St Ives, Brocante is a marvellous shop for gifts, particularly around Christmas time when the window is even more of a joy than usual. Now with five locations around Cornwall (including Fowey, Perranporth, Mevagissey, and Charlestown), Brocante boasts an eclectic mix of treasures, including skincare, jewellery, homeware, and supremely soft children’s toys. This is the best place to go to if you want to either treat yourself or buy something for someone a little difficult to choose for – there are some really lovely things here to tempt you – we are particularly in love with the Jellycats and beautiful soft furnishings.
Best for: Shopping with the kids
10 St Andrew's Street, St Ives TR26 1AH
Just try walking past this shop with the kids without going in! Very visible in the middle of Fore Street, this shop is crammed with interesting things to tempt everyone. Lovely wooden toys, clothes and shoes, fancy dress, and ingenious baby and toddler items, as well as pocket money treats that children can buy with any holiday money they have. Fabulous Kids seems to have a knack for stocking the quirky and unusual so it’s always worth a nose around to see what’s on offer. You can also pop into Fabulous – the equally tempting parent store that stocks beautiful clothing, accessories, and homeware from local makers.
Jo Downs Handmade Glass
Best for: Beautiful Cornish art
5 Market House, Market Place, St Ives TR26 1RZ
St Ives is renowned for its art galleries, with everything on display from pottery to paintings to statues. However, when you enter Market Place and gravitate towards the quirky corner gallery of Jo Downs, you’ll be met with a collection of pieces that manage to combine all these mediums into one. The beautiful handmade glass pieces range from huge bowls and statement pieces to wall plaques and coloured wish sticks that can be hung to catch the light. It feels more like a gallery than a shop, and there is a separate section for homewares such as mirrors so you can add a splash of Cornwall to your home.
I Should Coco
Best for: All things chocolate
13 Tregenna Place, St Ives TR26 1SD
As soon as you step foot in this artisanal chocolate shop, you’ll agree with us when we say that ‘we all should coco’. The chocolates and bars are handmade on the premises by a small and passionate team, and their commitment to delicious high-quality chocolate can be tasted in every bite. Pick up mind-boggling chocolate creations from Lego pieces to shoes or spectacular seasonal pieces including Easter eggs and spooky chocolate skulls. They also produce round slabs with messages on – perfect for gifts. The smell will draw you in and the first bite will have you returning for a second bag!
St Ives Bookseller
Best for: Books, books, and more books!
2 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 2AB
From big and beautiful coffee table books to stunning novels you can’t help falling in love with before you even open the cover, the St Ives Bookseller is the place to go for any bookworm looking to get lost between pages for a while. One of the leading independent book shops in the UK, this cosy little bolthole is lined from the slate floors to the ceilings with must-reads and superb Cornish stories. Browse the fitted oak bookcases until something catches your eye or chat to the friendly (and very knowledgeable) staff for some top-tier recommendations. Specialising in signed copies – with an excellent children’s section to boot – if you need a holiday read, it’s time to head to Fore Street in St Ives.
Best for: The whole outdoors kit and caboodle
30 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 1HE
Another fantastic independent shop to call this cobbled high street home, Common Wanderer is all about high quality gear to get you into the great outdoors. Taking you from land to sea to cabin, you’ll find everything you need to make the most of Cornwall, including clothing, rucksacks and even some fabulous outdoor blankets so you can picnic on the beach in utter comfort and style. Browse the well-known brands that fill the shelves and find yourself a cosy classic you won’t want to take off – partly because it’s warm and partly because it reminds you of Cornwall.
Best for: Cornish jewellery inspired by the sea
Silver Origins, 1 Fore Street, St Ives TR26 1AB
Inspired by the rich wilds of West Cornwall, the stunning silver jewellery found at family-owned Silver Origins is second to none. Browse incredible collections that celebrate Cornwall’s coast and nature, from the shallow depths of rockpools to the tumbling beauty of the Atlantic waves, and take home a piece of your favourite scene. Browse necklaces, rings, pendants, cuffs, and so much more. Flowers, seashells, or contemporary shapes… the choice is yours!
St Ives Farmers’ Market
Best for: Local Cornish produce
The Guildhall, Street an Pol, St Ives TR26 2DS
What’s not to love about an award-winning market that fills the Guildhall with friendly faces and fantastic food! The St Ives Farmers’ Market is one of the top markets in Cornwall, offering a wide variety of treats every Thursday between 9.30am and 2pm. Pick up delicious fresh bakes and locally grown produce alongside all the other deli delights that are made right here in Cornwall. Stock up the cupboards or pick up bits and pieces for a picnic, there’s something for every foodie occasion here.
St Ives isn’t just about trinkets and pasties, although there are a lot of them about. You’ll find there are many memorable things to do in St Ives alongside shopping, whether you love boat trips amidst sea and spray or settling down to a lip-smacking meal overlooking the harbour. Explore our beautiful holiday cottages in St Ives and discover why St Ives is Cornwall’s top holiday destination.