Be inspired, watch our St Ives harbour webcam!
One of the best things about a holiday in St Ives is that you don’t have to leave the seaside town during your stay. With several stunning beaches all within St Ives; from the golden bay of Porthminster, to the Blue Flag Beach at Porthmeor, there’s no need to pack up the car; simply stroll down to any one of the nearby beaches.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, other than taking a dip in the turquoise waters, why not have a go at surfing, paddle boarding or kayaking? Alternatively, you might have a more relaxing holiday in mind, imagine sunbathing on the beach, harbour-watching from your holiday home, spa days at the local hotel and sipping coffee in quaint cafes.
With a huge art culture in St Ives, there are dozens of art galleries and artist studios lining the cobbled streets, you can even view local artists at work. Located on the site of the former gas works, the iconic Tate Gallery features international, modern and contemporary art exhibitions. The Barbara Hepworth Museum showcases inspiring sculptures, paintings and drawings. If you would prefer to get a more hands-on experience, you can book an art course with the St Ives School of Painting, or try one of their drop-in life drawing sessions.
With an array of quirky, independent shops throughout the town, shopping in St Ives is unlike shopping anywhere else. Purchase local produce, handmade goods and local artwork, alongside perusing the more well-known shops such as Cath Kidson, Fatface and Superdry.
Boat trips run regularly from the harbour throughout the summer, where you can enjoy the views from a different angle. If you're lucky you may even see one of the 'resident' seals or view the dolphins at play.
Surfing & Watersports
In Cornwall, one of the most popular pastimes is surfing, and if you fancy giving it a go, you can learn to surf at the St Ives Surf School based at Porthmeor beach. Alternatively, you could try out paddleboarding or kayaking at Porthminster beach. If you’re already a keen surfer, you’re sure to find some waves somewhere on the coast in Cornwall during your stay.
When choosing a self-catering holiday cottage, you have the flexibility to eat in or eat out during your stay. With so many eateries in St Ives, there’s plenty of choice for everyone, including locally caught fish and chips, seafood restaurants, gourmet burgers, Italian restaurants and a selection of excellent pubs. If, however, you choose to eat in, you can purchase local produce from The Allotment Deli and the Norway Stores.
With your holiday cottage located in St Ives, you’ll be perfectly placed next to several stunning beaches, including Porthmeor, Porthminster and Porthgwidden. With each beach boasting its own charm and appeal; you'll find something for everyone, with family friendly beaches, popular watersports venues, wide-open flat sands and hidden rock pools.
Holidays in St Ives are popular all year round. Whether enjoying a family summer holiday or an out-of-season break, there's always something happening in St Ives.
Christmas & New Year's Eve in St Ives
Visit during the festive period and you can watch Santa arrive on an RNLI lifeboat, admire the magical lantern parade and join in with the big light switch on. Soak up the atmosphere on New Year's Eve in St Ives, where everyone dresses in fancy dress, and the evening ends with a spectacular firework display. Be warned though, it gets extremely busy so be sure to book tables in advance for pubs and restaurants to avoid disappointment. Read more about New Year's Eve in St Ives >
Food and Drink Festival
Held on Porthminster beach in the middle of May each year, the St Ives Food and Drink festival is the UK's only festival of this type to take place on a beach. Enjoy live music, a wide range of products from Cornwall's finest food producers, and demonstrations from some of the country's best chefs. Held across two days, this event attracts both locals and visitors alike.
Running for two weeks each September, St Ives hosts the increasingly popular September Festival. The festival includes live music, theatrical performances and comedy sketches, with something suitable for the whole family. Browse the dozens of artist studios, take part in a theatrical workshop or just simply soak up the atmosphere on the harbour front.
In St Ives the best way to get around is, of course, on foot. However, if you wish to explore more of West Cornwall, there’s a train station in St Ives, which takes you on the most beautiful coastal train journey to St Erth station, from which you can catch connecting trains to Penzance, Truro and further afield. Alternatively, by car, you could take the stunning coastal road from St Ives across to Penzance and onto Land’s End.
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Visit Santa and his elves at the magical grotto at Paradise Park on selected dates in December. Tickets include a gift from Santa and there's no need to book, tickets are on sale on the day from 10am.
5th - 24th December 2020 (selected dates)
Held on the anniversary of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia in 1434 AD, Feast Day offers visitors to witness - and even join in with - some centuries-old traditions. A morning precesison led by the Mayor to bless the Well of St Eia. Following this, the Mayor will 'Hurls the Silver Ball' into a crowd of children who assemble on the beach below. The one who returns the ball to the Guildhall steps by midday receives a silver coin. In the afternoon the Mayor then throw pennies from the balcony of the Guildhall for children to collect.
The West Cornwall Spring Show has been running for over 90 years and is a showcase for horticultural excellence within the area of Penwith.
The small Cornish fishing village of Porthleven hosts its annual Food & Music Festival every April and encorporates street performers, a range of local produce, Samba dancing, theatre, beer marquees, hip-hop dancers, fireworks, Cornish singing & much, much mmore...the list is endless!
Join in the celebrations at this community led festival of free entertainment. The annual event celebrates the engineering and mining history of the Camborne area, and is dedicated to Richard Trevithick, pioneer of high pressure steam power & inventor of Road and Railway Locomotives.
Growing in size and popularity, the St Ives Food Festival features top chefs, quality Cornish goods, sandcastle competitions for children and food demonstrations.
Golowan Festival is an annual community arts event that celebrates local culture and the social and natural environment. 'Mazey Day' takes place on the Saturday of the festival and guarantees to be a very colourful affair!
Popular with visitors and locals alike, this exciting festival celebrates everything literary, including spoken, written, recited and sung word. Take part in the reading and writing discussions and activities and enjoy the many performances.
7th - 10th July 2021
For two weeks only, Adventure 001, supporters of Cornwall Air Ambulance, will be bringing their helicopter experiences to St Ives! Choose from a 6 minute flight from £35 to a 30 minute flight from £96 and take in the incredible views across St Ives bay and beyond!
Dates TBC August 2021
A fun packed day hosted by the RNLI lifeboat Station. See the lifeboats on display and in action on the water with demonstrations featuring one of the HM Coastguard helicpoters!
Now becoming a sellout event, this festival keeps attracting more and more visitors who come to enjoy a wide range of acts, including music, theatre, poetry and visual arts.
The 2018 shout will feature more than 20 sea shanty groups for a fun weekend of shanty singing, sailor and pirate themed fancy dress and beer. This year's event will be raising money for Cornwall Air Ambulance and its New Heli Appeal and takes place in various pubs and venues in St Ives.
Find unique Christmas presents and tasty treats at Flambards Christmas Craft Fayre. Stalls will be set up in various areas of the park, there will be Christmas music to get everyone in the festive spirit and a chance to meet Santa too.
Possibly the most well-known and popular Christmas Lights in the county, Moushole combines stunning displays against the backdrop of their gorgeous Cornish fishing harbour to bring real festive magic to all who visit at this special time of year.
Each year, the people of Penzance celebrate the Winter solstace with a festival of Cornish tradition, torch processions, and dancing.
21st December 2021
The tradition of Tom Bawcock comes from the feast or famine lifestyle of Cornwall. The story goes that it was just before Christmas; there had been no fish for weeks, the boats couldn’t get out into the raging storm, the village was starving. One man, Tom Bawcock, dared to take his boat out of the harbour’s safety. He returned with enough fish to make fish pie for the whole village.
Today, a festival takes place each year to celebrate Tom Bawcock's bravery. During the festival, Star Gazey pies are eaten in memory of this famous event.
23rd December 2021
Spend New Year's Eve in St Ives for an unforgettable evening at the largest fancy dress party in the county. Ring in the New Year with an unbeatable fireworks display by the sea.
31st December 2021
Find out more about New Year's Eve in St Ives here>