Seaside town of the year 2007
The town is a popular destination incorporating a traditional fishing harbour and a popular holiday centre year round. The magnificent resort is famed for its safe beaches, the azure blue sea of the bay, its tiny cobbled streets and hidden corners waiting to be explored.
It has everything that a seaside resort could wish for: good beaches, views across the bay, a picturesque harbour town huddling in a glorious position, a branch line railway journey from St. Erth and still something of a fishing industry, to save it from becoming the victim of its charms.
St. Ives is a world famous art centre attracting artists because of the good natural light and is dotted with art galleries and studios, including the Tate Gallery, the Barbara Hepworth Museum at the Trewyn Studio and garden which were her former home.
The oldest church in St. Ives is the parish church, which was begun in 1434 and boasts one of the tallest towers in Cornwall. The church bears an unusual dedication to a trio of Saints; Andrew, Peter, and Ia. The latter was an Irish priestess who is said to have converted the area to Christianity in the 5th century. She reputedly embarked upon her mission by crossing the Irish Sea in a leaf!
In earlier times a considerable industry was based on pilchard fishing and coastal trade, although fishing craft still operate from here the harbour is very popular with private pleasure boats.
Life revolves around the harbour and the fishing trade helped it grow to prosperity. Much of that atmosphere is retained in the narrow alleyways and cottages of Downalong area.
Enjoy walks around this delightful town with its Mediterranean atmosphere or follow the Coastal Footpath around "The Island" with its chapel up on the hill and across Porthmeor out to Clodgy Point, or stroll towards Carbis Bay across the wooded hillside.
St. Ives during the summer months is a blaze of colour. Radiating from the harbour, its maze of narrow cobbled streets are filled with flowers - not particularly surprising for a town which regularly wins the 'Britain in Bloom' competition.
A mild climate, warmed by the gulf stream and almost frost-free winters makes it possible to grow plants and shrubs normally native to semi-tropical countries hundreds of miles further south.
St. Ives Lifeboat station has had a remarkable history of bravery with over 55 awards for gallantry being presented. Over its 165-year history it has also seen tragedy with seven lifeboat crew losing their lives saving others at sea.
The town's Tourist Information Centre is at The Guildhall, Street-an-Pol, Tel: (01736) 796297.
Porthmeor beach is a Blue Flag Atlantic Ocean surfing beach with surf school, fine golden sand, good sunbathing by day and spectacular sunsets. During the summer, trained lifeguards ensure the bathing is as safe as possible. There are restaurant and cafe facilities right on the beach; toilets and beach huts on the terrace behind.
Porthgwidden beach is a delightful small sandy cove and sun-trap with safe bathing, beach huts for hire and handy toilets. The brilliant white terrace houses the relaxed Porthgwidden Cafe and there's a kiosk for coffee and snacks. Porthgwidden is an ideal beach to catch the morning sun and stay all day.
The tidal, sandy bottomed harbour is still a working port where you can watch the local fishermen landing their daily fresh catches of locally caught seafood. It's also a very sheltered beach, a perfect sun-trap in the heart of town. There are toilets in the Sloop car park and behind the Lifeboat station on West Pier. All facilities surround you here.
Sheltered Porthminster beach boasts almost half a mile of golden sands with calm sea conditions ideal for families. Porthminster has restaurant and café facilities, a scenic cliff walk to Carbis Bay on the Coastal Footpath, a putting green, beach huts for hire, toilets and level access to the town centre. The St. Ives branch line railway station is at the top of the steps.
Tate Gallery Barbara Hepworth Museum Cornwall's Beaches
St. Ives Museum St. Ives Society of Artists The Tinners Way Cornish Lifeboat Stations
Arts & Crafts in St. Ives Leach Pottery Hayle Zennor The Coastal Footpath