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Travel Tips for Making the Most of your Seaside Vacation in St Ives

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St Ives is a thriving seaside town in Cornwall that has become famous over the centuries for fishing, mining, artists, and tourism. The area's natural beauty has inspired the works of artists such as J M W Turner and Barbara Hepworth. A working harbor is the town's hub with fishing and leisure boats, golden beaches, and seafront cafés, art galleries, gift shops, and pubs like the historic Sloop Inn.

Best time to travel


Cornwall's sub-tropical climate allows temperatures to be generally milder than the rest of the UK, but its coastal position means that the weather is very changeable. The peak seasons in St Ives are the Easter school holidays in April and summer holidays (July to September). To avoid the crowds, visit in May and June when the weather is warming up and accommodation rates are lower. Though the winter months are often wet and blustery, there are still fun events like New Year's Eve with fireworks on the harbor. If travelling with dogs, beach bans are enforced between April and September.

Not to miss


Carbis Bay beach looks like something straight from a Caribbean postcard, with its emerald-sloped hillside, white sand, and calm turquoise waters. Its tucked away location makes it a tropical sun trap on warm days. The St Ives Food and Drink Festival in May is a great place to savor delicious freshly caught seafood and sample some of the local beers and wines. Take the short train ride from St Erth to St Ives and enjoy views of the jagged Cornish coastline as the Atlantic waves crash against its steep granite edges.


Getting around


St Ives is a small coastal town with narrow cobbled streets and limited access for vehicles, particularly during the busy summer. The best and most picturesque way to see the town is to leave your car in short or long-stay parking areas and travel by foot. London to Penzance trains stop at St Erth and from here, there's a scenic 15-minute connecting train to St Ives, that stops at Carbis Bay and Lelant Saltings with its Park and Ride. Hourly buses connect you to Penzance and Truro, and it's best to book taxis in advance during the summer.




Its coastal setting makes St Ives a hotspot for fresh seafood, and most restaurants and cafés boast bay and sea views. Wharf Road leads towards the harbor and is lined with charming cafés, traditional pubs, restaurants, and takeaways offering fish and chips, pizzas, cream teas, and Cornish ice creams. Here, you'll find Hub with its selection of juicy burgers, hot dogs, crafted beers, and balcony views. No trip to Cornwall is complete without trying a Cornish pasty, a D-shaped crimped savory pastry that comes in meat and vegetable varieties, and is served best with a pint of local cider.


Customs and etiquette


Like anywhere in the UK, politeness and good manners are appreciated in St Ives, whether it's greeting café staff, or thanking someone. Tipping 10-15 percent in restaurants is standard. The narrow streets get very busy in the summer, so stick to the pavements for your safety. St Ives is a family destination so avoid nude sunbathing on beaches, and be aware of drinking bans in public areas, including beaches. Seagulls are pests in Cornish seaside towns, and feeding them is prohibited. Lifeguards on the beaches know their stuff, and it's important to pay attention to warning flags and signs.


Fast facts


  • Population: 11400

  • Spoken languages: English

  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G

  • Phone calling code: +44 1736

  • Emergency number: 999