Nothing beats the Great British holiday. Ice cream, seagulls, arcades, fish and chips: they’re all part of the seaside experience, but if you’re looking for something special, St.Ives is your destination.
Located near Penzance and Land’s End in Cornwall, St.Ives is a quaint retreat that sits on the edge of the English south coast. As well as being the ideal surfers getaway with four different beaches, the cobbled, narrow streets and tiny tea rooms make it the perfect place for anyone to relax. The town is also home to some of the most incredible restaurants, traditional pasty shops and authentic cornish pubs. Oh, and did we mention that it also hosts some of the most inspirational art? Well, with that in mind, here are the best things to do in St.Ives this summer (even if it’s raining).
1. Porthmeor Beach
This gigantic stretch of sand and sea is renowned for surfing and bodyboarding – just make sure you stay between the correct flags. If you’re looking at learning to surf, St.Ives surf school runs every day throughout the summer. It’s the perfect beach to snooze with a book or pop up the net for beach volleyball. There’s even a small shop and the notorious Beach Café restaurant so you don’t have to go foraging far for food.
2. Porthgwidden and Porthminster Beach
If Porthmeor gets too busy, Porthgwideen and Porthminster are a little quieter. Porthgwidden is a small cove located close to the centre of town and it’s the best place to relax and nip to the water for a paddle or swim. Porthminster is a larger beach and with its tiny swell it’s the perfect place to kayak, paddleboard and swim – there’s a hire shop for anyone interested in water sports. Of course, both beaches have small cafés and shops to keep topping up with beverages and the town is just around the corner.
3. Art Galleries
St.Ives is an artist’s town and is home to the Tate Modern and Barbara Hepworth galleries. Exhibitions at the Tate Modern change regularly so it’s worth taking a look at what’s on and as it’s located opposite Porthmeor beach, it’s the best place to shelter from any rain as the glass windows allow for a perfect view of the sea. The Barbara Hepworth gallery is in the town and hosts Hepworth’s 20th Century sculptures, as well as her stunning garden.
For stunning scenery and beautiful views of the whole of the town take one of the idyllic trails around St.Ives that’ll lead you along the cliffs and to surrounding villages. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, they’re regular visitors to St.Ives beaches.
If you’re a fish lover you’ll be guaranteed some vibrant and fresh seafood that will have been caught the same day, but if not there are plenty of other delicious restaurants in the town that’ll stave off your hunger pangs.
A trip to St.Ives will leave you feeling refreshed, revitalised and inspired – not to mention salty-skinned with a belly full of goodness. While the town still offers the seaside necessities, there’s so much more to explore and if you think a grey British summertime might stop you from having fun, don’t worry; St.Ives gets its own weather.
Words by Laura Dunham