The SL Guide To… St Ives

One of the prettiest coastal towns in Cornwall, St Ives remains one of the most popular summer destinations year after year for multiple reasons – beautiful beaches, great restaurants and plenty of stylish accommodation options for all budgets. Whether you’re already a regular or might be keen to plan a trip at some point in the future, our guide has something for everyone – from the best hotels to the must-see spots.
ALBA BEACH

STAY

Harbour View House 

Overlooking St Ives Harbour, this property is a lovely guesthouse in the middle of town. The rooms are simple yet stylish and have beautiful views of the surrounding area. The on-site café is the ideal spot for brunch or a coffee, while the hotel bar serves tapas style plates alongside interesting cocktails. Harbour View also run a supper club every Friday night – ideal for sampling fresh food made using local produce. It’s a five-minute walk to the centre of town and only a short stroll to Porthgwidden Beach – one of the quieter ones in the area.

Visit HarbourViewOnline.co.uk

Primrose Hotel

This 11-bedroom Edwardian property near Porthminster Beach is something of a hidden gem. Each room is bright and airy and features oak floors, light wood furnishings and plush decorative accents. For a special trip book The Pod, a detached mezzanine apartment with views of Godrevy Lighthouse. The breakfast here is a real treat – expect quality Cornish produce and tasty homemade bread.

Visit PrimroseOnline.co.uk

Trevose Harbour House

For a luxury stay, Trevose Harbour House is a boutique B&B with all the extra touches you’d expect from a top hotel. Situated in between Harbour Beach and Porthminster Beach, it’s housed in an elegant white townhouse with colourful blue interiors. There are six rooms to choose from but Room Four, with its cool glass-block feature wall, feels particularly special. Guests can enjoy a breakfast made from ingredients sourced from the local farmers’ market like croissants with ham and goat’s cheese, as well as potato scones with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Ask the owners, Angela and Oliver, to arrange a champagne cream tea during your stay, too.

Visit MrAndMrsSmith.com

Alba Beach House

Unique Homestays has just added Alba Beach House to its portfolio. Once a fisherman’s cottage, the property is now a luxury pink cob cottage with a balcony overhanging the sands of Porthmeor Beach. With space for up to eight guests, there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, one of which has a free-standing bathtub with a view of the beach. Guests can relax on the balcony before heading to town to buy freshly caught mussels from the local fishmonger or English sparkling wine from one of the local famers’ shops.

Visit UniqueHomestays.com

Headland House 

Located in Carbis Bay, a small village just outside of St Ives, Headland House is a luxury B&B. Ideal for those who want to make the most of St Ives but skip the crowds, there are nine nautical-inspired rooms to choose from – we like the look of Mousehole which has a spacious en-suite with a free-standing bath. During the summer months, the hotel’s garden is a lovely spot for al fresco meals, while the Snug Bar is the place to be for evening drinks.

Visit HeadlandHouseHotel.co.uk

EAT & DRINK

Gurnard’s Head

A top choice near St Ives, locals will tell you this is one of the best restaurants in the area. Inside the distinctive yellow building, diners can enjoy traditional pub food and delicious local fare. The seasonal menu changes every day, so there’s always something fresh on offer, from mussels in white wine and garlic, to lobster with new potatoes and aioli. Securing a table can be tricky, so be sure to book well in advance. 

Visit GurnardsHead.co.uk

Porthminster Beach Café 

This restaurant has beautiful views of St Ives Bay and is a favourite with tourists and locals alike during the summer months when diners can enjoy a range of Cornish dishes on the outdoor terrace. The café specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood with dishes like crispy fried squid with miso dressing; crab, prawn and mussel linguine; steamed wontons with bok choy; and tiger prawn and monkfish curry. If you have one dessert, make it the Wimbledon Fool featuring elderflower champagne, sorbet, strawberries and vanilla panna cotta. 

Visit PorthminsterCafe.co.uk

One Fish Street

For delicious seafood dishes, head to One Fish Street. This small restaurant has a simple tasting menu including homemade sourdough, caviar and crab tartlets, crispy oysters, line-caught mackerel and Thai coconut curry. The menu is paired with handpicked wine from the One Fish team and everything is made using quality, local produce. 

Visit OneFishStreet.co.uk

The Searoom Bar & Restaurant

From the team behind St Ives Liquor & Co, this restaurant serves delicious meat and seafood. Diners can tuck into king prawns with garlic and chilli, grilled mackerel fillets or roasted pork belly with salsa verde. Gin lovers will appreciate the extensive drinks menu which has something for everyone – don’t miss the Blood Orange G&T – while families will appreciate the convenient location along the beachfront.

Visit StIvesLiquor.co/Searoom

The Loft Restaurant & Terrace

Located in the artist’s quarter of town, The Loft is renowned for its crowd-pleasing food. Traditional Cornish dishes include crab sandwiches, beer battered fish and chips, and seafood linguine. It does a great Sunday roast and has some of the best dessert options on this list – expect homemade sticky toffee pudding, blood orange cake, and rhubarb and custard.

Visit TheLoftRestaurantAndTerrace.co.uk

The Rum & Crab Shack

A trip to St Ives isn’t complete without a meal here. As the name suggests, the restaurant has an extensive rum list (with over 100 on offer) with seafood dishes to compliment, like crab tacos, tiger prawn jambalaya and seafood curry. Located along the seafront, it’s the ideal spot for late-night dinner and drinks or a takeaway snack. 

Visit RumAndCrabshack.com

Porthmeor Beach Café

Porthmeor Beach Café has a buzzing atmosphere. Ideal for a casual lunch or dinner after relaxing on the beach, diners can choose from tapas plates and hearty seafood dishes. In terms of drinks, there’s an impressive menu on offer, from sparkling cocktails to local craft beer. 

Visit Porthmeor-Beach.co.uk

SHOP

Sloop Studios

Tucked away on Black Lane, this studio is full of ceramics, homeware and accessories made by local artists. From beautiful bowls to unique pieces of jewellery, it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs.

Visit SloopStudios.com

The Painted Bird 

For beautiful homeware and gifts, The Painted Bird is a small boutique which sells crockery, lighting, furniture, and clothing for women and kids. Specialising in ethically sourced pieces, shoppers are guaranteed to find something unique. Look out for the woven baskets and handmade cushion covers.

Visit ThePaintedBird.co.uk

St Ives Bakery

St Ives Bakery on Fore Street sells delicious bread, Cornish pasties and sweet pastries. From hot cross buns and chocolate cookies, to focaccia and cheese and onion pies, the shelves are stacked with tempting baked goods – ideal for a picnic on the beach or afternoon treat.

Visit StIvesBakery.co.uk

Academy & Co

This small independent boutique stocks brands like Penfield, Birkenstock, Folk, and Comme de Garçons. A favourite with St Ives’ locals, they have a great selection of clothing and shoes for both men and women.

Visit AcademyAndCo.com

The Liquor Cellar

One of Cornwall's oldest family businesses, this cellar has an impressive selection of wine, beer and spirits from independent brands. Their sister bar and restaurant, Beer & Bird, is also worth a visit.

Visit TheLiquorCellar.co.uk

THINGS TO DO

Porthgwidden Beach

This beach is not to be missed. A small spot with beautiful golden sand, it’s an east-facing sun trap. If you want to set up pitch for the day, get there in the morning to secure a good spot, then visit the café for a selection of seaside snacks and Cornish ice-cream.

Porthminster Beach

Just a short walk away from the centre of town, this beach is one of the most beautiful in St Ives. Awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Award, there’s a nearby fish and chip stall, sandwich and beach bar and pasty shop. Visitors can hire deck chairs or enjoy water sports like surfing, kayaking and sailing.

Tarquin’s St Ives Gin School 

Located in a beautiful Grade-II listed building on Fore Street, Tarquin Gin recently opened a gin school and shop where visitors can enjoy gin tasting sessions and shop a selection of premium spirits. Just a ten-minute walk from Tarquin’s distillery, the school offers distilling masterclasses where visitors can create their own bottle of gin. 

Visit TarquinsGin.com

St Ives Surf School

If you want to improve your board skills or learn to surf, St Ives Surf school teaches lessons on Porthmeor and Porthminster Beach. Suitable for both adults and children, visitors can also enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking and coasteering.  

Visit StIveSsurfSchool.co.uk

Tate St Ives

Showcasing modern artwork by British artists, Tate St Ives is a great way to spend a rainy day or afternoon. Located on Porthmeor Beach, the museum is close to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden which is also worth a visit.

Visit Tate.org.uk

St. Nic’s Chapel

For some of the best views of St Ives, walk to St. Nic’s Chapel. From the bay below, you can hire small motorboats in the harbour for a couple of hours to watch the sun set.

St Ives To Zennor Coastal Path

With beautiful sea views, this coastal walk takes around three hours to complete. It’s a challenging route, with rugged patches and steep paths, but it’s well worth the climb. Look out for the cool rock formation at Man’s Head and the famous Trevalgan Stone Circle.

 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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