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St Ives Tourism And Travel Guide
5.6° C / 42° F
June to October
2 to 3 Days
Newquay International Airport
The scenic town of St Ives is a fishing harbor, civil parish and a coastal town resplendent with golden sandy beaches popular for surfing and a variety of adventure and water sports, in addition to its artistic talents in the local artists. Situated by the Celtic sea’s coastline, St Ives is a maze of slim pebbled streets, independent shops, and fishermen cottages with an assortment of apartments that are self-serviced, bed and breakfast inns and internationally reputed restaurants, bars and cafes. Here’s a travel guide to St Ives which will give you accurate information from a tourism perspective.
How to Reach
The closest airport to St Ives is the Newquay Airport and the fastest way to reach here is to take a flight from New Delhi to the Newquay International Airport, which takes roughly 12 hours. And on arrival at Newquay, you make the onward journey to St Ives by bus. Alternatively, take a flight from New Delhi to LHR (London Heathrow) Airport and then make the onward journey to St Ives by train.
On arrival at LHR Airport (London Heathrow), from the Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, board a train to London Paddington Station which takes roughly 16 minutes, with a train leaving the station every 20 mins. From London Paddington, it takes about 5 hours approx. by train to St Erth and finally another train to St Ives which takes about 10 mins.
If your flight from New Delhi arrives at the Newquay Airport, then you can take a bus for the Newquay Bus Terminal from St Mawgan (28 mins travel time) and from there, a bus to St Erth (56 mins) with the onward journey to St Ives by train (10 mins).
The Holiday season in Cornwall is very busy and usually jam-packed. If you plan your holiday to St Ives during this time or actually any time of the year, its best to commute on bikes (on rent), trains (with most cities along the coastal belt connected to the main train network) or by bus (with its extensive bus network).
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit St Ives is between June to October, with the warmest time of the year being July through September and tourism at its peak in July, May and then September.
With an average temperature of 16°C that rarely goes below 9°C, and rains occurring for 6-8 days each month, spring in St Ives is usually the second-best time of the year for tourism. The season experiences some of the best waves, greenery, nature’s spectacular sights and serenity during March through May.
Summers in St Ives experiences sharp and high temperatures with about 7 to 9 days of moderate rains. With this period being the busiest time of the year for incoming tourist traffic, June through August is best for visiting places like the Bodmin Moor, Lizard Point or the Roseland Headland, far from the maddening crowds.
Autumn feels like summer in early September thanks to the temperature level and is as such ideal time to indulge in activities that you’d have liked to engage in summers, like swimming in warm water, witnessing large tides or enjoying the light breeze. It gets a bit chilly with the varying temperatures at 18°C and rain/snowfall for 6 to 13 days in a month.
Winters aren’t really a good time for warm weather travelers with an average high temperature of just 8°C and nearly 8 to 13 days of rain or snowfall. For tourists who enjoy winters, St Ives is at its glorious best with winter storms, giant waves and heavy winds along a rugged coastline, refreshing walks and open fires!
Things To Do
When visiting St Ives, of the best things to do here, is to head for the harbor, which has been the core of St Ives for decades, shielded by a quay at both sides and waters cross-hatched by vibrant boats since dawn. Enjoy the beautiful sights with a coffee from the nearby Pier Coffee Bar and watch as the local fishermen go about their daily chores. If you enjoy surfing and bodyboarding, then Porthmeor Beach is your haven for learning the ropes or just paddling in the shallow waters.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry:
Visit the Porthminster Café for an assortment of fresh seafood with breathtaking sea views, or a juicy burger from Blas Burgerworks hidden inside the Warren. If you’d rather have a pint, then try the Sloop Inn at the front of the harbor or the Ale at the Castle Inn on Fore Street with an Oceanside view and legendary sunset to wind you up your day with.
Art Galleries & Museum:
For art appreciators, the Porthminster Gallery is perfect with a selection of the best local talent and masterpieces at pocket-friendly prices. Enjoy a Cornish pastry at the small teal front SH Ferrell & Son or make it to Tate St Ives for some of the best artworks and crème la crème under one ceiling, including the Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden.
The Adrenaline Quarry is great for Zipping. Swinging over 50 ft above ground, suspended on a giant swing, feel the adrenaline rush as you go plummeting down at great speed, get pulled up and then repeat, only in reverse. Then there’s Zorbing, which will have you going downhill in a large plastic ball, bumping & thumping at a certain speed, but of course with complete safety procedures in place! It is Cornwall’s most popular sport.
A Date with Nature:
Follow it up with an inspiring walk to the Lake Treehouse, a 20 ft construct above the forest’s floor with a lush green abode where you can enjoy stargazing, wandering through the woods or listening in to nature’s sounds from the timbered balcony. If you feel like just lazing around, then just gorge on the delicacies at the on-site restaurant at the treetop hideaway, or enjoy the spa and heated pool alternatively.
Where To Eat
St Ives is one of the most diverse food hotspots of Cornwall, with its fair share of cozy pubs, cafes and quirky bars. Right opposite the Tate Gallery is the Porthmeor Beach Café overlooking the beach with a wide-ranging menu and a perfect spot to watch the surf. There’s Scarlet, Lelant which a wine shop, café and bar rolled into one with an assortment of scrumptious breakfast, tapas lunches and delectable evening meals and one of the best places to have a coffee.
You can enjoy a Sunday Brunch at the Queen’s Hotel, a gastropub with a menu designed with dishes made of local produce. A popular sea-food joint, one that offers a large variety of fresh seafood, The Mermaid is ideal for an evening meal and one of the oldest restaurants in town. Make the most of Mexican usuals and beer at a bright café amidst colorful and funky furniture and lighting at the Mex, with excellent hospitality and delicious favorites like meat quesadillas, churros, potato shells and nachos. Concealed behind the main tourist spots in St Ives, The Olives Café is a hidden gem, popular for its incredible scones and coffee.
Where To Shop
Enjoy shopping retail in St Ives from a variety of bookstores, fashion boutiques, independent art galleries, and craft stores, outdoor camping shops to home furnishing or personalized gift stores. Established in 1991, the Painted Bird is located in the scenic fishing port of St Ives, at the end of the ancient pebbled street, filled with the choicest selection of crafts and gifts, unusually ranging from owl cushions to sun catchers, bronze hares to mosaic mirrors. Quba Sails, a shop for sailing fans has an assortment of custom jackets made of retrieved backdrop sailcloth. The Steadman Fielder offers the opportunity to design your own engagement or wedding rings and other bespoke jewellery and silver jewellery at affordable prices.
St Ives Ceramics is internationally reputed for some of the best collections of contemporary studio pottery, in four well-defined spaces for artworks. It also houses the CBS collection, an ensemble of heritage pots that were curated and put together from the revolving stock of last century’s master potters in the Japanese and British markets, by John Bedding and Kate Chertavian. Some other notable places to explore in terms of shopping include the Belgrave Gallery, Ebb & Flow for a variety of bags, jewellery and local ethnic clothes, Cath Kidston for some unique, colorful and modern vintage prints and designs in the domain of home and lifestyle items.