St Ives is a beautiful town. We’re lucky, there are many of these in Cornwall, so what makes St Ives so special and popular?
The beaches in St Ives, Cornwall, are a big draw for locals and visitors. They’re only one reason why it’s so popular too. St Ives, Cornwall’s jewell, draws people to its beautiful sandy beaches year after year, and remains a big inspiration for artists.
It’s easy to see why. In winter or summer, rain or shine, St Ives simply glistens and sparkles.
Where Is St Ives?
St Ives sits on the North West Cornish coast. Its heritage is as a fishing town. It now holds considerable commercial weight too, as a much loved holiday destination. St Ives has twice been crowned the Best UK Seaside Town from the British Travel Awards. According to Coast magazine, it’s the UK’s best place for a family holiday.
St Ives earned its name from the Irish Saint Ia. Apparently she arrived in St Ives in the 5th century, having travelled across the sea on a leaf. Even though I suspect some embellishment has happened here, it’s a great story.
Getting to St Ives couldn’t be easier. You can drive but parking can be tricky at peak times. My top tip for visiting St Ives would be to get the train. The St Ives Bay Line is incredibly pretty. There are regular trains from London to St Ives, the journey’s about 5 hours.
I recently spent the day exploring the beaches in St Ives and finding small, independent art galleries. With plenty to do for everyone, it’s easy to have a perfect day out at St Ives.
Where To Go In St Ives
I have this little routine when I visit St Ives. I take different roads, side streets and alleyways, and simply meander around at my leisure. There’s so much joy in exploring and letting myself wander off the beaten track, particularly as there’s a need to stay clear of the crowds.
I initially start to walk towards The Tate St Ives but know this, and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, have yet to open. I decide follow my feet and chance upon quite possibly the prettiest little side street. Graced with bunting, and away from St Ives seafront, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a secret alley where all the pretty things are.
Exploring The Beaches In St Ives
From here, I start to make my way to one of St Ives beaches, Porthmeor. I plan to explore as much as possible because all the beaches in St Ives are just glorious!
It was worth it too. I found 2 beaches I’ve not seen before. Obviously this delighted me no end, and I took loads of photos as I made my way round.
The first, Porthgwidden Beach, reminded me of beach scenes from years ago. I think that’s down to the wonderful 1930s beach huts with their bright rainbow doors. I’d love a beach hut – one can dream! I’ve since found out that you can rent these out which is such a good idea, and certainly more affordable.
I liked Porthgwidden a lot. It’s one of the beaches in St Ives that I’d spend the day on. It’s sheltered, thanks to Bamaluz Point on one side and The Island on the other. This makes it a bit of a sun trap!
The second beach I found was Bamaluz, situated behind Smeaton’s Pier.
Bamaluz beach is regarded as St Ives secret beach and at low tide you can see the remains of the Dream Wheal tin mine. It welcomes dogs all year round which is perfect if you want to take your pawed pal with you on your day out in St Ives. Other beaches in St Ives have a seasonal dog ban, between July 1st and August 31st. Blue flagged beaches have longer bans, so do check before you go.
Artists In St Ives
St Ives has long been a muse for artists. The art scene and community in St Ives is huge. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much. I could spend all day wandering around the art galleries, soaking up the creativity and scrutinising each artist’s individual interpretation of St Ives and its surrounding areas, like Zennor and St Just.
As I wandered away from the hustle and bustle of Porthmeor Beach, I find Island Gallery, where Bill Waldron sells his beautiful work. I couldn’t stop looking at his paintings of crashing waves, popping out from the skyline made of bright and moody blues. I came away with some greeting cards.
From here, I nipped into the Art House Gallery, drawn in by the unique and reflective paintings in the window by Trace Goldsmith. I’ve seen her style before, where colours and objects are painted with clean lines and minimal detail. Trace’s paintings are gentle and immersive. Plus, there’s nothing like gaining artistic inspiration from others!
If you’re looking for some paintings of Cornwall, I have a selection, just for you. You can find both limited edition giclée prints and art in my shop.
One Last Stroll on Smeaton’s Pier
As my day in St Ives came to an end, I couldn’t leave without strolling down Smeaton’s Pier. It’s from here that I look out to St Ives town. It has to be one of my favourite views. With the church towering about the houses, the grey slate and lichen marked roofs offering a contrast to the azure blue sea. I see in through my own eyes, a scene worth painting.
It’s postcard perfection.
As I make my way back to St Ives train station, I grab a Cornish pasty from the Yellow Canary bakery. It was a good ‘un too, and despite their attempts, the seagulls lost out.
Penny 1, seagulls 0 ? ?. .
St Ives is very popular. Have you been, and what makes for your perfect day there?
If you need a St Ives fix, why not check out the Sloop Inn webcam?