The quaint town of St. Ives in the Cornwall district got its humble beginnings as a fishing town. However, when the Great Western Railway wound its way into St. Ives, the place became better know as a popular holiday attraction, with plenty of beaches, historic sites and charm. Today, St. Ives still enjoys this notoriety, voted as the "best seaside town of the year" in 2007 by the Guardian. Tourists on holiday in this historic town will enjoy their fill of local legend, historic locations, beaches for surfing and swimming and plenty of local culture. St. Ives is home to numerous annual festivals and one ceremony that only takes place every five years. With plenty to see and do, it's no wonder that St. Ives has become a Cornwall hot spot for the tourist crowd.
St. Ives originated with St. la, an Irish saint who arrived in this area in the fifth century. According to legend, this young saint was left behind on the shore of her native Ireland when all the other saints left for Cornwall without her. She began to pray, and when she opened her eyes, she discovered a small leaf in the water. As she watched, the leaf grew bigger and bigger until she could step on its surface and sail across the channel. Her deliverance from God, as the story goes, became the discovery of the town of St. Ives and a reason for its namesake. You can find a church named after this saint still standing in the town today, as well as a statue by woodcarver Faust Lang.
Once a harbor was built in this town, it became a bustling community of fishermen and ships that helped the town grow and thrive. The Hain Line was St. Ives own shipping company, which combined with the Norge Company in the early part of the twentieth century to become part of the P&O family. Arthur Guiness found that the fishermen and ship crews were the perfect customers for his brews, and he would serve Guiness draughts from his pub on Skidden Hill. The tin industry was also responsible for helping this community grow, using the port in St. Ives for much of its shipping. Today, St. Ives is a popular holiday hot spot, with activities and sights galore for tourists of all ages.
Porthmeor beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy surfing and swimming while on holiday. This location offers a half-mile of sands and water, with plenty of choices in accommodations all around. For those looking for a self catering holiday, check out the many chalets and apartments that line the area. Others can find hotels and bed and breakfasts that provide every amenity possible for extreme comfort and relaxation. This beach is open from the end of May through September for your swimming, surfing and sight seeing pleasure.
Near the Porthmeor beach is the St. Ives Tate Gallery; an art exhibit filled with sculptures and paintings from 1925-1975 along with work from modern Cornwall artists. There is an admission fee for this gallery, but many art appreciators will find the cost and the time spent worthwhile. The building itself, designed by architects Evans and Shaleff, is also a tourist attraction and the views of the beach from within are breathtaking.
Another location that many art lovers will not want to miss is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, where artist Barbara Hepworth lived and worked. As you stroll through the sub-tropical gardens you can enjoy various sculptures throughout carved of wood, stone and bronze. There are also drawings and paintings on display at this location. Since Hepworth's death in 1975, this location has been preserved to display the work and preserve the memory of this artist.
You can only get to St. Michael's Mount on foot when the tide is low and the causeway is above water. This tiny island is big on majestic beauty with a medieval castle that is still lived in today. Whether you enjoy gardens, architecture, art or breathtaking scenery, St. Michael's Mount is an attraction you don’t want to miss. Should you choose to visit the island during high tide, ferries are available to shuttle you over to this incredible sight.
St. Ives isn't just about art and history; many families can enjoy a day of fun riding the rides at Flambards Village or checking out the wildlife at Paradise Park. Flambards Village offers a roller coaster, log flume and a formula circuit. There is entertainment for kids and grownups alike with magicians, circus entertainers and plenty of fabulous firework displays. The Victorian village allows guests to take a step back in time to explore life as it once was, complete with a famous chemist's shop that is the highlight of the tour.
Paradise Park was established as a tropical bird garden, but birds are not the only wildlife that can be found here. Red pandas, red squirrels and otters can all be seen in this wildlife park. Visitors can also enjoy strolling through the beautiful Victorian garden that features a wide selection of tropical plants. Kids can play in the indoor JungleBarn, which makes the perfect indoor retreat from rain showers.
With fairs and festivals going on all year in St. Ives, you are almost guaranteed to encounter a special event on your holiday in this Cornwall town. The St. Ives feast takes around February 3 every year. This is a celebration of the founding of St. Ives by St. la and includes a processional to Venton la and other activities. Another annual event that takes place in May is the St. Ives May Day which is similar to modern May Days in other areas. Finally the St. Ives September Festival kicks off the fall season in style.
With so much to do and see in St. Ives, it is easy to see why this town has become such a popular Cornwall spot for a holiday. Talk to your travel agent about planning your St. Ives holiday today.
You can choose from the numerous hotels, self-catering cottages and Bed & Breakfast homes.
Boskerris Hotel, Carbis Bay Hotel, Chy an Albany Hotel, Hotel St. Eia, Tregenna Castle, Garrack Hotel and Porthminister are the popular hotels.
Sailfish Cottage, Seaside House, Seawater, Riverside House, The Light House, Highfield, Coastline, and Lazywave are few of the many comfortable self-catering cottages.
Bed & Breakfast
Cosy cottages like Dean Court, Jamies, Porthglaze, Primrose, Ten Steps, Panalba, Great Escape Vegetarian and Sunrise will warmly welcome you.
Vegetarian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and the local sea-fare are all available on St Ives platter.
Garrack Restaurant, Russets, The Beach, Digey Food Room, and The Queens, among others, will leave you asking for more!
The enchanting beauty of St. Ives makes it a dream holiday destination. You cant help but fall in love with this magical hamlet