St Ives (Cornish: Porth Ia) is a small seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall, near Penzance.
Originally a fishing village, it grew up into a seaside resort, and has long attracted artists. Today it's a huddle of cottages, small alleys, and craft and gift shops, climbing the slopes above Portminster harbour (facing east into the bay) and crossing the ridge to Portmeor beach (facing north into the Atlantic). These two coastlines meet at the headland called "The Island". South of the main town and railway station, St Ives straggles into Carbis Bay.
The Tourist Information Centre is on Street-an-Pol, TR26 2DS +44 1736 796297. It's open all year round and can help with accommodation.
Cornwall Newquay Airport (NQY) has flights from London (Gatwick & Stansted), Dublin, Leeds, Bradford, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff. It's about 30 miles (48 km) away from St Ives by A3075 and A30, reckon 45 min by car. Its two disadvantages are i) most flights are summer only; ii) public transport is tricky as first you have to get the bus into Newquay (last bus around 6:30PM), then rely on an infrequent bus or branch-line train for connections to St Ives.
Exeter Airport (EXT) is further but may be a simpler option. It has more flights year-round, the airport bus runs until 10PM, and mainline trains run hourly from Exeter to Penzance, stopping at St Erth.
Land's End Airport (LEQ), 6 miles (10 km) west of Penzance, only has flights to the Isles of Scilly.
The nearest main line station is , 4 miles south of St Ives. Most trains from London and south-west England stop here on their way to Penzance, another 10 min down the line. From St Erth there are branch line trains, buses and taxis into St Ives.
There are direct trains to St Erth from London Paddington (8 daily, 5 hours), Exeter (8 daily, 3 hours) and Plymouth (15 daily, 2 hours). There are frequent connections to Bristol (4 hours), Birmingham (5 hours) and the north, with one direct service to Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
An overnight sleeper train, The Night Riviera, runs between London Paddington and Penzance, stopping at St Erth. It runs Sunday to Friday from London Paddington around 11:30PM, reaching St Erth before 8AM (on Sunday before 9AM Monday). The return train leaves Penzance Su-F around 9:30PM, picking up at St Erth 10 min later, to reach London Paddington at 5AM; you can stay aboard until 7AM. Book via Great Western, with airline seats, or single or double sleeper cabins available.
Other nearby destinations along the main line, served by hourly trains from Plymouth, are Penzance (for Newlyn, Mousehole and Isles of Scilly), St Austell (for Eden Project), Par (for Newquay), and Bodmin. See National Rail for times and fares; advance booking is usually much cheaper. A Ride Cornwall Ranger is good value for local travel. It allows unlimited off-peak travel within Cornwall, and between Cornwall and Plymouth, by all trains and most buses. "Off-peak" means M-F after 9AM, and all day Sa Su & holidays. An adult day-ticket is £13, children and concessions around £10.
The branch line train from St Erth to St Ives shuttles back & forth every 30 min. The run takes only 12 min, halting at Lelant Saltings (for Park & Ride) and Carbis Bay (for southside accommodation). The first train is around 7AM and the last around 10PM - speak to the guard if your train is late and you're likely to miss a connection. is at the south end of town.
Another link is First Kernow bus A17, which runs every 30 min between St Ives and St Erth, taking 10-15 min. The first bus is around 7AM and the last at 6:30PM. West of St Erth, this bus continues to Penzance, Zennor, St Just (for Land's End Airport) and Boscaswell.
National Express coaches to Penzance stop at nearby St Erth. Coach NX404 runs overnight from London Victoria (8 hrs) via Heathrow Airport, Bath, Bristol Airport, Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth. NX315 runs daily along the south coast from Eastbourne via Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Eastbourne, Exeter and Plymouth.
First Kernow bus T1 runs every 30 minsl between Penzance and Truro (1 hr 45 min), calling at St Erth, Hayle, Camborne, and Redruth. Change at Truro for Newquay, St Austell and Bodmin. Reaching Plymouth and Exeter by bus is not worth the bother, take the train.
St Ives is a 5-6 hour drive from London via M4, M5, A30 and finally A3074. It's a long way and at some point you'll need to refuel. Don't be paying motorway prices, there's supermarket petrol at (amongst others) M5 jcn 28 (Cullompton Tesco), A30 Bodmin (Asda, Launceston Rd Bodmin) and A30 Penzance (Tesco).
Parking options: Several car parks around town centre, (£3-5 per day), but they're small and those in the centre fill up very early in the day. Aim further out, eg at St Ives railway station. "The Island" car park on the headland near the leisure centre usually has spaces; it's a 10-minute walk from the harbour. Or Park and Ride at Lelant Saltings station and take the frequent train to town.
Don't attempt street parking, even with a disabled badge, unless you've checked this with the place you're visiting. The streets are so narrow and the few spaces are reserved for residents.
Walking is best for St Ives centre, where the streets are narrow and congested. Don't bring a car here, but driving makes sense for outlying accommodation and beaches at Carbis Bay, Lelant and Hayle.
For Penzance, bus A2 runs hourly via Lelant, St Erth and Marazion (for St Michael's Mount), 45 min, from 9AM to 10PM.
For Land's End, bus A3 runs hourly along the B3306 via St Just, Pendeen and Zennor. Or go to Penzance then take bus A1, which runs hourly via Newlyn, Lamorna and Porthcurno, one hour, from 7AM to 6PM.
These "A"-buses, operated by First Kernow, are blue open-top double-deckers in summer. For bus travel plus rail, a good deal is the Ride Cornwall Ranger (adult £13) described above. For bus only, buy a Day Rider for £12 (child £6) from the Bus Station or from the driver on boarding - contactless bank cards accepted. Bus drivers also issue Ride Cornwall Rangers, but only for full price, go to the station for concessions.
phone: +44 1736 796226address: Porthmeor Beach TR26 1TGOutpost of the Tate, majoring on Cornwall-based artists such as Alfred Wallis, Terry Frost and Barbara Hepworth. The circular modern building is a nod to the gas works which used to stand here.
There is s combi-ticket with the Hepworth, and £1 off admission if you show a public transport ticket to town that day. A £15 Art Pass (valid 7 days) also gives admission to Penlee Gallery in Penzance.
phone: +44 1736 796226address: Barnoon Hill TR26 1ADIndoor gallery, garden display and studio showcasing the work of this influential sculptor, who worked in bronze, stone, wood and more.
phone: +44 1736 796005address: Wheal Dream TR26 1PRLocal history exhibition, in 2-storey building that has variously been a pilchard-curing factory, a chapel, laundry and cinema.
phone: +44 1736 793121address: Street-an-Pol TR26 2DSArt gallery with rotating exhibitions of modern fine art and ceramics.
Porthmeor Beach is on the north side of town facing the Atlantic. It's half a mile-long beach with firm sands, and sometimes has some good waves for surfing.
Porthminster Beach is the sheltered, east-facing beach, more suitable for small children.
Carbis Bay two miles south of St Ives is a great sandy sweep of beach.
New Year's Eve Fancy Dress and FireworksOne giant fancy dress party on the beach and in the town with fireworks at midnight.
phone: +44 1736 797272address: The Warren, TR26 2EAConvenient and cosy restaurant serving burgers, including for vegetarians.
phone: +44 1736 795918address: Carbis Bay, TR26 2RTSimple veggie fare.
Usual selection of traditional pubs and (more recently) wine bars.
phone: +44 1736 796584address: The Wharf, TR26 1LPThe Sloop Inn on the harbour front is one of the town's most popular, and you are likely to make at least one friend while there as most locals get on very well with fellow drinkers.
The Legionaddress: Higher Stennack, TR26 1DBAnother popular pub is The Legion at the bottom of the hill atop which St Ives Junior School resides. It is very similar to the Sloop, but be aware of rowdiness late at night.
Over 70 B&Bs and several nice little hotels in St Ives, more along the coast.
Cohort Hosteladdress: Stennack TR26 1FFClean comfy hostel.
phone: +44 1736 795918address: St Ives Rd, Carbis Bay TR26 2RTFriendly and totally vegetarian B&B in Carbis Bay. Rooms are small but clean and modern.
address: Burthallan Lane TR26 3AAA family-run hotel with great views over town and sea. With restaurant, indoor pool & onsite free car parking. They also accept dogs in some rooms.
phone: +44 1736 795913address: Alexandra Rd TR26 1EQSmall family-run hotel with cozy rooms. Free wifi and affordable rates.
phone: +44 1736 796100address: Unit 3, Old Forge, Griggs Quay, Lelant TR27 6JGCornwall Cottage Boutique manage some three dozen self-catering holiday cottages in St Ives. Minimum stay 7 nights.
phone: +44 1736 798440address: 11 Sea View Terr TR26 2DHA small hotel in a converted Edwardian seaside villa near the centre of town.
phone: +44 1736 794939address: Primrose Valley TR26 2EDA cozy Edwardian villa with sea views and organic breakfast from local produce.
phone: +44 1736 795311address: Carbis Bay TR26 2NPA mid-sized luxury hotel on the beach. Has an outdoor pool and some self-catering cottages.
phone: +44 1736 797121address: Trelyon Ave, Carbis Bay TR26 2ADA small private hotel with great views and friendly staff.
address: Boskerris Rd, Carbis Bay TR26 2NQUpscale boutique hotels with modern design, great food and lovely views of the beach.
phone: +44 1736 795254address: Trelyon Ave TR26 2DELarge smart hotel in large grounds on the hill above the town. Often has functions such as weddings.
address: 7 Portmeor Rd TR26 1GBLuxury self-catering apartments, minimum stay 7 nights.
address: West Porthminster Beach, The Warren TR26 2EAComfortable modern hotel on cliff-top just south of town. Good restaurant. By car follow signs to railway station, use station car-park to unload, descend steps to hotel. Don't try to drive into the narrow alley just in front of hotel. Hotel can reserve spaces in station car-park, £12/day.
Generally crime free, but the usual precautionary advice applicable to UK is appropriate.
It's either west to Penzance, Land's End and Isles of Scilly (day-trips possible) or back east towards St Austell (for Eden Project), Plymouth and Exeter.